Real Estate Blog

Investor Interview with Gould Hagler

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Investing is for all types of people, from many backgrounds and schools of thought. You may find similarities among other investors, or learn something new!

Herewith tips and insight, is Gould Hagler, Insurance Broker & Investor

Question: Who was your first business mentor? 

Answer: Dee Bruker 


Q: Who was your first mentor in real estate?  

A: Tyson Schuetze


Q: What is your favorite book? 

A: "Into the Heart of the Sea, Tragedy of the Whale Ship Essex"


Q: What is the best lesson you have learned in real estate? 

A: Buy low, hold forever.

Q: How many properties do you own? 

A: 13


Q: When did you start investing? 

A: 2012, I think.


Q: Why do you Invest?

A: Financial security


Q: What is the best advice you have received?  

A: A great real estate deal comes along once a week. 


Q: Do you have any hobbies?  

A: Running, biking, swimming, camping 

Q: Where is your favorite city in the world?

A: Boston 

Q: What is the best advice you could give someone else? 

A: Don't let splitting hairs ruin a good purchase.


Q: Is there a place for you where time slows down?  

A: Any beach in the Caribbean 

Q: If you could be a member of any music group, you would be? 

A: Kenny Chesney seems like he's got it pretty sweet, so maybe his band.


Q: When were you first introduced to Auben?

A: 2009


Q: If you were to start over_______.

A: I would have started investing in real estate much earlier.


Investor Interview with Marion A. Stevenson

Friday, August 16, 2019

Investing is for all types of people, from many backgrounds and schools of thought. You may find similarities among other investors, or learn something new!

Herewith tips and insight, is Marion "Al" Stevenson


Question: Who was your first business mentor? 

Answer: My family. Most were small business owners. 


Q: Who was your first mentor in real estate?  

A: My Uncle John Vester. And he still is today.


Q: What is your favorite book? 

A: Lincoln on Leadership 


Q: What is the best lesson you have learned in real estate? 

A: Be ready to pull the trigger on a deal. They may not come around twice. 


Q: How many properties do you own? 

A: 30+


Q: When did you start investing? 

A: Most of my life--in real estate, 2007.


Q: What is your definition of success? 

A: When you can sleep well, and with a clear conscious.


Q: Why do you Invest?

A: I love it, and it's helping me to reach my retirement goals. 


Q: What is the best advice you have received?  

A: Don’t treat your real estate as home, but as a business. 


Q: Do you have any hobbies?  

A: Finding a deal, hunting, and spending time with family.


Q: Where is your go-to or favorite vacation spot? 

A: Glovers Reef, Belize


Q: Where is your favorite city in the world?

A: Vancouver, BC or Wellington, NZ


Q: What is the best advice you could give someone else? 

A: You won't know success until you have blown it twice. Losing it all or making a bad decision is where you learn. The earlier you do that the better off you will be. 


Q: Is there a place for you where time slows down?  

A: In a hunting stand or my pool. 


Q: What/Who first brought you to Auben?

A: Meeting Tyson and a colleague over dinner and drinks at Mi Rinconcito in Grovetown 2013.


Q: If you were to start over_______.

A: I would have gotten into Real Estate earlier. 


Q: If you weren't investing in real estate you would be______.

A: Farther away from retirement than I am. 

Investor Interview with Kenneth Mooney

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Investing is for all types of people, from many backgrounds and schools of thought. You may find similarities among other investors, or learn something new!

Herewith tips and insight, is Kenneth Mooney, Analyst at Auben Realty.

Question: Who was your first business mentor?

Answer: Kristopher Bognot. We still do the occasional real estate deal together.

Q: Who was your first mentor in real estate?

A: Jaron Bergeron. I interviewed a local attorney, who referred me out to two people. Jaron’s partner was the second referral. Jaron eventually took me under his wing, and taught me the ropes of real estate investing. When I had the opportunity to move to Auben as an agent he’s who I asked about the company. He said, “Go for it!” And here I am.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: It’s a tie: Think and Grow and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. While Rich Dad taught me more about the generalities of how money works and how to build your net worth, Think and Grow was a game changer. It caused a complete 180 [degree shift] in my mindset.

Q: What is the best lesson you have learned in real estate?

A: Don’t be greedy.

Q: How many properties do you own?

A: Currently, ten properties. I’m working on acquiring another four via owner finance.

Q: When did you start investing?

A: I purchased my first house in April 2015. 

Q: What is your definition of success?

