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From entrepreneurship to 'The Apprentice' to the Las Vegas real estate market, John Gafford's tips for success are right here for those who want to learn.

John Gafford, Co-Founder of The Simply Group, Shares the Story of His Path to Success

The real estate industry is always evolving, and few agents are able to withstand the changes and stand out. The Simply Group has and is at the forefront of leading that change by rescuing the existing brokerage model and creating an elite customer experience. 

The company’s mission is “to vertically integrate the business of large real estate brokerages, through joint venture partnerships in mortgages, insurance, and titles.”

John Gafford is one of the founders of The Simply Group. Before venturing into real estate, he was a successful entrepreneur building and exiting successful businesses in the hospitality, insurance, and tech spaces. 

His experience and success resulted in Gafford being selected by Donald Trump out of over 1.8 million to compete on the third season of NBC’s “The Apprentice” in 2005. There he met Kendra Todd, the season’s winner, who led him into the real estate market.

The first Simply outfit, Simply Vegas, was started by Gavin Ernstone and three other agents. John was then at Keller Williams. He sold his interest in KW and bought out Gavin’s original partners in 2012. Within two years, the company was the third-largest in Nevada by volume and has maintained that position ever since. 

The Simply Group also includes Clear Title, a title insurance and closing company; Savvy, an insurance aggregator; and Streamline Home loans. The group presently operates partnerships in more than seven states with brokerage partners encompassing more than 100,000 real estate transactions annually.

Part of what makes Gafford unique is his ability to predict market shifts and catch them. He has also made every possible mistake in all of these industries and therefore knows what pitfalls to avoid. 

The Simply Group is also the only company that provides a complete vertical integration solution for mortgages, titles, and insurance. His innovativeness and creativity in his company’s marketing have also catalyzed their growth. 

Among Gafford’s notable achievements includes his expertise in scaling, building businesses, and sales development. It is also impressive that he has developed multiple seven-figure income streams in the real estate space.

The path to the top has not been easy because growing nationwide is a tough task when no one knows who you are. Gafford attributes his fame to the press and believes no press is bad press. Quoting his good friend, he says, “It doesn’t matter if people are talking good or bad about you; it’s when they stop talking that you have a problem.”

Gafford has also had to deal with unscrupulous and greedy people on his journey. However, he is a great believer in modern stoicism. He keeps several copies of Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle Is the Way at his desk and frequently gives them away. This book drastically helped him manage his emotions in times of need.

He wishes someone had told him early on that the relationship, not the deal, should be the focus in real estate. He believes when you leave your clients feeling like you gave them something they needed, there are bound to be more returns.

Gafford’s journey has just started. He wants 100 JV partnership shops opened in the future so they can exit to a private equity fund at 10X EBITA. Then he can continue angel investing and mentoring who’s next.

As the owner of the largest luxury real estate brokerage in NV, John Gafford is a sought-after contributor, speaker, and consultant in the real estate, entrepreneur, and sales spaces. 

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