One of the top real estate agents in the US, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and Georgia Bulldog, Bonneau Ansley does it all. On Retire Sooner, he sits down with Wes Moss to tell his story of success. From building houses and developing to becoming an agent and buying an international luxury real estate network, Ansley has followed his passion to achieve massive success. Along the way he’s weathered literal fire, overcome the 2008 economic crisis, turned his dyslexia and attention-deficit disorder to his advantage, and unlocked the housing market power of the COVID-19 pandemic’s work-from-home movement. Wes also brings up Ansley’s book, podcast, and the top places Ansley would love to live himself. They wrap up the episode with why Atlanta is still an amazing place to live and move to.
Watch the full episode!
Time-Stamped Show Notes from the Video
- [00:00:08] After both living in Atlanta for many years and never meeting, Wes Moss and Bonneau Ansley finally get together for the Retire Sooner podcast!
- [00:03:35] When Bonneau’s house caught fire, he came to Atlanta to start over. He goes on to become the top real estate agent in Atlanta in his first year.
- [00:12:59] Wes wonders how technology like Zillow has impacted the real estate industry, but Bonneau explains that it continues to thrive despite the emergence of other websites and apps for property searching.
- [00:15:21] Wes and Bonneau discuss how Atlanta has a diverse economy and influences the rest of the nation’s real estate market. They touch on mortgage rates are high, interest rates, and inventory.
- [00:26:53] As a partner in Christie’s International Real Estate, Bonneau explains how that has provided greater knowledge and networking across the brand and its locations.
- [00:31:39] Wes and Bonneau talk about the latter’s book, Brokering Billions.
- [00:39:23] Wes and Bonneau list some of their favorite places to live and leisure, such as Michigan and regional lakes.
- [00:47:51] They wrap up by detailing why Atlanta remains an amazing city for living and business, with a growing technology hub and favorable cost of living compared to other sophisticated cities.
Read The Full Transcript From This Episode
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- Wes Moss [00:00:00]:Everyone loves scrolling through Zillow or looking online for your next home, your dream home, or your vacation home. From Zillow to Redfin, we have endless options to find and look for real estate. You would think that’s put a cramp in the residential real estate industry, but the reality is that even though it’s easier than ever to look at real estate online, it may be harder than ever to buy a house right now. And it’s likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make in your life. That’s where our guest today, Bonneau Ansley, comes in, who sold almost a billion dollars in residential real estate between 2021 and 2022, making him one of the top real estate agents in the United States. The Wall Street Journal named it the number one agent in the Teams category for the entire state of Georgia. Today, you’ll hear about the state of real estate and housing in the US. Where prices might go from here. Bonneau became one of the most elite agents in the country and a few of his favorite locales to look out for if you’re considering the Southeast. He’s a fifth generation Atlantan and his book brokering billions. He gives us a unique insight into how anyone who wants to be in the real estate game can end up selling more than they’ve ever dreamed, like most people do. I think you’ll love Bonneau and what he has to say about the housing market and his unique entrepreneurial journey that we can all learn from. I’m Wes Moss. The prevailing thought in America is that you’ll never have enough money and it’s almost impossible to retire early.Bonneau Ansley [00:01:34]:Actually, I think the opposite is true.
Wes Moss [00:01:36]:
For more than 20 years, I’ve been researching, studying, and advising American families, including those who started late, on how to retire sooner and happiest. So my mission with the Retire Sooner podcast is to help a million people retire earlier while enjoying the adventure along the way. I’d love for you to be one of them.
Bonneau Ansley [00:01:55]:
Let’s get started.
Wes Moss [00:01:58]:
Bonneau Ansley, welcome to the Retire Sooner podcast.
Bonneau Ansley [00:02:01]:
Wes, I’m psyched up to be here. This is a fabulous studio and excited to be talking to you today.
Wes Moss [00:02:07]:
We do live in the same city, so I think you’re the only the second or third person here on the podcast. That’s from Atlanta, and we’ve been shifts in the night for probably 15 years at least, because I think I probably maybe coached one of your kids on lacrosse ten years ago. I don’t think we ever met. And then I have probably been asked, I’m not exaggerating 30 or 40 times, do you know Bonneau Ansley? And the first time I was like, no, I don’t know Bonneau. And after like, the 20th time, you know Bonneau Ansley, right? No, I don’t know Bonneau Ansley. So I was like, I got to at least maybe get him on the podcast.
Bonneau Ansley [00:02:45]:
Well, it’s incredible. I mean, within ten minutes of being your office. We’re like best buddies.
Wes Moss [00:02:50]:
Yeah, well, we do know a lot.
Bonneau Ansley [00:02:51]:
Wes Moss [00:02:53]:
It is a small city if you’ve been here a long time. Now, speaking of, let’s go back and we’re going to talk about real estate here. You’ve been in commercial real estate, you’ve been a home builder, and then you have really in Atlanta. And I’ll just say this as a consumer, probably one of the best or the best real estate brands from residential real estate in the entire metro Atlanta of 7 million people. You’re like fifth generation Atlanta.
Bonneau Ansley [00:03:20]:
We’ve been here since we’ve been here a long time. I mean, my family, 1904, did Ansley Park and the country club and everything else. Wes I went to every school in Atlanta, so my network of people is gigantic. And I told my mom, like, when I was six years old, that I wanted to be the top real estate agent in Atlanta, and by doing that, I wanted to go to every school. So she didn’t really get it till 30 years later because I was a mess in school. I’m a C student, and it’s gratifying now to see my teachers and things. Oh, but no, you were the best student. No, I wasn’t.
Wes Moss [00:04:01]:
Only when they want a donation to the current school is probably what it is.
