The Alimond Show

Jonathan Asfour - Unconventional Path from Home Warranties to Thriving Realtor

May 30, 2024 Alimond Studio
Jonathan Asfour - Unconventional Path from Home Warranties to Thriving Realtor
The Alimond Show
More Info
The Alimond Show
Jonathan Asfour - Unconventional Path from Home Warranties to Thriving Realtor
May 30, 2024
Alimond Studio

What if your background in home warranties could be the key to unlocking a successful career in real estate? Jonathan Asfour from Shepherd Homes Group joins us to share his unconventional journey from home warranty expert to a thriving realtor. He opens up about the pivotal relationships and mentorships that shaped his path, as well as the innovative strategies his team employs in marketing and advertising, with a particular emphasis on serving veterans. Jonathan’s passion for giving back shines through as he talks about his dedication to supporting communities both locally and internationally, including building homes and aiding underserved populations.

Curious about how real estate professionals transform homes and lives? Jonathan delves into the unique services offered by real estate experts, from strategic renovations to home staging and even the burgeoning trend of AI staging. We discuss the variety of clients he serves, including first-time homebuyers, investors, and individuals looking to upsize or downsize. This episode also highlights the emotional rewards of guiding clients through the buying or selling process and shares effective techniques for managing the inherent stress. Join us to hear how Jonathan finds personal fulfillment in being an integral part of his clients' significant life events and discover the profound impact realtors can have on their clients' journeys.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if your background in home warranties could be the key to unlocking a successful career in real estate? Jonathan Asfour from Shepherd Homes Group joins us to share his unconventional journey from home warranty expert to a thriving realtor. He opens up about the pivotal relationships and mentorships that shaped his path, as well as the innovative strategies his team employs in marketing and advertising, with a particular emphasis on serving veterans. Jonathan’s passion for giving back shines through as he talks about his dedication to supporting communities both locally and internationally, including building homes and aiding underserved populations.

Curious about how real estate professionals transform homes and lives? Jonathan delves into the unique services offered by real estate experts, from strategic renovations to home staging and even the burgeoning trend of AI staging. We discuss the variety of clients he serves, including first-time homebuyers, investors, and individuals looking to upsize or downsize. This episode also highlights the emotional rewards of guiding clients through the buying or selling process and shares effective techniques for managing the inherent stress. Join us to hear how Jonathan finds personal fulfillment in being an integral part of his clients' significant life events and discover the profound impact realtors can have on their clients' journeys.

Speaker 1:

Jonathan Asphore. Name of my business Shepherd Homes Group. I'm on the number one team in the area. And what was the last?

Speaker 2:

one and how you serve your clients.

Speaker 1:

So I serve my clients from A to Z in terms of residential real estate. I do things a little bit more, a little differently than the typical real estate agent that's out there. We're not just opening doors for our clients, we're building a future with them and an investment strategy and everything along those lines.

Speaker 2:

From the A to Z package. Yes, yeah, how did you get into real?

Speaker 1:

estate, so I started in home warranties. Okay, I did home warranties for five years and I sold two real estate agents, so that was fun.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

And very interesting.

Speaker 2:

And what exactly is home warranties for those that don't know?

Speaker 1:

Home warranties cover everything mechanical inside the home after the home is purchased, so that would be systems, appliances, electrical and plumbing. They don't have a good reputation for a couple of different reasons and people don't like to use them, so it was a very difficult sale to people that sell for a living. However, it helped me build some really, really great relationships in the real estate world, and then it kind of made me take a step back and say, well, I love everything about real estate itself. Why not jump into like an actual realtor role?

Speaker 2:

So yeah, so big flip, Well, not too big right, you're kind of in the vicinity of things right, absolutely Did you have someone that kind of took you under your wing.

Speaker 1:

I did. So I have two people. The first person was an agent and I wasn't planning on leaving home warranties. I was the number one salesperson in my entire organization nationwide and I was like you know what, I don't want to take the risk. She kept pushing and eventually I got so excited that I just quit and it wasn't as thought out as it probably should have been.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And that's okay.

Speaker 2:

Was that a little scary?

Speaker 1:

It was terrifying.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I kind of fumbled around and it didn't work out with that team and then I found my current team and Jason and it's been amazing since. So yeah, rocky start, but it all works out in the end.

Speaker 2:

And how long have you been with this team?

Speaker 1:

So I think about two. So this is the start of my third year, okay, and I've doubled my sales every single year since, and I've been with the Shepherd Homes Group since about six months in.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so two and a half years now, I think. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Time flies.

Speaker 2:

Time does fly, right. Yeah, we're almost halfway through 2024.

Speaker 1:

Don't remind me. I know I'm like, is it?

Speaker 2:

June, this weekend. What is happening? I get it. Yeah, tell me a little bit about what you're doing for like sales and marketing these days, and advertising.

Speaker 1:

So we're doing quite a bit at Shepherd Homes Group. So we actually we have a commercial that's coming out. We have, you know, advertising in every single way that you could think of. Open houses are huge for us, especially because we own quite a bit of the market just because of the amount of sales that we're doing.

Speaker 1:

So between all of those we have a couple of sources where we can contact clients. We do a lot of veterans, so we serve a lot of veterans. So thank you to all of our vets out there. I think we are the number one team for vets in this area specifically.

