Andrew Draayer is a professional real estate investor. The ninth of ten children, Andrew has always possessed a gift for talking to people. After a brief time studying at Arizona State University, Andrew discovered his talents lie elsewhere from academia and he tried his hand at sales. He was a professional door-to-door salesman for the better part of a decade before starting a family of his own and realizing that he needed a more stable income to support them. As luck would have it, that realization coincided with meeting his future business partner. Together, the two founded Andrew the Homebuyer, a real estate investment firm based on hustle, people skills, and a business plan that appeals to homeowners who want to sell their homes for cash, person-to-person, the old fashioned way.

At one point a top-performing sales rep and regional manager for Dish Network, Andrew Draayer’s skills in the field of sales are undeniable. Since founding his company in 2015, he has bought more than 800 properties in the Phoenix, Arizona-area. Andrew has lived in Arizona for more than 20 years.

Why did you decide to create your own business?

My kids. I had a son that was born six years ago. I was selling stuff door-to-door, I was travelling a lot, I almost missed my son’s birth. After he was born, I knew I couldn’t travel anymore. I had to make something work. The stars aligned and around that time I met my current business partner. After some brainstorming, we created our company and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I like the competitiveness. I played a lot of sports growing up, so when I go to appointments head-to-head with my competitors to bid on a property, and then the homeowners pick me to do business with, it makes me feel really good. It reminds me of being in the fourth quarter of a football game and my team’s down by five, so they give the ball to me and I score a touchdown. That’s what it feels like when I win a bid. It’s a rush, and I like to win.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

Waking up with my kids, feeding them breakfast, and taking them to school. Then I head into work and start answering any inbound leads that we get. After that, I make sure to be present for all our appointments so that I understand each house, each seller, what they need and what they want, because I really want to cater the transaction to each individual seller.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m the ninth child of ten. It motivates me to be the most successful boy in my family, and to hand down a legacy. My dad was a retired Air Force colonel and he worked all the time. He was very busy. My mom had to work and also had ten kids. Now, they loved us all very much, but life for us as a family wasn’t always easy. I want to try to give my own kids an easier life. I want to provide for them.

How do you motivate others?

I like to lead from the front. So, when people make excuses for poor performance, I like to go over their excuses with them and sort of transform that into encouragement. I’ll say, “Hey, that’s just an excuse, but you can do this.” I like to show people that great things are possible if you just believe in yourself and take action. If you believe it, you can achieve it. I really think that’s true. It might be slow, but it’s going to happen eventually.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

That question makes me chuckle a little bit. In the early days, my business partner and I went out on rollerblades dropping handwritten notes on lined pieces of paper reading Hi, I’m Andrew and I want to buy your house into peoples’ mailboxes. In those days, we would often target areas where the infrastructure wasn’t very good, so we would be rollerblading along uneven, sometimes terribly-paved roads just dropping notes everywhere. Now, we’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, we’re on TV commercials, and we’re one of the leading cash home buyers in Arizona.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

When I was selling door-to-door, I was driven by competition. There were always contests within the company about who could sell the most over a given period of time. I always tried to win those, and I did more than once. The company would also bring in these highly-regarded motivational speakers who would try to motivate us—mostly teenagers and young twenty-somethings—to go out and do the legwork door-to-door for five to eight hours when, really, nobody else would want to. I would listen to these motivational speakers and do the visualization exercises they showed us. So, at the time, I would visualize the future. I would visualize coming back to the company a few years after leaving and having them recognize me as a success story. I used to imagine the company would ask me to be a motivational speaker for their new crop of employees and explain how all the skills I acquired working there translated into my own professional success.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

I would say my older brother Ryan. When I was younger, trying to learn the ways of the world, I would often stay at his house. He was a young father. I saw how good of a dad he was, how hard he would work, and how he was always willing to take the next step to give a boost to his family. So, he showed me the right way to be a hardworking family man.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

You might have to ask my wife on that one. It really is tough. I try really hard. I’m really grateful for the support of my wife, especially when I have to answer business calls at all hours of the day and night. She sacrifices a lot and I appreciate it immensely.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Start small. Find somebody that really wants to sell their house, create a relationship, and have a plan. Don’t just buy somebody’s house without knowing what you’re going to do with it. What kind of a target demographic is going to want to buy it after you put it on the market? How much money are you willing to sink into it? Have a plan and execute that plan.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

It might be off topic, but I’m going to call back to my brother. Back when I would stay at his place, any time we went to a restaurant, he would often buy my dinner. At the time I was twenty, twenty-one years old, and I would never offer to pay or tip. He always said it’s not really about if you actually pay, but it’s important to pretend that you’re willing to pay so people don’t always feel expected to foot the bill. I think the lesson there was that you have to give a little bit to get a little bit.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Like I mentioned, I’m the ninth child of ten—five boys and five girls. All of my brothers have only had daughters. I’m the first one to have a son to carry on our last name. That’s a big deal to me.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

Things aren’t always going to happen the way that you want. It’s how you react to any given situation, whether it’s positively or negatively. There’s a balance or a happy way between the two. Also, along the same lines, it’s important to be optimistic.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I think I’m funny. I think I’m a pleasure to be around. I think I’m very happy and I think I’m good at interacting with people.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

From my experience selling accounts door-to-door in different states, I always believed that I could buy houses from the East Coast to the West Coast, and east and west of the Mississippi. I feel that Andrew the Homebuyer could easily be a national company. I think there’s an untapped national market for people who want to sell their house in a very easy and straightforward manner. My goal is to use the positive recognition I already enjoy in Arizona to expand outward.

Explain the proudest day of your professional life.

I was involved in a competition, once again, selling door-to-door. The grand prize was a round trip ticket for two to New York City, tickets to a Yankees-Red Sox game, tickets to the US Open, and luxury accommodations in Manhattan. It was a March Madness-style competition. I advanced through the brackets all the way to the championship where I was pitted against another very good salesperson. I ended up selling 10 accounts. The other guy was at 9, but then somehow got to 10 and would’ve beat me as the result of a tie-breaker. But on my way home at 11:45 pm I stopped at a Wal-Mart and I made a sale to the first person I talked to in the parking lot with five minutes left on the deadline. I was in the middle of nowhere in Texas, but somehow I made it work. That was awesome.