I can't tell you how many letters I've gotten recently from good agents who are quietly considering throwing in the towel on their real estate career - NOT because they can't drum up enough business, but rather because they can't keep the business they've drummed up together. In other words - they find their buyer a home or get their listing under contract and then BAM! The deal comes crashing down at no fault of the agent. Lather, rinse, repeat. After two or three or six or seven of these crashed deals, it's understandable that the agent might wonder if it's really worth it.
I certainly would... and did.
My first career right out of college was in the Employee Benefits industry - specifically health insurance. Back in '89, group health insurance was pretty basic - most employers offered a traditional 80/20 plan with a deductible. PPO plans were fairly new on the market (PPO = Preferred Provider Organization - you received higher coverage when you used preferred providers, but you still got decent coverage if you used "your own" doc), but they worked pretty well. HMO plans (HMO = Health Maintenance Organization - you HAVE to use network doctors or you get no benefits) were on their way, but weren't widely purchased yet.
I was an account manager for a rather prestigious book of business in San Francisco, Nevada, Utah, and later, Colorado and Nebraska. Among my clients were Korbel Winery, The Men's Warehouse and Oracle. I flippin' LOVED my job. And, humility be damned, I was really good at it.
Why did I love it so much? Well, it was a lot like selling real estate, except I didn't have any sales responsibilities. As an account manager, I was a teacher, a negotiator, a problem-solver, a hand-holder and a talk-off-the-ledge-r. I had a monster to-do list every day and I reveled in staying at the office til every single item was completed.
I LOVED it.
Well, in the early 90's, HMO's became the latest & greatest option in the health insurance world. Our sales reps were hugely bonused for selling them and employers loved the lower costs. Suddenly, I had a book of business full of HMO plans, which, unfortunately, no one fully understood, not even the claims processors. It was my job to explain the complicated concept to employees and human resource directors, and then to solve their problems when they inevitably didn't use the system right.
It was a nightmare. AND NO MATTER HOW HARD OR SMART I WORKED, I COULD NOT MAKE MY CLIENTS HAPPY.
I HATED it.
Does this sound at all familiar? It does to me. This is how the real estate market feels these days. Used to be we could solve most problems, talk anyone off the ledge and keep our deals together using our brains, skills and expertise. But today, many agents feel out of control.
Are YOU still having fun in your real estate career? If so, any sanity-saving secrets you'd like to share with the crowd? Or conversely, wanna vent YOUR crash-n-burn story? We promise to be good shoulders to cry on...