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Op/Ed

34 reasons why I love real estate

(EDITORIAL) Practicing real estate can be brutal, but it is also tremendously rewarding – here are my 34 reasons for loving what I do!

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This current real estate market is _________________. But, regardless of how you finished that sentence I still love being a Realtor. Here are 34 reasons WHY.

  1. I love waking up each morning knowing that no matter HOW much planning I do, my schedule will change at a moments notice. Apparently I like living on the edge.
  2. Being ill does not mean I will not make money. Enough of what I do can be finagled from the comfort of my own home … at least for a couple days.
  3. Real Estate makes me cry. I cry when homeowners, who have been religiously on time with their payments cannot re-negotiate their loans when they have been simultaneously laid off and their rate adjusts … even when their unemployment more than covers the original payment. I like being in a business that brings out passion in me.
  4. I love real estate agents. Yes, some of them are complete imbeciles – but they just make me look good. The good agents make the business fun.
  5. I love marketing. Real estate marketing is constantly changing and I love learning all the cutting edge tips and tricks.
  6. Real estate will never die. I don’t care WHAT the market is doing, there is business to be had. Land cannot go away and people will want to buy and sell it.
  7. I hold a HUGE chunk of people’s financial life in my hands. Scary as all heck, but it keeps me honest! … and I like being honest.
  8. Real estate is what brought me into the world of blogging and social media. Now I have even MORE friends who think I am odd. I love you all.
  9. Those months when I made nada zip zilch sure made me thankful for the months that I made more than some people do in a year. Learning to be thankful and learning how to stretch a dollar are one of the BEST lessons.
  10. Real estate has created monsters out of my kids. My youngest one, at the age of 4, came back from a friends house and said, “Billy has a 4 bed 3 bath home with a finished basement!” and my oldest son wants to grow up to be a real estate agent so he can “play” on the computer and go to lunch with people every day. My kids amuse me in the name of real estate.
  11. I create my own schedule and can be there for my kids, friends and family when they need me.
  12. The dynamic nature of this business keeps me on my toes. Shifting markets fling me from my comfort zone and into a place where I HAVE to be more effective for both my team and my clients.
  13. Even though I do not want to LIVE in one, I like old homes. The Colorado Springs real estate market does not have a lot of old homes – but the ones that they DO are way cool. I never cared about houses until I became an agent.
  14. I like roof lines. Again, I never cared about architecture until I became an agent.
  15. I like solving problems and real estate is an all-you-can-eat-buffet of problems to be solved.
  16. I LOVE teaching. I used to be in the Special Education field and although I LOVED it, it was not where I was meant to be. Now I am a real estate trainer, and I LOVE IT. Teaching other real estate agents how to be better at what they do is probably my FAVORITE part of my business.
  17. Real estate gives me the opportunity to excel in my business without the fear of being outsourced, downsized or fired.
  18. All your base R belong to us.
  19. I love the business building, goal setting, high-5 accomplishment camaraderie that real estate brings out in agents.
  20. I love that real estate CAN BE a low-cost, high revenue business… If you are smart with your business budget.
  21. Derek really, really likes team-building and mentoring other agents. I like that about Derek, and therefore like that about real estate.
  22. Real estate gives me the opportunity to make a HUGE impact on someones life. We have been to baby dedications, surprise weddings … and all because we were the people who helped them buy/sell their home.
  23. I know more about humanity than I EVER thought I could know. Thanks to real estate, NOTHING surprises me anymore.
  24. Real estate is the ONE thing that I can relate ANYTHING to. It is kind of amusing, actually.
  25. I love Seller’s-Markets as it challenges me to figure out ways to stand out among the masses of other mirror-foggers that have a license.
  26. I love Buyer’s-Markets because it challenges me to me one of the ONLY people in my market who can actually SELL my listings.
  27. Real estate has given me the insight and respect for other professions that are commission-based. I always make a point of purchasing a service or product through the person who helped me make my decision, if that person is paid on commission. This applies to restaurant staff too (although my time waiting tables helped with that as well…)
  28. It has brought out a love of photography in me. I look at the world in a whole new way.
  29. I am not an organized person, by nature. Real estate has taught me the importance of being organized … at least sometimes.
  30. Law. I have never been more in tune with legal tidbits than I have been since becoming an agent. I have a whole new respect for the reams of paper that stipulate what can and cannot happen in real estate.
  31. Law … again. I was taught that as a real estate agent, it was not IF you would be sued … it was WHEN. Dotting my “i”‘s and crossing my “t”‘s and keeping great notes has been the shield and sword against many a whacko. I SO appreciate the foreknowledge of keeping great notes in a situation that could be potentially sticky … real estate or not.
  32. Real estate gives great income and business growth opportunities to people who are not traditionally, scholastically refined. You do not need to go thousands of dollars in educational debt to be an agent. Some of the BEST agents I have ever met only have a HS diploma.
  33. Choose your own adventure. Real estate is an endless series of entertaining choices. Should I show the home that has 4 stoned teenagers in the basement and a random passed out adult in the living room? Or, should I bypass THAT house for the one that has 4 shrines to Elvis? Should I take the condo listing that smells like a parakeet factory? Or should I take the listing where each room painted a different hue of florescent pink?
  34. I could write a book about my life prior to real estate. Now that I have been an agent for 8 years, I can now write the sequel.

