Nikki True has been my assistant and vital to my business for over 6 years. In this episode of The InvestFourMore Real Estate Podcast I talk to Nikki about her career. Nikki happened into the real estate business, but loves it because of the freedom and money she can make. Nikki started out in the property management business working with my sister. When my sister started to downsize her business, I hired Nikki to help me. She has been awesome helping with BPOs, expenses, marketing, and much more. Plus she is a licensed agent and sells more houses than most full-time agents! Nikki has become the main person helping me with my flipping business. On the podcast we talk about all of this, and what it is like working with me and advice she has for others in the business.
Click the play button below to listen to the podcast
How did Nikki stumble into the real estate business?
Nikki went to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and got a degree in sociology with a minor in Spanish. Nikki graduated, but was not having much luck finding a job that related to her degree at all. She ended up finding a job with a property management company, which happened to be owned by my sister. Nikki worked in property management, mainly dealing with college rentals that my sister owned and managed. My sister started to downsize her business while Nikki was there and could not give her full-time work. I needed more help in my business and hired Nikki to work part-time for me, while she still worked part-time for my sister. Nikki eventually quit working for my sister to work only with me, got her real estate license, and has been an awesome help with my business the last 6 plus years.
What was Nikki’s impression of property management versus real estate sales?
Property management was Nikki’s first introduction to real estate, and it may not have been the best way to start out. She worked with a lot of college students, and was not much older than many of them. Renting properties to college students can test your patience. Nikki describes how much turnover they had with their rentals because college students would get home sick or mad at their roommates. College kids also like to throw parties and may not know how to take car of a house, so there was a lot of maintenance and vacancies with the properties. Another problem with renting to college students is screening the tenants. Many college students looking to rent a house are coming straight from the dorms. They have no credit, no prior references and it is tough to tell how responsible they are.
Nikki has helped me with some of my rentals and sold many houses as an agent. She is very candid that she likes working with home buyers and sellers much more than working in property management. She also much prefers single family tenants to college students as renters.
What does Nikki do to sell houses as a part-time agent?
Nikki has been a very successful agent, even though she works the business part-time. She routinely sells more houses in our office than most of the full-time agents. We talk about why she has been successful, but here are a few key points she brings up:
- She is not afraid to talk to friends and family
- She lets everyone know she is a Realtor
- She promotes herself on Facebook in a subtle way
- She does some farming in specific neighborhoods
- She has a flexible schedule
It can be tough to make it as a part-time agent, but Nikki has done very well. One huge advantage she has is she can take off work to answer calls or show houses. If you want to be a part-time agent this makes the business much easier.
We also talked about why other full-time agents have a hard time. Many agents will not focus on on a few key ways to generate leads. They are all over the place with marketing and their day-to-day activities. You can’t write a blog, market to landlords, go after commercial real estate, work on high-end listings, and try to get first time buyers your first year in the business. The more you limit your focus, the more successful you will be.
What does Nikki think of flipping houses?
Nikki has helped transform my flipping business this year. I hired a project manager last year, who I thought would take my flips to knew levels. In the end the project manager and I did not work well together. I decided to have my team work on the flips to make sure contractors were getting repairs done quickly. Nikki has done an awesome job on the flips and we talk about why she likes to work on the flip side so much and how to work with contractors. I have 10 flips at the moment and have already sold 9 flips this year with another closing next week. She gives some great advice on how she sees me buy homes.
What are Nikki’s future plans?
Nikki and her husband Brennen are in the process of building a new house. Brennen is a licensed plumber who we use all the time for work on our houses (he is affordable and does a good job). Brennen and Nikki are planning to oversee much of the construction of their new house and Nikki hopes to use this experience to build on her knowledge of contracting. We have joked before about her becoming a general contractor and now she may actually do it!
