M. Patrick Carroll On His Fortuitous Path to Real Estate Success
M. Patrick Carroll, of his namesake company CARROLL, is a leader in the real estate industry—from investing to high-level property management, he sets new standards in every aspect. His commitment to excellence and entrepreneurial approach to the market, coupled with an unconventional path to success, make him an incredible example of how it’s not necessary to do things by someone else’s playbook; with the right combination of drive and determination, anything is possible.
Unique start to business.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I grew up in Tampa, Florida and was an athlete my whole life. Then after school I needed to figure out what my next step was going to be. I moved to Atlanta and taught myself how to get a mortgage the right way—meaning a 100% mortgage—which allowed me to buy a condo. I continued duplicating this method, buying and flipping homes, and eventually building them from scratch as well for sale. At 27 I took the profits and invested in a major development, from which I was bought out right as the recession hit. Since I was liquid in a time when most people were strapped for cash, I used the opportunity to buy three property management companies. So, within a year I ended up with a 20,000-unit property management business that spanned the U.S. It’s been a whirlwind.
Q: With so many companies and employees, how did you ensure things ran smoothly?
A: I hired the best #2 person for each of my companies, and pretty much got out of their way, while I was off raising capital in New York. I pretty much brought Wall Street into the apartment business.
Q: As a self-made businessman, who in some ways mirrors a real-life Gatsby, what would you say has been the main thing that led to your success?
A: Being driven, and always presenting excellence, even in appearance. When I was growing up I wanted to be like Richard Gere from Pretty Woman. That style and presentation has gotten me the 007 reference at several events [laughs]. But in all honesty, it’s about the fire, and wanting to be the best. I want to show people, especially kids, that you can make it your own way.
How CARROLL stands out from the competition.
Q: What about your current company CARROLL—what sets it apart from others in the industry?
A: One key factor is that we are privately owned, which allows us to be agile and innovative. When industry giants start drifting toward a trend, the herd mentality follows leaving a void in another area, and this is where we swiftly step in. We advocate thinking outside the box and rather than taking a tried and tested route, we go for risks.
Q: What’s the culture like at CARROLL, what kind of people do you employ?
A: I opt for go-getters and mavericks, for people with drive. While most companies hire based off of the “right” pedigree and a checklist of accolades, I am drawn to someone’s potential and their desire to work hard.
Q: Do you have a motto at CARROLL?
A: It would have to be “work hard, play hard,” along with our four pillars—focus, integrity, passion, and excellence. We exhibit quality in everything we do, from presentation to business deal execution. I like to lead by example, so I’m always trying to better myself, and I expect the same from my team.
Business amidst COVID & giving back.
Q: How has CARROLL handled COVID?
A: Business-wise we switched our company to remote work, which I thought would happen eventually, and this situation simply expedited the reality. Outside of operations, when the pandemic broke out, I actually decided to give money to people in our properties who were in need. We’re more like a community. In fact, a lot of my employees call it “CARROLL strong,” because we’re like a big family.
Q: Are you or CARROLL involved in other philanthropic ventures?
A: As a company, we’re involved with Habitat for Humanity, and individually I support the Boys and Girls Club and provide scholarships to in-need students from my old high school. I want to inspire and empower those kids, to show them that they can do anything they set their mind to through hard work.