I originally became a real estate agent because I felt hiring and paying an agent was an unnecessary expense and basically a waste of money. Let me explain: in the early 1980s, in addition to my corporate job in the IT industry, I was a part-time real estate investor. I bought and 'flipped' homes long before HGTV was a cable channel. I was young, cocky and, most dangerous of all, naïve. I found homes that met my loosely defined criteria, purchased them without the help of a 'buyer’s agent' (thinking I would get a better deal), fixed them up and sold them 'by owner.' If the property didn’t sell, I would simply put out a 'For Rent' sign.
Meanwhile, in my corporate job, I made the transition from the technical side of the business to a sales support representative and was eventually promoted to regional marketing director for a Fortune 200 technology company. It was a great time to be in technology - tech start-ups were popping up everywhere. So after several years in this role, I decided to leave and strike out on my own. I started an online internet catalog company and began shipping products worldwide. I attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January and made some money while having fun. Life was good. To put it in perspective, this was before Microsoft developed Internet Explorer and during a time when my little company had internet sales exceeding Amazon.com. Internet Explorer and Amazon made it; regrettably, my little dot.com did not.
Fast forward to 2002: I was doing technical consulting work and still working on the occasional property 'flip.' It occurred to me that if I got my real estate license, I could have the benefit of listing my properties on the MLS and avoid paying a commission. So, I pursued the real estate license to benefit my investing 'hobby.'
The road to licensing was eye-opening. I have a degree in electrical engineering, so the math requirements were not an issue, but I naively thought the curriculum would consist of 'how to read a map to get from point A to point B' (remember, this was before widespread use of GPS) and the financial skills necessary to complete a bank deposit slip for the big commission check. Suffice it to say that the saying 'you don't know what you don't know' was appropriate here. The course content and knowledge and skills required to become a licensed agent is more extensive than I would have imagined. Sure, somehow a few bozos still make it through, but to do the job well requires extensive industry knowledge, integrity, perseverance and a servant’s heart.
That summer, I received my salesperson license, and several years after that, I passed the real estate broker's exam. But, something interesting happened along the way. I began helping friends, family and business associates find their perfect home. When they asked me to help sell a property, I was able to utilize my marketing and sales experience, as well as my contract negotiation expertise to effectively market and sell their home. And you know what? I liked it. I changed my mind about the 'usefulness' of a real estate agent. I realized the value that a good agent brings to the table is worth every penny. Not only will an experienced agent help save the client money that in many cases will exceed the commission, but they can artfully navigate a client through what has become a complicated and potentially precarious process.
For more than a decade, I have worked as a full-time REALTOR® for several well-known brokerages in Atlanta, and in 2013 I joined, what I consider to be, the finest real estate organization on the planet - Sotheby's International Realty® and their local affiliate, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty. It was the piece of the puzzle that had been missing from what most people would consider to be a successful career. I’m proud to represent Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, and I’d honored to be your REALTOR®.
Again, life is good.