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 In December of 2019, almost twenty one years ago to the day, I locked the door to my executive suite and walked away from a 14 year successful commercial real estate career.  That moment is still frozen in my mind because I knew it was a life changing event.

 

Although there are things I liked about the commercial side, I knew I'd never be completely happy in that career. I'll explain why in my blog along with the major differences between residential and commercial.​

I had no earthly idea what I was going to do so I took a year off to consider my career options. I finally came to the conclusion since I already had my broker's license I might as well try to make it in residential.

My thinking at the time was if I could make a career out of commercial I could also do it in residential. Plus, there had to be some transference of knowledge from one discipline to the other, right? ​Was I ever wrong!

I'd never listed a home, didn't know where to find contract forms, run a comparative marketing analysis, or even access the MLS for that matter. Out of stubbornness (and probably a big ego), I decided to learn residential on my own. I didn't know a single residential Realtor to even ask the most simple questions of. I was literally clueless.

The only thing I had going for me was my willingness to work hard. I had to sink or swim and that's the greatest motivator of all.​ Here's what's happened to me over these past 21 years ...

My 2019 Personal Production:

  • Gross Commission Income (GCI) of $1.05 Million

  • #1 in sales volume for the 20th consecutive year in his area of the MLS (Fairview/Lucas/Lovejoy ISD)

  • #1 agent in Keller Williams Allen office of 225 agents for 7 consecutive years

  • #10 in sales volume among 9,000 plus agents in the Collin County Association of Realtors.

  • Had the highest average home sale price of the top 25 agents in Collin County

  • Total sales volume sold of $78.5 Million

  • $72 million sold within my area of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

  • $6.5 Million sold outside of the MLS

  • Captured 3.8% of the total agent market share within his area of the MLS

Our Combined Team Production:

  • $2.4 million in Gross Commission Income (or GCI) with only 5 agents

  • Closed on $90 Million of property - 156 Transactions

  • Our veteran agents all carry the Keller Williams Luxury Agent designation

  • All of our veteran agents earned the "D Magazine" BEST OF for real estate

  • Our team finished #1 one in sales volume 8 consecutive years in the Allen, Texas office of 225 Agents.

  • Our Allen office is also the #1 real estate office in all of Collin County, Tx.

  • All of our agents are in the top 20% for the office

So What Would I Recommend to New Residential Agents?

Don't try to do it yourself. I've seen countless excited, smart and hardworking new agents get their real estate sales license and just disappear off the map. Even with a great company behind you, the chances are extremely high you'll fail. I don't want to sound like a buzz kill, but you need to know what you're getting into so you'll take it seriously.

National Association of Realtors statistics say 87% of all new agents will not make it. Most will be out of the business within the first two years.

Learn from the successful agents you are around. Soak up what they have to say and emulate what they do. As a "lone wolf" starting out, I didn't have that luxury, but you will if you join a good real estate company that genuinely cares about your success.

I'll share the painful lessons I learned the hard way. I'll also tell you about some of my home runs that came about as a result of my preparation. All of these things helped shape my strategies and philosophies in my residential career.

I don't claim to know it all. No-one does. But I know how to build a business from the ground up and I also understand the luxury real estate market. If those two things are important to you, this blog might be for you.

 

Here are some of the topics I'll be discussing …​

 

  • How I built my business from the ground up

  • Separating yourself from "the pack"

  • Preparing for and conductive an effective listing presentation

  • How residential is completely different than commercial

  • Can you make more money in commercial or residential

  • How much added value does a pool really bring to a home?

  • Your best "bang for the buck" when preparing to sell your home

  • Listings you'll regret taking

  • Before you offer advice on a listing that isn't yours

  • The truth about "If I can't sell your home I'll but it" promotions

  • Marketing that makes sense

  • Do YouTube videos work

  • Do broker events work

  • Feel good marketing

  • Is it smart to buy leads

  • How about Google advertising

  • Inexpensive but effective ways to network

  • Dealing with difficult clients

  • How I price the additional acreage surrounding a home

  • Why there's no such thing as a "forever home"

