Fired 'Apprentice' Wins as Real Estate Agent

This season ofWhen the first of the two-part finale of "The Apprentice" airs tonight, fired contestant Wade Hanson, a Twin Cities-area real estate agent, will be rooting for Brandy over Clint.

"I think Brandy has been the strongest through-and-through," real estate agent Hanson told HousingWatch of this season's "The Apprentice." "I respect how she carries herself and how she leads and how she follows, and her directness to the questions she is asked in the board room."
Although Hanson was fired from "The Apprentice" after a fashion show competition of the men's team against the women, he says that he has used lessons he learned from the show to reinvent his real estate business, which was already rather successful before the recession.

By the age of 27, and before appearing on "The Apprentice," the now-33-year-old married father of two daughters had built a $60-million-dollar, multi-office real estate firm and in 2004 was named one of Realtor magazine's "30 Under 30.

"I had some real success in the real estate industry at a young age," he told HousingWatch. "I saw the recession take away some of the investments I had made." Wanting to find a way to turn things around is what inspired him to drop an email to apply for "The Apprentice" after seeing a promo in February.

"What 'The Apprentice' taught me: Thinking quickly on your feet while working with a limited amount of resources and a limited amount of time is about being more selective," says Hanson, who specializes in the luxury market, particularly lakefront homes. "Now in my real estate practice I am more selective. I am not one of those agents who is going to list 100 properties and hope to sell 50. I think there is space in this marketplace to not have to say yes to every deal."

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"Working with a handful of homes and not 100 homes helps me create a marketing plan individualized for each home. I don't see each home the same and they aren't. Each has a different approach to the market."

Hanson, a Re/Max Results agent, says that there are still realistic buyers and sellers who know that now is a good time to buy, that the market needs to get more of them who understand that and less of them with a "2005 mindset."

"We are in a different real estate market and consumers have to simply accept it and move on," he says. "Many homeowners are finally starting to view their home as a bad investment and are willing to put their pride aside and walk away and rent. They are tired of throwing good money after bad just to 'hang on.' After all, you wouldn't keep putting your money into a stock that continues to decline in value. Those that have purchased in the last two to three years will be just fine."

The housing market is going to slowly bottom out over the next two years, he predicts, and then will go back into a stabilization phase. "I think 2011 is going to be a tough year for a lot of homeowners as homes continue to decline in value. To a buyer, I say, buy now. I have been doing this 12 years and I don't think we are going to see a better time to buy with interest rates where they are now."

Hanson took over his family real estate business in his mid-20s after the suicide of his sister, who was a victim of a sexual assault. The tragic incident led Hanson to make a difference by donating office space to a sexual assault program and raising money for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. He has also participated in an adopt-a-highway program, gathered toy donations for needy kids, and sponsored boys' and girls' basketball-fundraising events.

Hanson is the chairperson for the National Association of Realtor's Young Professionals Network, and is involved on several national real estate platforms and is a frequent speaker at national and regional conventions.

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