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Why do you do it?

whyC’mon, you can talk to me.

From the crazy hours and sandcastle pipelines to douchebag underwriters and incompetent colleagues to unappreciative prospects and just-above-vampires popularity, there’s plenty of reasons to not be a real estate agent. After all we have all picked a field where income can be volatile and anemic at the same time while the fluctuations in business require an astronaut’s stomach. Who does that, on purpose?

So I  ask you again, why do you do it? Answer that not according to what the promotional brochure in your broker’s office says you should say. Answer it sincerely because in that honest answer is the response to many of your business woes and questions.While you ponder that, I’ll share mine.

The early days

I remember sitting in that waiting area, palms sweating, not knowing what to expect but having a feeling that this would be big for me. Which was extremely strange since I had zero clue about real estate. And I don’t mean, I was a little unclear about it. I had no idea. In communism, there was no private property hence no transfer thereof. But as I took my classes, got my license and started helping out on deals around the office, I was like a damn duck in the water.

Why do I do it?

Reason 1: I am a geek that loves people.

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Real estate combines my need for numbers, technology and gadgets with the ability to help friends make smart decisions. If I had gone the path of my degree and become an accountant, I’d get plenty of numbers (and a visor) but very little “human” touch. Real estate was my golden medium.

Reason 2: Putting together a deal makes me happy.

I live for the idea that I can wake up in the morning, find a client, the perfect property for them, and put a great deal together from scratch. Weird? Maybe, but this is my list. 🙂

Reason 3: When great marketing works, it’s a thing of beauty.

A while back, I wrote Marketing Love Story about this very concept. Read it and you will understand.

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Reason 4: Building a real estate business has been the most rewarding professional experience of my life.

I’ve loved every bit of the business building process: From designing a simple logo to rolling out a whole new marketing strategy. I have learned so much in the process and I’m a better, more complete professional today because of it.

Your turn

The Why can be the answer to many of your business questions and knowing it clearly can lead you to the right path. As short as life is, living it miserably makes no sense. I find that people that work in areas they’re not passionate about, eventually end up burned out  or miserable. Is real estate your true passion? If it is, share your why, if you don’t mind. But if you are only doing it for one of its by-products, trust me, it’s not worth it. When I read some real estate blogger’s posts, I get this distinct feeling that if the author was given a book deal, they’d drop their license tomorrow. If that’s you, set your sights on your true passion and pursue it. You are likely to be more successful and you will definitely be happier.

Sincerely yours,


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Written By

Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...



  1. Nelia

    September 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    What a wonderful post Rono! I am speechless, I know we talk about this quite often, the business of RE can be a challenge, but it a beautiful one. And to answer the question, I do it because “put in it together” it’s priceless.

  2. Bob Gibbs

    September 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Great blog! I sell real estate because I spent 23 years in Silicon Valley working for someone else, commuting, travelling and missing family events and memories; but mostly because it allows me to work with people who are making an emotional decision for their families. The rewarding feeling obtained from handing a first time home owners their keys is priceless

  3. Ken Brand

    September 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Oh My. Self examination, introspection and passion check.

    I got into the biz in 1978, I was a punk kid, working as Bank Of America teller, netting $104 per week.

    2 things happened, I came to the realization that I wan’t ever gonna be a Bank President and a developer friend from the gym said, “you should get your real state license like me, then you can drive a red Ferrari like me too.” So I took classes, passed the test and never looked back, I never owned a Ferrari though.

    What I LOVE – Your raise is effective as soon as you are. Everyday, exciting things can happen, some good, some bad…but on any given day fantastic opportunities can manifest. In most “real jobs”, that’s not a possibility, it steady eddie, borrrriinnnggg, predictable and if you don’t like what’s happening, you’re stuck and screwed.

    I LOVE the creativity part, you do it all, marketing, presentation, communication, systems, etc.

    I LOVE the helping people part, sometime I hate the people part too.

    I LOVE the it’s your own schedule part and the illusion that you have flexibility.

    I LOVE the competition part, it’s hard and nerve racking and exhilarating and satisfying and heart breaking.

    I’m a sales manger now, selling isn’t my passion, the leading, learning and sharing part is beyond satisfying, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I won’t!

    Cheers and thanks for the post.

    PS. I’m with you, if you don’t LOVE the biz, leave the biz and find something you can get all giddy about.

  4. Mike Price

    September 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Two of the best minds in the business. I am so glad to call Erion and Ken my friends. You guys rock. Im digging this post, I hope others will as well.

  5. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 3, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Good Q!

    I backed into it. I was running a very successful software sales company I started and on the side I was buying, fixing and selling homes. Not maniac style, like one a year. I enjoyed the work and did it all myself.

    Next, I got a RE License thinking it would give me mo-better access to finding homes to fix n sell. Not so much on that one.

    But the first broker that I hung my hat with had a web site and paid an ungodly amount of money to Google every month for very expensive keywords.

    Now THIS stuff peaked my interest and presented me with THE challenge. Bring it on!

    Immediatley, I needed my own site, my own AdWords, my own SEO, my own lead management (which I already had down from all my years in SW sales).