If you need plumbing work in Northern Colorado, Brennen’s company is True Plumbing, 970-302-2074 or [email protected]
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[00:00:58.6] MF: Hey everyone, it’s Mark Ferguson with Invest Four More and welcome to another episode of the Invest Four More Real Estate Podcast. Today, I have a really cool guest on the show. Nikki True is on who is my assistant. She’s worked with me for years now, five-six years I’m not sure exactly but she’s been really awesome. She’s a licensed real estate agent, she helps me with my flips, she helps me with BPO’s, does a really great job.
So today, I’m going to interview her, get the inside scoop on what it’s like to work with me, how she’s been successful as an agent, really part time and learn how she’s been successful. So Nikki, thank you so much for being on the show. How are you today?
[00:01:36.3] NT: Good, thank you for having me on the show today Mark, excited to be here.
[00:01:40.8] MF: Cool, no thank for being on. She’s a little nervous she doesn’t do this very often, or ever. So Nikki started working actually for my sister part time and then started working for me but I don’t think she ever thought about being into real estate industry. So to start off with, Nikki tell us what your major was in college, what you’re thinking, did you have plans for college and how did that evolved into real estate?
[00:02:06.3] NT: Yes, so I actually have a degree in sociology and a Spanish minor. So not related to real estate and sales whatsoever. I graduated back in 2009 from UNC here in Greeley. At that time, there wasn’t a huge market for graduates as far as jobs go. I was waiting tables and just tired of it and needed to find something a little bit more stable and something to kind of carry me forward. I had printed out applications for grad school and thought about going that route because there wasn’t a whole lot of jobs in my field unless you had your masters.
So I almost went down that route and then honestly on Craig’s List, I think it was is where I found Wendy, Mark’s sister was just looking for administrative work and managing properties and stuff like that and I applied. It ended up working out great. It wasn’t related at all to my field of my degree and everything but I really enjoyed it and just followed it up to where I am now.
[00:03:04.2] MF: Cool and my sister, she’s invested in rental properties and real estate for years and years and years and her specialty was college rentals and she also had a property management company where she had over a 100 units at one time she managed and so Nikki worked for her as a property management person. I know that may not have been your favorite thing to do but what was your impression of your property management and that business when you’re working for her?
[00:03:31.5] NT: I hated property management and Mark knows how much I hate property management. I was fresh out of college so I was very similar in age to all of the tenants that I was managing and in charge of and they just felt that they didn’t have to listen to me or answer to me when they have answers or concerns and stuff like that and I think that was my biggest issue was I needed to step up and take a little bit more management with them and everything but it was a struggle.
College properties weren’t my thing. I still to this day hate property management. I don’t hate the single family as much but the college was just a struggle for me and I have no desire to ever, even working with Mark, have a college property investment anytime soon.
[00:04:14.9] MF: Right like mine are all single family rentals and I had one college rental that I just sold. But seeing a single family versus a college rental, what do you think is the biggest difference that landlords should look at when deciding if they want to get into college rentals? How are the tenants different from single family tenants?
[00:04:34.5] NT: Definitely I would say the biggest thing was the turnover rate. Most college students don’t stay because they get in a fight with their roommate and one moves out two months later or so and so doesn’t like it here, their parents don’t like it and so our turnover rate was just absolutely ridiculous. Like I said, just every couple of months, I felt like people are finding new tenants to move in and out and I never knew who was in the house and who I was sending bills to and who I was dealing with, people that weren’t on the leases at all.
So that’s probably the number one thing where you get into a single family and tenants are much more long term even if it’s just a year, you usually don’t run into turnovers before that so I think that’s the number one thing. Another thing is just how hard college students are on properties with parties and just the number of people in and out every day and the upkeep. I feel like single family folks take care of the property a whole lot better and they take a little pride in it and try to upkeep stuff and are in contact if stuff is breaking or falling apart. Where a college student really could care less and doesn’t let you know until weeks later that something is broken or been damaged and stuff.
[00:05:42.8] MF: That’s great stuff and one thing that I remember Wendy telling, my sister is she has so many houses that froze over Christmas break because the college students would simply turn the heat off because they wanted to save money and the pipes would freeze and there would be a big disaster and it was a mess but no, good stuff. One thing too when you’re screening, I don’t know if you know this but Wendy would, but when you’re screening tenants for college properties, do you think that’s tougher than single family because they don’t have a credit history, maybe they’re relying on their parents to vouch for them? How do you know if they’re going to be a good tenant?
