When he was just 21, Jason Abrams launched his real estate company The Abrams Team in his hometown of Detroit. One decade and two branch offices later, his unique brand of soup-to-nuts (and every black-walled living room and gigantic bathtub in between) service has earned him the devotion of a roster of professional athletes, and the nickname “The Jerry Maguire of real estate.”
“In that movie, he became everything to his clients — he was a shoulder to cry on, he showed up at their games, he was negotiating their contracts — and in our world, that’s what we’ve really become, as well,” explains Abrams, who along with his business partner Kristen Cook will hunt houses for Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden, New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez, NFL star Vontae Davis and others in HGTV’s new Scoring the Deal. “Some days we’re the best psychiatrists in town. Other days, we’re the best real estate agents in town.”
Given the salaries earned by most of his clientele, you may be surprised to learn that Abrams advises a conservative approach when it comes to acquiring real estate. “There’s no reason that an athlete needs to have more than two homes,” says Abrams, who recommends that all of his clients rent in the first year of their career, no matter how far up in the draft they were chosen. “The goal for every athlete should be collecting dollars, not collecting real estate.”
To that end, Abrams also warns clients not to assume that their agents and financial advisors are also pros at the real estate market.
“The reality of it is 83% of NFL players will declare bankruptcy within five years of leaving the league,” he explains. “Think about that statistic for a second and how powerful it is and how many lives it affects. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just the athlete that declares bankruptcy — it’s his wife, it’s the children, it’s the brother that he was helping out. The problem is, you can be the best financial advisor in town when it comes to the allocation of stocks, bonds and annuities — but they don’t know anything about the real estate business. That’s the niche that we fill. Because at the end of the day, you end up being an athlete with nine houses and nobody thinks it’s going to be the residential real estate that kills them. And it’s almost like dying of the common cold.”
So whether their clients are buying or renting, Abrams and his team make sure the athletes and their families are well cared for, from first peek at prospects to collecting the keys for their new homes.
“We fly into the city that they’re going to be living and we look at every home in their price range before they ever get there,” he says. “We pick out what we think are the three to five best — we call it ‘Best In Show.’ They fly in the next day, we pick them up in a limousine and we take them to see those three — and 90 percent of the time they pick one that day. Then we walk them through the offer process. And depending on the level of service they want from us, the next time they walk in that house, their groceries are in the fridge. That’s whether someone is renting a $900 a month house or buying a $9 million estate. And that’s why they’re with us their entire careers.”
Scoring the Deal premieres Tuesday January 8 at 11pm ET on HGTV.