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In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
As a two-decade veteran in communications roles from PR to crisis management, Cory Jo Vasquez, chief marketing officer of Realty ONE Group, is used to speaking to national audiences.
However, in the realm of real estate, she’s found that it’s the one-on-one that matters most. Discover how she first learned that it’s people and relationships that truly make an impact.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been in communications and marketing for nearly 25 years, and I’ve been in real estate for 13 of that. I majored in political science and journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and while I had dreams of being a politician or a lobbyist, I quickly realized that would not be my journey. I chose communications, and it has been an exciting discipline for so many of us because it’s a fluid, multifaceted world.
I started working in traditional forms of media, but that quickly evolved as our methods and vehicles for communicating have evolved. Ever since then, including my 13 years in real estate, I’ve been so privileged to work in roles that involved integrated marketing communications, including advertising, digital, social media, crisis communications and even fundraising for a Denver nonprofit.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
After this year, it’s hard to imagine where we’ll all be in five years. What a game-changer 2020 has been for so many of us! I’m hopeful that I’ll still be using my experience in communications, and maybe even real estate, to make an impact. I do love this industry, but more importantly, there are so many wonderful people in this business. I am fortunate to have so many amazing people — no matter the brand, and you know who you are — whom I love and adore, and I so deeply respect the job that they do.
But as for the communications and marketing field in five years, I don’t think any of us can possibly imagine. It’s exciting to think what will come, and we do know that innovations spring from recessions and downturns. Change is inevitable, and we actually look forward to it at Realty ONE Group.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?
No matter the brand, brokerage or technology, real estate is truly about the people and the relationships, on every level. I remember seeing my parents’ real estate agent at Easter brunch and thinking how impactful and long-term these relationships are.
When I first started in real estate, I used to get nervous hearing “experts” predict that technology would replace the real estate agent. I would remember my own homebuying experiences, and I can’t imagine doing it without my agents who guided me (sometimes reassuring and cajoling me) through the process.
Real estate is not just a transaction. It’s a subjective process, a journey, a commitment that can’t be managed by technology alone. Technology makes the process more seamless and a better experience, but it won’t replace the hugs you get when you get your first keys in hand.
How did you learn it?
The more I learned about the industry and watched our real estate professionals in action, the more I realized as a consumer the amount of work that goes on without buyers and sellers ever knowing it. I would see agents working late nights holding babies in their laps at their computers or driving while scarfing down meals.
I learned quickly that weekends aren’t a thing for real estate agents and that buyers, especially these days, want to have 24/7 contact with their agents. A day in the life of an active agent is definitely something to see.
What advice would you give to new agents?
Don’t give up. You started down this path for a reason — hopefully, a want to help buyers and sellers settle into their homes or move on to new adventures. Find mentors in the business. Learn every day (true for experienced and new agents). Join an office that supports you.
Know there will be good and bad days, and while the first few years may be difficult, don’t quit! This is such a great business, and I’ve seen our real estate professionals be rewarded in so many ways.
Editor’s note: This interview was for style, grammar and clarity.
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Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.