This month marks my twelve year anniversary at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia WA.
In thinking over the last twelve years, I certainly have learned a lot. A career in real estate not only provides some really funny stories you can tell at parties (like when your clients watch you climb over a fence to get to the lockbox, and you rip your pants and of all the days, you went “commando”) but it also provides exposure (no pun intended) to a lot of characters, situations, and life-lessons. Some lessons I would have preferred to learn sooner rather than later (like ALWAYS wear underwear)!
Here are a few lessons I have learned the hard way but I’m glad I eventually learned them:
A real estate contract is not just a real estate contract. Coming from a sterile, drama-free background of appraising and commercial real estate, I thought residential sales would be similar. I thought, “this is a business transaction. Buyers and sellers and their agents would be civil, reasonable, and professional.” Well, not exactly! But even though emotions sometimes run high, here’s what I learned:
- Don’t take it personally
- Don’t get dragged into other people’s drama
- Stay centered in reality and remain neutral
- Take the time to listen and talk it out
You have a choice. Real estate is a career that offers freedom. For me, this freedom comes with working with like-minded people. I do not have to work with everyone or anyone that comes along. I have a choice, and that is a great freedom to have.
I even remember going to a Brian Buffini (a real estate guru) conference early in my career, and he said the same thing. He called these people “turkeys.” He said let someone else work with these turkeys! But I didn’t believe him then. I learned this lesson the very, very hard way.
Keep your blinders on. There are a lot of distractions today, and these distractions can easily lead you astray from achieving your goals. (Here’s a subpoint – have a plan – a marketing plan, a business plan, an action plan, a calendar, a to-do list, whatever – have a plan and work it.) Don’t get caught up in what other people/co-workers/friends/relatives are doing. Just do YOUR work.
Let it go! Who knew adults needed this Frozen theme song more than kids! But seriously, let it go. Let go of the stuff that doesn’t matter, let go of the problems you cannot solve, let go of perfection, let go of beliefs, clutter, and stuff that are holding you down, let go of the buttheads in your life, LET IT GO!
Embrace Airplane Mode. Another very hard-learned lesson for me, but turn off your phone or put it in airplane mode and take some time off! Really take some time off. Don’t go to the beach and then sit there and email the whole time. Your spouse would really appreciate that, too. I have a new-found appreciation of Airplane Mode and I’m loving life now! 😉
These are just a few of my a-ha moments. And there will be more! Real estate is definitely a crazy career but honestly, I can’t see myself doing anything else.