[00:06:15.3] NT: A lot of them are fresh out of the dorms, so you didn’t have even like a reference like a prior rental reference or anything. If they have prior rental references, we definitely checked with that, otherwise you were kind of just going on parents and if they have a job, we would verify that they had a job and they had an income even if it wasn’t a ton coming in but no, I definitely think that is a big hindrance as well with college properties. You just don’t have the screening ability and credit history and stuff like that to review at all.
[00:06:47.2] MF: No, good stuff. Eventually, my sister kind of phased out her property management business and just manages her own stuff and somehow you came to work with me and it’s been awesome. I love having you here on the team but how do you think your job — well first I guess we’ll start with, what were your first responsibilities with me if you remember and how did that changed versus property management?
[00:07:12.0] NT: First things was definitely like some mailing and marketing I believe and then learning slowly how to take over the broker price opinions, the BPO’s and do those, were definitely the first two main things that I took care of and built off of that.
[00:07:31.1] MF: Yes, I remember you helped with property expenses too on the REO properties, which I absolutely hate messing with.
[00:07:37.3] NT: Yes.
[00:07:38.8] MF: So on the BPO’s, the broker price opinion, is kind of like an appraisal but it’s not appraisal. The real estate agent does to give a value for the bank or sometimes a hedge fund and I also have to complete them for my REO listing. So foreclosure properties that banks give me to list, we have to complete broker price opinion so at one point, I know we’ve done over a 1,000 BPO’s in one year.
I’m not sure exactly how many but I’ve had other people try to do broker price opinions who just could not get them done in a timely manner. They could not get over the hump of figuring how to do a broker price opinion, very smart people but Nikki has been awesome at it. So do you have any tips or ideas on how you’ve been able to work well with BPO’s and get them done quickly and accurately?
[00:08:26.0] NT: I don’t know that there’s any specific secret to it. I think that it’s definitely something that I’ve just developed a system over the last five or six years and kind of just follow the system. It’s never changed a whole lot. I have my set of criteria, I start with that criteria. If it doesn’t work, I expand a little bit here and there until I get what I’m looking for. The math as well, the adjustments and stuff on the BPO’s.
It’s the same thing, just a system that I’ve built in my head and I work overtime and kind of have it down to science where it’s pretty easy and I really enjoy it. I know like Mark and some other people that have tried to do it just hate it. It’s boring and not fun but I think it’s interesting. I like seeing the value of how I like being able to drive through any given neighborhood and I can, looking at the house at this point, I can have a rough idea of what it’s worth so it’s pretty fun.
[00:09:20.1] MF: Yeah, that’s great and I don’t hate doing BPO’s but I feel like my time can be used doing much better things and once in a while when Nikki’s gone on vacation, I do have to do BPO’s still, which is not always fun but I get through it. Learning the value of neighborhoods and properties is a really huge advantage of doing BPO’s. Like Nikki said, I can drive through a neighborhood, she can drive through a neighborhood, we can see a house for sale and pretty much know within 10% of what that house is worth, unless it’s destroyed inside or something happened.
So it’s really a valuable tool for investors, for agents who are just learning the business, valuing properties is probably the most important thing you can do as an agent or an investor and learning BPO’s, completing BPO’s is one of the best ways to figure out values and know how to correctly value a property. So it really is a great skill to have and I’m really glad I did those thousands of BPO’s and learned how to do them even if they’re not the most fun all the time.
All right, so along the way you’ve done broker price opinions, the expenses for REO’s, which we won’t get into that too much but basically as an REO agent, I have to front money for utilities, for repairs sometimes, for getting a house re-keyed. We have to submit those expenses to the bank, the bank pays us bank but you have to do it in a certain way or they will reject it and at a certain time so those can be very frustrating.
But then Nikki also got her real estate license. I’m not even sure when you get but it’s shortly after you started working with me, you got your license so how difficult was it? Was that a hard process to get your license in Colorado?
