Stay hungry, stay humble.”

“2017 … life was all over the place, and I was struggling to figure out my next steps,” Brett Selestay, a REALTOR® with Property Collective, begins, laughing as he recalls this time of his life.

That year, Brett was wrapping up his time as a full-time student at George Mason University, bartending five nights a week at two different bars, and his son had just turned two. Balancing so much left Brett feeling burnt out. He knew it wasn’t the life that he wanted long-term.

“I’d been interested in real estate for quite some time. One of my close friends, who I lean on pretty heavily for advice, said, ‘You always talk about real estate. Why don’t you give that a shot? If you fail, you’ll just be back in the same boat that you’re in today, so what do you have to lose?’”

Brett recognized the truth in his friend’s words and made up his mind — the following year would be different. And so, in 2018, he embarked upon a new professional endeavor.

Finding His Groove

In Brett’s first eight months, he closed $3.5 million. In 2019, he closed over $7 million, and in 2020, nearly $8 million.

“I spent my first year learning as much as I could about the business, and by my second year, things started to come together and really click for me. I really enjoyed the flexibility and ability to make my own schedule,” Brett explains. “Once I found success and realized the positive impact I was having by helping people achieve their real estate goals, I knew undoubtedly that this is what I am supposed to be doing.”

Through 2019, Brett continued to work at the bar to supplement his income as he grew his real estate business. But when COVID restrictions impacted the hospitality industry, Brett felt there was no better time to fully devote himself to real estate. That decision would pay off handsomely for Brett. In his first year as a full-time agent, 2021, he closed over $18 million in sales.  

The Big Vision

One of Brett’s long-term goals is to invest in real estate, and a banner year in 2021 has finally allowed him to embark upon that path.

“When I first got into real estate, I had a meeting with an industry veteran whom I looked up to, and I got the chance to pick his brain over coffee one morning. I asked, ‘If you could go back and start again, what would you do differently?’ He said, ‘If I could go back, I would have bought more real estate early and along the way.’”

So, Brett’s hope is to purchase two to three properties a year for the next decade and then reassess. He understands that he can’t build a rental portfolio overnight, but as the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.”

On Family and the Future

Outside of real estate, Brett has a full family life. He and his wife, Ghotbee, now have three children: Vincent (6), Yoona (4), and Eli (born December 2021). He enjoys music, spending time outdoors, traveling, and taking his family to baseball games at Nationals Park.

“The goal from here,” Brett says, “is to create and implement systems that will allow this level of business to be sustainable for me. Once is luck, twice is skill. So the name of the game for me is sustainability and growth. How can I take what I’ve accomplished this past year and bring it to the next level? I am always thinking about the future and what’s next.

“Another big key for me is work-life balance. My family is the most important thing to me. I’m trying to make sure I don’t miss those big moments in my kids’ lives. So my goal is to continue to grow my sales, year-over-year, while making sure I carve out time to be present with my family and friends. I feel that being disciplined enough to step outside of your business is just as important as being disciplined with what you do inside your business. They go hand in hand.”  

“My highest hope is to create the life I want and enjoy it along the way. I am 33, with my best years ahead of me. And that excites me.”