The Alimond Show

Jeff O'Clair - Estate Agent

March 20, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Jeff O'Clair - Estate Agent
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how the principles of sales transcend industries, or how they can be applied to something as intricate as real estate? Our latest episode welcomes a real estate guru with a rich history in the bustling health club sector and a storied transition through pivotal roles at companies like Carfax. We delve into the essence of sales, the transformative power of effective communication, and how forging strong relationships can be the bedrock of success. Our guest shares invaluable experience, ensuring listeners walk away with a trove of actionable insights on thriving in environments with intense call volumes and the strategic maneuvers of successful real estate prospecting.

Shifting our focus from sales strategies, we tackle the intriguing world of real estate investments for college athletes. Imagine leveraging your Name, Image, and Likeness not for short-term gains but for a future of financial freedom. We discuss how these young sports stars can make smart investment choices, with a nod to the influential role of former athletes as loan officers guiding the way. The mantra "marry the house, date the rate" becomes a cornerstone piece of advice for anyone looking to invest in real estate, and we outline the roadmap for first-time homebuyers. This segment is a must-listen for anyone looking to play the long game in building personal wealth.

Concluding with a heartfelt discussion on the tightrope walk of work-life balance, our guest shares personal anecdotes on setting boundaries that don't compromise client satisfaction in the relentless pace of the real estate industry. We get a front-row seat to strategies that negotiate the current market trends where buyers are regaining bargaining strength. And to top it off, we underscore the profound impact of cultivating meaningful relationships and the support network that not only bolsters professional achievement but enriches our personal lives. This episode doesn't just give you the keys to professional triumph; it opens the door to a harmonious, fulfilling existence where business and pleasure coexist.

Speaker 1:

So I was working in the health club industry doing sales and management, and I was working in Maryland primarily. And then they had me transferred to Reston and I was living in Bethesda at the time. So I did the commute for a little bit and then they promoted me to go out to the Sterling location and I was like, all right, this is a little bit too far from Bethesda. So then I moved to Reston and then they moved me to Centerville. So I stayed in Reston and then I primarily just worked in Virginia, started doing real estate and there was no reason to go back to Maryland.

Speaker 2:

So what did you do for real estate?

Speaker 1:

Sales and management. Okay, so different companies. So I was at Lifetime Fitness.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I just said hell yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so sales director like people coming in for memberships, buying personal training, different kind of packages for their family. So I was in charge of the sales team there for a couple of locations and then I left there and went to the Carfax corporate office and was an inside sales director for the inside sales team there and that went really well. But I had a great opportunity to get into real estate and been doing it ever since.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say what have you carried on from all those other positions within the sales world, Like is it all pretty much the same thing, whether you're selling health club memberships or houses?

Speaker 1:

It's really just the communication piece, because dealing with salespeople, you're dealing with customers and your clients are your customers and you have to impress them, you have to listen to them and you have to get them to like you, because people buy from who they like right. So you wouldn't hire real or you don't like just like you wouldn't buy from somebody you don't like right. So just relationships and communication and rapport.

Speaker 2:

There we go. And how do you do that? How do you build rapport? How do you get people to like you when they just met you and you're trying to get them to smile?

Speaker 1:

ask them about them. People like talking about themselves. They don't want to hear about someone else the entire time. So getting to know them, getting to know what's important to them and if they're interested in a product or a service, getting to know what they want and what they don't want from that product or service, and then you talk right. But it's key is I call it discovery, and that's true with sales in any fashion, no matter where you're selling a gym membership, a car or trying to get a client for real estate. It's all about discovery finding out what's important to them, overcoming objections up front so you know what they don't want, and then doing your best job, presenting yourself for the product.

Speaker 2:

Do you have any like horror stories from your many years in sales?

Speaker 1:

Not really. I mean not many horror stories. I mean, you know, a couple of positions I had were call centers. So you know, trying to get people excited about making 60, 70 calls a day sometimes can be a little challenging. Yeah, because you can get burnout doing that right. And that's kind of why I left that world, because after a while I'm like I'm hearing myself what I'm saying to my team and I'm like, yeah, but I'm not the one making 70 calls a day. So it's like in my head I'm like if I can't get behind it and be enthusiastic about it anymore, then it's time for a change.

Speaker 2:

So that would be hard to get excited about making 70 calls a day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, the ones that were doing it were making good money, but the ones that weren't were just. You could just tell it wasn't, it wasn't their game.

Speaker 2:

So the ones that are doing really well, what's it? What do you have in tips that you've learned from them on how they succeeded or what made them really good?

