How I almost quit real estate in 30 days or less.

By
Real Estate Agent with Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME

 

Lightning strike over houses.

photo courtesy of zoutedrop

I was newly licensed and very eager to get started.

Some agents had told me open houses were a great resource for someone like me - not many friends in town, no family, no real ties to the community.  No sphere of influence in other words.  I started seeking them out, but as luck would have it, someone in my office always beat me to the punch when an email would go out asking for an agent to hold an open house.  I was a bit bummed, but still determined.  I kept my eyes on my email and put the word out that I was looking.

The opportunity finally arrived via Reggie Hock.  He had a property out in Helotes, TX available for a whole weekend of open houses.  I wanted to do my best in order to impress Reggie enough to get more from him in the future, so I offered my services and made sure I was prepared.  I made color flyers, had signs strung up all over the place - I studied that property nightly for days in order to know everything about it.  The list price on the property was $589,740, so you can imagine how excited I was to sit in a house of this caliber.  It was my chance to (maybe) sell a great home and possibly pick up some clients who were looking in that range.  I was a new agent, so this would have been huge for me.  In order to make the most of this opportunity, I told Reggie I would do the open house from 12-5.  Five hours on Saturday and Sunday meant 10 hours of possible clients and sales.

Saturday came and my moment had arrived.

I arrived at the home and set up.  The owners were away for the weekend and they had advised me there was a small dog that had run of the backyard and garage, but that he was friendly.  They were very nice, telling me to make myself at home and enjoy my time there.  The house was great and I settled in.  I had never done an open house, so I didn't know what to expect, but I had big expectations anyway.  I had covered the area with signs, so that you couldn't miss me if you tried.  Someone had to take notice.

The day came and went without a single visitor.  I was bummed.  I wrapped up my day and headed home feeling broken and defeated.  My high hopes had been dashed, but I am not a quitter.  I came back the following day full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the world once again.

And then there was Sunday.

About an hour in, I got a visitor.  They were a friendly couple and they toured the house and we chatted for awhile.  I felt better.  (On a side note, that couple has never responded to any of my contact attempts since then, so they didn't really pan out the way I had hoped, but that's not the story.)  No one else showed up at all.  Four more hours of loneliness (without internet access I might add).  I was again broken and defeated.

Remember the dog I mentioned?  Well, he comes into play now.

As I gathered my things, dark clouds formed over Helotes.  The wind picked up and that ominous vibe that you get pre-thunderstorm started to build.  I hurried to get my stuff to the car - I still had signs to pick up before heading home.  As soon as I put the last thing from the house in my car and locked the door, the heavens opened.  When I say opened, I mean opened.  It was as if the rain gods had predicted the perfect moment to ruin my day.  I still had signs strategically placed all over the area.  So I started with the first one by the driveway.  I pulled up to it, got out (without an umbrella) and pulled it from the ground.  As I turned around to throw it in my car, the aforementioned dog jumped into the driver's seat, bringing with him mud and water.  He immediately got down by the gas pedal and settled in as the thunder was scaring the you-know-what out of him.  Of course, when a little dog is frightened, they get a bit nasty.  So, as I tried to pull the dog from the footwell of the car, he began biting me.  I didn't blame him, but I wasn't thrilled about a stranger's dog biting my hands as I tried to remove him either.  Especially not thrilled as the rain was pouring into my open car door and running down my back into my pants.  I could literally feel a river of rain right down the back of my nice, clean, perfectly pressed pants.  Ugh.  And this was only the first sign.

Needless to say, I removed the dog with only a few bites and scratches and moved on to my other signs.  By the time I had thrown (literally thrown) all of my signs into the back seat, I was drenched.  My light blue shirt was literally see-through and I weighed about 50 pounds more than I do on a normal day.  My pants were soaked, my shirt was a mess, my tie was like an anchor around my neck and my brightly polished dress shoes made that dispusting squishy sound as I walked.  I was tired and frustrated.

We've all had a bad day, but this one almost killed my career.

I was so new that this experience was pretty off-putting.  Why would I want to hold open houses for no clients, no sale, and nothing but a sloppy mess?  I was tired and hungry and wished I had stayed home all weekend watching hockey with my wife.  Of course, you know how the story ended (or didn't end).  I continued on and made it through to see another day.  For that one weekend though, I seriously questioned whether this was what I wanted to do with my life.  I probably wasn't as close to quitting as I make it sound, but in my head I sure was.  I thought real estate was no fun at all.  Now, of course, I'm having the time of my life.  I thoroughly enjoy what I do and have had many successful open houses (some with rain even).  Good thing I didn't walk away when I got a bit frustrated, I would've missed out.

