Moving those always on the move
By Bob Brainerd
Published Jan. 23, 2012 at 4:04 p.m
Home isn't necessarily where the heart is. Sometimes, it's where a team in professional sports trades you.
Brookfield native Dave Eyrise understands the plight of today's modern-day athlete and acts as a concierge of sorts to assist ballplayers and their families settle in and settle down. His business creation Athletes On The Move lends a helping hand to buy, sell and find shelter during and after the sports seasons so his clients can focus on hitting, pitching, running, dunking and scoring.
"I was basically introduced through word of mouth and it's how it's been working for all these years," said Eyrise. "It has grown into an incredible level where people will call us out of the blue that we don't know and say, 'So-and-so told me about you.'"
Eyrise, who was coaching a women's fast-pitch club at Marquette University in the '80s, shifted gears in 1990 to pursue opportunities in real estate. Through various connections, Eyrise got to know former Marquette basketball standout Tony Smith who was off to L.A. to begin his NBA career with the Lakers.
"He asked me if I could help him with his housing out in Los Angeles," said Eyrise. "I sat down with myself, figured out a way to do it and said 'Hey, there's a niche here.'"
Eyrise connected a second time when a friend made a hookup with former Brewers pitcher Steve Sparks. The niche was expanding, and Athletes On The Move was baptized, the brainchild Eyrise claims he was the only one doing for the first decade he was in business.
"I knew someone who worked at the Bucks ticket office, and he introduced me to Ray Allen and some of the other players coming in," said Eyrise. "Ray was a rookie, and we helped him find housing."
Initially, Eyrise focused on finding a temporary place to call Milwaukee home for athletes who were only setting up shop during their seasonal work with the local teams. But as his clients began to migrate, so did the opportunities to relocate other star athletes.
"It kind of morphed into business outside of Milwaukee because once these guys got traded to another team they would say, 'Oh, hey, you know my guy Dave Eyrise can help you out.' It kind of mushroomed all by word of mouth."
Eyrise now serves hundreds of athletes making a living in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL. He digs in to help a player sell a home, purchase a new one or lease temporary quarters during the season or pre-season. It isn't out of the norm for a major leaguer with a family to juggle three dwellings at once.
"People don't realize the lifestyle these guys live, it's crazy!" said Eyrise. "A lot of these guys are flying around with their heads cut off at some point. It's a whole different world out there and we are trying to help educate players."
Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum is a client of Eyrise and might have been in scramble mode without assistance last season when he was traded from the Blue Jays to Milwaukee. Marcum has his home base in Kansas City, but also had to unload a downtown Toronto condo, not to mention shift his spring training digs in Florida to a place in Arizona.
"When I got traded to Milwaukee, my financial advisors set it up, they know Dave through other clients they have," said Marcum. "It started with phone calls to know what we like and what we are interested in and then he started sending us information left and right on places we might be interested in."
Eyrise worked with Marcum and his wife Stephanie to help narrow the field and place the newest Brewers pitcher in a neighborhood that fit their needs. The Marcums, who have two sons, comfortably settled in an Elm Grove home during the summer months, and Eyrise was always close by to help the transition remain smooth.
"It seems like he's nonstop, on-the-clock working ... he's someone that's easy to get a hold of anytime when you need him," said Marcum. "The first night we moved into our home in Milwaukee, he had our groceries all moved in and ready to go."
Indeed, Eyrise doesn't just run and hide once a player unpacks his belongings for his extended stay. All of the necessary amenities are running at full strength by the time one of his clients turns the key and opens the door.
"I've had players who come off the road and find the electric bill wasn't paid by family members who are managing their money," said Eyrise. "We make sure everything is up to date."
His office in Brookfield needs only a desk and a chair. Eyrise is a solo act but his reach extends throughout the country and now all over the world, after helping place former Marquette basketball players earning a living overseas in places like Israel, France and Spain.
"I have a network of realtors across the entire country, an incredible network where I've hand-selected everybody, interviewed each realtor and explained to them, 'This is what I need from you and this is how you interact with each person,' because they need to be aware of their lifestyle," said Eyrise.
