Aecom Investments has always been one to go against the grain. The real estate development and investments company has always sought to bring out the best of their respective communities. Their mission has always been less about the bottom line and more about the succession of their clients, providing support and logical solutions to ailments that their competitors can often overlook. None would know better about Aecom Investments than its Managing Director, Andrew Black.
We sat down with Andrew to discuss the nature of Aecom Investments, the motivations behind the company, and the silver linings that have revealed themselves as a result of the pandemic.
Hey Andrew, thanks for taking the time to sit with us today. I guess we’ll start with the basics. What is at the heart of Aecom Investments?
Aecom Investments is a full-service real estate redevelopment company that is committed to rejuvenating working-class communities. We have dedicated our efforts to better the quality of life for those who live in the areas we serve. We take pride in supporting local neighborhoods, whether we’re restoring damaged houses, assisting first-time homeowners, or demonstrating how to earn residual income with real estate. Each family that we help has a unique story to tell. And we’re honored to be a part of it.
The company site mentions the Aecom Investments mission to “rejuvenate neighborhoods and increase the standard of living.” How would you best describe your team’s primary focus in achieving this?
That’s a great question. We all have a responsibility for the well-being of our local communities, individually and collectively. And Aecom Investments is no exception. We are deeply committed to providing value-add services that elevate the standard of living for our neighbors. Not only do we partner with local city authorities to repair and restore buildings, but we also support non-profit organizations that repair and restore relationships. It’s not enough to focus only on the brick and mortar side of real estate. We are also interested in the intangible connections that build and strengthen our communities.
What sort of service does Aecom offer that competitors lack?
Most real estate investment companies are bottom-line-driven, meaning each encounter with prospective clients is nothing more than a business transaction. Usually, when a business transaction does not net a particular target profit, the company is unwilling to get involved. I certainly understand the need to make a profit. But I also understand the need to do what’s in the best interest of the customer. Because of our extensive network connections, we can accept and resolve cases that many of our competitors can’t. And we can refer the prospective client to one of our alliance partners for immediate assistance in the unlikely event that we’re not able to help.
I am most proud of the times when distressed homeowners couldn’t fix the family-impacting issues that kept them from selling their homes. In those instances, we got involved and worked directly with the assigned third parties to create a solution (seemingly out of thin air). There’s nothing more rewarding than receiving a heartfelt “God bless you!” after helping a family move on with their lives. That’s service.
If I was looking to sell my home, what would the biggest avoidable detriment to the price be?
The biggest detriment, by far, is the aging condition of the property. Unfortunately, this is not always avoidable because as houses age, they began to deteriorate. Gentle usage and regular maintenance may help to slow down the process. But even still, wear and tear are inevitable. First of all, city code changes and new standards are often a reality that homeowners must prepare to face at one time or another. And there’s never a convenient time to spend thousands of dollars changing out high-cost mechanical systems, such as an HVAC.
Another thing that homeowners must realize is that decor and styles change over time. So the shag carpet and brown wood paneling in a well-maintained, 1960’s style home would require a changeout to accommodate the modern updates that a potential buyer would expect to see in their new home. Sometimes bringing a house up-to-date could be as straightforward as a cosmetic remodel or as complex as a floorplan layout modification. Either way, the homeowner must be prepared to spend money to keep the house updated.
We often see distressed homeowners trying to sell a house that requires tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, but they don’t have the money to complete the repairs. And many times, these repair costs impede the sale because they are a conditional part of the sale. So, where is a distressed homeowner to turn for help when they can’t find a buyer who can pay the full asking price in as-is condition? Fortunately, there’s a solution to that problem.
Aecom Investments specializes in buying “un-buyable” houses. We’ve been doing it for the past twenty years now. And I would encourage any homeowner struggling to keep up with the expensive costs of homeownership to contact us immediately for help.
Why would Aecom Investments be preferable to going at it alone?
Some things are okay to do alone, but others require professional guidance and expertise to help bring about the best results. We specialize in producing creative real estate solutions. Sometimes the creativity comes through assisting distressed homeowners with selling their homes or working with second-chance applicants to buy a home. At other times, that helping hand involves showing individual investors, business owners, or retirees how to generate residual income through real estate investments. The majority of people we work with have already tried doing everything themselves before realizing that they need a trusted advisor to help them navigate the “choppy waters.” We are often the last hope for those that need our services the most. And I’m okay with that because light always shines brighter in the dark. Likewise, Aecom Investments is that light on the hill that refuses to hide.
Has the pandemic brought any challenges or even avenues of opportunity for the company and its customers?
Wow. Where do I start? Let me first acknowledge those that have lost loved ones during this pandemic. My thoughts and prayers are with those bereaving families who are grasping for the hope to make it through these difficult times. I, like so many others, have been personally impacted as well. I’ve learned, however, that opportunities tend to present themselves during the most trying times. And this pandemic certainly qualifies as one of those times.
As our company continues to build marketplace momentum, we have observed some emerging patterns and real estate trends that have bode well for us. I believe this phenomenon is three-fold:
- A supercharged increase in single-family housing prices, spurred on by a short supply of single-family houses.
- Plummeting interest rates, which encourages refinancing and new mortgage originations.
- A new wave of young families looking for more permanent housing, as more Millenials enter their 30’s.
The net sum of all of this is a larger supply of buyers flooding into the marketplace, making it much easier for us to operate as a residential real estate provider.
In addition to the recent uptick in market activity, we’ve also noticed a surge of interest in real estate education. Not only are aspiring real estate entrepreneurs asking for mentorship, but both seasoned and new investors alike are curious about investing in and profiting from this new real estate landscape. We’ve entered into more partnerships during the pandemic than any other time in our twenty years of doing business.
It looks like you cover a lot of ground in the industry, are there any thoughts on expanding further?
Absolutely! There are always thoughts of expanding. We are currently active in eight different markets throughout the Midwest and Southern regions. We do well in these areas. But we still have more to do because our vision expands beyond geographical boundaries. Our analysts work around the clock to identify opportunities in emerging markets. And I am encouraged by our expansion plans. I’m also excited about how our company is evolving. This year we added seventy-two new field agents to the Aecom Investments team. Our organizational growth is reflective of our commitment to our buyers and partners. We stand by our guarantee to always maintain a premium supply of investment opportunities.
Thank you Andrew for your time! For those that would like to discuss upcoming opportunities with Aecom Investments, what is the best way to reach you?