This post is dedicated to Kristin Moran, who told me to tell the story to the world when I mentioned it in the comments section of a previous post.

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Rainmaker
167,844
Reba Haas
Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Eastside www.TeamReba.com - Bellevue, WA
Team Reba, CDPE

I think one of the biggest problems when people get into this career is that they listen only to the old advice - some of which is "hold open houses!"  If you want to do well, you need to figure out who it is that you want to target as your perfect client and the description of this person is made up entirely by you.  It doesn't mean you won't work with others, it just means that as you build your business it and all of the messages you put out into the world will focus primarily on that niche.

I'm going to guess that with your tag line above that you either like music, have been involved in music, or you just really like the idea of feeling like a rockstar. Perhaps you should seek out others that have similar interests. Hockey lover? Perhaps build your marketing messages around the love of the sport. Have prior work experience and contacts from that field?  Perhaps target those that you best connected with - that's what I did when I left the technology industry. A large percentage of my clients work for tech based companies.

Mar 12, 2009 05:42 AM #5
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Denise - It actually wound up encouraging me more than it did discouraging me.  At that moment though, it was 100% discouragement.

Kristin - Oh I forgot to mention the smell in my car.  It was a classic case of wet dog smell that didn't want to go away.  Funny thing is, but the time I got home down on Bandera, it was all sunshine - never rained here, just up in Helotes.

Margaret - Thanks.  I've told this one several times to agents in our office - it always gets a laugh.  Especially from the guy who gave me the open house.

Kristin - No problem, you did tell me to do it (I had never thought to write it out).  Did you notice where the link in your name goes to?  Your outside blog - more googlization for you!  Thanks for being the one that brought me over to ActiveRain.

Mar 12, 2009 05:43 AM #6
Rainmaker
647,599
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Cute story and we are glad you stuck it out.  All good wishes to you as you continue on into the future.

Shelton

Mar 12, 2009 06:05 AM #7
Rainer
20,851
Nicole Lahti
United Lending - Austin, TX
Austin Texas Mortgage

Matt, I love this story. Not because it was such a crappy sitution for you, but because your brutal honesty make me glad to know I'm not the only one who feels defeated sometimes in this business.

There have been many times I feel the same and wonder what the heck I'm doing in mortgage. But you just brush-off the defeats (because they will come) and move on to the next money-making activity!

Glad you stuck around!

Mar 12, 2009 06:12 AM #8
Rainmaker
662,099
Patricia Aulson
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate - Exeter, NH
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

It is a crazy business that's for sure. I do continue to luv it over the last two decades I've ridden out a few storms, this one being the worst. I continue to stay in it so I recomment you do the same. You win a few, lose a few, you've heard this before ....right!

Patricia Aulson/ Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Mar 12, 2009 06:20 AM #9
Rainer
21,674
Miranda Moser
Century 21 Bamber Realty - Calgary, AB
Calgary Real Estate Agent

Thanks for the story! Real estate definitely has it ups and downs but overall it is a great business to be in! And, you never do know what will happen at open houses! :)

Mar 12, 2009 07:19 AM #10
Rainmaker
516,438
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

I had a number of similar days at first and even a few nowdays but I guess I am just stubborn and figure that it all evens out over time! Best part is that you don't work here...

Mar 12, 2009 09:18 AM #11
Ambassador
489,685
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

I love GlenGarry Glen Ross!! ALWAYS BE CLOSING!!

Yes, I noticed where the link went! Thanks!  google it up!  KM

Mar 12, 2009 09:53 AM #12
Ambassador
1,726,157
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Brother Matt...

We all have horror stories like this ... but you gotta get through them! I think I may write about one or two!

Mar 12, 2009 12:21 PM #13
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Shelton - Thanks.  I knew I'd stick around.  They're not going to get rid of me that easy.

Nicole - Anyone that says every day is perfect is either crazy or lying.  There will always be discouraging days.  When I was in the band I kept the band's online tour diary and its full of days where I quit, was fired, or just hated everything around me.  We all have them and I actually don't mind having them - just makes me appreciate the good days more.  I don't know if I could do the mortgage side.  You're the first one everyone blames for anything.  It must be hard.

