Does Your "New" Filter Need An Adjustment? Mine Did.

Real Estate Agent with Baird&Warner Fox Valley

A few years ago the real estate market in St. Charles tanked. Badly. In May of 2008 I had about $25 million in listings and nothing under contract. I took it personally, because if you take your previous success personally, shouldn't you take your pending failure just as personally? I started looking for ways to change: I signed up for some coaching and transferred my super-demanding builder to a team. I started working with buyers. Sometime in 2009 I started poking around online to see if anyone else did things differently. That, my friends, was quite an eye-opener. 

I'm with a great brokerage with a long tradition of success. But once I looked outside our walls I saw that many brokerages and agents did many things differently, from prospecting to listing presentations to doing open houses. My ActiveRain blog chronicles that journey: activities that I assumed were standard practice, like pop-byes and open houses, were considered the sure marks of a dinosaur.

So I set out to change: clearly, what I had been doing wasn't working, so I needed to learn and do other things. But I confused doing different things with being a different person. Like a starry-eyed teenage girl who makes herself over for each new boyfriend, I shopped and bought and tried on new identities. I would become an uber-tech-savvy agent. 

Recently I realized that this change thing has consequences and not all of them are good. I've continued to sell a lot (even in that disasterous year in 2008), and I've definitely changed my business, but I haven't been very happy. The problem with looking outside yourself is that you can start to find fault with everything, including your teammates, your staff, your service providers, your clients. When you try to change everything, you act a lot like the teenage girl who needs a new wardrobe for each new boyfriend.

About six months ago I realized that too much change (and doubt) is as bad as no change. Part of this personal, because my babies are growing up and I want to be more present in their last few years at home. (The tragedies that some people I know have experienced, such as losing a child, have played a big role in this new found clarity. I grieve for each of you.) In terms of the business, I finally realized that complete satisfaction does not exist. There is a constant flood of new technology and new techniques and new ideas. My "new" filter needed dialing up, so that I can better evaluate whether the "new" fits into what is already working well for me and our business.

To me, it's an important change in attitude but it feels right. It's impossible to be perfect and no amount of trying will get you there. Everything can be improved upon, but nothing can ever be perfect. In my twenties I would have considered this giving up. Today, I see this growing up. 

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This post was written by Leslie Ebersole of Baird & Warner Real Estate.
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  1. Inna Ivchenko 05/23/2012 09:40 AM
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Real Estate Technology & Tools
Illinois Kane County Saint Charles
change in real estate

Comments 57 New Comment

Elva Branson-Lee
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent
Solid Source Realty GA

Thanks, for this, Leslie. It really resonated with me, too. You can't keep reinventing yourself and your business model without burning out. Just do you. That's my motto. And it has taken me some years to figure that out. Congrats on a well-deserved feature.

May 23, 2012 05:44 PM
Bob Miller
The Ruiz/Miller Team - Ocala's Dream Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty

Hi Leslie, great post and very nice example of "just be yourself"!

May 24, 2012 02:58 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605

This is so true.  I think that your angst is a reflection of the market in general.  Many people who thought they had things all sewn up had a rude awakening.  I used to see a lot of what I called "smug mugs" on AR saying "YOU make your success.  Failrure is only an option if you let it be".  BUT - as my Grandfather learned during the Great Depression - bad things happen to good people and even industrious top-notch business people.  He was OK, but attributed 75% of that to pure luck.  He saw too many good people going down and realized that the timing of his "startup" (1919 - so he had 10 years before the axe fell) and what he was selling (something small and relatively affordable)  were his saving graces.  People selling cars, jewelery, homes, didn't matter how good they were - they were dying on the vine.

The loss of control over one's life is in many ways is what weighs on people.  During the tax credit - if the buyer came through my website - chances are they would buy something.  I felt I had finally gained a real foothold and was going to climb that ladder right to the top of my market. After it was all over in May 2010 - buyers became so fickle in my market that it was like trying to nail jello to a wall.  The tax credit had been a giant tease for my model, making me FEEL successful when really I was just one downturn away from crashing.  And crash I did.  You don't close, you don't get paid, you don't get paid, you can't pay your bills....

Bottom line is that there are only 24 hours in a day and there is only so much money that you can spend trying to generate business. Filtering out what works from what doesn't and most of all - what will work for YOU - is paramount. Know how you do business and then by all means purchase what you NEED to get that model to work for you. 

As to being can't be happy if your life is upside down.  You have to create a path that you want to go down. 

May 25, 2012 10:50 AM
John DL Arendsen
Real Estate Broker, Mfg Home Dealer, General Contr
TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments & ON THE LEVEL GC

True entrepreneurs must always be nimble and think on their feet.  As my Father always used to say, "THE ONLY CONSTANT IN LIFE IS CHANGE".

May 28, 2012 07:36 AM
Jacqueline Drake CRS
Treating you as I like to be treated
Jacqueline Drake Realty

Real estate has changed a great deal since I got my license in 1971. I have seen good and bad markets over the years and this down market seems has lasted longer than the others I have seen. We can look around us to see if there are areas where we might improve and try different ideas. It's good if we can get good results by working smarter not harder. The main thing is to remember what's really important in life. God and family are the most important for me though I take my business very seriously I try to put them first.

Jacqueline Drake CRS

Cochise county Land

May 28, 2012 08:56 PM

Leslie Ebersole

REALTOR - Chicagonulls Western Suburbs
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