Having been in the Real Estate game for over 14 years, I’m still amazed that no matter how much is learned, everyday there are new questions and new avenues for growth that I still find.
As a realtor for 10 years, I would joke with friends then that I had seen it all when it came to Real Estate. I now refer to this time as my adolescent years in this profession. My training was top-notch…cold call until someone says yes. Take on a mentor to show you the way but I’d always been the best in my field so the idea of a mentor to tell me what I needed didn’t appeal to me. This lack of a mentor then proves that I didn’t know what I was doing or how to grow my own investment portfolio. I worked everyday in the most exciting industry that I could imagine but at that time, I was only focused on my next real estate commission, my next “score”. I was playing checkers while the successful people around me played chess. But as my years in Real Estate passed by, my naiveté about starting my real estate profession turned into the belief at that time that I had “seen it all” in a relatively short period. In my first year, I was agent of the year in my Century 21 office. I was so good that they gave me my own private CUBICLE. I was so excited to see those paper Agent of the Month awards on the wall that I equated that to success. During these years, my success in the field would be similar to parents putting their child’s drawings on the refrigerator. Not that this step isn’t important for progression in your career, but too often this is where it stops. For me, this phase lasted 5 years. I was the best but was getting bored with my “job”. My belief that I had seen it all caused me to stop looking and that my success would just keep rolling. Then in 2007, something hit me that I never saw coming. My business crashed with the Arizona real estate market along with thousands of others. In a matter of months I went from being on top, to scavenging every avenue just to find a buyer or seller. The perception that you couldn’t lose money in Real Estate was obliterated and replaced with a fear that property values would never be able to rebound. And while realtors like myself, so use to being the ones on top, were scrambling to make money to survive, the investors that actually knew what they were doing increased their portfolios as quickly as possible. The difference now though was that realtors weren’t necessary to find those deals. Investors could open the paper and find hundreds of sellers begging them to buy their property. That opened my eyes for the first time that the Real Estate game is not played in a real estate office, through an MLS system, with buyers and sellers meeting in a board room to sign their offers under the watchful eye of an agent. The true Real Estate game is a process played in the dedicated investor’s mind…their office is wherever they are when the deal comes in and the system they use is the one that they have perfected through trial and error.
I grew up very quickly when my comfortable life started crumbling and all of my mistakes that I unknowingly made came to light. I have hardly seen it all and to be honest, never plan to declare that again. “When you think you’ve seen it all, you’re back to playing checkers in a world playing chess” ….me