Today we’d like to introduce you to Ben Caballero.
Hi Ben, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Both of my parents were Florida real estate brokers. The real estate bug bit me at around the age of 14 and I spent summers at their office. I joined the Air Force out of high school and was assigned to Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma City. While there, my parents divorced, and my mother moved to Houston where I would visit her often.
On one Sunday afternoon about 5 PM, I was driving back to Oklahoma when my car’s water pump went out at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. I had never been in Dallas and was very concerned with the situation in which I found myself. I was parked on the service road when immediately someone stopped to help. He told me where I could get my car fixed and a motel to spend the night. The repair shop was on Greenville Avenue and close enough that I could drive there without damaging the car’s engine.
Right away, I noticed how courteous Dallasites were (and still are). It wasn’t just the gentleman who stopped to help; it was the drivers that rarely blew their horn or would slow down to let me change lanes. They practiced a level of politeness that I had not experienced in my hometown of Tampa, or Houston or Oklahoma. It was then when I said to myself that I want to live here when I get out of the service. I did as soon as I was discharged from the Air Force. After moving to Dallas, I obtained my real estate broker’s license and have been involved in real estate ever since. I even built homes for 18 years.
As a long-time real estate broker and home builder, I noticed builders were not listing their homes in the local Multiple Listing Service or MLS. Some didn’t even work with real estate agents. When I was a builder, I saw that listing my homes in the MLS helped my sales. I began listing a few homes for other builders and saw an enormous difference I could make for them.
One day, I went to lunch with the sales manager of a large production home builder and convinced him to let me list his company’s homes. We were soon listing hundreds of homes for them, and I discovered right away I had a data and organization problem. Requests for new listings and changes were coming to me inefficiently by fax, email and even phone calls. It became painfully clear that a computer program of some kind was needed.
However, back then, I was just learning how to use a browser, knew nothing about software development, and like most agents knew very little about the internet.
But as I learned more about the internet, I could see its potential, so I began trying to build an online platform. After several years and many false starts, I launched HomesUSA.com in 2007: just about when the mortgage crisis hit. Builders were going out of business about as fast as we could sign up new ones. We survived, and since then we’ve been continually refining and improving our tech platform. We have added numerous services and reports that support builders’ management and marketing efforts in addition to helping their sales teams sell home faster. Today we work with builders in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. 2020 was our best year ever when we listed and sold 6,438 new homes.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Because I didn’t have any IT experience, we had to overcome multiple failed IT development attempts before we had a viable online platform. We launched it in September 2007 just as the debt crisis hit in 2008. From 2009 to 2012 home building dropped 40 to 60 percent, depending on the year.
But we survived. Fast forward to 2020, and we thrived, having our best year during the worst pandemic in 100 years.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Homesusa.com?
What I enjoy most is working with my builder clients and learning what I can do to make their jobs easier. I have an IT development team, and together we can create new ideas to deliver new services or make innovative improvements to existing services. Being creative is incredibly exhilarating to me and the best compliments I receive are when clients tell me we have helped improve their operations. That is our why – why HomesUSA.com exists.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
If my car had not broken down in Dallas I would not be here, and maybe not even be in Texas. But as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” While it may have been pure luck that I live and work in the hottest new home market in the country, I am deeply thankful to be doing what I love with and for what I believe are the best people in the world.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Homesusa.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HomesUSAdotcom/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/bcaballero
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfsppHiWS4x2JNgZMkjS-MA