We know you have them: those deep dark questions you have always wanted to ask a real estate agent about what their life is like, how they became an agent, what they love, and what they hate. We sat down with a few of our own to have a discussion about their lives as REALTORS®. Some of them have only been doing it for a few years, others for ½ of their working life. Some have always been with F.C. Tucker Emge, others have been with different brokerages. ALL of them offer terrific insight as to why F.C. Tucker Emge is a great agency to work with and how they have developed their skills and business acumen as agents since they started.
How long have you been selling real estate?
Dana: 6 years selling, and I have been with F.C. Tucker Emge the entire time.
Gelina: About 3 years ago.
Mary: I have been selling for 10. The last 4 have been with F.C. Tucker Emge.
Why did you choose to affiliate with F.C. Tucker Emge?
Dana: Leadership was definitely the most important. Training was a close second. Mary: After checking out many local brokerages and several national ones, F.C. Tucker Emge just kept coming to the top. After talking with Kathy Briscoe, and several agents in the Jasper Office, we knew it was a perfect fit for us.
Why have you stayed with FCTE?
Dana: I’m proud of our reputation and I appreciate the value placed on each agent, regardless of the amount they sell.
Gelina: For the family atmosphere; the people I work with are amazing human beings
Mary: Love the ongoing support, training, incentives and recognition. The fee scale encourages production and keeping more of our hard earned commission. The company we were with previously seems as if it was the more you make the more you pay! Plus, F.C. Tucker Emge is so fun! We know how to celebrate success!
Have you ever worked for another real estate brokerage? If so, why did you make the switch?
Gelina: Never. And I don’t plan to.
Mary: At my previous brokerage, the more I sold, the more I paid. There were all sorts of corporate and ad fees. No real incentives. The broker took local fees as well as franchise. I had to pay for everything.
How does F.C. Tucker Emge help you do your job?
Dana: Managers are always available and willing to help. Training is ongoing and relevant.
Gelina: We have the most supportive team, from owners to managers, and the office staff. All of them are the most well-rounded and put-together group.
Mary: By supplying us with the skills we need as well as materials. I can’t think of anything I really need. I never have to “reinvent the wheel” as someone has figured out the best way to do everything! Having such a professional team behind me, a great website and marketing materials including a killer listing presentation has helped me win many competitive listings and given me more confidence.
Why did you become a real estate agent? What did you do before selling homes?
Dana: I wanted a change. I had been a teacher for 15 years.
Gelina: I wanted to start flipping houses, then I started to sell real estate and love it. Before, I was a Medical Lab Technician and worked in the lab at a doctor’s office.
Mary: I was in social work and before that newspaper and graphic design. I had always loved real estate and have bought, sold and flipped many times before getting my license.
What do you have to do to get and keep your license? Is it hard? Is it expensive? Are there a lot of fees?
Dana: Take a boring class and pass a difficult test. I think the test is hard. I don’t find it overly expensive and the fees are manageable if you’re actually working.
Gelina: Real estate is not a cheap business. There are board fees, marketing fees, and desk fees. Again, save some money.
Mary: The MLS fees are hardest for most. Getting ongoing CE to renew a license is easy and good for you.
Other than obtaining a license, are there any other skills I must have to be a REALTOR®?
Dana: I think it’s important that REALTORS® be excellent communicators and problem solvers. Understanding people is important, but understanding yourself – how you deal with others and how you handle pressure – is also very important.
Gelina: You need to have a lot of patience. Have amazing people skills and know how to roll with the punches. Also, have common sense.
Mary: The ability to use both sides of my brain. Being creative, and using common sense helps. Ability to work with all types of people and to understand math, law and all that does with this complicated career really helps. Taking the time to listen to people is probably the most important part. Competent computer skills are also very helpful.
If you were mentoring someone who is contemplating getting into real estate, what advice would you have for them?
Dana: Never make transactions personal. While it’s important that you take your job of representing clients seriously, it’s more important to not allow yourself to be completely immersed, emotionally, in each transaction.
Gelina: Put in the work and don’t cut corners, because it will catch up with you if you do.
Mary: Listen and learn. Take advantage of shadowing and all of the training that is out there. Fast Track and BYB (Build Your Business is our weekly education seminar) is so important to hone your skills and get new ideas. Ask questions, don’t just guess what is the right thing to do.
What do you wish someone had told you about real estate before you became an agent?
Dana: Other agents can be really difficult. Navigating many personalities can be tricky but is a very integral part of the job.
Gelina: Save a lot of money because real estate is not just about showing houses. And, you don’t get a weekly paycheck. You will always learn something new with every transaction. Oh, and not everyone is your friend, LOL.
Mary: How many hours it really takes. This is not a part time job or a hobby. It takes a lot of hours and dedication. The amount of work you put into it dictates what you get out of it.
Why do you like selling real estate? What do you like about your job?
Dana: I like the challenge of finding someone a home or a buyer for their home. I enjoy the relationships that I’m able to build with clients and transaction partners.
Gelina: I love everything about real estate. The good, bad, and the stress: I embrace it all. It’s a journey that you get to take with complete strangers who sometimes become members of your family.
