Cece Blase, a Realtor with Paragon Real Estate Group in San Francisco, Calif., is the author of SF Real Estate Buzz, a weekly e-mail newsletter.
Blase, who has invested in real estate and sold properties since 1986, who has a specialty in income properties, condos and new developments, is scheduled to speak during a July 12 Agent Reboot event in San Francisco that precedes the Real Estate Connect SF 2010 conference, which runs from July 13-15 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square hotel.
She will be joined by Ginger Wilcox of the Social Media Marketing Institute in a session titled, "Clocks to Leads to Closings: How to Win on the Web." Blase responded to a set of questions posed by Inman News:
1. What is the most important business lesson you learned in the past year?
There’s a quote that really grabbed me this year: "I don’t sell real estate. I help people get what they want." It comes from a veteran agent who has enjoyed lots of success. Her words have led me to become more mindful about being of service and placing my clients’ needs front and center during all of my dealings with them. It also helps me avoid the trap of worrying about a specific result or outcome.
2. What inspired you to pursue your current career path?
My mom was a bit of a control freak, but she was also very perceptive and paid attention to how I used to pour over those glossy real estate magazines when I was growing up. Shortly after I graduated from college, she got a bee in her bonnet about getting me a real estate license, especially when she heard about friends’ kids who were tearing up the turf with success in real estate sales.
After investigating how to become a licensed agent, she told me where I needed to sign up and how to take the exam. I know this story makes her sound like an evil puppeteer, but I was a willing victim. She was dead-on when she thought I would enjoy this career — and I’ve been blessed to wake up each day ever since loving my job and looking forward to going to work.
3. Share a personal experience or anecdote about buying, selling, owning or renting a home.
My first home was a small investment property and I had some hard life lessons as a landlord. The biggest one was not getting rid of the tenant who smelled weird, had lots of roommates and always paid in cash. Instead, I lived on top of her and persuaded myself that being tolerant of people’s differences was more important than my comfort.
Another big mistake was renting out the ground-floor studio to a Buddhist naturalist who had a big smelly dog and refused to kill any living thing, including the mice and spiders that lived in her unit.
4. What the coolest technology you’ve discovered this year, and how are you using it?
I’m going to finally give in and buy either an iPhone or Droid this year. Other than that, all I can recommend are some websites I’ve found lately that offer good fodder for blog material: biggerpockets.com (for real estate investors); Jonathan Streeter’s "In the Loop" — imintheloop.us — about social marketing; and negotiating tips at www.karrass.com.
5. What is your advice for real estate industry professionals to thrive in this market?
Buy your product. It will be your nest egg and your safety net. And be fearless and expect to make mistakes, or, as Guy Kawasaki put it, "Don’t worry, be crappy."
6. What is your favorite non-work-related hobby?
Dining, travel and lavish gifts for friends.
7. Who is your hero, and why?
My father, Guy Blase. He was a charismatic, brilliant "connector" who changed a lot of people’s lives. He was also preternaturally happy and my biggest fan.
8. What do you view as the biggest problem facing the real estate industry today, and how would you fix it?
A lack of professionalism and the public’s perception of us. The fix is more education, higher standards and a lower bar for disciplining agents who forget their fiduciary duties to all parties in a transaction.
10. Tell us something we don’t already know about you.
I speak fluent French and sing cabaret tunes. You can also visit my blog posting: "Nine Things You May not Know about Cece Blase."
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.