Being the first born and having a five year gap between himself and the next oldest of his four siblings, Anthony Ford’s leadership qualities developed at a young age. Wise beyond his years, Anthony wanted to help his parents any way that he could. By the age of seven, he began assisting his father with his various entrepreneurial endeavors. In doing so, Anthony encountered many accomplished individuals who gladly shared their words of wisdom. The precocious young man, who was already dreaming about being successful when he grew up, always listened intently. Anthony learned the game of adult “follow the leader” and, in turn, learned to lead others following him by example. Still in his 30s, Anthony has already achieved what others might take a lifetime to accomplish as a celebrity real estate expert, an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, a philanthropist, a bestselling author, and the founder of My Investment Deals, a full-service, real estate investment firm.
A native Houstonian, Anthony grew up in Sunnyside, a lower economically developed community in southern Houston. Anthony’s mother, Delores, was primarily a stay-at-home mom who had her hands full caring for Anthony and his two brothers and two sisters. Always a pillar of strength in times of adversity, his mother was the glue that held the family together as she led them on the path of righteousness. Anthony’s earliest memories were of his mother caring for others in the community whenever someone was in need. She made sure that her family attended church and also participated in the choir. As a result of his mother’s strength and spirituality, Anthony grew up emulating her.
Although he lacked a formal education, Anthony’s father, who also was named Anthony, was a serial entrepreneur who worked hard to feed, clothe, and shelter his family. He had a landscaping company, a moving company, and a janitorial service. In addition, he worked for Greenwood King Properties, a real estate company that originally began in the Upper Kirby area of Houston. Not only did he do the maintenance for them, he helped with their direct mailers, put out their signs and lockboxes, made runs to the post office for them, and his landscaping company mowed the lawns for their properties.
It was also at Greenwood King where Anthony first became aware of the world of real estate. From the age of seven to nineteen, Anthony helped his father on the weekends and often conversed with the top producers there. He listened intently as they readily shared their expertise with him. Little did he know that the seed for his love of real estate was firmly planted!
Always a good student in just about every subject, Anthony’s favorites were reading and writing. Both would prove quite useful in the future when filling out forms and writing contracts. When Anthony was 16 and entering his junior year of high school, he learned about the Cooperative Education Program that allowed students to attend school a half day and then work a half day with companies approved by H.I.S.D.. Anthony wanted to work as much as he could with his father and this program would allow him more time to do so. In his first attempt in entrepreneurship, the determined young man took the initiative to fill out all of the necessary paperwork for his father’s landscaping company to become a corporation and also recognized with H.I.S.D.
While in the Cooperative Education Program, Anthony was also on the Varsity Basketball Team. Every day, Anthony would leave school at noon and go to work but then he would return at 6:00 pm to attend basketball practice. In addition, this busy young man would work on the weekends. He already recognized the importance of working hard, staying focused on the goal, and using his time effectively.
Previous to getting in the Cooperative Program, something very notable occurred when Anthony was 14. He received a letter from his uncle, James Landry, who frequently wrote to him while he was stationed in Saudi Arabia while serving in the Army. This particular letter, though, was quite different because his uncle challenged him to write out his goals for the future. He then instructed Anthony to make copies of his goals, mail one copy back, and bury another copy in the backyard. This way, Anthony would have someone to be accountable to and, one day, he could look back and reflect if he had succeeded in accomplishing his goals.
Anthony had always dreamed of being successful but one of his specific goals was to buy a house by the time he was 24. Amazingly, after saving up nearly $23,000, not only did Anthony accomplish his goal of buying a home but he did it at the age of 21! It had not been an easy path in accomplishing his dream either.
After high school, Anthony attended the University Of Houston and was majoring in Business Administration. When his father decided to pursue a full time position with Greenwood King Properties, Anthony took over his father’s landscaping business in order to help provide support for his parents and siblings. At this point, getting a bachelor’s degree had to be put on the back burner. In addition to the landscaping business, Anthony worked for a research company and then later as a door-to-door salesman for Time Warner Cable. This experience helped Anthony develop his problem solving skills. “I dealt with potential problems and figured out how to overcome them before they arose,” remarked Mr. Ford.
During this time, Anthony had been saving his money instead of spending it on frivolous things. Anthony painstakingly learned all that he could about investing from his banker and his father. He applied what he was taught and then stretched his money by putting some in the stock market and the rest into a CD and then, eventually, his first house. Until this first transaction, his love for real estate lay dormant. He knew nothing about buying a home; but, after dealing with the Realtor® and the mortgage professional, his passion for real estate awakened and he fell head over heels enamored with the whole process!
