How you made 2018 my best year ever

100%.

That’s the amount of my 2018 clients who have used me before, were referred to me from a past client, or are people I already knew.

Ever since I started this back in 2005, it has been my goal to get to where I am right now.

Was 2018 the year I made the most money?  No, it is looking like it might be my second best year.  Definitely the third best if not.  Was 2018 the year I sold the most houses?  Nope.  That would have been 2014.

How much money you make and how many houses you sell is usually the criteria used by real estate agents to gauge their own success.

Back to the 100%.

That is a huge deal in real estate.  It makes me really proud to know that many people came back to me when it was time to buy and/or sell, or trusted their friends and family to me.  See, doing what I do is a lifestyle and not really a job.   I want to wake up everyday and just feel like I am helping people I care about.  Life is better that way.

What I don’t want to do is spend my day trying to find work-meaning chasing random leads, or trying to market myself.  When I started this in 2005, I was told there was no way I could ever get to where I am now.  I was told real estate is a numbers game.  You just keep going through people until you find one that wants to buy or sell.   You send out postcards to random people and other tasks that promote yourself.  I responded by saying two things:  1)  I didn’t get into this to lick stamps.  2)  If I have to remind people that have used me that I am a realtor, I don’t deserve to be remembered when they need me again.

So, I want to thank everybody who has used me more than once, who have referred their friends and family to me, and those of my friends who used me despite knowing how silly I am outside of real estate.

And thank you all for allowing me to fulfill my dream and prove that it can be done my way.

100%.  That is how sure I am that 2018 has been my favorite year (so far!)

I am Superman, and I can do anything

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

Know who I am talking about here?  Not Superman.  I am talking about how every realtor perceives themselves.  I know because I have watched all their videos on how to choose an agent.  They say things like:

“I sold that house the first day on the market” at a time when they all sell fast.

“My team sold 30 million dollars of real estate last year” and since there are 5 agents, that means 6 million each, which isn’t that exciting.

“I have a unique marketing plan that sells houses faster and for top dollar” which would be really impressive if all houses were not selling fast and for top dollar.

“I specialize in residential, commercial, farm and investment property.”  Ok….so you specialize in EVERYTHING?

I get it.  We are all in business.  You have to self promote.

Want to know what I say?

There are many great agents out there and many more who are not.  I may be the ideal fit for you.  I may not be, and that is okay.  I once had a buyer who was interviewing agents.  I didn’t think it was going that well so I gave him the names of a few agents that I knew would take care of him.  He ended up picking me, but for a while there I didn’t think I stood a chance.  If he wasn’t going with me, I wanted him to have somebody good. That’s just the right thing to do.

So, who am I?  Probably more like Clark Kent than Superman.

I am a realist.  I am not afraid to tell you what I think.  I like to think through all your options and help you make the best decision possible.  I point out things I think you may not have noticed or thought about.  I have a lot of experience.  Nearly all of my work is repeat clients or referrals from past clients or friends.  I am not greedy.  I don’t take on more work than I can handle.  I want to give you my best and enjoy the time I spend helping you.

 

 

Was this my biggest mistake?

The LEXpert.

That’s a name I’ve been called for a long time, even before I got my real estate license in 2005.

It began when somebody was impressed that I knew where just about any street was in Lexington.  Somebody mentioned a street and I knew what neighborhood it was in.  They said I was quite the LEXpert.

It’s stuck with me ever since.

So, when I left a nationally franchised real estate brokerage to start my own brokerage a couple of years ago, I needed to pick a name for my company.

Most real estate company names either sound like a law firm or a bank….there is even one that sounds like a landscape company and dry cleaner.

I wanted something that would convey what the client was getting, which was me.  So, I picked The LEXpert.

Only problem is people are thinking I only work in Lexington now.

I’ve always worked in Nicholasville, Winchester, Georgetown, Versailles, Paris, Richmond and Frankfort.  I occasionally even have people look in Lawrenceburg/Anderson County, Sheby County and Montgomery County/Mt. Sterling.

Maybe I should have named myself The BluegrassPERT?  Not sure if that would even fit on a sign unless it was so small you couldn’t read it from more than 3 feet away.

