In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
An agent for Houlihan Lawrence, Matthew Berger has been immersed in the world of real estate since he bought his first investment property at the age of 18. He has built his business by working with colleagues to get to the win-win — and learning from them as he goes.
What can he teach you about your own real estate career? We reached out to ask Berger about what he’s learned in his time in real estate, and this is what he had to say:
How long have you been in the business?
Though I have been in the business for five years, real estate has been my passion since I was 12 years old. I studied Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in College. I was invited to study in New Zealand for a year, while also helping to strategize and essentially rebuild a city there which was devastated by a major earthquake.
There were architects, real estate developers, investors and locals all involved in coming up with ideas to help rebuild. My skills in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning were an important addition to their rebuilding team since I understand land and design strategies.
My connection to real estate was reignited when I met several real estate professionals during my travels.
When I returned home, I was advertising at a local real estate agency to help make extra money during the summer months doing landscape design work. I met a top producer who said I would do well as a real estate agent. Since I always try to “listen to the universe,” I decided to give it a try. I got a job working for his firm.
I struggled in the beginning as it was a big learning curve, but I loved every minute of it since it didn’t feel like work. I finally connected work with my passion and had many roles between both sales and management.
I learned an enormous amount in a very short period of time, as I was lucky to be surrounded by some of the most successful professionals in the industry. I’m continuing to work hard and am surrounded by some incredible mentors who help guide me.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I recently teamed up with an incredibly talented entrepreneur, Prajesh Patel, and started working on a really exciting new project and business — an application called “The Real Clozer.” I see myself continuing to advise and assist real estate professionals by continuing to develop this platform. It’s something that we believe will revolutionize the industry and help agents increase their business.
I believe that old-fashioned marketing strategies injected with modern technology are needed right now in the real estate industry. Our goal is that in five years the app will be something that every Realtor checks first thing in the morning, along with making coffee and checking emails.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to help grow this company. I also see my real estate business continuing to grow. Every year, my goal is to improve and exceed my previous goals.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
One huge lesson I learned in real estate is that in order to sell, I need to wake up every single morning, look in the mirror and say one thing: “You’ve never sold a house in your life.”
By making this part of my morning ritual, it reminds me to be myself — which is the key to success in any business, especially real estate. It also reminds me to continue to go above and beyond for each and every client.
In order for me to sell, I need to be balanced and humble. The only way to sell is to ensure that both parties are balanced during a negotiation — and to have patience. Selling is an art, and you need to be connected to reality.
How did you learn it?
How I learned this lesson was by being surrounded by some of the most successful real estate professionals in the industry and seeing what they have in common. I also learned by trial and error — handling millions of dollars worth of real estate transactions — forced me to stay grounded in order to be effective.
What advice would you give to new agents?
My advice to new agents is to always remain humble, and be true to yourself. If you can sell yourself, you can sell anything. You need to develop a set of tools, and the most important way to develop these tools is to work for a successful agent who has been in the business for a while.
If you have a good work ethic, and remain humble, then you should have no problem finding an agent to work alongside while you are learning how to make a living in the real estate sales business.
Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us (contributors@Inman.com). We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”