Texas Tech University

Building His Future with Real Estate

December 14, 2023

Building His Future with Real Estate

This Rawls College of Business student found his passion combined with determination could make a huge impact not just on furthering his education, but his family.

Typical hobbies of 17-year-olds can range from high school athletics and extracurricular activities to video games and social media. However, Roque Alaniz, a senior finance student at Texas Tech University's Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, was anything but a typical 17-year-old. 

As a junior in high school, Alaniz was taking dual-credit courses at a local community college, but the thought of paying for college was daunting. 

“As a lower-income family, we were living paycheck to paycheck, so we were always just thinking about how to make money,” said Alaniz.

Roque as a toddler.
Roque Alaniz as a toddler.

Like many soon-to-be college students, his first step was to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Each scholarship helped a little, but Alaniz knew he needed to look at other ways to pay for college.  

Enter real estate.

“I had a lot of free time, and I was reading a bunch of books on money management and personal development,” Alaniz said. “I read real estate books, which were the ones that most interested me. I learned a lot about real estate and how I could make a lot of money through real estate.” 

With his newly found interest in real estate, Alaniz was determined to ease the burden of his looming tuition.

Roque with his mom.
Roque with his mom.

The Determination of a Student

Alaniz teamed up with a local real estate investor in his hometown of Edinburg, Texas to find, purchase and renovate single-family homes. Alaniz would locate homes and then receive a small percentage of each home's value from the investor.

Alaniz started to see a little more money come into his savings account, but he wanted a more hands-on approach. 

He found a foreclosed home to try his hand at renovating. The bank wanted $30,000 for the home, and Alaniz believed it could sell for $150,000. He saw the potential for profit here, there was just one problem: he did not have the initial $30,000 the bank required.

So, like most teenagers who want something, Alaniz turned to his parents.

“I convinced my parents to take out a loan with high interest,” Alaniz said. “My dad was very upset because that's a lot of debt. My mom was like, ‘If you think you can (renovate) it, sure.' My mom has always been the type to support me, and she signed the loan.”

Alaniz then got a part-time job as a server and put the money he earned from tips into renovations. He bought new drywall to replace the walls of the run-down house, put new siding on the outside and laid down new flooring. 

In just three months, he completed several major projects and decided to sell the house so his parents did not have to deal with a high-interest loan for too long. 

Alaniz sold the house to a local investor for $80,000. While he wishes he shot for the moon and asked for the potential $150,000 of the home's value, he does not regret his decision.

“That was the biggest amount of money me and my family ever had,” Alaniz said. “With that, I set aside some of the money to pay for college. We then paid off the loan and paid off all my parents' debt.”

Roque writing on a dry erase board as other students watch.

Alaniz now had evidence that his determination, combined with real estate, could have a huge impact on his family and make furthering his education possible. 

“I was able to experience the life-changing money that real estate can provide and how that impacted my family and bettered our lives,” Alaniz said. “That just instilled real estate in me and made it clear that's what I wanted to do in my life.”

The Determination of a Leader

As Alaniz reflects on his time at the Rawls College, he credits the Scovell Business Leadership Program (SBLP) as a key factor that made Texas Tech stand out from other universities.

“(SBLP) is the biggest reason I came to Texas Tech,” Alaniz explained. “I feel like I've gotten really good at networking and meeting people.”

Established in 2013, SBLP provides students in the program with real-world knowledge and experiences to thrive as soon-to-be business leaders.

A large part of SBLP is pairing students with an industry mentor. Because Alaniz was interested in real estate, he was paired with Ryan Harden, who graduated from Texas Tech with his master's in finance and dual bachelor's degrees in real estate finance and economics. Harden is president and founder of RightQuest, a Dallas-based real estate company, and has acquired, developed and managed more than $700 million of real estate investments in his career.

“I was just so eager to learn from him, and I think he saw that too,” Alaniz said. “We text and email each other. We have monthly meetings. He took me under his wing and gave me a roadmap to the career I want to pursue.”