Bonneau Ansley [00:04:04]:
Wes Moss [00:04:05]:
Okay. So I’m so fascinated by the story because I remember when Ansley, your real estate company, started to pop up, and I live in the neighborhood called Ansley, right. And then I remember seeing these real estate signs, and it was usually really nice houses, and you guys were representing that. I really want to know that story of when you made the jump to start your own real estate brokerage, because, again, in our world, there’s 10, 15 different places you can all great real estate firms. How did you go out and start your own, or what made you do it?
Bonneau Ansley [00:04:42]:
Well, let’s go back a little bit to even get me in to start selling real estate, right. I was building houses down in Savannah and Bluffton, South Carolina. Did a development called Palmetta Bluff, built over 100 houses there, and tragedy struck. My wife was eight months pregnant. We’ve just built our dream house right on the Wilmington River in Savannah, and our house got struck by lightning, and in a matter of an instant, we lost everything that we owned. And this was back in 2004. And we immediately decided to move to Atlanta to be around.
Wes Moss [00:05:20]:
But the house caught caught on fire.
Bonneau Ansley [00:05:21]:
It caught on fire. I mean, it essentially blew up. Like, I got to show you the picture. It’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.
Wes Moss [00:05:26]:
Now, you guys were not there.
Bonneau Ansley [00:05:28]:
We were at dinner, luckily, and phone starts to ring. There was no real cell phone cameras at that time. So Wes hightailed it back to the house, and we get to the house well, on the way to the house, we see this black smoke from the distance, and we’re like, god, somebody’s life’s going to change forever, right? Not knowing that was our place. So as we get closer, we started to smell the fire and smell the destruction, and then we turn the core and see our house in total flames at that moment, right? Because in life, there’s a series of curves, right? You’re at the bottom of the curve and everything’s awful and you can’t do anything right, and sometimes you’re at the top of the curve and you can’t do any wrong. But these curves in life is what molds your life and figures out what direction you’re going to go and how you’re going to get there. So I was on the top of the curve before dinner, right? I was at the bottom of the curve an hour later when we turned the corner and see our house and see everything that we owned and a year and a half of hard work building the house and the nursery where my new baby was about to be born was going to go to and everything was just in flames. And the only thing that we had was the car that we were in. Everything else just completely was gone. So at that moment, Wes, we decided we’re going to move to Atlanta, we’re going to have a baby. We rented a house. We started to put our life back together.
Wes Moss [00:06:49]:
So you had planned on being in Savannah. That was your home.
Bonneau Ansley [00:06:53]:
And what would my trajectory been at that point? I don’t know. Right. But things were great. Right. But we made a pivot during that house fire time frame and moved to Atlanta, and we sort of put our piece, our life back together. We’d buy a toothbrush, we buy deodorant, buy underwear, we buy like a total restart. Total restart from a new city to a new job, new career. And then at that moment, I partnered with some great guys, and we decided to develop a large 23 home development called regents park in the middle of on peachtree road. And it was the best development you’ve ever seen. We hired the best architect and the best contractor. It was the best piece of location, and everything was going great. I wes back on top of the.
Wes Moss [00:07:42]:
Top of the this was like four oh five.
Bonneau Ansley [00:07:45]:
We finished it. Wes in 2008. Right. So that brought me back to the bottom of the curve because the market completely crashed on us right when we were starting to sell this amazing development. And at that time, I had to pivot again at the bottom of the curve. And I said, golly, what am I good at? What do I like? I said, I like people. I like putting deals together. We ended up selling that development for pennies on the dollar, but the guy that bought it said, but no, I’m only going to buy this if you sell these townhomes for me, because you know these townhomes better than anybody. You build them, you’ve been on site and everything else. So I was like, God, I want to be I’m going to be a real estate agent. This was in two housing and nine. So at that moment, again, kind of bottom of the curve, I got into being a real estate agent, right. And in today’s world, there’s 26,000 real estate agents in Atlanta.
Wes Moss [00:08:36]:
Just in Atlanta.
Bonneau Ansley [00:08:38]:
No, there’s probably in Atlanta and a half in the US. But there’s 26,000 plus today in Atlanta. And my mindset was, well, if I’m going to be a real estate agent, I’m going to be the best damn real estate agent that you’ve ever seen in Atlanta. And I started to wear my branding, and what I did like, it was a tattoo on my forehead that said, I sell real estate. So everywhere I went, when I’d go see a valet guy, I’d give the valet guy $100. I’d say the next five Mercedes that come in here, make sure my brochure and my business card is in their passenger seat. The guy that’s cutting my hair, man, anybody mentions the word that they’re moving or they’re going to sell their house, make sure you tell them about your buddy Bonneau. And I just made a point, and it was an absolute obsession that everywhere I went, real estate was on my mind, and I was going to be the best real estate agent that’s ever come through Atlanta. And in the first year in 2009 now, granted, it was a bad year.
Wes Moss [00:09:31]:
For yeah, that was still a tough year. That was a really tough year.
Bonneau Ansley [00:09:33]:
But I ended up being the number one real estate agent in Atlanta my first year in the business.
Wes Moss [00:09:38]:
What firm did you do it through.
Bonneau Ansley [00:09:39]:
Or did you start no, I did it through Harry Norman.
Wes Moss [00:09:42]:
Yeah, Harry Norman, sure, the old existing.
Bonneau Ansley [00:09:45]:
Fabulous company here in Atlanta. And I called my friend Lewis Glenn and said, Louis, I’m kind of down on my luck. I’m going to be a real estate agent. Will you hold my license? And he said, sure, come on over. And I remember sitting with the marketing gal who now works for me named Julie Harris. I said, Julie, I’m going to be a real estate agent, but I’m going to do things a little bit differently. And I’ve always done things differently because I’m dyslexic, right? So I don’t see the world the way everybody sees things. I don’t see problems the way people see things. And I came at it at a completely different angle, and that was just marketing.
Wes Moss [00:10:19]:
What do you think?