At the age of 20, Anthony reconnected with a high school acquaintance while in church and they began to date. Eventually they married and had a son whom they named Da’Veon. Not wanting his son to be brought up in an apartment was the major impetus for Anthony to push his goal of home ownership from age 24 to 21. Three years and one day later after Da’Veon was born, daughter Kayla Symone followed. This motivated Anthony even more in assuring that his children grow up with more comforts than he had as a child. Of course, he would also make sure they grew up with the same values he learned as a child!
After Anthony purchased his first home, the light bulb came on. He reflected, “The process of buying a home was so enlightening to me that I knew I wanted to do it for a living.” A year later, Anthony bought his first investment property, a single family home. He had the brilliant idea to turn it into a duplex. This increased the rent probability by two! He rented both units and then sold them as a performing asset and made a profit of $40,000. This validated his passion for investing in real estate as it paid off in a big way. He thought to himself, “Real estate investing is in my blood. I can do this over and over again!”
At the time, he was he was 23 years old and making $53,000 a year at Time Warner Cable but in one transaction, Anthony had just received a check for $60,000. After paying the Realtor® fee, title fee, and other expenses plus $5,000 to a friend who was instrumental in the deal, Anthony netted $40,000! It was then that he realized he could make an additional 80 percent of what he was earning at Time Warner Cable by flipping properties and began flipping properties.
In 2002, Anthony attended classes at Champions School of Real Estate to become a loan officer and then in 2004, he studied there to get a real estate license. “I learned from the best there. I love the whole staff; Dorothy Barringer is a sweetheart.” Anthony recalled, “I got my real estate license for two reasons. Number one, I got it because I feel that there are a lot of people out there who need some good representation. They need people who understand and will give them guidance. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Realtors® out there who have never owned a property. They just want to do it from a servicing standpoint. I was buying houses as a professional and have the insight. The second reason is because I wanted to fuel my own real estate investment career. That was a good way for me to get what we call pocket listings. I got my license to give the definitive edge and use my skills as a problem solver.”
The years 2005 through 2007 were pivotal ones. As a Realtor®, Anthony did a lot of real estate transactions and became a top producer for Century 21 Sugar Land that is now called Realty Solutions. All three years, he was in the top three out of approximately 160 agents. When he began in real estate, most of his clients were his friends. They saw how he was flipping properties and they wanted to do the same. He would find a good investment property for them and then give them names of contractors only to find out that they still could not flip it. They had the resources but did not have the know-how. This is when My Investment Deals was birthed.
My Investment Deals flips, develops, and builds real estate portfolios for small business owners and professional business executives. Anthony, whose motto is, “Your current situation does not dictate your final destination”, created My Investment Deals as an investment firm to serve people who have the desire to invest in real estate but lack the time, resources, or proper experiences to do it on their own. Clients need only facilitate the debt. They can choose to buy a house with cash or they can get a bank loan. They service the debt and My Investment Deals finds the property according to the risk tolerance and financial goals. The property is then redesigned with architects and engineers.
“I first hire a contracting firm that can handle the level of remodeling that we’re doing. I help with facilitating and orchestrating the entire acquisition. Last but not least, I help them with their exit strategy,” explained Anthony. My Investment Deals does a lot of work with retirees and people that are looking to aggressively plan for retirement by using accounts such as IRAs and 401Ks to fund projects. They are then paid back just like a bank.
“In a sense we help them create their own banking system,” said Mr. Ford. “You have some people that say, ‘Here’s $200,000. Can you flip a property with that and what will be my interest that you would pay me back?’ A lot of people want to diversify either away from or diversify in lieu of investing into the stock market. Investing in real estate is a great opportunity to invest in something tangible.”
The firm was named My Investment Deals so that the word “MY” stood out. People take more responsibility and ownership knowing they are involved, even if not fully hands on. Anthony started the company in 2003 initially in name only while working with his real estate clients that expressed interest in buying investment properties or second homes. He then opened up to the general public in 2007. At first, there was not a sizeable marketing budget but word spread quickly.
In the last fourteen months alone, Anthony has been asked to do television appearances on ABC, CBS, NBC, and WB. Anthony was written up in the Huffington Post and USA Today. With his growing staff and experts, My Investment Deals has now spread to the masses and is known nationally. Some of My Investment Deals leading team members include acquisition manager and mentor – Judy Cook, investment liaison – Adam Metzler, and property analyst – Kevin Anderson. Anthony was recently named “Houston’s Number One Real Estate Advisor” after appearing on television with reality television star, Bob Guiney (formally on ABC’s “The Bachelor”).