[00:10:53.2] NT: It’s a time consuming process definitely reading the book, taking the classes online. It’s not something, at least for me, that I was able to get through really quickly in a couple of weeks. I know some agents sit down and knock it out in a week or two. I would say it took me a couple months probably. I wasn’t sitting down full time. I would sit down after work in the evenings and work on it for a couple of hours. Work on it for a couple of hours on the weekends and stuff.
So it did definitely take me a couple of months and then the testing from there isn’t horrible, but it definitely is a time consuming process and just takes time and if nothing else, will powered to kind of just power through the classes because they’re not exciting and it’s pretty dry reading.
[00:11:35.1] MF: Yes and did you pass your test in the first try?
[00:11:37.0] NT: I passed half of my test in the first try. So I won’t lie, I passed, I believed the national portion on the first try, I did not pass the Colorado portion on the first try. I had to go back again and do the Colorado on the second time and I passed it then.
[00:11:51.1] MF: Okay, I won’t make fun of you because I did the same thing, so… Cool and then how have you used your license because you still work for me most of the time doing the BPO’s and different things but at the same time, you’ve been able to sell houses as well. How have you’ve been able to use that license to make some extra money and sell houses? What’s been successful for you?
[00:12:13.3] NT: I really only sell stuff part time and on a pretty much family and friends basis. I’m just too busy right now between doing work for Mark and then I also have two little kids that I like to get in as much time as possible with them. So I really don’t do a ton of marketing. We marketed to the neighborhood I lived in a little bit, I didn’t have much success. So for the most part, I market Facebook, I talk to people when I’m out and about and try to make it known that, “I am a realtor, if you guys have questions, concerns.”
That’s really all I do at Facebook and probably word of mouth marketing and that’s enough to keep me busy where I am making extra money but can still spend time with my family and it’s just really worked out great. Like I said, I don’t do a ton but it keeps me busy and it keeps me happy.
[00:13:02.5] MF: Nikki is being a little modest but she probably sells more houses than half the agents in our office and she does it part time and, as she said, she doesn’t do any special marketing. It’s good old fashion word of mouth, talking to people and it just shows that it takes a little bit of work to be successful as an agent. It’s not rocket science and she does awesome so very good job there. So we’ve done the real estate agent side, the BPO’s.
Recently, you started helping me out with my fix and flips. So last year as many of you know who listened to the podcast, I hired a project manager. I did not go extremely well. I had some issues with that, properties weren’t being fixed, expenses weren’t in line and so I decided to bring that into my team and have someone on my team help me with the flips and Nikki has taken over that role. She’s done an awesome job. We have nine flips now or is it 10?
[00:13:57.9] NT: 10 after yesterday.
[00:13:59.0] MF: 10, because I just bought one yesterday. So we have 10 now. Keeping track of all of that can be tough, keeping track of contractors can be tough. So I would love to ask you, first of all, do you like working on flips?
[00:14:09.6] NT: I love working on flips. I had a lot of fun. It was not something that I’m super involved in it all before but I really enjoyed it this last six or seven months. It gets me out of the office and keeps me busy. It gives me something different work on.
[00:14:21.2] MF: Cool and she says “keep her out of the office”. We’ve learned that the more you can be at houses, the more contractors see you, the more we can keep up on top of things, the better they perform, the better the properties look, the faster things get done. So she is out and about a couple of times a week looking at all our properties, talking to contractors. So that’s been a huge help.
And then speaking of contractors, what has been your experience working with contractors? I know we’ve tried really hard to get good contractors and gone through quite a few. Do you have any tips for people looking for contractors? I know that’s not an easy question to answer because I can’t answer it very well.
[00:14:54.6] NT: I know, do I have any tips? I don’t know if I have any tips. Like Mark said, I think it’s just really important to stay in front of them and make sure they know that you are involved and want to be part of the process and want to see that progress and checking in with them. Even if I’m only at the property every week or so, I’m still texting, calling, e-mailing contractors. Our couple of contractors we have right now I’m sure I talk to on a daily basis.
