“I’ve always had a business mindset,” says Kenneth Cano. That mindset spurred him to get his real estate license in 2016 while still serving as active military in the U.S. Air Force. His plan was to get his real estate career going by selling homes part time. His number one source of business: fellow service members at Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County, Ariz.
Each time Cano, an agent with Best Homes Real Estate, helps his clients close on a home, he posts a photo of them holding a large red “sold” sign in front of their new abode on Instagram. All those signs caught the attention of the producers of “First-Time Buyer,” a new National Association of REALTORS® reality series. Cano was invited to be on the show along with two of his real-life clients, who did, in fact, buy the home they chose in the episode.
Cano was surprised by the schedule of 10 to 12 hours of filming each day for a week. He had to learn how to project his voice on camera, but the more he did it, the more comfortable he felt.
The El Paso, Texas, native saw a lot of potential in the Phoenix area when he was stationed at the base beginning in 2014. He fell in love with the diverse array of neighborhoods around the metro area and liked the city’s proximity to California, Las Vegas, and Mexico. Plus, the weather was a draw. All those factors persuaded him to make Phoenix home for the long term.
Because Cano’s clients at the beginning of his career were all from the base, they could use Veterans Affairs loans to fund their mortgage. By the time Cano left the Air Force after nearly six years of service, he was an expert in that process and everything else it takes to help military personnel find homes that meet their needs. From that point on, Cano concentrated on real estate full time.<>Cano hopes his episode will shine a light on how to help active military members while inspiring other real estate pros to find their own niche. Understanding the basics of various loan products is one of the best ways for an agent to hone their skills within a niche, he says.
“Educate yourself about how options and packages differ,” he says. “It’s also something you learn as you sell.”
While at one time Cano thought his niche would become house flipping, it turned out that his passion, above all else, is helping Air Force members navigate the buying and selling process. “I used the military as a vehicle to find my calling,” he says. “I knew if I put in the same hours and same level of work I did in the military, I’d do well.”