Asia Denson stands in front of a group of people in a conference room at a Hilton Hotel in Brooklyn, New York.
“What up doe? I was born and raised in Detroit. I went to Martin Luther King Junior Senior High school…”
The 36 year old Denson owns a construction and property investment company, Denson Construction Services, in Detroit where she lives. She flew out to Brooklyn to teach a real estate seminar. More than 30 New Yorkers purchased tickets costing up to $199.99. They’re here to learn how to buy properties – not in Brooklyn – but in Detroit.
The seminar consists of Detroit Title and Escrow Owner Emma Elder-Howell, Opulent Realty Team Broker Marcus Twyman, real estate investor Azikiwe “Zeke” Johnson, and Brooklyn-based Express Capital Financing Loan Officer Simon Rishty.
Early on, Denson tells the audience that the time to invest in Detroit is now.
“The hipsters are coming, or I should really say, they’re already there. They’re moving in to Southwest Detroit and the North End. If y’all been following me on Instagram and YouTube, I’ve been preaching about the North End forever. I grew up there. I know that neighborhood like the back of my hand.”
Denson says she’s worked with clients in places such as Las Vegas, China, and Israel. In October, one of her New York clients flew her out to the Bronx to teach a class for his investor group. It was such a success that Denson realized she could fly herself out with a team of Detroiters and charge money to do it. That’s how this Brooklyn seminar came to be.
Pass the Tile
It all started when she was a little girl. Denson’s grandfather – a carpenter in Georgia – introduced her to the construction trade.
“I remember being a kid and helping him tile but I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. He’d be like ‘pass this,’ ‘pass that’ and I’m just happy to be hanging out with grand pop,” she recalls.
After getting her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, Denson worked highway engineering jobs while earning her Masters of Science in Construction Management. Then in 2010, she started her own construction company.
“What I found out was that a lot of minorities don’t know the business side. They can do an amazing job but they have no idea how to handle the paperwork. And the paperwork, from what I’ve been taught in school, is really where the money is,” she says.
Denson’s crew members are all subcontractors. She is her company’s only employee. She takes on the estimating, the project managing, the marketing and she oversees the finances.
Denson says her company does a lot of work helping investors get their properties ready to be rented. Bathroom and kitchen renovations and repairing roofs are among the work they take on. But beyond rehab know-how, what qualifies Denson to lead the Brooklyn seminar is that she has invested in real estate herself. Denson says she’s bought and sold more than 50 properties. Right now, she owns three.