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Sign O’ The Times – Gives Me A Sign

Yesterday, the world collapsed.

Ok, so maybe I’m being dramatic, but for me…it did. You all know, I’m still rather new to real estate and my past, well…I wouldn’t call that a “job.” I’ve never worked in a corporate type setting (unless you count the time I worked for my dad one summer). Most of my jobs have been of the cooking variety or music. It took some getting used to for me. Having an office was actually an exciting part of the new career for me. Going into the office, seeing other agents, drinking horrible coffee, answering a multi-line phone – these aren’t things you do opening for Metallica in Germany. For me, this was uncharted territory and it definitely added something new to my daily life. It helped me progress quickly, learning more than I thought I could, gaining insight from Reggie, and feeling like I was part of something bigger. I love the office.

I blogged about it yesterday over at ActiveRain. It was a members only post, so in case you’re not a member, I’ll sum it up here. My broker stopped by my office (private office, not a cubicle) and announced we were packing up the office. Just our upstairs offices mind you, but packing them up none the less. Rent is high in our building and we were taking a beating on the monthly lease with less coming in the past few months. I was crushed. I felt like it was a bad omen…a bad sign. My head whirled with thoughts of “is my broker stable,” “can we survive,” and “is this the shape of things to come?” Those thoughts raced through my head through out the rest of the day as I dismantled my office and packed my stuff. I felt like I was being kicked out or worse yet…fired. It was a really odd feeling for me as I’ve never had to leave an office.

A few hours later…

Most of those thoughts were initial reactions…panicked thoughts. My brain rushed to sort it out and made snap judgments that sent all sorts of negative thoughts through my head. Would I now need to find a new broker or at least consider the possibility? I like my broker, I like the people I work with, and I like what I get from the experience. I didn’t want to even consider it, but in my first hours of mulling it over, it definitely was something to think about.

So where’s the positive in all of this you ask? It came out of nowhere and settled into my overworked mind. Here’s the facts: I like my broker and think his training is excellent. His office is always open and he always answers my calls. He looks over every bit of paperwork to make sure we’re all doing what we need to so that we don’t all get sued into the ground. He knows just how to push me. He spends extra time with every agent to see how we’re doing and what he can do to help us grow. He really cares. He gave me my first crack at real estate and it even comes down to how our splits work. I don’t get nickeled and dimed every step of the way, I get paid on time, and he is constantly showing me ways to increase my income over time. What is bad about this situation?

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The answer is nothing.

I’m very happy where I am and although I fear some agents may leave us, I think we will only become a tighter unit in my office. Sure we all work independent of each other, but we do all work together. We believe in what we’re doing and have a broker who believes in us. Maybe we are struggling a bit, but I do know that my broker will have my back through it all. And I will have his. I am not tying myself to a sinking ship, but rather placing a vote of confidence in a man that truly pushes me to be the best agent I can be…and not just for his bottom line, but for the good of real estate in general (and yes, I do believe that about him). With his guidance, we will make it past the material-ness of having our own private offices for a bit and come out leaner, meaner, and stronger. Instead of feeling beat up about it, I have come through the last day with a bigger sense of purpose and a dose of new confidence. Perhaps he’s just done it again…and figured out just how to push us all to bigger and better things. Whatever it is, those of us that answer the call, will be rewarded down the line.

This is what a broker should do for you…these are the feelings you should have when faced with the question, “do I want to work with this broker?” When you have confidence in them and are energized by them, you know you’ve found the right place. I like my home. I think I’ll keep it.

photo courtesy of Chregu

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Written By

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."



  1. Missy Caulk

    February 18, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Matt, I missed your AR post. I feel your heart, it will be fine. Live is about changes. Personally I think it is great he is cutting back unused space to cut expenses during slower times.

    I’d rather see him do that than have a B I G empty office which most are.

  2. Mariana

    February 18, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I can tell you from personal and recent experience that the larger offices are often feigning “being all together” … whereas the smaller ones ARE more tight knit and have a better chance at ROCKING through the current market.

    Lead with revenue.

  3. Paula

    February 18, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Matt – It seems to be the experience of many these days – left to wonder what might happen to their office and ultimately their place in business.

    Fear always seems to be the initial reaction, until we have time to sort through the dynamics and it looks like the dynamics may work for you.

    Someone recently wrote – small is the new big. Recent stats here indicate about 35% of homes sold were by small brokerages. While your broker is downsizing, it’s a smart move in these economic times! Good Luck!

  4. Matt Stigliano

    February 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Missy – That’s it. After considering my bit of a freak out and panic, I thought – wait, this is smart. My broker is looking to stay competitive and avoid going under like some places have and will.

    Mariana – I think you’re very right. The act of still being the big dog you once were will only bite you later.

    Paula – I felt a terrible sense of dread at first and it was compounded by the fact that I have never faced any sort of downturn, downsizing, cutbacks, etc. In fact, music performs better in down times as people want that release. We went to many economically depressed countries and had some of our best shows. Kids need that escape, so music always thrives. After a bit of sensible thinking, I saw the brilliance of it all and it actually made my bond with my broker all the better. I support him fully and will be there to take this company to the next level when we’re ready.

  5. Lisa Sanderson

    February 19, 2009 at 6:48 am

    You have to respect the person who makes these tough decisions for the good of the whole, and I totally get how you feel. I think many are going through this exact thing. It sounds like your Broker is a great leader, as I just wrote about the other day in Leading in Tough Times here on AG.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    February 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Lisa – I went back and read your post and commented there, but I just wanted to say that it was a tough decision for him, but it is already showing signs of being the right move.

  7. fred

    February 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Offices are over-rated! Work from home and save the overhead 🙂

  8. Matt Stigliano

    February 20, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Fred – I’m not a big fan of working from home as I did it for 14 years. I can be disciplined about, that’s never been the issue. I just lack something in a home environment and I can’t put my finger on it.

  9. Shirley Parks

    February 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Hi Matt,

    It’s good to see that you are feeling much better about your office situation. Sometimes we just don’t like change. Have a great day.


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