Patricia - I like the aspect of the business that makes every day different.  That's part of what makes it enjoyable.  I'd still prefer to avoid lighting and dog bites though.

Miranda - I like open houses.  I've been able to learn a lot about what's on the consumer's minds through them.  It gives me the knowledge of what they're thinking about on a day to day basis, which enables me to have the answers they need.

Mar 12, 2009 12:25 PM #14
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Russell - It does even out in my opinion as well.  That's why I don't like transaction fees.  I feel that there's a certain amount of risk and "cost of doing business" (whatever happened to that phrase, it seems to have disappeared from the American business-culture) to what we do.  Its all about balancing it out so they don't outweigh the incoming funds.

Kristin (and Russell again) - I haven't seen the movie since I was much younger.  I went with my parents and was bored.  One of these days I'll have to get it out and go through it again.

Brother Richard - Would love to read some of them.  I think these sorts of stories can actually help new agents.  Your first few months can be pretty depressing, but knowing that you're not the only one can make it a bit easier to take.  A lot of experienced agents only like to tell the great stories of how they got a call because they had gone back to the office to pick up their coffee mug and wound up with a billion dollar listing.  They're great stories, but when you're new and they're not happening to you, they can hinder your progress.

Mar 12, 2009 12:33 PM #15
Rainmaker
173,600
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Good story, sound like experiences I have had, if something can go wrong it usually does, but I will not quit...I figure one day I will run out of all the bad things that could start happening and the good will start rolling in.

Mar 12, 2009 03:34 PM #16
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Christine & Jennifer - I like your theory on running out of bad things.  They can't be unending, right?  There has to be a finite amount of bad things in the world, so maybe if we get through them quick enough, we can have some sort of crazy utopian society.

Mar 13, 2009 06:54 AM #17
Rainmaker
544,628
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate

Hi Matt, That's quite a story and as your real estate career progresses you will have even more stories.  I know I have quite a few myself! :-) or should that be :-(   (BTW, I kind of felt sorry for the dog... but I felt worse for you.)

Mar 13, 2009 07:37 AM #18
Ambassador
920,196
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Matt, we have all been there, maybe not wondering in 30 days or less, but questioning the choice. That was 14 years ago for me. Starting out in a market like this I'm not sure how I would have done. Enjoy the journey.

Mar 13, 2009 04:43 PM #19
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Shirley - That was one of the worst parts about it.  I was trying to be nice to the dog, but I wanted to just toss him out of the car so he'd stop biting me and I'd stop getting soaked.  I did the best I could to accomplish both goals, but driving away I did feel pretty bad.

Missy - Starting out in this market has been interesting.  I think its definitely toughened me up and when the market is "hot" someday, I'll look back and laugh.  It also gave me a lot of time to focus on learning and networking, which will give me the advantage down the line.

Mar 14, 2009 02:15 AM #20
Rainer
20,851
Nicole Lahti
United Lending - Austin, TX
Austin Texas Mortgage

I agree. But there have been a lot of bad apples that gave the rest of us a bad name -- luckily, they're slowly but surely not surviving the storm. Hope that doesn't sound too harsh, but you know what I mean :)

Mar 16, 2009 03:46 PM #21
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Nicole - I actually decided to get into real estate when I did, because I had a feeling some of the people that got into it for the wrong reasons would start to fall by the wayside.  I think I've more than proved that I'm in for the long haul.  As for the mortgage industries "bad apples" - I think we all have them in every industry, but in the case of the mortgage/finance world, they're quick to be called out, sometimes wrongly and sometimes not.

Mar 17, 2009 08:03 AM #22
Rainmaker
188,973
Jeanna Martinez
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX

Matt - What a great story!  Especially for those of us new to the business!  Thank you for sharing.  I have definitely had my share of bad days but luckily the good ones more than make up for the rotten ones!!

Mar 19, 2009 03:07 AM #24
Rainmaker
272,035
Matt Stigliano
Kimberly Howell Properties (210) 646-HOME - San Antonio, TX

Jeanna - If there's one thing I've learned from this post, its that everyone has bad days.  Look at the roll call of agents above.  They're people who have experience and who I respect and yet here they are saying the same thing.  This is one of the key ways I think ActiveRain provides value - as a new agent, when you see these "legends" agree with you, your confidence is boosted and you know you're not the only one.

Mar 19, 2009 06:30 AM #25
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