So there’s constant contact and I think that’s the biggest thing and you’re going to know right away with the contractor if they are not willing to be in contact with you and keep you in the loop. I think that is a big red flag right there that maybe you need to step away and look for something, someone who’s more willing to be in contact and tell you what’s going on and why stuff is getting done or not getting done.
[00:15:40.4] MF: Yes, I would completely agree and I think one of the biggest problems I had before I hired my project manager and I was trying to do everything was I was not on top of my contractors. I kind of let them go and do their own thing and hope things got done well and that never seem to work out well and I think that kind of what I have with my project manager too where he was just kind of not keeping tabs on everything like they have to be with the flip.
So if you’re flipping a house, it’s not like you can just hire a contractor, let them finish it in a month or two and never see the property and hope everything works out well. You have to have constant contact, have to be out there a couple of times a week even to make sure things are going well unless you can build a relationship doing multiple flips where someone knows exactly what you need, they’ve done it for years with you and you can expect what to do. But even then, you still have to keep track of them.
Because in our experience, we’ve had contractors who are awesome for two years, then all of a sudden they dropped the ball and disappeared or stopped working. Things happen all the time so you have to keep track of those contractors. Now, most of my properties I buy from the MLS. We’ve tried a few different marketing areas to buy them as well but Nikki when I have questions from the blog and people talk to me, they always wonder how they can get good deals.
They say there’s no deals on the MLS and you see how I buy them and how I bought properties. So what do you think about buying from the MLS? I mean obviously it’s possible because I do it all the time but do you think it’s that difficult? Do you think it’s very hard or is it just kind of having a system in place? What do you think about buying flips and getting great deals?
[00:17:11.8] NT: I do think it’s definitely a system. I think you can absolutely find good deals on MLS. I think it’s just a matter of being on top of it. Mark searches the MLS all day long, constantly. It sounds crazy and tedious, but every hour just run a quick search and see if something new popped up. Even if it’s something that had just gone under contract, maybe it’s falling apart and if you catch that an hour later, when it came back to active, you’re going to be the first one back in that property and writing an offer.
That’s what he does as soon as stuff comes up. You know, he has me set it up for him and he’s out there within an hour or two of it getting listed and from there, he can e-mail or text myself or his other assistant, John, put together an offer and have an offer to the agent in 30 minutes of it coming back on. So within an hour or two of it coming back on, he has an offer in and ready to go. So I definitely think it’s possible. I think it takes work and it takes a system but absolutely possible.
[00:18:07.0] MF: Cool and also one thing I know you’re surprised a little bit too is some of the offers I get accepted that are maybe a little lower than list price or they’re having multiple offers and they accept mine. But do you see trends and why my offers might get accepted over others and how we structure them?
[00:18:23.4] NT: Yes. I would definitely say some of Mark’s offers when I see them, I think are crazy low and me as an agent I’m just like, “Oh my gosh, why are these people looking at these but he leaves out appraisal, he leaves out inspection, quick close and I think his name also carries himself forward. Agents in this are know when they get an offer from him, it’s not going to fall apart for some stupid inspection reason.
It’s not going to fall apart due to financing and I think they can take that back to their seller and say, “This is a reputable investor in our area. We’re not going to have problems, we’re going to sign this contact and we’re going to close and there’s not going to be a single issue that comes up with this person,” and I think part of it is writing contracts good and having it set up the way it needs be but then the other part is just building that name and making a name for yourself. Where agents in the area know that when they get a deal from you, they’re not going to have any problems.
[00:19:16.5] MF: Cool, thank you. I appreciate that and it does. I think it goes a long way to do things the right way and other agents have a big influence on their sellers and helping them decide what offers to take especially in some of the properties that we’re buying where they need a lot of work or they haven’t been updated for years. Usually, the sellers are not in the greatest financial position to let a house get into that shape.
