Corey Lancaster was the kind of kid who went to the store to buy candy, then turned around and sold it for a profit at school. Savvy and willing to work, he earned whatever he could by cutting grass, doing chores around the house, and saving his birthday money.
He shared a room with his brother, Carlos, and the two were inseparable. To this day, they still do everything together as lifelong business partners who continue to look out for each other.
“Carlos has always been a good influence on me,” Corey reflects. “Although we are two different personality types, I have learned a lot from him. He is a very good people person and seems to connect with all kinds of people. I noticed this when we attended school together, so I kept a watchful eye on how he connected with people and took notes in my head.”
Corey was so focused on earning money through high school that when he graduated, he opted to continue working at Reagan Airport instead of going to college. “I was one of the people who used to drive the vehicle that pushed the airplane back from the gate, cleaned the planes, etc. But after doing that for a while in extreme weather, I said to myself, ‘Maybe I should try the college thing out.”
Aware of his proclivity for money management, Corey decided to major in accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant; meanwhile, his brother decided to follow suit. They shared an apartment and started their accounting careers simultaneously, each finding jobs in the private sector.
Then, one day in 2002, while Corey was riding the bus to work with a friend, he was introduced to a book that would change his life forever: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
“This was the moment I knew I didn’t want to be an employee the rest of my life,” Corey recalls. “After reading the book, I started thinking of how I could be a business owner, and real estate was a potential option to do just that.”
Corey later confided in another friend about his desire to pursue real estate, and the friend mentioned an upcoming seminar to flip homes with no money down taking place that same week. So he invited his brother to join him and they went with an open mind. “What we heard made sense. Of course, the FREE seminar was the pitch to sell the two-day, $3,000 seminar coming the following month. We invested in that seminar and our real estate careers started,” Corey recalls.
The Lancaster brothers started investing in real estate in 2002 and bought a bachelor pad together. As investors, however, they needed access to data that only REALTORS® could provide. Eventually, they grew frustrated trying to glean information and both decided to obtain their own licenses.
Corey left a well-paying job as a CPA to devote himself full-time to real estate, and, in 2005, the brothers opened their own brokerage, Exit Right Realty. Everything was going great … and then 2008’s housing bubble burst.
“I have this picture in my head of the actual moment it hit me,” Corey remembers. “I was on vacation at the time, and when I returned, it felt like everything was crashing. Deals were falling through; loans were not getting funded at the settlement table after getting approved … it was one of the scariest times of my life. My brother and I had just taken on a lot of debt to open the brokerage.”
Fortunately, Corey was already familiar with short sales as an investor, which gave him a leg up. Moreover, because both brothers were accountants and knew how to manage with low overhead, their office soon began to thrive while the competition was eliminated.
“I believe my faith is the number 1 reason for my success,” Corey notes. “In this business, you can get knocked around, up one moment and down the next. When those hard moments come, you need something to draw upon for strength to get you through. Many times, the challenge is something out of your control. So for me, I always put it in God’s hands.”
While his faith carried Corey through difficult times, his commitment to serving people by delivering his absolute best is what kept his business growing. “Everyone deserves great service, whether they are selling a $150,000-home or a $3-million home. My level of service is constant.”
Surprisingly, Corey also credits having children with helping his business succeed. “The interesting thing is, when I started having kids, which obviously meant I had less time, I had to become more efficient. And being more efficient allowed me to do more business,” he explains. Corey and his wife, Leslie, have three children, Isabella (11), Sebastian (10), and Francesca (8).
While Corey has always made family a priority outside of real estate, he is focused on his family more than ever these days. “This pandemic has reminded me that Jesus could call me home at any moment, so I want to make sure my wife and kids remember me well when that day comes.”