Press Release
 Realtor Ryan Gebauer

Realtor® Ryan Gebauer: Pushing Through Adversity

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Ryan Gebauer, a broker with Ryan Realty Group in Coral Springs, was 16 years old when his life changed forever: He climbed a tree to jump into a canal.

“I was about 36 feet off the ground and lost my balance. I did a belly flop into the water and severed my spinal cord.” Gebauer says his injury was like the one suffered by actor Christopher Reeve after falling from a horse.

Yet he never let that day or his injury stop him. Gebauer credits the Spinal Cord Injury Support Group of South Florida with helping him realize he could have a productive life and career. He’s using that message to inspire others and drive himself forward serving individuals with disabilities looking for an accessible home.

After his injury, Gebauer graduated from high school and undergraduate school, then went on to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Florida. It was during his MBA program that he decided to take a summer real estate course at the local community college.

“I watched the housing flipping programs and had an interest but didn’t think I would pursue a career in real estate,” he says.

He had an epiphany while driving down A1A in Fort Lauderdale. “I looked at the beautiful homes and thought, ‘How would a disabled person navigate these homes? Do they have elevators?’” he says. His desire to help others with disabilities prompted him to pursue a career in real estate.

“I wanted to see what changes I could make,” says Gebauer, who now specializes in helping people with disabilities find homes that suit their needs. He notes that about 60% of his business is working with able-bodied buyers and sellers. The remaining 40% are those looking for accessible homes, whether they are senior citizens or disabled.

“I was helping an elderly gentleman sell his home when I realized that I could help not just those who have a physical disability, but also seniors who are facing hurdles and hardships.”

Gebauer was recently featured in a National Association of Realtors® “Where the Heart is” series on Vice Video speaking about his niche helping buyers with disabilities.

He also is the current president of the Spinal Cord Injury Support Group of South Florida, where he started as a member in 2008.

“We raise money to help all individuals with disabilities,” he says. The group also organizes events such as “getting on a catamaran out of Riviera Beach Marina and going fishing.”

He was also appointed by Mayor Michael Udine of Broward County to be on the Broward County Affording Housing Advisory Committee. “I’ve been part of that for two years now.”

Through his community involvement, he’s been able to mentor other agents with spinal cord injuries. “People from South Florida to Gainesville are now real estate agents because they saw what I was doing,” Gebauer says. “They’re taking the initiative – they see that if I can do it, they can.”

He also educates other Realtors on what accessibility means and how to highlight those features in a listing. “I see agents take pictures of a grab bar in the bathroom that has a 20-inch doorway, so you can’t get a wheelchair in there, but they’re calling it handicap accessible,” he notes.

Gebauer recommends all agents get their CARES (certified accessibility real estate specialist) designation. “It’s been approved by the DBPR (Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation) recently.”

In closing, Gebauer says, “I’ve just been very blessed with the support I’ve had from my community. For me, being able to exemplify what people with disabilities can achieve is important. It’s not just me, but people from all over the country, like Paralympic athletes, and actors and musicians with disabilities. I am just one piece of the puzzle.”

Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research, and legislative representation to about 225,000 members in 51 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Newsroom website is available at floridarealtors.org/newsroom