UNT RPM Program Scholarship

three graduate students tossing up hats over blue sky

Each year, AATC awards a scholarship to an individual who has shown commitment, desire and the fortitude to make an impact in our industry. Through a partnership with the University of North Texas RPM degree program and AATC’s Jonetta Vise Education Foundation, we are able to select an individual each year for this one-of-a-kind scholarship. This year’s selection was Jeremiah Commons with whom we had a conversation to get to know what motivates him and drives him towards building a career in the multi-housing industry. We wanted to get to know him better and be able to inspire future generations, we hope that you get inspired and encouraged by his dialogue with AATC.

Q: What led you to get an education in the Residential Property Management Program?

I was finishing my basics at Navarro College where I graduated with double honors and 3.78 GPA. When I realize I was not certain what it was I wanted to do with my life. I like everyone I started by wanting a career where I could make a living and sustain a family with all the desired comforts. I just did not quite know what that meant or how to get to this goal. I started my education in business because I was told it made good money. I looked first at what I was good at, then what I enjoyed. I realized I aced all my economic, accounting courses, as well as my other business courses from my 2-year degree. Yet this got me no closer to an answer when asking my professors. They just suggested their own trades and to be honest I was great at the subjects but found them dull not knowing how they worked together yet.

So I visited the bls.gov and books about many different careers at my local library in Waxahachie. This lead to a book by Dean Graziosi. Now at first I did not understand how scams worked in real estate or how shady he was. He did, however, open my eyes to real estate reading his books from the library. Later on, I found rich dad poor dad and biggerpockets.com including their podcasts. I realized then real estate was what I enjoyed, but was I good at it? I was disheartened when I thought there was no undergraduate degrees in the subject looking at ivy league universities that I was always taught were where you went if you wanted to be happy in life. It was not until after graduating my 2-year college and spending some time volunteering overseas while auditing classes at the universities there that I learned from a friend upon returning to the United States that there was an undergraduate degree program but it was at state universities.

I read about the classes and realize this is exactly what I was looking for and the next semester. I was enrolled!

Q: How did you first hear about the TAA – AATC/ Jonetta Vise Academic Scholarship?

I found out about the scholarship in Dr. John Baen’s Real Estate Investment class and then following in Dennis Engler’s Real Estate Law class again. I felt if both these professors which I looked up to and admired felt so strongly I should look into it then I would and that night I started my essay.

Q: What types of qualities do you think are necessary for someone to be successful in this industry?

I believe it takes someone with some strong conviction, daily education including outside of the classrooms, mentors that have actually done what you wish to do, and experience. Real estate has risks no matter what part of the industry you are in. There are a lot of people that are not educated in this field yet because they watched a few popular television shows believe they are experts. Those with what I suggested above will know when to turn an ear to nay-sayers and how to minimize risks through their education and experience.

Q: Have you acquired any experience in the residential property management industry?

I sadly have not been able to acquire any experience as of yet. I have applied for internships with Greystar and Commercial Tax Group in Addison. Neither seemed to work out due to my lack of experience and real estate license. I was a bit surprised by the latter reason. I am still attempting to taking steps toward gaining experience, but it is hard without the internships.

Q: Tell us about your family?

I am a first generation student. My mother has multiple sclerosis just past her 20-year mark and recently developed brain cancer during a chemotherapy session. It is believed due to her not having an immune system and others there with cancer may have unintentionally spread it to her. I spent the majority of my first two years in college and high school helping take care of her. A reason I have little work experience. I never knew my father. My siblings seem to have little or no desire for higher education due to educational requirements or financial strain having started families of their own a bit early. I will be the only member of my family to have a higher education of any kind.

Q: What are your favorite things to do?

I like to read fictional books. I did not have many chances to read as a child outside of the public school system requirements. I enjoy books like The Ranger Apprentice by John Flanagan, The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima (including her other series), The Circle Series by Ted Dekker, and so much more. I do also like some non-fictional books like the Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki including his game that put a lot of things into some interesting perspective with regards to finances and family.

Q: What do you plan on doing once you graduate from the
UNT program?

My dream is to provide housing for the low income disabled and senior focused apartments for the baby boomers not wishing to own a house but have an apartment complex cater to their needs much like we do for student housing.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?

In 5 years I see myself owning a few small multi-family houses working towards my goal in 10 years of owning medium size (30-50 unit) apartments that I can use towards my dream goal.

Q: What advice would you give to someone stepping into
this program?

I would suggest them to take a class with Dr. John Baen and read the Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki series. Both of these were the biggest eye openers for me and helped me to be certain this is what I wanted.

Cindi Scoggins, Westdale is AATC’s Education Foundation Chair. For more information, contact Val Thurwanger at 817-616-0358.