Musings of a new* Realtor
"This real estate stuff is easy!" I confidently declared to an old family friend (and retired Realtor) in church the Sunday after my first week on the job. He said nothing in reply, simply shaking his head as he smiled and moved past me to his seat. I was only joking with him, but in truth I had no idea what I was in for. Well, I was MOSTLY joking with him. As it would turn out, his reaction was entirely appropriate.
My dad has been selling real estate since just before I was born, 23 years ago. He used to take me on showings with him when I was little, and I like to think that I picked up at least a few tips from him way back then. My little sisters and I were regular visitors to his office, and while we may not have remembered the name of all the other agents he worked with (come on. All adults look pretty much the same, right?), they certainly knew us. The old family friend that I would later make my brash assertion to always had some candy orange slices available for us. I remember being excited when we were told that Dad was buying the company, and again when he joined the ERA franchise and moved to the current location on Dave Ward Drive. There was so much more space!
As I got older and entered high school, I was still very present at the office, though now usually in my role as the lawn mower, light bulb changer, and air filter swapper. I would stop in 4-5 mornings a week after Cross Country practice to take a shower before school, so I was often the first person there. I got much better at remembering the agent's names, and became somewhat more aware of the processes that were involved in the average real estate transaction. I was much more in the loop when Dad sold the company and went back to working more directly with buyers and sellers.
It was around this point - high school - that people started asking me if I planned to be a Realtor one day, like my dad. Every time, I would smile politely, but shake my head with an emphatic "no." Perhaps it was nothing more than youthful pride, but I wanted to do something different, not just follow in my father's footsteps. Not that I had anything against real estate, but I wanted to make my own path. For a while, I was thinking law school. Then I took a law class and decided that I would rather NOT be miserable for the rest of my life. I majored in Business Management in college, on the rationale that there were few disciplines as flexible as that one. After all, every industry needs managers, right?
Then graduation came, and I was still looking for a job. Dad had approached me with an offer to become his assistant. He had just about maxed out the amount of volume he could handle as a solo agent, and was looking to bring somebody else in to take some of the load off so that he could continue growing. After living at home for a month, seeking out interviews and looking at all my options, it became increasingly clear that God wanted me to accept Dad's offer. So on the 1st of June in 2017, I signed up.
Initially, I was fairly limited in my usefulness. Naturally, I had not gotten my license yet, but I still followed Dad on every appointment, trying to drink in as much knowledge as I could. I knew very well that I had a resource here that few new agents have available. That first week, I learned more that I expected to in a month. The pace of the market was frantic, and I know that I was at least slightly overwhelmed. That Friday, we listed a house (ok, Dad listed a house. But I was there!) for $99,000. Within 23 hours, we had multiple offers and it was sold for above asking price. This was the inspiration for my joke with our friend at church that Sunday. I told him about the transaction, and though we both knew that I had practically nothing to do with it, I decided to mess with him. "This real estate stuff is easy!" He shook his head and walked away, probably hoping that I knew better than that. I did know better, and I was excited to get my license, learn the ins and outs of the business, and turn myself into a productive agent supporting my Dad. It may not always be easy, but so far, real estate has been a lot of fun.
SPOILER ALERT: Since then, I have managed to get my license, and we have indeed grown our business! I also bought a house of my own! Boy, THAT was quite a wild ride. First time buyers, I empathize with you. But that topic can wait until next time, I think.
Thanks for reading!
Will Henley, New* Realtor
ERA TEAM Real Estate