For some, getting into the real estate industry is a circuitous, lengthy journey. For others, they were simply destined to gravitate directly towards and excel in the sector. Tiffany Harper, Principal at Hanson Capital, decidedly falls into the latter category. Originate Report recently had the pleasure of speaking with Harper to gain insight into her truly inspiring career path in real estate and how her collective experiences along the way helped influence her innovative, passionate approach to the private lending space.
Harper was essentially born into real estate: her mother was a practicing REALTOR®; her father was a successful investor who built a diversified portfolio of luxury rental properties; and her stepfather was a real estate developer who focused primarily on condominium conversions. Growing up in a household centered on real estate served as an early immersive educational experience. Harper basically lived a real-life fix-and-flip lifestyle, as her mother constantly bought new homes and renovated them herself while the family simultaneously lived in them for a few years, and then sold them for a profit before moving on to the next project.
As a teenager, Harper would accompany her parents on the weekends to tour open houses for inspiration and search for new investment opportunities, learning firsthand how to evaluate potential deals and the importance of attention to detail. “Attention to detail, ambition, and dedication are top of my list as far as skills that will lead to success in lending, real estate, and really any industry. In our industry specifically, I really think attention to detail is vital in all areas. For obvious reasons, details are important in all documentation and back-end processes. But even on the front lines, catching the details in any given scenario and being a good listener, can set your solution apart.” This, and other early lessons Harper picked up throughout her childhood, would serve as the foundation from which she would launch her career.
With a background like hers, it was unsurprising that Harper quickly became a realtor herself, where she learned the ropes on the sales side of the house before taking on a role in loan processing. And while she excelled at facilitating mortgage applications and coordinating the complexities of significant property transactions, Harper craved the direct personal involvement and dynamic nature of interfacing with key stakeholders, developing creative solutions to novel issues, and making deals happen.
This prompted Harper to search for alternative career opportunities, an initiative that led her to meet Chris Hanson in 2014 who was recruiting for a largely administrative-focused role for his small but growing company, Hanson Capital. Although the job description wasn’t exactly what Harper was looking for, something inside her told her it was the right decision for her in the long run as there was abundant opportunity for advancement. She felt her experience and skillset would make her a true asset to Hanson and his team at Hanson Capital—an industry leader and corporate culture from which she drew inspiration.
Based on her experience, Harper offers female professionals breaking into a new industry the following advice: “…find someone in a role you aspire to, that you respect, and take in all you can from their experiences.” She had a clear end-goal in mind but knew that she had to put in the sweat equity to be an effective player in such a competitive industry. This resolve proved immensely beneficial in her career, and Harper believes young female professionals should follow their dreams without feeling intimidated: “Don’t be afraid to work your way up, get your hands dirty, and learn the hard way. There’s no replacement for experience. They say nothing worthwhile is easy; it won’t happen overnight. So, if you’ve found something you’re passionate about, stay dedicated.” Those intuitions certainly proved true, as Harper has excelled since joining Hanson Capital and risen from the admin ranks to a full partner at the company.
Harper credits her meteoric rise in the private lending sector to her diverse professional background over which she accrued the requisite skills and diversified knowledge base to approach problems from a unique perspective. Harper notes, “Especially in private lending, where we’re focused on making logical decisions based on different assets and the surrounding circumstances, a background in different areas of the real estate industry was instrumental in my ability to quickly pick up and begin to innovate processes and add value.”
As a self-described problem-solver at heart, Harper genuinely enjoys overcoming challenges and delivering implementable solutions for her clients. “As an industry, we’re given the opportunity to creatively solve problems for our clients using our knowledge of the market. In some cases, we’re able to introduce solutions they didn’t even know were possible,” Harper says of her current role at Hanson. “Bringing relief or success through those solutions is the most rewarding part of my job. Our mission as a company is to create wins for our partners through real estate investment and creating those wins is my passion.”