It also occurs to me that I have a blog. That’s cool. I should probably post more.
But that’s not the announcement — here it is: I’m now a Realtor (federal law holds that I have to add the ® whenever I write “Realtor®,” but fight the power). I made the switch for a variety of reasons, but they boil down to two: running a moving company carries with it a hell of a lot of risk, and since I support a family of six (which includes me), the risk/reward ratio skewed too far into “risk” territory. Also, come on, it just mades sense — about a quarter of the people who we move are moving into new homes. Last year that was about 700 people. There’s an opportunity here. I’m probably the least competent entrepreneur on the face of the planet, but even I can see that.
But aside from “avoiding risk” and “making a ton of money,” it gives me an opportunity to help people out by applying the same principles we’re perfecting with MTB. Just as with moving, real estate clients want people they can trust. MTB’s First Principles, “Show up on time, work hard and fast, be friendly and careful, and keep it simple” don’t translate perfectly, but the gist is the same — have integrity and work hard for your clients.
At any rate, my license is held by Keller Williams, which is, I gather, the biggest real estate company in the nation. I wasn’t as interested in that when I signed up with KW — I was more impressed by the people I know who work there. My Realtor, for one, Ryan Donovan. Matt Spinosa, a buddy and incredibly gracious man is another. My buddy TJ from the old journalism days belonged to another firm, but that whole firm moved over to KW just because it’s so great. All three of these guys defy the stereotype that a lot of people have about Realtors by being men of integrity who approach every transaction from a place of genuine service.
That’s not some kind of marketing shine — these men are models to follow. I’m a better guy just for being in their orbit.
Speaking of people of integrity, I was fortunate enough to be recruited by a “group” within the KW universe. (There are a ton of “groups” in real estate. Ever notice that? A big reason for it is that real estate transactions are big, hairy, and complicated. If a solo agent becomes successful, he simply MUST start hiring a team to handle all the details and clients. A well-run and focused group can not only “merely” handle all the details, but can focus on particular clients’ particular needs.)
That’s the deal with The Kilner Group, the team that recruited me for some reason. I can’t say enough good things about them, particularly the team leader, Patrick Kilner. He’s not my boss, per se, because technically I’m an independent contractor with KW. Nonetheless, I’d follow this guy over the trench wall anytime. Not only does he have all the personal qualities you’d hope to find in someone who represents you in the complex real estate transaction process — integrity, honesty, diligence, etc. — he is truly committed to finding like-minded individuals to develop into other leaders.
And judging from the relatively short time I’ve been “hanging out” with other team members of the Kilner Group, he’s got a real talent for finding and developing talent. Each person is very different, but still has the same drive to be the best, both personally and professionally. And “best” professionally means that they recognize and respect the dignity of every client they serve.
Honestly, I have no idea how I lucked into it. A co-worker from a job ten years ago mentioned my name to Patrick, sure, but that was only the beginning. I somehow survived the fairly intense interview/vetting process. Go fig.
Anyway, this is a new thing and I’m jazzed. (Jazz hands!) I’ve been at it for a few months now and have yet to make a dollar, but things are picking up. If you’re an MTB client, there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing from me.
Buuuuut, here’s the deal — I have no intention of trying to convince anyone to do something they’re not interested in doing. We’re talking about buying and selling houses here, not some kind of consumer electronic trinket. If doing thousands and thousands of moves has taught me anything (whether as an actual mover in the field, or handling customer concerns/questions back at MTB World HQ), it’s how to be a counselor. If you’re just interested in getting some information about the process, or if you’re ready to go for it and get into a new home, I’d love to help. But if that’s not something you’re really thinking about right now, no worries.
If you are interested in talking about that home purchase, give me a call.
Oh, and PS — I have no intention of shutting down MTB or otherwise leaving it. The day-to-day operation is in the very capable hands of David Swain, Ara Der-Boghossian, and Leon Fenwick. They are my leadership team, and around them I almost feel like I need to work harder to keep up with them.