    To me, Real Estate was, and still is, all about lead generation. And the game of making web sites, running Adwords, learning and implementing SEO — tweaking, trying, experimenting, always coming up with new ideas, etc., etc. To ME this is why I’m in Real Estate.

    The home sales are just a way to keep score and measure success!

    My goal is to get my sites to produce 20-50 (or more?) leads PER DAY so I can cherry pick the solid ones and give all the rest to a few great friend-agents and we can all get rich and have fun!

    Also, it’s cool occasionally helping some millionair structure a dealio on a $5M home, and I’m pretty good at it.

    To me, it’s always been a business and not so much all the touchy feely, helping someone find the deam home part of it.

    I know, about 90% of you will think I’m lame. I’m ready.



  6. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Ken – good reasons, interesting background. Nice post,


  7. Matt Stigliano

    September 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Erion – Great question and one I’m always prepared to answer.

    I was still in the band when I made my decision to go to school. We had just come off an awesome tour and I thought, I have the time and money, why not see if it’s something for me? I knew rock and roll wasn’t going to last forever. The things that appealed to me about real estate? The prospect of being able to control my own destiny. If I want to make an okay living, I can. If I want to be rich, I can. Both take work to get to, but both are attainable. I love the challenge of real estate. Knowing that my day is never the same. Being in a band for 14 years, your life becomes a bit repetitive. Different country, same daily schedule.

    I knew I could chat with just about anyone about just about anything. In foreign countries, even with language barriers, I was still able to enjoy the people around me. I was personally fascinated by the process of buying and selling homes from my own experiences. I also had a horrible experience that I wanted to make sure didn’t happen to other people. Perhaps a bit of bold-egoism – I wanted to change the world?

    What I realize everyday is that I love it more than I thought I would. I think I found my calling strangely enough.

  8. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 3, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Matt – very interesting. It’s unbelievable the diversity of backgrounds.

    Engineers (me)
    Rockers (you)
    Punk Kid (Ken)

    There are a lot of different aspects to the overall biz that people can latch onto.


  9. Mary Beth Grasso

    September 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Thought provoking…to say the least. I have always loved sales. I have always hated the general reputation of a sales person. I thought I was smarter than a salesperson and I thought the majority of sales people were smarter than that perceived reputation as well. (Smarter than the perceived used car salesman reputation or telemarketer on the phone at dinner time that is.) Real Estate sales answered many questions: 1.) builder husband needed land so of course I could go find it for his company and 2)people were buying a high ticket item so of course they would need my brains and not just buy because I convinced them to. What I find now is that the people need more than me…some of them need a visit to a shrink; some of them need to go back to accounting 101; some of them need to go to confession …(I wasn’t sure where they could get a reality check so confession was the best I could come up with) some just can’t get out of their own way. The technology edge is the fun (and time consuming for a people person) part of real estate!

  10. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm


    Good post, wow – you nailed it.

    “What I find now is that the people need more than me…some of them need a visit to a shrink; some of them need to go back to accounting 101; some of them need to go to confession ”

    Just today, I had a client, whome I’ve been working with for 18 months, try to pick a fight with me.

    “Did I just detect a tome in your response she asked..”

    I was on the tennis court with my 11 year old son as he’s standing over there waiting…and waiting…

    I jsut said “no maam, I jsut need your counter offer and I’ll send it in.”

    And she tried two more times to lure me in and I would not bite. After this many months, her official name may as well be “$9k” and I’m not blowing it!



  11. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 4, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Man I can’t type at midnight and there’s no edit…is there?


  12. Joe Loomer

    September 4, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Erion, Ken, and Matt – you guys rock and always will.

    After being passed over for promotion for the seventh time in 2003, I decided it was time to get out of the canoe club. I also realized that the longer I stayed in, the LESS likely it was that I would be promoted.

    I decided to get my license and join my wife in the trade. She’s an awesome lady and a great agent, and was making twice as much as the Navy was paying me, and no one told her to get up at three in the morning and go guard air conditioners and empty buildings.

    I gave myself six months in the trade to see if it was for me – otherwise it was back on the Government teat as a civilian (I was a spook, they tend to need those – especially those with Middle Eastern experience). If I could not double my income in that six months, I’d pull chocks (bail, jump ship, quit, etc.).

    The rest is history – I love it. There are far more articulate people than I (see the beginning of my comment) that have said exactly how I feel about the trade. I took care of Sailors as a Chief – that was my #1 job. Now I take care of home sellers and home buyers – and I take that personally too.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  13. Russell Shaw

    September 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    This is an inspired post and wonderful comments too. Grateful people are almost always happy people.

  14. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Got Ms. “9k” from a few posts ago, under contract today.

    18 month journey, over, fini!!

    Now I’m knee deep in a Private Transaction for a $5-$7M home and boy, it’s every man for himself in this thing.


  15. Chad McBain

    September 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Well A.R.E nailed it in their post. I can’t get enough of the damn marketing and lead generation. It really is becoming a sickness LOL. If I can get an idea or concept to work I am on cloud 9. Then a week or 2 later I am up late most nights again looking for more ideas to implement and test. Luckily my team deos allright or I would be broke. I do like working with people too though and after 10 years believe it or not I still get a bit of a rush when first time buyers get their home and can’t stop thanking me, it’s a great feeling. I quite my job working for a fool to work for an even bigger fool…..ME, And I love it.

