Nearly 30 years after playing for the Detroit Lions, All Pro running back Billy Sims is ready to test his mettle in real estate.[IMAGE]
The 1978 Heisman Trophy winner announced that he has partnered with Detroit businessman David ""Chief"" Tomby to start a minority investment firm.
Sims said he got the idea from watching a report about the Federal Reserve that said Canadian investors are buying the majority of luxury homes on tape in the United States, while Chinese companies are purchasing urban homes.
The next step to forming the idea came when Sims and Tomby looked into the market for minority investment firms and found none. The problem they found was that most banks they talked to required a minimum purchase of $3-5 million.
""We took the liberty of contacting people in the industry, asking why they thought this was the case-no minority participants,"" said Sims. ""The common answer was because they simply don't have the cash to make the minimum purchase.""
With that in mind, the partners formed American, Canadian & Chinese Venture Investment Group (ACCV). The company will consist of seven separate joint-venture companies which will give ACCV the resources necessary to make several million-dollar purchases at the same time.
According to Sims, ACCV already has a backer in Idaho and is prepared to make its first buy of at least $5 million.
The difficulty, he said, is in trying to get the major banks, along with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD, to take note of the ACCV's ideas. Sims and Tomby are currently working to patent a unique concept designed to turn foreclosures into rentals, managing thousands of scattered rental properties at one time. They have sent letters to all the major institutions in hopes of attracting attention and getting a chance to demonstrate their management idea with 2,000-5,000 homes.
ACCV's ultimate hope is to use its foreclosure-to-rental concept to solve the foreclosure glut. Sims asserted that he and ACCV will save the GSEs millions of dollars and the aggravation of dealing with the squatters and neighborhood blight that come with vacancies.
""We just want to be taken seriously,"" said Sims. ""Our deal can clear [the mess of foreclosures] up and move the economy. That's a lot to say for a small company.""