Interview by: Sidda Bruno
Ryan Gomillion is a 2018 graduate from The University of Texas and a full-time Housing Scout agent. He started with Housing Scout in Fall 2016 when he was a student and has become a talented, seasoned agent. Here is a short interview we had with him to let you get to know him better.
What was your favorite food as a kid?
My mom, during a special occasion, would make a pot-roast that was really good. She would break out the crockpot and have it going for the whole day – so we would be tortured by the smell of it the whole time. This would be for holidays and birthdays if we asked really nicely. She has since taught me how to make it, it’s not super special but it was just her making it that makes it special. I still beg her to make it all the time.
What’s your favorite sport to watch?
It’s got to be college football for sure. It’s so exciting, watching them out there playing – it gives you the feeling that they’re playing for every second on the field. Every game matters, unlike NFL where they’re just out there for a paycheck. These college guys are playing for their careers, so I really enjoy the competitive aspect of it. I love it in person and on TV – it goes without saying but I’m a big UT fan.
Who is your idol?
This is going to sound silly, but it’s my future self. With everything that I am doing every day, I am keeping my future self in mind to make him proud. That’s where a lot of my motivation comes from. That being said, also my dad, too. He was very instrumental in my childhood in terms of getting me places that I needed to be and pushing me to be the best that I can be – so I really idolize him for that as well.
Do you have any quotes that you live by?
I have a few, I have a quote board where I keep track of the best ones that I find. One that I really enjoy is, “Do what you love with passion and excellence, and the money will follow”. That one is just the catch-all. There’s also one from a book (I don’t remember the name), “Don’t wish for a life of no problems, wish for a life of good problems”. Another one, to keep it on this theme, is “There are essentially two things that will make you wiser – the books you read and the people you meet”, by Charles ‘Tremendous’ Jones.
What is a book that you’d recommend?
Flowers for Algernon, it’s a fantastic book written by Daniel Keyes. It follows this story of this guy who goes through a controversial psychological experiment where — he is not a very intelligent person and so they put him through a trial that they tried on a mouse, named Algernon, where it increases their brain capacity. It works in a sense, and the book is written from his perspective so you can see how his intellect progresses throughout the book – the writing gets more succinct, with bigger words. It really stood out and the story is gripping too.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
The first thing I would do is pay off my debt, then my brother’s debt, then I would plan a huge trip and take as many people as I like to have around. We would go probably somewhere overseas – I enjoyed Greece when I went a few years ago. Maybe Amsterdam, or Germany – I really haven’t thought a lot about winning the lottery! And of course, invest.
What toy did you love to play with as a kid?
I remember that I had a box of army men that I played with a ton. The box was an old army box – metal and bulky where I kept them all. I would take them out and stack them up to play, I also had cars – hot wheels. I would combine them and it was a lot of fun.
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited?
There’s an island in Greece in the Cycladic Islands and it’s called Naxos. It’s a gorgeous island and right next to the port, there’s an old temple. It was a temple to Apollo and everything is demolished except for one archway at the entrance. The sun happens to set right through it if you look at it a certain angle, and that was really beautiful. The rest of the island has vineyards as well. I cannot recommend visiting enough.
Tell us about your dog!
My dog is a 90-pound, golden retriever. He’s an English cream golden, so his coat is white. He’s just the biggest love-ball ever, very food motivated, loves people, loves dogs, loves to play, tons of personality. People say that we have similar personalities, which I don’t really believe but we have grown up together too. You can’t help but look at him and smile.
Look how handsome Koda is!
Where are you from?
I am from a small town north of San Antonio called Boerne. It’s not very small anymore but when I was growing up it was smaller. I got really involved in outdoorsy-things and sports (soccer) because that’s most of what there was to do. Also, I had a lot of friends – that’s the thing about growing up in a small town is you know everybody. I enjoyed it and it holds a special place in my heart.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Charismatic, patient and driven.
Which holiday do you enjoy the most?
Thanksgiving. You get to eat everything, watch football, then fall asleep and do it all over again. I love spending time with my family and having our large Thanksgiving celebration as much as we can. It’s fun to just eat myself sick. Growing up, my dad wasn’t the biggest fan of turkey so it was a bit of a tradition to do everything but turkey. We had a Thanksgiving with brisket one year, a lasagna-Thanksgiving, a taco-Thanksgiving – we tried them all.
What is the best gift you’ve received?
I would have to say, my dog, Koda. He was a graduation gift when I graduated from UT. He’s been the best by far. He’s taught me a lot about myself and life – having that responsibility — their life is on your hands.
What’s your favorite restaurant right now?
With the weather the way that it is right now, Michi Ramen. It’s not a traditional ramen place, it’s kind of Americanized but it’s so good. I get their Meat Lovers Ramen and I just started doing the chicken broth, but the pork broth is good too. I usually add corn, peppers, and it comes with mushrooms, meat and it’s so good. When it’s cold, this is a go-to.
When do you feel the most creative?
I’d say between the hours between 8am-11:30am. This is also when I feel the most productive. I try and get all of my busy, thoughtful, creative work done in those hours of the day.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up and take Koda out, feed him, and then I make coffee and read for about an hour. After that, I meditate and then start my day. I used to jump into the day, but now with the morning routine I can ease into it and it makes the morning much more enjoyable.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?
