Whew, that was a fast six months! Today is another 15 hour day and I’m exhausted, but I want to write down my thoughts now so I won’t forget how incredible this six months has been.
I started on August 5th, six days after arriving back home from our 19 month RV trip around the USA and parts of Canada. I was so happy to be back in my beloved Bend, and thrilled to be seeing family and friends again. I was relaxed, refreshed and ready to hit my new real estate career hard.
Which I’ve done! I’m ALL IN in every aspect. I spent two weeks setting up my technology life and learning all the new systems. I went from traveling and asking my teenagers to figure out details on the Mac for me, to having to do it all for myself. I asked tons of questions of anyone nearby and I smile when I remember all the mistakes I made. I miss my assistants from my former professional life more than I can articulate. I’ve read 11 real estate books, taken 16 classes and 11 webinars, and read countless articles to get up to speed.
But the beauty of working at Fred Real Estate, by far the best company in Bend, is that I get to run my own business, my way. It’s not a corporate structure with a top-down, shareholder driven mentality. Fred & Keeley started the company in 2008 and it has had phenomenal growth and success for everyone involved, with happy clients in abundance. When I was deciding who to interview with, I read “Our philosophy is simple: work hard for our clients, and have fun. We pride ourselves in saving our clients money while providing an exceptional real estate experience” on the website and knew I had to go meet with Fred. My notes say, “wow, is he real?!” and “could make my dream come true here” and “clients first”. I chose the best company in Bend.
While I’m happy to be working in a great atmosphere with other dedicated professionals, I’m also exhausted. It has taken every bit of energy and drive I have to start my business from scratch on a positive, ethical, client-driven note. I’ve always said that parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but now I believe being a real estate broker is harder. “It’s crazy” is what I keep telling people, and here’s why:
- I fired some of my first clients because they wormed their way into a home they loved, even though they’d seen it before, the owner had a medical treatment that day, and I was on the other side of town waiting to show them the house we had the scheduled appointment for.
- People lie. I thought I was done with that aspect because I was no longer loaning them money, but it’s even worse with real estate. And yet I find out.
- I’ve laughed harder than I ever did as a banker. (Even when I was playing practical jokes on people.) Spending time with other realtors and lenders who know how insane this business is makes it enjoyable. The stories they can tell, wow.
- Prospective clients think I’m dumb because I’m new to the business, and I’ve had several explain to me basic terms: mortgage, HOA, loan locks; I find it funny.
- One man wanted me to find a house for he and his wife to buy, but then confided that he was going to divorce her and the house was just for him, and did I “need to tell her?” “No, but you do” was my reply.
- I’ve been hung up on and cussed out when calling to thank them for signing up on my website. (realestatesally.com)
- I’ve received the best advice from other experienced brokers. It’s a gift.
- I knew that money made people emotional, but add their HOME to it, and you can multiply it by a thousand. I call the process a roller coaster and tell clients I’m here to help with the ride, with all the details, and we’re all going to have fun.
- I’ve become a referral source for more than just real estate related people – plumbers, electricians, handymen – but also for dentists, doctors, lawyers, schools, shopping, restaurants, vets, pedicures. I’m happy to track down anyone they need, but I’ve been surprised by some of the requests.
- I’ve shown houses and spent hours with clients who suddenly disappear and don’t return phone calls and emails, only to find out they’ve found a for sale by owner and cut me out. Without even a by-your-leave!
- I missed my son’s first wrestling match to help a client who insisted on seeing the house that night, only to have her say on the way out the door, “well, I really need to come back tomorrow and see it in the daylight”. Grr, wasn’t that my suggestion?
- I’ve played ping pong at work and had a beer while I played = rough life.
- I showed a house to client who said they wanted to write an offer. I couldn’t get the key out of the door and by the time I met them 15 minutes later, they had changed their minds. (Probably saved time in the long run.)
- I’ve shoveled snow off driveways, steps and porches just to be able to show houses.
- I wrote an offer on Thanksgiving and would have written one on Christmas if the listing agent had gotten back to me. Definitely not banker’s hours.
- I’ve met clients who will be lifelong friends.
- I can recite the history of Bend, Mt. Bachelor and the brew pub route in my sleep. It used to be that people asked about skiing, then it was golf, then it was brew pubs, now it’s recreational marijuana. (Are we evolving or going backward?)
- I’ve been stalked by a dirty old man who saw my picture and thought that gave him the right to be inappropriate. I don’t need a sale that bad; he’s blocked.
- I’ve shown homes to clients and had to apologize for the state they were in – I wouldn’t let my dogs live in them and yet they are for sale. In one home, the client and I were careful not to touch anything and we were laughing the whole time.
I’m sure I’ll remember more funny or frustrating instances later, but those are the first that come to mind. And some I’m not going to share because I don’t want to get sued,ha.
More important than anything, however, is the internal reward I’ve gotten for helping people. One of the main reasons I went into this crazy business was to help people again, and it’s so worth all the pain to be able to do so. Last Friday, it took me 23 emails, texts and phone calls to track down and get a deed recorded so I could hand over the keys to my very first client. I was not going to make her wait until Monday, as many suggested. It was an incredible feeling to see her step into her home and smile – and to know that I helped get her the home that she’s going to enjoy for years to come. Me, the newbie, closed her first transaction in 6 months!