When you’ve worked your whole life to achieve a goal, competed at the highest level of sports, and learned from your team members what it takes to win, your next path in life can’t be boring. For Rita Tower, former soccer player on the U.S. Women’s National Team, next meant pivoting from the world of elite soccer to the competitive realm of real estate with HomeVestors of America, the nation’s largest professional house buying franchise.
Rita discovered soccer while growing up in Phoenix. When she was eight, she joined some boys playing soccer at recess, when a kicked ball came right at her. Rita instinctively lifted her knee to keep the ball from hitting her, propelling it right into the goal. “It was a complete accident. I was just trying to protect myself. Once the ball went into the goal, and the celebrations began, I was hooked. From that point on, I was playing soccer every day at recess.”
After that fortuitous goal on the playground, Rita got serious about soccer and went on to play on elite club teams and travel circuits throughout her youth, all with the goal of playing in college. Her acceptance to the legendary University of North Carolina women’s soccer program required tremendous discipline, hard work and focus on a singular mission: winning. In fact, Rita and her Tar Heel teammates went undefeated during her collegiate career on the way to four national championships. She made the United States Women’s National Soccer Team in her junior year.
During her time in Chapel Hill and while on the national team, Rita played on the front line with soccer greats Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly. She remembers their grit, work ethic, and athletic prowess. Rita became great friends and training partners with Lilly. “I got my butt handed to me every single day. We all made each other better.”
After college, Rita shifted to training elite youth soccer players, taking a job as Director of Training for a Division 1 soccer club in Houston. Having spent years being mentored by arguably the greatest female collegiate coach of all time in Anson Dorrance, Rita was a natural who excelled at motivating the talented youth players. Several of her teams won state championships under her leadership.
Rita spent a decade doing this job she loved, but her financial aspirations were greater than what she could attain training youth soccer. She begrudgingly left the soccer world to work on developing new businesses, including flipping houses. Her success in the industry led to the decision to buy a franchise. “It turned out to be the absolute best business decision I ever made.”
Rita purchased her HomeVestors franchise in Houston in 2015. “I flipped homes on my own for about three years before buying a franchise. I found the most difficult thing for me was capturing quality leads. I was able to solve that problem by buying the franchise.”
Rita knew with HomeVestors she would have the backing of a trustworthy brand that would handle the advertising and provide training. “I knew I needed to be better trained and to be in an environment that fostered success in the real estate investment arena.”
She didn’t spend too long exploring franchises. Her mind was set on HomeVestors from the start. “I wanted to be the best I could be, so I wanted to align myself with the top company in real estate investment.”
Franchisee satisfaction ratings and the HomeVestors leadership team were major factors in Rita’s decision-making process. “I purchased a HomeVestors franchise because of the people. They continually show me they are there to help me succeed. Even though they’re not involved in my day-to-day business operations, we’re all working together to be successful in this business.”
Rita’s background playing soccer taught her skills she utilizes every day as a HomeVestors franchisee. As a front runner in soccer, if you don’t score, you don’t play. In real estate, if you don’t close deals, you will eventually find yourself without capital to reinvest in order to grow the business. Rita’s goal at the start of each month is to advertise heavily and make at least one buy early in the month, removing pressure and building confidence.
Rita says becoming an elite athlete and playing for the national team was the hardest thing she’s ever done. While owning a business has different stakes, she still needs focus, drive, and a high degree of self-discipline to be successful and lead her team.
She retains the competitiveness of an elite athlete, always looking for ways to improve and meet her goals. She appreciates the set of goals HomeVestors creates for each franchisee, and pushes her personal targets higher, knowing she has motivated teammates in her fellow franchisees. “All of the franchisees learn from each other. It’s truly a team. It’s unequivocally the best part of owning this franchise.”
Rita also has mentors to guide her to success. “I had a few instances early on where cash flow was a big issue. In fact, it almost put me out of business. This is a capital-intensive business. I shared my dilemma with a few trusted mentors, and I listened to the HomeVestors leadership team, who told me, ‘No matter what happens, don’t stop buying houses.’ So, I followed their guidance, secured a few additional sources of money and I pulled myself up.”
Not one to remain complacent, Rita continues to set new goals. “I had my most successful year last year and have plans in motion to double what I did last year. I’ve hired more people, and I’m considering an increased investment in my marketing. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m putting my trust in the HomeVestors leadership, and they tell me I am going to be just fine. That helps me have the confidence I need to accomplish bigger things.”
Rita pivoted toward a new career in franchising with HomeVestors. “Athletics breeds confidence and work ethic. The real estate investment business requires both. It’s a great business for former athletes. This company and the people involved have forever changed my life.”