Anthony Lambers is using his story to help others get out of the mud.
Anthony Lambers, an agent at At Home Realty, views his ups and downs in life as part of a necessary life process. At 11 years in real estate, his experience as an unemployed criminal “forced” him to pursue real estate and gave him the freedom he lost when he was jailed just after turning 18.
Lambers, who has lived in Muskegon for 20 years, was born and raised in Grand Rapids. After his parents divorced, he got into trouble with the law and moved to live with his mother in the Wyoming area.
He says a variety of things he experienced as a troubled teenager eventually led to him breaking the law, wandering the streets and later being jailed. Some of the forces Lambers battled as he tried to survive in his poverty-stricken community were depression, bullying, drugs, homelessness, and suicidal thoughts as he became a part of the street trying to survive.
After serving six years in prison, Lambers was released into a transition home. He chose Muskegon over Pontiac to be closer to his family. Over the next five years, he struggled with “finding his lane”, taking a few factory jobs he didn’t like, and dealing with foreclosure, losing his car, and being broke.
Lambers then discovered mortgages. “It gave me the freedom to be myself and to break away from my past and build a new setup in my life,” he says. But then the rules changed, requiring anyone doing mortgage business to get a license, which as a felon they couldn’t do.
Real estate did not have these requirements. According to Lambers, it was the only sales license in Michigan that didn’t care about having crimes on its own record. So within 10 days he began the process of becoming a real estate agent, completed the 40 hour class, immediately passed the $75 test and fully embraced real estate as a career.
“When I was 18, no one could have told me I was going to do this,” says Lambers. “I needed it to survive — I needed to make it work.”
Get out of the mud
Lambers has studied the industry and says he’s found his niche, which is being honest with the people he serves. He says he’s honest about what’s going on in the market and even about how he behaves, adding that you’ll most likely find him going about his business in sweatpants and a baseball cap.
Lambers, who serves Muskegon, Ottawa and Kent counties, says he has gained connections in those communities through the way he conducts business and offers mentorship.
As a mentor, Lambers wants to get young people out of poverty thinking at an early stage. “It is through patience that we come out of poverty,” he says, explaining how he has faced adversity. “I had everything against me: no money, difficult to work with, constantly rejected. I was part of the ‘get out of the mud’ mindset.”
Lambers says “getting out of the mud” is a challenge we all share – we all come out of some kind of mud that we have to climb out of to be free.
Honor your mentor by being a mentor
Mentoring has been a big part of his life that has helped him along the way. He credits a Wyoming Park High School teacher, the late Richard Pullen, with being the mentor he needed. Lambers said that he and “RP” have become friends over the years and Pullen has been a huge supporter and motivator in helping him get back into the community and become a productive citizen after his time in prison.
Pullen, who died of cancer in 2015, helped Lambers start therapy, connected him with people to help him find employment, and served as the father figure and mentor he needed. Lambers’ way of giving back to Pullen was to give back to others, which led him to become a philanthropist and mentor.
Lambers provides food drives, programs where he teaches youth how to remodel and remodel homes, trains and develops sports teams, and feeds the hungry. One community event he hosts annually is an ’80s and ’90s-themed “back-spin party,” where attendees are asked to buy tickets and bring food. The event helps feed the hungry and raises thousands of dollars, which he gives back to the communities he serves and his endowment, the Pullen & Lambers Memorial Scholarship Fund.
As a father of two sons and a nephew he adopted, Lambers gives himself up for everyone, hoping to help them follow a different path than he did growing up. He is trying to help more young people pursue real estate as a career, which he says has been difficult due to their desire to make a quick buck.
Lambers says he spent two years in the field before he began seeing success in real estate, but inner-city youth tend to quit when things aren’t going their way, which intensifies his mentoring efforts. “It’s about dealing with adversity. I’ve always let them know that I don’t have a college degree, I don’t have a high school diploma and I don’t have money.”
He says that real estate enthusiasts must have a true passion and love for the profession because of the ups and downs associated with the industry. Lambers points out that people tend to see the success of real estate agents who have put in years of work without understanding that they didn’t have immediate success when they started. “Don’t get in if you’re trying to be a millionaire. You serve people. Learn the art of selling and the art of the house, and that leads to the perks.”
Showing the importance of patience, dedication and hard work, Lambers is well on his way to achieving his goals. By being an inspiration to his community and making a difference, Lambers says the money just comes. He donates some of his commissions annually to his service and community service efforts in the Wyoming and Muskegon communities.
“I had to go to jail, I had to move away from Grand Rapids, I had to be pushed out of other jobs so I could end up in the lane I’m in,” says Lambers, who is 45 at the age that it took him 20 years to get to where he is after being released from prison at the age of 25.
For more information about Lambers and its programs, visit www.getupoutthemud.com.