Get to know the people behind the platform! Meet Trone Jefferson, an Account Executive at GROUNDFLOOR. We sat down with Trone to learn about his background, how he found GROUNDFLOOR, and what his favorite midday pick-me-up is.
Q: What do you do at GROUNDFLOOR?
I am an Account Executive. I help negotiate the terms of the loans we give to real estate investors. In a nutshell, I help crunch the numbers using GROUNDFLOOR's SEC-qualified proprietary grading algorithm to see whether or not we are able to give a loan to a given real estate investor, and what the terms and rates of that loan will be. So each time you see a loan open for funding on our platform, the interest rate and grade of that loan was in large part determined by me!
To do this, I consider a number of factors, the three biggest of which are the borrower’s credit score, the borrower’s experience, and the borrower’s “skin-in-the-game,” meaning how much of their own money they are putting into the project. I evaluate all of that to arrive at a determination of what GROUNDFLOOR is able to offer for interest rates and terms. After I determine a rate and a term for the loan, the loan is sent off for processing and closing.
Q: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Savannah, GA. I graduated from Savannah State University with a degree in Political Science, but I always knew that I was going to go into real estate. In fact, I knew even when I was in high school that real estate was the field for me -- I just always had a passion for it and a drive to learn all I could about it.
Q: How did you end up at GROUNDFLOOR? What is your experience?
I have spent 19 years in the real estate industry, and I’ve pretty much done everything! I started my career as a title manager at a real estate law firm. I’ve worked in loan processing and closing, I’ve managed loan operations, and I was in new home sales for over 10 years. Additionally, I have mentored real estate investors for the last four years, while also completing several of my own real estate projects as well.
That’s actually how I ended up finding GROUNDFLOOR. I was looking for financing for one of my own real estate projects, and a friend suggested I look into GROUNDFLOOR. I’d never heard of the company before, but after doing some research into it and learning about the deferred payment loan option, I was intrigued. No other lender offered terms like that -- it is truly unique, and I knew right away that the company had something to offer me.
I sent in my loan application on a Sunday night, and literally the Monday morning after, someone called me to talk about my project. Talk about great customer service! I was really blown away, and after chatting with the representative and learning more about GROUNDFLOOR’s mission and what they are trying to do, I knew I’d stumbled on something really special. I happened to ask about employment opportunities, and got connected to Patrick [Donoghue, General Manager]. I emailed Patrick my resume and he called me back the next day to bring me in for an interview.
Even though I hadn’t actually really been looking to change jobs before, the opportunity just kind of fell in my lap, and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. All told, the interview process took just two weeks, and throughout the process everyone was so nice and welcoming. The rest is history!
I love that my unique experience of having been in the real estate industry and doing my own flips gives me the advantage of being able to talk with real estate investors in their own language. Everything that they are going through with their real estate projects, I have also been through myself. I especially think the fact that I have financed my own project through GROUNDFLOOR is really invaluable, especially when I talk to real estate investors about getting a loan through the company. I can really speak to the process, how helpful GROUNDFLOOR really is, and how they support real estate investors all along the way.
Q: Can you give a little snapshot of what you/your team’s day-to-day looks like?
My role begins once a loan application is completed and sent in. I examine the application and speak with the borrower to obtain the required documentation and to talk about the particulars of the project. I use all of that information to determine first if the project is a fit for a GROUNDFLOOR loan and, if so, what interest rate and terms we can offer to the borrower. Afterwards, the loan is sent off to be processed, closed, and then listed on our platform for funding from the crowd.
My position also entails going to real estate events and gatherings to help spread the word about GROUNDFLOOR. Pretty much every day of the week there is something going on that we can participate in, so I’d say I go to about five events per week.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
I really love the opportunities I have to meet and connect with other real estate professionals. I love hearing about everyone’s different stories -- every real estate investor is different and has different challenges they face and different things they need to be successful. I enjoy the ability to educate people on our company and how we work hard to meet real estate investors where they are, with products that will address their unique needs.
A lot of people believe that flipping houses is super easy -- I guess we have HGTV to thank for that -- but in reality, it’s not like what is shown on television at all. I can speak to that firsthand because I’m a house flipper myself, which I think really allows me to connect in a unique way with the real estate investors I meet. I get asked a lot if I have ever flipped a house before, and I love that I can say yes, that I know exactly what real estate investors go through, and that I can be real with them.
Q: What is your favorite midday pick-me-up?
I call home a couple of times a day to check in with my wife, and each time I can hear my beautiful two-year-old daughter in the background saying “Hey Daddy!” It just absolutely makes my day every time.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
I’m not sure if it qualifies as a hidden talent per se, but I pride myself on being a motivator. I love helping people live their best lives by helping them identify what it is they really want to do, what their goals are and how to work meaningfully towards them.
I am also very involved with my church - my wife is actually a minister, and I really enjoy being among the church leaders. We have a very close-knit church community and it brings me a lot of joy to serve them.
Q: What is your favorite item on your desk?
It has to be the picture of my family!
Thanks so much, Trone - we are fortunate to have you as part of the team!