One of my passions is real estate. I know, I know. It’s corny. But there is something about it. Standing in front of a property I’ve just bought and envisioning what it’s going to look like when renovated just gives me the greatest feeling. Walking through a property that I’ve just renovated and brought to life is an even better feeling. Especially after the home was abandoned for a few years and was being used as a crack house in a not so pleasant section of the City of Detroit.
I’ve never “flipped” homes. I’m not a speculator or someone that cares to make “quick cash”. I buy, renovate and rent out homes to good people that need a great place to live and my goal with real estate is pretty simple. I want to have enough paid off residential real estate by the time I’m my father’s age(60) that I can “chillax” on a beach in Greece while drinking a cold, iced Nescafe Frappe and my bills are paid for via rental income. Is that too much to ask?
P.S. Think I’m kidding about my goal? Check out this pic. It’s my screen saver.
I’ve been blessed enough to be involved in real estate in some way shape or form since the age of 18 but not as an investor. I got my first taste of the business as a licensed real estate salesperson.
In 2001, my best friend and one of my first mentors, Nik Ligris (now the top Real Estate Attorney in New England and probably the planet. Check out www.ligris.com ) told me if I was going to do anything with my pathetic excuse for an existence I would need to get into real estate and more importantly real estate sales. He advised me to head over to the famous Lee Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts to get trained and eventually licensed to complete a real estate transaction. I took some courses, studied day and night(Yes. I studied. If you know me you may be laughing right now) and then took and passed the test to get licensed. WOW!!!! What a feeling. I had a “license to kill”. The concept of real estate sales was so absolutely invigorating. All through high school I was told unless I was a doctor or lawyer I could never make money. My ability to hustle teachers to pass me after getting an “f” in a class was going to be flushed down the drain because there wasn’t a market in the professional world for people like me. What or who are “people like me”?? Let me describe what I was like in high school……
-Talked to much
-Couldn’t focus unless I was directly benefiting from what I was working on.
-Loved to joke and laugh
-Wanted to be friends with everyone
-Was overly social
-Constantly missing class or homework because I was working different jobs to make some $$$.
Yup, can you believe that those traits that almost caused me to get kicked out of high school on multiple occasions are the exact same traits that fit the profile of a successful salesman and real estate agent? Ha! Who would have thought?? The highest paid profession in the world is sales. They don’t tell you that in High School or in College(blog for another time). So, next time you scold that kid that you think needs medication because he talks too much, realize you may have a future salesman on your hands. He/She annoys teachers and most authority figures but guess what. Eventually, they will call him or her to list their house!!!
Shortly after getting my real estate license I started working on getting an agency to give me a job. Not an easy task for an 18 year old with no car, experience or formal education. I was “a nobody”. I couldn’t even get a broker/owner to call me back. I would leave voicemail after voicemail and NOTHING. Not even an email reply. I don’t blame them either. I wouldn’t have called me back either. But that’s okay. My mentor saved the day once again. A few months into my search my mentor mentioned to me that he saw a job posting on his Boston University job board for real estate salespeople for a small agency at the corner of Harvard and Commonwealth Avenue in Alston called Park Realty Associates. In 2001 that corner was the mecca for real estate agencies catering to rental properties for students of Boston University and Boston College. There must have been more than a dozen offices at the time within a two block radius of that corner that all did the exact same thing. They would all get the exact same listings from all of the exact same landlords(slum lords) in that area and then solicit the exact same college students in that area to rent from them. Then, the real estate agency would charge a fee equaling one month of rent to the client if they rented through them. As the real estate salesperson you were typically given 50% of that fee as a commission. Check out the math here my friends……
Typical Rent for a 2 bed in Alston in 2001=$1700
My cut (50%)= $850
If I CLOSED 3 rentals a week I was making ($850 x 3) $2550. Holy smokes this was an absolute absurd amount of money and I didn’t need a degree? I needed to hustle, work hard sound smart and be presentable and people would do business with me? Me?? LOL. This was a dream come true and the greatest opportunity that I could’ve ever wished for. Nobody was judging me by my grades or academic ability. “I ate what I killed”. That’s sales baby and I loved it!!!!!
I called Park Realty and scored an interview right away. I went in to the interview ready to sell myself in a big way but found something very different happening. The sales manager was too busy talking and telling me how great the company was and how much money I could make. I didn’t have to sell myself at all. It was quite strange. Instead, he was selling me on the company. Here is a little secret about “outside sales”. There is a shortage of people on this planet willing/able to go out there and bring in business to a company. Rain Makers are not a commodity. They are a rare breed that is almost extinct and if you can show a company you have the ability to “make it rain”…aka bring in your own clients they will roll out the red carpet for you and that is exactly what happened in that interview. I was a young, BU college student(white lie. I told him I went to Boston University although I was in Community College. I repented but didn’t regret that white lie ever!!!) and I could connect with people in a demographic he and the owners of the agency couldn’t. Long story short…I was hired on the spot. I was a real estate agent. I was a professional. I had a job that had no ceiling. I could make as much money as I wanted too and my background or shortcomings as a student had no bearing on that. It’s like I hit the lottery. That is the feeling I had and still have. My mentor and friend had opened that door for me and I will never forget it. It’s as if someone took the shackles off and set me free into the marketplace. All I needed to do was work my a&% off.
I started my career around sales as a rental agent in a market that mirrored where I was in life and I had a blast in that business. I made absolutely amazing money, learned a lot and my sales career continued from that point on. I’ll write about this more in a future article but that is how I got started in real estate and more importantly in sales and business(all business is sales).
Moral of the story…..
-Value your mentors and those that believe in you. Be thankful. Having just one person in your corner is enough and WILL change your life.
-You are valuable somewhere. Even if you are an absolute catastrophe where you are now in life. Someone, somewhere needs what you have and what you are capable of, and will be wiling to pay you handsomely for it.
-Be patient. “I rather go far than fast” said a wise man. Your time will come.
p.s. email me at Nik@keycreditrepair.com . Say hello. Ask me questions and give me ideas for new articles. This blog is all about YOU:)
p.p.s. I’m not much of a writer so excuse misspellings, typos, use of emojis and ebonics in my blog articles. 🙂