Agent vs Lender

What You Focus On Expands

February 25, 2021 Ron Pippin
Agent vs Lender
What You Focus On Expands
Chapters
Agent vs Lender
What You Focus On Expands
Feb 25, 2021
Ron Pippin

If you are not getting any sales, are you being true to your values?

On this weeks podcast we speak to Tonja Masina of Paradise Realty. We discuss being a solo agent, time management, and your focus as an agent. We also discuss the heated debate of the involvement between buyers agents, your clients, and the builders agent. Learn how you can be there for your client during these transactions and how Tonja is trying to change the way these transactions are done. This episode is loaded with ways you can better help your client and create a better focus to grow your business. 

You can listen to all episodes of Agent Vs Lender on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play. If you love Agent Vs Lender follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for all bonus content. 

Show Notes Transcript

If you are not getting any sales, are you being true to your values?

On this weeks podcast we speak to Tonja Masina of Paradise Realty. We discuss being a solo agent, time management, and your focus as an agent. We also discuss the heated debate of the involvement between buyers agents, your clients, and the builders agent. Learn how you can be there for your client during these transactions and how Tonja is trying to change the way these transactions are done. This episode is loaded with ways you can better help your client and create a better focus to grow your business. 

You can listen to all episodes of Agent Vs Lender on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play. If you love Agent Vs Lender follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for all bonus content. 

Ron Pippin:

Welcome to another episode of agent versus lender. And today I'm excited to have Tonja Masina. with uh she's, the broker and owner of Paradise Realty. And welcome, Tonja. It's, it's I'm really actually pretty excited to have you on.

Tonja Masina:

It's really a pleasure to be on a podcast of yours, too. So thank you for inviting me.

Ron Pippin:

Awesome. So tell us, you know, just just introduce us to yourself, tell us a little bit how you got into business and where you're at today.

Tonja Masina:

Okay, so I started in 2002, I wanted to become an agent so that I could purchase homes and just kind of build wealth with real estate, like my grandmother had done. And so I got into real estate and I actually really don't help myself very much buying and selling anything, because I helped a lot of other people instead

Ron Pippin:

have rental properties, you don't have any properties of your own.

Tonja Masina:

I do now. But I like thinking out back over 18 years for how much I thought I was going to be doing it for myself. I really haven't. So yeah. So about six years ago, I realized that I could probably open my own company and reap the benefits of doing that and having more flexibility with clients and not having so much corporate red tape. And so I opened my own company, and it's been such a fun adventure. And I I've loved every minute of it. I should have done it sooner.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, so for those that are listening, um, Tony is the real deal. She did 120 transactions last year. I don't know if I should say that. I don't know if that's a cool thing to say or not. But I you know, she probably wouldn't, she probably wouldn't toot our own horn. So I'm going to because that's an amazing, accomplished accomplishment to do that many transactions as a as a real estate agent.

Tonja Masina:

Thank you. I really, I don't know how many other people do so. I saw. So I don't know. I just

Ron Pippin:

so you know, what's really funny is like, we were talking and so tell me for 120 transactions. Normally you have a team, what Who's your team.

Tonja Masina:

My team is my sister who I actually hired probably 16 years ago because I realized I couldn't do the paperwork myself. And I actually didn't like the paperwork. And she's really good at it. And so I hired her she's a really good worker, she's able to do a lot of paperwork she does. She works only from nine to two every day. And it's pretty much just her and I and we've got a really good system down. That makes it really easy for me to plug people and I still can't probably do more than 120 and keep the same customer service level. And that's really important to me too.

Ron Pippin:

Well, I I'm actually shocked that you have basically a part time assistant, and you do 120 transactions a year. That's a testament to your system and to your into you managing your time because most of us just couldn't do that. If you're you're what I call a unicorn. So I want to talk a little bit about maybe what you do to manage your time because I'm just I'm just I'm still just really shocked 120 transactions with a part time person to help you manage people work. What is your day look like you you like? You like plan out your day. Do you have you You block time you block time for specific activities.

