My Interview with a BLIND REALTOR

Real Estate Agent with Tim Monciref 0374754
O P E N   Y O U R   E Y E S.

So your down and out.....the world is falling apart.....can't sell a home......can't find a is too stressful.....ready to throw in the towel of the real estate world..... Well, here is a story that has changed my life, and I hope that it will change yours.  It' long, but if you make it through, it may change your life  forever........

Joseph Klatt, Klatt Realty,


Before starting up The Bartlett Real Estate Group with Keller Williams with my partners, Ken, Tom, and Marissa in 2003, I had strong insecurities of leaving a job where I was earning between $200k and $300k.  That is a tough decision to go from making a pretty decent income to zero.  So, yes, I was wetting my pants with such a decision.

T H E   A D   T H A T   C H A N G E D   M Y   L I F E

So pondering the decision, I went on vacation to La Jolla California to relax my mind for several weeks.  At a restaurant, I saw a real estate magazine, and as most agents, I just had to read it.  Flipping through the pages, I saw an ad (which I keep in my wallet everyday) with a picture very similar to what you see above with blurbs about a couple of multi-million dollar homes for sale.  My wife saw the confused look on my face and asked what was up, and I showed her the ad...and I said "What the heck is this!"

At first I was baffled, but then, I figured it out in my mind.  HE MUST HAD BEEN A VERY SUCCESSFUL AGENT, and then lost his sight.  That made since.....I could see myself pulling that off....maybe.  BUT, I had to dig into this to see if this really was the case.  Mind you, he has an extremely successful brokerage office on La Jolla's prime downtown real estate street of Wall Street.

Well....I was wrong.

B E F O R E    T H E   C A R   C R A S H 

So, I found his website and found that I was completely wrong.  At age 19, he had a horrific car crash where his car fell off of a 100 foot cliff in La Jolla.  The crash should have killed him, but, after a prolonged stay in the hospital, he survived, but lost both of his eyes....and had years of constructive surgery. (details on his website)

Thereafter here is brief outline of a fraction of his accomplishments:

  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Masters in Real Estate; with further BA's in real estate, securities law and insurance law.
  • Received his real estate sales license
  • Receive his real estate brokerage license
  • Received a doctorate in Real Estate Law (yes, a doctor of real estate)
  • Opened a real estate brokerage office
  • Started a real estate mediation company
  • Became a highly desired speaker.....not about his story..but about real estate economics!
  • Became 4 time president and chairman of the Board of Realtors

T H E   I N T E R V I E W

I was now totally baffled and had to meet this man...and I did. I met him at his office and we strolled with his guide dog down Girard Avenue to the La Valentia Hotel.  I had a very hard time keeping up with him at the pace speed either set by his dog or him.  I was used to an entrance that I normally take but Joe and his dog went another....with Joe saying "come this way, it's quicker".  Huh?

During my meeting, I felt as if if I were talking to an extremely successful SIGHTED person.  I asked him as nicely as I could.....Why did you decide on real estate?  (of course, in my mind, I really meant, were you nuts to even thing about real estate).  He said "my dad was in real estate and was also a builder, and I wanted to continue the dream I had before the accident".  So, I said..."Ohhhhhh..Kay.....but how did you get started?"  He said "my dad had a friend that had a real estate office, and he got me a job their to answer phones....of course I had my license at the time:"  "of course" I said...but how did you get from that into selling homes."

He said "there was a day when none of the agents where in the office and a client came in to look at a specific listing".  He said "I told them that there was not any other agents on duty, but I could take you there....but (in a joking voice) you would have to drive".  So they laughed and agreed.  They went to the house.  He knew the location and the house quite well as he attended ALL PROPERTY TOURS and remembered the comments made by agents on each home.  He said "the clients went through the home, I noticed that they would open up much more than when I was with a sighted agent with a client". He did remind me that he was 19 before he went blind and did have a picture in his mind of where things were in town.

" I   H AV E   A N   A D V A N T A G E   O V E R   S I G H T E D   P E O P L E "

Then he said the line of all lines I have heard in my life.   "AT THAT POINT, I REALIZED THAT I HAD AN ADVANTAGE OVER SIGHTED PEOPLE".  I even asked him to repeat that line, as I could not believe my ears.  The couple bought the home.  Thereafter, he worked as an agent becoming a top producing agent, then later starting his own brokerage firm and mediation firm, got his doctorate...yes a doctor of real estate. that point...I think I had him figured out, so I thought.  I asked him, "So, are you mainly focused on sales in La Jolla.  He said "oh no.  I sell anywhere in San Diego, and sold 2 home in San Fransico last year". Moreover, the way he replied with his voice inflection was like any other top producing sighted agent in San Diego. He said it in such a manner that I felt foolish for even asking such a question....but I had to ask the obvious next question: "So, how did you go about selling 2 homes in San Francisco"?

In his same confident tone he said "well, both clients were pretty well to do clients that had their own we flew up to San Francisco and took a look at a couple of condos and made offers on both."  What!!!  "How did you know what offers to make".  He said that he knew an agent that gave him comps and they made and offer.  His reply was as quick as you read that almost sounded like he was saying "what a foolish question to ask.... or duh".

T H E   I N T E R V I E W   C O M E S   T O   A N   E N D

So I finish the interview more confused than when I started.  We started to walk back to his office at this extreme pace (almost like a speed walker), and I am wondering why we are not running into anyone or things as the foot traffic was very heavy.  So I had to ask, right?  I said, "Joe, I am seeing hundreds of people walking down the sidewalk, benches, large potted plans, and you have a visualization of all of this as we walk so fast?"  He said, "do you mean like noticing Victory Secret to your left?"  I looked to my left and there it was.  He then said, "am I walking too fast?".  I lied and said "no".

