Welcome to “Letters from,” a column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry.
Name: Karla Polce
Role: Realtor, fitness coach, lover of animals
Years in business: 2
1. Why did you get into this business?
After serving 13 years between the Air Force and federal government, I knew I had job security and a steady paycheck. I was making great money and living the American dream.
Only, it wasn’t fulfilling, and my creativity was limited by rules and schedules. I was making everyone I worked for happy, but something in me was missing.
I knew continuing to work for someone else wasn’t where I was meant to be, but I was, like a lot of people, scared to step out on my own. I yearned for a way I could not only give back to my community but also somewhere I could use my creativity to secure financial freedom for myself.
My husband and I had always talked about investing in real estate, and it seemed like it checked all of my boxes. It sounded more appealing — thinking about how I could restore old historic homes and design a new home for someone. So, we bought our first investment properties; rehabbing and renting.
We did that for a few years, and I began to notice how involved I was with the buying and selling process and the connection I developed with my buyers and sellers. I’ve always enjoyed the story of real estate.
A teenager moving out on their own for the first time or the newlyweds buying their first home together and raising a family. I was a part of that; I was a part of their story, and it spoke to me.
Then, the light bulb went off — I’m a real estate agent without a license! It wasn’t long before I began searching for the right school, registering for the course and taking my exam.
I’m loving this new lifestyle, and I wake up with a smile on my face every morning. You know you’ve found your destiny when your work becomes your happy place.
2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now in your business?
I’m such a multi-tasker that sometimes it’s a fault because I don’t actually get everything done that I need to. It’s more practical to plan my day and week out and stick to a schedule.
It’s more important to focus solely on one thing at time to ensure it has my full attention and nothing gets missed. This is especially important when working with my clients; they deserve my full focus and attention, and that’s my goal with each one of them.
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started the business?
The importance of your sphere of influence. Having that network of people is really vital in this business, and knowing who to reach out to can help build your business even quicker.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many successful entrepreneurs and business professionals, I’ve taken a piece from each of them. It’s been a blessing to have traveled the world in the military and learned about so many different cultures, it gives me a unique advantage.
I know how to provide services tailored to their needs better than most. This allows me to reach out to those who some may shy away from or [be] uncomfortable with. There is nobody I can’t or won’t help because I always find a way, and that is the biggest positive impact someone can have on their business.
5. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
Constructive criticism. We all need it, and I’m always looking for ways to improve my business. Honesty keeps me motivated and makes me strive harder to be the best Realtor for my clients.
6. What tool has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
It’s all about education. Education is a tool for success. The more I learn about how to build a business and brand, the more reputable my company will be.
I’ve also started teaching myself how become a better salesperson; after all real estate is a huge sales industry. If you can’t sell yourself and your skills, you won’t be successful.
Educating through seminars and reading — even taking comedy improv classes to learn how to think on your feet — [all] this will earn you so much respect with clients because they know you have earned your place in the industry, and they will trust you. It all ends in trust.
7. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
The ever-changing technology world. I see some brokerages struggling and overwhelmed with the cost of this new technology wave and constantly upgrading their marketing campaigns to keep up with the industry.
On the other hand, agents are already feeling as though technology could diminish the value they bring to buyers and sellers so if we don’t step out in front of it and stay ahead, we could find ourselves irrelevant.
Buyers already comb the Internet to search for homes on their own and only call an agent to basically do the paperwork and negotiate. The more we market ourselves and showcase our strengths, the better chance we have at winning over more clients.
The key is to demonstrate why they can’t buy or sell a home without you. Ask yourself, “Why would someone want to hire me?” You need to find your why first, and put yourself in the clients’ shoes. Then answer their question before they ask it.
Leave the commission part out of it for a minute; focus on what’s best for the client, and the commission will take care of itself. Use technology to your advantage, and turn the challenge into a solution.