Jack of all trades, master of none …
J.D. Parker May 27, 2013, 6 a.m.
Some great advice I once got from my wise uncle at the beginning of my real estate career was: just do one thing and become the best at it.
This advice applies to all professions—medicine, law, accounting and certainly real estate.
I took this advice to heart when I started my career, and it still keeps me focused 10 years later. It applies to all aspects of real estate: leasing, residential sales, investment sales, rentals, development, etc. There is a fortune to be made in each of these categories.
Today there are many successful people standing at the top of their respective niches in the real estate industry, and it all has to do with their reputation as the expert in their particular field. Clients want the best and the brightest professionals representing their interests, and they will pay for your services if you are regarded as the expert.
In medicine, an ER doctor or a specialist tends to make more money than a GP. In law, a very specialized attorney practicing M&A or in another niche tends to make more money than a lawyer who operates out of a storefront, handling any case that walks in off the street. In real estate the same is true. I interview upwards of 40 potential real estate candidates per month for our regional offices, and I’m always amazed at how many people have worked for many years in real estate with little to no focus. Most say they just chase deals and execute random acts of brokerage. It’s no wonder so many people in the real estate profession never cash a check.
Specialization is a key to success. Become the most knowledgeable person a client speaks to about your field, as this is what can separate you and win you the business. When I was in my early twenties and meeting with clients, this is what I relied heavily on—I had little to no track record, but I studied the market and knew every rent comp and sales comp inside and out. I studied demographics and knew every trend in a particular locale. I often knew more about the neighborhood and the owner’s building than they did and conveyed this in a manner to make my age was irrelevant. The owner could quickly understand that I was a market expert, someone they would want representing their interest.
My advice to all professionals in real estate is to pick one sector and pour yourself into it. Become the best at it and I can promise you that in a few years’ time, if you retain your focus and say no to all things that try to distract you, you will emerge, as I did, with a very successful business practice able to withstand any market cycle. Real estate cannot be outsourced, and clients always need professionals to assist with their needs.