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean it's. When you hear 70 calls a day, you think that's a lot of calls. Right, how am I going to make 70 calls a day? You take breaks in between. You plan your day right, focus for two or three hours on making those calls. Luckily, at the companies I was at there was lots of distractions, so there was places to go. Like one company had video games and a golf putting area, ping pong, so like hey, go take a break, right. You just made like 30 calls like go take a break, refresh, sharpen the saw, come on back right. But the ones that didn't, you wouldn't really see them take breaks, you would just see them at their desk like on their phone doing something they shouldn't be doing right. And you know that was the most challenging part is getting to motivate people to do that. And then some people just aren't salespeople. Right, they're good with customers, but they're not necessarily. They don't have that hunger, that drive to win. They weren't as competitive as the ones that were consistent on a daily basis.

Speaker 2:

Are you carrying some of those skills into being an agent or do you not do business like that with the calls?

Speaker 1:

It's different because you don't have to make 70 calls a day. As a realtor, you certainly have to make calls and receive calls, but it's more about prospecting strategically, having different marketing methods and different lead generation methods to where maybe the leads come to you. Thank you, hopefully, but you still have to make calls, but certainly not 70 a day. But those phone skills and the discovery piece and listening are key, especially at real estate, because it's a big transaction. Whether they're selling a house or buying a house, it's sometimes the biggest transaction of somebody's life, right? Yeah, so you can't just go in and try and win the business without listening to them, whatever the case may be buying or selling.

Speaker 2:

What's the thing that you love most about being a real estate agent now?

Speaker 1:

Freedom. I don't like the interest rates right now Nobody does, but they're on the way down. But I like that. It's an industry that's never going anywhere right. It doesn't matter what the economy is or what the climate is. People are always going to need to buy or sell a home. Things happen right, even with high rates. The problem has been inventory recently, in recent years Not enough houses on the market, but there are still houses on the market. So who's selling right? People moving. You have military, you have political new campaigns that have new people coming in and out. Life changes people having kids, getting divorced, getting married so it's always going to be there. It'll go up and down, but it'll always be there. That's what I like most about it.

Speaker 2:

How do you market through the ups and downs of real estate?

Speaker 1:

Well, in the ups there's typically a lot of you just answered your phone, yeah.

Speaker 1:

In the ups I mean, typically there's tons of business and people are either there's an influx of buyers and sellers and in the downs, like I would say, now it's starting to trend back up. But in the downs you have to get strategic with how you're acquiring leads. You have to use your sphere of influence, your SOI, to try to get clients, that people that already know you right hey, even though you might not want to buy a home or sell a home right now, do you know anyone that does right, if you do, give them my card or have them give me a call? So, getting a little bit more creative in the downs, but being available, the best ability is availability. In the ups you have to be available. You can't be targeted on one person or two people. You have to be available at all times. But in the ups it's about being organized and being strategic and being able to plan your day.

Speaker 2:

What's something that you wish your future clients or your past clients knew about, what it looks like or what it takes to buy or sell their home, that they didn't know?

Speaker 1:

Buying a home is. You know, it depends on the market though. So, like right now, buyers can be a little bit more picky, there's a little bit more room for negotiation. So, as a buyer, you have to be cognizant about the market. What kind of market am I buying in? Am I buying in a market where I'm going to have to compete with 10 people on this house? You have to be prepared for that, mentally, financially right, timeline-wise. In a market where you can be more picky, don't get greedy, right. Don't be the buyer that comes in 50,000 below the asking price and expect your offer to get accepted unless the house price calls for it, right. So just being realistic on what market you're buying in for sellers?

Speaker 1:

Sometimes sellers think their house is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and sometimes we have to be a little bit honest with them in a nice way, professional way that, hey, if this were my home and I wanted to get top dollar for my home, here's what I would do to get top dollar I would paint this, I would remove these rugs, whatever it may be right, we have to be careful, because people are very proud of their home typically. So you have to say it the right way. If this were my home, here's what I would do, instead of telling them oh, you have to do this, they don't have, we'll have.

Speaker 2:

The designer do it, the stager do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, have the stager come in and be the bad guy or girl, right? So and that's another good thing about good realtors have a network of people, whether it be contractors, whether it be landscaper, stagers, design right. Obviously, we have loan officers and all kinds of title companies. But before you even get to that point, if they're selling a home, we have to get that home ready, right, and some people want to sell their home the way it is, and that's fine. But if it were my home, here's what I would do. And I have this great person right that can come in and give you those recommendations Awesome. And then you make the decision.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So that's kind of like what you would the knowledge you'd pass on to someone else, right yeah?