Tonja Masina:

Um, most of the time, I, I know that I've taken a lot of classes that teach me how to time manage and time block. And a lot of times it goes out the window, because I've got people that come from out of state or people that have certain jobs that they have to deal with. And so for me, it was more of a and I prepare the night before I get all the documents I need for today, last night, so they're all in a stack ready to go in the order that I need them in. And so that really helps me be able to wake up and focus on getting ready for the day and, and giving the self care that I need for myself to be able to make it through the day. So that was probably the best thing that I ever did was get ready the night before. So I'm not stressed about anything today. And I do, I probably could be better at time blocking as far as when I schedule appointments, but I have to be flexible, if I want to get a listing, and they can only meet me at 7pm. That's what I'm gonna go, you know, and so you got to be flexible, but also stingy, kind of there's a good balance there. I don't give up time with my family if my daughter has a soccer game. And I've raised four kids, you know, in the thick of this job, and my kids always come first. And my clients respect that. And they understand it. And I've never had a problem with that. You know,

Ron Pippin:

I've found so many times that in our industry that people think they have to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And and if you you put a client off for a couple hours are going to call somebody else. And I've just found that that's not true, as long as as long as you can. You can tell people what's going on and keep them informed that, hey, I've just I'm going to my kids soccer game. Can I call you after that? Mostly, I'm with you. Most people are really respectful of that, that you don't have to leave your kids soccer game for, you know, 30 minutes, most people will wait that 30 minutes or an hour. Business will still will still be there when you're done with the soccer game.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah. And if there ever was a person that that wouldn't respect that it would be okay. If they didn't want to work with me, you know, but I've done it has never happened, but it would be okay with me.

Ron Pippin:

Okay, that's, that's a really good, that's really good advice for most of us, because most of us just don't get that part. And I'm actually a little shocked that you don't time block a little bit more, because, but but it sounds like it sounds like you're very organized. You put things together the night before, which I have personally found very helpful. Because if I get up in the morning, and I don't have my day already planned, then the day plans me.

Tonja Masina:

Yes, oh, yeah. And I do have a, you know, kind of a simple morning routine where if I have to get up and start working on client things right away it, it throws away everything that I did I do in the morning, and then I'm off the rest of the day. So that's the way I found to keep on you know, I walk with my friends in the morning. And that's important to me. And if I had to be doing stuff for clients in the morning, then I would give up walking with friends. And that's not gonna happen. So you know, you just got to prioritize. Sure.

Ron Pippin:

So there is some time blocking you. So like, like, I go, I go and do some reading in the morning and I go and run on the treadmill or run outside or do a little little lifting or do something. And and I do that every morning. But it's usually early enough that most clients are calling me. But so there's still some time blocking that you do so that you can have your priorities. And just like you said, you have your family, you have your balance of life, because if it's work 24 seven people just burn out too fast.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah, it's not worth it. It's not worth it.

Ron Pippin:

So 120 transactions a year, how do you get business? What is it that you do to bring business in the door?

Tonja Masina:

I was funny. I get a lot of agents that asked me that just agents that call and show my listings and like how do you do all this? And it's they're asking, they'll always call and say can you tell me do you get Zillow leads, do you and I'm like, No, I've never done any of that. But it's because I I like working with the people that I love and that trust me. And so I just figured that it's better time and money spent on the people that have already worked with me. They already love me and trust me and I love them back and I think if you sincerely care about other people comes through, and they've always taken care of me, I always just have people from my fly. It's a constant stream. And that's been perfect for me. And I just keep in touch with them. And I don't know they're become a friends, you can't work with me and not expect to be my friend. So

Ron Pippin:

sincerity can't be faked. It just, it just can't.

Tonja Masina:

I don't think so. But I, because I just I really do love the people that I work with. And I feel like I can learn something from every single person. And so I just love learning from them, and I don't know being part of their lives.

Ron Pippin:

So it sounds like then you You mind your, your past client database, and you keep in touch with people when I say mine, and what, to me, that just means you're keeping in touch with them, you're, you don't you don't do a transaction, and then just say, oh, call me in five or six years or seven years when you want to decide to move again, just like you keep in touch with them.

