I’m one of the lucky ones. A bold statement to begin a blog post, but it’s true. Every day I’m surrounded by awesome women and men who are dedicated to helping people find their dream home or sell an existing property. While we do have bios on our site, you never truly get to know someone until you sit down and talk. I feel this way about our clients and our teammates.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Andrew “Drew” Morris. Drew was recognized in the March 2016 edition of 5280 Magazine as a Denver Rising Star Real Estate Agent (see below) and is an award winning agent with Your Castle Real Estate. He was also nominated for Denver Business Journal’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 award. In just a few minutes of talking I understood why. His meteoric rise in this industry is fueled by his faith, passion, and the joy of helping others. I hope you enjoy getting to know Drew as much as I enjoyed talking with him.
What is your story? Where are you from?
Drew: All over! I come from a Navy family – I was born in California, but really grew up in Pensacola, FL. After graduating from high school, I attended the US Naval Academy where I earned my BS in International Relations and a commission as a US Marine Corps officer. I deployed all over the world – Africa, countries across the western and southern Pacific, southwest Asia, Afghanistan. I was incredibly fortunate to serve with such amazing people. It was an invaluable experience. During that time, I married my awesome bride Brianne (Bri) and we’ve been married almost 10 years. We had always loved the idea of living in Colorado and after I finished my time as an active duty Marine here, we settled down with the hope of having a “normal” life and starting a family.
Tell me about your family?
My wife, Bri, and I have had quite the journey over the last several years. We have no kids currently, but we do have a little spoiled French Bulldog named Lola! Bri is the most selfless and beautiful person I’ve ever known. She truly makes me a better person. She is my support and partner. In November 2014, we made the decision to move forward with adopting children. We always knew that adopting was something we’d eventually do.
We couldn’t stand on the sidelines while children were raised in orphanages with no family to call their own, so we started the process of an international adoption from Haiti. We’ve been in that process for just over 2 years. We’ve gone through the home study process, the international application, and now we are waiting to go for our first bonding trip with the children. We are blessed to be adopting siblings, a brother and sister, and we are excited about bringing them into our family. It’s been quite the experience so far!
What do you love most about the Denver Metro?
We absolutely live in one of the greatest places in the US. There are so many things to love about this area. I can’t narrow it down to just one or even two. I’d say having the big city amenities nearby and the mountains nearby — you really can’t beat that. We enjoy the outdoor activities; hiking, climbing, skiing and boarding. The culture is awesome too. Music, restaurants, coffee, being able to buy “local”. Oh and 70 degree days in January and February!
Do you ski or snowboard?
I actually do both. I learned to snowboard while at the Academy and I did that for a long time. In the last two years, I’ve learned to ski so I can hit the backcountry more once I get good enough.
How long have you been a Realtor and why did you get into Real Estate?
I became a Realtor in June 2013. It wasn’t something Bri and I really had in our “plans”. I didn’t have a family background in real estate, and as far as I know I’m the first in the industry. Based on my leadership experience and military background, a typical route would’ve been to go to business school or get into management in the corporate world. Frankly, none of that seemed exciting to me.
Bri and I really wanted to move into a new career that supported the lifestyle we wanted for ourselves and family. We wanted to be able to be involved in the community and our local church. I wanted to still be doing something that was meaningful and made an impact in people’s lives every day. I didn’t want to do much traveling anymore, which is something we endured while I was in the Marine Corps. Through Bri’s encouragement, I started exploring real estate with a friend and Realtor – and here we are!
You’re recognized in 5280 Magazine as a Denver Rising Star in Real Estate. What do you attribute your success to?
I’ve been absolutely blessed with being surrounded by some amazingly supportive people. My wife, Bri, is so supportive every day. She’s been able to ride through the storms, the highs and lows, and help me out. She offers her opinions in situations, she’s pretty good at that, and that’s been really helpful. This can be a tough industry to thrive in and she’s made all the difference. Also, I’ve had some great mentors who are top-notch individuals. They set a great example for me in how the business works and in how to be a great agent for our clients.
As to how I operate my business, my faith lays the foundation for everything. Colossians 3:23 is really important to me. [Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…] It guides me on how I do things day to day. I’ve been a Christian since the age of 10, and have been attending Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette. My faith guides how I live life and do business.
