Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Path to Agent pt 2

Okay, I know I haven't been keeping current with this blog.  I also know that the further along in my Real Estate career that I get the harder it will be to catch up and find the time to do this.  However, right now I'm still working 33 hours a week at Walmart and really during the 25-30 hours a week I work Real Estate writing a blog is pretty low down on my list of priorities. Should I follow up on that lead and try to get a listing?  Oohooorr...should I write another blog?  I don't know about other people, but the answer is pretty obvious to me. [The funny thing is I'm writing this while an unanswered lead sits waiting on my Leadstreet page, but I thought that for 20 minutes I should at least write something so my blog doesn't go stale.]

Okay, where was I; oh right I just got an e-mail informing me that Decade 12 wouldn't be sponsoring me after all.  It really wasn't as bad as it sounds though.  The broker was really nice about it, and he actually referred me to the local Remax office, and gave me a good reference as well. I've also kept in contact with him and he has become a valuable networking connection.  Don't burn bridges!!! 

So anyway, I cold called the local Remax office and simply said, "Hi, I would like to work for you."

"You're Hired!!!"

Yeah...Right.  Not that easy.  Pretty close though.  With the Decade 12 broker's recommendation it didn't take much to convince Remax to give me a shot.  [A little side note:  I'm just that awesome.  Or maybe it's because Agents work as independent contractors and not employees, and for brokers the more agents they have the more money coming into the office.]  However, I wasn't even licensed at this point.  Hell, I hadn't even taken the required 40 hour Pre-Licensing Class.  So, the Remax broker and I decided I'd get in touch after the class.

I went down to Grand Rapids (287 miles) where a really good friend of mine now lives (the closest class was still 80 miles away and to commute that for 5 straight days was just not practical.  Besides it gave me an excuse to see friends I hadn't seen in 3 or 4 years)  and I shacked up with my buddy, caught up on things, and straight up ACED my class!! Not joking here either, I made that class my B*#@%.  I've always been good at school.  I won't get into detail about the class or anything, no point.

I do have to stop here and go chase that lead now.  I would really like to take this opportunity to give a shout out of massive thanks to my friend who put up with me living with him for a week.  He owns and operates a tattoo parlor and piercing studio on Leonard St. named: The Tattoo Parlor and Piercing Studio: A family Owned Business he's a fan of generic names.  If he owned a business that fixed cars he's name it, Auto Shop.  Anyway if you are ever in Grand Rapids, MI and feel like getting inked up or pierced check this place out, and tell them Scott Kirkpatrick sent you.

The Tattoo Parlor and Piercing Studio
"A Family Owned Business"
526 Leonard St. N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI
(616) 454-8288


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Path to Agent (pt. 1)

Well, finding time to write this blog has been more difficult than I anticipated.  I haven't had much go on over the last few days.  I did show some houses to a minister and his family; really nice people.  I also applied for the local Board of Realtors®.  A common misconception is that all licensed real estate sales persons and brokers are Realtors®, they are not.  The National Association of Realtors® is a private trade association that you must apply to to be a member of.  They also charge annual dues.  There is also a board of Realtors® at the state and local levels.(they also charge dues)  It can be quite expensive.  However, they are the largest and one of the most powerful trade organizations in the country.  It is not absolutely necessary to be a Realtor® you could also be a Realtist® or simply a Real Estate Agent.  However, it is very difficult to get anywhere in this profession if you do not join the Realtors® [side note:  I don't know if I'm supposed to put the registered trademark sign (®) every single time I write the word Realtor® but I know it's needed most of the time, so it goes every time] 

Now don't go thinking that the Realtors® are some evil monopolizing group of people bent on domination.  They actually serve a very good purpose.  See back in the olden days prior to 1908 real estate was a pretty shady business.  It was quite common for an agent to sell you a large piece of land without telling you he already sold it to three other people.  It was common in those days for sales agents to lie, cheat, and swindle buyers and sellers.  The Realtors® formed to bring morality, and accountability to the profession.  They have a strict code of ethics centered around The Golden Rule.  If you don't know what The Golden Rule is then you are probably a very sheltered person.  Google it! Jesus was a big fan of this rule.  To this day they continue to enforce these ethics and make real estate a trust-worthy industry.

Okay, back on topic.  I applied for the local board, my broker paid the dues and application fee for me.  I should say lent me the money as I do have to pay it back.  I'm waiting for approval.  I also applied to be a Re/Max agent, and for access to the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)  The MLS is the centralized database of all the real estate listings in the area.  It is what allows an agent to see other company's listings.  Without it if a person went to Re/Max to find a house they would only be able to see Re/Max listings.  A person would have to go to every agency in the area to see houses they might like.  Access to the MLS is essential.  The MLS is controlled by the Board of Realtors®  Until I get word about these applications I can't really do much, other than keep spreading word that I'm licensed now.

So, I want to try to summarize everything that happened up to this point.  It started when I began working at Walmart as a sales associate in the electronics department.  See, up until then I never applied for any sales jobs because I'm naturally introverted.  I thought that I would be horrible at sales.  Furthermore, I believed I would hate it.  

