How I Went From an IT Career to Selling Palm Springs Luxury Properties

You may have read or watched the excellent informational content I produce. However, the Desert Bowtie Realtor® may still be a mystery to you, so let me tell you who I am.

I am Stephen Burchard, the Desert Bowtie Realtor® serving the Greater Palm Springs Region residential and commercial real estate market. I also like to educate on the Desert lifestyle. I am passionate about sharing this information with you because I believe knowledge is power. 

It is probably helpful to give you a little of my backstory before becoming a Realtor®.

When I was 12 years old…just kidding; we don’t need to go back that far! 

In the early 2000’s I was working an IT job that I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, around that same time, the bottom dropped out of that industry, and I found myself unemployed with no career prospects since the dot. bomb of that time decimated my sector of the IT industry.

I began searching for a job. I wanted to find a meaning or purpose for my life. When I lost my job, I lost my sense of identity and no longer knew who I was.

I tried to find another IT job because it paid well, and I was damn good at it! After searching unsuccessfully, my headhunter suggested I find another area of work since the prospects in the IT industry had become sparse. Unfortunately, the recovery of the IT industry wasn’t looking good.

Before getting laid off, I had already begun studying to obtain my real estate broker’s license. My partner at the time was working for his brother, a mortgage broker, and was surrendering 50% of his commissions. The plan was for me to open my own real estate brokerage so that he, or shall I say we, could keep 100% of his commissions since the broker did little to earn that 50% withheld from his check.

It sounded like an exciting proposition, and I agreed to do it. I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I’d just graduated with an MA. I could figure it out because I was smart, right?

Boy was I naive….you can stop laughing!

I worked for my partner’s brother helping him with his books and negotiating with creditors on behalf of the brokerage while I continued to study and prep for the real estate exams. The first hurdle was passing the prep exams to take the state exam. Because the educational offerings on the internet were slim, I spent a lot of time reading seven different books to pass the prep exam. 

Once I passed those exams, I could achieve my educational requirements to take the state exam. I bypassed the salesperson exam and only took the broker exam because of my education. The threshold for the salesperson exam is 65%, but the threshold for the broker exam is 80%.

My ego and I were about to learn a big lesson.

I scheduled and paid for my exam. At this time, everything was done manually, with no internet scheduling available. I waited eight weeks after completing a form and mailing it in. I crammed for the test until the day before I took the exam.

After taking the exam, I had to wait 3-4 weeks for the results, which was excruciating. The results finally arrived. Although I was confident I would pass, given my level of education and ability to absorb knowledge, I FAILED the exam. The outcome was a considerable blow to my ego and self-confidence.

I won’t lie to you; it took me a week or so to recoup enough to pick up my bootstraps and keep marching. So then, I scheduled and applied for the second exam. Easy, peasy, right?

I was determined to take my studying more seriously, studying an hour or two each day to prepare for the exam. I took time off of work and took practice exams damn near daily until my exam day. I was confident I had prepared well and was ready to pass this time. After completing the exam, again, I waited the dreadful 3-4 weeks.

And, again, I bombed. I failed it AGAIN!

I was bewildered this time, considering the amount of preparation I did. And again, my ego and self-confidence took a dramatic blow! I was frustrated, angry, and frankly scared to retake the exam. 

After some soul-searching, I realized this was outside my realm of “knowing.” So I needed to pull out the big guns.

At this point, I am game for anything, so I found a company that offered a two-day live prep course. Before scheduling my third state exam, I followed their advice exactly. The company’s suggestion was to schedule the exam and then take the prep course as close to my exam date as possible. 

It was a GREAT experience.  The instructor walked us through everything needed to pass, but, more importantly, taught me HOW to take the exam. It was a READING test as much as a knowledge test.

Before choosing the correct answer, I had to be clear about the question. The exam writers used the words not, except, nor and utilized other negatives in the exam questions, which completely changed the question’s meaning. GREAT insight.

After the prep course, I booked a hotel for the night before the exam. This way, I could study peacefully and keep myself in the right mindset for the next exam. The exam experience this time was completely different. I felt calm, confident, and like I knew what I was doing.

After waiting 3-4 weeks, the test results arrived. I was thrilled to learn that I had passed this time.

I was now an official California Real Estate Broker!

During this long, laborious process, I learned that I don’t always know the best way and may need to ask questions or research to find out the best way to do something. But unfortunately, my ego had gotten in the way twice and slowed the process of getting my broker’s license by six months.

The rest of the story is history because, 22 years later, I’m successful and still in the business.

What I love most about this business is connecting and building trust with clients and Realtors®, negotiating, and communicating. 

When I was getting into real estate, I thought it was all about sales. That is not necessarily the truth. It is about building relationships…and that has always been a skill that I enjoy!

Please contact me if you have questions about buying or selling real estate. I would love to speak with you at no cost or obligation. Contact me, Stephen Burchard, The Desert Bowtie Realtor, taking the (k)nots out of real estate.