So I carry a laminate card of his ad in my wallet at all times.  When I am in a situation where I am not so sure if I can pull it off.....I know that there is a blind man that is kicking my rear (actually I use the "a" word, but don't want to get in trouble with AR).  When we started our group, we set our site to be in the top ten in the city the first year.  I knew that his production would be in the top ten in by golly we are going to try. (as motivation we named our website  It has been 10 years and we have been in the top 7 (#3 the last 3 years) of groups in Austin ranked by the Austin Business Journal, yet, we strive to keep up with Joseph. 

Joe has kindly put a link to my post on his website..... If you think that you can design a better website than this, try to to it with your eyes covered.  .

OPEN YOUR EYES......... 


Comments (26)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Tim- I am in awe of this man and I'm going to have to take a look at his website.

Dec 10, 2012 08:18 AM
Digital Digital
Alachua, FL
full service

Hi Tim,

Thanks for sharing this inspirational story. We can really achieve whatever we want, if we work hard and smart. I'll checkout Joe's website.


Dec 10, 2012 09:09 AM
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

I am not far from La Jolla and I have never heard of this guy. Limitations definitely come from within.

Dec 10, 2012 09:38 AM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

I have not been there in 2 years....but he is by the Post Office on Wall Street...two blocks off Girard, and he lives 2 blocks away, so you can get an idea of what his house is valued at....and what the value of his building is.  Go by and say hello.  He was chairman of the board of Realtors in La Jolla for 3 or 4 years....ending about 4 year ago (I think).  He also has a mediation company in case you run into disputes. His dog is part of greet his dog as part of him. 

Dec 10, 2012 10:33 AM
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Tim, very cool! :)  I remember my first year in real estate watching a brief video about a highly successful, blind realtor (woman), and hearing her story made me feel like I have NO excuses for whining--ever!

Dec 10, 2012 12:49 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Hi Tim, have missed reading your posts :) Oh my, what an inspiration! Congrats on being in the Top 10 - #3 for the last three years! You guys are doing great!


Dec 10, 2012 01:08 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

This is a most amazing and inspirational story!  I could just imagine you trying to keep up with him walking around in La Jolla -- thanks for sharing this story with us!

Dec 10, 2012 01:56 PM
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/ - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

A most inspiring interview. It is all about prospective.

Dec 10, 2012 02:25 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

There are many ways to see and the eye is one of them.....Good reflection post...thank you

Dec 10, 2012 10:03 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

That's an amazing story and still seems hard to believe or even imagine. I still don't really see the advantage, maybe the website will help.

Dec 10, 2012 10:04 PM
Linda Piper
Planatek Financial, Inc. - Ventura, CA

WOW!  What an inspiration - success happens when you focus on your abilities and not what you don't have.  Thank you very much for sharing!

Dec 10, 2012 10:29 PM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Absolutely one of my favorite posts of this year. .great message and a kick on the a$$ for all of us!

Dec 10, 2012 11:13 PM
Potranco Realty
Potranco Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Potranco Realty"

Hi Tim, I found myself like so many of others commenting in "awe" of your story and this man, but then I thought of you and how the universe led you to this man to form a special relationship so you would share such a wonderful story with us here on the Rain. Your pretty special yourself and thank you for the inspiration in your blog. Good Stuff Bob

PS. please tell Ken and Linda I said hello

Dec 11, 2012 01:18 AM
Nancy Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty/Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA

Inspirational.  I just wonder how he handles his mandatory agent visual inspection, as required in the state of CA.

Dec 11, 2012 01:37 AM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Nancy...he is the broker.  Thankfully, that was not the case when he started nor when I lived there.  Interesting point though.  Let's see if he jumps in on this string, as he has he has a PHD in real estate law.  I would guess one of his agents would suffice. May have to email him on that question.  Discrmination issue, eh?

Dec 11, 2012 02:47 AM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Many thanks Bob! Will say "hi" for ya.  Cheers


Dec 11, 2012 02:54 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Tim~I found this re-blogged on Fernando's blog. Here is what I said:

I read every word! My sight is the one sense I would NEVER want to lose, so I value it every day. But, your 6th sense (which he has in spades) is JUST as important as any other. PLUS he has compensated for it by using the TWO ears and the ONE mouth accordingly. Great GREAT post.

I love that you keep that ad in your wallet every day, Tim. He keeps us humble, doesn't he?

Dec 12, 2012 12:26 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What a wonderful story to share.  So inspiring!  It definitely gives you pause to the "obstacles" that the average agent complains about on a daily basis! 

Dec 12, 2012 04:54 AM
Brian Park
Park Realty Investments - Murray, UT

Well I have know two successful blind real estate agents in my life. The first was a San Francisco agent I met when looking for a home for a friend of mine. There was no lockbox on the property and I called to preview it and the listing agent showed up, dark glasses, white cane and all. It was a successful transaction, and I actually referred a couple of buyers to him and both clients were totally happy with his service. 

The second, was an agent first but ran into a tree while skiing at age 24. He gravitated to the mortgage end of the business and was a top producer and actually referred many clients to me. Such as investors who had foreclosed on loans and had a property to sell, or were looking for a new property to loan on of a very specific type and area. Or buyers needing a little creativity in structuring a purchase.

Dec 13, 2012 04:51 AM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Wonderful story!!!!!  It is beyond most people's comprehension the power of out minds as to what we perceive is possible versus impossible.  I was showing a home and the seller was at the home.  He was blind and had MS.  He even joked about it to me saying "I bet you never have met a blind writer in a wheel chair with MS".  I said "writer?"   He said when he came down with MS and subsequently went blind he said he finally got the opportunity to do what he always dreamed of doing, writing novels.  Mindset........

Dec 13, 2012 05:43 AM