Now that almost all of my work comes from past clients or people who have been referred to me from past clients and/or friends, it doesn’t matter all that much.

I am not sure what I will do.  I occasionally think about changing the name of my brokerage.

I guess if this could possibly have been my biggest mistake, I am still in good shape.

It was fun to be me this week

I kind of like the crazy days.

It’s been a busy week for me.  I’ve sold 3 houses, have 9 pending sales, and have been out with several new buyers.

This time of year always reminds me of that scene in Bambi where all the animals come out on the first day of spring.  I’m meeting new people and seeing old friends.  The days are getting longer and I am close to being back in shorts.

 

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Many of my past clients are calling to say they are thinking of moving.  Several of my past clients and friends have referred their friends or family to me.

I had one especially busy day this week.

I had to show a new construction home to a friend who has used me 3 times so far.  There was not a lockbox on the model home, so I had to find another model home with the same key, then return that key after the showing.

Then I had to rush to Winchester to see a house a friend and past client may sell.  It was out in the country in a beautiful setting.  I took my little M Roadster.  Back roads from Masterson Station to deep in Clark Co.  Lots of fun.

The whole time I was at that house, my phone was going crazy with texts and calls.  One was an agent telling me she was sending an offer on a listing of mine.  I already had an offer so I had to tell the other agent we were getting a new offer.

I check my email before pulling out of their driveway.  17 emails.  One was a new client who was referred to me from her daughter, who has used me a couple of times.  They were ready to make an offer on a house I had shown them in Clark Co the day before.

It was already well past dinner time and I had to get some work done, so I did the only thing that made sense.  I got a pizza and ate it in my car while I returned calls, texts, and emails.

 

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I’ve never eaten pizza in the dark, nor in such a small car.  All I can say is that I am glad the interior is black and I was wearing a red shirt.

I got home, wrote the offer for the Clark Co property, worked on the offers for my new listing, and finally got done about 10:PM.

This weekend looks pretty calm since I crammed about 3 days worth of work into that one day.  Saturday is Cars and Coffee, then Sunday I am going for a long drive in the country with some other car enthusiast friends.

The busy days make the not so busy days even better.

Glad it is almost spring!

What I want in 2018

I am about 8 weeks away from celebrating my 13th year in real estate.

When I got into this, a lot of agents thought I was crazy and that I would never make it in this industry.  Why?  I didn’t want to do all the tasks that we were told we had to do to attract business.  I didn’t want to mail out basketball schedules, calendars, packets of seed with a card that said “Help me grow my business.”  I wanted to be out and about doing things that kept me on top of the market.  Things that would benefit my clients.  I got into real estate because I love the market and houses, not because I loved mailing people stuff.

Other agents also thought I was crazy because I wore shorts and sandals all the time.  Ok, they may have been right about that one.

I was told that if I didn’t do all those things, people wouldn’t remember me.  I said that if somebody used me as their agent and forgot about me, I didn’t deserve to be remembered.

I was excited to view every house I could because the more houses I was in, the better I knew the market and neighborhoods.

As the market went sour, I gained momentum.  The agents who use to laugh at me began asking me what I was doing to get so much work.

It grew and grew until it peaked in 2014.  I was in the top 1.5% of all the agents in my area.  2015, 2016 and 2017 were all good years.  I did less work, but I enjoyed it much more and  had more time to focus on each client.

I’ve pretty much achieved all the goals I made 13 years ago.  It’s been a wild and fun ride.  Sort of like surfing and riding a bucking bronco at the same time.  What a rush.

So what do I want out of 2018?  I mean me personally…..sure my goal has always been to be the best realtor I can for my clients and always will be.  The fact that almost all my work is repeat clients and referrals from past clients shows that is happening.  But what do I want to say to myself on January 1st in 2019?

I want to look back and say “Man, that was fun.”

That is it.  No setting goals for how many houses I want to sell.  No setting goals for how much money I want to make.  No comparing myself to other agents.  I’m past all that.  I just want to be the best version of me I can so I can be the best realtor I can be…..and I want to enjoy every single day.