This editorial was featured here nearly a decade ago by Realtor Mariana Wagner.

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Op/Ed

Some truths the IDX companies don’t want you to know

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Back in the dark ages of, maybe three years ago, IDX on an agent’s website was a hot topic. The web designers and gurus told us that the number one reason anyone would come to our website was to search for homes to buy. If we did not have an IDX feed on our website, we were toast. The buyers would pass us by in favor of our competitors offering IDX and free ice cream cones.

Here is the problem. There is no way that I, as an individual agent, can offer the consumer a better internet home search experience than the Big Boys of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others.

So, while it is true the internet home shopper is searching for homes for sale, it is not true that they are coming to my website to find great homes for sale.

This is something most website vendors do not want you to know.

Something else they don’t want you to know

NAR released their 2014 Home Buyer and Home Seller Study, and one chart shows how the homebuyers found their agent. Guess what? Only nine percent found their agent from an internet website. This includes the leads generated by the Big Boys

So what paltry amount of buyers found their agent from finding and searching on an individual agent’s site? I’ll tell you- statistically negligent. Not enough to measure.

2014 nar home buyer and seller survey

Are there great success stories of agents who generate real business from their website? Sure – but they are the rare exception, not the rule.

Is there a place for IDX on your website?

Sure. I use it to tell a more complete story of my neighborhoods. I use it to generate fun curated lists of low priced homes or city view homes or homes open that weekend. I use so I can legally squeal like a fan girl over a gorgeous mid century modern, even though it is not my listing.

I use IDX to illustrate my local expertise and knowledge, not as a lead generation machine. After all, Zillow will never compete with me on the special nuances of Glendale. Zillow doesn’t live here, I do.

One more thing the “gurus” don’t want you to know

In 2013, 68% of all buyers surveyed found the agent they used via some kind of face to face, in-person contact. In fact, some form of physical, real time contact is, by far, the most effective business tool we have.

Fancy that. The most effective lead generation tool around is talking to people. IDX? Not so much.

This editorial was first published here in April 2016.

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Op/Ed

The real reason women are overlooked? Leadership is seen as masculine

(EDITORIAL) We can tell women to “lean in,” or we can address what researchers point to as the real challenge – leadership is still seen as a masculine trait.

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leadership

Researcher Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic recently rejected the popular advice of “leaning in” for women* looking to scale the professional ladder. It’s not that women are unconsciously holding themselves back from leadership opportunities, as Sheryl Sandburg so famously theorized in her TED talk and subsequent book.

But, this advice only works for women aren’t actively pursuing higher roles and greater responsibilities.

The reality is more that even when women are advocating for themselves, they are less likely to be seen as having the qualities of a leader. This widespread gender bias isn’t news: Pantene and some partners even released a feel-good commercial that capitalized on calling out how assertive women are “bossy” and borderline competent men are seen as “the boss.”

