How did you get your start in real estate?
Julia Hoagland: It was luck, which I will take seven days a week if I can find it.
I was laid off from my job in finance in 2003, two months before my wedding, and took advantage of the time off to travel the world for a year for our honeymoon. I was never very passionate about my work in finance, so when I got back, I wrote a business plan for investing in real estate.
Nine months later, following attendance at foreclosure auctions on two boroughs’ courthouse steps (including wads of cash), digging through courthouse records for lis pendens (this was pre-ACRIS), and many free NYC HPD classes on a variety of topics, including boiler maintenance, DHCR regulations and “How to be a Landlord,” I concluded that, due to a lack of funds and a lack of temperament, being a landlord wasn’t for me.
The buy side being written off, I decided to investigate what the sell side looked like. And here we are.
How did you choose your brokerage?
Michelle Flikerski: Real estate is a relationship business. Beyond relationships with clients, lenders and fellow agents (the list goes on), the relationship with your brokerage may arguably be the most important. A good brokerage can be a valuable ally in helping an agent flourish.
I wanted to join Compass for its cachet of having a brand name and nationwide recognition, as well as its progressive digital platform. What I love most, however, is the culture of positivity and support.
I love that there are numerous sessions from various coaches and sales managers on a weekly basis for agents to take advantage of — running the gamut from educating on personal value proposition during a pitch to training sessions for new agents and to weekly market talks.
Agents should absolutely interview with as many different brokerages as possible to ensure the right fit — what is important to me may differ greatly from someone else — but I do feel that a brokerage should strive to improve the livelihood of its agents and teams via an array of tools and services.
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
Mary Barbrack: The beauty is in the details. When clients choose a real estate agent, it’s about trust and confidence that you will represent the client’s best interests, always. In this context, it’s less about what the agent has sold, where they have sold it, and how much they have sold.
Yes, your experience is important, but what is critical is your willingness to leave no stone unturned to get a client the information they need to make an informed decision. Whether it is understanding the seller’s mindset when negotiating on behalf of your buyer, digging into the details of a building’s maintenance history, or vetting vendors for any work needed to prepare a home for sale.