For Harden, it was easy to get pulled in by the gravity around Alaniz.

“My first impression of Roque was that he possessed a great attitude with humble confidence and an insatiable appetite to learn about the real estate business,” Harden said. “His determination to learn about real estate over the course of our time together has quickly increased his skill set well beyond his years.”

Alaniz furthered his leadership abilities at the 2021 National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL) in Orlando, Florida. He was selected to attend the conference by Rawls College after being enrolled only one semester.

Roque and his colleagues in front of NCSL backdrop.
Roque at the National Conference on Student Leadership.

“I didn't know what to expect,” Alaniz said. “I felt very grateful. It was my first semester, and I was getting flown out to represent the Rawls College.”

Alaniz said attending NCSL helped him see the type of leader he could become within his student organizations, including SBLP and the Real Estate Organization (REO). Alaniz even became an officer in REO within his second semester, applying lessons he learned from NCSL weeks before. 

Determination, Built on Rawls

Alaniz was originally set to graduate last May. However, he decided to delay his graduation until December, finishing in two-and-a-half years instead of two.

Roque wearing a Rawls College of Business shirt.

“I realized I would be graduating before I'm even 21,” Alaniz said. “After speaking with so many professionals through my internships, they just told me I was rushing it. The main thing they were trying to emphasize was that as soon as I graduate, it's just work. They told me to enjoy college a little bit longer.”

Alaniz has a deep self-awareness about his determination. Although this quality has played a significant role in all his accomplishments, Alaniz is keenly aware of the downside of being so determined.

“I need to focus on the moment and not what I could be doing in that time,” said Alaniz. “When I do have some personal time, I often think about what I could be doing to further my career or finances. I definitely have gotten some feedback to enjoy being in the present and not be so worried about your goals. That's something I am trying to focus on.”

Of course, for Alaniz, being in the present doesn't necessarily mean taking it easy. By delaying his graduation a few months, Alaniz was able to study abroad in London and took on another internship.

The London study abroad program helped give Alaniz a new perspective on real estate and his place as a soon-to-be professional.

“Half the days were spent in the classroom learning about real estate,” said Alaniz, “and the other half was spent on a tour of London. You're taking in everything: the history, the architecture, the people.” 

Almost immediately, Alaniz was able to put this new perspective to use in a professional setting. His London trip ended in June, and he started his internship July 5 with Woodbine Development, a real estate company founded by John Scovell.

“This internship just seemed like an opportunity two years in the making,” Alaniz said.

From the moment Alaniz entered Rawls College, he established a connection with the Scovell family through SBLP. 

“Dupree (Scovell) and I have been close,” Alaniz said. “I kept in constant contact with him, and he told me about their new internship program starting and I applied. It was a six-week program, and I loved it.”

Alaniz did so well as Woodbine's intern that the company kept him on part-time when he returned to Texas Tech in August. And now, starting in January, Alaniz is set to become an asset management analyst. 

“I love who I'm working with,” said Alaniz. “I get to learn a whole lot with people I love to work with.”

Roque wearing his commencement stoll while sitting in front of a fountain.

Alaniz sees two distinct paths his future could take after graduating.

“I know the sky's the limit coming from Rawls,” said Alaniz. “I was thinking I may go back to focusing on single-family residential investing. Another career option would be to join a real estate company and start as an analyst.” 

No matter what road Alaniz drives toward, Harden knows he will be a valuable contributor to the industry.

“The real estate industry needs talent like Roque desperately, given his high level of integrity, honesty and purpose, which drives everything he does,” Harden said. “It's well beyond making money for Roque; it's working toward a purpose that benefits others, not just himself, and being a part of something greater than just one person.”

That something greater for Alaniz is his family.

“My big goal is to make enough to help my family out so they won't have to work in the future,” said Alaniz. “Every single day, I picture that goal, and that's what drives me to continue being a 4.0 (grade-point average) student, getting involved at school, getting internships and surpassing expectations.”

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