Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Dreaded Quota!

With the New Year comes new responsibility, and expectations!

This past Wednesday my weekly company meeting was one of victory and defeat? (Well, maybe defeat is a strong word.)

Before I get into the meeting let me give a quick synopsis on ME!

A 9-5 job has never appealed to me; even before real estate became my passion I could not fathom the idea of a "boss". Through my parents, friends and family members experience they seemed to be a nuisance. My father also always reminded my sisters and I that the ONLY way could prosper is to own your own business or be the CEO of another.

I’ve only had  two "real" jobs before. Alltel, where I sold cell phones and became the number 1 sales rep for our area, and Olan Mills, where I sold photos and became a top seller. I chose these 2 jobs because they were sales and sales are usually relaxed, and carefree. I learned early on that if I out sold everyone else I would become an asset to the company and a little harder to fire if I didn’t listen to any other rules.

I HATED doing anything other than selling! Having to compile numbers, record stats, clean up etc seem like a minion’s task. I purposely did not do anything but sell. Which worked, I got to just sell the product and the other, less important work got handed to another person.

Now I know that I should do the minion’s task, because they are a vital part of selling.

 Real estate is a very carefree job as far as bosses are concern. YOU agree to which brokerage you want to go with, YOU interview the broker and YOU agree to work with them. From my experience in regular brokerages they are very laid back and want you to sell, but if you don't it reflects poorly on you, and not too much on them. They can REQUEST you do something, but can’t reprimand you if you don't.

My dream, I thought.

With my new company I pursued them, and agreed abide by their rules. It’s a structured community who treats their employees like contract workers BUT strongly encourages certain things are done.

Ex. As a "regular" agent I make my own hours, whenever I get up I get up. At this company I have my own neighborhood and it has hours that say we are open. I am not forced to be here, but it is in my best interest that I am here for future clientele.

I think I got off topic enough; let’s get to Wednesday's meeting!

All before I never had a "quota" I would set a personal goal for myself and that was it. I was never told by a broker of what I should do. This year that is different.

I was given the task of selling 36 homes by my new broker. That may seem easy but let me put this into perspective for you.

My friend who was the number 1 closer for the same builder as me only closed 26 homes in 2010, in a brand new neighborhood!

During the Wednesday meeting I heard this number and completely shut down. I had personally made it my goal to sell out the rest of my neighborhood, maybe 20 or so more homes. Now I had to do 15 more?? In my head I loudly spoke "THAT SOUNDS GOOD!"

So after complaining to my parents, sister, friends, I decided to STOP! Complaining about this quota just got me more upset because I sounded like I was a self doubter! It had only been the first week of January and I was already telling myself that I couldn’t do something.

So instead of focusing on this number I'm going to focus on selling! If I don’t meet the number then oh well! Historically I have done well when I’ve had no pressure so I’m going to pretend like I don’t have any now and see what happens....It’s only the second week of January and 36 more houses to go!

*Oh yea, Wednesday was a day of victory because I won a month long competition at work for the most booked appointment and received a $250 gift card!! 

-Premature Millionaire

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm looking forward to the memories of right now...

Laissez faire!

Up until 2011 I had been living my life with this old adage. Aside from its political meaning, this personally means that I attribute all my good AND bad fortunes to fate, or an uncontrollable series of events. This takes my actions out of the equation so when something doesn’t end up the way I would prefer it I could simply say "it was not meant to be". Up until now it has worked, not flawlessly but nonetheless. I recently decided that from now on I want to take ownership for the way things go whether good or bad.

With age MAY come maturity, but with failure experience is destined to follow. I haven’t failed, but I have stumbled (in my eyes). I will not dwell on things that I can no longer change, what's done is done (another adage that allows me to rebound from mishaps quickly).

So on the 31st of December I wrote down my New Years Resolution (my first). I don’t know what the "rule" is on sharing these resolutions so I will keep them to myself for the time being but I’m certain they will reveal themselves in the year as it passes. They are typical goals that are obtainable yet difficult. From work related, to personal fitness (have to throw that in!), to mental growth etc.

This New Year comes with many resolutions, hopes and promises of a better year.

I've never known first hand of the real estate economy in a better place but I hear this year will be better for all who are associated with this business. (A Realtor I know said that he and his wife previously closed 8 homes a month prior to the recession and in 2010 closed 1 home every 3 months-an indication of the times.)  The National Association of Realtors projects a 20% increase in new homes sales, lets hope they are right, lets hope they are right, being that that is my field.

This year feels like it will be an epic one for me, as far as my personal growth and career. I’ve never let the overall economy dictate what I am capable of so I don’t think I will start to now. I feel like everything has been in preparation for now, so while I won’t be cliché and say "2011 is MY year" I WILL say that years from now I will look back at these memories that I'm creating as being some of my best, but definitely not my last!

