The Learning Curve

Since my last Real Estate post, I have passed the Real Estate Exam and now hold a Real Estate Salesperson License.  To say the days leading up to the test were nerve wracking is an understatement.  Unlike a normal person, the encouragement I received from family and friends only intensified my anxiety about the test.  Everyone was telling me I would be fine and I would pass without a problem.  In my mind I heard, “If you don’t pass, you must not be as intelligent as I thought.”  Although I know this thinking is unjustified and only causes me to worry more, I still have not had enough practice fighting this negative voice.  But, as I have said before, I am a determined person, and one day that voice will be less than a whisper.

Once the proctor of the exam confirmed that I had passed both the national and state portion of the exam I felt amazing.  Before, the anticipation of the test had me feeling as though I were stuck in quicksand.  After, the relief of knowing that I had passed the test had me feeling as though I were walking on water.  Now that I had passed, I knew that I was now able to start working in the industry officially.  I met with my broker the next day and left feeling like a new person.  We planned to go to an ethics training class together, which is required to be classified as a Realtor.  She also offered to send me MLS listings for all the nearby towns until I am registered with an MLS username so that I can start reviewing the current market.  More importantly, she offered to guide me through working with my first client, a friend from college looking to buy.  From setting up the MLS listings to accompanying me on any showings, she is willing to help me along the way, which is something for which I am very grateful.

Unable to contain my excitement that night, I informed my broker that I had experience reviewing appraisals and completing real estate valuations from a prior position I had at a local bank.  I also mentioned that I had a WordPress blog and that I would be happy to help her with any website or blog she may want to create since she recently became an independent broker.  Her interest in this suggestion was more than I had hoped for and she plans to meet with me early next week to start working on the site.  Although I have this WordPress blog, creating a professional business website will be a new adventure for me, but I’m excited to have the opportunity to build off my existing knowledge.

Another key fact I noted just from our brief conversation over dinner was the importance of maintaining strong connections with a variety of business people in different fields.  I can tell that she has a great deal of contacts in numerous fields related to real estate.  Having always worked in a small office environment, seeing the same small group of people every day, it will be a huge change for me to be introduced to new people on what I’m assuming will be an almost constant basis, but I am ready for that change.  I am ready to get out of a hum-drum working environment and start experiencing business and life in a completely different way.  I know adapting to such a change in lifestyle will be a learning curve, but I am always up for a challenge, always interested in finding a way to improve myself and always ready to absorb new information.

I feel confident that the relationship my broker and I will develop as we continue to work with each other will only continue to strengthen.  She mentioned she loves teaching and sharing her knowledge.  She may not have known this when she said it, but those are the magic words for me.  I love being able to gain knowledge and gaining it first-hand from a person with many years of experience is, in my opinion, the best way to do so.  My broker also commented that she is glad to be working with someone like me who has a fresh perspective.  So far, this decision has been one of the best that I have made both professionally and personally.



Becoming a Real Estate Agent…as an Introvert

As I mentioned in a previous post, From Frivolous to Significant, I am currently pursuing a real estate license.  A few weeks ago, as soon as I was certain I wanted to pursue this license, I signed up for the next available real estate training class with a teacher that my family real estate broker recommended.  I chose the quickest learning option, which was 2 weekends with 10 hours of education each day for a total of 40 hours.  The teacher was awesome; it was obvious he enjoyed his work and put in extra effort to provide helpful examples and memorization techniques.  Now that the education requirement is complete, the studying phase is in full swing.  Although the in-class learning was informative, I understand information best when I can read it alone at my own pace.  It is amazing how many state and federal laws apply to real estate.  I found myself texting my parents and grandmother about interesting facts as I was studying.  The ability to share the knowledge that I am gaining and will continue to gain as a real estate agent is what excites me most about the profession.  My dream job has always been one where I am able to provide others with beneficial information that could potentially increase their wealth or prevent them from making a negative financial decision.  I want to make a positive impact in my career and so far I do not feel any of my past jobs in the accounting and finance industry have quite satisfied that aspiration.

To further validate my decision to become a real estate agent, I had a great conversation with one of my previous supervisors today.  She complemented me on my ambitious nature and also informed me that she was a follower of my blog.  The most important piece of information she shared with me was her ability to relate to my feelings and emotions as a young adult struggling to improve self-confidence and reduce self-doubt.  Although I am feeling confident in my ability to pass the real estate exam, my confidence in practicing in the real estate profession is a bit more hesitant.  I know my strength will be my financial background, with a solid understanding of amortization schedules and bank related terminology.  However, what frightens me is my ability to keep a conversation going.  I am typically more of a listener than a talker, so this career will force me out of my comfort zone.  One on one conversations with others I have just met or do not know very well is one of my worst fears.  However, one of my greatest strengths is my determination.  For those who do not know me well, I have been involved with non-stop renovation projects since I bought my home in 2012.  Some of the projects I have taken on include, painting the entire exterior of my house, digging a 3 foot deep by at least 10 foot long trench to move my pool pump from my basement to my shed and removing the plaster ceiling from the largest room in my house.  Having a house that I am proud of is extremely important to me and although many construction terms and procedures completely baffle me, I find a way to educate myself (usually from listening to my father) and complete the tasks that I am capable of.  For the jobs that are above my skill level and strength, I save as aggressively as I can at all times with the intention of tackling another renovation project by hiring the family contractor.  Because of this determination and drive, I expect that I will find a way to overcome my introversion in order to achieve a successful career in real estate.

Since my previous supervisor found a way to overcome her self-doubt, she generously offered to guide me through this challenging time by inviting me to join her as a guest at one of her future networking events.  I admitted to her that networking events “freak me out” and she also admitted that she felt the same way once herself, but now looks forward to them.  I hope that someday I can also say that I am excited about attending a networking event, but it will take time before I can honestly say that.  Because networking is not one of my strong suits, I am very appreciative of this opportunity to improve my skills with the added benefit of personal guidance.  It is also reassuring to know that someone who once had insecurities similar to the ones I have now, was able to overcome them and develop into a self-assured person.  Knowing that something is possible is half the battle and I am glad that my previous supervisor shared a bit of her personal story with me.

Even at this early stage of my mission of becoming a real estate agent, I have learned a great deal about myself.  I realize that I should not feel guilty about not staying in the same job for more than a few years.  I need to find a career that is meaningful to me and if it takes numerous tries to get there, than there is nothing shameful about that.  I also learned that I can sometimes be my own worst enemy.  I battled with myself when trying to decide if I should reach out to my family real estate agent for advice.  I feared that she may not take me seriously knowing that I am more introverted than most real estate agents.  It took a brief pep talk from my mother to finally get the courage to contact her.  It turned out that my fears were unjustified since she willingly answered my questions and was almost as enthusiastic as I was about starting a career in the industry.  I can only hope that my personal development continues along my path in the real estate industry.