  16. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 4, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    McBain, I know the feeling. Look at me right now, midnight Friday night. Ouch.


  17. Chad McBain

    September 5, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Yeah me too, just heading to bed after 3 hours of cheking on a new series of websites a company is putting together for us, also checking out someone named Rock Thomas who seems mildly interesting and lastly scouring here and AR for interesting blogs and posts……it is a sickness lol. Cheers.

  18. Erion Shehaj

    September 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Oh Wow! I’m loving the personal stories – thanks for sharing.

    @MikePrice That feeling’s mutual, my friend

    @KenBrand You’ve come a long way from being that punk kid. Although I must say that I see it come out from time to time 😉

    @Atlanta Real Estate Your fervent dedication to SEO is shown by your anchor text in your comments. Nothing wrong with shameless self promotion, right?

    @RERockstar Yours is definitely a fascinating story — and you have done a great job at morphing it into your current branding. Plus, it gives me the chance to say I know a rockstar. 🙂

    @JoeLoomer Everything for a reason my friend. Sometimes the worst of experiences turn into the biggest of blessings. Now you’re in a field you clearly love, in charge of your own promotions and you do more things before 9 am than most of us do all day. I know, because I see the timing of your comments. 🙂

  19. Erion Shehaj

    September 5, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Oh and please keep the stories coming — This has turned into a very rewarding post for me personally.

  20. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 5, 2009 at 10:18 am


    SEO 101, my friend.

    Hey, great post idea btw, I’m surprised it does not have 100 responses already.

    Also, I’m new to AG but really like it. This is a great group here, unlike some unnamed other sites.

    I’ve also applied to be a AG Writer, as I have a lot to offer folks in the area of SEO, Lead Management, Web Design, and all things of that sort.

    Looking forward to blending in and making a solid contribution here.


  21. Lisa Heindel

    September 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I spent almost 20 years in banking, with the last few in software testing, training and implementation. YAWN! I hated going to work! I had a very good friend who was in real estate and loved it. So after a lot of reserach and deliberation, I decided that it would be worth a shot. 7 years later I’ve found that while I’m not crazy about showing houses to buyers, I AM crazy about the marketing side and have come back to writing (which I abandoned in high school) through my blog. So I’ve partnered up with a fantastic buyer’s agent and I get to do what makes me happy and keeps the leads coming in. Anytime I can hang on a site like AG and call it “working”…well, it doesn’t get any better than that for me.

  22. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm


    You site is excellent and should be an example to us all. You have all the components

    It’s nice looking.
    Full of relevant information
    Has lead capture all over it
    Local Info
    Etc., Etc., Etc!!

    I also like your PR3, 2,431 Yhoo backlinks and 15 solid Goog backlinks.

    Judging by only this quick look, I’m guessing you are highly ranked in the Search Engines for many high traffic local relevant keywords as well.

    What is the age of your site?

    Do you use AdWords or any other paid methods to generate traffic?

    How many leads per week or month are you capturing?

    Again, great site. Great job!


  23. Lisa Heindel

    September 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks, Rob! I moved from a free blog to the current site about a year ago. No adwords or paid methods for traffic – just organic hits based on keywords and, recently, an increase in activity from my facebook business page. It’s definitely not a high traffic site. August had just over 6k hits and we get anywhere from 5-10 leads a week from it. Not a huge number, but it keeps my partner busy and I don’t have to show property 🙂 I appreciate the feedback on it!

  24. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 5, 2009 at 6:56 pm


    6k hits in month is really good, actually. I mean it’s no means “high traffic” in the hundreds of thousands, but localized real estate sites are not going to be in that category, nor do they need to be.

    One thing that surprised me was that with 6k/mo, you are only getting 5-10 leads/week.

    My site is getting only 1500 hits/mo, yet I’m capturing 1-10 leads per day. And yes, it is that variable. I think because on some days, crazy people turn on their AdWords and are willing to pay WAY more than me. Even so, I probably average 5 leads per day. I’ve gotten 25 in a day a couple of times!

    Anyway, my site is horrible compared to yours so I postulate that the difference is that my traffic may be much more targeted. This is because nearly ALL my traffic is coming from AdWords, after searchers search for keywords I have covered, then click my specific ad, then hit a specific landing page. This is FOUR layers of screening.

    It cuts down my raw hits no doubt, but my conversion rate is much higher. Also, I spend around $200/mo for this, and yours is free.

    AdWords is actually a good tool, if you know how utilize it. At least this is what I’m trying to convince myself. Just one of the costs of doing business. LOL!


  25. Tracy Ca Homes

    September 8, 2009 at 9:54 am

    This is the most rewarding job anyone can have. when people are in need we are able to help, when people want to grow we are able to help, when people have general questions about real estate we are always eager to answer and then have an hour conversation about it and it seems like it was only 5 minutes. When you enjoy these things and the income aspect of it is just a BONUS. You love what what you do.

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