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GETTING STARTED | Home Makers: Careers in Real Estate


By Alison Bailin Batz

Did you know there is far more to working in real estate than selling people homes?

Turns out, the industries involved in real estate are varied, ranging from agents and brokers to bankers and vendors. It is a wide and varied industry, containing many talented individuals, such as Eddie Yan Vancouver realtor. There are many others that have achieved great success in a diverse manner.

Here are the stories behind how some – all involved in different aspects of real estate – got their start.

“I started my career in the banking business and after several years of that, I grew tired of managing people that didn’t share my vision. I then went into the mortgage business and starting investing in real estate. After acquiring multiple rental properties and teaching others how to build real estate portfolios, several people asked me to be their real estate agent and not just their lender. After hearing this from various clients, I decided to get my real estate license and help others do what I loved to do.”
Casey Taylor, MBA, Licensed Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker

“Growing up, it was just my mom and I. I watched her grow her career and become a very successful branch manager/commercial escrow officer. Her start from nothing was so inspiring. After school, I decided to follow suit. After 34 years in this business, I can still say that her hard work and loyalty to those around her still inspires me. I love what I do and the title and escrow business has been wonderful to me and my family.”
Craig Leonard, Vice President of Pioneer Title Agency

“I actually started as an economics guy, earning my degree in the field in 1998. This led me into banking, which I never thought would be a direct connection to helping people find their forever homes. But over the course of the past 30 years, I transitioned into commercial real estate, where I actually help homebuilders get financing to physically construct Arizonans’ homes.”
Doug Reynolds, Senior Vice President and leader of the Commercial Real Estate Division at Washington Federal

“Four years of hard work for a degree in engineering told me I did not want to be an engineer, but it taught me very valuable skills in critical thinking. I’ve been involved in several different disruptive industries: PC computers displacing mainframes, pre-Internet online services, competitive cable TV against incumbent cable systems, early Internet service provider businesses, wireless services displacing land-lines, and now, solar PV displacing total reliance on utility companies. These business experiences taught me that consumers want choices, low cost, independence and a good experience. Solar is very similar, as a disruptive business to incumbent utility companies – we help people develop their own personal energy source for their homes.”
Joe Cunningham, co-founder of Sunny Energy, one of Arizona’s largest providers of residential solar energy systems

“I come from a long line of cattlemen who settled in Arizona in the late 1800s. But I knew from a young age I wasn’t cut out for my forefathers’ line of work. So, inspired by them as well as my mother – who was initially a homemaker but went back to school, got her MBA and became a financial advisor – I went to school to study law with the eventual goal of real estate law. I got into the industry in 2007 – just in time for the housing crash. But it ultimately worked out – I spent my formative legal years then helping clients restructure existing real estate portfolios and overcome other challenges.”
Jason Wood, Real Estate Practice Group Chair at Quarles & Brady


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