Speaker 1:

build a network right, Be strategic and then know what market you're in as a realtor, but then also as a customer. Know what market you're trying to buy or sell it.

Speaker 2:

How should somebody pick their agent Like, what are some of the most important qualities?

Speaker 1:

Someone who's going to outwork the other person, someone who's going to be communicative, someone who's going to be available. Personalities don't have to match per se, but, again, people won't buy from who they like, right? So you have to be likeable, right, but not fake. Yeah, Be yourself, but kind of adapt yourself to that person, right? Some people talk fast, some people talk slow, sometimes there's a language barrier, right? So you just have to be cognizant of who you're talking to.

Speaker 1:

As a realtor, to the customer. But as far as a customer selecting a realtor, you know there's plenty of people out there with more experience than me, but there's not many people out there that are going to outwork me. So that's what I tell people when they're like well, I don't know, I have a friend that's been doing it 20 years. I'm like that's great. Is your friend going to be willing to do an open house every weekend until we get your household? Is your friend going to have this on 30 different websites? How are they going to market your home? Right? How many homes have they sold in this area? So dig in a little bit deeper to sell it yourself, but then acknowledging that you're going to be available at all times and no one's going to outwork you, that's what I was going to ask is yeah, how do you tell that to somebody?

Speaker 2:

that or how do you identify that when you're talking to somebody for the first time, you know, like, if I'm looking to buy a house, how would I know that about you? Is it you saying that? Is it like having references for other clients, the reviews that you have up there, kind of all saying the similar thing?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I mean, if you're asking, hey, why should I choose you? You know I can provide you with plenty of references. I can provide you with reviews. You've also told me before I came here what kind of houses you're looking for, and I've brought you a list of homes that are active or coming soon on the market that already match your needs. So I've already done the research for you. Now you just tell me which house you want to go see and we'll see what we can do.

Speaker 2:

I like that. You're showing up prepared. You're showing up providing value. You're not waiting until they say yes, we're going to work together.

Speaker 1:

You're like you assume the sale.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there we go. It's almost like you've done sales support.

Speaker 1:

Time or two.

Speaker 2:

What do you do outside of work?

Speaker 1:

I love to travel, I love sports. All DC go DC teams, even though we all suck right now. But love to travel, love sports, I like fitness, I like trying new restaurants. Yeah, pretty much. I mean there's other stuff, but those are the big things.

Speaker 2:

Where have you been traveling wise? Anywhere fun.

Speaker 1:

I've been to South America, I've been all over this country, been to Canada. I'm due for a European tour, so that's probably my next big venture. Italy, greece, france, ireland I'm Irish, so gotta go to the homeland. But, yeah, I love anywhere warm so I typically, in the winter months, when real estate slows down, I typically plan trips outside of the snowy areas.

Speaker 2:

What is that like? The travel whenever it's snowbird or I don't know what it's called.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I wish I could go for three, four months. That'd be great, but like Mexico, san Diego, florida, so anywhere warmer than Virginia from November till February that's very usually, yeah, love it. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Looking out for the next three to five years. Where do you see yourself? What are you doing? How are you navigating the real estate world?

Speaker 1:

So it's ever changing, right, it's ever changing. As far as the economy, this area is a little bit different than if you look at the country as a broad scope. Virginia, maryland, dc, areas a little bit more insulated due to the government being here is a lot more stability, right. So here there are waves, but the waves are bigger in other parts of the country. So, continuing to navigate how the market goes up and down right, adjusting myself whether it's an influx or non-influx of people interested in buying or selling I have a great mentor with the brokerage I'm at, so I lean on him for a lot of guidance.

Speaker 1:

But doing different marketing efforts. There's an initiative we have right now with NIL familiar with NIL which is for college athletes. They now can make money when they previously couldn't. So we're gonna be hopefully starting a program with NIL athletes where they're gonna receive money for sponsorships and other things from schools and investing that money into real estate at an early age, versus blowing it on cars and jewelry and things like that, which they certainly can do, but using some of that money in a smart way for the ones that are interested. But we'll have some former athletes that I'm working with that are now loan officers. They're actually gonna be. They have that connection with those athletes, local athletes. Hopefully it's all local athletes, because I'm not gonna go to South Carolina to meet with somebody.