A: Success is having the financial stability to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, within reason. It doesn’t have to be the ability to hop on a private jet to Ibiza when you want...could just be to play golf when you want. 

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I enjoy looking at houses. It’s a blessing that I truly love what I do for a living. I am currently training for a half marathon. It’s probably more of a challenge than a hobby though.

Q: Where is your favorite city in the world?

A: Stockholm, Sweden

Q: Why do you invest?

A: I invest in real estate because it is literally all I know. I started learning about investing when I was 22, and started investing when I was 23. 

Q: What is the best advice you've received in this business?

A: Do the right thing. 

Q: Do you have a favorite sport?

A: Tennis. Federer is the greatest of all time.

Q: What advice could you give someone else investing or looking to invest?

A: Always do what you believe is the right thing, and you will end up just fine. 

Q: Is there a place for you where time slows down?

A: At my office desk, at around 1:00--right after I’ve had lunch!

Q: If you could be a member of any music group, which one?

A: It’s not really a music group, but probably Taylor Swift because my fiancée loves her. 

Q: What/Who first brought you to Auben?

A: When the lead agent at the time posted on Facebook looking for an agent/investor.

Q: If you were to start over _________.

A: I wouldn’t have bought all of those flips in 2018. 

Q: If you weren’t investing in real estate, you __________.

A: No clue what I’d be doing. Probably something revolving around tennis. I played a year of D-1 tennis at Presbyterian College.

The Importance of Working With Investor-Focused Agents

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Not all sales agents are created equal. The most successful Realtors find their niche - whether working with first-time homebuyers, or focusing on specific price points, neighborhoods and zip codes. 

Investor buyers rely heavily on market expertise, knowledge of financial lending, and the ability of their agent-partners to assess the potential and risk involved in investing. The Auben Realty sales team has more than a decade of experience working with investors, and has facilitated thousands of investment property transactions. Auben agents are investor-focused. They are committed to building lasting rapport, and offering the best opportunities and solutions which align with their client's investing goals.

Meet the Auben Realty Sales Team:

Betsey Davis, Realtor (Licensed in GA & SC) – a Thomasville, GA native, Betsey found her way to Augusta via Augusta State University (now Augusta University). She has been investing in real estate since 2004. Her initial investments included short-term rentals with equity building opportunities achieved through renovation.  Betsey’s work with local non-profit organizations, led her to advocate the need for quality affordable housing and stabilized housing for homeless families in the Augusta area.  To date, she has sold over 500 real estate investment assets in the Southeast.  

Andrew Crumrine, Realtor (Licensed in GA) - For more than a decade, Andrew has been a visible advocate for Augusta businesses. He previously owned and operated the formerly successful restaurant Crum’s on Central. He decided to leave the fast-paced, long hours of the food service industry to focus on his family. Since then he has returned to real estate sales, and continues to invest in residential and commercial properties. Andrew has extensive market knowledge, along with a vast network of friends and business partners in the CSRA.

Christine Kusters, Realtor (Licensed in SC & NC) – Christine left a career in paramedics and directed her efforts to serving others through real estate. Christine started in property management, but soon found that she enjoyed the autonomy of working as a licensed Realtor. For the past several years, Christine has assisted investors through property management, project management, and real estate sales transactions. 

Richard Early, Realtor (Licensed in SC) - Richard brings six years property management experience, as well as work in new home sales, and foundation repair. He's always had a passion for real estate and home improvement. The Columbia, SC native is currently working toward investing in properties of his own.

Karenia Clark, Sales Transaction Manager- After years in social work, Karenia has found a renewed sense of excitement and purpose in lending support to the Auben sales team. Karenia is also involved in the organization, Family Promise of Augusta, of the leading national nonprofit addressing family homelessness, providing homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, workforce development, education, financial capability, health and wellness.

April Woods, Transaction Coordinator - April worked as a paralegal for a regional law firm at their Columbia and Atlanta locations. She now assists our sales department with closings and other legal transactions. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys volunteering and spending time with her family.

Natalie Walls, Broker in Charge (Licensed in GA, SC, NC & TN) A graduate of Auburn University, Natalie found her passion in real estate after college. She’s been with Auben Realty since the very beginning, and has helped lay down the foundation of this organization. She currently invests in real estate in the Augusta area, and has more than a decade of experience working with investors. 

Learn more about the importance of working with investor-focused (friendly) agents here.

Why work with investors?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tyson Schuetze, Natalie Walls and Phillip Vera

Auben Realty celebrates ten years of business this year, and a major part of the company's success has been the ability to adapt to changes in the market. And now more than ever, the experience that comes along with not only working with investors, but being investors. 