  • Is it ever time to "fire" a client

  • Agents who will try to "bulldog" you

  • Cold calls compared to listing appointments

  • What luxury homes expect in the way of marketing

  • How to establish yourself as a luxury agent

  • The reason you haven't heard from me is because you haven't called me

  • How to say "No Thank You" to listing opportunities

  • It's just as important the listings you decline as the ones you take

  • How to conduct an effective listing presentation

  • Those difficult conversations with your sellers about price drops

  • The dangers of sloppy contracts

  • Should you become a buyer agent, listing agent, or both

  • If you don't build a strong database and feed it, you won't make it

  • Why do agents fight for their preferred title company

  • Who pays for what when selling a home

  • How to negotiate effectively for your client

  • Just because a home next to yours sold high, doesn't mean yours will

  • Dealing with "low ball" offers

  • Qualifying your client

  • Before you buy a home in any new development

  • Before you buy a home with raw land around you

  • Are Homeowner Associations good or evil

  • The problems you'll run into with appraisers

  • The importance of always being fair and honest with your clients

  • Treating other agents the way you'd like to be treated

  • The "list 'em and leave 'em" strategy

  • I don't know the answer to that, but I'll find out and get back with you

  • The problems with including personal property in real estate contracts

  • Why I usually don't care to know my client's bottom line

  • What happens when there are no close comparables

  • How much latitude will appraisers give if there are none

  • Can listed prices ever be used instead of actual sale prices

  • Why Zillow is so disrespected by Agents

  • How does Zillow make its money

  • What happens when you don't get your exclusive right to represent

  • Does taking a home off the market for awhile really work

  • Why it's so difficult to price custom homes on acreage

  • Why I normally don't recommend a pre-listing inspection on my listings

  • What to expect when an interested party visits your listing several times

  • When an agent "sits" on an offer

  • Should you take a listing another agent couldn't sell

  • Be wary of quick, full price offers

  • Make sure you never CC your entire client list

  • Setting expectations early on with your clients

  • Setting boundaries with your clients early on

  • Easing a seller's mind about showings

  • What's the purpose of "Coming Soon" listings

  • What happens when an agent tries not to disclose a sale price to the MLS

  • Be respectful of your potential clients on listing appointments

  • Be diplomatic with your feedback after showings

  • Sellers who just don't understand what it takes to sell a home

  • Always keep the key with you or outside the home in showings

  • Never shut a balcony door behind you

  • Agents who offer to buy your home if they can't sell it

  • Never take listings when a seller really doesn't want to sell and visa versa

  • Treating trophy listings differently

  • The weakest party moves first on stalled negotiations

  • Dealing with clients who ask you for advice then ignore it

  • We can't work miracles

  • Always call to confirm the other agent has received an offer or counter

  • knock, ring bell, or yell into the home even if you have showing approval

  • Just assume there are cats and dogs which will get out so close all doors

  • On showings, never discuss a home inside with your client

  • Why the agent should always be the last one out the door on showings

  • Be meticulous with notes on conversations with clients and other agents

  • Back up your database in at least two places

  • Offer advice to your clients when asked but they call the shots

  • Should you always share an agent has said they're sending an offer

  • Keep all parties updated and copied on all correspondence with divorces

  • Stand behind your mistakes even if it's painful

  • Don't make excuses when you screw up. Admit it and move on

  • Hanging on to your listings until they sell

  • Be very careful with underground propane storage tanks

  • Should a seller charge the buyer for unused propane in tank

  • Even though they are your client, try to make them see the other side

  • What's a "low ball" offer and how do I respond

  • How we handle seller disclosure notices - The do's and don'ts

  • How to handle multiple offers

  • The dangers of bidding wars

  • The ebb and flow of many negotiations. Who has the leverage and when

  • Why I never attend inspections

  • The importance of having your buyer client pre-qualified

  • If a pre-qualification letter is non-binding, what good are they

  • Why we never accept buyer agent bonuses and give them to our clients.

  • My fifteen minute pre-qual letter

  • Don't practice law on offers

  • Always terminate one offer before accepting another

  • Can a seller ever back out of a contract? How about the buyer?

  • Why I always state buyer has received the SDN, then send it

  • Some of my little tricks of the trade

  • Some of the questionable tactics agents will use to impress you

I wish you the best of luck in your own real estate career. Be prepared to work hard, learn how to work smart and stay focused! Whichever way you go, commercial or residential, there are absolutely no limits on what you can do. That I promise.​

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To really add to the pressure, we'd just bought a home in an area where I didn't know a soul yet that's where my new residential business would have to come from. If that isn't a recipe for a failed residential real estate career, I don't know how it could be worse. It was very foolish.