Tonja Masina:

Yes, I I even tell them I say hey, you're not done with me, I'm going to be your friend for life. So yeah, they they know, all through the transaction that I'm their friend, I go to their, you know, baby showers and they're, like, I go to their themes, because I sincerely want to keep in touch with them. I want to know what's happening in their lives. That's important to me to know, their their kids names, their dog's names, their grandkids, you know, that's fine.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, that that's, that's awesome. I've only met a few people in my life, that work strictly their database and do no other marketing, and do really, really well, I know another loan officer. That's all that's all he's done. And never bought a lead doesn't doesn't do the social media theme, doesn't do you know, doesn't do anything. He's just kept track of his bait database of his past client database. And just like you become friends, so it's rare that I find somebody that's done that and done it to the level that you have.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah, I've taken some classes on social media and things like that. But I feel like because of what my core values are, it throws off. And it just throws me off, it kind of derails me instead of keeps me in, in line with what I want in my life. And so I just, I don't get involved in the social media and the people that do that's great. Whatever works for you, I think you should do it. But for me, it was just kind of pulling me away from my focus and my family. And it's not what I wanted.

Ron Pippin:

So, yeah, good for you for identifying that too. Because most of us, we get sucked into social media. I mean, it's, it's a time suck if you're not careful. So it's like I find myself scrolling through feeds all the time. And it's just like, pretty soon, you know, you think, Oh, I'm just gonna go do one thing on social media and pretty soon hours passed.

Tonja Masina:

Right? Yeah. And I, I have never ever had that. But just because I'm focused on other things, and that's okay. Whatever your focus is, you know, make it work for you.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah. Good. Good for you, though. So, I love I love that business strategy. It's, it's, it's hands down. By far, the best strategy, if, if there is one thing that you can ever do to make your business, go to the next level, it's what you're doing. It's not social media, it's not buying leads. It's not, it's not any of those things. The number one way to make your business really sore is your past database. So and you've thought you you think, I don't know if you knew that. But but but that is and that's been a proven fact. So you're living testament to that. It's, it's been fun. It's, it's nice to meet somebody that's done that. So let's, let's switch gears a little bit. We we've, I had somebody on on our podcast not too long ago, just just a week or two ago. And she was she does a lot of builders she she does $1 building. And one thing that she mentioned was for advice that she gave to the sellers or to the to the buyer's agent was to keep involved in the transaction. But you and I have had a different experience with this. So let's talk about builders and, and builders, agents that are maybe captured agents and what our experiences and This may get a little controversial. So this. So anyway, let's let's talk about that. So tell tell me about your experience with builders and, and builders agency. And, and what that just what you have found when you come across the builders.

Tonja Masina:

Okay, so um, I think my biggest concern is that no matter how much I try to educate a buyer that I need to be the first contact with anything at all they do with a builder, they don't quite understand that they can't just go online and click the little bubble and ask, are there any slots available? Because what we found is even if a client just asked a simple question, I'm there capture that client's information. And somehow that means the client is working with the builder and slash builders agent. And so it's really hard for me to explain to a buyer that even if you want me to ask one simple question, it has to be me that asked, because that, to me doesn't seem like it's the best customer service for the general public. So I've kind of looked into it, I called the division of real estate to say, what can we do about this. And I think the main problem right now is that builders are not regulated by the division of real estate like we are, we have certain codes, like if somebody calls me on a listing to from the general public, that doesn't mean that they're my client, it means that they're asking if the house is available, and if they can see it. So there's a disconnect there. And it's because the builders are regulated by a different department, which I can't remember the name of, but they, I had a great talk with the division. And they said that what we could do is, you know, kind of get some people together and talk to our legislature and see if there's something we can do to kind of make it better for the public. And that was that was my big concern is I just don't want my buyers going in and feeling like they have to use the builders agent, they have to use the builder's lender, where it may or may not be the best thing for them. And they don't understand why just asking a simple question would mean that they have to work with those people. And so for me, I just want I just want the general public to be protected and cared for. And that's where I'm coming at the angle of, you know,