As Chamorro-Premuzic explains, the fact that our culture has so closely adhered to the belief that these characteristics are “masculine” is more likely what holds high-performing women back. Even if they are better than their competition, even other women will often not evaluate them fairly because of how they have internalized our culture’s apparent blindness to women’s ability to be “the boss.”

But then, even some masculine-identifying or preforming people who are inferior in their technical skills could be afforded afforded many professional benefits because of the implicit bias we carry into business spaces that favors “masculine” traits. For example, “male-performing” assertive people may get credit for a quieter colleague’s work.

Where Chamorro-Premuzic’s editorial gets really interesting is when they reject the idea that women and other minorities need to over-compensate for their marginalization and try to join the good ol’ boys club.

He explains, “If our solution is to train women to emulate the behavior of men… we may end up increasing the representation of women in leadership without increasing the quality of our leaders. In this scenario, women will have to out-male males in order to advance in an inherently flawed system where bad guys (and gals) win. Unless our goal is to make it easier for incompetent women to succeed – much as it is for men – there is little to gain from this approach.”

As I’ve said before: Being a leader is a gender-neutral act, (spoiler: so are all actions!); the sooner that we can accept that coding behavior as “masculine” or “feminine” only serves to obscure people’s actual contributions, the better.

Removing these archaic labels allows the real competencies of professionals to be evaluated — for their benefit, and their organization’s benefit.

For now, organizations that make conscious efforts to level the playing field (like the National Association of Realtors’ restructure leading to half of their leadership team being women) are the primary answer as our culture shifts to a more aware environment.

*Though the referenced article and study perpetuate a binary gender structure, for the purposes of our discussion in this article, I expand its “diversity” to include femme-identified individuals, nonbinary and trans workers, and anybody else that does not benefit from traditional notions of power that place cisgendered men at the top of the social totem pole

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Op/Ed

The wealthy are miserable in their careers

(EDITORIAL) A lengthy New York Times piece outlines how America’s most elite workers are beyond miserable in their jobs, but it’s so needless – here’s why.

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wealthy are miserable and should find fulfillment at work

The wealthy elite are miserable at work, or so the New York Times alleges in “The Future of Work: Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable.” My knee-jerk reaction was “boo hoo.” Of course you’ll be miserable if you only work for yourself, a lesson that should have been easily learned and fixed in your 20’s.

The NYT’s example was a wealthy investment banker who earned 1.2 million last year. It’s extremely hard to find pity for someone who earned that much in a thankless job. And the article was less about the future of work and more about how to find job satisfaction. However, everyone should understand that in order to be happy in a job, you must do something that fulfills you.

Fulfillment comes in a variety of forms. It is fulfilling to help others, while working with colleagues you respect.

Sometimes the job description itself doesn’t lead to fulfillment but the way you work does. For example, I worked for two years as a personal injury paralegal helping car accident victims. If that doesn’t make you cringe, this will. I managed well over 100 cases, a very demanding case load, and was also the Office Manager. Tragedy literally walked into the door and called every day. I adored the job – it was hands down the best I’d ever had. Why? It was intense, varied, and immensely fulfilling because I made a difference every day.

I helped people get their life back and fought against big insurance companies who were screwing people out of their deserved recovery. As a victim of a no-fault car accident myself four years ago, I was on a crusade and loved it.

The reasons I left were a complicated mix of work/life balance issues, but primarily because my husband became deathly ill unexpectedly and I chose him and his life over the job I loved. And I don’t regret it – although I still miss that job that had changed my life for the better (despite being underpaid).

In addition to doing something I believed in, part of what made the job great was autonomy, something the NYT article alludes to.

Autonomy to do the job the way you see fit is a precious thing. But it’s also about finding purpose within yourself to do the job.

I was able to bring a sense of purpose to the job description, something everyone should be doing. It’s more about finding your “why,” your reason for being there every day.

And your “why” must be about more than earning a paycheck. No matter how large it is.

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