Bobby Bryant has never been a status quo kind of guy. From the time he was a young man, it was ingrained in him by his father to, “Stand apart. Don’t look like everybody else.” In addition, his mother instilled in him the importance of a strong work ethic. As a result, everything Bobby has achieved in life is the result of his persistent determination to work hard, work smart, and above all, never be ordinary. Years of research, introspection, and lessons learned have culminated in Bobby creating iBuy Realty and iBuy Pros, a revolutionary platform for the next generation in pursuit of the American Dream of home ownership. The late Zig Ziglar always said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Not only has Bobby Bryant figured out a terrific way to do that, he is leveraging technology and passing the savings on to consumers with his free MLS access for those who are selling a house.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bobby was three when his father, a Sergeant in the Air Force, was transferred to Clark Air Force Base on Luzon Island in the Philippines. Not long after their arrival, Bobby’s little sister was born. Bryant, his sister, and parents stayed there for three years until his father was again transferred, this time to Biloxi, Mississippi. Ultimately, his family settled sixty miles away in Mobile, Alabama and lived there through the time Bobby became an adult. Throughout high school, Bobby played football and in typical fashion, worked so hard to do his very best that he ended up getting a scholarship to college where he played two years at Troy State University as a wide receiver. “I believe playing sports gives one a mental competitive advantage,” expressed Bobby.
Even though Bobby’s father was a Sergeant in the military, he and his best friend John had a janitorial contract with the military base and they ran that business on the side. “I would go with my father,” said Bobby, “I don’t think I was ever paid but I admired my father. I wanted to be around him because he just had such a presence about him. In the evening, the buildings had to be cleaned and he and John would do the custodial business together.” That’s when Bobby’s father would give him “The Talk” about the importance of owning his own business. That was his goal when he got out of the military. “Nothing better than working for your self,” his dad would always say to Bobby, “Stand apart. Don’t look like everybody else.” Keenly aware that in the military everyone had to fall in and look alike and that everything was done with a cookie cutter approach, Bobby’s father would regularly ask him, “How can you make that better?”
Although Bobby’s parents were polar opposites; his father was an extrovert and his mother was an introvert, they still complemented each other. Bobby acknowledged, “My father had a personality that shined on the world. It didn’t matter who you were. Wherever you were, he met you there. He also was very direct. From my mother, I learned about the sensitive side in the delivery of things. She was more reserved and believed that you could say anything to anybody with the right delivery and spirit.” Bobby’s mother’s also had a driving work ethic. She maintained a balanced approach but when she was at work, she was at work. Even Bobby’s dad couldn’t top her work ethic. “She worked both my sister and me hard,” reflects Bobby. “That sticks with us today; we are relentless. Our parents instilled in us the idea of working smart and hard and that you’ll get there faster by doing both simultaneously.”
Bobby was the first in his family to attend college. He first went to Troy State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation/Counseling with a minor in Psychology and Sociology. He then got a Master’s Degree in Special Education. After moving to Houston, he got a second Master’s Degree, this time in Education Administration at Prairie View A&M to become a Principal.
In 2001, Bobby was motivated to move to Houston because of the economics. “I had a wife and two young children. In Mobile, when we came back from college, there was still a small town mentality. Mobile wasn’t able to hold us culturally, economically, or recreationally. In addition, we needed a new start because we were experiencing a recession in the transportation industry and I had been in the trucking business since the late 1990s.”
When Bobby and his wife at the time were newlyweds, they attended a family reunion at his wife’s uncle’s house in Jonesboro, Georgia. “Her uncle, Vincent Williams, was the epitome of what a successful gentleman represented,” said Bobby. “Classy would not even define him; he was way beyond that and I soaked it up.” Boxing champ Evander Holyfield lived around the corner from Vincent and coming from Mobile, Bobby had never seen a neighborhood with three-story, 7,000-square foot-homes. Intrigued about his lifestyle, Bobby asked Mr. Williams, “What do you do and how do you do it?” When he replied, “I’m a real estate broker,” Bobby pressed for all of the pertinent “who, what, why” details involving being a successful Realtor® and the uncle graciously took time out to answer all of Bobby’s questions.