Ron Pippin:

yeah, so as a lender, we have you, we've come across builders all the time. And they have preferred lenders. And just like, just like most agents do, most agents have a preferred lender that they like to work with. And when they are building a house, they are giving incentives to the, to the buyer to use their preferred lender. And it could be, it could be some kind of an upgrade, it could be some amount towards closing costs, but something that they're giving to, to us, they're their preferred lender. So in fairness to the builder, I get why they do that, because they know, they know and trust this built this this lender, and they'd want, they want to make sure that the transaction doesn't fail, because just like you, you and I know there's there's good agents, there's bad agents, there's good lenders, there's bad lenders, and they don't want somebody to get with a bad lender and have have something screwed up and have the whole transaction fall apart, right at the last minute. So they so they're giving an incentive. The problem with that, that I have found is that oftentimes, the loan that they're getting is either a little more costly, or not as good of an interest rate than other lenders that can provide to them. But they're getting pressure from the builder to use their preferred lender, even though it's not in their best financial interest to do so. And it sounds like that's the same. Same gripe or hate use, gripe, But the same concern is that is that they're getting pressured from the builder to use an agent. And I've even seen them try to steal and just say, hey, if you don't use your this other agent, I can maybe get you a better deal on the house. And that should just be like, that should just be wrong. And I'll tell you why I have an issue with this is is if who's gonna fight for that buyer, if if the agent is representing the builder, then who's representing the buyer.

Tonja Masina:

And that's exactly the concern that I have for the public and why I think that there needs to be a change to protect them. I I really Feel like something needs to be done, both on the agent and the lending side? Because you're right, I have seen people go and I'm like, Whoa, that's a horrible interest rate, you know, but you got $5,000.You know,

Ron Pippin:

gonna pay that you're gonna pay 20,30, $40,000 in the long run for they do is they look at this, they look at this, this front end thing and say, Hey, I'm getting $5,000 I'm gonna use this because I'm getting $5,000. But they don't look at the long term.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah, well, nobody explains it to them, because they don't have someone on their on their side really, is kind of how I see it. So for me, it's a it's that I want to do what's best for the people out there that don't have the knowledge or don't understand what's happening. I don't I don't feel like it's fair to them. And so I really feel passionate about trying to make a change to make it better.

Ron Pippin:

Have you had it? And I think I think that's a long time coming, because this has been on my mind to how to make that change. I haven't made the phone calls to find out how to do that. Have you done any digging on on? You know, is there a petition that needs to be signed? Is there something you know, you and I are gonna get in trouble with builders over this this podcast.

Tonja Masina:

So hopefully, they can see it from our perspective as well, you know, where, as well to a higher standard, I can't just go take somebody else's client whenever I want to, because they asked a question.

Ron Pippin:

And, and and on that same vein as as a lender, if I gave somebody an incentive to do something, I'd lose my license, I can give somebody incentive. So somebody gives me a referral. I can't give them a thank you, you know, oh, here's $100 for a referral.

Tonja Masina:

Right.

Ron Pippin:

They would take my liscence.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah, it's a it's a problem in my in my opinion, that needs to be resolved. And I did talk to the division. And they told me to call my legislature and see if we can get I think what we would have to do is get a petition sign and get on their. In their meetings, we'd have to get on their agenda. So.

