George Schultz is the managing broker and vice president of development and brokerage of @properties.
How did you become a managing broker? Were you first an agent first?
I moved to Chicago in 1996 to pursue a career in acting and had a five-year plan to move to L.A. At the end of five years, I was set to move, until the dot-com bust held me back financially from pursuing acting full time. I looked into real estate because housing was booming, and I got my license in late 2000.
After a year of working for a large brokerage firm, I decided to take a chance on a small, 50-agent company, @properties, that was just getting started. Working closely with co-owners Michael Golden and Thaddeus Wong, my business grew quickly. I started working on developments as well. I found out that my real passion is helping people make great choices and mentoring brokers.
In 2009, I was asked to open the Bucktown office as managing broker. Now, the Bucktown office is the No. 1 office in all of Chicagoland. I’ve worked 15 years in real estate and 14 years at @properties.
What makes you successful? Three things.
Love for what I do (passion), authentic empathy for people (caring), and sincere desire to be better at what I do every day (humility). Basically, I have fun.
What drives you?
Competition is part of it, but in the end, it is just about getting better at what I do every day: helping people make great choices and inspiring leadership all around me.
Do you or your agents use a coach? Who and why? If not, why?
I never have used a coach and the majority of my agents do not. I have a coach/mentor in my owners, Mike Golden and Thad Wong. There could be no better option for me, but I would consider it someday.
My agents who have coaches love them and believe they are of great value, but our company offers much of what outside coaches do. The best thing a coach can do is offer a higher level of accountability.
Most agents find what they need in our systems, training and internal development programs. I would like to see more agents using coaches from the standpoint that when someone invests some money into something, they become more accountable.
Do you encourage teams in the brokerage, why?
I encourage more partnership than teams. There should be accountability and mutual benefit that comes down from a team leader. These are the types of teams that are most successful.
I am not anti-team: I like teams that have clear expectations and systems. Unfortunately, most do not. When a team is well organized and roles are clear, they can be very powerful and have benefit to the consumer. There are just so many “teams” or “groups” out there that are nothing more than a name. The consumer should know the difference.
Do you buy leads from the portals? If so, which ones and why? Do you encourage it?
I have never done so, but I understand why agents do. I only encourage it to those that understand the work it takes to monetize them. If you don’t need them to grow your business, they can be a distraction.
If you don’t have systems to follow up on them, they are a waste of marketing dollars. I would rather an agent work on the systems they need to create their own leads.
What technology is most important to your success?
A phone. It is the greatest invention ever. In all seriousness, communication in the only thing technology cannot take away from us, and the phone is the hub. Beyond that, our internal CRM is a great way for me to track my agents and recruits. I also love PointDrive for the insights it provides.
What is the first thing you do in the morning to help you be successful?
Make my bed (even when the cleaning people are coming). I read this once in a book by a Navy Seal — You have to start the day with some sense of accomplishment.
How many hours do you work each week?
Fifty-60. Part of being better is to get this to 40-50. Real estate brokers are blessed with the ability to be places other jobs do not allow (recitals, sporting events, etc.), but you are cursed with a service-oriented profession that you take home with you, and you have to accept that to be in this world.
I have learned that you just have to be honest to the moment and be present, whether it’s with your family, your fellow brokers or your clients.
What is some advice you would give new brokers just getting started?
Organize your database. Systematize your outreach. Find your hero in this business. And make a plan that revolves around doing activities you love while being willing to pay someone for those that you don’t.
Finally, invest in your business. Chisel away at things that don’t look like your goals and carve out your success — but you have to know what you want that to look like first.
Why do you love working for @properties?
I love the collaboration and the sense of not having to fear trying new things. Whether they like hearing it or not, it’s a privilege to work with two people (Mike and Thad) who are changing the landscape of real estate.
I am happy to learn something new every day, and I am grateful to work with agents that share that same belief. I understand that my work and the agents’ work will never be perfect, but we try to put forth effort in doing things right, and we understand that the process can always be better.
Nothing gives me more happiness than my job and mentoring agents, besides my family.
I don’t feel like I “work.” There is always stress in things that come along, but it does not feel like work often. It is fun and rewarding to see people grow and to see human beings become more human. Everything in the Bucktown office goes back to “love,” like the mural on the side of the building.
What do you think separates @properties from its competitors?
Others who haven’t worked here wouldn’t know. There is something in the water that helps people become better brokers, citizens, parents, and members of the community. There is a generosity of spirit that permeates everything and makes it very enjoyable to come to work, to come to “home.”
@properties also understands that its reason for being is the brokers, and that the brokers’ success is what fuels the success of the company and unites it and defines it.
Our technology, marketing, and the tools the brokers use also separate us. However, at the end of the day, it is the fact that @properties actually cares. We do things that make us stand out and make us different. We know that every situation is different, and we do not have a corporate philosophy of stringent rules. We allow our brokers to create their own brands and to express individuality.
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