How Stefen Got Into Real Estate

I share the story on how I became a realtor and my career in Real Estate.
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The Story of How Stefen Got Into Real Estate.

I know, I know…. I produce all this great informational content, but you have NO CLUE who this Bowtie realtor is, how he got here and why he does what he does.

Well, let me tell you a story about how I got into real estate.

Back in the early 2000s, I was working in an IT job 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 eviscerated my segment of the IT industry.

So like most people, I was searching, not just for a job, but for a meaning or a purpose to my life. I felt I had lost that. Unfortunately, I had my whole identity wrapped up in my IT career. When that went away, I lost my sense of identity. I no longer knew who I was or what I wanted.

After getting booted I tried to obtain another IT job because that shit paid real good and I was damn good at it. I was unsuccessful and my headhunter suggested I find other work since the prospects in the IT industry had fallen away and it would be some time before it recovered.

Before getting laid off, I was studying to obtain my RE Broker’s license. My partner at the time worked for his brother, a mortgage broker, and was surrendering 50% of his commissions. Not good, especially because the broker did very little to earn that 50%.

It was suggested to me that I could get my broker’s license and open up my own company so my partner, or should I say we, could keep 100% of his commissions.

It was an interesting proposition that I had agreed to and I thought it would be no big deal since I’d just graduated with a MA. I was smart, right?!

Ha! Boy I was naive…

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Ironically, I went to work for my partner’s brother and helped him with his books and negotiating with creditors on behalf of the brokerage. Not an interesting part of the story, but this skill, negotiating, came in strong later.

I studied and studied. Back then, there was very little online for studying or reading. So, I had to read 7 different books/topics to qualify for prep exams. 

Then, I had to pass these prep exams as part of my preparation for taking the state exam. Once I’d passed those exams I achieved my education requirements to take the state exam.

I was able to bypass taking the salesperson and take the broker exam because of my education. This is important because the salesperson exam passing threshold was 65%. 

Yes, you heard me, 65%. Can you say LOW, that’s a freakin D y’all! The broker exam threshold was 80%. That didn’t seem like a big deal at the time…

Boy was I, and my ego, about to learn, BIGTIME. So, I scheduled and paid for my exam. The wait was about 8 weeks at that time, and I had to send in a freaking form. This was pre-internet access. I could see the schedule, but I had to fill out a form and mail it in. Ugh!

I did my best to prepare by cramming on the sample exam the program gave me. Cram, cram, cram up to the day before I had to take the exam. Went to the exam and completed it. Yay, hurdle straddled. I had to wait about 3-4 weeks to hear back….

And….And…and… I failed!

OMG, I was so pissed and rejected. I thought for sure I was gonna pass considering my level of education and ability to absorb knowledge. This was a considerable blow to my ego and my self-confidence.

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"Buy land, they're not making it anymore."

It took me about a week or so to get over it and to pick up my bootstraps and keep marching. So, I scheduled and applied for the second exam. Easy peezy, right?!

This time I took my studying a little bit more seriously and would take an hour or two out of my day to study and prepare for this exam. I took time off of work and worked with the practice exams in the coursework damn near daily until my exam several weeks later.

I was confident I was prepared and ready to pass this time. I took the exam successfully, then waited that dreadful 3-4 weeks. And, again, I bombed. I fucking failed it AGAIN. 

Again, I was pissed and bewildered. I thought for sure I was gonna pass considering the preparation I took this time. Lord, this was yet, another dramatic blow to my ego and my self-confidence.

What was I to do now? I was frustrated, angry and at this point scared to take it again. I KNEW I needed something better and way outside my realm of “knowing”. I needed to pull out the big guns now.

I found a company that held a live, two-day prep course. I was game for anything at this point. I did exactly as they suggested before scheduling the prep course. I signed up for my 3rd State exam cycle. Eek!

They had suggested I schedule my exam, then take the course as close to my exam date as I could. It was a GREAT experience. They walked us through everything needed to pass, but, more importantly, they taught me HOW to take the exam. They said it was a READING test as much as a knowledge test.

I had to be clear of the question prior to choosing the MOST correct answer. They use, not, except, nor, and other negations in the exam questions which completely changed the question’s meaning. GREAT insight.

After the prep course I booked a hotel for the night prior to the exam. This way I could study in peace and keep myself in the right mindset for this next exam.

The exam experience this time was completely different. I felt calm, confident and like I knew what I was doing. 3 to 4 weeks later when I got my results, I was very happy to know that I passed this time. I was now an official California real estate broker.

What I learned during this long laborious process is that I don’t always know the best way and may need to ask or perform some research to find out the best way to go about doing something. My ego had gotten in the way twice and slowed down the process of getting my broker’s license by six months.

The rest of the story is history because 21 years later I’m still in the business. What I love most about this business is it’s about connecting and building trust with clients, Realtors and then negotiating and communicating. Those are all things I’m good at and enjoy. I thought when I was getting into real estate that it was all about sales. That is not necessarily the truth.

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