How local entrepreneur focuses on the community via commercial real estate
The role of “leader” is a double-edged sword, and those bearing the title are often spoken of with strong positive or negative regard. Leaders are valued and respected, as well as targeted and scrutinized. Everyone can hold the title “leader.” Whether leading cohorts, family, or community, establishing what type of reputation your leadership title holds will directly affect your effectiveness and influence.
Local community investor and entrepreneur Greg Homan has spent the last 25 years buying, selling, and investing in commercial real estate. He aligns his goals with the next generation in mind and strives to inspire young leaders. You may know of his community involvement best by his pinnacle piece, The Citrus Tower.
When asked why he purchased The Citrus Tower over 20 years ago, he lightheartedly responded by citing a collection of advice he read in Donald Trump’s book, “Art of the Deal.” As he read Trump’s encouraging advice to invest in towering real estate, Greg looked around the city he grew up in and thought, “There’s a tower; I’ll buy that one.”
On a more serious note, one tip he gives future investors and leaders is to invest in vacant land; however, without a pocket of cash, his second choice is commercial property. “Commercial real estate is superior to residential real estate because as a landlord, one has a much stronger hand to evict a delinquent commercial tenant than one does with a resident tenant. Investing in commercial real estate also gives you an immediate return on your investment, whereas your only hope of a positive return on investment in vacant land is appreciated value over time,” he advises.
Greg spent the earlier part of 2015 on a vintage restoration project for the Citrus Tower, restoring Clermont’s “claim to fame” back to its original look. He is now working with local entrepreneur Rob Wilkins, from Citrus Flyer, on a new 50 mph, 1-½ mile zipline. The latest project update is the discovery that the original landing spot is not at high enough elevation, which would cause a very rapid descent and require extra expenditure on a premium braking system.
Although being involved with the community is a big part of Greg’s focus, Clermont is no longer the smalltown community he grew up in. As he looks back through the years, he worries “for young folks trying to get started in the hostile business of commercial real estate.”
“The American dream is being threatened, and it is much harder to accomplish now than it was when I started out,” Homan says. He references a recent example of how he leveraged his leadership influence with other local entrepreneurs to help Clermont’s City Council find ways to make up for the $1.5 million deficit in the city’s 2016 budget without implementing an extravagant fire assessment fee. But the council came at commercial real estate owners from another angle and raised the millage rate, continuing a more and more hostile environment for business and landowners.
Although it is increasingly difficult, Greg encourages the next generation of young commercial entrepreneurs to be patient and buy when a seller needs to sell. Making money in commercial real estate happens when you buy, not when you sell, he advises. Furthermore, young entrepreneurs should look for good investments that make money 24 hours per day, because expenses never rest.
As a new leader stepping forward, remember that your reputation precedes you wherever you go and is almost impossible to repair. Mr. Homan encourages young entrepreneurs to never sacrifice integrity for financial gain (Matthew 16:26).