Or maybe it’s an estate sale and the heirs are fighting over who gets money and they just wanted to close fast and not have to deal with it. So it really can make a big difference in being selective which properties you buy too. I don’t go around making crazy low offers on every listing I see. I’m very specific on properties that need work that are already priced well or maybe they’ve been on the market or come back on the market a bunch of times for inspection issues.
So I am not making 100 offers a week. I make maybe a couple, maybe, depending on the week and I am very selective on what I go after and I think if you make too many offers that are low and crazy, that can hurt your reputation as well so you have to be careful with that too. All right, so on the flips, obviously the most important thing is selling them and getting them sold, which has been tricky working with contractors and getting everything done.
But what is your take in opinion on how nice to make flips and the repairs you should make on doing flips? I know we’ve worked with some contractors who want to do everything themselves and they don’t always have the same design choices as us but I guess what I’m getting at is sometimes I see flips that are overdone and don’t appraise right because they make them too nice. Other times people do really weird things and maybe turn off some buyers or they don’t fix them up enough. Do you have opinions on how you think you should fix up a flip?
[00:21:05.7] NT: I think this comes back to us knowing the market and knowing — we know not to put too much money on it because from those BPO’s, we know what the property is going to appraise for, what it’s going to worth fixed up. I think you need to do pretty, I like to stick with pretty basic neutral ones, keeping up with trends but not getting crazy trendy and keeping it basic where someone can come in and change our tan wall color if they don’t like it.
But you know we’re not going in and pain the house bright yellow on the inside or something but I think it’s important to keep a broad spectrum in mind even though pink is my favorite color. I’m not going to go in and paint all the bedrooms pink in the house because that would be crazy. So I think it’s just keeping a broad audience in mind and also, like we were talking, making sure you know the neighborhood, you know the value.
Don’t put $50,000 worth of repairs into a home that you know isn’t going to be justified at the end of the deal when it doesn’t appraise because it’s over improved so much compared to everything else in the neighborhood.
[0:22:08.8] MF: Great stuff and I completely agree. All right, so we’ve gone through a lot of the flipping business, what else you do on our team, the real estate side. Personally I want to talk about a few things too, you haven’t really invested in real estate yourself but you’ve bought and sold a couple of houses and right now you’re in the process of building a house and doing a record exemption which many people will never do in their life because it can be a kind of a hassle. What made you want to go through this process of building a house and going through all the work of getting this whole process completed?
[0:22:44.9] NT: Yes, so I don’t even know if I wanted to go through this process. I think it was more, “I live in town, my husband has his own plumbing business, his business is kind of just outgrown our house, it has taken over our garage, it’s taken over our back yard, his trucks, his trailers, we don’t have space for them. So we need to be in an area where we can put up a shop eventually where he can park his two work trailers, where can park his two work trucks, that kind of stuff and it just wasn’t working in our neighborhood.
Northern Colorado country prices are outrageous, we just can’t afford to live in the country for the kind of house we’re looking for with the land, with any out buildings or something. So we kind of decided to go another route, I’m lucky enough, my family for years and years has owned about 160 acres, not my ideal location, it’s north east of our office in Greeley. Not quite a central as I’d like to be but about 20 miles northeast of where our office is and was lucky enough that my dad agreed to split off a couple, three, four acres of his 160 in order for us to be able to build a house and possibly put up a shop and stuff like that one day.
We’ve been working on that probably since about the beginning of the year, so the last six or seven months. It is a huge process, a huge — just the first step, the recorded exemption, the paper worked on it, I sent in a 90 page or so packet, I’ve filled out county paper work that’s required, different documents that they require everything from there. They have to review it and approve it, I actually just got approval this week for it.
Now we send it off to have a survey done on the land and get that finalized and then can go back to the county even before we can start the building. So there’s tons of steps involved before we’re even breaking ground for the house. We were hoping to late summer, early fall, I don’t know if that’s going to be realistic or not now just because of the timeline and it’s been interesting, it’s been a learning process.
[0:24:47.0] MF: Yes, and I know it surprised me how much it cost, what they were for some of the stuff. How much is it just to have your architectural drawings done?
