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.
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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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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
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.
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Here at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park, our brokers are some of the most productive in the city — and we know how important a strong support team is for keeping the flow of business moving.
Consistently praised by our brokers as some of the best in the business, our office-level support staff includes multiple full-time administrators who are available to assist with listing management, marketing production, closing logistics, and much more. And with a full-time management staff of three, brokers in the Lincoln Park office have unrivaled support, guidance, coaching and mentorship at every stage of their careers.
Let’s take a deeper look at how our office-level support helps our agents to make the most of new opportunities, focus on their business strategies, and gain a competitive edge in the market:
Operational Support: Freeing You Up to Focus On What Matters Most
Attentive, driven, and professional, our operational support staff provides our agents with the specialized support they need to run a full-time business. Having a dedicated support staff in our office frees up time for our brokers to focus on the lead-generating activities that are central to growing their businesses. Depending on your business plan and strategy, this might include cultivating leads online or in-person; preparing market research and putting it into practice; negotiating deals; attending listing and buyer presentations; learning and growing in ongoing training sessions or classes; or taking part in local networking events to grow your sphere.
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When you’re new to your career in real estate, finding the right brokerage is one of the most important factors in determining your future success.
With so many brokerages and local offices to choose from in Chicago, it’s important to do your homework and put in some time to find the place that will be the right fit for you — and the career you want to build.
When you join a brokerage, you’re choosing a professional “home base” — one where you can start building relationships, learning the ropes, and growing your business. With a decision this big, it can be hard to know just where to start your search. What factors should you look at in order to compare different real estate brokerages? What steps can you take to really find the one that will be the best match for your style and personal goals?
Everyone is different, and launching a real estate business is certainly not a “one size fits all” proposition. In my view, finding the right brokerage really comes down to evaluating three major components:
Continue reading “New to Real Estate? Here’s How to Find the Brokerage That Will Be the Right Fit”
- Training and coaching
- Access to management and support
- Office culture