When Bobby found out that the uncle worked on the weekends, he immediately said, “Oh no. That’s not for me! I’ve got a family.” So Mr. Williams suggested that Bobby become a mortgage broker because they work bank hours. After studying and researching the industry and desiring to understand the “nuts and bolts” of real estate transactions, Bobby first became a loan processor while still living in Mobile. In April of 2000, the Bobby and his family moved to Houston. Bobby taught school as that was the quickest way he could make the transition and have a stable income for his family. He was the Vocational Coordinator for Lamar High School in River Oaks and networked in the community to acquire jobs for children in his Special Education program.
Eventually, Bobby’s income as a part-time mortgage broker far surpassed his income as a full-time teacher so he quit and started his own mortgage company, Texas Guaranteed Mortgage. The business continued to grow with as many as thirty loan officers closing between fifty to sixty transactions a month. Unfortunately, as a result of getting a divorce, Bobby had to start over again and formed Texas First Residential. Things were off to a great start and then the industry flipped upside down. Once again, Bobby dusted himself off and accepted a position as a branch manager for one of the offices of Countrywide.
Months later, Countywide was bought out by Bank of America and while still there, Mr. Bryant had the inspiration for iBuy Realty. “Being successfully in the mortgage business for years, I met some of the industry’s top Realtors® and brokers and had some very insightful dialogue. Seeing how everything was changing, I sat down with a client one day who was extremely upset because he felt like he had done most of the work in regards to his transaction. He had done most of the research, found his own house, and instructed his Realtor® to make a $310,000 offer for a home he was interested in purchasing for his family. The Realtor® was set to make a commission of $9,300 and it was the opinion of the buyer that his agent hadn’t done much to earn all of that so he asked the Realtor® to give him a portion of the commission. The Realtor® felt like they had earned the commission and refused to honor the buyer’s request.
Although Bobby had heard this sentiment echoed a million times before, for some reason he paid particular attention and thought, “Oh wow!” This was 2007 and Bobby literally locked himself up in what he called his laboratory. “I read what I needed to be mindful of, studied the laws, and researched the idea of starting iBuy Realty for nearly a year. Then I met with my best friend, Laolu Yemitan, a real estate broker, and told him my idea,” recalled Bobby. Laolu responded, “You do know what you’re asking us to do?” Bobby answered, “Yes, and I’m just the one to do it.” To this day, Bobby and Laolu are still best friends.
Via the real estate industry, Bobby’s first goal was to create a company that embraced technology and consumers’ changing buying and selling habits that would also allow a more rewarding real estate transaction for everyone involved. It created a niche that would become a viable option for a person buying a house. “Now both the buyer and the seller sides are far more automated”, explains Bobby.
Bobby further elaborated, “The thought process behind free MLS is that it comes down to data and statistics: For every one listing, it attracts two to three qualified buyers. The industry agrees that the oil of this business is listings. The new oil is also big data. I was influenced by a beautiful book by Chris Anderson called “FREE”. He talked about how leveraging and monetizing FREE is a new way of doing business. When’s the last time you got a bill from Facebook or Google? Google is a multimillion dollar business; so is Facebook. The value for a real estate agent is having the listings. Per NAR (National Association of Realtors), each listing should attract two to three buyers. So, according to the statistics, if a brokerage/company acquires 300 to 500 listings, how many buyers does that bring? Buyers are not looking for Realtors®; they’re looking for houses!”
Bobby has a lot of mentors but John Cruz, Randall Chestnutt, and Laolu Yemitan he considers his primary think tanks. He has been mentored through authors by reading good books such as “Growth Hacker”. It was Isaac Kyle and Randall Chestnutt who first initiated the thought-provoking idea of FREE MLS listings to Bobby in 2013. Bobby automatically reacted by exclaiming, “Free?! No way in hell! I get it, but how do I monetize free in my business?” It took Bobby two years to figure it out. He created the systems, beta tested it, critiqued it, and finally nailed it. A few months later, he and his team rolled out their new business model as they re-launched iBuy on September 9th, 2015.
On September 9th, 2015, iBuy Pros became the first company to merge the real estate industry and the home servicing industry into a single technological marketplace. iBuy Pros offers a FREE membership to buyers, renters, sellers, and homeowners. “The home servicing industry is a $400 billion to $800 billion industry. We wanted to create a platform that enabled consumers to have anything in their home fixed, installed, or serviced with the click of a button,” stated Bobby. “We wanted to become the first real estate brokerage firm in the country that has a home servicing marketplace dealing with everything from the foundation to the roof of your house. A lot of people today are non-domestic and service oriented who need these kinds of home-based services. I’d be amazed if the average guy today knows how to use a screwdriver or a wrench. It totally makes sense to hire a skilled professional if the homeowner isn’t comfortable making their own repairs. Our goal was to making finding and hiring a professional easy, economical, and efficient.
