In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
As a young real estate pro in the trendy Portland, Oregon market, Jamohl DeWald takes a relational approach to serving his clients, especially the first-time homebuyers with whom he loves to work.
How did he get started, and what did he learn about the importance of great role models from day one?
How long have you been in the business?
I had always been thinking about becoming self-employed but was not sure what to do. I was “almost” offered a job as an assistant to a very successful local agent, but when he found out I didn’t have my real estate license, he said he couldn’t hire me. I then spent the next eight months studying every day after work. [I] got my license, and I have not looked back since.
I initially hung my license at a large brokerage, but I soon realized a mentorship type of brokerage would be a better opportunity to learn the real estate business much faster. I then went to a boutique brokerage that essentially ran their business like an internship, and I thrived, eventually getting onto the top-producing agent’s team.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to be very successful and known as a quality agent by my peers. My business goal is to be mostly sustained by referral business from providing top-notch full service to my clients.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
Learning from an expert mentor in this industry who does the job professionally and well is priceless to new(er) agents.
You can expedite the learning curve by “doing” while picking up countless bits of information and tactics from your team leader like how to get offers accepted while contingent, how to get offers accepted in this crazy competitive market as a first-time homebuyer, how to write a repair addendum that won’t get rejected, how to write an offer (correctly), how to market a home for sale, how to win the listing when competing against other agents and a lot more, including how to market yourself along the way!
How did you learn it?
Well, when I first hung my license, I went through the six-week training course, graduated, and they gave me an office and some signs then said: “OK, go sell real estate!” Me: “Uh, OK. what do I do now?”
I figured buyers would be my best opportunity, having just started because my services are free to them so that’s what I wanted to go after first. However, I found out very quickly all the agents in that office that offered to help me if I needed help really did not mean that.
I was the competition! I couldn’t get one agent out of 260-plus to let me shadow them at an open house or hold an open house for them. My PB [principle broker] said I should reach out to the office closest to my home and see if they would let me hold an open house for them. I got nothing from them either.
I knew at that moment that if I wanted to learn this business by “doing” I would need to find a brokerage that would mentor me and show me the business by doing the business of real estate every day.
This led me to the boutique real estate office.
Just as I had done at the previous brokerage, I was at the office every day, all day, and participating in any trainings available to me, just waiting to be put on a file with a senior broker and get a glimpse into buying/selling real estate.
It took about three weeks before a senior broker asked me if I wanted to help them with a buyer client they had, and I gladly accepted. I did everything that was asked of me while always being available for their every need, and needless to say, I became a very popular associate broker, breaking the record for the most files (clients) participated on which was 30.
I was on more than 60 files my first year there, which, of course, meant working seven days a week and 14-plus hour days, but I was learning the business at a very fast pace, which is exactly what I wanted.
I saw it as a much better business model than learning the business by trial-and-error at my client’s expense due to my inexperience with buying and selling real estate. Having a group of successful agents around you mentoring you and showing you the right way to have success in this business really is priceless.
What advice would you give to new agents?
The key is getting on the right team. You need to find a team that is successful in real estate and will actually train you and let you write up contracts, go to listing appointments, photo shoots, closings, show homes, hold homes open, etc., so that you actually learn the profession you’re in.
Don’t go to a team that is only looking for a gopher — someone to keep flyer boxes full, hang signs, go to inspections for the lead agent, doing the dirty work. This is key! While it is important to learn all the dealings of real estate you want to make sure you are learning the keys to be successful in this business. I think the best way to learn is by doing.
If you can get on a busy successful team and participate in 60-plus transactions in a year, just imagine what you will learn compared to the 12 or 20 you manage on your own learning by trial-and-error.
Being on a successful team will also help to supplement your income and give you a steady income instead of not knowing when your next commission check will come. In less than two years, I was on over 130-plus transactions of which 99 closed, and counting — that type of experience could take an agent more than seven years to get, depending on your market.
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.”
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter.