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Community Highlights: Meet Patrick Kappel of Kappel Realty Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Kappel.

Patrick, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
As a young Navy officer having just graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2007, I moved across the country to San Diego to begin a new journey. At the time, I never knew the journey would lead to building a successful real estate brokerage team in San Diego. While serving in the Navy, my mentors advised that I buy real estate not only as a place to live but also as an investment. I took their advice and every time I returned to San Diego from a military deployment, I would use my savings as the down payment for a property. After serving eight years on active duty and just over the age of 30, I owned four properties in San Diego. I was growing my net worth and cash flow by owning rental real estate. I learned that owning real estate is the surest path to financial security, and I figured that if I could do this, why couldn’t anyone. At that point, I transitioned from activity duty to the Navy Reserves to begin a career in real estate brokerage. My goal in real estate brokerage was simple – I wanted to help others find financial freedom through real estate ownership, be it a house or an investment.

Prior to growing my real estate business, I wanted to gain a more formal education in real estate and finance. I attended UCLA Anderson where I earned an MBA with a focus in finance followed by a Master of Science in Real Estate from the University of San Diego. I have differentiated my brokerage team by focusing on educating clients about real estate rather than “selling” clients. The key is the educational approach that my team takes. So many real estate agents and real estate teams focus on sales training. Within my brokerage team, I focus on teaching my agent’s real estate fundamentals, not sales, and we further teach our client’s real estate and the benefits of ownership. I believe this different approach of education rather than sales has led to our team’s success. Most of our business comes from referrals, repeat clients, and from consumers that attend our monthly real estate educational webinars. In the last three years, our team, the Kappel Realty Group, has grown from $30M in transactions per year to over $120M in transactions per year. As I look back over the years, I think of all the lives we have changed and the people we have helped through real estate ownership. I’m also proud of the 15 other agents on the team. I have found a great deal of fulfillment by watching their individual growth and success over the years.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Most roads worth traveling are not smooth- but that’s also what makes the journey exciting and worthwhile. If the road to success was smooth, then everyone would be successful. The biggest challenge I ever faced was transitioning from the military to working in the “civilian world” as we call it. I always tell fellow veterans that the hardest part of the military is not boot camp, it is not the deployments, it is the transition out of the military into the real world. When I transitioned from the military in 2015, I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do, but there was this voice in the back of my mind telling me that I should work in real estate because I had developed a passion for it. Like many transitioning veterans, I ran the job hunt circuit and applied to various companies that I could easily and comfortably slide into. Ultimately, after receiving job offers from a few very good-paying W2 jobs with great benefits, I decided to take a job that ensured long work hours, $0.00 in guaranteed income, and zero benefits. That job as you can imagine is real estate brokerage. In fact, at the first brokerage firm I worked at I had to pay the brokerage $1,000 upfront just to work there and to receive the training. Who pays a company to work for the company? It’s usually the other way around. Well, I did. And it was a great decision.

So often people are looking at the short game wanting to make a quick buck, get a nice signing bonus, or comfortable perks. If you are an entrepreneur, you look at the long game and you want to build your own ladder that you can climb up rather than climbing a pre-established “corporate ladder”. I knew my long game was to work in real estate brokerage to help others achieve financial freedom through real estate ownership. Nonetheless, during my first ten months in real estate brokerage, I didn’t make a single penny. However, I kept pushing forward knowing that, like most entrepreneurial jobs, you often must make a lot of sacrifice upfront for fulfillment on the backend. There were certainly times during that first year when I thought about hanging it up and getting a W2 paying job. There were times when I was stressed and worried about finances. But I just kept pushing on (maybe it was my military background that had instilled in me the mindset to keep pushing forward). Finally, at month 10, I closed my first transaction and made my first dollar in nearly a year. The stress subsided, but just a bit. Like any business or entrepreneurial start-up, the first year had its ups and downs. Fortunately, my business has grown since that first year. I grew my brand and my client base while transitioning from being a lone-wolf real estate agent scraping to get by to a team leader with 15 other agents working together and now transacting over $10M per month.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Kappel Realty Group?
The Kappel Realty Group is a team of Realtors focused on educating and assisting real estate buyers, sellers, and investors in the San Diego region. Nearly all of our agents have advanced degrees and master’s degrees in real estate or finance and a third of our agents are military veterans.

Clients appreciate our educational approach as we ensure that you are fully informed prior to and during the process of making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life – buying or selling a home or investment property. Within the real estate industry, there is often a large gap of knowledge in what we call the “mom and pop” investment real market. This market is composed primarily of people that individually, or with their spouse/family, want to invest in real estate. There are large commercial brokerage firms out there that understand investment real estate, but they typically will not give mom and pop investors much attention or education. So, individual investors often turn to their residential realtor, the same person that helped them buy a single-family home, to help them buy an investment property. The problem with this is the fact that the majority of residential agents do not understand investment real estate and the financial investment formulas, the zoning, and the overall investment strategies that that one must be familiar with in order to fully assist an investor that wants to buy a 1-4 unit investment property. Because the majority of our team members have an investment real estate background and education, our team fills the void in the market by assisting individuals and families that want to enter the world of real estate investment.

As previously mentioned, most real estate agents and teams also focus on sales and sales training. Rather than focusing on sales gimmicks or language that is often taught within sales, our team focuses on education. We prefer to educate clients rather than to sell clients.

Our team members have received numerous awards including:

Ranked America’s Best #7 San Diego Real Estate Team
SDAR Team Leader REALTOR® of the Year
SDAR Platinum Team (top 1% of all teams in San Diego County)
SDAR 40 Under 40

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important lesson that I have learned along the way is that you must be gentle with others and you must care for other people. I have seen many lose themselves in this business by focusing too much on the business and not the people. As much as any business owner must focus on the business, you must focus even more so on the people. After all, it’s the people that make the business. As a real estate team leader, I have transitioned from working primarily with clients to now primarily working with my team members, who in turn work with our clients. As I always tell my team members; it is each team member’s job to ensure that our clients are successful, and it is my job to ensure that my team members are successful. As long as everyone is focused on the success of someone other than themselves, then success will follow. If you focus on nurturing the success of others around you, then you in turn will become more fulfilled and successful than you ever could have imagined alone.

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