September 8, 2014

Single, teen mom turned realty broker spawns lucrative business

Photo | Pablo Robles
Photo | Pablo Robles
Roberta Hoskie, president of Outreach Realty Servicing in New Haven, uses her brokerage skills and knowledge to teach people the power of building wealth through real estate.
Stan Simspon
Photo | Pablo Robles
Roberta Hoskie talks shop with one of her Outreach Realty Servicing clients Shaquana Towe. Hoskie encourages many of her pupils to invest in multi-family homes because they offer income and equity. 

Life was dire for Roberta Hoskie 20 years ago.

The New Haven woman was 17, pregnant, no longer in school and receiving about $417 in state assistance. She eventually attended Gateway Community Technical College and two years later secured an internship at Yale, sorting mail in a pediatric office.

Hoskie saved what little money she earned. Through a novel Elm City first-time buyer program that allowed her to contribute only $1,500 toward the purchase, Hoskie bought a four-family home for $88,000 in 1995. The $1,100-a-month mortgage was covered by one of the units.

So, at 21, Hoskie was a single mom, working and living rent free with $1,500-a-month income from the rents. Five years later the multi-family house was worth $300,000. Hoskie sold it and received a closing check for more than $200,000. She reinvested that return into buying (and flipping) more real estate.

Today, as a licensed real estate broker and owner of Outreach Realty Servicing on Whalley Street in New Haven, Hoskie can see her former Norton Street home in the Beaver Hills section from her office window.

"God is awesome,'' she said. "I know it sounds cliché, but if you can believe it, you can achieve it. You have to wholeheartedly put your mind and thought process to it. You can achieve it, but it's not easy."

She's gone from welfare to fairing quite well. Her life purpose these days is to teach — through seminars and a pilot reality TV show she is pitching — others the power of building wealth through real estate. Hoskie's top advice for first-time buyers is no surprise: Buy a multi-family home, a place that will guarantee you income and equity. It will take, she says, sacrifice and discipline.

"If you can't plan your life, what can you plan?'' said the mother of three children, whose family now lives in a 3-bedroom raised ranch in West Haven. "A lot of times I think people are intimidated by investing in real estate because it may seem like it's very intricate. But the program I put together is very simple and modeled after what I did in my life. I believe if I go back and share with people and mentor people it can make a tremendous difference in their life."

Outreach Realty Servicing earns close to $1 million in revenue with its sales, development and property management services. There are two employees and affiliations with 20 independent contractors. Sixty percent of the business is sales; 30 percent is in development; and 10 percent property management.

Hoskie is hopeful that her proposed Connecticut reality show — CT Moneymakers — will further spread her mantra about home ownership. She is also working on a project to develop a 40-unit affordable housing complex in New Haven.

Hoskie's professional experience in real estate spans more than a decade, and longer if you include the successful flip of her first property. Prior to real estate, she was the chief departmental administrator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. There, Hoskie oversaw business protocols and procedures. She also helped manage a grants and operating budget totaling $56 million. An Associate's Degree in office administration was earned from Gateway; she studied toward a business management degree at Quinnipiac University, but did not graduate.

She opened Outreach Property Management in 2004, which spawned a nonprofit housing advocacy group — Outreach Foundation. Hoskie started a real estate school in 2011 and a few months after that launched Outreach Realty Servicing.

Life as an entrepreneur can be daunting, she says. To stay focused, she sets daily goals, vigilantly manages her time, engages her network and keeps a positive mindset.

The harrowing experience as a teenage mom on state assistance has taught her perseverance and how to deal with adversity.

"You can't allow yourself to get discouraged,'' Hoskie said. "Every obstacle has been my biggest opportunity. My attitude is to say 'this problem I'm having now is going to make me stronger. I live my life that way."

Stan Simpson is the host of "The Stan Simpson Show", which airs Saturdays, 5:30 a.m, on FoxCT and online at Foxct.com/stan.

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