How I started real estate accidentally- Jamil Damji
Real Estate giant, Jamil Damji has revealed how he accidentally found himself in the business.
Recounting his early days as a realtor, Damji disclosed that he got into the business when he overehward a conversation of a home builder looking for property.
“I got into the industry by accident actually,” Jamil Damji recounts about his first steps in the real estate industry.
“I overheard a conversation a homebuilder was having about looking for a certain type of property for their projects. The next day while out walking my dog, I called a for-rent sign and ended up asking the landlord if they would consider selling. The answer was yes and through that deal I did my first real estate transaction that netted me 50k in profit.”
That seemingly lucky break was only the beginning for one of America’s most astute real estate minds as his interest in the industry begin to grow.
“I began wholesaling in 2002 and quickly found success leveraging creative real estate transactions to build a portfolio of holdings,” he explains.“However, In 2008 when the real estate market crashed, like many I was bankrupted, and pivoted into a career in sketch comedy.”
The sketch comedy gig proved to be anything but permanent as a gig in the real estate industry soon opened up to him again. “I identified an opportunity in Phoenix AZ and moved in 2012,” he starts. “Suffering from a depressed real estate market after the crash, Phoenix had ample opportunity to acquire undervalued real estate, and I quickly established myself as a power player in the space. By 2015 I had successfully completed hundreds of transactions with my long time business partner and sister Rahima Athari.”
The next part of his plan involved building a structure that allowed the business to be more adaptable and operational. He and Rahima partnered with Josiah Grimes and Hunter Runyon to form KeyGlee, but it wasn’t an easy process to convince them of the need for the business.
“The largest challenge I faced starting KeyGlee was convincing a fragmented community of lone wolf investors that we could all do better through collaboration. When I entered the business there wasn’t a real cohesive real estate investor community. Since then, we have created a very special investor cultural environment.”
Additionally, KeyGlee has blossomed. “KeyGlee has rapidly changed the way distressed property is bought and sold in the United States,” Jamil explains,“Our model focuses on matching properties that are in need of repair with investors willing to take the financial risk to repair them. For our efforts, we take a “fee” on each transaction. We have since scaled operations at KeyGlee and now have conducted thousands of deals locally. In 2020 we franchised KeyGlee nationally and are currently in 18 additional markets and growing rapidly.”