Bonneau Ansley [00:10:20]:
It was so different when somebody sends a postcard out that’s three by five and says just listed, I would send something that was eight by ten that says I’m the best guy that’s ever come through this city to several. I mean, I would just obnoxiously instead of sending 100 postcards, I’d send 5000. And I just took it to another level relative to how am I going to get in this business and how am I going to be on the top as quick as I can? And just like a football coach, Wes, that Kirby Smart’s friend of mine, he wins a national champion for those outside.
Wes Moss [00:10:54]:
Of Atlanta, that’s the Bulldog two time national championship coach here at UGA.
Bonneau Ansley [00:10:59]:
So he finishes a national championship his first year, right? And the season is over and what, 1520 guys go pro. Everybody else is trying to recruit his coaches away. He’s starting the year next year at zero. Zero wins new players. He’s got to break everything again and start over. Right. And it’s the same thing with real estate, right. You could have a fabulous year and have a career best, but in January 1, you’re starting with zero houses sold. Right. So I’ve always made it a point to completely change everything I do every.
Wes Moss [00:11:30]:
Single year, never get static, even to.
Bonneau Ansley [00:11:34]:
A point of making sure that my habits are on par with what my dreams are and my goals are for the future. Right. So I set lofty, lofty goals on the front end, and it’s completely different because if I did the same thing that I did the year prior, I was going to have the same results, so I would break everything that I did.
Wes Moss [00:11:51]:
Wait, August. So you did Harry Norman for what, how long?
Bonneau Ansley [00:11:53]:
I did that until 2015, in which I started my business called ansley Atlanta. And I bought a little building, moved in there with about five or six agents, and we started Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, and now we’ve got over ten offices with over 400 agents. Last year, we did well over 3 billion in sales since then. We keep changing everything we do as a company, just like I did as a team.
Wes Moss [00:12:27]:
This is amazing because it feels like, as I’ve known your real estate company for it seems like a very long period of time, but it’s really only been 2015. So it’s only been eight years or so.
Bonneau Ansley [00:12:37]:
Wes Moss [00:12:39]:
So you started your own brokerage and then you started recruiting other agents, and now you’re at 400.
Bonneau Ansley [00:12:47]:
Yeah, we’re 400 plus. And what we did is I developed a platform that I wanted to work under as an agent. Right. Because not only have I been CEO of our company for however many years, I’ve also been an agent working under the company, under the platform which I created. And I wanted to create something that was different than anything Atlanta’s ever seen relative to training and how we worked with other agents. So people like that and agents wanted to be part of that. Right. And it was based around marketing and collaboration and things that other companies just didn’t do. And that resonated with the Atlanta vibe. Since then, we’ve been super successful.
Wes Moss [00:13:31]:
And what is the partnership with Christie’s now.
Bonneau Ansley [00:13:33]:
Well, what’s cool about that is I ended up partnering with some other guys, and we actually bought Christie’s International Real Estate. There was Christie’s the auction house and Christie’s International Real Estate. And we bought that brand at the end of 2021. So now we’ve got 140 affiliates across the world. We’re all over the place. I mean, from Costa Rica, you guys bought wes bought it. At that point, we were able to turn our business Ansley Atlanta turned into Ansley Real Estate just because we kind of outgrew Atlanta with being at Blue Ridge and Lake Akoni and the Lakes Raven and Burton and down in St. Simon, Seattle, and we kind of outgrew the Atlanta name. So we turned into Ansley real estate. And then fast forward. When we bought Christie’s International Real Estate, we were able to now be Ansley Christie’s International Real Estate.
Wes Moss [00:14:28]:
Now you’ve got a really global footprint.
Bonneau Ansley [00:14:31]:
Footprint. So for our clients, Wes, we’re really able to markets their properties hyper locally, but also internationally to all of our affiliates across the world, which gives us such a competitive advantage.
Wes Moss [00:14:47]:
One thing I think, and this is from an outsider not in the real estate business, and I think you could maybe ask the same question to financial advisors and how much the world has changed, how much technology has assisted the public to be able to go invest on their own. I think about when Zillow started. So, one question I have for you is, with the advent of Zillow, let’s say it was 2004, and then it got popular by 2010. And here we are. I’ve got my Zillow app, and it bings me every time. I can look for a place where I’m trying to buy a place somewhere, or at least looking. It’s fun to look. The real estate business, the residential real estate business, has still totally thrived, or at least your company has, despite or regardless of all of the other maybe you would call it a do it yourself. If you’re looking for a place, you’ve got four or five different websites or apps that can show you a house or help you find a house, it’s on alert. But the real estate industry has still thrived throughout all of that. I remember ten years ago thinking or hearing, oh, all these other applications like Redfin are going to make it really hard to be a real estate agent. Has that not really happened?
Bonneau Ansley [00:15:59]:
There’s nothing like having a trusted advisor, having that perspective of somebody that’s been doing the business for 2025 years. It’s the biggest purchase of somebody’s life. And to buy it on an app or to buy it the way that some can buy now doesn’t work for a lot of people. And most of the people and the price points we’re working in need somebody that knows how to inspect a house properly, price a house properly, get the top dollar for a house by housing, social media, and other avenues to really show what kind of market is all that stuff.
Wes Moss [00:16:36]:
The S & P 500 fell nearly 20% in 2022. Inflation jumped to double digits, and the Fed has continued to relentlessly raise interest rates. It feels like chaos, but at Capital Investment Advisors, we take a disciplined approach to investing to help our clients find happiness in retirement. Regardless of the scary headlines. We can’t control the chaos, but we can control what we do about it. If you’d, like, help with your disciplined retirement strategy, reach out to our team at yourwealth.com. That’s your wealth. Okay? Yeah. And you guys, though, from a marketing perspective and it is funny, I took a photo of the latest Ansley Christie’s Real Estate edition that comes, and it’s still unmatched. I mean, nobody does anything like it, but it’s almost like I want to keep it around just because it looks good. It’s like a giant coffee table size.
Bonneau Ansley [00:17:38]:
I appreciate that.
Wes Moss [00:17:38]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:17:39]:
We spend a ton of money on that. But that money comes back tenfold. Right? I mean, it real does.
Wes Moss [00:17:45]:
I want to get to today, and I pulled all these Atlanta real estate numbers. I love Atlanta real estate because as an economy, I always think of Atlanta as it’s such a diversified economy relative to a lot of other cities. So I think of like in Texas it’s a lot of oil money, and New York, it’s finance and West Coast, it’s very tech heavy. Atlanta. We really do have a diverse economy. So I think as kind of as Atlanta goes, so does the rest of the nation on average. So I want to ask about the current real estate market, the woes that we hear about. And we are very real around mortgage rates much higher. It’s more expensive. Buy a new house. I’ve got an interesting chart here that somebody sent me on the dispersion of active primary mortgages by interest rate, which essentially shows that the most common interest rate right now currently held is 8 million people in the United States have an interest rate of between two, seven, five, and three. Yeah, they ain’t moving.
Bonneau Ansley [00:18:47]:
They’re not moving.
Wes Moss [00:18:48]:
Right. Which makes unless they have to. Unless they have to. And so there’ll be a few of those people, but by and large, that makes it for a tighter supply. But we’ll get to that. I want to talk about current real estate. Let’s go back to COVID. So it’s 2020 World shuts down. There’s a period of time where I thought, nobody’s going to buy anything. And you probably had a slow month or two and then just absolutely your business probably just absolutely took off.
Bonneau Ansley [00:19:13]:
Wes, it was just absolutely insane. Like, I don’t know, march, April, maybe a little bit of May was slow, slow. We couldn’t even show houses right. And we couldn’t go into the office. Wes couldn’t do anything. We didn’t know what to do. Nobody did right. And then all of a sudden we had this mass migration, right, where people were doing business a different way. They were doing it on this thing called zoom. They could do business on the beach, they could do business at the lake, they could do business anywhere they wanted, and they needed a home office. The amount of transactions we had through that 2021, I mean, I probably lost a few years of my life because.
Wes Moss [00:19:59]:
I was working so busy.
Bonneau Ansley [00:20:00]:
So busy. 2022 was absolutely incredible until it wasn’t. Right. When interest rates started to rise and.
Wes Moss [00:20:08]:
They rose last year you’re talking about.
Bonneau Ansley [00:20:10]:
Last year in the fall, interest rate started to rise and they rose at such a fast clip that September, October, November, December last year, nobody was doing anything because they just didn’t know what was going on. And then come to this year, 2023. Around February, people said, okay, this is the new normal. I’m still moving for a job. I still want to move because that COVID migration is still happening. I think it’s still going to happen. And the states that are in this sunbelt area, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, our markets are still thriving and we don’t have much inventory. So the prices are staying stable. They’re actually still rising in some areas because there’s no inventory. And when people want to move, they want to move.
Wes Moss [00:21:06]:
Tell me about maybe just your take on I think of it as this geographic unlocking. Right. We went from really having to be close to home, close to work, to work from anywhere, and the value of a home that was, let’s say, a home that didn’t have less value because it was away from a metro all of a sudden played catch up really quickly. If you were in a job, which a lot of people are, that can work from home. Did you see so lake prices, just smaller towns, smaller cities, have they caught up with metros and you don’t think they’re going down in price?
Bonneau Ansley [00:21:45]:
I think that the places that are really geographically you can’t go anymore. Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Right. There’s only a finite number of homes on that island. Right. That place has doubled or tripled in value since 2020. Sea Island, Georgia, St. Simon’s, Georgia, cashiers, North Carolina, these are all kind of places close to Atlanta mountains, the mountains, cashiers, because there’s only 600, 700 homes on Sea Island. During that time, there was uber amounts of transactions. All the people that wanted to sell got out, got out the houses that were for sale for 600 days and.
Wes Moss [00:22:26]:
500, all of a sudden they’re all.
Bonneau Ansley [00:22:28]:
Cleared out, and immediately those have doubled. Right. And I don’t see that coming back down.
Wes Moss [00:22:34]:
Now, prices, the appreciation, though, likely has slowed dramatically even in these destination places.
Bonneau Ansley [00:22:41]:
Yeah, they haven’t gone down. In some cases, they’re still going up because there’s just one or two houses for sale in these certain areas. And there’s still people moving there. Right. The COVID migration is still happening.
Wes Moss [00:22:54]:
So you’re still seeing that to this 100% we are. One question I get a lot from the families that we work with. I will say that it’s pretty easy to feel like you missed the boat on someplace in another destination. Whether you want to go to the beach or a lake or a mountain or near the coast. We’re talking about Sully’s Island. The prices have gone up so dramatically and now interest rates are higher. So if you’re borrowing to buy or part of a house, payments are dramatically higher.
Bonneau Ansley [00:23:29]:
Well, Wes, it’s almost costing you twice as much per month. Right. I mean, the average American is in an interest rate between 2.75 to maybe three and a half percent. Right. I don’t know how many is 80% of Americans have that interest rate or something if they’re diligent about refinancing. And currently we’re at six and a half percent or higher. Right. So that cost on a monthly payment has pretty much doubled.
Wes Moss [00:23:57]:
Yeah, it’s dramatic. Okay. Let’s say and this is frustrations, I’ll hear from clients that they’ve wanted to buy someplace and then they feel like they miss vote and now they can’t find anything. In general, if you’re looking for a place, a second home, vacation home, what do you need to do? Is it just you need to be patient. You need to have an agent that’s got a really watchful eye in these places without a whole lot of inventory.
Bonneau Ansley [00:24:22]:
You can’t wait for it to pop up on your zillow app. Right. Because there’s this inventory that hadn’t hit the market that’s controlled by the real estate agent community. Right. So if you want to move to Miami, Jacksonville, Amelia Island, wherever you want to go, the best thing to do is to hire a trusted advisor and also to get pre qualified. Right. So get all your financing in line so when it’s time to bid on a house, it’s not contingent on financing. You’ve already got that.
Wes Moss [00:24:52]:
Put aside how many deals or what percentage and I’m sure this is different every city, but how often is a deal done before something goes on? The public record of call it a zillow?
Bonneau Ansley [00:25:05]:
Yeah, I mean, I would say in Atlanta, call it with homes over a million dollars, I would say it’s at least 20 plus percent that’s going to sell before it even really gets listed, hits the market.
Wes Moss [00:25:18]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:25:19]:
I got to say, in April and so far this May, most everything that we’ve put on the markets has sold, usually with multiple offers within two or three days.
Wes Moss [00:25:36]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:25:37]:
Now look, as I mentioned, in 2022, in the fall, nothing was happening. Right. January was slow in 2023, but the new normal of people saying, hey, historically 6% Loading too bad.
Wes Moss [00:25:52]:
It’s almost like this painful sticker shock. The world kind of got used to it. It took about six months and then we’re back to the way it kind of used to be. But again, transactions are lower. We had what we were at 6 million something nationally, down to four, around 4 million. And now we’re kind of staying at that newer plateau for a little.
Bonneau Ansley [00:26:13]:
And there’s so many more buyers currently than there are homes for them to buy. Right. So that’s keeping the prices where the elevated. And I think that residential real estate is in a good spot. I can’t say the same about commercial at this moment right. Because it’s so dependent on interest rates and things like that. But we led the recession residential real estate did in 2008. Right.
Wes Moss [00:26:38]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:26:40]:
In Atlanta and everywhere else that led this big recession with bad loans and foreclosures and all this sort of stuff. With what’s been enacted to get a loan between 2008 and now, it was a lot harder and a lot more stringent. So the houses are in good shape and there’s not much inventory. So I think that residential real estate, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounding areas are going to weather pretty good even if we do dip into a recession.
Wes Moss [00:27:09]:
Yeah. Really? The whole sunbelt.
Bonneau Ansley [00:27:11]:
Wes Moss [00:27:13]:
So going back to knowing an agent, so your agents, as an example, should have a real beat on what’s happening in their particular niche area, and that’s how they’re going to be watching out for what’s coming on the market. I guess that’s the other thing, is knowing people that are about to sell. Yeah.
Bonneau Ansley [00:27:33]:
They’re hyper local. I mean, a good agent knows who lives where in a specific neighborhood and who’s thinking about what and gets ahead of it before for their clients to get a beat on a house. And it’s highly competitive out there. And that’s one reason why we’ve been able to kind of stay on top.
Wes Moss [00:27:56]:
Yeah. It is funny now that I think back over the years of agents that I’ve worked with, they are good about asking life questions that are going to lead to a real estate transaction. Where are the kids going to school next year? Are they changing schools? And now I know what they’re doing. Do you need more space?
Bonneau Ansley [00:28:13]:
They’re trained well.
Wes Moss [00:28:14]:
Are you having another kid? House is getting a little tight for you’re. Going to have a fourth kid, you’re going to need a little more space.
Bonneau Ansley [00:28:20]:
Wes Moss [00:28:20]:
I’m going to start looking for you right now. And those conversations have led to some housing changes over the years. Well, tell me about the International. I love the idea. I can’t believe you bought this, but you brought the Christie’s International brand and that gives you access to what and did you bring on more agents or how does that work?
Bonneau Ansley [00:28:42]:
Well, the Christie’s International Real Estate brand that I’m just a partner in has been wonderful for information. Right. So we can understand trends across the world now. And we gap data from all of. Our different affiliates. And also we have a great network to share best practices with other agents. And that’s been a wonderful thing to have for our agents in Atlanta, to be able to brainstorm with agents in Chicago or New York.
Wes Moss [00:29:14]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:29:15]:
These are Christie’s agents. And the way Christie’s works is just like us, ansley an independent company with no ties to anything else. By having a Christie’s and being a Christie’s affiliate for our region just gives us that much more knowledge and brand awareness. And if there’s another Moss Realty in Jackson Hole, that’s independent. Right. And you wanted to have bigger exposure for your agents and maybe share the technology that Christie’s has, you can sign up to be a Christie’s affiliate. Right. And we only have one affiliate in certain geographical areas.
Wes Moss [00:29:56]:
Okay. I think about the estate of real estate. Probably having an agent today, over the next, probably for a while, I think about all those mortgages. Millions of Americans have low rate mortgages. They kind of want to stay more than they maybe would have otherwise. With they’ve got a two and a half percent mortgage today at six and a half, it’s harder. It’s tough to leave that mortgage behind. I guess the question then, it seems as though an agent that knows your market today is maybe more important than it’s ever really been.
Bonneau Ansley [00:30:31]:
I could not agree more. Right. Because being an agent, you’re also sometimes a psychiatrist. Right. So where do you want to go? How do you want to get there? Your kids are going off to college. How often are they going to come back? When are you going to retire? I mean, all these big life questions that you can extract from your clients will help you make the best decisions for them and even get them thinking more in the future for what they really, really want to do. For instance, I had one client whose kid was graduating next week from high school, and this was their fourth kid, and it was their last kid, a lot of kids. And he was retiring, and we met with him last year, and I said, what’s the big picture? Well, I want to be in Florida, but I want to build a house down there. But I got to wait till so and so graduates. Well, what we did was, is we sold his house last year. He used that equity, went ahead and bought a house in Florida, started construction. I put him in a great rental house for his daughter’s senior year. She’s graduating next week, and they’re going to move in a month to their new house in Florida.
