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How to tell if you’re cut out for real estate

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In order to be a really fabulous real estate agent, it bodes well to be a good multi-tasker. One minute you are loading the dishwasher at home, and the next minute you get the call to meet some big-name clients across town for an impromptu showing.

It’s a lot like Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman. Underneath that fleece bathrobe is a fine silk suit and $300 shoes.

Smart phone, iPad, ball point pen? Already in the car. How much more exciting can life get? Real estate is fast paced, glamorous and essential.

But how do you know real estate is for you? Plenty of people think they are good at multi-tasking and look at our profession with a sideways sneer.

Those Realtors just drive around all day goofing off and meeting people for coffee! And they make a lot of money! It can’t be that hard. I could be a Realtor…

Maybe.

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Since that train of thought is so common, I’ve devised a quick and easy test for determining whether or not you have what it takes to be a fabulous Realtor. Whether you are just starting out in the business, looking into getting your license, or have been in the grist mill for 15 years, my test is fool-proof. It will tell you if you would be a superstar Realtor, or fail miserably. One or the other.

What you will need: Two or three children, preferably no more than 18 to 20 months apart in age. One child should be approximately 2 years old and attempting potty training. The other, whether older or younger, should be a crier. Or teething. Or just cranky. Be sure that both children are extremely hungry.

1. Take these two very small and hungry children to a fine dining establishment — one with linen napkins and a staff that wears long aprons. Get a booth and two high chairs.

2. Order quickly. You don’t have time to fully appreciate the menu — you don’t even have time to look at it! Both kids are crying. They are SO hungry. Think quickly — what can most restaurants make on the fly? What are some sides they might be able to throw on the table quick? Fruit bowl? A quesadilla? Applesauce? Yes, that’s it, one of everything! The kids are screaming, "EAT! EAT! EAT!" You have three seconds to think of how to contain the hysteria.

3. Ahhhh, the kind waiter has brought bread and butter. Shove some in the first kid’s mouth and tear off a piece for yourself. You’ll need the energy. Where are those crayons again? Hmm? Trick question! This restaurant is too nice for crayons. The kids will have to play with the salt and pepper shakers until the food comes. Conduct a play.

4. The quesadilla arrives! Ignore the waiter’s disapproval of such meager, simple fare and start cutting it into bite sized pieces. Watch in satisfied delight as these two (or three) little humans start eating on their own. They are doing so well! They can hold their own forks (kind of) and get most of the food in their mouths. Pat yourself on the back — you are amazing — STOP! What’s that?

5. Potty-trainer has started fidgeting. Now she is pointing to her pants and saying, "poo poo." Assess the situation. You have no other adult to back you up and watch the other kid. Pop quiz, hotshot — what do you do?

6. Eject potty-trainer from the high chair and tell her to run towards the bathroom. Then, just grab the other kid, high chair and all, and start rambling after the first one. No matter that you’ve just left your iPhone, purse and wallet on the table. You don’t have time to waste — there is a squatter just ahead of you. Turn right! Turn left! Burst through the bathroom door and head for the big stall! Set the high chair kid in the stall with you and take care of Potty Trainer. You made it! Smile! High-five! Jelly beans for everyone!

7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 at least two times.

8. An hour later, expect your shirt to be completely pitted out. Food is everywhere. But the kids are quiet — satisfied, even. Good job, adult!

If you’ve made it this far without losing your cool, swearing, or throwing anything, you can be a Realtor. In fact, you’ll be a fabulous Realtor. You can handle a gas leak. You can direct an eight-hour tour. You are capable of writing an offer on little to no sleep and a full bladder.

Some newbies will scoff at this test. They haven’t faced the travails of advertising a wrong address for an open house, tip-toeing around two bickering spouses, or running out of gas with clients in the back of their car. But mark my words: it happens.

So brokers, take note. Do you have an agent on probation? Sending them down to the local title company for a tour won’t tell you much of anything. But my test? It’s fool-proof.

You’re welcome.

Alisha Alway Braatz is a buyer’s broker for Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties in Eugene, Ore., and a real estate humorist.

Contact Alisha Alway Braatz:
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