-Pemature Millionaire

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Progress Report!

That is what my blog is about, right??

It was definitely a SLOW start here at the model home!

The economy in Columbia for real estate has been a relaxed one, and with the Christmas holiday approaching I'm guessing most people would rather wait until after the festivities to purchase a home. I personally think this could be a good plan on paper, IF you stick to it. Some people may use their credit cards to buy gifts, in return running up their credit limit, and that can affect them for a few months to come. Pushing their purchase back a few more months.

I myself have been blessed with finding good leads, and converting them into sales. Whether immediate or a few months out. With the New Year coming I would love to go out and dance the night away while screaming FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE! We all know why I can't at this point; I have not hit a million in sales, yet. I'm fairly confident that I may reach this goal before the New Year, or come VERY close to it! I've got a few things in the iron, and I learned from experience to not prematurely celebrate!

Sorry about the length of the blog, I think your eyes probably needed a break!  I'm setting up for a meeting on tomorrow so that's always a challenge. I have to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. Like a detail folder with all the information I think the person may want. Being that this is a Realtor based lead I have never met or talked to this person before. So I just put generic things in their folder, oppose to specific things (like school information, they may not have school aged kids). Also making sure ALL the information I give out is accurate, prices may change overnight so its never a good thing when you're wrong on something like that!

So wish me luck! :)

-Premature Millionaire

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Smiles come few and far between, even though I'm living out what USED to be my dream...

My true smiles come few and far between, even though I'm living out what used to be my dream. There's a sad connotation with that, there shouldn't be. My dreams have just blossomed. So, no need to dwell on what WAS my goal because I've already achieved it. NOW its time to mark something else on my bucket list, I'm working on Mogul.

What was the dream?

That’s simple, be a real estate agent. The dream was simple because my mind frame was. I had been exposed to greatness on a small level, so the possibility of wanting more never clicked until I saw more.

Where did the dream come from?

That's fairly simple. A show named "Girlfriends" used to come on weekly whose premise was 4 women living in L.A. dealing with issues and building a bond. One "girlfriends" name was Toni (my name), she was beautiful, had a Range Rover (the car I adored) and sold Real Estate. She rarely worked, but would wear amazing clothes, was very popular and always had money. Who wouldn’t this lifestyle appeal to?? You do nothing and get money? SIGN ME UP!

Then (in high school) the "dream" seemed obtainable, although it may be a little hard. To make money selling homes seemed easy, until I got a few internships, then it seemed hard, then I became a full time student and then it became impossible! Maintaining school, a part time job and attempting to find clients in a downward sloping economy was not the easiest feat.

I suppose during my time at school I attempted to "find myself". I haphazardly stated that I wanted to become a fashion student at the local university or even go to an Art Institute (mind you I had never had an inclination into fashion). After realizing that I was pretending to be interested in something that seemed more “hip” at the time I thought about business school. I like marketing, right?? Well kinda [sic]. IF I went to business school what kind of job would I like to pursue afterwards, real estate. So it made no logical sense to spend 2 years learning something that I could already do. So I reverted to my first "dream".

I joined a new company, and started pursuing real estate full time, along with school. At that time I knew that JUST selling homes wouldn’t afford me the things I desire in life (I've been told I have expensive taste). So THEN the dream began to evolve.

So, right NOW I'm doing EXACTLY what I imagine myself doing when I left high school ( I am missing a Million dollars though, but that will come in due time). Why aren’t I happy then? Once you accomplish a goal there is supposed to be a moment where the stars align and every one claps for you, YOU'RE THE WINNER!

I haven’t gotten that, and I believe it’s because the dream was so non ambitious that it’s somewhat insignificant. Not to downplay my accomplishments, but there have been MANY people in this same exact seat that have been of lesser value. So from now on I dream big, or I'm going home! In my last entry I alluded to something brewing with my wants in this career. My next step is to become a licensed residential contractor. This will be one of those "seeds" that I plant in my garden for that money tree.

As far as the neighborhood goes, it’s going well! From this week to the end of the month my abilities as a "closer" will be tested, multiple times. I'll keep you all updated, but I may be able to celebrate with my friends earlier than expected! ; )

P.S. FEEDBACK would be much appreciated!

-Premature Millionaire

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm sitting in a chair, but in the future its a throne.

I love that title; I seem to have the reoccurring theme of royalty. "Heavy is the Crown", now I'm sitting in thrones. I think I’m more infatuated with the Legacy that royalty has, they are forever memorialized in history. Money is nice and the fame is a perk but leaving behind something that will live on past my life seems like an amazing accomplishment. Whether my name is directly associated with it or not, knowing that I, out of almost 7 Billion people, shaped the future in someway is gratifying. 

