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The hard truths, valuable connections, and strategies that are leading to my growth and success in my career in real estate

David FullerI know some people thought I must be crazy, taking on a new career at the age of 58, and they could be right. In 2023, after 28 years in retail and eight years as a business coach, I started my career in real estate. Throughout the year, I learned a considerable amount about myself and the industry, including:

  1. Real estate is harder than it looks, and the money isn’t always great in the first few years. As an outsider, you might think your real estate agent is making piles of money by simply listing your property. I can tell you that after a year in the industry and watching the other real estate agents in the office, I saw that they are working hard for their clients and not always making great money. In fact, if I didn’t have a nest egg and other income and were younger and supporting a family, I would have had great difficulty getting started and sticking with it.
  2. The need to pay attention to details. Ironically, that’s not one of my strong suits. I made some embarrassing mistakes this year because, at times, I did not attend to significant details as I should have. This year, I have had to double down, read the fine print, and note the fine details that protect my clients and their investments. Fortunately, I had Donna, the office manager, review my work for each project, forcing me to up my game.

    career in real estate career

    Photo by Leohoho


  3. It doesn’t matter if you are embarking on a new midlife career in real estate or any new endeavour, your past work experience can give you an advantage over more junior competitors. This year, I dug deep into my background to use some of the marketing skills I acquired over the years to give me an advantage and spur my career on.
  4. One of the best things I did this year was reach out to the movers and shakers in my industry and learn more about how they became successful. When I asked questions that exposed my weaknesses, I was surprised at how many people offered to help me and gave me tips that made me a better realtor. Making friends with smarter people in the office than myself, such as Janine, Mark, Holly, and Michelle, as well as regular realtors in the firm, inspired me and kept me on track this year.
  5. There are some fantastic realtors in my market area who have years of experience, and most of them don’t seem to have to work as hard to be successful as I do as a rookie. As a result, I tried some marketing strategies that others were not doing, like circulating flyers and newsletters and hitting the pavement to knock on doors. “Cold calling” isn’t comfortable, but taking a risk and getting out of my comfort zone led me to create wonderful connections with people, even if they were not, in the end, clients.
  6. While I learned this early in my retail career working with staff, I realized that clients need regular feedback about how their listings are going and what is happening in the marketplace. Even if the news wasn’t always good, people appreciate that I made the effort to make time to provide an update. This is something that I will try to do even more consistently next year.
  7. I read a bunch of books this year to help me comprehend the real estate industry; one of the books specifically suggested that a successful realtor requires leads, listings, and leverage. This applies to any sales or consulting business but really made sense for me in my career as a realtor. I worked tirelessly on building my leads, securing listings, and hiring help to leverage my business. Ultimately, this enabled me to do what I enjoy and am most comfortable doing: interacting with people.
  8. I can proudly say that I have the biggest whiteboard in the office, and it is covered with notes and tracking information. I meet with my team every day to monitor how we are doing. They keep me on track by providing accountability and to perform tasks that will one day produce results that will lead to success. I have learned in the past that persistence does pay off and that it often takes three years in any profession for one to hit their stride.

The year has been a blur, and it hasn’t been all fun and games. It has been difficult work; I did not make a ton of money, but I can say that I have enjoyed myself and the challenges this new career brought. Now, at 59, I am working hard to become a successful business realtor because it ultimately enables a lifestyle to make connections and differences in the lives of the people I am privileged to call clients and friends.

Dave Fuller is a Commercial and Business Realtor, award-winning business coach, and author.

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