Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Been A Great Winter

If you are going to be a successful real estate agent you are going to have to learn that things are usually opposite of what people think. Let me give you an example.

When I first started real estate in Olathe, Kansas it was still a seller's market. So naturally, everyone thought I was making more money faster than I really was. Now, everyone thinks the market is terrible. Well, I've made more money (this isn't bragging...remember, you want to know what it's like to be a real estate agent) in the last 3 months than I used to make in a year at any other profession.

The economy won't dictate your success. The housing market won't dictate your success. Fox News or CNN will not dictate your success. Or your failures.

When you are a real estate agent, you are self-employed. You dictate your success. Or failure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Real Estate Dilemma: Feast or Famine

Feast or famine is the name of the game for anyone involved with the real estate business. Whether or not you are a loan officer, real estate agent, investor, appraiser, title officer, well, you get the picture. Here are some things I’ve learned over my 5 years in the real estate business.

During the droughts you have to believe you will have another transaction. Or you won’t.

During the good times you have to believe you will have a drought. Or you will be unprepared.

Save your money!!! Save your money but reward yourself. This business can be extremely draining both physically and emotionally. It can’t be all nose to the grindstone.

Never mail your bills till the check is in hand. Just trust me on this. For you loan guys, it can be until 3 days after the check is in hand.

Don’t forget the family. Or you won’t have one when you remember. Same goes with friends.

Remember why you chose this business. Yes, it has great income. But I’m not sure it’s worth it based solely on the money.
And isn’t it a funny thing? The market is supposedly down nationwide. Yet here in Olathe, Kansas our Keller Williams office has had a fantastic summer. For me? My business is up. Not astronomically. But up. Now if you think I’m bragging you need to know that when others are saying their business is great and yours isn’t, well, that’s just about the worst feeling on earth. I’ve been there, too.
Your thoughts on this are more than welcome.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New Real Estate Agent? Run Into The Rain


If you are a newer real estate agent the best advice I can give to you is to run out into the rain. ActiveRain, that is.

Besides being the single best learning tool (if you can use personal discernment) I have ever found it is also the best lead generation source I've come across. And, now this is very important to newer real estate agents, it's FREE!!!

To join, click here!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Real Estate v. Personal Life - A Balancing Act

What is not to love about the real estate business. It is personally gratifying to help someone build wealth, or to give the keys to a first time home buyer or to see a property in shambles turned into a gleaming "almost new" home for someone it fit perfectly. And it's profitable, too.

When I get home at the end of the day I have a terrific family. Four kids (two boys, two girls) and a wife of 21 years and 11 months are found at home. We've been blessed with good health and live in a great area of the country for kids to grow up. As all kids are, they are involved with many activities and are busy developing their social lives, as well.

Complications usually happen, however, when one begins to override the other. Real estate is not a 9-5 job no matter how much I wish it to be so. During negotiations there can be 9:30 pm phone calls. Tenants may have pressing needs at 6:00 am. (I once had a sump pump stop working in the middle of a thunderstorm on a rental property I own. I'll be right over!!!) And let us not forget the buyer who will only be in on the day I was going to do something, anything, fun.

On the flip side sometimes the family can begin to fight back for it's fair share of time. Like I said, I have four kids. One is a genius and has to go to special events to keep up with his intellect. Another has behavioral issues as a result of his very bizarre beginning provided to him by his birth mother. Another has a mild form of CP and therefore needs special physical care and rehabilitation on a constant basis. The other, well, she's just two. Enough said there.

And my beautiful wife seems to think she needs attention, too!

Here are 5 tips to having a healthy career and family life.


  1. Take at least one day off during the week, no exceptions. If a client needs you refer it out or explain that is your day off. I've done both.

  2. Be where you are. Stealing time away to have lunch at school with your kids to make up for missing the baseball game can be a good idea. Talking on your cell phone the entire lunch is not.

  3. If married (or with significant other) take time to date. No matter what, my Mrs. and I are getting out of the house at least twice a month without the kids. Usually it's late after the youngest three are in bed. But it works.

  4. No matter what is going on in your family life you still need to find time to work. Unless you've worked yourself to the point of being able to take off extended time, real estate is a business where momentum is easy to lose and tougher to gain. With my family and it's needs, if I get too distracted our income suffers. That's another distraction.

  5. Make your successes your family's successes. They will miss you when you are out working. Give them a reason to celebrate, too. A goal to shoot for.


Real estate is easy to evaluate while looking back. Mistakes, both personal and professional, are easy to see in hindsight. It's much tougher to evaluate "in the moment". It will take planning and practice on your part to keep your balance. Just like that cool surfer dude in the photo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

You can become a real estate agent in most any state if you are not a wanted felon and if you can sit through a week or two's worth of classes. But I have a question for you;

Are you capable of putting the interest of your client ahead of your best interests?

Seriously. I've heard agents say things like "I need the commission check" or "I have to make this go through no matter what" or even worse "If I don't' know about it...it's okay." The last is usually a precursor to allowing mortgage fraud to happen.

This is a humbling business. There are times when I'm on top of the world. Earn $23,400 in one month and you'll think you have things going. Earn $0 in the next two months and you'll come crashing right back down to earth.
But here is the deal. It really isn't important how much you make. At least to the client. They have hired you to make sure they get the best deal possible whether buying or selling. They depend on you to advise them. And sometimes the best advice I can give is to not sell. To not buy. To not move forward. To cancel the contract. To walk away.

You can be sure it hurts to do it. The thoughts of my own well-being race through my head, too. But, and here is where personal ethics and will-power come in, the right thing to do is the right thing to do.

I always ask myself "How would I want to handle it if it were me?" The answer always becomes clear that way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Want to be a real estate agent?

I stumbled across this post today. It's a must read for all prospective real estate agents.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Real Life Story!

I've written here before that you need to be careful how you spend you money as a real estate agent. Want an example?

I had 4 sides scheduled to close by March 30. (A side is a transaction. For instance, if I represent the buyer, that's one side. Both the buyer and seller, that's two sides.) Now I only have 1 side!

Two sides fell out because of extensive, and I mean extensive termite damage. Worst I've ever seen. The buyer went running and frankly he should have. The seller still hasn't adjusted to the situation even though I have been adamant as to what he should do. (Clients don't always listen or hear only what they want to hear.)

Another side fell out because the chimney needs rebuilding! Rebuilding! How often does that happen? (It may still be saved. But with each passing hour I'm sure the seller is thinking of just renting the property.)

So, now you see why you must be liquid and flexible in your funds as a real estate agent. We have the potential to make a lot of money. But we work very hard, work with many different personalities and are on the phone even when we don't want to be. It's all part of the profession.

And you can never forget when working with your clients that you are working for their benefit...not yours.