From bars to restaurants to one of the state’s largest bail bond companies, Greg Sanford has owned more than 20 businesses over the past 30 years. Now he’s put that entrepreneurial spirit to good use in opening Greg Sanford Real Estate, LLC, in June.
Sanford is the owner and broker and has hired fellow realtors Jenny Oakes and Annie Alexander. The agency specializes in residential, commercial, land, and farm transactions throughout Middle Tennessee.
“We go the extra mile. We have some cutting-edge technology like on our website,” Sanford said. “I’ve personally developed large tracts of land. I know the ins and outs of how to navigate Williamson County.
“We can help the client navigate and get a timeline, determine what needs to be done and executed, and keep pushing forward to get the objective done to sell the property for the client or buy the property for the client.”
What sets Sanford apart from other agents is his broad knowledge of many areas. As Williamson County 5th District Commissioner for the past year serving Nolensville, Arrington, Triune, College Grove, and Page, he has become deeply knowledgeable in zoning rules of the county for land development or building codes.
“That plays a key role in what a property can be and what it can’t,” Sanford said. “How many houses can go on a property? Can the zoning be changed, etc.?
Another is the nuances of commercial properties including tenant lease options at shopping centers. A third is luxury home sales and a fourth is large land tracts and farms.
“With having done a lot of things before, including helping clients with wastewater systems and septic systems, it just kind of goes hand in hand for future clients,” he said. “I have learned the dos and don’ts at my own expense early on.”
After building a small, large-lot subdivision development in Franklin several years ago — H & H Farms on Willson Pike was dubbed “Millionaires Row” because of the record-shattering prices — he secured his real estate and Tennessee broker’s licenses. Sanford then went on to sell his bail bond company, Free at Last Bonding, LLP.
“I felt the timing was right,” Sanford said. “I had been in that business for a long time. We built it up to be the pinnacle in the bonding Industry. We were on top of our game. It was time to step away and breathe for a change. Time for a slower pace. I had been on the go for so long, I had no clue what it was like to stop and smell the roses if you will.
“I then went on to lose over 100 pounds. I was the best-of-the-best in the bail bond world, but physically, I had let myself deteriorate. I had everything in life I could ever want, but my health was going downhill fast. You cannot buy that.”
What was the turning point? “I woke up one day and went outside to smoke a cigarette, another nasty habit I had been doing for a long time. I lit up and took a puff. Suddenly I felt something come over my entire body, and the Lord said, ‘Greg if you do not stop smoking today and take back your life, you will die.’ That was the wake-up call I needed, and the rest is history, as they say.”
Sanford hired a team to help him along the way. “I have a world-renowned nutritionist, a trainer, an MD for my bloodwork, and a boxing coach. I run over 20 miles a week. I ride over 50 miles a week on my bike. I train every day like it’s my last, and NOTHING will stop me until I have reached my goal,” he said.
He started out at over 400 pounds and now is in the high 200s. “I am not motivated — I am obsessed,” Sanford said. “The transformation has been incredible. I used to not even walk to my mailbox, now I park at the furthest parking spot away because I love walking. Kinda funny and definitely full circle for anyone who really knows me.”
Sanford encourages others that they can do the same. “If I can do this, YOU can, too. Set a small goal, smash it. Then set another one, and smash that one. Take it second by second, then hour by hour. You must believe in yourself and bet it all on YOU! No matter what tough challenges you are going through in your life, you can overcome them. Go look in your mirror, and be honest with yourself, and tell yourself what you want to change. THEN GO DO IT! I have faith in you. Save yourself. Nobody is coming to do it for you!”
Professionally, Sanford was becoming frustrated with the way certain agents handled certain things.
“Not all agents are created equal. Some of them don’t have ethics, morals, or values,” he said. “I wanted to provide a level of professionalism to my clients that I know I can provide. Honesty and integrity are really big for me. I tell people all the time it’s not that hard to tell the truth — you should try it!
Sanford brings a different side of things, like transparency. “I consider myself to be a really good negotiator. I feel I’m an asset. I know a lot about different aspects of real estate whether it be commercial – I’ve sold $10 million shopping centers, multi-million-dollar luxury residential estates, and large acre farms. I can do it all.”
The Brentwood native has lived his entire life in the area, including his current home in Arrington and Farm in College Grove.
“I know the market of the eastern corridor like it’s my religion,” he said. “I know it frontwards and backward and sidewise. I’m a local guy. I was born and raised here. I have traveled these roads ever since I was a little kid. I know them, and I know the people.
“I know the area and what things are sold for. I study the market day in, dayout. I look at sales and what goes under contract. It all goes back to knowledge is power.”
That knowledge translates to being able to help his clients. “I can compete with any of the larger agents and any of the much larger brokerages. When it comes to advertising your property, I have the same resources they do. I can match and exceed their advertising spend to get the job done! My company is small, but I am mighty!”
The 46-year-old prides himself on giving back to the communities he serves. In addition to serving on the Williamson County Commission, he has been on the Arrington Volunteer Fire Department since 2016, working his way up to lieutenant. He is even starting a new program that discounts fees by 1% for sellers that are current police officers and firefighters.
“I know the sacrifices these people go through day in, day out,” he said. “I back the Blue, and I back the Red. Some like me do it for free. It is a higher calling for me. Some do it for almost nothing. You don’t go into law enforcement or firefighting to get rich. They have helped us all in one way or another and I’m here for them!”