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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
We’re not bluffing when we say that Jason Finn has a proven track record of success in real estate. A poker aficionado (that’s 2 this season if you’re keeping track), Jason leverages his poker face and ability to stay calm under pressure to navigate contract negotiations, often winning the hand for his clients. With a background in consulting, Jason has always been solution-oriented and takes that approach to every transaction. And he know *a little something* about technology and SEO too…so many skills that benefit his clients on both sides of the transaction. We are excited to share the man with “a passion for compassion” with you…and wait until you hear how he turned a casino into his remote office!
John Lyons is known as one of Chicago’s most trusted real estate agents. As a broker, he is passionate about always continuing to learn and find new ways to improve his business and provide a better experience for his clients. And for John, the support he gets from Baird & Warner Lincoln Park helps him to do all that and more.
John got started in real estate after losing a corporate sales job, which forced him to think differently about his career options.
“That failure made me realize what I didn’t like, and pushed me towards entrepreneurship,” John says. “I was just burnt out and tired, and I realized I didn’t want to work for anybody anymore, particularly a middle manager.”