Speaker 2:

You might go to Italy, I'll go to Italy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we're gonna have Italian meeting, yeah, but so that's a big initiative and that's a new. That's never been around before. College athletes historically haven't been paid for sponsorships. There was laws against them receiving money. If they did, they got in trouble. Now legally they can, and the good ones and even the ones that aren't that good are still gonna receive a substantial amount of money. So our goal would be to get in front of them with presentations and educate them on what the long-term benefits of owning homes are, whether it be just their personal residence or investment properties, or for their family, for themselves, whatever that may be. So that would be a trend that'll just continue to grow and grow and grow, and we're trying to get ahead of the curve because this is a recent event that just happened.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, that's really smart. Like you're staying on top of what's coming, you're not reacting to what's already happened.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

So that's awesome. So, yeah, that's looking out for the next three to five years. In terms of locally with real estate. What is your crystal ball say in terms of somebody who is wanting to invest in our area? Cause we all know that everything just goes up.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

In terms of prices and the value of the assets.

Speaker 1:

I would say don't wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait.

Speaker 2:

Even with the fun interest rates.

Speaker 1:

Sure, because you can always refinance, marry the house, date the rate.

Speaker 2:

I hear that again and again. What's? What does the process look like for buying home Somebody who's never bought before?

Speaker 1:

So step one would be to understand your timeline but also know what you're approved for. So I'll take people out that haven't necessarily gotten fully approved for a loan yet, or pre-approved, but you don't want to show people houses they can't afford, because then you're wasting their time and yours Right. So, being honest and upfront about it what kind of house are you looking for? What's your timeline? What area are you looking for? Have you spoken to anyone about getting a loan for the home? And if the answer is no, as a realtor you could make an assumption. If they give you enough information for maybe what range they get approved in. But that's not our profession. So we would refer them to. They can have a loan officer of their choosing, but we can also refer them to people that we know that can assist them in getting that pre-approval number. And then you go shopping.

Speaker 2:

That's a fun part right Right. In terms of how you want your clients to describe you. If they're recommending you to somebody else in your head, what do you envision them saying, or what do you hope they would say?

Speaker 1:

Leaving no stone on turn, eccentric, high energy driven, you know, someone that's gonna go to the ends to make it happen, whether it be buying their home, selling their home, getting their home ready for sale in a short period of time, finding them a home in a short period of time if their timeline's short, aligning them and connecting them with my network. You know I have a network of vast contractors, loan officers, and there's different fits for different people, different fits for different homes and situations. So, like my friends always say, jeff's the I got a guy, guy got a guy for that, got a guy for that. So if you're like I need this done to my home, like 99% chance I have somebody that can help you oh that's good.

Speaker 1:

Like from the foundation and the dirt all the way up to the roof and everything in between. Oh, nice.

Speaker 2:

So you've got a guy.

Speaker 1:

I got a guy.

Speaker 2:

Or a girl. Sure you've got a person.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, there's somebody.

Speaker 2:

In terms of how do you balance your personal life and your work life, because I know agents, like you said, they're always available, so how do you navigate that?

Speaker 1:

I mean the best ability is availability, but typically I try to have Sundays as my day, where, especially during football season, that is my day.

Speaker 2:

And so if somebody calls you and they're like there's an open house because they're always happening on Sundays, would you say like, excuse me, I'll refer you to my friend who's going to take you out, or are you just going to?

Speaker 1:

So it depends if I'm already sitting down watching football.

Speaker 1:

If I'm home watching football and that's all I'm doing and someone if you're someone that's interested in buying a home and we've been looking and then you're like, hey, this one looks like the one the workout, right. But if I'm already at the football stadium and you call me and say, hey, I'd be happy to set a private appointment for you later this evening, once I get home, or potentially tomorrow, if that doesn't work, that way we'll have an hour to see the house without any agent there trying to talk to us or any other potential buyers that might throw you off or distract you. Or I could even say you're welcome to go see it, and then we could set up a private appointment for us to go together as well.

Speaker 1:

That's right, because if it's open house, nothing's stopping you from going Right, but very few chances. If somebody wanted to go see a property, I would turn it down.

Speaker 2:

I just had to throw that in if it was in the middle of the football game.

Speaker 1:

If I'm home or not, because I go to a lot of the games. So if I'm in Landover and you say I want to go see this house in Centerville and I'm already in Landover, it's going to be almost impossible for me to get out. I mean not impossible, but I typically ride with friends when I go there, so I wouldn't even have a vehicle. So you know what I mean. So, like I said, no, I know, but that's the real situation.

Speaker 2:

We're going to try to make it happen, but more than likely I don't have transportation to get there.

Speaker 1:

Can you go see the house today? Absolutely. Can we go see the house today? Yes, we can, but I'll set an appointment for us later, that's if I'm unavailable, but 98% of the time I am.