I think it would be Ryan Serhant, a real estate broker in New York. He has a really incredible story, starting off as a hand model and then moved to New York and became an agent. He influences me quite a bit so I’d love to be able to meet with him and ask him questions. I’d ask him specifically about how it was starting out and his transitions in moving from different cities and fields and where he gets all his energy from too!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Koda, he doesn’t give me much chance. But also, just getting stuff done. I enjoy being productive and doing things even if it’s cleaning my apartment or going to the gym – I feel like the earlier I can get out of bed without feeling like a zombie, the sooner I get to feel that feeling. I chase productivity and make sure Koda isn’t mad at me.
What music do you like to listen to?
Right now, I’ve been really digging on two bands. There’s a band called Pinegrove and another called Destroyer. They’re both kind of Indie bands, but they’re pretty cool.
What are the activities you do for fun?
When I’m not working (which is fun, by the way, I do that for fun), I do like bowling. I go with friends and family – my dad got really into it and so the rest of us did too. I also really enjoy happy hours, and getting out – being with friends and trying new restaurants/foods. I’m always a sucker for the Hopdoddy happy hour. I know the bartenders now, so everybody takes care of me. I’ve been going to yoga this past couple of weeks, and reading, cooking, dog parks – all kinds of activities.
What’s a recent small victory for you?
There’s ton of little things, but there are a few big things too. I recently booked a trip to New Orleans with friends. I’ve been bugging myself about traveling to new places and I finally did it. It’s going to be such a fun group that I’m going with, I’ve never been and we’re going just after St. Patrick’s Day.
Why did you get your real estate license?
In truth, it was the best choice in front of me and it came at a perfect time. I had just done an internship that didn’t have any sort of renewal and I didn’t want to go back to bartending – when I got the email from Bobby Cave about becoming an agent. I had done sales before and I enjoyed it and I knew that real estate has a lot of opportunities if you’re good at sales. It was timing really.
What is a misconception about your job?
That I don’t do any work and that it’s easy. There are many things to juggle.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve encountered on a tour?
Actually, the other day we were touring a house and everything was good – they had a sweet cat that was accompanying us through the house. We get to the upstairs and they have a garden, complete with a running fountain and multiple plants – it covered all around this upstairs. Then, in the bathroom, I think they were mixing different kinds of soil in the bathtub. The bathtub was full of dirt and there was mud on the shower curtain…I had so many questions and I wish the tenants were there to answer. If you ever wonder where to put your dirt, it’s in the bathtub apparently. Another time, I thought that I walked in on someone who had died, but they were fine and that’s another story.
What are your favorite properties in West Campus?
I’m a big fan of Galileo (25th/San Gabriel) which is a great condo complex, I do like the new HillTop apartments, Regents West, and then there are sporadic condos out there that don’t have names. I like Rosewood Condos, Mark Twain Condos, and there’s a really nice 4-plex off of David St. in the back of west campus that is truly nameless that has natural lighting and wood floors.
How do you stay motivated in your work?
Helping people is a motivation in itself for me. Just meeting people and having an influence on their housing experience – really energizes me. I’m also achievement motivated. I like setting goals for myself and then really working to beat them. The goals get higher and higher and it’s gotten more and more fun to achieve them. Then, Koda, somebody has got to pay for the food. It all comes back to him.
How was your transition from being a student to doing Housing Scout full-time?
I decided to stay with Housing Scout after graduating because I felt like I hadn’t achieved all that I could. While I loved doing this while I was a student, obviously, my degree took importance and limited the time I could commit to this. So, having my full schedule ahead of me to commit to this excited me. I really wanted to see what I could do with it, so I jumped in and I knew that getting more experience would help further my career. It’s been wonderful.
What neighborhoods do you tour usually?
West Campus still dominates especially at the beginning of the season, but at this time of year I’m doing a lot of tour in North Campus and Hyde Park – even a few down south near Slaughter and William Cannon. Hyde Park holds a special place in my heart. There’s so many trees and every street you turn down is different from the last – I feel like I’m still finding new parts of Hyde Park every year.
How do you stay in business?
I’m lucky enough now that a lot of my leads come from past business and connections that I’ve made. My philosophy is that if you provide a really good service, then people are going to talk about it and refer people to you. I also am constantly listening and on the lookout for people who may need help with housing. I talk a lot with people in the leasing offices of different complexes and sometimes they’ll refer people to me. They come from all directions but past clients are the most flattering.
What are the aspects of this job that you love?
Getting to basically live House Hunters for my job. There are a lot of cool places, it’s fun – you never know what you’re going to get in to. Each client has their own set of challenges and having to be on my toes and constantly aware is one of my favorite parts.
What is a piece of advice you have for clients?
My advice for clients is to start early. The earlier you start, the better in terms of gathering what you’re looking for so that once availability comes out you can hit the ground running. It is a madhouse once pre-leasing starts. If you want to get the best place for your money, the coolest, or most unique spot, you need to be ready between October-November.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself staying in real estate and it would be really nice to be on track to having my own brokerage. Ten years may be a little too soon to have gained the experience that I want to have gathered, but on track. I’d also like to be starting a family and having a house and all of those wonderful things.
Anything to add??!
This job is a lot of fun, but the more serious you take it the better you’ll be. If you’re looking for housing, I’d love to show you what I can do.
What a good boy