When the United States housing bubble burst in 2010, it affected over half of all U.S. states and was referred to as “the most significant risk to our economy” by the Secretary of Treasury at the time. As a result, financial expert David Stanger decided to dedicate his extensive career to helping individuals mitigate financial loss caused by the recession. Fueled by his passion for helping people navigate the uncertainty of foreclosure, he is tackling this problem, one client, at a time.
David Stanger was born and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey. Upon completing his Bachelor of Talmudic Law from Beth Medrash Govoha, he went on to study Real Estate Finance and Investment at NYU SCPS. After investing in residential properties for several years, he went on to establish his own company in 2010. Today, he remains as the VP of the Westmarq Real Estate Group, where he helps clients with their real estate and foreclosure issues.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love being able to help people. A home is more than just real estate, it is comfort, security, and protection. I have been lucky to live in sustainable housing my entire life and want to help others do the same. After the housing bubble burst during the 2010 recession, nearly ten million people lost their homes to foreclosure sales in the U.S. between 2006 and 2014. Those numbers broke my heart, and it was at that point that I knew I needed to do something. For me, this is more than just a job, it is a way to be of service to those in greatest need at a moment of sheer vulnerability.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
On a typical day, I wake up early in the morning, between five and seven (depending on the day) and start my morning ritual. Sometimes this time consists of exercise, meditation, or just reading a book. After this, I head into the office and respond to any pressing e-mails and internal business before spending time with staff and clients to tackle whatever is on the agenda for that day. Every day is different, but sometimes this includes meetings, paperwork, and coordination.
How do you motivate others?
Short answer: encouragement. Most people are able to perform far beyond their capabilities but fall short because they lack confidence. Most people have a negative internal dialogue, allowing themselves to reinforce the belief that they are not smart, talented, or capable; they rely on feedback from others to feel confident, and it is my job to try and show them that confidence comes from the inside. The more you praise someone when they do things well, the more likely it is that they will feel connected to their work and have a sense of self confidence in their abilities. Unfortunately, a lot of companies focus on mistakes and negative reinforcement, and that only produces poor results for the individual and their productivity.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
Through founding and working with clients at Westmarq Real Estate Group, I have become an excellent decision-maker. There are situations when time is of the essence and being able to make quick and decisive decisions or recommendations is paramount to my success as a leader. One of the best ways to do this is to stay calm during the decision-making process, despite the natural inclination to become overwhelmed. It has been scientifically proven that stress causes an uptake in cortisol, a hormone that boosts risky decision-making. To combat this, I take a brief moment to myself, take a few deep breaths, and return calm and collected.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
One of the hardest obstacles I have had to overcome is allowing myself to become too emotionally invested in my clients. Don’t get me wrong, I do everything I do for my clients, but I have had to try and reduce how much of their plight I carry with me. If I am going to help people in a real and meaningful way, I have to separate myself a little bit from the situation in order to make decisions that will benefit them in the long run and allow me to remain clear-headed and on task.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
The best piece of advice I have ever gotten was that if I did not help myself, I would never be able to help others. I used to think that investing time in myself, my health, and my hobbies was selfish, but I had it backwards. When I take care of myself through healthy eating, exercise, and mindset practices, I am able to give my clients one hundred percent of my focus, instead of fifty. Now, I would rather spend eight focused hours working, instead of fourteen unfocused hours that lead to an inevitable burnout.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Don’t give up when things get difficult. In my life, I have dealt with my fair share of failure, and it has only made me stronger. If I had given up when obstacles and adversity came my way, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Having worked with clients facing foreclosures on their homes, I am reminded every day of the unbreakable nature of the human spirit. Even when people are faced with the prospect of losing their homes, I have seen such incredible strength of will and character to persevere, and that inspires me to do the same—no matter what.
Where do you see you and your company in five years?
I see myself and my company still helping people deal with foreclosures on their homes on a grander scale. Despite the recession being over a decade ago, people are still dealing with the ramifications of the housing bubble bursting. We are currently dealing with another social and economic crisis due to COVID-19 and I fear that the losses will be even more profound. We are already seeing some of the effects with many currently out of work and stock markets all over the world falling. When conditions improve, we will be there. My primary hope is to be able to expand our business and overall operations to be able to help even more people at a faster rate.