In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
A Florida native and descendant of Florida pioneers, Ophelia “Opey” Angelone has deep roots in her corner of The Sunshine State.
Find out how she covers all of her bases while forging connections with clients and colleagues.
How long have you been in the business?
In January of 2004, I was a healthcare provider doing hospice home visits and decided I needed a change. Like many agents, I thought real estate would allow me to work when I want and have lots of free time. (Haha!)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right now my focus is on getting approved to be an instructor for Florida Association of Realtors (FAR). I have a small boutique office with six agents and I would also like to grow that to 10. That’s plenty for me!
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
Make sure everything is initialed, and make sure everyone gets a copy.
How did you learn it?
I had a deal with a large parcel of land about eight years ago. The buyer was a surveyor and the seller was a bank, since the property was a foreclosure.
I had both sides, and this particular piece had recorded restrictions. The buyer agreed that he understood that even though there was no active homeowners association, it didn’t matter because the restrictions were recorded, and if the owners wanted to start an HOA again, they could.
Luckily, I had him initial that he understood what I said.
The day before closing the buyer got cold feet. He called and told me he wanted to commercial farm the land, and I reminded him that the restrictions would not allow any commercial farming.
It’s super important to give buyers a copy of everything they initial and keep a copy. The judge agreed with the us, and it cost the buyer the deposit (he did not close) and all court costs and attorney fees.
An important part of this conversation was that I told him if he went ahead and closed and really didn’t want the property, I would sell it for him for no commission to help him out. He declined and ended up losing over $20,000 with nothing to show for it.
What advice would you give to new agents?
- Take lots of classes: The more knowledge you can absorb, the easier the job will be. Get designations! The extra education is a perk even if it’s just for your own knowledge.
- Pay attention, and be nice: I feel like being nice is super important, especially to those challenging people — whether they are agents, buyers or sellers — who need extra love. We all know the type. I tell my agents: Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, you really don’t know what’s going on in their life.
- Work together with your fellow agents: There is plenty of work for all of us!
Finally, one of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar: “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”