After twelve years as a real estate broker, I have (finally) decided it is time to become the kind of agent I wanted to be when the state first granted me permission to sell real estate. As long as I have held my license, I have bought into the prevailing wisdom that in order to succeed, an agent needs to focus on securing listings. There is a certain amount of truth in that, but not everyone finds truth – or success – in the same way. In my case, I find the greatest sense of purpose by helping folks get into their homes. Working with buyers, especially first-time buyers, is gratifying in ways I cannot begin to describe.
I have been in this business in some capacity or other since I was in high school, and that was a long time ago. Since I have been licensed, every broker I worked for, and every training session I attended, stressed how important it is to build up a listing inventory. As my career progressed, that is the tack I took. Over the years, the market changed, and REO (foreclosure) properties became a bigger and bigger part of my business. At some point, I became focused entirely working with REO sellers.
As I became successful selling REO properties, my dissatisfaction with my career grew proportionately. I began to think that, after all these years, I was getting burnt out on the whole real estate thing. Finally, a light went off, and I realized that the way my business was operating was at odds with my own goals and desires. Instead of helping people get into homes, I was deeply involved in taking those homes away.
With that realization, came the realization that I needed to quit what I was doing.
Over the last several months, I have been closing down my REO operations. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I now look forward to going to work again. In many ways, I am starting over. I need to brush up on all the loan programs, and reestablish relationships with the affiliated services, but I am excited again, and ready to do it.
This is possibly the worst time of year, in the worst year in decades, to make such a drastic decision, but I can think of no better decision that could have been made. You can feel it when you’ve made the “right” decision, and that is exactly how I feel now.
The next few months are going to be rough, and I couldn’t be happier.