I’ve been fascinated with this idea (on a small scale) since high school. 10th grade my friends and I decided that we weren’t going to leave high school without leaving a mark. I noticed that not even the most popular person would be remembered past 4 years after graduation (freshman’s keep them alive). So we decided to make an organization. After a few failed attempts we saw our niche, our high school lacked a hip hop based Dance Group! We compiled a list of interested folks, held tryouts, made a team and were able to get recognition in the school. The next year the original founders were not involved, yet our group stayed together. I'm sure no one knew we created the team, I didn’t care. It was being used, and that’s all that mattered. Three years after graduating it's still running, my sister (a senior there now) tells me its not the "same". I could care less, without our initial idea it wouldn’t be there at all.

That's basically my goal in life. Since that time, almost 5 years ago, my dreams for have blossomed from a Realtor, to a home builder, to a residential developer, to a commercial developer and now a mogul. Moguls sit in thrones, right??

Well if they don't I think Presidents do, or it’s a variation of one. I wasn't made for politics though, I can sell you anything BUT hope for a better nation, that task seems too impossible to me. It's a job where you will never be liked by all parties and I crave acceptance in my work. I've yet to truly inspire someone with my words. (It’s an amazing talent). Yet, I've been inspired by someone else’s "tweets".

On my personal twitter I came across a person whose tweets inspire me on a daily basis to be a better citizen, and to take responsibility for more than myself. Coincidentally this person does want to be a President, of Haiti.

After the wake of the earthquake in Haiti I became very enraged with living conditions of the people. I was born and raised in Miami and from that experience I learned a lot about different cultures but up until that earthquake I did not properly mentally asses the magnitude of the poverty. Following that I did want to throw my services and time to help in anyway possible. This is how I came to "follow" this individual on Twitter. His tweets were a daily reminder of those peoples struggle. Yet, and maybe this is in my twisted mind, I was encouraged to provide awareness for the people of Haiti, but to take a closer look at what I was doing in my community to better someone else’s life. 

Haiti is still filled with tent cities and suffering from a cholera outbreak. Wesley Laine advocates daily for clean water in Haiti and as a Holy Cross Alumni I'm certain he could find a good job pertaining to his degree. Yet and still he chooses to work for an Organization that will better "his" people in the long run. Oppose to saying "It's not my job".  The idea that he believes he can help a person; in return helping a nation is one that I never thought about. It’s a noble idea (there I got again with the Royalty words).

I doubt Wesley's numerous trips back and forth to Haiti will inspire me to go "off the grid" and feed children in Africa. But, his random acts of kindness, like assisting a person that had just gotten into a car accident on the side of the road, HAVE rubbed off on me and made me see that a small act of kindness, like picking up a random 6th grader who was hitch hiking his way to school in a THIN coat in freezing cold weather, can make the world of difference in the long run. When he goes to sit in that throne, or whatever you call the President's seat he will have earned it. As will anyone else who sees their "chair" as a temporary placement. 

-Premature Millionaire

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You could swear I'm planting trees, the way the Money's growing.

Whenever I mention my occupation to people my age, or people that are ill informed about the economy, I get the same facial impression or response, "You're the one with ALL the money!" I don’t know if it’s the numerous shows about real estate or the fancy clothes but the general perception of Realtors (from my experience) is that there is MAJOR money to be made in this business. 

Do not get me wrong, there is!

A strong indication that this business is lucrative is the fact that many people who sell were once successful in other fields, many boasting degrees in engineering, accounting, financing and etc. The economy is different now, once upon a time you could sell real estate part time and make tens of thousands of dollars. Now, dedication and time is needed in every deal. You are no longer able spend a few hours on the weekend showing a few homes, you now spend months nurturing and reassuring a couple that buying in this economy is the best investment that they can make.

So the big question is how much we get paid?

FIRST, let me tell you the process of getting paid, I'll put this into a FEW steps from a buyers point of view (in 2010).

1)      Market yourself in someway to attract a buyer.
2)      Find out their finance situation. There can be 2 directions this goes in.
a)      They have Grade A Credit and will have no problem calling in an approval letter from a lender of their choice.
b)      They have what most people have in 2010, shaky to okay credit and need some type of credit repair. This can be a process taking a few weeks to a few months (I’ve dealt with couples going on a year).
3)      Begin the house hunting process! Find their likes and dislikes and SHOW THEM SOME HOUSES!
4)      Write a contract, wait for an acceptance, and focus on financing!
5)      Have a closing!

Seems fairly easy? It MAY be, but one thing it is not is speedy. Working with a buyer can take anywhere from a month to years (depending on their credit status).

NOW, onto the BIG dollars, right? (I’m going to put this into simple math for you.)