Mary: Closings: seeing those happy faces when all the paperwork is signed and they have keys in their hands. They are so grateful for your help in finding something just for them. I feel like I am truly helping someone fulfill the American dream.
What are the biggest challenges of being an agent?
Dana: Time. In our current market, it’s super important that buyers see homes as soon as they list. That proves difficult very often.
Gelina: Other agents’ lack of communication.
Mary: When things go sideways. Negotiations after inspections when buyers want everything and sellers are being stubborn. Also heartbreak when something falls through after final underwriting – being that close and not being able to complete the process.
How have your business practices changed over the course of your career?
Dana: I’m much more intentional. In the beginning, I tried many sales tactics and practices. Now, I am more confident in my abilities and in my marketing and am able to be more selective.
Gelina: I am more relaxed because I know how to manage my business better, and I am always learning. I have learned not to compromise when it comes to keeping my family schedule.
Mary: I am more confident with F.C. Tucker Emge. I love using Skyslope (our paperless transaction system) and going mostly paperless. I feel more equipped in everything I do. Because of things I have learned in BYB and through my broker, I can use escalation clauses and other documents or clauses to give my clients an advantage. I am more confident at listing presentations and all that entails and get more listings.
How has your business changed over the course of your career?
Dana: My business is over 90% referral. I do much less prospecting and am more focused on customer retention and relationships.
Gelina: Year by year, it is becoming more successful and it’s growing!
Mary: It has grown a lot. Each year, I set goals and am more focused on what I want to achieve and how I can get there. Goal setting has changed the way I advertise and I feel I get more bang for my buck.
What advice do you have for people considering becoming a REALTOR®?
Dana: DO IT
Gelina: Take everything in stride. If you don’t have a tough skin and if you aren’t willing to deal with changes, real estate is not for you.
Mary: Do the research. Not only online, but talk to different agents and brokers. Help them realize there is so much more to it than showing houses
What does it mean to be an independent contractor? What are the benefits of not being an employee?
Dana: For a REALTOR®, it means if you don’t work, you don’t earn. Flexibility is the greatest benefit, yet can be a difficult privilege to manage
Gelina: To be an independent contractor means you’re responsible for how successful your business is and you’re your own boss and responsible for your own healthcare, taxes, etc. The benefit is not having to be anywhere you don’t want to be. If I am in the office and don’t feel like being there, I can always get up and leave.
Mary: You truly have your own business and you can grow it and nurture it your way. With the support of F.C. Tucker Emge and our accountants, we have found so many ways to maximize our profits and protect ourselves financially.
How much money can I make in my first year selling real estate?
Dana: More than you can make in your first year of teaching. LOL.
Gelina: It depends on how many strangers trust you. Family and friends might be the last to come around! LOL
Mary: Probably not much. That first year should be seen as an investment. What helped me get a jump start was I reinvested what I made back into my business. Year two, I started seeing real profit.
Why do you have to do so much training after getting your license? I’ve heard that F.C. Tucker Emge does something called Fast Track (FT) for new agents. What is it? And do all new agents HAVE to do it?
Dana: I don’t think the actual licensing course does much to prepare you to actually sell real estate. Fast Track was a wonderful addition to the F.C. Tucker Emge training regimen as it gives you insight and hands-on training in being an agent on a day to day basis. I think the agents who graduate from FT are propelled toward success at a faster rate than those who do not choose to attend the training. Pretty sure statistics prove that as well.
Gelina: F.C. Tucker Emge has the best training program around. If you don’t believe me, ask other companies and they will tell you the same thing. Ken Haynie does an amazing job in Fast Track going over all of the contracts and forms that one needs while doing a transaction. Real estate changes every single day, and the forms change a lot. Agents must serve their clients by learning and understanding the forms and if an agent doesn’t get the basic training, they’re doing their client a huge disservice.
Mary: Fast Track helps you build your business and gives you the real training needed to be successful. It’s a deeper dive on what you learned in classes and gives you the why and how to do your job. Great tips and insights from seasoned professionals
What are the best parts about living in Southern Indiana?
Dana: Community, good healthcare, low cost of living.
Gelina: I grew up in Haiti and Florida, where it is either always hot or hurricane season. I like the fact that I get to experience different seasons here.
Mary: The natural beauty and the wonderful people. There are so many talented people in the area that can do so many things from arts and crafts to city planning and design. I just recently featured a new building complex in Vincennes on my website. They are doing a complex that looks like Bourbon St. in NOLA. It is beautiful and so creative and different. We have great food and festivals. It really is a great place to live.
F.C. Tucker Emge will be hosting one of our virtual career sessions on Wednesday, September 16 at noon. We hope you can join us! Simply fill out this google form to receive your zoom link.
In the meantime, if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to comment on this blog, or reach out to your favorite FCTE REALTOR® and #letstalk! We can help make the transition to a career in real estate painless, fun, and an endless adventure. Or, if you know you are ready for the class, go HERE to learn about your options.
We wish we could have featured answers from all 130 of our agents, but that would have taken forever to read. Special thanks to the following agents for making time to engage with this blog: