Exeleon Magazine

Georgie Asfoura: Creating Ripples of Knowledge in Real Estate

Georgie Asfoura_Exeleon Magazine

It is said that ‘Knowledge is Power’. It is the fuel that drives human life and delivers a happy and successful life. However, having knowledge is one thing but pushing it into practice and action is another. The purpose of knowledge must be an action and when acted upon, this knowledge becomes wisdom.

In business parlance, sharing and enlightening others with knowledge can become a core part of corporate success. A real shot of motivation and encouragement for people around you whether they are your employees, partners, or potential customers. Giving them the feeling that goes beyond ‘just business’, which mutually benefits the involved parties.

That’s what Georgie Asfoura, Founder and CEO of Georgette Properties, has been doing. Spearheading the firm from Central Ohio, Georgie disseminates knowledge and creates opportunities for individuals to invest in real estate by acquiring, improving, and managing value-add properties. From identifying the properties, onboarding investors, to overseeing capital improvements, she empowers stakeholders to turn their investments into profitable assets.

The Humble Beginning

Since childhood, Georgie was an independent thinker and had ‘the itch’ to be her own boss. Before law school at The Ohio State University in 2017, this ‘itch’ led her to oversee residential properties. Later, she paid close attention to the rapidly-growing Columbus market. As her interest in the field further expanded, she sought every opportunity to discover and learn real estate deal structures, property values, and find mentors. These observations later came together as the foundations of her career.

Revisiting the foundations, Georgie asserts, “Those experiences helped me determine that, at this stage in my career, I want to be the decision-maker. Being the head of a small business allows me to do that.”

And that’s what she has been doing as the head of a real estate investing firm, Georgette Properties. She practices her transformational leadership style by teaching investors about the process, laying out the underlying context, and disclosing material information from the outset.

“I communicate with investors and business partners with a candid and developmental approach to deal-making, so they are positioned to make informed decisions and exercise self-agency. Rather than seeking to simply close a deal and ‘check the box,’ I focus on developing relationships built on integrity first, and the profits we generate together are the by-product of a committed partnership,” describes Georgie.

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What’s it Like to be Georgie for a Day?

An action-oriented leader, Georgie Asfoura gets bored with monotony, and spends most days executing on a wide variety of tasks. One of her favorite tasks is negotiating acquisitions.

She explains, “It’s the purest form of deal-making, because the Columbus, Ohio market is SO competitive right now. Find the leverage, expand on it, and never lose sight of your walk-away point. I have 5 hardline rules that I never deviate from; adhering to them has prevented a loss on all the deals we have closed to date.”

And when she is not negotiating acquisitions, she’s recruiting new investors for upcoming deals, fundraising, managing contractors, distributing returns, writing quarterly reports, managing tenants, or facilitating move-ins.

An important feature of Georgie’s transformational leadership is her willingness to ‘jump into’ a task and let others do the same. She reflects on her previous work experiences where people would go beyond their job descriptions to support each other. Being a team player came to mean flexing different skill sets when the moment called for it.

Now, Georgie Asfoura challenges herself to strategically apply that approach at Georgette Properties stating,, “Now, as the head of a small company, my ideology of ‘jumping in wherever I’m needed’ sometimes comes into direct conflict with my responsibility to focus on long-term, strategic business goals. If we are short-handed during the demolition stage of a project, I could grab a crowbar and start ripping out flooring alongside the demo team, but that’s probably not the best use of my time. I am better off using that time to pursue new investor leads or source sensible property acquisitions. My default personality setting is to take action when something goes awry, but I’m learning to exercise restraint and strategically delegate certain tasks.”

Hear it From a Pro!

Georgie Asfoura understands the obstacles aspiring and emerging business leaders face in the real estate industry. She knows from experience that your first deal will be your hardest and scariest. She stresses upon the foremost challenges and obstacles one faces in the early phases of their career in real estate.

She reflects, “If you have the courage to complete your first deal, everything after that will be more manageable. When I was putting together my first syndication deal, I was so anxious, that I woke up each morning with a headache, because I was clenching my teeth together all through the night. I pitched to so many investors who told me no. As the closing deadline was approaching, I was terrified that I would not be able to fill the remaining gap in needed capital, and the whole deal would fall apart. But I refused to quit, and I successfully secured the funds for the deal. Nothing since has been that scary.”

There’s Still Much Work to Do

For Georgie and Georgette Properties, the journey so far has been one of rapid expansion. However, she points out that as the deals continue closing and the firm enrolls more investors, she has to be deliberate about scaling the process in a thoughtful manner. As such, she has successfully laid out three crucial components for future goals.

First, as the firm progresses into its second-year establishment, Georgie seeks a project manager capable of supervising improvement projects. At Georgette Properties, coordinating contractor bids, negotiating estimates, tracking budgets, and monitoring progress on rehab projects is an important way to add value to the acquired properties. Hence, she’s of the opinion that a project manager overseeing those job tasks will be a substantial step in scaling the business.

Secondly, the long-term vision for the firm is to develop mixed-income communities. “Transitioning into new-builds of the scale I’m imagining will require an enormously coordinated effort by multiple interested stakeholders, i.e., city zoning, bank lenders, potentially HUD (if we secure federal funding), private equity partners, the construction team, neighboring residents, etc.,” explains Georgie Asfoura. She also understands that developing such multiple layers of sophisticated transactions and extensive costs is likely down the road, however, they are being intentional about their current deals to build to that kind of scale.

And lastly, she hopes to experiment with alternative building materials and designs in the future. She stays current on innovative housing solutions which are happening across the company that can positively disrupt the Columbus market. Some examples include 3D printed plastics to create bricks in California, and cities like Portland and Minneapolis have zoning codes that facilitate building accessory dwelling units (ADUs), a housing strategy that is needed in Columbus.

“I am excited and hopeful about the city’s comprehensive zoning code update that is just beginning. The code is being completely overhauled for the first time since the 1950s, so this is a huge opportunity for the city – and firms like mine – to carve out pathways to build creative housing options,” concludes Georgie.

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