In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
Transplanted Southerner Cindy Kozlowski has built a flourishing business as a top-producing agent specializing in lake homes in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Her professional network and roots in the community run deep, but it’s one-on-one client care that really drives her business. Find out how this former schoolteacher learned to optimize the client experience.
How long have you been in the business?
I have been a Realtor for 17 years in Michigan. My profession prior to that was a teacher, having earned my degree at the University of Georgia.
I always thought of becoming a Realtor, and the well-being of my sons was the catalyst for the decision. When they reached middle school age I realized that the flexibility of real estate would allow me to be home when they returned from school.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
My first broker was a gentlemen with more than 35 years of experience in real estate, and he gave me solid, tried-and-true advice. My favorite quote that I still think of often is: “Those who work get paid.”
Much of what he taught me still applies to today’s real estate market. The biggest change, of course, has been the involvement of technology as a Realtor, adding an extra layer of knowledge to the skill set needed.
My goal is to remain authentic and always work in the client’s best interest, be it buyer or seller. It’s important that each client feels that they are the only client, although I work with many clients at the same time. It’s also important to remain focused and conscientious of everyday interactions to keep your brand polished and secure.
How did you learn it?
There are several incidents over the years, but my biggest revelation or “a-ha” moment of how consistent work comes together is a very recent one. My brokerage, Lake Homes Realty, has an excellent lead generation system, and last year, I received a lead call from a gentleman from the website. He said his family cottage — a lakefront log home — was about four hours away.
He did not inform me of price, size or extra details. He asked if I was interested — and since we are a lake-focused realty, I said yes. I believe in being a reliable, consistent Realtor that does the required work and preparation for all appointments. I prepared a comparative market analysis (CMA) and marketing ideas for the appointment as I typically would.
During the meeting with the family, I found out that the log home was custom built, custom designed and had 310 feet of lakefront for a value of more than a million dollars. Obviously I was very glad I had done my research and prepared for the meeting! I happily ended up with the listing and will be relisting with them in the spring. (The winters in Michigan do affect the market).
These sellers have continued to thank me and appreciate me; they are an absolute pleasure to have as clients.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will continue to give the best personal service that I can to my clients, remaining professional and conscientious. Yes, this job is fun and has great benefits, but service and consistency are important.
What advice would you give to new agents?
My advice to new Realtors is to know where you want to be in the years to come, set your sights on success and learn to maintain a balance of personal and professional life. It’s a good idea to set reasonable office hours from the beginning and to put in the necessary hours.
It’s important to create your own network of quality referrals and leads. Real estate is a fantastic profession, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all 17 years!