Let’s say your buyers settle on a home for $100,000.
The going commission rate for Realtors is 6%.
That is to be split in two with you and the selling agent, so 3%.
$3,000, not bad right? Wrong!
Depending on your commission split with your company (Yes, you pay to work for someone!) You’re looking at a commission of 1.5%, so $1,500.00.
Okay…not too bad.
NOW you have to subtract a 6% franchise fee, for using the company name.
A $100+ dollar amount is subtracted for closing the deal. This is a “transaction fee”.
You also have your quarterly MLS (allows you to see ALL homes for sale by real estate agents) due of $130+.
You can also add your yearly due that comes from calling yourself a “Realtor” amounting to $500+.
Not to mention setting aside 30% of the gross commission for taxes!

Now for the fun part, adding up how many hours, gas mileage, text messages, phone calls, etc did you use working with this couple.

ALL these things cost, and all are a vital part of the home buying process. So you subtract those costs then divide the hours and tell me how much you make. I’m not a mathematician but I’m certain it’s not a lot.

It can be though, IF you have steady clientele and steady contracts!

I said all of that to say, that this business is HARD, so when people assume that I’m sitting back and racking up the dollars it’s an insult. Any money I do get is hard earned, and this business does not stop.

            The inventions of Blackberry’s were one of a selfish man. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, what time of the day it is, where you are, if you get an email it is supposed to be treated as a priority. The age of technology has desensitized us to the fact that the work day stops at 5, and doesn’t fall over into the weekend.

Basically, the business is hard, very hard! As is any other self paced business, but if you work hard you can obviously make more than enough money so comments accusing you of having a “money tree” are accurate. So during this lack luster economy I imagine myself planting these trees, daily. With every person I meet that may not close for a year or so or more. It’s a process, a tedious one, but I’ll take the job

-Premature Millionaire

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Heavy is the Crown

I think that's self explanatory, the crown is heavy. See the problem is people strive to get to whatever position it is that they want, and when they get there they have to keep the momentum to STAY! Who thinks about that while getting to that spot, and says: "When I finally make a million in sales, I'm going to have to do it all again in order to celebrate next time". It would seem that once that position is gained the ride should be care free, it’s not.

My crown is heavy. I worked to get this neighborhood, and not in the last month either. Everything in my life has been altered to accommodate this moment. This was not an accident, I prepared for this! Now that I'm here I can't sit and wait for these homes to become occupied on their own. (Although the daydreamers side of my braid fantasizes about 10 or so of them vanishing from the "Available" sheet in a week.) I’ve got to WORK to see progress, no one cares about this neighborhood more than I do right now. Not even the builders. It’s my baby now. So when I put on my crown, daily, it will still be heavy-but at least I can afford to put fancy rubies, and diamonds on it. Yes, this will increase the weight, but my head gets stronger as the crown grows heavier.

There are two things in life you can do: settle, for the "norm" OR you can travel the road not taken.

I was introduced to the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by a prominent Realtor in my town. This book as he described, "will change your way of thinking". After reading it I agree that it could change someone's mind, but not so much mines. Mainly because my father had been instilling the same thought process my WHOLE life. Unbeknownst to him he had been loosely quoting Robert Frost every time he said "you’re taken the road not taken". With a clear brain this book can open your mind to the idea that the struggle is long, but the wealth will come.

There are a few people that I know personally, or through other people that I think are traveling a road not taken, only to end up with a heavy crown, but these folks can carry it, I think. Maybe it’s their big heads, or tenacious attitudes, but they inspire me.  So I've decided to dedicate a portion of the next few blogs to them. (Be warned that if I made a list of ALL the people that inspire me, it'd take a day to read.)

The first is my sister:

So Bianca has got to be the hardest working college student that I know. She graduated number one from the biggest technical school in town and her countless school associations, awards and status granted her NO scholarships as she headed to Business school.


(There are 23 to be exact)

THIS was more than a set back.

Up until Business school she had been debt free, and we (my family) knew that one of ALL of the big wigs that all but guaranteed her scholarship money would come through. She had proven herself to be more than bright enough, being the President of Phi Theta Kappa, on the Deans List, and invited to the Governors mansion, etc all seemed like a clear indication that she was on her way to a debt free college education. ALL of a sudden none of the people that were so impressed by her seemed to be able to help out. The crown of excellence she had garnered was now heavy, the student loan amounts were adding up. This story could easily end with Bianca just having a two year degree, but she decided to wear the crown, not pass it on to another owner. This year she's graduating with an Accountant Degree from one of the best Business schools in the country, debt free, headed to Law School. She also works part time at a courthouse, has her real estate license and a paralegal degree. Not bad.

The point is, the going got tough, as do most stories. She could have ended up in a NORMAL job, making NORMAL pay, living a NORMAL life. Since she didn't give up, I'm certain we will be seeing her as our President sometime in the future.

-Premature Millionaire