In 2014, Anthony co-authored a book with self-made billionaire, Dan Kennedy, entitled “Stand Apart.” It became a bestseller on Amazon the same day it was released. The book is packed with industry secrets from business experts around the world on how to create and grow a business that will stand out from the rest. Later that year, Anthony was honored in Hollywood when he received the Quilly Award. The Quilly Award was founded by the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors to commemorate an author’s achievement of reaching a Best-Seller list. This has led Anthony to be a much sought after motivational speaker in addition to a real estate advisor.
Anthony feels incredibly blessed and spends a lot of his time as a philanthropist and mentor to aspiring business people. Anthony credits mentors for not only helping him learn but for also continuing to be invaluable contacts. “My father had worked doing landscaping even prior to the Greenwood King years. He knew a lot of people. The late Nancy Owens had a top producer at her real estate office named Marilyn Sage who I could call upon with questions. Jan Yardley and Colleen Sherlock, who still work for Greenwood King, would take me with them to various listings and let me hang out with them at their open houses. I was mentored by all of these women,” said Anthony appreciatively. He continued, “Even to this day, I can call upon these great people to help in a variety of ways including marketing tips.”
Along with Judy Cook, Anthony helps to mentor others. He is most proud of his protégé, Robert Morin. Robert is 18 years old and attends University of Houston. Just like Anthony did as a teenager, Robert already wears many hats. Robert works in the marketing department and handles all of My Investment Deals’ online publications. He is also the head of their research department as well as Anthony’s personal assistant. Anthony met Robert at a networking function when he approached and asked Anthony, “What do you do?” After explaining what My Investment Deals encompassed, Robert told him he had always wanted to be in real estate! After getting to know him, Anthony saw the same leadership qualities he had as a youth and took him on soon after.
Anthony was been honored in a publication called “A League of Extraordinary Black Men” for his philanthropic activities and efforts. Several times throughout the year, he and his staff go out into the community. One such project he is most proud of occurs the weekend before school starts in Sunnyside, the neighborhood where he grew up. House of Fades is a barbershop Anthony co-owns with his younger brother, Quincy Ford. Children are given free haircuts and backpacks filled with school supplies. Anthony explained, “We remember being the kids that could not afford a fresh haircut for the first day of school. Every year we give free haircuts and at least 100 backpacks filled with supplies and gently worn uniforms and shoes.”
Anthony is passing on his belief of giving and generosity to his children. Son Da’Veon who is 13 was in charge of passing out the backpacks. In addition, Anthony’s cousin, LaTasha Landry, owns a catering company and together the community children get food as well. Nachos, hotdogs, sandwiches, and other fun foods are prepared and given out along with the haircuts and backpacks.
Every year at Thanksgiving, Anthony gives out turkeys to underprivileged families. He goes to a meat market, buys the turkeys, and then passes them out to families in the community. This past year, he gave out almost 72 turkeys to people in both Sunnyside and the Fifth Ward areas of Houston. In addition, this past year Mr. Ford teamed up with Lakewood Church, passing out turkeys and praying with families. “We gave them turkeys, we listened to their needs, and we prayed with them,” shared Anthony.
Each year, the month of May marks the passing of Anthony’s mother, mother-in-law, and father-in-law. It is also his birthday month. To honor everyone, Anthony goes out and does random acts of kindness. Last year, for example, a teen was not going to be able to go to his prom so Anthony bought both the teen and his date clothes and chauffeured them to the event. In addition, Anthony paid the Senior Dues and let the young man spend the day with Anthony at his home. Other acts of kindness include randomly handing out extra value meals at McDonalds to homeless people. Anthony talks to them while they eat and listens to their stories.
One of Anthony’s clients, Naana Danquah, lost her mother to Lupus so each May he and his team participate in the Lupus run. “We allocate funds every year toward her cause and we walk,” said Anthony. Another one of Anthony’s clients, Suzanne Hanson, lost her father to Pancreatic Cancer so he and his staff participate in the Pancreatic Walk as well.
There is no doubt that the list of goals and dreams Anthony made as a young man have come to fruition. He has fulfilled his dream of being successful in a big way. His belief in working hard and giving back are a great example to not only his own children but to those he mentors and the large audiences he now reaches through his speaking and writing. Most of all, he has mastered the art of adult “follow the leader” and has a long line of people following him by his example in their desire to be successful, too!