[0:24:56.1] NT: It was, for the house we’re doing, the house is roughly 3,500 square feet. It was right around $3,500 – $3,800 for the architectural drawings, that’s before it’s engineered and then that will be around another thousand dollars to have in engineered once we’re ready for that step of it.
[0:25:15.1] MF: That was a plan you found online that you just tweaked? That wasn’t…
[0:25:18.5] NT: Yes, it was a plan, we found online, modified, made it bigger, made some personal changes to make it work better for us, but yes it was just something we found online and personally modified.
[0:25:28.8] MF: Yes, and then once you write a build and do everything, you guys are kind of sort of general contracting it but not really? How did you find a builder and figure out that side of it?
[0:25:37.7] NT: My husband is a licensed plumber, he’s been in plumbing for the last eight or 10 years and gone out on his own a couple of years ago. He has been lucky enough to work with a couple of really good builders that they don’t do a ton of building, they do more of the specialized custom homes, they only do a handful a year. He gets opportunity to work on really nice kind of higher end homes that this guys build.
He’s actually kind of partnering with two or three of them, they’re all going to be doing little bit of work on the property, but the one agreed to just kind of specialize and help Brandon and myself if we do need help. He’s kind of walked us through the process. He’s the one that’s going to be framing, he has a framing company and all that kind of stuff. So he’ll be taking care of that as well, it’s kind of overseeing and just directing us but not actually charging us like the full general contractor price that you would pay when you pay a builder to build a new house.
[0:26:31.8] MF: So it definitely helps to have some connections in the business. Cool, so you’re working on building a house, I know that’s been a little stressful for you. You just are selling your house this week and moving into temporary housing until your new house is done, you got your license, you’ve got your job. I think you’re doing an awesome job, it’s going pretty well.
What about goals for the future? Any ideas on what you’re looking to do, accomplished in the next few years or longer out?
[0:26:56.4] NT: Yes, I think one of them, it will be interesting, it kind of entails both work and personal is with the building of our house, I’d really like to be pretty involved and see like the construction side of stuff so I can’t carry that back over to the flips. Mark and I have kind of joked about like me being a general contractor, I don’t know that I would take it that far but just really gaining some knowledge and being able to move forward with that both on my personal house and the flips and, like I said, I guess I don’t have a specific goal in mind for that but just really being able to work with that and see where that takes me.
Every year I also kind of set a sales goal, I don’t usually — I can’t remember if I shared my sales goal with Mark in the office or not? But at the beginning of the year, I always kind of set a number that I have in mind. This year I’m super close to my number already. I need like one more big house or two more smaller deals to get to that number that I have in mind, so hopefully. I’ve still got a few more months.
Don’t have any super active deals right now but hopefully can find something else and that’s just kind of what I do as I set a number every year at the beginning of the year and hope I hit it and reevaluate the next year and usually bump it up and stuff. It will be interesting and that’s just kind of what I like to do.
[0:28:12.4] MF: Cool, and then you ran into kind of a couple of frustrating situations the last couple of years with real estate where you didn’t get paid a commission but sometimes things just happen in real estate, you have to realize that you’re not going to get every deal, some deals are going to go bad, some are going to go not the way you liked it. Do you mind talking about maybe your most frustrating deal in the last year and what happened?
[0:28:35.0] NT: I’ve had a couple. 2014 was not my year, I’ll be the first to say that it was horrible. One deal, it was thought most expensive house I had done to that point so pretty high dollar for me since I don’t do a ton of stuff. Wrote the offer and the agent came back and said he was not willing to pay a commission at all.
Ended up just being kind of messy and my buyers, I wasn’t really willing to make them say that they had to pay me a commission because we still had a house to sell for them, another pretty high dollar house. Ended up being actually more expensive than the one they bought. High dollar house to sell, high dollar house they were buying. I wasn’t comfortable asking them to pay me commission twice.
So it was horrible and I lost a lot of sleep over it but at the end of the day it was just a commission and it wasn’t worth getting that worked up about and moved forward. Got there other household, made money there, they’re great people, they were very appreciative. We had been looking for a long time and it was just the house that they had kind of had their heart set on and it just happened to be that it didn’t pay a commission. So that had to be okay.
