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I wonder how many of us realize that our experiences did not come from sitting in class after class of useful but otherwise mindless tedium. I say that tongue in cheek, of course, because we all know that experience doesn't come from listening so much as it comes from doing. As the old adage says, experience is the best teacher...
There is wisdom to be gained from making mistakes. Do I sound cliché’? The truth of the matter is, without having messed up somewhere along the way, how would we have known that what we were doing, or how we were doing it, wasn’t quite right? And would we have recognized it ourselves? More often than not, it was the observation of someone more experienced than us in whatever endeavor we were engaged in who pointed out that there was a better way…
One has to be willing to try anything in order to become better at it. The willingness to take risks and be exposed to ridicule if one fails is at the heart of every person’s attempt to gain experience in whatever field they are in. Especially if they are in real estate …
Everyone’s road to experience starts in the same place, but not in the same way. I distinctly remember my first experience as a real estate agent. I had an aunt who passed away two years prior to my becoming an agent and my cousin, her nephew, was designated as the executor of the estate. He wanted to get rid of the property, and fast. We listed it in July and it was sold within a month. Great, right? Nope. Within days of having received that initial offer, I received several more, at a higher price....but had already accepted the first offer. Lesson learned: when dealing with properly priced properties, never jump at the first opportunity.
The road to experience is different for everyone. As I continued, I started making cold calls…but it wasn’t a cold call to an expired listing that landed me my next listings. As soon as we sold my aunt’s first property, a property that her recently deceased niece had was also placed in my cousin’s hands to deal with…and we listed that one. Had a ton of showings, but it wasn’t until December that that one closed. In the meantime, I was riding around looking for FSBO’s and for properties that looked like they needed to be sold – abandoned properties that were an eyesore or just looked pitiful and in desperate need of someone to love them enough to fix them up. Sure enough, I found quite a few. There was one in particular I had found that I was lucky enough to actually speak with the owner, who was a local man who indeed wanted to get rid of the property. That one was listed at the end of October, and was sold before Christmas. Lesson learned: you have to try to get business in order to get business.
The road to experience often has unexpected twists and turns, and an occasional pothole or two. Or even more. It was now January of 2008, and I was determined to continue making cold calls, and sending letters, to expireds and distressed property owners in the hopes that I could contact enough of them to have the same success that I had in my first 4 months as an agent. It didn’t happen. Oh, I got a listing – one that was so hopeless, that even after a price reduction and an extension, could not be sold. I let that one go. Another listing I got, the owner had needs that the market at that time couldn’t bear -yet I took the listing, and, with only three or four showings on it, when its time was up, we let that one go, too. I soon began to despair. Another listing was procured, but this one was hopeless, too, but for different reasons – uncooperative tenants. Upon the advice of their lawyer, the owners withdrew that one from the market…and at some point thereafter, it became a bank-owned property. December was now upon me, and I had nothing to show for it. I had buyers who wanted to buy a home, but were not able, or were not ready – and thus, no closings. Sellers? Forget it. It just didn’t happen for me in 2008. Lessons learned: nothing is certain in real estate; many variables can make or break a deal; I had to do something different in order to be successful.
The only way to gain experience is to stay on the road. Indeed, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning of 2009, and I am so glad I did. Our coach, Ralph Williams, gave me the needed boost that I needed, and it was that very day that I embarked on my incredible journey here on ActiveRain . I started doing less of what was not working for me as an agent, and started laying the groundwork for a spectacular year, with more to follow. I have picked up so many new ideas and tools to use in listing presentations, in my buyer consultations, and just for my business as a real estate agent in general that even though I have not yet gotten where I want to be, I am further along now than I have ever been. Lesson learned: don’t quit, even when it seems hopeless.
But I could be even further along if I had some help. I said earlier that it is usually someone else who points out to us where we can do better, and in real estate, having a mentor from the start is definitely the way to go. Sure, talking with your broker, attending meetings and training sessions are all good, but nothing beats having that one-on-one relationship with another realtor who has been where you are now and can show you, as you go along, what pitfalls to avoid (if possible). My particular situation– being a “part-timer” – was noted by a friend of mine recently as a detriment to having such a mentoring relationship (side note: He could be my mentor, but he’s the broker for a competing firm. Drat.), but I have made up in my mind to find such a one in my office. I should have done that a long time ago. That way, I can continue on the road to experience, and eventually get to the place where I can help someone else along the way.
Courtesy of William James Walton, Sr. , Realtor, WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group
Serving northern New Haven and southeastern Litchfield Counties (Waterbury, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Middlebury, Southbury, Watertown, Thomaston and Plymouth)
Call William James Walton, Sr. Real Estate Agent with WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group (203) 558-7463 for help with your real estate needs -buying or selling - in Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott, Middlebury, Southbury, Prospect, Naugatuck, Plymouth and Thomaston
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.