GRAYT PEOPLE: @SteveDunlapJr | CEO & Chicago Real Estate Investor


Occasionally, I come across an individual on social media and become inspired by the moves they share via their platforms, such happened with Steve Dunlap Jr. Currently CEO of Made Properties, a Real Estate Investor, and teacher in the heart of south side of Chicago (Chicago: his hometown), Dunlap’s hustle has thoroughly inspired me throughout my time of following him on Instagram.

With approximately 5 minutes of your time, join me as Steve’s GRAYT PEOPLE profile cultivates an inspirational adamancy and persistency in going after your dreams—sharing on his life, journey, [graytness,] efforts & motivations.


  1. What is it about Real Estate and Education that compels you to pursue them dually?

Steve and I opened our conversation on what compelled him to pursue Real Estate and education, dually. Steve explained that education granted him the opportunity to make an impact on the Chicago community and challenge the negative stigmas about the kids in his city. Simultaneously, real estate granted Steve the opportunity to profitably flip many of the abandoned homes that cultivated negative stigmas throughout Chicago, by “[changing] the houses and put[ting] families in these homes” to ultimately “change the neighborhood.”

  1. How were you able to surpass any of your own doubts or the doubts of others to embark on such a journey?

As the first to graduate college, one of the first to pursuit entrepreneurial ventures, and one of the first to actively aspire to escape the lower middle class socioeconomic ceiling within his family, Steve’s mindset and subsequent actions acknowledged a need for a shift within his family and within those neighborhoods he wanted to change.

Steve’s pursuit of success yielded a fearlessness. Steve’s fear of being regular or unsuccessful continuously evicted any habitation for doubt. How did Steve continuously do this, he attributes his ambition and perseverance to “investing in myself, learning, and destiny itself”


  1. What are three defining moments that strategically prepared you to flourish as the CEO of MADE Properties and your other entrepreneurial ventures, such as the New Chicago?

Three defining experiences in Steve’s life contributed to his continuous pursuit of success:

  • Being an athlete: As a walk-on Division I college athlete, Steve explained, “I had to prove myself, to coaches to players and to self [that] I’m supposed to be here.”
  • Parenthood: Proving himself further transcended into parenthood, as balancing college and fatherhood further re-enhanced Dunlap’s pursuit of cultivating value for those around him.
  • Father’s cancer diagnosis. In 2015, seeing his father fight and seeing his father live, ultimately fueled what Dunlap identifies as his differentiating factor among other real estate investors and entrepreneurs.


  1. What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other real estate investors or entrepreneurs?

Put simply, Dunlap emphasizes “Purpose over passion,” where his purpose continuously drives him to maintain a student mindset where he’s “Not [being] outworked & always learning!]. That is Dunlap’s identity.

  1. What advice can you give to an aspiring real estate investors or entrepreneur about the art of branding yourself?

Identity is significant when it comes to what he believes as integral to branding yourself; Steve shares, “You can be yourself forever. But as soon as you try to be someone else, if it’s not in your veins, you’re going to fall off!”


  1. What are three (3) routine practices you implement to nurture and sharpen your differentiating factor?

Sharing on ways he does not fall off, Steve shares three routine practices he implements to nurture his strengths and sharpen his weaknesses, exclaiming:

  • “I put myself throughout pain everyday”
  • “Staying connected with people”
  • “Staying connected to God”


  1. What and/or who inspires you to excel beyond [good] and embrace your [graytness]?

Whether it be throughout working out, reading a book out of discipline, or doing more research out of discipline, Steve is adamant about excelling beyond [good] and embracing his [grayt]; when it comes to the individuals who inspired him to do so, Steve shares:

  • “My Dad”
  • “Jesus”
  • “Puffy (Sean “Diddy” Combs”)”
  1. What makes you challenge the status quo in the housing market and/or in life?

Noting that real estate can be an “old man sport,” the inspiration from his Dad, Jesus, and Diddy fuels his presence within the Real Estate Sector—his presence being what challenges the status quo. In Steve’s quest to remain “young & hungry,” he further shares the importance of, “[Staying] all the way locked in to those who have done it before me; never too good to learn. Always learning and always reading; how’d they get it and add to their skills.”



  1. What are three (3) defining philosophies that you use to guide your life?

Being young, hungry, and eager to learn, Steve navigates his life with these three prevalent quotes:

  • “Get a little bit better, everyday”
  • “Don’t stop, don’t quit”
  • “On to perfect manhood”
  1. What was one moment of personal failure or personal success that would motivate someone else to continuously press towards fulfilling their dream?

After sharing that the “Wolf on Wall Street” movie and Jay-Z’s “You Don’t Know” song were two motivational pushes in attaining his goals and dreams, Steve shares one moment of divine difficulty that further shaped his perspective on attaining his goals and dreams.

Thinking back to his first Real Estate deal, Steve shared, in conclusion of our conversation, that he encountered faulty contractors, over budget spending, unexpected death of lawyers, excessive time expended in closing the deal and more. Eventually closing the deal, Steve reflected on the fact that when, “Purpose [is]  behind me…nothing can stop the purpose!”


[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.



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GRAYT PEOPLE: @SteveDunlapJr | CEO & Chicago Real Estate Investor

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