Ron Pippin:

So put you on the spot a little bit here. Is that something that you're willing to head up? Is that what is that what you're saying? Yeah,

Tonja Masina:

if I feel strong enough about something, because honestly, I care enough about people that this this is happening to, I'm absolutely going to work on it. And I get a lot of agents calling and asking what I think about things. And just because I I'm a broker and owner, and we've had lots of conversations about it, it's a concern. industry wide. I just think somebody needs to say, this is what needs to happen. Who's in? And I think everybody would want to participate because they care about people.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, I can see that. I think you're probably right. So a petition. So is is that, are you I'm telling you, man, we're gonna have some fallout from

Tonja Masina:

I know, but like I said, I hope they can see it from our point of view where they're licensed agents, and they learn the code of ethics, just like, just like I do, and the things that are happening are not. You know, it's not, it's not correct.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah. And I'm not I'm not trying to say that builders are bad because building, you know, I've had, I've had families, I personally haven't built a new home, but I've had family members, and most of my family have built a new home. And there's something about having a new home, it's, it's pretty cool, because you have you have some say and how that design is going to be and so there's, there's cool, there's some cool factor, it's a cool factor.

Tonja Masina:

I think I had 15 buyers last year that bought new construction, I'm not against it at all. I love the idea of brand new, it's just if they're gonna, I just want them to play by the rules to make sure that people are protected and understand what's happening.

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, I think it's a matter of choice. And, and people feel like their choices are being taken away, either because they're being a little bit pressured, or because they're getting an incentive that maybe isn't as great of an incentive as they think it is in the long run.

Tonja Masina:

Right? Because they don't understand how that incentive works. And maybe there's a legitimate times when there's just a true incentive, but most of the time you know, most of the times the clients not understanding how they're getting that incentive.

Ron Pippin:

Well and and not just incentives, but also going back to if they don't you a buyer's agent at such as you that goes in and fights for them and, and talks to the builder and helps them understand some of these logistics, then they're just getting, they're getting an agent. That's, that's, that's there to protect a builder.

Tonja Masina:

Right.

Ron Pippin:

Right. And equally important for the consumer to understand that.

Tonja Masina:

Yeah, like I said, most of you know, no matter how many times I try to educate my clients on it, it, they're not in a place where they understand it enough to anyway, yeah, we just we need to do we need to go the other way and see if we can help it. So yeah, I'm going to be following up with that for sure.

Ron Pippin:

Oh, you've mentioned a couple times, you're driven by your values. So what, in your I think your balance and family Sorry, I'm switching gears on you, again? driven by values? What is what does that mean? What does that mean to you that you're driven by your values, um,

Tonja Masina:

I think everybody is more than they know. But whatever your core deep beliefs are, like, for me, mine are that I never want any regrets with how I raised my kids and how much time I spent with my kids. And so for me that validate core deep value of, of that important family time was so ingrained and deep in me that if I ever had gone against that, it would have been uncomfortable, I would have hated my job. And you know, it wouldn't have been worth anything that I would have given up to have that inner peace, because I was following my core values. So I learned a long time ago that if your values are clear, decisions are easy. And so I want to find out early on, what are my values? And what things Am I holding true to that give me peace, because the second that you go away from that is when you feel off kilter and unhappy and overwhelmed. So if you keep your your values in line with what you're doing, and how you're living your life, it's just, it's really amazing how it all comes together. And it's just, it's amazing.

Ron Pippin:

So how does that how does that equate to? You said you never bought Zillow leads to your you don't do social media? How does being true to your values? How does that how does that equate to sales? Or how does that equate to your business?

Tonja Masina:

Um, so like, you kind of brought up if if I were to, I think social media can be very addictive. I don't know. Because I don't, I don't really don't do it. I posted my daughter's wedding pictures. And I posted them and I left the page. I don't even know who's responded. So it's one of those things I wanted on there for a journal entry. But I'm not going to go on there and see how many likes I got, or because that's not important to me. What's important to me is, who did I help today? And what do I learn from someone today? And so I think you can really get caught up really easily in the wrong things if you don't know what you want.

Ron Pippin:

So you so I'm going to, I wrote down a quote that you that you said, prior to the podcast, are you not getting sales? If you're not getting sales? Are you true to your values? And I thought that was a pretty profound statement. And if people were more true to their values, they wouldn't get you know, some of us are just like, oh, squirrel, squirrel. What's the next best thing? But it's maybe not true to your values. So your values are your, your peeps, it's just like, my, who is my family who are my clients? You know, that's that's my that's, that's your values. And it shows in your sales it shows in your business.

