In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
Washington, D.C.-area broker and investor Allen Johnson has achieved an array of professional milestones, including an appearance on HGTV’s House Hunters and recognition as a leader in his field. However, his day-to-day focus is more likely to be on the clients he serves rather than on professional accolades.
Find out how his personal journey — and the lessons he’s learned along the way — shapes the way he thinks about the clients he works with and the benefits of a career in real estate.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been in the business for 18 years. I started two years after graduating from George Mason University and stepped into real estate sales. It’s been one of the best decisions I ever made.
I got started when I went to buy a house. I started out looking to purchase a house and just didn’t have the greatest experience finding an agent that I could resonate with, someone who just understood me and would accept me for my young self.
I figured there were going to be a bunch of people coming out of GMU who I could help. And you know, over 1500 homes later, here we are.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself being an active father, an active husband, an active mentor, a thought leader in the real estate space with multiple books. I’ve got one written, and I’ve got two more in the chamber that we’re going to fire off here over the next two to three years.
I just see myself continuing to do what I love. I never thought of this being work. I just think it’s always been my purpose. So, when I think about where do I see myself in five years, it’s just staying in my purpose. And my purpose just happens to be real estate.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
Never get too high, never get too low. There are going to be highs and there are going to be lows. The successful people understand how to navigate equally through both of those things.
I would also say, watch who you compare yourself to in our business. We live in a sales environment. There’s always someone who’s got more sales than you, right? And that’s a very dangerous place to live, where you’re always trying to chase a number, where you’re always trying to chase someone else’s stats or someone else’s units or someone else’s volume.
I’ve been a big proponent of building a business that I can be proud of, a business that could sustain me and the people that I have around me.
How did you learn it?
I learn this just through life, through being on stage and, and understanding that life is bigger than selling a house. We serve families. Their kids are going to have their greatest memories in these rooms and these backyards.
You know, I’m so proud and so happy that we can play a part in that. I understand the significance in that because my kids are around the corner, and they’re in their rooms, and they’re in their basements, and their friends are across the street. And those are the things that really fill me up. Those are the things that make me proud to be a real estate professional.
What advice would you give to new agents?
I would say you need to join a team. I think the real estate business has changed and has changed really quickly. To be able to have an umbrella where you can get the guidance and support on a day-by-day basis, where you can get some layups — you know, I’m a basketball player, so if you can get a few layups, if it’s easier to get some clients — that’s really good.
For new agents, there’s personal development. What are you doing personally? Are you working out? Are you eating right? Are you reading books? Are you meditating? Those are the things that fill you up personally.
Then there’s also professional development. Are you taking continuing education? Are you mastering your craft? Are you getting around agents that are going where you want to go?
I think that as agents, you have to equally focus on both of those two things, professional and personal, and you can really strike that balance. That’s when you’ll start to see the success and have the life that you dreamed of as you were getting into this business.
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Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr