Leadership is a process of social influence that maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a goal. I learned a lot about leadership when I was a nurse — throughout my years of nursing, there were several occasions when I was graced with a student nurse.
Now, student nurses can be very helpful, or they can cause your day to go terribly wrong. Some nurses didn’t like working with students. In my case, I loved it! I loved being able to teach each student everything I knew. I would take them aside and introduce them to great books, resources and study materials. I would allow them to do all or most of my patient care (with close supervision). I also would allow them to participate in everything I did throughout the day.
I found that other nurses could sometimes be territorial and unwilling to share their wisdom. (Perhaps out of fear of losing a job to a younger, smarter, more eager generation, or due to a sense of competition.)
What I find interesting is that I come across the same attitude in real estate. I see it in seasoned agents and even from my former brokerage — an attitude that says, “You need to earn the right to my knowledge.” Many real estate agents are not willing to help, guide, teach or assist newer agents. Many agents display an attitude of competition.
When I was a new agent, I found there were still ways to find that leader, the person who knew the things I wanted to learn and who was willing to assist me and guide me toward success. Here’s my advice for new agents:
1. Find quality resources online and in books. I read extensively — books on sales, leadership, marketing and real estate investing, buying, selling and contracts. I also watch YouTube videos and free webinars. There is plenty of material out there for success. I found that just listening to the programs assisted me in learning the language of real estate.
2. Find a brokerage that cares about your success. I found this very hard. All brokerages say that they will help you. They all say, “Your success is important to us.” The truth? Most agencies have that educational material in the back offices, but it is up to you to find and use that resource. Some brokers have excellent educational programs and offer weekly training, but it is up to you to attend and participate. And it’s up to you to educate yourself about what the brokerage has to offer by interviewing agents in that brokerage and asking them how they were assisted when they started — but do not expect handouts.
3. Find another agent to partner with for researching inventory. Many areas offer a weekly board tour or caravan. Attend it! Find a different agent each week to share a ride and visit the homes with your partner. When I did this, established agents always gave me tips for success and helped me visually price homes in the different areas. They were not on a competitive level in the car — it was more of a social activity, and they were more than willing to educate me.
4. Meet with an appraiser. Interview appraisers and spend a day or two with them. Doing this gave me a great opportunity to discover how to do comparative market analyses (CMAs). I got the extended version of what comparables are and how to adjust values on homes. Then I went home and practiced.
5. Meet the title and mortgage professionals. These are valuable resources to you as a real estate agent. Title professionals are knowledgeable about the closing process, and if you live in a public information state, they have access to the addresses of your future clients. Mortgage professionals know the ins and outs of all lending practices. Knowing what loan programs fit your client’s needs can be that last thing you need to get that client to write an offer.
Transitioning from a career as a seasoned nurse to a real estate professional has been difficult. We tend to get into a comfortable place in our careers, and starting over presents a lot more challenges than you could ever imagine. My personal advice? There are so many things your previous career taught you. Think about it. Explore it. Embrace it. Enjoy it!
Melinda Goodwin is a luxury real estate expert in St. George, Utah.