It began with Tyson Schuetze, a young entrepreneur who started in real estate as a sales agent in New York City in the early 2000s. He purchased his first investment property in the upstate, and quickly saw a need to educate himself on how to manage the renovation and leasing of his first rental. He traveled to regional conferences and met other investors, some of which became mentors. Tyson pored over data and articles which highlighted the do's and don'ts of property management, and while he encountered several rookie mistakes along the way, he was determined to build a business for himself. It wasn't long before he realized that in order to grow his portfolio, he would need to look at more affordable markets. In 2006, he packed up a U-haul, and headed south to Georgia, where a couple of his conference-going mentors were based in Augusta.

He jumped into partnering with other investors who walked him through the investment buying, renovation, and re-selling of properties. This was an exciting--and exhausting time. The real estate market was hot, and home flipping was hotter. Tyson spent years crawling under houses, analyzing data, attending investor meetings, and continued to travel to conferences. Late nights were spent writing business plans, budgeting for the repairs and renovations, and doing the work himself, but also looking for partners who possessed the skills and experience he lacked. 

By 2008, the bubble had burst. Bad loans, over-leveraging, and a downturn in the economy left millions of people unable to pay their ballooned mortgages, and unable to sell their home for what it should have been worth. Traditional sales were on the decline, and investors were no longer able to flip houses as quickly and easily as they once could. This was a time to get creative. Tyson had to get in front of bankers who turned him down repeatedly for loans--as lending was very conservative at the time. He had to continue forging relationships with agents, vendors, other investors, and the people who desperately needed to sell their homes. This was a time when listening to others, and being solution-oriented was paramount. It was also a time when the status quo looked far less enticing. Tyson wanted to take what he learned from his experience and the advice of others and invest in areas that no one else wanted to be in. Columbia County was bursting at the seams with new construction, shopping and dining. Tyson was drawn to the historical and cultural nuances of Richmond County, and saw the potential to make a difference in bringing back the neighborhoods that had all but been abandoned. He began to invest in Harrisburg, Old Town, downtown, the "lower" Hill, and South Augusta.

After three years of blood, sweat and tears in Augusta, Tyson was ready to give more--blood, sweat and tears, but he had the foundation in place to bring others onboard who were eager to build something from the ground up. Natalie Walls was there from the beginning as an assistant with property management experience, and now as partner and managing broker. They began Auben Realty as a way for Tyson to manage his own properties, but grew out of the necessity for other investors in the Augusta area who were looking for property management services. And it continued to grow for investors who also needed assistance in the buying and selling of properties. Some investors didn't have the same vision of downtown and Richmond County that Tyson had, but with the hiring of agents and the start of a brokerage he could service those clients with the same level of expertise. And yet many investors believed in what Tyson was doing, and had the capital to invest in neighborhood blocks where they could renovate homes and essentially help increase values in the area. And now more than ever, these areas are reaping the benefits of a strengthening economy and influx of people moving in.

The Auben Team continues to expand--with an office in Chattanooga and doing business regionally in SC, GA, TN and NC. The team also continues to attract members who are tenacious and eager to learn and grow with the company. They share a desire to invest in real estate, but also in themselves. And while the company now operates under the leadership of Phillip Vera, CEO and Alex Becker, Director of Operations, everyone is encouraged to take ownership in their role and contribute to the success shared as a team.

As Auben Realty approaches a decade in business, the company is more focused than ever on what it means to invest in a community, and service investors with firsthand knowledge and experience. After all, it is a company made up of investors for investors. 

Read more about the benefits of working with investors here: Why Work With Investors? What You Need to Know About Real Estate Investing (RIS Media)

Holding Steady

Monday, March 4, 2019

Holding Steady

Nationwide home flipping was down in 2018, but many investors are continuing the hunt for bargains. The primary focus for investors continues to be in the lowest-priced areas of the country, where levels of financial distress remain highest.

Home Flip Trends in 2018:

  • Decrease in average time: Homes flipped in 2018 took an average of 180 days to complete, down from 181 days in 2017.
  • Decrease in square footage: The average square footage of homes flipped in the fourth quarter was 1,408, the smallest average square footage on record for CoreLogic’s report, dating back to the first quarter of 2005.
  • Decrease in Financing: Thirty-six percent of all homes flipped in the fourth quarter were financed, down from 39.5 percent a year ago.

While the average price per home in the Augusta and Chattanooga markets continue to increase, by 6% and 8% respectively, the overall prices remain below national average. And the opportunities for investing remain ripe as the economic development of these areas continue to strengthen; attracting renters and new home buyers into the markets. Many investors are looking at areas that were once hit hard by financial hardship and seeing opportunity for growth as mortgage rates hold steady and the number of jobs increase, resulting in greater demand for housing. Greater demand paired with steady increases in home values is attractive to investors who wish to hold onto their properties for the purpose of generating rental income and asset building.

Another attractive quality for investors in Tennessee, and Georgia and South Carolina, along the Savannah River is the level of economic market freedom. Economic market freedom, as defined by Dean Stansel for the Reason Foundation, is the freedom of the individual or business to use their resources as they wish without undue interference from the government. This is important, as it promotes prosperity. These markets tend to experience population growth and economic opportunities for all. Augusta ranked 74th and Chattanooga 59th in the under 1 million study placing them in the top 25 percent of MSAs with the most economic freedom.

As with many other national real estate trends, we anticipate our markets to remain steady with continued growth. There doesn't appear to be a slow-down in sight for the foreseeable future. 


"Home Flipping Slowdown Could Be Temporary, Report Says,"  Realtor Magazine (Mar. 1, 2019)

"Ranking U.S. Metropolitan Areas on the Economic Freedom Index," Reason Foundation (Jan. 31, 2019)

A Cure for Summertime Blues

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Anyone else feeling the end-of-summer blues? The best way to slow down the final month of vacations and beach days is to curl up with a good book. Garden & Gun Magazine recently published an August reading list. Explore the work of many great modern southern writers. It's not too late to explore the outdoors of Appalachia with Phil Hudgins as your guide, or experiment with grilled cheese recipes with the southern-inspired Eric Greenspan. Get lost in the poetry of Kentucky-based Ada Limon, or the photography of Jeremiah Ariaz depicting Louisiana Trail Riders. If you are itching to flex your mind ahead of the school year, read about the life of Arthur Ashe in Raymond Arsenault's comprehensive biography of the Richmond, VA native athlete and civil rights activist. Delve deep into America's opioid crisis as investigative journalist, Beth Macy, takes you from the hard hit corridor of East Tennessee through Virginia. This list has something for everyone -- women's lit and fiction included!

View it here: Garden & Gun August Reading List

AUG Offers Best Risk-Reward for Investing

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


According to an  article  published by Forbes this month, Augusta, GA continues to offer the best risk-reward for investing in the southeast. Along with Greenville and Spartanburg, SC, Augusta "home prices are still modest compared to the income price, but the economics are very promising."

While this is seen as speculation by many analysts, those who live and work in the CSRA have seen, first-hand, the growth and continued promise of growth which will only enrich such investments. 

Our team is comprised of agents and property managers with years of professional and personal investment experience. Contact us today to learn how we can assist in finding the perfect investment opportunity suited to your needs. 

New Faces, Going Places!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Auben Realty is pleased to welcome our newest team members: Aundrea, Jamie and Lene and Justin!

Property Manager Aundrea Benson comes to us with a background in property management and working as a licensed Realtor. She is an Augusta native who loves spending time with her family, which includes her two fur-babies, Mac and Elvis. 


Accountant Jamie Spell has lived all over Georgia. After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia in Athens, and MBA at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, he spent time working in construction, and as an auditor for a CPA firm in Atlanta. He has since relocated back to Augusta, and looks forward to combining his love for real estate and numbers at Auben Realty. 


Lene Cole grew up the oldest of seven kids on a farm in Battle Ground, IN. Her work experience includes office management for a masonry company, and 15+ years in hospitality and F&B industries. We are excited to have her put her interpersonal skills to work as our new project coordinator.


Justin Henderson was raised in Oklahoma, but has lived in Vail, CO; Jacksonville, FL; and Punta Mita, Mexico. The place that has felt most like home is here in Augusta, GA. He earned his degree in Turfgrass Management from OSU, and has worked for several top tiered golf clubs throughout the country, including Augusta National Golf Club. He says of his new position as Director of Property Management, "Having the opportunity to be a part of a growing company and contribute to its future is something special."


Summer Clean Up at the Canal

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Augusta Canal

Reminder: Join us this Friday, June 15th at 4:30 p.m. for our scheduled canal clean-up. Our team will meet at the Lake Olmstead entrance near the stadium. This volunteer opportunity is open to the public and in partnership with the Augusta Canal Authority Adopt-a-Canal-Trail (ACT) initiative.

For more information, please contact Patrick at (706)294-6514 or

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