In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
With a background in the theater and a high-profile gig as a TV host, it’s natural that LA Realtor Yawar Charlie feels at home working with high-profile clients.
But even a powerhouse top producer has times of doubt and frustration.
Find out how a change in attitude helped Charlie turn around some early setbacks and regain his focus.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been in the real estate business for almost 12 years. I come from an acting background — my grandfather was a very famous Bollywood actor. In fact, that’s how I got my last name. They called him the “Charlie Chaplin of India,” and then that ended up being the legal name on all of the birth certificates.
When I first moved to LA, I came down to pursue my dreams of being an actor. I had just finished touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and had a master’s degree in fine arts (MFA), but wanted to step away from the stage and do more television and film.
I thought Los Angeles would be the perfect place to end up. And it was.
After working in the entertainment industry, which had its ups and downs, I ended up taking the money that I earned, and I bought a house. I found that I had a true passion for real estate and then ended up transitioning from entertainment into real estate where I’ve been ever since.
It’s funny, sometimes I joke that my master in fine arts did not go to waste because I find myself acting on a daily basis. In real estate, you have to wear many hats and be ready for anything; it’s like a giant improv game that never ends!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The real estate market in Los Angeles is readily changing. I find myself working with more and more international clients, especially from South Asia.
I’m focusing a lot of my attention to cultivate the relationship that I have with the South Asian community to introduce a lot of investors to the luxury market in Los Angeles because I’m from Pakistan.
I also find myself collaborating with investors, attorneys and finance people to work on projects together. I’m finding that collaboration and small investment groups are really the waves of the future.
These limit individual risk and promote a collective mentality that is universally beneficial for everyone involved.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
One of the biggest lessons I learned that has helped me be successful in business is that I can’t be a better version of somebody else, but I can be the best Yawar there is.
Being the best version of me that I can continually cultivates personal and professional success.
Instead of being envious of someone else’s success, be thankful that they had that success because then that opportunity is also available to you.
When I mentally turned that narrative around, I felt much more empowered and burden-free when it came to my business.
How did you learn it?
I distinctly remember a slow point in my career, maybe my second or third year in real estate, where I had several deals fall out of escrow one after the other.
I found that people around me were having immense success, and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t happening for me in the same way that it was happening for them.
Suddenly, I found myself trying to emulate what they were doing, or the way they behaved, and it just wasn’t working for me. I also found myself envious of their success.
It wasn’t until I worked with a business coach who literally told me to take a step back and change my attitude so that instead of being envious of someone else, I should wish them success.
In wishing others success, I allowed myself to enjoy the same abundance. That really changed my perspective, and from that moment on, I never looked back.
What advice would you give to new agents?
Never count your commissions before escrow is closed! There’s nothing more devastating early in your career than when you open escrow and think you’re going to make a certain amount of money — and then the deal falls out of escrow leaving you empty-handed.
When you are new, you think opening escrow is the biggest mountain to climb, when it’s quite the contrary. There are many steps that you have to go through before you can even think of a commission check.
When you’re new in your career, finances tend to be tight, so as you can imagine, losing income in the blink of an eye is tough.
It was a hard lesson for me to learn, and I wish someone would have given me the forewarning that would occur.
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.”
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