Theo Shayo: How Tanzanians can capitalise on US real estate market

Theo Shayo

What you need to know:

  • She says many Africans and non-Africans have already made substantial investments in America while residing in their home countries

Dressed in an impeccably tailored suit with a bright smile, Theo Shayo stands out as one of the most successful realtors in Austin, Texas.

Ms Theo, who moved to the United States from Dar es Salaam just a decade ago, is steadfastly determined to link Tanzanians worldwide to the lucrative American housing market.

Before her move, Theo was a formidable attorney in Dar es Salaam, working with Barclays Bank and FK Law Chambers in Upanga and even interning at the State Attorney’s office in Dar es Salaam.

She then transitioned to starting her real estate business in Austin, Texas.

Ever on the lookout for opportunities, Theo saw how Americans had tapped into real estate to grow their wealth. Consequently, she launched Theo Homes, powered by Teamly Realty Brokerage. To succeed in this competitive field, she had to invest in real estate skills and knowledge. Obtaining her real estate license, joining various real estate boards, becoming a member of several related real estate organisations, and making her investments were some of the things she did.

Investing in education, networking, finding mentors, and connecting with various real estate resources were crucial to her success.

She also gained multiple real estate designations, diversified into different types of real estate, became competent in various real estate contracts, and mastered negotiation techniques and business strategies.

Ms Theo shared that, as a professional in any industry, every day is an opportunity to learn and step out of our comfort zone; we must continue to learn even more, challenge ourselves further, grow, be involved in causes that matter, find solutions, embrace joy along the way, and continue to build. This is how we change the narrative in our communities.

She acknowledged that adjusting to life in America wasn’t easy.

“That period of adapting to American life was not for the weak,” she confessed with a reflective smile.

Leaving behind her life, family, friends, and a job to move to a new country as an adult was a challenging experience.

Adjusting to American culture, including the food, took time. “You can’t even find spices to cook ‘pilau’ as we do at home,” she mentioned while laughing.

Initially, she was very homesick and resisted adopting, but when she started a family of her own, found a purpose, and got involved in real estate, she began to connect with different people, communities, and neighbourhoods and eventually found her place and niche.

“Life has to go on; you can’t just complain, pray, and wait for a miracle.

We must remember that no one is coming to do it for us; we must roll our sleeves and get into work; it doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter who we are, and certainly, it doesn’t matter how hard it is; we gotta do what we gotta do, and when we love and enjoy what we do, that’s even better,” she mentioned.

An extrovert by nature, funny, and with a great personality, Theo enjoys building relationships and connecting with different folks in and out of the real estate industry, and this helped her be successful in her new trade.

She is now committed to connecting more with Tanzanians, both in the USA and back home.

With the recent increase in business partnerships between Tanzania and the United States, as evidenced by the newly inaugurated Tanzanian American Chamber of Commerce in Dallas, Ms Theo believes real estate offers an excellent investment avenue.

“You don’t need to be in the United States to invest in American real estate,” Ms heo asserts.

From the comfort of their homes in Tanzania, Tanzanians can generate wealth by investing in American real estate, whether residential, vacant land, or commercial properties such as storage units, shopping malls, hotels, office buildings, warehouses, and more.

Many Africans and non-Africans have already made substantial investments in America while residing in their home countries.

A competent and experienced realtor like Theo, who values confidentiality and embraces integrity and ethics, is crucial in assisting those interested in different real estate deals.

The question boils down to who can oversee the investment if the investor is in Tanzania. Ms Theo says: “Here many investors use property management companies who manage these investments, ensuring they are maintained even when the owners are not in the country.

There are other resources that can be employed as well.

”Traditionally, some Tanzanians enjoy keeping their wealth in bank accounts, but diversification into international real estate offers opportunities for growth beyond mere savings.

There are different ways one can acquire real estate here in the USA; there are even investment visas that can be issued when one invests.

For instance, the United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Programme, created through the Immigration Act of 1990, allows international investors to obtain entry into the country.

Qualified Tanzanian investors can obtain lawful permanent resident status through real estate investments.

It is not the quickest way, but for those who are patient, this is a great opportunity.

Let it also be known that you do not need an American visa to invest in US real estate.

“Many people ask, As a foreigner, can I get a loan to buy properties in the US? The answer is yes, and there will be terms to go through, and different lenders have different products, but anyone interested can explore this avenue,” she advises.

Ms Theo has accumulated resources and a network, and a Tanzanian can get connected with her pool of lenders and other resources to assist with financing a deal so one can build and grow a real estate empire.

“My question for Tanzanians with money in the banks or the stock market is: Does your money and investments generate enough for you?” Theo asked. “If not, then she challenges you to connect with her to explore the opportunities available,” she added.

The Texas housing market is booming, with big tech companies like Tesla and Samsung opening mega factories, creating a massive demand for housing.

Theo is truly excited about the potential for Tanzanian investors to capitalise on this growth.

She emphasises the potential for creating generational wealth through real estate investments in places like Austin. Theo is also preparing for the DICOTA (Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America) Convention, which will be held from September 26 to 29, 2024, in Austin, Texas.

She will host a Real Estate Panel to share more knowledge and resources with attendees.

Ms Theo has worked with many Africans and non-Africans outside the USA who have built significant wealth through real estate investments.

“There are pieces of land that start at 10,000 US dollars, and if you can’t afford it individually, you can have family and friends chip in and buy as a group,” she said.

Theo’s strategy to connect with Tanzanian investors includes collaborating with Tanzanian local banks to build a reliable network.

Her doors are open to any Tanzanian financial institution (private and public) interested in forming a strategic partnership.

The independence of American financial institutions from political influence is a significant advantage.

Once the legitimacy of the financial investment is confirmed by both Tanzanian and American authorities, any Tanzanian investor can invest in the US, and she will be there to guide every step of the way.

Ms Theo is passionate about real estate and loves sharing her knowledge and resources.

She urges Tanzanians in the diaspora to invest in property both in the US and back home.

Supporting families and different causes is important, but exploring lucrative investments in Tanzania is also a great strategy.

Investing hard-earned dollars in Tanzanian real estate can spur the economy, create jobs, and generate significant returns as well, and that’s another way to bridge the gap between the US and Tanzania.

Ms Theo is adamant about the potential of real estate investments in both the US and Tanzania.

She already has plans to explore the Tanzanian real estate market with her diaspora clients in mind, so if you are interested in connecting, please feel free to do so.