In September, Inman digs deep on real estate teams — what it takes to join or build one, how to optimize a team and even when to consider leaving one. Adding nuance on top of Inman’s weekly Teams Beat email newsletter, this theme month will serve up top insights from the best team leaders across the country.
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Name: Vickey Barron
Title: Licensed associate real estate broker
Experience: 22 years
Location: New York City
Team: The Vickey Barron Team
Awards: Eileen Spinola Award Distinguished Service, Real Estate Board of New York (2015)
Rookie of the Year (REBNY 2001)
What are 3 things you’d like readers to know about you?
Before real estate, I worked as a physician recruiter and interviewed doctors to go sight unseen to Guam for a two-year-long assignment.
When I got licensed for the first time it was in NYC and I knew no one. I had to convince the office managers to give me a desk. I got rejected before I even got started.
While I’m comfortable speaking in front of a large group and some would consider me personable and friendly, I need alone time to recharge. I’m an introvert at heart.
What’s the most important thing you learned in school or your pre-licensing classes?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned while studying acting was the importance of being present in the moment and getting out of your head while putting your focus on the person in front of you. Understand before being understood. It’s a huge lesson, I use it daily.
What would you tell a new agent before they start the business?
See every property possible. Go to open houses, study property online, and follow listing activity to understand the market. Walk with your eyes open and take it all in. Take notes and play a game with yourself to better understand the market. I did this two months before starting, and it helped me build confidence.
What do clients need to know before they begin a real estate transaction?
Clients need to understand their financial boundaries. Even more so in NYC when buying into a co-op that can have specific requirements post closing. If they are purchasing a condo or co-op anywhere, the financials of the building are essential. Understand what questions to ask. Find an honest advisor with knowledge who can guide you.
What do too few agents know that would make their lives easier?
How to know when a buyer is ready, willing, and able to transact. Also, how to effectively communicate with them without the use of sales tactics.
What movie has taught you the most?
The movie Big with Tom Hanks is one of my favorites. The raw honesty and vision to see things with a different lens is priceless. The seven-year-old is alive in all of us, so I relate to Tom Hanks’ approach and apply it in business. People are often taken aback initially, but the honest approach gets their attention.
What is the one thing everyone should be doing to make their life and business better?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun! Take each day and each deal as if it were the last. Live in the moment and be grateful.
What was your most memorable transaction?
A 94-year-old client wanted to sell her townhouse to help her three children financially. She lived in the basement apartment and had three tenants above. I was successful in achieving an ideal cash buyer at an attractive price.
Once we went to contract, I felt the heavy heart of a seller concerned about leaving her long-time home. I shared this with the remarkably empathic buyer who, to my surprise, offered her a life estate.
It gets better!
I received a call from the attorney sharing that the home was in a corporation in a trust, and they needed to close in four months, or it would be a tax burden on my client. I called the buyer and explained the situation, and she said if it helped my client, she would be happy to push back the closing.
In that call, she asked me how my 94-year-old client was doing, and I shared my new concern about the seller losing her role as landlord. I believed it brought her joy and purpose. The buyer expressed she did not wish to be a landlord, and she’d be happy with the seller continuing her role as landlord managing the tenants, and in return, she could keep the rent roll.
It was perfect: The house would sell, my seller got to live there and collect the rent. I am not sure if I was happier for my client and her children or the buyer, who showed me people have large hearts and care for others. It makes me smile to share that story with you today.