A Conversation with Frank Farricker About Creativity, Honesty, Commitment, and Affordable Housing Development

For many, finding success means making money and nothing else. For Frank Farricker, success also means giving back to the community. After graduating from Columbia University with a Master’s in Real Estate in addition to his first degree from The George Washington University, he began his career in New York City. At first, his focus was on building apartments and affordable housing in the city. After realizing historic buildings could be maintained and repurposed into condominiums, he changed his approach. Through expertise and an astute knowledge of the areas in which he operates, Frank helped transform many lower-income areas into thriving communities. 

Frank Farricker has become well-known for finding some of the best areas of the country to develop real estate. His ability to effectively locate and secure properties has helped his company grow since its creation in 2012. Through his success, he has always kept a focus on giving back, including assisting several charitable organizations. For many years, he and his wife have worked with CTE, a community development organization that has brought housing and career assistance to low-income families in Fairfield County, Connecticut. 

When not working, Frank enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and playing cricket.

Start by telling us about your business.

Our company primarily works with what I call “special situation” real estate. We do a significant amount of work in the affordable housing and low-income housing tax credit space in the Northeast and the South. In the last two years, we’ve been involved with about 2500 units, preserving them as permanently affordable housing. We work hard to create a completely different kind of paradigm when it comes to affordable housing, working to de-stigmatize it in areas where people are opposed to its development and expansion.

Please tell us how you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company.

We’re transparent, honest, and very upfront in what we’re trying to accomplish and in all aspects of our business. We’re big believers in learning about the goals and objectives of our communities and our partners even before we propose projects. We make the promise that when we’re finished, the community will be better off than it was before we got there, no matter the circumstances, which is contrary to what many people initially think. I could tell you about many cases where there are people who oppose our developments, only to become our biggest fans after we’ve finished our work.  

Please tell us the one thing that separates your business from the competition.

Creativity first and foremost. We have a really strong creative aspect to our company. Also, if we know we can’t do a project, we don’t engage in it—even if we could make a lot of money. There are so many situations out there that need to be addressed and that we would much rather concentrate our efforts on, especially regarding affordable housing for people caught in financial distress. We land a lot of these jobs because we have been successful in turning things around in areas of concern. We can see the path to creating a better community. We don’t see complex issues as black and white. We know that every group of people, every area, every neighborhood, and every situation is in itself unique. 

And to finish this section, please tell us what the one major key to your business’s success is.

Commitment. When we are in it, we are in it until the very end. In any business, it is vital to remember that your word must guarantee your commitment. You cannot be successful if you are not willing to stake your word on a project. 

For our readers just starting to build a business, what advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?

Study, prepare, and learn. Do your homework. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be in any venture. For those contemplating a career in real estate, I would add to plan to be in it for the long haul. It’s a field that is constantly changing and you have to change with it to find genuine success. Don’t get complacent. Keep learning all that you can.

What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning?

There is very little in life more satisfying than achieving success. Of course, it’s a complicated and sometimes drawn-out process, but I always tell myself that I’ve got to get there.

What is the most important thing one has to do to be a great leader?

You have to know your people, and you have to know their strengths and weaknesses. What motivates them? What makes them tick? Then you do your best to make sure that the work you assign them plays to their strengths.

Describe how you handle rejection and setbacks.

I try not to take it personally, which can be very difficult. I find it’s also important to figure out why there was a setback, or why there was a rejection. The most important thing is to learn from the experience. Accept it, analyze it, and then go on to the next project.

Describe how you keep your sanity in a competitive business environment.

I don’t try to do more stuff than I’m able or qualified to do. I’m very good at what I do, so I stick with it. I find that I learn more interesting stuff and come up with better ideas when work isn’t stressful. When things are light and easy, that’s when there’s an opportunity to find new approaches and brainstorm new concepts. I want to be able to fully focus when I am looking into new methods of operating.