Sensitive to an athlete's privacy, Eyrise will take the time to probe a player and his spouse if applicable to gauge their needs for a safe and secure home-away-from-home. His follow-up mission becomes acting as the eyes and ears of his clients, not to mention eye-balling a property in person to ensure the buyer doesn't have to beware.
"If we see something we might like, we'll send Dave over to look at it because it's really hard to tell from pictures and make sure the pictures are not deceiving," said Marcum. "That happened to me in spring training a few years ago before I met Dave. Everything looked great on the pictures on the internet, but once I got down there, it wasn't even close.
"If you get traded during the season, he's on the first flight out heading to the new city you'll be playing in. For me, living out of a suitcase too, to have someone like Dave around when I'm out of town and my family needs something, he's a phone call away and right there to help with anything."
"I'm always on call 24/7 ... thank God my text bill is unlimited because it gets a little crazy at times," added Eyrise. "I've actually been called to help ship a baseball glove from a guy's home to make sure it got sent FedEx the next morning to the stadium so he had it for the game."
Attention to detail is what separates Eyrise and makes him a reliable go-to guy in the world of sports housing. Some of his biggest clients are also some of the biggest names in professional sports. It's awfully nice to have business testimonials from the baseball likes of Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins, Marcum and Torii Hunter; Devin Harris and Brevin Knight from the NBA and Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush.
It goes viral from there. One example had former Minnesota Twins outfielder Jacque Jones hooking Eyrise up with former teammates Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins.
"Teams don't pick up costs for players, so we're trying to teach these guys to be more frugal with their money in that when they plan their housing every year, be smart about it," said Eyrise. "When they buy a home or sell a home, we want them to make sure they're doing it in their hometown and not in the city they work, because a lot of the contracts today are not guaranteed. A player can get traded tomorrow, so unless they know they'll be somewhere four or five years, we'll tell them to look at seasonal housing."
With spring training set to kick start in less than a month, the mission for Eyrise is to secure a place to call home for baseball players getting set to stretch, catch, hit and throw in Florida and Arizona. The travel and frantic negotiating timeline begins to crunch in the coming weeks, leaving little time for Eyrise to enjoy watching his clients perform on a court, diamond or field.
"I've neutralized my favorite teams a little bit, a lot actually, because you might be watching your favorite team against a guy you just helped move," said Eyrise. "I have a lot of Cardinals and Brewers clients, so I just sit there and watch the game and enjoy it."
All the Right Moves!
By Karen Shelnutt
Published by: Professional Sports Wives in 2006
Dave Eyrise has a real estate broker’s rolodex that looks like a roster of pro players on a champion all-star team. While many real estate agents have single-family listings, Eyrise has clients from professional teams around the world.
Eyrise, 45 and single, has carved a niche by creating Athletes on the Move, LLC, a unique world wide real estate and sports relocation service headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices throughout the country, including California.
He and his partner form NBA player Tony Smith, own and operate the company that was created to assist, advise, tailor and grow real estate portfolios for sports professionals and executives, among their many other services.
In addition to buying and selling homes and managing moves, Eyrise has helped find everyone from doctors, attorneys, baby-sitters and personal assistants and managed the design and construction of their new homes. Eyrise and his staff provide personable service to make sure that most of their prized possessions are handled with care and attention. For example, Eyrise coordinated the move of 17 arcade video game table to one particular player’s new location.
When the need arises from temporary housing during pre-season training, Eyrise searches and finds the most desirable residences and negotiates on behalf of his clients. Players and wives rely on Eyrise’s expertise so they can concentrate on their careers and avoid the hassle of moving.
Since 1994, Athletes on the Move has gained the trust and response of athletes, wives, agents, and sports executives throughout the industry mainly through referrals. The soft-spoken, friendly, and incredibly busy Eyrise is as serious about real estate as he is about sports.
In 1982, Eyrise started coaching the Marquette University Women’s Softball Team, and that job brought him in contact with athletes and coaches throughout the country. One of those friends included Eyrise’s partner and fellow alumni, Tony Smith, who met through a mutual friend while Eyrise was at Marquette. Having spent some time playing in the NBA and in Spain and Italy, Smith is all too familiar with the hassle of traveling and relocating. As a former player, Smith was drafted out to Marquette to the NBA, Las Angeles Lakers, to back up Ervin (Magic) Johnson. Smith spend five seasons with the Lakers before moving on to play eight more years with teams that include the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, and the Atlanta Hawks. He retired from the NBA after playing a short while with the Milwaukee Bucks.
