“We thought technology companies would be our safety net because they were not new, like the internet startups, which had so much risk. That prediction was wrong,” Sharga recalled ruefully. “The tech companies cut their marketing budgets to just about zero when everything collapsed. There were literally no marketing jobs across the country.” Sharga struck out on his own as a consultant with “four or five people from the company,” he said. “RealtyTrac became one of my clients in that practice.” RealtyTrac (today’s ATTOM Data Solutions) was, at that time, a regional company selling REO leads to local realtors. Later, when RealtyTrac’s CEO
wanted to take the company national and, as Sharga described it, “democratize foreclosure data for anyone who was interested in buying those types of properties,” the consultant was clearly a good fit for RealtyTrac’s new vice president of marketing position. Sharga intended to remain with the new company just long enough to build
a marketing department and launch the brand before returning to his consulting practice. Instead, he remained with RealtyTrac and became its primary public voice for the next eight-and-a- half years. During that time, he would become the public’s primary narrator for the mid-2000s housing crash as well. THE HOUSING CONVERSATION MUST BE SIMPLE When the foreclosure crisis overwhelmed the housing market in 2007 and 2008, Sharga found himself squarely in the limelight. His relatively abbreviated background in real estate represented a huge advantage for him professionally. A branding expert with access to housing data and the ability to put that data and its context into simple terms was just what the entire country needed during the housing meltdown. “I spoke to reporters in terms that I could understand. As it turned out, that made a complicated process somewhat simple,” Sharga said. In conjunction with his exclusive access to RealtyTrac’s database of foreclosures and the absence of any need for damage control, his profile in the industry and in industry news coverage skyrocketed. “No one else wanted to talk about the foreclosures that were already hap- pening or the wave that was coming,” Sharga said. “Other parties that might have had similar data to ours, such as lenders and some policy-makers, would not really have benefited from that discussion.” He began receiving high
FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS, Rick Sharga has been the voice of change in the real estate industry. That is not something the now-renowned housing and foreclosure expert will ever tell you he saw coming. When Sharga, now executive vice president at Carrington Mortgage Holdings, joined the real estate space in 2004, the national housing market was still going full throttle. Sharga had spent two decades in marketing before entering the real estate industry: first as a branding expert for technology companies during the dot-com era and then, when that market “imploded,” as he describes it, as an independent consultant.
DATA DEMOCRATIZATION: Making information in a digital format accessible to the average end user. The goal of this process is to enable non- specialists to gather and analyze data without outside help.
Sharga proudly participates in Carrington Charitable Foundation's support of more than 100 charities, including signature program Veterans Airlift Command, which provides free air transport to post 9/11 combat veterans and their families.
volumes of what he terms “4 a.m. calls” in his California office from East Coast analysts and reporters wanting to know when RealtyTrac data would be released for the day. “It was a lightning-in-a-bottle moment, and I became a subject-matter expert in foreclosures even before I was a subject-matter expert in broader real estate issues. Analyzing that foreclosure data and the housing crash really was my accidental entry into the world of real estate,” Sharga explained. He remained at RealtyTrac until 2011, when he took a job with Carrington Holding Company. He helped bring the company’s multiple real estate- and mortgage-related services businesses under one banner and build awareness for the company’s charitable foundation, which supports numerous local and national
nonprofits and focuses on assisting wounded veterans and their families. Sharga departed Carrington in 2013 to work with online auction giant Auction.com and later, its parent company Ten-X. “The idea of being at the leading edge of a technology wave with a company aspiring to become as ubiquitous as eBay in the real estate market was, frankly, very appealing,” he admitted. “It was a very interesting time.” However, when Ten-X opted to exit the retail side of the housing market, Sharga knew the time had come to return to Carrington. Fortunately for the company, he arrived just in time for one of the most controversial lending announcements to be made since the housing recovery began, when Carrington debuted its “nonprime loan” earlier this year.
Carrington was founded in 2003 as Carrington Capital Management and grew to manage more than $1 billion in assets in just three years. Today, Carrington companies work in sync to provide nationwide real estate services encompassing nearly all aspects of single-family residential real estate transactions.
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