What is your favorite real estate success story?
Recently I helped a family – the parents and the son and daughter-in-law, make a huge transition from northern metro Denver to the central Denver area. The families had lived within in a mile of each other, but had to move due to a job transition. There was another sibling in the area and it was very important to them that they all eventually live close to one another. It required a simultaneous selling of both properties, while also finding them both new homes.
At the end of the day, going through all that, which went very smoothly, we ended up selling their homes above list in a matter of days, finding replacement homes at a discount, and ultimately having their new homes within a half-mile of each other. This was awesome to see because it meant the world to them to be near each other. That was something very special to be part of and something I’ll always remember. This is why I’m in this business and do what I do.
What has been your greatest challenge in the Denver Real Estate Market?
Low home inventory – period. When I’m working with buyer clients it can be difficult to find many options that meet their needs – because there’s just not a whole lot available across the metro area. The next challenge is getting it under contract since often times you’ll be in competition with 10+ buyers wanting the same home. Every buyer in the Denver metro market runs into this. It’s a known issue and as long as buyers understand that it might take a little longer to get that right home, it always works out well.
What is the next trend of technology and Real Estate?
Drones, video, 3D imaging and advertising of listings will become more sophisticated, especially in the luxury market. Right now, great images are important in making a property enticing to see. That will continue for sure. But, I think the consumer will want to be able to explore everything about a home more fully from the comfort of their own homes. This will be great for buyers moving from out of town or out of state as well. They can do home tours without being physically present.
What is your favorite Social Media Site?
I’m active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. My favorite social media site is Instagram. I like how easy I can connect with anyone. And the photography of some of these people is just amazing.
Where do you think the next “hot” area will be?
I think Wheatridge and Arvada are primed for huge development and price appreciation based on the location. The close proximity to the mountains, I-70 and the coming light rail options will bring a lot of activity I think. In general, any areas around future/existing light rail stations will be attractive. I think the northern metro area has plenty of room to grow and great potential as well. Tons of new commercial development and transportation improvements are happening in that area along the I-25 corridor.
Do you think Downtown Denver will continue to grow?
Downtown will definitely continue to grow, especially around Union Station. The rehabilitation around Union Station has been huge in reinvigorating the area. It’s a place where people want to go and hang out now; and with the trains, the condo and apartment development, the Union Station area of LoDo will become an even more robust area. Based on all the construction that is happening, it’s definitely going to be popular and in high demand for the foreseeable future.
What advice can you give a first-time homebuyer?
Be financially prepared and have a pre-approval completed with a lender. You need to know what your financial plan is and what money you have available so you are able to pull the trigger when you do find a place you like. This is not something you can wait to do once you find a home because then it will already be lost. Know the costs associated with buying a home – insurance, earnest money deposit, inspections. There are costs associated with buying a home that are in addition to the down payment.
Be patient during the home search process because of the nature of the current market, as I mentioned earlier. It can sometimes be a long process — it doesn’t always have to be long, but be mentally prepared for that. But, most importantly, during the home search process, have fun and be excited! It is a big deal to own a property. Enjoy going into the homes — pretend like you’re on HGTV. Enjoy exploring neighborhoods and imagining yourself being there at some point.
What advice can you give home sellers?
The most important thing, no matter the market conditions or what you are reading in the headlines, is to always do the fundamentals of properly listing a home. You need to price correctly and make sure the home is in as best condition as possible. It is also important to have the best marketing plan that advertises where buyers are looking. It’s not okay to think that you can get the best price and terms possible, even in a seller’s market, if you don’t do these things. Do it!
What do you love the most about real estate?
I love serving. I’ve come from a background of service. It’s who I am in my faith. It’s who I was as a Marine officer. Today as a Realtor I see myself in service to my clients. I have the privilege of guiding them through a sometimes difficult and complex process. I get to be their advocate and advisor, and be a part of their life in a huge way — even if it is for a relatively short amount of time. That gets me excited. I love meeting new people, working with people and the relationships with my clients. I want to get to know them and be their realtor and friend for life! It’s a great industry to be a part of and I can’t imagine doing anything else.