Pam Brown Courtney is a real estate developer/investor and educator. She’s also the only person I know of that has built a 51 home subdivision from scratch. Obviously, we had to know more about this amazing woman.
How did you get started in Real Estate?
A friend of mine’s mother was a real estate investor and I started volunteering to help her keep up with her files, collect her rent, and help her clean out her rental houses. So the more I volunteered to help her, the more she taught me and the more she taught me the more I liked it. The more I like it, the more I loved it, and the more I loved it was the more I asked her about it. That’s how she taught me and that’s how I got started.
What inspired you to develop Covenant Cove Community?
I saw this amazing community in Little Rock that looked similar to mine, in my opinion. It had the same kind of feel to it. It was cute and it was small. It was just a nice little community. So I went over there to the community to look around at some of the houses, and the people weren’t friendly toward me.
I didn’t want to live in a neighborhood where people weren’t friendly. So, I went home and said, “You know what, I can build my own community like that and I’ll be nice to the people that live there.” That’s exactly where the idea came from.
How did you locate and decide on the location for Covenant Cove?
The Universal God gave the location to me. I’d like to make it sound really fancy like I hired some architects, engineers, realtors, prospect lookers and investors. That sounds real professional and all of that. But the real prophetic thing is that I asked the Universal God to help me.
I told Him I was new at this; and I needed some guidance and direction. He sent me to a vacant piece of land and said, “Here it is right here.” I don’t even think it had a for sale sign on it. It was just a vacant piece of woods and the Universal God said, “This is it. This is what I’ve been saving for you.” That’s the truth. I know it doesn’t sound all fancy, but I’ve got to give it to you. That’s just the way I received it.
One of your renovation projects in particular seems to have special personal meaning. Can you explain why the Ponder’s Drug Store project may be especially important to you?
Ponder’s Drug Store has special meaning to me because I am a Little Rock Central High alumna, class of 1982. The older I get the more I realize the benefit of being able to graduate from Little Rock Central High School.
With all that happened in 1957, Ponder’s is really dear to me because Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock 9, tried to escape the loveless behavior of the mob that was being rude to her and she went to Ponder’s and they locked the door in her face and wouldn’t let her in.
So now that we own Ponder’s, we are going to unlock the door and allow everybody that’s anybody to join in with all the good things we have to offer them with our upcoming Student Educational Historic District.
The district will be the new home of Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, Professional Development and so much more for all students.
Why is it important for you to speak to the younger generation about real estate?
It’s important to me because someone invested that into me. Someone planted the seed of hope in me. I’m not going to say that every young person should get involved in Real Estate. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they should. What I do think is true is that I want to expose young people to Real Estate and what’s available in the Real Estate world.
With that being done, they get to decide. You can’t choose to do something if you don’t know it exists. So my job is just to plant the seed and to create options. That’s one of my favorite words, “Options”. I like you to know what options are available; and if I expose you to them, now you know they exist and you get to do with that information what you wish. But you can’t decide what you want to do if you don’t know it exists.
What advice do you have for new Real Estate Investors?
Oh my goodness! What advice do I have for beginners in Real Estate? Take my course! Spend some time with me. That’s the most important thing you should do in my opinion. Why should you take my course?
Because I’m going to teach you how not to make a lot of the mistakes I made, and most importantly, I’m going to make sure that you learn Real Life Real Estate and not just learn enough about the Real Estate market where you can go out and be dangerous. I don’t want you to go out and make mistakes and you find yourself in a worse situation than what you were in before you got started. That’s not what I want. I want you to learn the basics of Real Estate.
The foundational principles of real estate do not change. They don’t change if you’re doing a $100 dollar deal or if you’re doing a $1 million dollar deal. So I want my students to learn the basics of doing Real Estate right.
The advice I give to them is: take your time, do your due diligence, and study, study, study. What does that mean? The old people used to say, “Measure twice and cut once.”
I say measure three or four times and then cut once. So do your due diligence before you sign your name on the dotted line. That’s the most important thing. Before you sign your name on the dotted line, do your due diligence.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)