“Similar to the real estate industry, the home servicing industry is dated and fragmented,” remarked Bobby. “Collectively, less than two percent of this $400 billion to $800 billion home servicing market goes through online and mobile platforms. The industry is plagued by consumers and homeowners being taken advantage of. We want to leverage our home servicing platform to change and improve upon the process of hiring a professional service provider.” iBuy Pros has stringent guidelines for a company to become a service provider: They need to be in business for at least two years; they need to be a member of the Better Business Bureau; they need to have a high A to B rating, they will have a background check; and they need to be bonded or insured. When a homeowner is dealing with iBuy Pros, they can be comforted knowing that our objective is to make sure that they are safe and satisfied. One of the most important things we are providing is a peace of mind.”
Although iBuy Pros was just launched in September of 2015 in Houston, within 12 months they will be in all 50 states. Angie’s List charges; they advertise that people can shop on their website but to get the best pricing, they have to join by paying a fee. “iBuy Pros”, says Bobby, “is not going to play that game. With iBuy Pros, the homeowners can be assured that they will receive competitive pricing, three quotes, and the power to choose the best provider for the service they want done in their home. In today’s market, we are meeting a ton of women buying houses and they are not waiting around for Mr. Right. They’re buying their own houses. With us, they can be assured of their safety and know that the work will get done hassle free.”
iBuy expects to start selling franchises beginning September of 2016. They’re set to have 22 locations in Houston. The difference in iBuy is that unlike the Redfins, Zillows, and Trulias of the world, all an entrepreneur can do is buy stock in these companies or invest money into their brands. iBuy believes in finding new ways in executing the basics. Franchising has been proven to be more successful because they are proven models. With iBuy, they have created multiple streams of revenue opportunity for their franchise owners instead of just relying on real estate commissions. iBuy will set their franchisees up for being able to systematize and automate those multiple streams effortlessly in increasing their revenue.
Bobby has written two books that have gotten great reviews, a seller’s book titled “Sell Your Own Damn House for FREE on the MLS!” and a buyer’s book titled “Find Your Own Damn House and Get Paid for It!” Each book can be purchased on Amazon for $14.95 or one can opt to read them on Kindle for $9.95.
When Bobby is not working, he’s enjoying the beach. He loves the smell of salt in the air, the wind beating against his face, and the sun kissing his skin. He is quite content with the simple things in life but he does indulge himself every so often in going out and listening to live jazz music while sipping a scotch neat and then topping it off with a good cigar.
As of May of 2015, Bobby officially became an empty nester. His son, Trey, lives and works in Florida, and his daughter, Jade, is going to college in Birmingham, Alabama. He loves his children and thinks they are great. He always looks forward in hearing from them. No surprise to anyone, Bobby’s personal love interest is with iBuy. In the past, he has jokingly said, “I’m married to iBuy and she’ll get jealous if I start seeing somebody else!” Bobby is a role model to other entrepreneurs because he has been totally dedicated and focused on his dream for a long time. In addition, he loves what he does and he does it with passion everyday.”
“I believe I’m living the American Dream,” expressed Bobby. “I do know that the meaning of the American Dream is different for all of us. For me, it’s to have the freedom and flexibility to think, to be what I want, and to create it. It’s to dream about whatever life you want and go after it. I was raised to be a free thinker and to be comfortable in my own skin. I was raised to believe that I have the ability and capacity to compete with anybody. That all bottlenecks into who I am today and I think all of that shines into what I’ve become and what I’ve created.”
Summing things up, Bobby stated, “More and more people want these ‘concierge’ services. As homeowners, we know that when we buy a house we’ve got to fix it. iBuy has created an opportunity that no other real estate broker is doing. They close a house and that’s it. We, however, will already have a built-in brand loyalty and trust because we have built a revolutionary platform for the next generation in pursuit of the American Dream.”
Summing things up, Bobby stated, “More and more people want these ‘concierge’ services. As homeowners, we know that when we buy a house we’ve got to fix it. iBuy has created an opportunity that no other real estate broker is doing. They close a house and that’s it. We, however, will already have built-in brand loyalty and trust because we have created a revolutionary platform for the next generation in pursuit of the American Dream.”