Welcome to “Letters from,” a column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry.
Learning from our mistakes creates a more powerful version of ourselves moving forward.
Name: Lori Muller
Role: Real estate broker, trainer, speaker, mom, entrepreneur at heart, gardener
Years in business: Since 2003
1. Why did you get into this business?
I decided to jump into real estate for a couple of reasons. I was working in corporate America — salaried with a ton of hours. I knew that I was working so hard but yet was not getting paid any more.
I wanted to work [in a situation] where it was my own business and the long hours I worked would allow me to reap the benefit — instead of the company.
Secondly, I had been a door-to-door salesperson for almost nine years — traveling all over the country, and I missed being free instead of being cooped up in an office all day.
2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now in your business?
I believe one of the biggest challenges is that the public looks at information online as accurate and truthful. They definitely have an advantage of having information at their disposal.
But a professional Realtor is needed to facilitate the negotiations, contracts, marketing, inspections, financing and so many other obstacles that are faced prior to going to close.
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started the business?
It is so important to follow up with your past clients and customers. I went from an agent role to a broker-owner role, and in that process, lost touch of all [with] my past sphere.
However, I still do a decent book of business between — $3 and $4 million each year — from my past clients and customers themselves and the referrals they give me.
If I had kept in touch with them all, I could not even imagine the spin-off business I would be receiving.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
I can not stress enough the importance of continually going to training, networking events and getting designations. I have taken little nuggets from many of the national trainers (Floyd Wickman, John Maxwell) and coaches.
But Tami Bonnell — international CEO at EXIT Realty Corp. — has coached me to become a leader in the industry, to step out of my comfort zone and to pick up books and read [them] again.
5. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
I would love to have a social media and technology guru that’s on top of that side of the business for me. I am a people person.
6. What tool has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
I love electronic signatures. It’s so nice to be able to talk to your client on the phone when they are at work, on vacation, etc., go through the contract so that they can determine the direction they want to take — then send them the paperwork to sign. It definitely frees up time.
7. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
I think that one of the biggest challenges we face is to show that the Realtor is still a needed entity in the transaction. The Internet can not take over the people side of real estate.
Now more than ever, it is so important to build a solid relationship through communication. Communication can be done a variety of ways, but don’t forget about the personal meeting and phone call. All too often we fall prey to text, email and slydial.