After years in the not-for-profit space, Virgil Jones made the leap into residential real estate — and his growing business is a testament to the power of hard work, building relationships, and continuous learning and growth.
Before transitioning into real estate, Virgil spent 16 years leading educational not-for-profit organizations. In his previous position as CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars, a scholarship and mentoring organization, Virgil had the opportunity to search for, develop, and build a new headquarters for the organization.
“This experience drew me into real estate,” Virgil explains. “And although I continued to lead LINK for several years after we built this new facility, it piqued my interest in real estate. I learned so much from this experience, and was fortunate to work with top leaders and professionals in the market.”
Seeking a change and knowing that he wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path, Virgil moved into the real estate space — and interviewed with many different brokerages before finding the right fit.
“I looked at probably five or six different brokerages. I went from small to some of the big-name ones,” Virgil says. “I heard of Baird & Warner, and I knew that it was a very professionally run organization.”
And once he interviewed with the management team at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park, he was “pretty much sold,” he remembers.
Continue reading “Agent Spotlight: Virgil Jones”
If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that there are some pretty substantial changes in the competitive structure of the real estate business going on right now. On a market-wide level, for instance, the real estate services site Zillow has recently been active in making acquisitions of smaller companies; by and large, Wall Street is having a bigger impact on what brokers do on a daily basis here in Chicago and around the country.
As experienced brokers know, the real estate landscape is ever-changing. But the more things shift and evolve, the more convinced I am of the incredible importance of building a relationship-based business that is not reliant on leads from third party companies.
Continue reading “The Importance of Building a Relationship Business”
Community isn’t just a buzzword for Baird & Warner broker Brendan Perlin. Brendan was born and bred in Chicagoland — and he’s putting his local connections and expertise to work for a breakout 2021.
Originally born in Glenview, Brendan moved into the city at 18 to study at DePaul University, and he’s called Lincoln Park home ever since.
“I always find myself bringing up what ‘used to be there,’’ Brendan says. “Being in the city since I can remember, and seeing everything change building by building and neighborhood by neighborhood, I constantly find myself remembering, reminiscing, and bringing up the history to other folks.”
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Residential real estate is a career field that is exciting, dynamic, and incredibly rewarding — with nearly unlimited earning potential and endless opportunities for learning and growth.
It is also a career path that exemplifies the old adage, “you get out of it what you put into it.” Many of the decisions you make early in your career can have an enormous impact on your future — either setting you up to create the sustainable, lucrative, and flexible business you’ve dreamed about, or limiting your capacity to grow and earn over time.
Want to put yourself in the best position possible for success? Let’s explore five pitfalls or missteps to avoid when getting started in real estate:
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There’s one piece of wisdom that Sarah Jaffe reflects on often — a quote from the writer Gail Sheehy:
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
Sarah certainly is the living embodiment of growth and change. After all, she made the decision to dive headfirst into a new real estate career — in the middle of a pandemic.
“Real estate was probably never on my radar until May of 2020,” Sarah says. “I already know I made the right decision. There’s not a day where I look back.”
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As you get started in real estate, joining the right brokerage is one of the most important steps you will take on your journey. The support of your brokerage is one of the biggest contributing factors to getting your new real estate business off the ground quickly and successfully. But with so many choices out there, how will you find the brokerage that will be the right fit for you — and for where you want to take your career next?
I encourage new-to-the-business brokers to look at seven factors when researching real estate brokerages. From most important to least important, those criteria are:
Continue reading “How to Choose the Right Brokerage for Your Chicago Real Estate Career”
- Access to management and support
- Training and coaching
- Office culture
- Broker services
- Business opportunities
- Commission structure
2020 was an unusual year, to say the least. In the real estate industry, this past year really reinforced the importance of being able to adapt and pivot to new challenges, in order to keep business moving forward.
As we wind down the year, now is the time to look ahead — and start setting down goals and plans for 2021 and beyond.
Whether you’re an experienced agent doing some yearly business planning, or you’re considering whether or not now is a good time to start pursuing a Chicago real estate career, it’s important to know what’s going on in the market, and what we might expect to happen throughout 2021.
Like any marketplace, Chicago’s housing market is driven by two primary forces — supply and demand. Let’s take a look at where we expect those factors to be as we head into 2021:
Continue reading “Chicago 2021 Market Forecast”
There are as many ways to build a real estate business as there are brokers — but in my experience, people achieve the greatest success when they invest time into executing a well-thought-out business plan that emphasizes their expertise and talents.
Here at the Baird & Warner Lincoln Park office, one of the first things we do with all new agents is sit-down with them to strategize how they want to build their business. In our office, our management team spends as much time as necessary with new brokers to help make sure their business plans and goals are ambitious yet achievable. Our management team also schedules regular check-ins throughout the year to help new agents closely monitor their progress toward their goals.
What goes into a real estate business plan? Simply put, this is the outline for what your business is going to look like, including your goals for the next year — perhaps even on a quarterly basis.
As a new-to-the-business broker, there are going to be five main things to consider when putting your plan together:
Continue reading “The Top 5 Things for New Brokers to Focus on When Starting a Real Estate Career”
Millie Rosenbloom has had a long and celebrated career in Chicago real estate — and her unique perspective on the industry started at a young age.
Growing up, Millie says, her mom and dad used to buy properties to fix up and sell. She moved a lot during grade school, while gaining a lifelong understanding and appreciation for architecture, building homes, and the many kinds of work involved in real estate along the way.
Once she decided to start down this career path, Millie initially had something of a turbulent beginning.
“When I first started, I interviewed with Habitat. And they did not hire me because I didn’t have any experience. So I found a small little firm and went to work there, and six months later they closed their doors, unfortunately,” she says. “So I wound up going back to Habitat.”
This time, Millie interviewed and got hired. She then spent 15 years working her way up the ladder, eventually becoming part owner of the company. Over this span, she grew the brokerage division from 15 agents to 120, before selling it to Baird & Warner in December of 2007.
“And I’ve been here ever since!” Millie says.
Continue reading “Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight: Millie Rosenbloom”
One of the best things about a career in real estate is that no two days are exactly alike. With that being said, the most successful real estate brokers have a very intentional approach to each and every day — and put a structure in place that allows them to make the most of each day, while still allowing for flexibility.
A “Typical” Day In Chicago Real Estate
An active real estate broker is a true entrepreneur — which means wearing many different hats. On any given day, brokers at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park might spend time on any number of activities. Generally, the most important pieces of a broker’s day center around two core areas:
Continue reading “What Goes Into a Day in the Life of a Chicago Real Estate Broker?”
- Generating and facilitating new relationships
- Servicing existing business opportunities