Wes Moss [00:31:40]:
Speaking of rental, what’s the market look like today for people looking to buy a rental property?
Bonneau Ansley [00:31:48]:
It’s probably pretty expensive with the debt and buying rental property. When you could finance that rental property for sub 3%, the numbers were a lot more attractive. But good real estate is good real estate. Right. And if you can buy good real estate, you can always refinance out. Right. And what a lot of the experts are saying that rates might go down in the next twelve months and it’s always an opportunity to refinance out.
Wes Moss [00:32:17]:
By the way, I have a client that had, I guess it was two hedge funds, private equity funds or hedge funds that were really active in a particular market, let’s just say, and they were doing 8000 homes a month. And as soon as rates went up, it didn’t trickle lower. It wasn’t like they went from 80 to 50 down to 20. It just stopped. So, to your point, as rates went up, that outside institutional buyer of residential real estate, have you seen any of that or is that totally dead from what you’ve seen?
Bonneau Ansley [00:32:54]:
Well, I’d say it’s really slowed down. Right. I don’t focus and play in that space too much. Right. I stick to what I know, and that’s selling houses. But I think that has slowed down.
Wes Moss [00:33:09]:
I want to talk a little bit about your book Brokering Billions.
Bonneau Ansley [00:33:11]:
Wes Moss [00:33:12]:
Because you really have I mean, didn’t you sell something like almost a billion over in in a year?
Bonneau Ansley [00:33:19]:
Wes, it 920,000,000 in a year in 2021 and 2022. Yeah. Personally sold right. Under a billion.
Wes Moss [00:33:25]:
That’s just you, not the whole company.
Bonneau Ansley [00:33:27]:
Yeah, that’s a lot. Well, what I do to sell that much property, right. You can’t be everywhere and be everything to everybody. And this is what the book is about. Right. I know what my liabilities are. And in the book, what do you mean by that? So what I mean by that is in a normal transaction, I will probably do 20% of what needs to be done in that house sale process. But that 20% is the most important part of that process. And I’m really, really good at that 20%. What I’m not good at, because as I mentioned, I’m dyslexic and don’t read well and have a terrible attention span of add is the contracts, the marketing meeting, the appraise, all this other stuff that goes into it. So for my team, I’ve been able to backfill in all those different spaces on the team to people where I might be a five out of ten on this specific task. I’ll hire somebody that’s a ten out of ten for that task. So I’ve got a super team that is excellent in every single aspect of what happens. And I’ve got a team of probably six or seven people that help me sell as many houses as I sell. And I do the same. When I started our business, right. I can’t do everything relative to the business. I mean, there’s so many different things, human resources and all these type of things. I’ve been able to backfill and hire the best people to do specific tasks and they just have the responsibility to do that job. And I leave them completely alone and I only focus on what I am exceptionally good at.
Wes Moss [00:35:09]:
What is your exceptionally good part?
Bonneau Ansley [00:35:11]:
Well, I think that I’m a great connector. I think that I’m really good at understanding what you really want to do and be able to, with clarity, help identify where’s the best thing to go by and what’s the best time to do that and what the big strategic plan to get that process done. That’s what I’m really, really good at. I’m also good at finding the right people to do specific things for our business.
Wes Moss [00:35:38]:
On your team?
Bonneau Ansley [00:35:39]:
On my team and in the business.
Wes Moss [00:35:41]:
How many folks, by the way, are hundreds of agents? How many people does it take to run the business of ansley?
Bonneau Ansley [00:35:48]:
Yeah, we’ve probably got 35, 40 plus.
Wes Moss [00:35:53]:
That work for the company proper that.
Bonneau Ansley [00:35:55]:
Are not graphic designers, marketing, human resources.
Wes Moss [00:35:58]:
Do you do all of that in house? Sure do. That’s all you guys?
Bonneau Ansley [00:36:02]:
Yeah, we do.
Wes Moss [00:36:04]:
If our audience could see the latest version, they’ve been really good for a long time. What I’ve gotten in the mail and I know you’re mailing to me not because you’re on the podcast, but because I’m in Atlanta.
Bonneau Ansley [00:36:16]:
Well, my first meeting they’ve been good.
Wes Moss [00:36:17]:
For a long time.
Bonneau Ansley [00:36:18]:
My first meeting in 2009 when I joined a firm to be a residential real estate agent, I met the marketing director of that specific office and as I mentioned, I told that person, hey, I’m going to do big things in real estate and I need your help. I need you to help me market everything. When I started my business, I made sure that she came along and her name is Julie Harris and she is the best brain I’ve ever seen for branding and marketing. And she’s been with me she started a year after I started my business and she’s the impetus of everything we do on the marketing side. Right. And it’s been really great.
Wes Moss [00:36:56]:
And that has been a really big differentiator for you guys.
Bonneau Ansley [00:37:00]:
Wes Moss [00:37:00]:
Part of it.
Bonneau Ansley [00:37:01]:
Yeah, it has. And I think you asked me about the book. Yeah, what else about the book is? The big point that I try to make in the book is how do you make your perceived liabilities and turn those into your greatest assets? So think about that for a minute.
Wes Moss [00:37:19]:
You’re saying you’re good at this 20%. You’re talking about the other 80 that.
Bonneau Ansley [00:37:22]:
You’re not as even bigger than that. Right. So for my 1st 20 years of life, I didn’t fit in a standard box in school. I was way outside the box. My learning came outside the school and my perceived liabilities is being Add, which means I’m all over the place. I’m thinking about a thousand different things. I can’t concentrate on one thing and being dyslexic. And over time in the business world, I’ve been able to channel that to turn my Add into being able to hyper focus on something and obsess on something. And I’ve turned my dyslexia, which was real hard in school, to turn that into a big advantage when I’m doing marketing and when I’m doing things to think completely different than maybe one of my competitors, Wes. And in the book, I talk a lot about how to use those things. And people are born too short or too tall or with red hair.
