Teeter Totter: My First Year

Not to brag, but I’m an admin on a facebook group, Real Estate Rockstars.  I’ve been involved in the Rockstars for 2 years now.  I love the group.  They’re always supportive, I love to be the cheerleader and I love to motivate the hell out of them.  You ask a question, even me- an admin, and you get real feedback.  It’s awesome.    I really love it when new agents, like myself, come in and want to learn more about the biz and do the best to kick ass.

The other day, a new agent, posted a question wanting to know about how our first year in real estate was.  It gave me an idea for a blog and so I sat down and started writing.

My first year was hectic, crazy, insane and fucked up.  It was by far one of the most stressful and expensive years I have ever had in my entire life.  Let’s start at the beginning…

I decided to go for my license when I was a property manager for an off-campus student housing complex over by Notre Dame.   I had managed properties before for my dad and decided that I wanted to actually get my license to help make the buying and selling process easier for myself and my Dad.  I started my classes in April and by June I was taking my test.  I passed the first time and on July 1 I was down in Indianapolis getting my Broker’s license.

Frazzled-image-2

A couple of weeks and few thousand dollars later I was in the office pulling desk duty and learning as much as I could from both Jackie, my office mentor, and Connie, my principal broker.

The first house I wrote an offer for was actually for my dad, so I don’t really count it.  I was able to get buyers pretty easily – I had signed up with Zillow to do some advertising and get my name out there.  I learned very quickly to make sure everyone was pre-qualified.   Things didn’t start getting crazy until August when my kids went back to school.   That’s when I started questioning everything.  Was I doing the right thing? Was I killing my marriage? Was I even cut out for this?

Balance is a very difficult thing to achieve in real estate.  The worst part is, I really love my job as a REALTOR® and that tends to make me a workaholic.  That August, I wouldn’t be able to schedule any showings until my teenage daughter got home from school.  My schedule went get my son and oldest daughter up and on the bus, get my youngest daughter up and ready for preschool and her off to school at 11am. Then, I’d have a few hours to complete daily tasks and get ready for any showings that day.  Around 4:00 everyone would be home and I would head out the door.  My husband would be home around 5pm from generally a rough day working construction.  He would make sure everyone was fed and I wouldn’t get home until around 7:30-8 if not later because there was usually a 45-minute commute to where I was showing houses (we lived out in the boondocks).

I always felt like I was three steps behind.  And generally, I was.  I had buyers, but not many.  That first year we did our taxes and I about cried when I found out that I only made just over $8000.  The lady that did our taxes said: “If you don’t do better, we’ll have to call this a hobby.”  She didn’t have much faith in me.   That was in February.  I was 7 months into a career that I was still passionate about and I had just taken my first listing.  Thankfully, after a lot of negotiating, it sold relatively quickly and I was rejuvenated.   I wanted more listings. I wanted more buyers.   I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, either.

That was the one thing I didn’t know and it’s the one thing they don’t teach you.  You spend hundreds of dollars on classes but they don’t teach you what you need to do to get listings or clients in general.  I knew that I had to advertise.  I networked and went to events as much as possible.  I handed out hundreds of business cards, I talked to people, but I had no clue what I was doing.

Summer came again and my husband started trying to help me grow my career.  He found a couple of real estate coaches and we started looking into stuff.  He told me about this amazing coach and showed me some videos.  Hubby told me about this “Bootcamp” that would teach me how to get listings.  I was skeptical and I honestly didn’t want to spend the money.  At that point, things were super tight for us.  We were rolling into winter and winter in construction can be hard.  We always tried to save extra money during summer, but our budget was so tight with me spending money on advertising and real estate stuff that I was extremely hesitant investing more money in my career.  I knew I wanted to do this full time; I knew that if I could spend time and money I could increase my brand and we would see the money come back – I just was so scared to take a chance.

And then something happened that changed my life.  I spoke with the coach running the Bootcamp.  He was very no-holds-bar and honest.  He asked me what I wanted.  I finally admitted what I wanted.  I wanted my husband out of construction, I wanted to do this full time and I wanted to not worry about money.  The coach helped me figure out the formula I needed to follow, what I needed to do monthly in order to obtain my goals and then put me on a payment plan so I could do the boot camp.  I seriously started crying.  I knew in my heart my life was about to change.   And boy, did it.  My husband quit his job.  Everything was on me.  AND I THRIVED.  The first couple of months, dealing with everything and making sure stuff got paid, there were a couple of times I was late, but things got paid.  I was stressed out but then, I started more transactions and what had previously been living paycheck to paycheck, turned into a month to month, to finally having money in savings and being able to pay off debt.

As my career grew, so did our life.  Hubby and I were able to take a real vacation.  We were able to have fun and enjoy life.  We relaxed.  We breathed.  We were able to move to the suburbs,  buy a brand new car, and now we’re doing what all the financial planners have recommended.  We have 6 months worth of expenses saved in the bank and we are looking towards the future and our kids’ futures.

There are still sometimes where I feel completely frazzled.  There are still some days that I want nothing more than to sleep.  There are also days where I’m talking to clients and having a blast.  I love seeing houses, I love meeting new people and I love that I’m able to provide for my family.  I love having bigger goals and something to aim for.  I love being able to take a day and hang out with my family if I want to.

The first year, I was pulling my hair out and completely unsure of what I was doing.  Here I am, three years in and I’m no longer doing that.  I am not anywhere near a seasoned vet, but I definitely feel like I’m learning so much.  I honestly don’t think I’ll ever stop learning, either.

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