F or entrepreneurs like Kevin Ortner and Greg Rand, prob- lems equal opportunity. And as far as problems go, you can’t get much bigger than the Great Recession in the late 2000s and early 2010s. When the $8 trillion housing bubble burst in 2008, it spurred the loss of 8.4 million U.S. jobs that equaled about 6.1 percent of all payroll employment, according to the Economic Policy Institute. As the stock market tanked, millions of homeowners experienced foreclosure, and home prices sank 33 percent nationwide by 2011. But instead of joining the throngs dumping homes and emptying their

portfolios, Ortner and Rand set out to address the housing crisis in their own way. Though they didn’t know one another at the time, the men were independently deploying solu- tions that targeted the same chal- lenge: Helping investors and home- owners during one of the largest economic downturns in U.S. history. Ortner opened the first Renters Warehouse franchise in Phoenix, while Rand launched OwnAmerica in Mooresville, North Carolina. “The genesis of both companies was a different answer to the same prob- lem,” Rand said. “At the same time, in a different part of the country, we were looking at the exact same crisis and

saying, ‘There’s going to be an invest- ment boom on the other end of this thing because [the real estate market] is coming back.’ The common thread was that it was a temporary problem. It's understandable, it's explainable, it was self-inflicted, and the market is going to come screaming back.” In 2010, Rand launched the tech-fu- eled OwnAmerica marketplace for single-family rental investment, of- fering investors access to deals, data on market fundamentals, population trends, employment stats, and price performance. It would eventually grow to be one of the nation’s largest investment marketplaces for sin- gle-family rentals, facilitating thou-

16 | think realty magazine :: may / june 2019

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