Active Rain July 27, 2010

What Makes a Successful Agent?

In read Brian Rugg’s posting today about starting from scratch in real estate in a new market, and it dovetailed with a post I have been working on in draft form since Rose Marinaccio’s piece a few days ago as well. I relate to Brian’s thoughts on starting in a new place because it calls on the best from you to build a practice in this industry at this time in history. The deck is stacked against average people. Extraordinary people, however, or at least those that put forth extraordinary effort and smarts, are not daunted by circumstance.

J Philip Faranda @ 112 Pounds VS Hen HudSome background: I was on my high school wrestling team. I stunk my first 2 years with 7 wins and 17 losses and I can tell you that losing sucks. However, I really had no other alternatives. I was too small for football, too slow for track, and too short for basketball. I weighed 105 pounds at age 16, so wrestling and its weight classes were my only real alternative. So, after a sophomore season where I won 1 crummy match all year, several people suggested that I give it up. My father was tired of picking me up from practice, my mother didn’t understand why I continued suffering (wrestling isn’t easy), and my teammates sort of already gave up on me. 

I did not quit. I could never live with myself if I gave up. I wanted to win- I wanted to know what it felt like to be a winner. So I worked hard all summer between sophomore and junior year, ignored my teammates shaking their head when I arrived at at the first practice, and busted my tail. I didn’t care what they thought- I just wanted to be a winner. I led the team in wins that season, reached the finals in 3 of the 4 tournaments I entered, and was elected a co-captain for my senior year. My final 2 seasons tallied 36 victories against 13 losses. That taught me what I was made of, and it made me understand the value of perseverance. 

There are many instances when I drew on that experience, and real estate is one of them. There are many things that make a good agent in our industry- smarts, planning, follow up, care, attention to detail, problem solving, and organization to name a few. But if you don’t have perseverance you won’t make it in this business. You have to show up every day. You have to grind it out when all you have is failure and discouragement. You have to press forward when the rain is in your face. You have to make it through another day when it isn’t easy. And when you win, you have to take your trophy humbly and rededicate yourself to the habits that got you into the winner’s circle when it is tempting to take it easy.

I was a fairly successful agent in Rochester from 1996-2000 working for my old mentors. When I met my wife Phil Faranda 112 pounds Vs Hen Hud 1985 and moved back home to Westchester, I was initially intimidated by the idea of competing in this market. This was affluent, cosmopolitan suburban New York. I feared I might get eaten up and spit out. However, just like high school, I had no options. The Yankees weren’t calling, and our children needed to eat. So I ignored my butterflies and got to work, hanging my own shingle in 2005 after almost a 5 year hiatus in the mortgage industry. In 2007, I sold more single family homes than anyone else in my 7000 member MLS. I have remained in the top .05% each year since. I am one of the MLS Vice Presidents, and have close to 20 licensees under me. I continue to work at it every day.  

To me, the key to success in real estate, the one thing you cannot succeed without, is commitment. Never give up, never throw in the towel, take failure like a champion, and persevere. Great things will happen.