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Salem Rising Star: Trevor Howard, Top Young Real Estate Investor

Written by Luis Ramirez on May. 22nd, 2024
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Trevor Howard was named the Salem Business Journal’s Rising Star as a Real Estate professional making significant moves in the community.

Howard is a local, growing up in Keizer and going to high school at Blanchet Catholic. Upon graduating, he played basketball at Linfield before giving up basketball and transferring to Oregon State to study engineering. 

The goal was to build a long career as an engineer, but he quickly burned out and realized this wasn’t the path he wanted to take. 

“I hated engineering and looked down at my desk and wanted to figure out how to make money quicker and come up with the idea on how to do that,” Howard said. “It wasn’t what I saw myself doing and I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle forever.”

His goal was to generate and build wealth as quickly as possible. As soon as he graduated from college, he began putting 90 percent of his income into his stock and retirement accounts.

While doing his research, he came across a podcast about real estate investing and how to build wealth and develop financial freedom.

“I started buying all the real estate books I could, heard about a thing called house hacking, where I bought a house and had roommates move in,” Howard said. A switch turned on in my brain that I could buy houses and turn them into rentals. I bought two houses and started covering my expenses.”

Howard was able to secure owner occupied loans, buy, and move into the house for a few months and then repeat the process. 

“My plan at that time was to buy one house a year for 10 years and to simplify the process, I started getting my real estate license and become a broker,” Howard said. “However, I needed a job to get loans, so I started partnering with people and got commercial loans.”

Eventually he met Gabe Johansen, the President, and CEO of SMI Real Estate. Johansen gave him some advice, which eventually allowed him to buy a 2.4-million-dollar apartment complex and land a job with his company.

Howard’s original goal for himself was to have passive income, but then he learned how much wealth he could create by focusing on the long term so decided to become a Real Estate Broker himself. 

“I was brokering and eventually started working for SMI and that’s when I learned how to scale and started buying hundreds of apartment complexes,” Howard said. “We were growing our firm and now we help people begin investing and get their investment portfolios. We’ve bought 15 million worth of real estate and right now, we’re trying to build out the brokerage team and take it to different markets.”

In his current role, he helps SMI buy commercial properties, which include 10 or more apartment units. 

“I like having something to work for, we can work on it every day and continue to improve and there’s a whole community of people within it. We’re trying to create a multi-billion investment firm.”

Beyond work, Howard challenges himself physically by training for half ironman’s and running up all the peaks in the Bend area.

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