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The Best Real Estate Advice I Was Ever Given

My first week or so as a commercial real estate agent, my broker told me to go talk to a prominent Dallas real estate investor he knew. He wanted me to ask "What's the secret to success in real estate?".

When I showed up at his office, I thought it might take him a few minutes to think about it, but without hesitation he answered, "Agents come to my office every day trying to get me to buy this deal or that deal. When I ask them more detailed questions, like the market lease rates for the area, absorption rates, vacancies, trends, etc. they are clueless. For me to make an intelligent buying decision, I had to have that information. I don't buy or sell property with them, I buy and list my properties with the local experts".

He went on to say if he were a new agent like me this is what he'd do ...

"Pick the area in which I want to specialize, then know it inside and out. Better than anyone. Become a student of the area. If you can do that, people will always come to you for their real estate needs because they will perceive you as the expert. I wouldn't chase chase deals all around town".

Bar none, this was the most important real estate lesson I ever learned. It took me a while to understand and appreciate the value of that wisdom, but once I did, I never deviated from it. I've had successful careers in both commercial and residential and now I'm the oldtimer passing it on.

As a listing specialist, I limit my listings to a very defined area. No appointment I have is more than about 15 minutes away. When I ask agents other agents where they specialize I often hear "wherever there's a deal". From that statement I know there is no consistency to their business. That's why have good years and down years. They should be spending their time establishing market share within their own area of specialization and refer other leads out.

I'll talk more about your area of specialization and farming" (spending your time, money, and energy) in another blog.

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