Why I chose Real Estate! From the eyes of a Precocious Little Girl
This little girl was a lucky girl! When her parents went to look for a new home in Duluth, MN they chose the baby of the family to go with them that fateful day. She was so excited because she got to wear her 'grown up coat and hat' and play house (as her Mommy told her they'd be doing)! When the real estate agent opened the front door, the little girl was so surprised to see a lady wearing a blue coat and hat - just like hers , well kind of like hers. The lady handed the little girl her card and asked her if she would like to be her assistant? Of course she was all smiles because she knew all about business as her Daddy took her to his office quite often and she played office really good, or so he said! He even let her help put checks in their right order! That was an important job and somehow this little girl knew that 'showing' the house to her parents was important too. That was the day this little girl fell in love with real estate.
Fast forward to college......all throughout school I was always buying books on buying and selling homes but since I had no money I figured I'd just have to wait till after graduation. Ha! My senior year I went to an estate auction intending on buying some antique furniture to sell and make a profit to pay for school expenses. Low and behold the house was also being sold and it seemed like such a smoking hot price. I just had to put a bid in on it - I just had too! (Of course it was a crazy idea at the time!) When the auctioneer asked for the final bid up went my number and then I heard SOLD and he was pointing at me!!! OMG what did I do now? I knew I'd have to write a check out for $2K that day and I wasn't sure I could cover the whole amount - now what? I left the auction and drove immediately out to my parents lake home to ask them what to do. I could only imagine what they'd be saying! Luckily my Dad was ok about the whole thing and helped me buy the house because he probably thought it was a really good deal or maybe he wanted to see what I could do with the project. I knew I had to pay him back after I remodeled the house and sold it for a profit. Long story short - I was able to pay him back and make about 6K profit which at the time seemed pretty good to me. Whew! Would I ever suggest doing that to any of my clients - absolutely not! Had my Dad not saved the day I would have been out $2K and learned a big lesson. That's why to this day I make sure First Time Home Buyers understand the process of buying a home!
After graduation I didn't go into real estate right away. A friend and I took off a few months to go backpacking out west and we ended up in a little town in Colorado called Eagle. Somehow I met the County Extension Director and he offered me a job as the Assistant Extension Director. Why? Because he like my mix of education and experience both with working with kids and marketing. Seemed like a good deal at the time so I went back to MN, packed up my stuff and moved to CO (much to the shock of my family and friends). Now keep in mind my entire salary for the year was $13K that first year so I knew at some point I'd go into real estate. As it turned out I loved that job and stayed there for 5 years and learned to live on a very small salary. But - the perks were great as I skied at Vail, taught tennis and racquetball and a few other classes and made a few extra bucks. It was a great learning experience and a whole lot of fun!
Fast forward to 1987. I had moved to Flagstaff with my new husband. Finally I had the chance to get my real estate license and do what I always wanted to do - help people buy and sell homes. I was fortunate to end up with a small local company with a broker that taught me the ropes - and well. He was a very smart business man with a calm manner. He reminded us often to always take care of our clients - first. Always. I loved being a real estate agent from day one. I actually held an open house that first day -and - guess what - I sold the house! I called my broker and said - HELP - what should I do? Calmly he said - write up the offer and bring it to me. It worked!
In 1993 I moved to Phoenix as my parents and sister lived there. I had taken a series of leadership semiars over the previous year and my support team coached me on creating what I really wanted. I was missing being around my family so I packed up and made the switch to a broker in Phoenix. Moving to a big city took a bit of adjustment but I figured it out pretty quickly. I never showed homes without mapping them out beforehand!! Getting to know the different cities and neighborhoods was a lot of work and at the same time it was exciting to be working in such a huge area (rather than a small community of 50,000). I worked with one of the biggest agencies here in Phoenix up to 2006 and I enjoyed my fellow agents and brokers. It was a 100% shop so I basically ran my own 'business within a business'. Up to this point my real estate career had been pretty much 'smooth sailing' but the waters were about to get choppy.
I had been thinking about opening up my own shop for a number of years and in 2006 that's exactly what we did. We opened the Phoenix Property Shoppe in August of 2006. My husband is also an agent so he runs the back office and finances and I handle the clients and contracts. We're a good team!
Enter 2008 and needless to say I don't need to re-cap what happened to our market. Crash and burn says it all. By that time we had leased and furnished a big office and had a staff plus agents on board. Little did I know at the time it was going to be a free fall for years to come. By Sept of 2008 I knew I had to re-invent the business or give it up. That's when I lept into the internet marketing world and immersed myself 24/7 to figure out how to keep the business running and cover our expenses and make a profit. That wasn't an easy task and we had quite a few bumps and bruises along the way. No matter what I was determined to get back up on the 'climbing pole' and shift what I needed to shift to make things happen. It was a balancing act of epic proportions to say the least. Thankfully it's now 2011 and we're about to turn the corner and have our best year since 2007. We've moved the office to a small executive suite and we've cut back on expenses (or as we like to say battened down the hatches). Along the way I've learned so much in this 'down market' (which for those of you that weren't around in the last 80's and early 90's) is DRASTICALLY worse and much longer lasting than that period.
I am full of renewed energy and enthusiam! I can honestly say that I still love real estate! And I so enjoy working with my home buyers and home sellers! I"ve got the most amazing clients! If I were to start all over now I'd chose the same career. Real Estate has been in my blood since I was just a little girl and I'm quite sure I'll be doing this until I retire (which will likely be never!) What makes real estate so fascinating to me (despite all the trials and tribulations this past year) is that it's constantly changing. There are new ways of doing business, new ways of marketing on the internet, and a constant stream of new rules, regulations and contracts. Most importantly - I get to work with fabulous clients that become clients for life - and friends as well. Match made in heaven for sure!
Whether it's smooth sailing or a tough balancing act - real estate is my chosen career - and I love it!