[0:29:42.2] MF: Nikki is leaving out a little bit of the story to kind of — she’s being nice. But what happened was an agent who was actually in our office had told her about this house and said, her buyer should go look at it sometime and he failed to kind of mentioned that he wasn’t paying commission until after they decided they liked it.
There was a lot of drama, a lot of things going on in the office about how that was handled and how it worked out and I wasn’t real happy with the situation and neither was she. But in the end, she handled it the right way, I think she took care of her clients and did what was best for them. In the long run, that’s going to help her out a lot more than if she would have steered them away from that house or told them they had to do something, pay her commission even though she didn’t tell them upfront or a lot of bad things could have happened from that and she handled it the right way.
As far as the other agent, obviously we avoid doing business with him on basically anything because we see the way he does business. So a lesson for people out there trying to maybe make a quick buck and screw some other people over. It usually doesn’t work out for you in the long run, it will catch up to you eventually. Even though I know that frustrated Nikki a lot and it frustrated me too, it worked out okay, not ideal but she did an awesome job handling it and in the future that will help her out as opposed to blowing things up or handling it in a different way, good job on that.
[0:30:59.8] NT: Thank you.
[0:31:00.6] MF: Very cool. I guess before we head out of here, we talked about a couple of different things, we had a number of agents come through our team, some who have done awesome, some who have not done quite so great, what have you seen at your site because you’ve done really well as a part time agent. You do better than most full time agents probably.
What have you seen some traits of the agents who are successful versus the ones who maybe aren’t as successful as far as selling houses?
[0:31:27.2] NT: I think just listening and being able to follow the system. Myself, I came in knowing absolutely nothing, not having any real estate background whatsoever and I think working with Mark has really helped just because he has this system, he has the tools in place to be successful if you want to, if you just put in that little bit of effort, not even a ton of effort, just follow the system, do what’s laid out in front of you and you can’t really screw it up.
It’s when you’re not willing to follow the system and you’re not — you think you can go out on your own and do all this things and think you’re going to make it big. It takes time, it takes effort and you know, there are systems in place for a reason because they’re here to make you successful and I think that’s the biggest thing the agents that haven’t succeeded were just — had their own things in mind and wanted to go their own route and it kind of came back to bite them in the butt it looked like.
[0:32:20.8] MF: Yeah, I was saying, I think focus is really important too, I see a lot of agents who try and do 10,000 different things at once and they do none of them well and it just is, you end up doing so much better if you just focused on one or two things that you do really well instead of trying to do 800 different things mediocre.
No one wants, no one cares about the 799 other things you’re doing, they just want the one thing you’re doing with them for you to be able to do it really well. So Nikki is really good at letting her friends and family know that she’s an agent and I see some of her post on Facebook that are funny about realtors and what silly stories they have and at the same time, she lets people know, “Hey, I’m also one of this realtors, if you ever need to buy or sell a house, here I am.”
There’s some agents who won’t even do that and just take a couple of minutes to let other people know that. They go off trying to create a giant website or doing just other crazy marketing stuff when really the basics are what help you sell houses. So all right, that is all I had, anything else you want to add? Any tip s for success for people to look into get in to real estate?
[0:33:28.2] NT: I don’t think so, not that I can think of but thank you for having me on today.
[0:33:32.6] MF: Sure, what’s your favorite part about being in the real estate industry?
[0:33:36.2] NT: The flexibility that it offers for me with my family and young children. I enjoy being able to have a career and really enjoy my career and succeed at it but still being able to put that time towards my family and spend time with them.
[0:33:49.7] MF: Cool, I would agree with that 100% for me too. All right Nikki, thank you so much for being on the show, you did an awesome job, I know you’re a little nervous but you did great. Yeah, thank you.
[0:33:59.8] NT: Thank you very much.
[0:33:59.8] MF: I appreciate it.
[0:34:00.6] NT: Yes, thank you.