Anthony Lambers use his story to help others ‘Get up out the mud’

Anthony Lambers, an agent with At Home Realty, looks at his ups and downs in life as a part of a necessary life process. With 11 years in real estate, his experience as an out-of-work felon “forced” him to pursue real estate and provided him the freedom he had lost when he was locked up right after turning 18.

Lambers, who has been a Muskegon resident for 20 years, was born and raised in Grand Rapids. He began to get in trouble with the law after his parents’ divorce and he moved to live with his mother in the Wyoming area.

He says a variety of things he experienced as a troubled teen eventually led to him breaking the law, running the streets, and later being incarcerated. Some of the forces Lambers battled while trying to survive in his poverty-stricken community included depression, bullying, drugs, homelessness, and suicidal thoughts as he became a part of the streets trying to survive.

After serving six years incarcerated, Lambers was released to a halfway house. He chose Muskegon over Pontiac so he could be closer to his family. Over the next five years, he would struggle with “finding his lane,” taking on a few factory jobs, which he did not like, and dealing with foreclosure, losing his car, and being broke.

Lambers then discovered mortgaging. “It gave me the freedom to be myself and get away from my past and build a new setup in my life,” he says. But then the rules changed and required anyone in mortgaging to get licensed, which he could not do as a felon.

Real estate did not have those requirements. According to Lambers, it was the one Michigan sales license that did not care about felonies being on one’s record. So, within 10 days, he began the process of becoming a real estate agent, completing the 40-hour class, immediately taking the $75 test, and fully taking on real estate as a career.

“At 18, no one could have told me I would be doing this,” says Lambers. “I needed it to survive – I had to make this work.”

Getting Out of the Mud

Lambers has studied the industry and says he has found his niche, which is being genuine with the people he serves. He says he is honest about what’s going on in the market and even with how he carries himself, adding that you will most likely find him conducting business in his sweatpants and baseball cap.

Serving Muskegon, Ottawa, and Kent counties, Lambers says he has gained connections in those communities by the way he conducts business and provides mentorship.

As a mentor, Lambers wants to get youth out of the poverty mindset early on. “Patience is how we get out of poverty,” he says, explaining how he went through adversity. “I had all the things against me: no money, hard to grind, getting rejected all the time. I was part of the ‘get out of the mud’ mindset.”

Lambers says “get out of the mud” is a challenge everyone shares – we all come from some type of mud that we must climb out of to be free.

Honoring His Mentor by Being a Mentor

Mentorship has been a big part of his life that helped him along the way. He credits a schoolteacher from Wyoming Park High School, the late Richard Pullen, for being the mentor that he needed. Lambers said that over the years, he and “RP” became friends, and Pullen was a big supporter and motivator to help him get back into the community and become a productive citizen after his time in prison.

Pullen, who passed away from cancer in 2015, helped Lambers get into therapy, connected him with people to help him gain employment, and served as a father figure and mentor that he needed. Lambers’ way of giving back to Pullen was to give back to others, leading him to become a philanthropist and mentor.

Lambers provides food drives, programs where he teaches the youth how to flip and remodel houses, coaching and development of sports teams, and feeding the hungry. One community event that he holds annually is an ‘80s-and-’90s-themed “back spin party,” where participants are requested to buy tickets and bring food. The event helps feed the hungry and brings in thousands of dollars, which he puts back into the communities that he serves and his endowment, The Pullen & Lambers Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The father of two sons and a nephew he adopted, Lambers gives of himself to everyone in the hopes of helping them to follow a different path than he did in his youth. He tries to help more young people pursue real estate as a career, which he adds has been difficult because of their desire to make quick money.

Lambers says he spent two years in the field before he started to see success in real estate, but youths in the inner city tend to quit when things do not go their way, which intensifies his mentorship efforts. “It’s about dealing with adversities. I always let them know I don’t have a college degree, I don’t have a high school diploma, and I don’t come from money.”

He says those interested in real estate must have a true passion and love for the profession, due to 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, not understanding that they did not have immediate success when they started. “Don’t get in it if you’re trying to be a millionaire. You’re servicing people. Learn the art of sales and the art of the home, and that leads to the perks.”

Showing the importance of patience, dedication, and putting in the 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 that the money just comes. He donates some of his commissions annually to his service and community efforts in the Wyoming and Muskegon communities.

“I had to go to prison, I had to move away from Grand Rapids, I had to be pushed out of other jobs so I could land in the lane that I’m in,” says Lambers, who, at age 45, says that it took him 20 years to get to where he is after being released from prison at age 25. “The lane that I’m in has allowed me to grow and flourish and share my story.”

For more information on Lambers and his programs, visit www.getupoutthemud.com.

Read more articles by Shanika P. Carter.