When Smith turned pro, Eyrise handled al of his relocation and real estate transactions throughout his pro career. When Smith retired from basketball, he and Eyrise joined forces together to provide a personalized, top-notch relocation service geared for athletes and their families.
The following are tips from Athletes on the Move for easy relocating:
- Have your financial house in order before purchasing, building, or investing in a home. Repair credit and budget properly.
- Make sure your realtor understands your unique financial and lifestyle needs situation.
- Work with one realtor for a certain area. Let your realtor screen properties in which you are interested, saving you time and money.
- Review your privacy and confidentiality needs with your realtor when purchasing, selling or building a property. This helps the real estate agent protect your interests and identity when writing contracts on your behalf.
- Allow your sports agent to negotiate your playing contracts, not your real estate contracts and leases. Even if the sports agent has a law degree, this does not guarantee the agent practices real estate law in your area. When it comes to your home and housing needs, the three resources that can best assist you are your bank, your accountant, and your real estate agent.
- Investigate the area where you plan to live. Ask your real estate agent to provide current real estate conditions and properties that have sold in the past two years in your price range. With this information, property values and expected appreciation for the specified area can be determined.
- Hire a team of experts (a lender, architect, and interior designer) before you hire a builder.
- Have a plan and be leery of builders who have a self-serving company with a staff of these ‘experts’ to assist you.
“Adding Value - The Real Estate Industry”
By Joann Stone, Austin Texas
Can a real estate broker help raise the batting average of a pro ball player and lower the ERA of another? Dave Eyrise (as in “iris) did. Eyrise runs a firm called Athletes on the Move that relocates professional athletes and their families, as well as sports executives, when they move from one team to the next.
Sometimes all a player needs is temporary housing during pre-season training. Dave finds the place and negotiates the deal for a very modest fee. Other times the need is to sell a home in one city and buy one in another. Dave find the right brokers and both ends, negotiates on behalf of his client, and earns a piece of the commissions. More and more players are hiring so they can concentrate on their careers-like the two New York Mets who improved their hitting and pitching by reducing their home life stress.
A dedicated sports fan who remembers his boyhood as a steady stream of sand lot baseball, Dave left college coaching after nine years to enter real estate brokerage and soon realized he had a built-in network from his coaching days to an audience that could really use some help, an audience that, at best, didn’t have the time or expertise to do real estate deals and, at worst, was often victimized by people who saw them as big, easy money.
Most athletes, he points out, don’t make the mega-bucks that mega-players do. What Athletes on the Move has done since open in in 1994 is gain the trust and respect of sports figures throughout baseball, basketball, football, and the industry in genera, along with some wives and moms.
He doesn’t advertise. Referrals keep him busy and well compensated. And he doesn’t quibble over the service specifics. In addition to buying and selling homes and managing moves, Dave has helped find everything from doctors to babysitters for clients, managed the design and construction of their new homes, and made sure their most coveted possessions are handled with care-in the case of one player, all 17 of his arcade video game tables.
And he goes wherever the referrals lead, Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Rim. Dave Eyrise likes what he does so much, he says he’d probably do it for nothing. That’s how much fun he’s having. And it’s a pretty good blueprint for adding value: link what you do with what you love and you’ll figure out how to add value. Then you won’t have to chase after your market. It will come after you.
Published 1998 Neenah Paper’s annual publication. This booklet is distributed annually amongst the Fortune 500 Companies
Broker Gets an Assist
Pro ballplayers, managers turn to him
When they need to score some housing
By Kris Radish
Special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published May 11, 1997
Oconomowoc - Dave Eyrise has a real estate Rolodex that looks like a who’s who of professional sports figures. While the majority of real estate salesmen have single-family listings to support their business, Eyrise has clients from the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and from dozens of other college and professional teams around the world.
Eyrise, 35, has carved out a unique real estate niche for himself by creating Athletes On The Move, a division of Wauwatosa Really Co. based in Oconomowoc. The business helps relocate professional athletes who are often traded to a new team overnight without warning and need new housing for themselves and their families.
