Author: Kelly Cruz, Customer Support Specialist – Realty Partners LLC
Sarasota, FL. October 19th, 2021 – From very humble beginnings in Germany to becoming the founder and CEO of Realty Partners, Thomas Heimann has had quite the journey to get to where he is today.
Growing up, Thomas’ passions were cooking and computers. His family could not afford a computer so he would sometimes skip school and find his way to the local department store that had the most recent computers on display. There, he would spend his day writing basic scripts and programs on the computer with no way of storing it; all for it to be gone the next day.
As he grew older he trained to be a chef and worked as an apprentice in a hotel restaurant. Thomas eventually moved to the U.S. from Germany and spent about two years in New York before settling down in Florida where he did a lot of odd jobs at different restaurants. He says that life was hard and he became a very negative person at that time. In 1988 he ended up living out of his car and a few nights a week at cheap motels where he could shower.
The turning point in Thomas’ life was Christmas Eve of 1988. It was 2am after he had just finished his shift at a restaurant in Downtown Tampa; when he realized that his car had been repossessed and with it, all of his belongings. Over the next two years Thomas was able to crawl himself out of this hole. He was car-less but managed to find himself a place to live just a 30 minute walk from his work.
Thomas had a lot of spare time on his hands and found himself spending time in bookstores where he was introduced to Tony Robbin’s book, “Unlimited Power”. His English was limited at the time but he says the 3 things that stood out to him were “your past does not equal your future”, goal setting, & affirmations. He then began his goal setting, and created a list of affirmations that he would repeat to himself on his walk to and from work everyday. Thomas says, “Tony Robbins changed his life completely.”
In 1990 he bought his first computer and was able to access online services. He learned how to market online and created a program called; The All In One Electronic Marketing, to teach others how to use the internet. Thomas saw that the web was the future and in 1994 he created the world’s first web hosting company. His company had partnerships with Microsoft and AOL and in 1997 it merged with another business which eventually went public. From there he moved on to start and co-founded several other tech companies, including a wireless company which eventually went public.
Thomas eventually built a consulting company and he was on the road every night. He was very burned out and it became bad for his personal life so he was looking for something new. With the help of a friend in 2003 he stumbled across real estate. He realized, “Wow, I can build a business where I don’t have to be on the road, and I can stay at home, and I decided to build a mega-team”.
In 2005 he became a broker and set up his own brokerage but he felt like he was a “hamster on a wheel” with a huge overhead. He attended a REALTOR event where Emeritus Awards were being given out and thought to himself, “I don’t want to be 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, still selling real estate.”; so he began looking for options. He researched other professions including law firms, accounting firms, and consulting firms and began to wonder why this wasn’t an option in real estate. In 2014, he decided to put a business plan into action for the real estate industry that was akin to a law firm, where agents would have a path to partnership. It took about a year and a half for Thomas to build the legal structure and in 2015 Realty Partners as we know it today was born.
Thomas started with just himself and word of mouth with his idea to “create the first truly agent owned company.” Realty Partners offers something that has never been seen in the Real Estate industry before; agents and associates of Realty Partners own the majority of the firm.
Since then, Thomas and his team have continued to grow and Realty Partners now serves the entire state of Florida. In 2020 Cloud Title, and The Real Estate Help Team (providing transaction coordinator services) were added in-house and his next agenda is to add lending.