There’s no doubt that 2020 was an unprecedented year, requiring real estate professionals to turn on a dime and implement a host of new ideas, strategies, and perspectives in their businesses. The best way to meet these challenges? Tried-and-true advice from other real estate agents and brokers who were going through the same thing. 

We’ve gathered all of our Lesson Learned articles for this year for a look back at the best advice, an opportunity for you to check out those profiles you might have missed, and a chance to remind yourself that when it comes to the practice of real estate, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. 

Jamie Safier

Lesson Learned: Always be closing

As a top luxury agent for Douglas Elliman in New York City, Jamie Safier puts a lifetime of experience to work creating optimal outcomes for his high-powered clients.

Whether shattering price records for his listings or marketing some of the most iconic properties in the city, he has learned that to achieve great things in the city that never sleeps, you have to be ready to hustle 24/7. Read more.


Troy Palmquist

Lesson Learned: Mentors, mentors, everywhere — find yours

As the founder of The Address Real Estate company and an advocate for indie brokers, Troy Palmquist brings his trademark high energy and branding savvy to the practice of real estate.

Whether he’s writing, speaking, or checking out properties, he’s always looking for ways to communicate and share his passion for real estate. Here’s how he finds learning opportunities everywhere he goes. Read more.


Matthew Szalecki

Lesson Learned: Offer insights, not answers

Real estate broker and Inman contributor Matthew Szalecki loves operations, processes and the way people work. As director of brokerage operations at Fathom Realty in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina and owner of Family Building Company, Szalecki is used to having all the answers.

Find out how he learned early on that when it comes to client care, your role is to educate instead of advise. Read more.


Caswell Cooke

Lesson Learned: Work your network (and relationships)

Even if you have a high profile in your local community, it doesn’t always translate into new business.

According to Caswell Cooke Jr., a Rhode-Island-based Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, it’s important to connect — and reconnect — with your network to earn every client and every listing. Find out how he learned to work his network more effectively. Read more.


Kaye Placeres

Lesson Learned: Don’t be an undercover agent

As a real estate agent with deep roots in markets throughout the D.C.-metro area — she moved there at the age of three — Kaye Placeres considers herself a “personal transition consultant.”

She offers her area expertise, insight and service-oriented approach to buyers and sellers throughout this high-powered metro market. Find out how Placeres learned to put her name and her reputation front and center to get more clients and make long-lasting connections. Read more.


Leslie Guiley

Lesson Learned: Choose the right team

As a co-founder of BloomTree Realty and the company’s chief operating officer, Leslie Guiley puts a priority on efficient systems and processes. She’s found that cultivating great partnerships helps her brokerage do more and respond better to market conditions, in both hot markets and challenging ones.

Find out how the COVID-19 crisis brought out the best in her existing partnerships — and helped her develop new ones. Read more.


Tania Isacoff Friedland

Lesson Learned: Operate from the client’s perspective

Born and raised in Manhattan, Warburg Realty’s Tania Isacoff Friedland is a local market expert. What sets her apart, however, is the bespoke service she offers to buyers and sellers in her area — resulting in more than $1 billion in sales over the past decade. 

At the heart of her service philosophy? A mindset that keeps the focus on the client and helps them find their best option, no matter what’s going on in the market. Read more.


Long Doan

Lesson Learned: You are in the people business

With the 90th largest independently owned brokerage in the U.S. as well as the No. 1 independently owned brokerage in Minnesota, Long Doan has spent almost three decades building his professional reputation and the business of his dreams.

Find out how he learned that the most important part of succeeding in real estate is helping buyers, sellers, agents and staff to achieve their dreams as well. Read more.


Leah Robinson-Christian

Lesson Learned: Trust your instincts

As a top producer with a laundry list of designations and certifications, Leah Robinson-Christian.

brings a high level of knowledge and professionalism to her client work in both the Fayette County and Atlanta markets she serves.

Like many good real estate agents, it’s her understanding of people that helps her work so effectively with both buyers and sellers. Find out how she learned to trust her inner “still, small voice” when evaluating clients and maintaining her own security. Read more.


Lisa Robinson

Lesson Learned: Focus on quality over quantity

Lisa Robinson’s decades of award-winning experience as one of Atlanta’s top real estate brokers have allowed her to work on everything from Olympic venues to multimillion-dollar, luxury homes.

Along the way, she has built an impressive reputation for professional leadership and a client roster of top-flight executives, athletes and entertainment figures. Find out how she learned to hone in on the quality of her business relationships, rather than playing a numbers game. Read more.


Leslie Turner, Mary Lou Wertz and Olga Page

Lesson Learned: Teamwork makes the dream work

When COVID-19 shutdowns began to affect markets across the country, real estate agents were forced to adjust their marketing, management and operations practically overnight. For those who lacked robust professional networks and support, the transition was, in many cases, more difficult.

For the women of Charleston’s Maison Real Estate — co-founders Leslie Turner, Mary Lou Wertz and Olga Page — the lessons learned from almost a decade of close collaboration were put to good use, keeping deals together and continuing to make real estate dreams into reality. In this email interview compiled by the three co-founders, find out how they put their past experiences to work in the wild new post-COVID world. Read more.


Allen Johnson

Lesson Learned: Choose people over numbers

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. Read more.


Ryan Boykin

Lesson Learned: Believe in the power of investing in you

From its small business beginnings to its current transactions of $1 billion annually, Denver’s Atlas Real Estate has experienced exponential growth and made co-founder Ryan Boykin a leading voice in the real estate investment space. 

With more than 6,000 units purchased and 3,200 under current management, Boykin’s career is a testament to the business-building power of real estate. Find out how he got started and what he learned along the way. Read more.


Creig Northrop

Lesson Learned: Fall in love with your clients

As founder and CEO of Northrop Realty, a Long & Foster Company with more than 200 energetic real estate professionals serving the greater Baltimore/D.C. metroplex, Creig Northrop, along with his wife Carla, have created a growing brokerage through an emphasis on the client experience.

Find out how Northrop turned a talent for sales and a willingness to go the extra mile into a brokerage that spawned 10 new offices and $1 billion in transactions within its first year. Read more.


Lanissa Sudler

Lesson Learned: The miracle is on the way

Being a new agent can be difficult, especially when you are tackling tough setbacks and clients are looking to you for help.

Lanissa Sudler, an agent with Connections Realty Group in Atlanta, found out early on that showing up for clients means making their needs and concerns your own. Check out her story of how she learned that sometimes you have to go that extra mile. Read more.


Do you want to be featured on an upcoming “Lesson Learned” column? Reach out to us here!

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  FacebookTwitterInstagram  and YouTube.

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