Are We Having Fun Yet?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul


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.


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.



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...

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The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Learning to say NO has become the one way to keep ymy sanity in this business.  You don't have to take on every client that comes your way or every deal that is outside your comfort zone.   My local referal network is growing.  Short sales, commerical transactions, even some of my rentals each have an agent that I can pick up the phone and do a professional handoff too.  Leaving me a core business that works and keeps me smiling.

Mar 04, 2010 11:22 PM #6
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873)
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |

Jennifer, I'm still having fun, although I admit it's harder to keep things together nowadays.  And as Cindy above me commented, I'm also saying NO to business that comes my way.  Not a harsh NO, but an educating talk that explains to buyers why it's really not their agent's fault, and I can't make it any better.  They respect me for that.

But, yeah, I still love real estate. =)

Mar 04, 2010 11:43 PM #7
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I'm not getting notices of comments - am I the only one?

Mar 04, 2010 11:45 PM #8
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Hi Jennifer, really like Marie's idea of compiling a list of problem areas. It is much better to be proactive. 

We have had times when it all 'falls apart', if we can't shake it off, we pull out our letters from previous clients.  Usually we then remember the fun times or how at the time it was a tough go but in the end it went together. That usually does the trick for us.

Mar 04, 2010 11:49 PM #9
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Job frustrations are one thing. Jobs frustrations that cost income are another. Buyers and sellers are virtually suffering from shell shock right now, and talking them off the ledge is a far larger percentage of our efforts than it used to be. When the deal dies, income dies. I can understand how people get frustrated. Failure is one thing. Failure to earn is quite another.  

Mar 05, 2010 12:09 AM #10
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

I have recently been frustrated - LOL - due to a less than ethical seller. Oh well. I whined about it for a few days, and I guess I'm over it now.  What has helped me get over it?  I've gotten new appointments and new customers to take out who will hopefully become clients who close a deal.  I guess the only way to get over it is to make a conscious effort to PRESS ON in spite of what happened, spit out the bad and grab onto the good.

Even with the frustrations, I enjoy my job - I'm still having fun - even with my "challenging" clients.

Mar 05, 2010 12:12 AM #11
Joan Zappa
Eagles Wings Realty - Montrose, CO
Professional treatment of our clients, brings awes

Jennifer, We have had to work harder at getting deals closed but they are. We are finding buyers holding off in some instances but when they pull the trigger things are closing. We have so many other varibles in the transactions that holding things together is becoming more a part of the deal, we are now firemen, keeping the flames down, and putting out the fires that kill deals.

Mar 05, 2010 12:21 AM #12
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

JPF - You nailed it. In late 2008, I wrote a series of blogs with a similar tone - that if your dream of selling real estate is jeopardizing your family's security, you owe it to yourself and to them to consider doing something else. Back then, the main challenge seemed to be a lack of available business. Today, sure - there's that, but also an inability to get our contracts to closing, through no fault of our own.

Karen - That's good advice and one of the things about this industry that we MUST accept is that it will always be a rollercoaster. Some days bring unbelievable highs, followed by a day of utter misery. Sorta like dating... no, EXACTLY like dating!

Al & Peggy - Good plan!!! I do that sometimes - go through my testimonials - and yes - it does the trick!

Maggie & Cindy - I think that's a GREAT tip. I remember when a builder-friend of mine said "Jennifer, sometimes you can just say NO," which was a novel idea to me. I tried it a few times, and voila! Problem goes away!

Mar 05, 2010 12:22 AM #13
San Antonio Texas New Homes for Sale - San Antonio, TX

Hi Jennifer,


  Well we are in trying times...and it is frustrating.     We see allot of people are experiencing similar experiences.   


Things will change !    

The question is (When) how soon?     



How long can you mentally and physically..... tread water?????


Thank You,




Mar 05, 2010 12:36 AM #14
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Robert - That, indeed... is the question. Or perhaps "how long SHOULD you... tread water?"

Mar 05, 2010 01:07 AM #15
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Good Morning Jennifer!  I think a big thing that these agents might be missing is a professional team. Often things are controllable... Having that professional team of true partners working towards the same goal will minimise the fall out. Most of the bad I have read about and heard about could have been avoided with controll of the transaction and team members working together.  Sellers might blow things up, Home inspections might blow things up, but that doesnt mean you lose a buyer, you just find them another home... we have to make it about the client, not our pay check - thats what makes it rewarding and profitable!

Mar 05, 2010 01:25 AM #16
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Jennifer--Yes, 500th post.  Look at your My Home for your stats.  I can see how many posts a member has written on the Blogs page of the people I have subscribed to.

You can write 501--# 1 of the next 500 posts.

Mar 06, 2010 06:52 AM #17
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

JA as Truman said "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen". That may sound harsh but it is the truth. Sales, especially in slow times requires a type of mental toughness that not everyone has. I am new to this industry but I have been in sales a long time. I have had some very long dry spells in the past. I have worked on large deals for a year or more and had them blow up in my face. Anybody who says that losing deals you have put a lot of work into does not bother them is not telling the truth. Some of us just find it easier to move on than others. That does not make us better than others, just different. I really believe that an agent that stays upset all the time because of how business is now, owes it to themselves to find something else to do.  

Mar 06, 2010 12:31 PM #18
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Ha! re: a team.  My deal that fell apart due to a seller was one in which I had a very good partnership w/ another agent.  We tag teamed the responsibilities VERY well and I would love to work with her again as a partner..

Mar 06, 2010 12:46 PM #19
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

I think part of the problem is that we kept expecting everything to go back to the way it was - we are into the 3rd year of the wayward market, and this is the new reality.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring, yesterday is gone, today is what we have- the good, the bad and the ugly. 

   So, this is what I do,  I am their sounding board - I freely and gladly let them vent and get it out of their system, just like I would if I was listening to a dear friend, agreeing with them wholeheartedly, when the time is right I ask simple questions - Is this what you want?  Do you still want to sell your home?  Is this the house you want to buy?  Is this house worth it to you?  If my clients are saying yes, that they still want the same things, then together we come up with solutions.

The key point that I found that works for me is the together part -  I believe that buyers and sellers normally feel that so many things are out of their control and I help them to concentrate on what is in their control -  (I learned that little trick when my mom was sick with cancer, the patient feels much better when they are able to control certain things)

And of course, sometimes it is just in the Master's plan - I am a Christian and I believe with all my heart that God sees much farther than I can ever see, and if things are just not working out -well there is probably a very good reason - so go with it, - the best is yet to come!

Mar 07, 2010 12:35 AM #20
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Jennifer.......I am tired.  Yes, I love being an agent. I do not like that I have to explain to buyers that they can not see 6 of the 8 homes they would like to see because the listing agent has not called back or the sellers do not want people viewing the home on weekends or the number for the listing agent is disconnected.........I do not like standing on a porch, attempting to open a combo lock and then having to call the listing agent to get the correct combo because his office has the wrong one...I do not like dealing with REO agents that fail to mention in listings that the TLC a property needs includes appliances and would only qualify for a cash offer..........I do not like agents that direct you to submit offers through a website that malfunctions and leave me trying to explain to a client why their full price offer was never presented and how someone else bought the home ....I do not like lenders that do not disclose they are not certified to have access to USDA funds while taking a USDA application...........I do not like agents that feel they deserve a portion of a commission because last year they worked with a client, never showed them a home and failed to acknowledge they had been fired...I do not like brokers that keep saying "look at the big picture" when faced with standing up for what is right and their agents........I do not like major brokers that just flat out fail to pay co-op fees as stated in the MLS.............I do not like brokers that do not pay in a timely fashion...............I do not like the shrug of the shoulders that is shared when someone makes a mistake..........I do not like a trade association like NAR blindly allowing and lending tree to open a brokerage with intent on becoming a national lender/realtor...I do not like the fact that the best in our industry have accepted they must handle all sides of a transaction to "protect their client"...........I am tired. I am tired of mis-statements, lies and laziness.

Give me a little time and I might come up with a few more reasons. 

Mar 08, 2010 06:49 AM #21
Lois Kubota
Keller Williams, Walnut Creek, California, DRE#01865028 - Walnut Creek, CA

Am I having fun yet?  I'll let you know when I make my first sale.  This is all new to me so no expectations!

Mar 08, 2010 11:24 AM #22
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Getting from accepted offer - to contract - to closing has become an obsticle course.  I think that is what is the most frustrating for most.  Much of the difficulty is genearted by the banks.  I had a closing today. (YAY!!!)  The battle to get to a meeting of the minds (my seller was not that realistic) took literally 2 months.  Fortunately the buyer REALLY wanted that house - 90% of all buyers would have walked way back when. The contracts were delayed a month while monkey wrench after monkey wrench was thrown into the works.  Then the closing was delayed because there was an issue with the sellers plan.  Then the bank had trouble with the final closing docs and the closing was postponed three times.  It finally came to pass at  4 PM the day the rate lock expired. Nail biter all the way.  I had NO IDEA if this was going to hold together until it was done.

Btw, the first offer made by this buyer was in August - thats how long it took!  This wasn't a short sale, nothing unusual at all. But everything was difficult because no one was giving an inch.




Mar 08, 2010 05:19 PM #23
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA


Yes I do love real estate....maybe it is because I am fortunate to live in an area where short sales and foreclosures are not the norm....maybe it is because I am only about 3 years into this and the slow down just affected us late last year....maybe it is because of late I have had new buyers which are so uplifting...

Mar 09, 2010 12:47 AM #24
Sharon Filbig
Prudential California Realty - Escondido, CA
San Diego County Real Estate

Hey--I thought it was just me.  It's good to know that I'm not the only one feeling the pain.  Transacting real estate has become an obstacle course.  A big one.  And it feels like I have to run it in high heels with a big smile on my face.  My shins are getting pretty banged up, but I still love it. 

Mar 09, 2010 02:23 PM #25
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