It would be hard to ignore the craze for housing. Properties are selling in the blink of an eye, buyers continue to benefit from historically low mortgage rates, and real estate professionals are seizing opportunities they missed in last year’s spring sales season. For many, a career in real estate has never been more enticing as many see the benefits of not having to return to an office in a 9-5 environment, creating unlimited wealth opportunities, and simply starting something new.
So what does it take to make the leap into a real estate career and what can you learn from those who are very successful in it? For two Coldwell Banker real estate agents – one a seasoned veteran and the other a rookie – their introduction to the real estate industry couldn’t have been more different, but their two stories provide important lessons for those looking to make it through this highly competitive, yet rewarding, environment Industry.
Building strong foundations Building
Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Realty in Sarasota, Fla., Started college thinking of becoming a veterinarian – real estate was the last thing he thought about. He completed double degrees in biology and chemistry and eventually decided to become a doctor. But during his studies he got involved in student administration and in people-oriented projects that enabled him to gain initial experience with marketing and advertising.
After graduating from college, he got a job as a marketing assistant for a resort called Longboat Key Club, which introduced him to the world of real estate and made it clear he didn’t want to pursue a medical career anymore. In 1985 Longboat Key Club was acquired by a real estate company that later merged with Coldwell Banker in 2002, and its business has been associated with Coldwell Banker since that day. Pettingell has signed and sold over $ 2 billion in luxury real estate and has been a consistent top producer at Coldwell Banker for over 10 years.
While Erin Lail of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley in Napa Valley, California could be considered a “rookie” because she has four years of real estate experience, she is anything but green. Entrepreneur at heart, in 2001 she founded Honeydew, a luxury property management agency offering all facets of property management and luxury events. Her enjoyment of working with wealthy individuals enabled her to naturally build a clientele – and soon even local real estate agents were calling for her expertise to help them close deals. After realizing she’d given $ 44 million in business over the years and only had a $ 50 gift certificate to show for it, she decided to put that frustration into action. With the help of a mentor, she received her real estate license and eventually joined Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley in 2019.
“Boy, was that the best thing I’ve ever done!” Lail says.
As a fifth generation winemaker in the Napa Valley and with her deep local knowledge, her insider approach to real estate transactions is unparalleled in the area. Within her first year of membership with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, she reached # 2 and demonstrated her commitment to making her clients happy.
Technology and tools are essential
No matter what stage of the game you are in, technology and tools are an integral part of being a successful real estate agent.
Pettingell loves to find and test new tools. While not all stuck, he likes to try everything to see the options available to him – and credits the good ones to his continued success. He enjoys attending conferences and trade shows like the National Association of Realtors’ annual iOi-Tech conference and Coldwell Banker’s annual Gen Blue event to catch up on the latest trends. “Anytime there’s a way to be up to date, it’s where I want to be,” he says.
Lail agrees, credits Coldwell Banker’s powerful marketing and technology tools with improving their customer service. She admits that the technology she used has helped her sell more homes. Tools like Listing Concierge help agents be twice as productive, and agents and teams who added an entry in Exclusive Look saw gross commission income up 23% year over year. Agents like Lail work long hours and the ability to optimize services through technical tools helps them save time and be more available to their customers.
Advice from experts
Are you thinking about following in these agents’ footsteps and starting your own career? Real estate is worthwhile work, but it also requires a lot of hard work. Lail compares being an agent to a 50-story cake because agents have to be incredibly versatile. As a realtor, building a stronger sense of community and knowing your local market will go a long way as home buyers will always be impressed with abundant localized knowledge – something Lail knows well. “Imagine people becoming resources – from title companies, banks, insurance companies and construction teams, anyone who gets your name out there in the region can become a future customer.”
Pettingell’s biggest tip is to find a mentor who can help you build a position in the industry. Networking with other agents is more than valuable, both locally and nationally. He also recommends agents come up with new, unconventional ideas when it comes to promoting themselves and their brand. Take it from the expert – when he was looking for a new way to optimize his marketing strategies, he launched his RealTalk web series, which became a hit with viewers. Additionally, while some people believe that it is an easy business, he emphasizes that success does not come overnight. “One of the things you need in this business is tenacity and a willingness to invest your time in this career,” he says.
The Stars Align – Belonging to the perfect company for you
Lail’s experience building businesses from the ground up helped her understand the importance of having a great team. During her first job as a broker, she was forced to learn things like how to give presentations and how to write offers on her own because there was no integrated team to support the agents. Since joining Coldwell Banker, the community has become an important part of her career. “I finally feel like I have the support, training and team-oriented environment that I was looking for,” she says.
Pettingell also believes that having a strong brand behind you is important in order to build credibility in your market. He believes access to education, technology and resources at Coldwell Banker is unparalleled. “In any market, especially one like the one we have right now, you need to be able to cast as wide a net as possible in the shortest possible time when you do a listing,” he says. He believes the only way to maximize awareness of your listing and not leave money on the table is to partner with a brand like Coldwell Banker who has the advanced technology to do it.
When you’re ready to begin your career in real estate, visit coldwellbankercareers.com.