Agent Spotlight: Virgil Jones

Virgil Jones Baird & Warner Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight

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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The Importance of Building a Relationship Business

The Importance of Building a Relationship-Based Real Estate Business

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. 

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Chicago 2021 Market Forecast

2021 Chicago Market Forecast

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:

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The Top 5 Things for New Brokers to Focus on When Starting a Real Estate Career

The Top 5 Things for New Brokers to Focus on When Starting a Real Estate Career

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: 

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Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight: Millie Rosenbloom

Millie Rosenbloom Agent Spotlight

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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What Goes Into a Day in the Life of a Chicago Real Estate Broker?

What Goes Into a Day in the Life of a Chicago Real Estate Broker?

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:

  • Generating and facilitating new relationships
  • Servicing existing business opportunities
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Lincoln Park Agent Spotlight: John Lyons

John Lyons, Baurd & Warner Lincoln Park

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.” 

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How New Agents Can Become True Market Experts

How to Learn More About the Market as a New Real Estate Agent

As a real estate broker, one of the core parts of your day-to-day responsibilities is helping buyers and sellers navigate the real estate market. In a city like Chicago, that can be more easily said than done. 

As a city, Chicago is dynamic and ever-changing. No matter how much time you’ve spent here, there’s always something more to see and learn. As the writer Dominic Pacyga once put it: “there seems to be a different Chicago around every street corner, behind every bar, and within every apartment, two-flat, cottage, or bungalow.” 

So, as a new-to-the-business broker, how can you learn more about all of the wonderful aspects that make our area unique — and develop the skills and understanding you need to provide a top-tier experience to your clients? 

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Should New Agents Join a Real Estate Team?

Should New Agents Join a Real Estate Team?

To join a real estate team, or to go solo? That is the question — and an important topic to consider for new brokers who are just getting started in the business. 

Here in Chicago, real estate teams are quite common, both at my brokerage Baird & Warner, and at other real estate brokerages around the city.

As with so many decisions in the early days of your real estate career, the choices you make now can have a significant impact on your success down the line. But it’s important to remember that there is no one “right” or “wrong” way to move forward. 

Ultimately, choosing whether or not you should become part of a real estate team is a personal decision, based on what matters most to you. There are pros and cons to both options — and lots of important questions for new-to-the business brokers to keep in mind. 

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