Air Force veteran built a multimillion-dollar real estate empire by following her instincts.
When it comes to success in the United States military, training is certainly imperative. However, some of the most inexplicable acts of gallantry displayed throughout the history of war have occurred when motivated individuals followed their instincts and took the initiative. The same can be said of those who have found success long after they set aside the uniform. When Benaisha Poole-Watson joined the United States Air Force, she did so on the first occasion she spoke with a recruiter. Nearly 20 years later, her instincts would tell her to get her real estate license, though she had never had any intention to step into the industry. Within a few years, she was the master and commander of her own multimillion-dollar real estate empire as she followed her instincts towards unprecedented success.
The Long and Winding Road to Real Estate Success
Prior to 1996, Benaisha worked in L.A. while attending college. Neither real estate nor life in the military had ever crossed her mind. That’s when a college professor pulled her aside and asked her what she wanted to do. For reasons she can’t remember, she said she wanted to work for the IRS. The professor handed her a number and told her to call it in four years. While thinking she was holding the golden ticket somehow, she had no idea what she was going to do until those four years were up.
After hearing about a friend who was joining the Army, she impulsively decided to drive to the service recruiting offices. Standing outside surveying the various branches, her instincts told her to walk into the Air Force recruiting office. Despite having no such plans, she signed up for the Air Force that very day. The next four years took her from L.A. to Idaho and to Korea and beyond. She eventually came back to California where she served in the reserves before she took a job as a flight attendant. As fate would have it, she was working on 9-11, the monumental event that would usher a new season of life for Benaisha.
Prayer and Instincts
After 9-11, Benaisha had the opportunity to return to active status and then took advantage of a small window that allowed her to transfer to the Department of Justice as a law enforcement officer back in L.A. This later became a role with the newly formed Department of Homeland Security where she served in multiple locations to include time undercover. The position required her to move regularly, in large part to her biannual promotions, where she then purchased a new home in each location and rented it out when she was forced to move again.
Remarkably, Benaisha still had no interest in real estate though she was unknowingly building the foundation of her future real estate portfolio. Her last move took her to Dallas as she was told it would be the route to her next big promotion. Three years passed and the promotion never came. She prayed over what she was supposed to do and ultimately felt she was meant to get her real estate license. Within four months she had her license and nearly as soon as she was a newly minted agent, the phone inexplicably rang.
In 2015, an out-of-town, all-cash buyer was looking to purchase a home. The very first time Benaisha opened the door to show a house, she sold it. The buyer was impressed and was hungry for more. As she continued to build relationships with real estate investors, Benaisha sold a remarkable 200 homes within her first year. The second year she sold 350 homes and 380 in the third year. Her instincts and prayers had apparently steered her correctly as her success was nearly unprecedented in the real estate industry. In 2018, she formed Bailey-Watson Real Estate with a friend. Bailey-Watson picked up agents in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, L.A., Virginia, Louisiana, and New Jersey within the first year. Currently, Bailey-Watson is on track to close over $60 million in transactional sales in 2019 alone.
After sitting down with fellow veteran and real estate thought leader Andy Williams, it didn’t take long for Andy to realize the world needed to hear her story. As the founder of Recon Realty, Andy has been leading the Veterans Buy America initiative to teach veterans what is possible through the power of real estate. Few have displayed the power of that possibility better than Benaisha Poole-Watson. Benaisha took note of Andy’s success on his HGTV show and has visions for her own path into the media market. Veterans Buy America stands to highlight the success of Benaisha and other veterans to inspire others to follow. After all, as Andy regularly makes clear, “who better to own a piece of America than those who fought to defend it.” As veterans like Benaisha and Andy continue to buy up a larger piece of the American pie that is real estate, the future of the nation looks to be in good hands.