Speaker 2:

You football fans are just.

Speaker 1:

Hey, you got to be passionate about something, right. You got to have our time. Work hard, play hard, right, yeah, and that balance right. Because if you're always available and then.

Speaker 2:

I agree. No, my phone's off on weekends, like I'm available to a couple of people, that's it.

Speaker 1:

See, I can't do that.

Speaker 2:

It's different. No, I know, but I'm saying I 100% believe in and I want to work with clients that respect that boundary. But I also know in your industry and your career like it's between somebody getting a house and not getting a house. Not necessarily right now in this industry or in this climate, right, there's a lot more, a little bit more flexibility, a little bit more flexibility.

Speaker 1:

There's not as much urgency, as there was maybe two years ago, where if you don't see it this weekend, it's going right, or if you'll see it by five o'clock I was going to say, I was saying Offered deadline at five. Yeah, we're seeing less and less of those.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was insane.

Speaker 1:

But as rates come down, we'll start seeing more and more.

Speaker 2:

I was going to. I've heard the same thing. Yeah, people are like, if you're interested, now is the time because you don't have the same urgency as before.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and there's more negotiating power. So if a home's listed at 700,000, it's on the market for three, four weeks. I would advise my client I'd look at the comps right. But then I advise my client this house has been on the market a month. I call it the agent. They haven't had any offers or very, very low offers, so we can go in with these contingencies. Allow you to get a home inspection. Gives you time to see the home, see if there's anything that might you might want to pull out of the home. But you can also ask for closing cost help or go in at a lower price, right, and then you negotiate. That's the fun part.

Speaker 2:

The negotiation.

Speaker 1:

That's the fun part.

Speaker 2:

Fun part for you. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, hopefully they accept our first offer.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, that's right. So if you weren't an agent, what would you be doing? A real estate agent.

Speaker 1:

Ooh, probably something with sports, because my biggest passion or travel Travel agent or I would love to be a sports agent. I'd probably stressful.

Speaker 2:

Like where you're representing other athletes.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

Okay, same thing, negotiating, getting different.

Speaker 1:

You're dealing with 21-year-old millionaires, right, yeah, so I've sold a couple NFL players properties, helped them buy and sell. They're handful sometimes. Sometimes it's smooth, sometimes it's like Maybe sitting you didn't say that.

Speaker 2:

I said that Okay. So if you could have just to kind of wrap things up here, if you could have one message to the world, whether it's specific with real estate or off the wall, something completely unrelated, what would that message be?

Speaker 1:

Work hard, be respectful. And it's not all about having a big circle of friends or a network. It's about having a trusted circle. And as I've gotten older I've realized I keep a smaller circle of people like close, close to me, but I keep a big circle of influencers and acquaintances that I stay in touch with, right, but then the people I see daily or weekly or weekends, I try to keep a tighter circle around that and just work hard and enjoy yourself. Mean life short, right, and I truly believe in work hard, play hard and work life balance right, but try to smile every day, try to look at the bright side, don't get down on downs right, and just stay positive. If you only get one life, you gotta enjoy it.

Speaker 2:

That's right In terms of keeping that small circle. Did something happen that made you make that realization?

Speaker 1:

No, not really. It's just you realize I like to be a person of value and sometimes you realize the bigger circle you have. You have to look around the room and just say, or around the circle, if you will, and just say what value does this person bring me? Is there more good than bad or bad than good? Right, is there more positives than negatives? Right. And if you know, if it's not a balance and it's balanced the wrong way, unfortunately sometimes you have to close that part of the circle, right. And then, as you get older, you just realize you want to be a person of value and you want that circle to be people of value. No matter what the value is right. It could be business, it could be personal, it could be whatever, right.

Speaker 2:

So I love that. And then you have the bigger circle. That way you can help connect.

Speaker 1:

There's two, there's multiple circles, right, there's your inner circle, there's your professional circle, there's your personal I guess acquaintance, if you will circle and then there's your circle of people that maybe you know but you haven't talked to a while, yeah. And then there's people outside the circle yeah, what was that movie? That circle of trust. What was that? I mean the parents? Yeah, that's right. They're outside the circle of trust.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, You're gonna stay out there hurrying. Am I back in?

Speaker 1:

the circle now.

Speaker 2:

That's funny, awesome. Thank you so much for being on the All-in-one Show. I appreciate your time and your wisdom.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, happy to be here.

Sales and Real Estate
College Athletes and Real Estate Investments
Real Estate and Work-Life Balance
Understanding the Value of Relationships