However, that is what I was primarily doing at Walmart.  Now, I knew that I could "flip a switch" and become an outgoing person.  I found this out in college when we had to do oral presentations.  At first I was like everybody else; terrified, nervous, shaking, soft-spoken.  At some point, which I can't pin down, I figured out that everybody has to do it.  Very few people are born public speakers.  So it wasn't like I was any worse off than the rest of the population. 

 I began to simply...well, "flip a switch" [gotta be a better metaphor...] each time I had to do a speech or presentation.  I spoke with volume and projection, remembered my lines so I seldom had to look down at a piece of paper, and made eye contact with as many people as possible (there was always the guy at the back of class with his head buried in his arms) Actually, I became quite good at it, which surprised everybody that knew me because I was always the quiet guy.

I basically did the same thing at Walmart.  I became the friendly smooth talking salesman I never thought I would be when I was on that sales floor.  When I'm not working or on break I once again become a quiet introvert that keeps to myself.  Weird how that works.  People started to tell me that I was a really good salesman.  This surprised me a bit, but I guess I am pretty good at it.  The psych and sociology degrees and the substance abuse counseling internship helped me out tremendously, but aren't necessary.  More importantly though, I enjoyed doing it.

These experiences at Walmart convinced me that I should start applying for sales jobs.  So I did, and wouldn't ya know after >2 years getting almost nothing for call backs[God I wish I would have gone to school for engineering or computer science] because of my almost useless degree.  Okay not entirely useless, but after college the thought of grad school didn't appeal to me.  After my substance abuse internship the thought of a counseling or social work job appealed to me even less.  So for me...useless.  Or so I thought, see as soon as I began applying for sales jobs I got all kinds of call backs and e-mails.  A lot of these seemed a little questionable.  Pyramid Scam type jobs.  Some however were definitely genuine. 

One of the "Recommended" Jobs that came up for me in an automatic e-mail notification was for an opening at a real estate office for a sales agent.  This was a large well known real estate company that I won't name, we'll call it "Decade 12" [see what I did there? Pretty obvious who it was] I e-mailed the broker and after a few messages back and forth about my background he invited me in for an interview.  

The interview went well.  I decided that this was a career I would be very interested in pursuing.  The broker told me he liked me a lot and would sponsor me getting my license after I took the required class.  [In order to get a sales persons license you HAVE to have a Broker sponsor you, which just means you will be working as an agent under them, and he/she will watch you and make sure you don't screw up]  He even told me which school I should go to, gave me a website and told me to get in touch as soon as I finished the class, so I could start working under him.  

I was pumped, I mean I was 29 years old and felt that my life was going nowhere.  I was working at Walmart(nothing wrong with that if you are still in school, or retired and bored)  I was a college graduate that was about to turn 30 and I hadn't really even started my life yet.  Let me tell you, it was a load off my shoulders to know I would at least have a career path started by my thirtieth birthday.

The class I had to take was a 40 hour pre-licensing class{$250}.  I live in a remote part of the country where there is nothing.  If you ever look at a cell phone service map of the US, you know where they brag about having service in 98% of the lower 48 states blah blah blah.  Well until recently I lived in one of those white areas that signified it was part of the 2%  We do have decent 3G service now, but only from one carrier, so very very very limited options.  What I'm getting at is that I would have to travel a good 2 hours to attend the nearest class.  40 hours over 5 days; 2 hour drive, 8 hour class, 2 hour drive...Bummer.  But! I do have a few friends that live in other parts of the state.  One of them lives in a city where a class was being held.  I also hadn't seen this friend in a few years.  I called and told him about things, he said "Come down here, stay at my place for a week!" So I signed up for the class, requested a week off of work, bought a bus ticket{$58=$308}}, finalized arrangements.

*FROM THIS POINT ON EVERY TIME I INCUR A COST I WILL TALLY IT LIKE THIS:  Class {$250=$250}; Bus{$58=$308}  The first amount of course is the cost of the individual item or service i.e. the cost of the class or bus ticket, and the second the total so far.  I hope this makes sense to everybody.*

Now, in order to get everything arranged I had to set it up for a month and a half down the road.  I could hardly wait.  Then one day about a week before I was to take the bus, I got an e-mail from the broker at Decade 12.  In it he informed me that he had changed his mind.  He really thought I would succeed, but at this time he just didn't have the time and resources to take on the responsibility of supervising a rookie agent.  (Gee, thanks for telling me this after I've set all this up and paid for everything) 

            What happens next?  How do I end up getting my license?  Where does Re/Max fit it?
            Come back and read part 2 of, "Path to Agent" I'm not trying to create suspense hear, 
            I just am tired of writing, have other work to do, don't want my blogs to be too long.


Sunday, May 6, 2012


My first post.  Not much time though I have to get my daughter to bed.  It seems like it's been a long time since I started the process, but it was only 3 months ago that I started this journey.  I just got my license 2 days ago. My broker at Re/Max says there are a few more steps to take, but tomorrow is my first day in the office with a license.  Though I have been spending time there to learn.  Wish I had more time, I'd like to outline the process I took to get to this point.  That will have to wait for another post though.