- Success is where opportunity meets preparation.
- Building rapport allows you to easily connect.
- Real estate is still -- and will always be -- a contact sport.
Let me tell you about my fist sale in real estate. I officially became licensed in the state of Florida in November 2002, and I started working as an active agent.
At the time, I was affiliated with a large independent traditional brokerage firm that had floor time, otherwise known as “opportunity time,” when you took a shift handling any property inquiries from consumers that called or visited in person.
In the early millennial years, floor time was a highly coveted way to build your business, especially as a new agent. Newspaper advertising was still widely used, and the Internet was just coming into its own with an explosion of listings appearing online.
But people were largely contacting real estate offices by phone to see properties, and yes, actually walking into a real estate office to get information along with a map!
My first customer
In late December of that year, I was doing floor time, and a young woman named Missy came into the office with her mother and inquired about a property they had driven past in the area. The property was a VA foreclosure. The house appeared to be something they were interested in, but Missy wasn’t ready to buy just yet.
As it turns out, Missy and her husband, Jason, were relocating from the Tennessee area due to her husband’s job — he was a chemist and had accepted a new position in Jacksonville, Florida.
In real estate, we were always taught to find what you have in common with someone and build rapport. It was easy to build that rapport — my dad was a chemist, and I had family in the same area of Tennessee where they were relocating from, so there was a lot to talk about.
I gathered Missy and Jason’s contact information so we could keep in touch regarding properties of interest. As it turned out, these were very motivated buyers — they needed to find something within 90 days.
Missy and Jason came to town in January, and we began their search. They were clear on their must-haves — an established neighborhood with lots of trees and no cookie cutter, newer subdivisions.
Fortunately, this was quite attainable within their budget, which is not always the case, especially with first-time buyers. Although this was my first sale, this was also this customer’s first home, so we were going through lots of firsts together, and I was committed to delivering an experience that was anything but novice.
After looking at a few homes, the perfect one emerged. It was an adorable brick ranch, located on a small cul-de-sac and an exceptionally large lot that was nearly half an acre. The backyard was incredible — it looked like a miniature football field.
The buyers loved the house but had some concerns about the size of the yard and being able to keep up with it. But they loved the property with its mature trees and landscaping. I told them the lot size was highly coveted, and being located on a small, quiet street created a highly desirable piece of real estate.
So, the buyers decided to move forward. Everything that I learned in my training about writing offers was about to be put to the test. I remember reviewing the offer several times before I submitted it to ensure I had covered all the bases.
I also had a more experienced agent read it to ensure the wording and terms were correct. This was more nerve-wracking than turning in one of those papers that counted for half of the semester’s grade in college.
The property was on a well and septic system, so that meant it would require additional inspections. I was nervous because I had never gone through a home inspection, let alone those involving a well and septic tank!
Also, the house was built in 1977, which was subject to a lead-based paint disclosure, and though it had some updates since that time, I was concerned about any serious issues that all of these inspections and disclosures might reveal and how we would proceed from there. There’s no better way to gain exposure to everything than to experience it upfront in one transaction.
There were some repair issues as was to be expected (now spoken like a seasoned agent), but we were able to work through all of them.
Happily ever after
All in all, it was a relatively low-drama transaction. The only drama was during the walkthrough; we discovered that the seller had left the dishwasher full of dishes and forgotten some pots and pans.
Luckily, they appeared to be clean from what we could tell. We boxed them for the sellers to pick up. If only all transactions could be this smooth. Yes, I was in real estate utopia for now, but not every transaction would be like this.
Nearly 13 years later, I am pleased to report that Missy and Jason still live in the house, happily ever after!