Wes Moss [00:38:11]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:38:12]:
And whatever, everybody’s got something that they’re dealing with. And if there’s a way to turn that and turn that into a posture for your life, it’s phenomenal.
Wes Moss [00:38:20]:
By the way, with dyslexia, are you able to describe it to somebody who doesn’t have it? It’s interesting that you say you see things kind of just in a very different way. Right.
Bonneau Ansley [00:38:30]:
Yeah. So, like reading reading is very troublesome for me. Right. I can articulate what I want to say. Very well spoken, just tough with writing. Well, writing is okay, too, but in a typical sentence, I’ll misspell three words, and it’s okay. So for me to write a best selling book yeah, because your book has.
Wes Moss [00:38:55]:
Sold actually really well. Wall Street Journals sold really well.
Bonneau Ansley [00:38:58]:
But it’s crazy because how am I going to read your book? I know you’re well. It’s all my thoughts. Right. And then we’ve got somebody to polish it up and make sure that there’s no spelling errors or anything like that. And that’s been pretty cool with the book. And also the book talks about when I talked about the curves up and down and how to when you’re in the bottom of the curve, that’s okay. Drive through that curve because you never know what’s going to be on the other side. And in all the bottom times in my life, it’s always got me to pivot and do something else, which has always keep me going in a higher trajectory. Right. So that’s been interesting.
Wes Moss [00:39:34]:
A couple of things. One, you know, real estate like no one else, let’s say in Atlanta and around the Southeast, what are some of your favorite places, just straight up places you actually just love?
Bonneau Ansley [00:39:47]:
If you could well, if I could afford it, I’d love to be in Palm Beach.
Wes Moss [00:39:51]:
Bonneau Ansley [00:39:52]:
And and that markets is just so tight, so nice. The food’s great, the water is great, the weather is great. The issue is super expensive, uber expensive.
Wes Moss [00:40:05]:
Money is no object money. We’re just dreaming of places that listeners want to go one day if money were no objects. So Palm Beach by the breakers down there. That’s unbelievable.
Bonneau Ansley [00:40:16]:
Yeah. Going to Boukon down there, the restaurant. So good things, great. And listeners. Sea Island, Georgia staying at the Cloister It’s magical. I went there for my honeymoon.
Wes Moss [00:40:29]:
Now you have a place near I’ve.
Bonneau Ansley [00:40:31]:
Got a place there, and it’s interesting enough. My great grandfather had a place on 14th street at Sea Island. And then my grandmother had that. My dad had a place at Sea Island. And now through the grace of hard work, I’ve got a place there. And when I go through the gates there, it’s a magical experience.
Wes Moss [00:40:51]:
How about favorite lake in the Southeast.
Bonneau Ansley [00:40:56]:
Wes Moss [00:40:58]:
Lake Glenville, I don’t really know.
Bonneau Ansley [00:41:01]:
Glennville is in Cashers, North Carolina. It’s kind of between Highlands and Cashers. That’s a wonderful lake. We’ve got a lot of clients that have houses at Lake Raven, Lake Burton. I’ve got a good friend building a new house on Lake Akoni. Just depending on where you are. Like Lake Akoni is probably an hour and 15 minutes away from Atlanta, right. You can get there very easily. Raven and Burton are probably 2 hours away. Glenville is probably closer to three.
Wes Moss [00:41:33]:
So Burton and Raven. The water is wonderfully. Water. It’s great. What about Glenville? What’s the water like there?
Bonneau Ansley [00:41:40]:
It’s a little colder, gets from mountain streams and really clean and get good mountain views. You don’t have as good of boathouses as you do on Raven and Burden. Right. But it’s a phenomenal lake.
Wes Moss [00:41:57]:
How about mountain? Where would you go? Where do people want to go if they can afford any mountain community?
Bonneau Ansley [00:42:03]:
I mean, look, Aspen is not too bad, right?
Wes Moss [00:42:08]:
I would take parks. I love Park City.
Bonneau Ansley [00:42:10]:
Yeah. Jackson Hole is a wonderful place to go.
Wes Moss [00:42:13]:
How about in the Southeast? If you call, you can count these.
Bonneau Ansley [00:42:17]:
We are opening. This is going to be new news.
Wes Moss [00:42:20]:
Coming, breaking news on the Retire Sooner podcast. Marissa, I need a sounder on this.
Bonneau Ansley [00:42:25]:
Boom, boom. We’re opening up a Christie’s office in Highlands, Cashers, North Carolina and we’ll be open in the next 60 days for the summer. So we’re really, really excited about that. And you heard it first here.
Wes Moss [00:42:39]:
Same challenges though, right? Inventory. Are there people there’s some movement there.
Bonneau Ansley [00:42:44]:
There’s a lot of movement. And again, it goes back to that COVID migration, right. People from Atlanta are saying, man, 2 hours and a half away from Atlanta, I can go work in Highlands or Cashers and still do my job just as good.
Wes Moss [00:42:59]:
I always think, who’s selling, right? When you see these great places you’re like, who’s selling? Is it mostly just because are these mostly life events that people almost or they’re having to move because you don’t see a lot of moving second homes.
Bonneau Ansley [00:43:14]:
Because they’re yeah, I mean, look, people will be at 30 A for ten years and then say we want something different. Go to Sea Island or people in cashier’s. Highlands might trade up or trade down depending on where they are in life. I’ve been in multiple different places and it’s fun for a few years just to trade up.
Wes Moss [00:43:39]:
Or trade up, yeah, just to do something different. Totally. What about out west? What about out west? Any of the places? What are your favorite spots?
Bonneau Ansley [00:43:47]:
I love Sun Valley.
Wes Moss [00:43:49]:
I’ve never been there, but I know of a lot of families in our school. Go out there.
