Funny thing happened to me while I was on my way to the state real estate exam.
There were a lot of people standing in line to take their test to become a Licensed Real estate agent in the eyes of the State of California.
One in particular was standing with me, struck up a conversation with me, probably being able to see that I was a “helper” type personality. His name was Carl. He was very nice, he had an organizer with him, the kind you write on – remember those?? It was 1998.
He also commented that he ran out of gas in the parking lot, not having expected to sit in traffic for so long.
However, he also forgot his wallet, but did have his drivers license to show to gain admittance to the test.
Back in 1998 – I was LAPD Motors and in my prime… He asked if he could borrow $10.00 and he would mail it back to me as soon as he returned to his “office” later in that day.
I paused, but it seemed that “most everything” lined up, so I lent him $10.00, he had “real business” cards – he worked at a real estate office and was known as a “transaction coordinator”, – I had no idea what that was – but It must have been good, I thought to myself.
I went in to take my test and never saw Carl again.
I took my test thinking “they were right, that is one tricky test”.
A few weeks later – I received the results – I had Passed, I was very happy and that is when almost every single real estate company in Southern California filled my mailbox with letters about how they want to take my business, a business I had yet to start, to the next level.
For a moment, I thought I was special. I thought that they knew my exact score on the state exam. BTW, it’s only pass or fail 🙂
Come to find out they sent those to everyone. So I started. My friends on the LAPD were my first clients – they were patient and I had no mentor, no guide, just a willing office manager who did real estate on the side, and a focus.
Paris joined me within 7 months – that was the very next year – 1999. I couldn’t do this alone, and I was still a full time LAPD cop.
No one trusted FAX machines back then. The Multiple Listing Service was not on-line. It was obtained via picking up a copy daily from the local Boards of Realtors. (typically a job that the office manager fulfilled) It was printed on a Dot Matrix Printer (remember those 🙂 )
Agents were very much, behind the curtain – keeping a vail around themselves and their business procurement methods.
Funny Thing – Real estate was nothing like the LAPD. As was told to me once upon a time, “They are nothing alike because you need training to be an LAPD Officer – for Real Estate you only need to pass a test 🙂 “…
I suppose that statement was close to the mark, real estate was not, and is still not much of a “big happy family”. Agents will lie on one another, they will spread “false” stories about other real estate agents, and it seems that there are a lot of agent’s kids not being raised by the biological parents, but new ones, also local Realtors, as the torch gets passed through the conflict of divorce.
I thought we had a high divorce rate amongst Cops – I observed it is probably just as high in the real estate business.
“But, you make it look easy…” – A statement by one of our buyers wives to Paris MacIvor a while back. She was the better half of a real estate couple, wanting to stop staying at home, raising the kids full time, and embark on a journey that included real estate sales.
Paris said, “Absolutely, it is easy, you should get your license…”
Most agents would say, “You don’t want anything of this – Real Estate is a horrible career path, etc… ” When they say it, the person it’s directed to, cannot help but think they are saying it because they want to “keep it from them”.
So, the lady did get her license and almost had a nervous breakdown at the level of stress involved after her 3rd lawsuit that was generated. Two by other local real estate brokerages and the third by one of her own clients. If a new real agent does not have a “larger than normal” portion of common sense, they are bound for trouble…
I remember many nights when Paris and I did not sleep, just worried and talked things out. (what we were experiencing was “normal” within real estate, as we know today. But when you don’t have the experience, it can cause a high level of stress)
There were a lot of tears shed during those first few years in the real estate business.
Maybe it was the amount of transactions that we were focused on. Being a lot more than the “normal” realtor takes on during their first few years in the business – maybe we were getting hit with too much at once.
Today, looking back – I am glad that we were tried by Fire… I’m glad we had those exceedingly difficult days. I know for a fact it made both Paris and I better Realtors.
There are very few scenarios that we have not encountered and personally experienced. Some “new ones” come up from time to time, but if it weren’t for our “active past”, we would not be as knowledgeable as we are today.
So, you want to be a real estate agent? Get in, buckle up and hold on… Let us know if you need anything at all – Welcome to the Wild World of Real Estate!
BTW – Remember Carl? He never sent me my $10 bucks. I should have known then that some Real Estate agents cannot be trusted 🙂