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Falling off the wagon – scraped knees and ice cream

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Red Wagon

WHAM!

There was a rock sticking out of the ground on the hill you were speeding down. You tried to jump the wagon on a homemade ramp at your neighbors. Your big sister whipped you around a corner at high speed knowing full well that the wagon would tip over, spilling it’s contents – namely, you. I’m sure we all have stories of falling off the wagon. It hurts. Of course there’s the figurative “falling off the wagon.” That one involves a pretty large mess and although I’ve seen it happen to friends one too many times, I’m not qualified to talk about that one. I’ll leave that to the professionals.

This is a different kind of falling off the wagon – again figurative in nature, but this is a real estate site, so you can guess where I’m going with this. If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you’ll know I had a rough few months. I came off a high last year where I was cruising through contracts. Clients were clamoring for my time and I was having a ball. I was busy in that “I’m running like crazy, but this is what I was born to do” kind of way. I wanted more. I wanted to keep making everyday that exciting and profitable.

Then, the personal things cropped up, I’ve discussed that before and don’t want to rehash it, but it slapped me upside the head and left me in a bit of a rough patch. I handled it well I think, I’m sure it could have been much worse, but hey, I’m human and yes it did affect me.

As the Winter started to fade, I grew excited as our weather turned warmed (Spring in Texas starts a lot earlier than the calendar says it does). Problem was, it was quiet. The quiet, the lack of emails and phone calls, made me worry a bit, but I knew it would get better. It had to, right? Even though the Spring probably wouldn’t be like the “good ‘ol days” of real estate, I predicted good things in my market and I wasn’t alone.

So where was everyone? Why wasn’t I out there selling houses? Was there a reason I didn’t have a bunch of new listings? Must be the market. Must be the advertising. Must be anything but me.

Rewind to better times.

You’ve read about all of my self-exploration and critical thinking over what I can improve and what I am learning about motivation, but there’s a bit more to it all than that.

“The wagon.” For me, the wagon represented the fundamental basics of real estate business. The contracts and concepts – I’ve got that (I still have tons to learn, but that’s an ongoing thing for all of us – even the most experienced). No, this wagon was the other part of real estate, the one we all struggle with from time to time. Prospecting and keeping the pipeline full. I got so high on the business of working with clients, that I forgot I needed more of them to continue the wild ride. I let my calls and notes slip. I stopped looking for opportunity. I fell off the wagon and got my knees scraped pretty bad. I hadn’t just bruised my tailbone, I had bruised my ego.

As I sat there looking at my bloodied knees, I spent my time dwelling on the fact that the wagon wasn’t moving along at breakneck speed anymore. I wondered how I would get it rolling again. Instead of jumping in and continuing the exhilarating ride, I spent more time thinking about the crash.

Scraped knees and ice cream.

A scraped knee stings quite a bit, but usually, it’s just a superficial cut. Nothing an ice cream cone wouldn’t fix. I found myself reaching out to my broker and some of the agents I admire in the business. I found out that they had stumbled too, experienced problems like mine and deal with them in different ways. The difference between me (at the time) and them was simple, they hopped back in the wagon and had the wind in their hair again.

I turned my wagon over – back onto its wheels. I had sat there too long wondering what to do and not reacting. Talking to other agents, I got advice and some inspiration. So, I picked up the phone, I got back to writing notes, and I even starting keeping better notes and a calendar. I started talking real estate, thinking real estate, telling others about real estate. Guess what happened?

I took a new listing this week, I have another that we’ve been talking about, and a third prospective client has potential, we’re just working on setting up an appointment. I have more business. Things are happening around me. It’s not Spring. It’s not the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. It’s not chance or luck. It’s me. Screaming at the top of my lungs as I fly down the hill, thinking of getting some ice cream when I reach the bottom – if only to recharge so I can get back to the top of the hill and go for another ride.

photo courtesy of Ronald Dean Photography

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    April 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Rock on!

  2. Lani Rosales

    April 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Matt, I’m glad you’re back up. I think this is a great inspiration for those who have just recently fallen off the wagon!

    • Matt Stigliano

      April 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

      Benn and Lani,

      I wanted to (hopefully) provide a bit of a boost to anyone that had those moments. I also wanted it to be a clear reminder that when business is good, you have to work twice as hard. When business is bad, it’s easy to focus on things that will generate income in the future. When business is good, you’re too swamped to think about that stuff!

      One of the greatest benefits I’ve received from AgentGenius, as a writer and commenter, is that once I got to know a few people around here, I got to hear their stories. When I heard them, I found them repeating many of the things I was going through. When you first start out, there’s a definite lack of confidence and since agents usually keep the “bad” stuff to themselves, you think everyone is successful, happy, and that it’s all a piece of cake. When long time agents start telling you “oh, I did that once…ugh.,” you begin to realize that you’re not alone. I think it might be one of the most important things I learned here.

      For agents reading this: Next time someone tells a story of how they screwed something up or they’re struggling – take a minute and tell them your story of how that happened to you. It’s amazing what it does for them. Especially when they’re really new and want to honestly learn and excel and real estate.

  3. Todd Waller

    April 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Matt,

    If there is one thing I’ve picked up/learned along this journey called life, it’s that nearly all my issues (or perceived issues) all stem from getting the stuff between my ears straightened out!

    What I THINK is a marketing issue, what I THINK is a market issue, what I BELIEVE is a client issue, always points back to how I’m responding to the issue. Once I get it through the thick, nearly impenetrable hunk of rock I call my head, that the issue is MY perception, things just turn around.

    The sun shines a little brighter and birds chirp a little louder…

    Keep it up Matt! And thank you for being so willing to share just what’s happening.

    • Matt Stigliano

      April 24, 2010 at 11:30 am

      Todd – Couldn’t agree more. The stuff between you ears is both your best asset and your worst nightmare. It can make you do incredibly stupid things and it can make you seem like a genius.

      There is a downside to realizing that your brain is the culprit though and I try to stay aware of it creeping in too. Positivity is great, but if you’re fooling yourself, it can be destructive. You really need to watch for signs that you’re slipping too deep into the positive side. I’ve seen some agents who act as if everything’s grand, but you know they’re really struggling. At some point you have to admit the reality to yourself (and it helps to admit it to others I find), then start thinking positively about ways to change it.

  4. BawldGuy

    April 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Make that a waffle cone, double scoop.

    • Matt Stigliano

      April 24, 2010 at 11:30 am

      BawldGuy – If you ask me, waffle cone is the only way to go.

  5. Fred Romano

    April 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    You are a damn good story teller! Vanilla with strawberry topping please 🙂

    • Matt Stigliano

      April 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Fred – Thanks. I’ve been trying to tie in some of my personal thoughts with these posts here. As I said above, I realized how important it was for someone to tell me “been there, done that” and now I feel I can talk from that perspective to others – maybe I can hit a nerve in some of them and make their career better as I work to do it for myself.

  6. Ken Brand

    April 24, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Honestly, it’s OK to cry sometimes. Get it out, you know. Then, like you say, rise up! This is the difference between pretenders, contenders and crafty veterans.

    Cheers.

    • Matt Stigliano

      April 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Ken – What are saying? That I’m a crybaby? Haha. Real estate can really destroy your confidence and go-get-’em attitude if you let it. It can do it very quickly as well. We all know how it feels when a transaction falls apart – within minutes you could be sitting there thinking “why me?” or you could be thinking “how can I solve this?”

      There are always at least two choices to how you react to any given problem. Let it beat the snot out of you or punch it square in the nose and move on to the next fight.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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