Tonja Masina:

I love how you said squirrel because you know how many offers I get, you know, when you are published in the paper and things as a top agent, I get so many calls for coaches and for all these things that I could I could dedicate my time and my energy and my money to but it's like, why would I do that? I'm happy with what I have. I'm happy with the number I'm doing. I'm happy with the people that surround me. So why why do you add why add anything extra? That would be a squirrel. There's no need. There's no need?

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, I love that. Tonja. I don't even know what to say to that. That's that's that's like another profound statement. It's it's just like you know, what is important in your life and you don't need to Bring all these other distractions in because it will, it can, it can derail you pretty quick.

Tonja Masina:

Right? And when you're doing 120 transactions, I, I really have to stay focused on taking care of those people and taking care of my family and taking care of me. And if you do extra things that people always great big hype of stuff, you know, I could grow my business, I could add a whole bunch more people to my business, and I could do 500 transactions, but you know what, that's not that's not my core, I want to be happy with what I'm doing and have that balance in my life. And you have to find that balance. And when you find it, it's beautiful. And you don't need anything else.

Ron Pippin:

Man. It, I love that. It's, it's been, this has actually been a really enlightening podcast for me. Because sometimes, I always add, you know, I'm always I have a whole team behind me. So I'm one of those guys that, you know, we need to get more, we'll add some more people, we'll just do some more. And I think sometimes I find myself out of balance myself. So you know, it's something that I probably need to look at myself. So it's, that's I thank you for bringing that into the podcast.

Tonja Masina:

You're welcome. What do you think at the end of your life, what do you want to look back and say, I worked 80 hours a week? I don't think anybody want to say that.

Ron Pippin:

You know, and I'll be honest, so you, you mentioned, you mentioned that you brought in your sister because you didn't like paperwork. It's not it's it's just not your thing. And that's the reason why I started building a team too, is because I found that there are things that I that I do things that I like to do and things that I'm good at. And the other things that I don't really like to do, and I'm not good at, I just hired out. Because I just, and I'm finding that I'm actually doing more business, and finding more time to do other things, because I'm getting all of that other stuff off of my plate. And it's allowing me to do the things that I want to do, which is going out and talking to people and, and getting some business in the door and doing the sales type activities and letting my team go closed alone. And I don't get in their way. Unless there's a problem. It's rare that there's a problem that they can't solve. But if there's a problem they can solve, and they'll say, hey, Ron needs some help with this one. But other than that, man, I just, I just do the stuff that I like to do and that I'm good at and leave it to my team and

Tonja Masina:

that a beautiful place to be. Yeah,

Ron Pippin:

it's wonderful. To be there.

Tonja Masina:

Well, the reason why it takes me twice as long to do paperwork, as it does my sister is because I don't like it. Any excuse not to do it.

Ron Pippin:

I'm right there with you. So Can Can I process alone? Absolutely. I know how to process alone. But it takes me three or four times as long as my processor, because she's she likes that kind of stuff. And it is just like it is just not me. It's just takes me forever to do that stuff.

Tonja Masina:

I totally understand.

Ron Pippin:

Well, Tanya, that this has been awesome. I love talking to you. And hopefully we can make make make some change in this industry a little bit. And what if there was a what is the best way for somebody to get hold of you if they wanted to get hold of you?

Tonja Masina:

My cell phone, text or call? Do you want that number?

Ron Pippin:

Yeah, absolutely. Okay,

Tonja Masina:

it's 801-808-5084 801-808-5084.

Ron Pippin:

Perfect. Well, any other words of wisdom you would like to leave us with?

Tonja Masina:

Just a quote, everybody's heard before what you focus on expands. So make sure what you're focusing on is something you want to expand.

Ron Pippin:

That's awesome. All right. So if you want to get hold of me or my team, you can get hold of us at 801-628-7667. And thanks again, Tony. I appreciate you being on on this episode.

Tonja Masina:

The pleasure was all mine. Really. Thank you so much.

Ron Pippin:

And that will bring to close another episode of agent versus lender.