Bonneau Ansley [00:43:53]:
Sun Valley is great. Deer Valley.
Wes Moss [00:43:56]:
Deer Valley? Yeah. Park City. Deer Valley.
Bonneau Ansley [00:43:58]:
Beautiful out west. Is there’s a lot of places to explore out there?
Wes Moss [00:44:04]:
How about Midwest? Have you ever done any Michigan or have you spending time?
Bonneau Ansley [00:44:08]:
We’re going to go to Michigan this summer. We haven’t spent a lot of time up there. My daughter rides horses and there’s a big horse show in Michigan we’re going to do.
Wes Moss [00:44:16]:
You know what talent is?
Bonneau Ansley [00:44:17]:
I don’t. I just know that I’ll be there for three days and I’m really looking forward to it.
Wes Moss [00:44:23]:
Yeah, it is beautiful. I think of Michigan as the most underrated state in the nation and I think it’s because in the summer Wes you can go there and it’s gorgeous. But in the winter it doesn’t have real mountains. So it’s not like going to Colorado, it’s not like going to Utah or Wyoming. But in the summer I think it is unmatched. Mine is from Michigan.
Bonneau Ansley [00:44:45]:
Wes Moss [00:44:45]:
So the first 16 years of our marriage we went to a place called Holland, Michigan and it’s pretty nice. And then we started to drive up the coast of Michigan and I fell in love with Lake Michigan. So I’ve been going up to Michigan now for almost 20 years. So we’re going to be up there for a while. So I’ll be doing some Retire Sooner podcasts from northern Michigan where the water looks like the Caribbean. That’s amazing. But no, still not a whole lot of people know that it’s not easy to get to.
Bonneau Ansley [00:45:17]:
Wes Moss [00:45:17]:
I mean the place we go to fly to Traverse City if you’re lucky to get a direct flight, which is pretty rare and then drive another 2 hours. So it’s a long way. All right, so what is next? Because knowing you and knowing now, sitting down with you now for a little while, you are super entrepreneurial. You’re always looking for something to be better. So you’re kind of tearing up the script every year so you can have an even better year. What do you think is next for the next couple of years?
Bonneau Ansley [00:45:48]:
Writing this book and doing our podcast called brokering billions where we interview the top agents across the world. I am really enjoying putting that out there because I am getting great emails and real calls saying golly, this was a great podcast. I learned. And they’re mostly from real estate agents, right? Because our podcast is target for entrepreneurs and real estate agents.
Wes Moss [00:46:12]:
You have over a million person audience.
Bonneau Ansley [00:46:14]:
Yeah, 100%. And we’re giving them the tools and strategies so they can make more money and have a better life and to me that’s incredibly satisfying. So I’m really real enjoying that right now. And also we’re kind of just getting started growing ansley real estate, right? I mean we want to be all over Georgia and we want to continue to attract the top talent of agents. So that’s what we’re really focused on.
Wes Moss [00:46:44]:
I think about folks that transition and you transition mid career. It’s not like you started when you were 20 as a real estate agent. What would be your advice? Somebody getting into the business in 2023.
Bonneau Ansley [00:46:59]:
This is hard to say, but if you can figure out a way to not worry about the money and follow your passion, I think this is good for any career. Frankly, Wes, you got to do something that you love so it doesn’t feel like work. And if you do it and you do it well, the money will follow. Right. And lucky for me, I was able to marry my passion with my skill set, and I’ve never really thought about making money. It’s just been able to happen because I’ve been able to be pretty good at it. So for those folks out there that are listening, that are maybe going to change careers or whatever, make sure you like what you’re going to jump into doing. Right. I would have been a horrible lawyer. Right. Or me too, accountant, or frankly, I would have been horrible to anything other than what I’m doing. I just luckily fell into the correct real estate path for me, and that’s how I’ve been successful.
Wes Moss [00:48:01]:
I think what you just said is really, first of all, it’s any career advice. I think it’s important career advice, but it’s not impossible. I’ve had people ask me a fair amount about getting into real estate, and I always think, gosh, it’s hard. There’s a lot of competition. You’re starting from scratch, but your message is that it can absolutely happen, but only if you love it.
Bonneau Ansley [00:48:24]:
And if you love it, you’re going to be good at it if you’re serious about it. Right. And if you’re able to wait for the money to come, it will come. You got to live it. And when I started in this business, there wasn’t much work life balance for me. I was totally obsessed to get to a certain point, and now I’m able to live a little bit easier now that I put the time in up front.
Wes Moss [00:48:49]:
We’ll wrap here on Atlanta real estate markets. Rates are higher. People have gotten used to them a little bit, still more expensive. What is your kind of your outlook and advice for either buyers or sellers over the call up the next year or so?
Bonneau Ansley [00:49:07]:
Well, I’ll say this atlanta is still an amazing place from a cost of living standpoint. We’re still an amazing buy right now, right. Relative to other cities, sophisticated cities. And, golly, Atlanta has amazing technology hub. We’re still bringing in a ton of business. We’re still growing. It’s a great place to do business, and it’s a great place to have a company.
Wes Moss [00:49:32]:
Yeah. And a great place to raise a family.
Bonneau Ansley [00:49:34]:
Wes Moss [00:49:35]:
Yeah. Bonneau Ansley, thanks, man.
Bonneau Ansley [00:49:38]:
Had a blast. Wes, thank you so much. What a show. Thank you very much.
Wes Moss [00:49:43]:
Mallory Boggs [00:49:43]:
This is Mallory with the retire Sooner team. Please be sure to rate and subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend. If you have any questions, you can find us at WesMoss.com. You can also follow us on Instagram and YouTube. You’ll find us under the handle Retire Sooner Podcast. And now for our show’s. Disclosure this podcast is provided to as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. It is not intended to and should not form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax or investment advisor before making any investment or financial planning considerations.
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This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and is not to be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.