The soft-spoken, friendly and incredibly busy Eyrise is almost as serious about real ester as he is about sports. It was his love of the game of baseball that helped him launch his unique real estate career. “My brother and I used to live on the baseball diamond near our house in Brookfield when we were growing up,” said Eyrise. “Actually I used to skip out of piano to play baseball, and I organized tournaments all over the neighborhood.” In 1982, Eyrise started coaching Marquette University’s Women’s Softball Team and that job brought him in contact with athletes and coaches throughout the country.
His father steered his toward a real estate career and Eyrise started working for Wauwatosa Realty in 1990. An after-work brainstorming session with a couple buddies got him thinking about the special challenges of relocating ballplayers. “I’ve always had friends who were professional athletes and this idea started because they moved around the country so much” said Eyrise. “If they are getting traded during the season, they really don’t have time to think about move a family and finding someplace new to live.”
Mary Steinke, sales directory and vice president of Wauwatosa Realty, was all for the idea when Eyrise pitched it to her in 1993. “Dave is the kind of guy who runs around and makes things happen, and really created this whole business himself,” said Steinke. “He saw a need that wasn’t being me, and because he is a master manager who knows how to network and build great relationships, he’s done very well.”
To get this business off the ground, Eyrise built up an international network of real estate brokers who could help his clients in cities throughout the world. “Professional teams all have traveling secretaries who are responsible for helping the athletes with moving, but they can’t help with everything,” said Eyrise. “Everything” means finding temporary housing during spring training, selling an existing home, arranging for moving and transportation needs, hooking up utilities, and getting acclimated to the new location.
Eyrise charges his clients a one-time fee of $450 that gives them access to all of his services and the promise of personal and private attention. He also takes a realty agent’s customary commission when he’s involved in buying or selling a home. “If these sports figures are well-known, privacy is a big thing for them,” said Eyrise. “If they are looking for a home, they don’t want the whole world to find out about it.”
Todd Podell, a Milwaukee attorney who is president of ProManage, a professional sports agency, said Athletes On The Move has been a lifesaver for him. He represents professional ballplayers and says he prefers to spend time negotiating contracts and not finding housing. “I feel playing ball and concentrating on the game and that’s why Dave has been such an asset to me,” he said. He said Eyrise recently helped him move a player from Hawaii to Arizona and then to Indiana. He said that move included shipping a car from the islands, finding an apartment for the player, his wife and their baby and getting the family belongings from point A to point C.
As Eyrise began building his client list, which now numbers in the hundreds, he also realized that not all-professional players make huge amounts of money. He said minor league players who have to pay their own expenses often have financial problems. That’s why he has negotiated special prices with moving companies, housing developments, car leasing and purchasing, and long distance communication services. He’ll even find a baby sitter or someone to take care of their pets when they are out of town.
When Dave Littlefield was working as a professional baseball scout in Milwaukee and was suddenly offered the position of Director of Player Development for the Montreal Expos, he said he would have been lost without Eyrise. “We had to sell our home here and find something in West Palm Beach for training and then something in Montreal when training was over,” Littlefield said. “Dave took care of everything and really took a load off my back.” He said Eyrise knows that many professional sports figures are used to being catered to and that’s exactly what they get from this business.
Jim Bathey, manager of ticket sales development for the Milwaukee Brewers, said he is personally working with Eyrise. Several players use his services every year as well. “These are guys that are coming from all over the United States and they don’t know how long they are going to stay here,” Bathey said. He said Eyrise is a big help to layers inn finding temporary housing and is available if they decided to purchase a year-round residence in Wisconsin. He said the ultimate goal is to sell a home to a player, but is quick to add he’s not pushy about that because it takes a while for a player to know where his family is going to end up.
His unique real estate talents have given Eyrise a bit more attention than he wants. He said he is often asked to speak at conventions and on sports talk shows, and has been asked by many publications, including the New York Times and USA Today, for interviews but has declined. “There’s always the fear that someone with a lot of money will come and try to do what I am doing on a much larger scale,” he said. “Right now, we get our business by word of mouth and by keeping things that way, I can really protect my clients.”
He said Athletes On The Move is his “dream job” because it allows him to be part of the sporting world and to provide a service that is needed.