In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
She has been called the “Financial Guru of Real Estate,” in part because she has worked in so many areas of the industry, from development and investment to finance and management. But Sharon R. Frank isn’t even considering slowing down. Instead, she writes, trains and grows her business in new directions each year.
Keeping an open mind and an open heart are the secrets to success for this entrepreneur, allowing her to move with the market and continue to grow and develop her company.
How long have you been in the business?
I have been in the real estate business for approximately 23 years. I started as a self-made investor, buying my first home then buying my first investment property later on.
This sparked my interest in the real estate business.
Shortly after acquiring a few more investment properties, I branched out into the mortgage industry and within a short time — by 2007 — I was heavily into flipping homes and building newly constructed homes.
I also owned a real estate brokerage company, a mortgage net branch franchise and a real estate development company.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The real estate industry changes rapidly, and it’s hard to predict what the market will be like in the next five or 10 years, but I see myself going heavily into the development management aspect of real estate investing.
I am constantly receiving requests for project management services for real estate development projects, thus my interest in this sector of real estate.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
I have learned that to grow, you need to take risks. You need to enter into uncharted territories and figure out a way to learn from every experience.
Will you make mistakes? Yes, but you must not look at these as failures but learning curves or as evolutionary events in your professional life cycle.
As long as your intent is good, and you are working with the best interest of clients, maintaining a standard of practice, good work ethics and always striving toward the right thing — you will succeed.
How did you learn it?
For example, I can remember when I had a business that didn’t work out.
As is my nature, I didn’t give up, and I moved on to another business venture. After this business venture also ended unsuccessfully, I had to do some serious evaluation of myself and my business practices.
I learned the importance of customer service and putting the customer’s interests and needs first. I also learned that just because you can do everything doesn’t mean you should, but that is a lesson for another day.
After a while, I naturally gravitated toward my true passion of real estate and real estate development, but if it hadn’t been for my shortcomings and truly evaluating the reasons why my previous businesses didn’t succeed and implementing some changes, I wouldn’t have realized my true potential.
Through these lessons and making adjustments in my business operations, I have become the successful Realtor and real estate developer that I am today.
What advice would you give to new agents?
There is no one road map to becoming a successful real estate agent. So much of this business has to do with relationships on a whole.
Having knowledge of the real estate industry and staying current with trends and your local market certainly helps, but to truly become successful as a real estate agent you must foster great relationships by truly putting your customer and clients above all with integrity and sincerity.
This will guarantee you a place in this industry over the long-haul.
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.