Jon Ufland, principal managing broker for Prudential Unlimited Realty in Boston, Mass., will share his views on "Going Local" at the one-day Agent Reboot conference in Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The event is the latest in a series of Agent Reboot conferences planned across the country.
Ufland will share the stage with David Millett, general manager, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/The Masiello Group.
Joining Prudential Unlimited as a sales associate after obtaining his MBA at Boston College, Ufland soon became the brokerage’s top sales agent and a founder and vice president of the Brookline Real Estate Investment Club, a niche program specializing in educating real estate investors and developers.
He became sales manager in April 2007 and then managing broker, bringing his skills as a sales agent and his focus on education to help other agents in the office succeed. Ufland responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
1. What is the most important business lesson you learned in the past year?
Working with full-time agents is the only way to go. Winners want to be with winners. From a manager’s perspective, the agents who are not fully engaged in their business are never up on the latest industry news, guidelines, trends, technologies, or anything really. They take up valuable management and administrative time on things they would know if they were around and attending sales meetings. In the end, the potential liability is greater than their potential to make a positive contribution to the company.
2. What inspired you to pursue your current career path?
I was a top sales agent. I was always keenly in tune with what I felt our office was doing well and with what I hoped it would do that I thought would add value to our agents and clients. I’ve always tried to think like an agent in trying to decide what direction to steer the company and in how to create value for our agents. I love real estate as a business and I wanted to pursue the highest career path possible.
3. Share a personal experience or anecdote about buying, selling, owning or renting a home.
The experience of owning my first home, a condo in Brookline, was another key factor that inspired me to become a real estate sales agent. Before my purchase when I was 27, I hadn’t really saved anything and I had a lot of credit card debt. After buying the condo for $135,000, I was forced to grow up and become much more responsible about my money, my home, and my career. I sold it about 7 years later for $265,000, plus I had seven years of tax benefits that I didn’t have when I was renting and paying my landlord’s mortgage. Along the way, I used some of the equity and the ease of obtaining capital to purchase other properties which I was also able to sell for a profit.
I became such a proponent of homeownership that I felt people were crazy not to own real estate as either a primary residence or as an investor. When I entered the industry, and to this day, the two niches I worked with and created specialty programs around were first-time homebuyers and investors.
4. What’s the coolest technology (gadget/gizmo, software, hardware, app, website, etc.) you’ve discovered this year, and how are you using it?
IPad. Too many possible uses to list here but suffice it to say it’s got a lot of really cool applications for real estate and I can honestly say, I have already made back my investment just by having it with me at critical times to answer critical questions.
5. What is your advice for real estate industry professionals to thrive in this market?
Forge relationships. Make the commitment to your career everyday. Value any lead that comes your way. It could become an important relationship for you. Don’t work for this transaction. Work for future business and referrals by providing the best possible service and advice today.
6. What is your favorite non-work-related hobby?
Right now, I have a 3 1/2-year-old and a four-month-old so I don’t really have much time for hobbies. When I do get a rare day or night off, I like to go to sporting events. I’m a huge Boston sports fan. I also like to go to concerts as often as possible which, right now, is not very often.
7. Who is your hero, and why?
Sorry, I don’t have what I would call a "hero." I have a lot of respect for a lot of people and how they run their business or how they balance their lives. If I had more time I could probably come up with something.
8. What do you view as the biggest problem facing the real estate industry today, and how would you fix it?
Barriers to entry which, thankfully, in Massachussetts they are addressing. Right now, there are too many unqualified, untrained, or part-time agents who do not keep up with the latest news, trends, guidelines, laws, and techniques. This causes many clients to feel like their agent did not provide them with value and makes many people feel they could do the job just as well. Unfortunately, many consumers do not understand how hard many of the full-time, committed professionals in the industry work to keep up with the latest of everything in order to provide great service and great advice in such an important transaction.
I think the industry has come a long way in the last ten years with attracting better talent into the industry. Not all part-timers are not qualified or well-trained or committed though. I know some who I wished would be able to make the commitment because they do such a good job and have such great potential. It’s just difficult to do with the time investment necessary to be at the top of the industry.
9. Tell us something we don’t already know about you.
I am a huge dog person. I have an Australian Shepherd named Bruski. If I had the time to own ten dogs, I would.