Speaker 2:

Jason yeah, so how did you guys kind of go down that avenue? I?

Speaker 1:

think that was Jason, Not not me but I mean he was very heavy in um with working with like a couple of different organizations like veterans United, I know, and things like that. Um, I personally also help a lot of vets as well. So I think we did I did two or three already this year, so I always love helping people who have served, so that's great.

Speaker 2:

That's great and giving back to the community.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, I always try to. That's actually a big part of why I do what I do.

Speaker 2:

Is to give back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I mean there are very few professions that give you the flexibility but also allow you to kind of create your life the way you want, Because I run my business and I try to give back to the community as much as I can, and so last year I went to and that doesn't have to be this particular community could be any community.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's all community, right, like we're all one people.

Speaker 1:

So last year I did Kenya, I did Bolivia, I did Mexico the year before. What did Kenya? I did Bolivia, I did Mexico the year before.

Speaker 2:

What did you do?

Speaker 1:

I go and I help kids, I build houses, wow which is great, because now when I come to sell a house, I've literally done tile work and I'm like, yeah, that looks terrible because that's worse than mine. So it really actually helped me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're like if this amateur can do it, these people can do it. I was like I'm terrible at tile work.

Speaker 1:

Don't trust me, but at least I know what it looks like and I've done it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so yeah, I love doing things like that. It's a good hands-on experience, absolutely yeah.

Speaker 1:

I feel like everyone should do that.

Speaker 2:

Tell me about those trips a little bit more.

Speaker 1:

Sure. So let's see which one a little bit differently. I try to do anything that allows me to help other people. Kenya was very focused on the kind of communities that we went into were really underserved, you know, education was very low, crime was very high and some of these people really truly don't have anything. So we would help them and we would go and bring them food and show them where to get jobs or help them get a job. In Kenya, we were actually trying to start a school, potentially start a greenhouse, and we already started a small factory for sex workers so that they can get away from that and actually make clothes and we sell T-shirts and things like that. So so that's what we did in Kenya, mexico and Bolivia was more, they were more hands-on construction. I hate that I say construction because, again, I'm not like, if you can tell for those watching.

Speaker 1:

I'm not exactly made for construction.

Speaker 2:

I don't know why you say that you can put a different hat on. You're not wrong. Change the look.

Speaker 1:

True, all you need is a hard hat, and this is what I wear during construction as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm sure you do, and it still looks pristine.

Speaker 1:

Yes, exactly, I mean this is a stretchy suit for all those watching. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

What motivated you to give back in this way to the community?

Speaker 1:

I think, just my morals and values. My mom raised me as an Orthodox Christian, so I feel very connected to just people in general. I always want to help and serve those around me, so that's kind of why I did that. I think it started when I was really young. Yeah, my mom always kind of led me down that path to help people and help others. I don't think we do enough of that.

Speaker 2:

I agree, yeah, did they kind of lead by example for you?

Speaker 1:

My mom, yeah, yeah, my family in general. They're big on that. So, absolutely, my mom's a great person, great human being, so following and trying to follow her in her footsteps as much as possible, so, yeah, I'm sure she loves that yeah, yeah, she does do you have a favorite buying or selling story? Oh, I have plenty.

Speaker 2:

Let's see the ones I'm allowed to say um something that kind of stuck with you and kind of keeps you motivated to stay in this industry.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I actually one story comes up in particular. I had a young lady that I got as a referral and someone on my team met her at an open house. She seemed very flustered. She was like I need to buy a house in two weeks. And they're like, oh great, like are you working with someone? She was working with an agent and she was like my agent's not helping me. We came into town. They were from out of town, they came into town just to look at homes and had no homes to look at, so they were scrambling. I was like she didn't set anything up, nothing. So then I talked to her a little bit more and she was like you know, I was like did she have a buyer consultation to know where you guys are? And she was like, no, not really. She was like she wrote all of her notes on a napkin and then lost the napkin.

Speaker 2:

Oh my.

Speaker 1:

So that wasn't great.

Speaker 2:

It was kind of a Red flag yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I was like did you sign anything? She had not, thankfully, so I picked her up that weekend. So I got a call from one of my team members and they were like, look, I can't take her on right now, I'm busy, you know, can you take care of her? We found her a house by the next week, so literally less than seven days we were under contract and then less than a month, she was in the home and she was literally at closing, was crying, saying like, thank you so much. I got a hug from her parents. Um, they were saying how, you know, thankful they were, so things like that. That's why I do what I do. It's, you know, it's not. I'm not just a door opener. If somebody wants that, they can go to someone else. Um, you know, I really want to build lasting relationships with my clients and I'm good at what I do as well. So if they trust me, I can get them into a house very quickly. So so that's why I do it and I love it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Are you facing any challenges these days with the market and how are you overcoming those?

Speaker 1:

The market's very interesting right now. I think it changes by the week, maybe sometimes even the day, and the property I'm not up to date today. Yeah, I mean I am barely but just kidding, I very much am. So challenges in the market there's low inventory. Everybody knows that. I think that there was a slight fear initially about interest rates and I think that's kind of normalized now so everyone understands interest rates are where they are and people still need homes Do you think people have a better understanding or acceptance of the interest rates?

Speaker 1:

I think we are working currently with actually the most educated buyers we've ever had. Oh wow. So, yes, I do think that people you know really understand the market for the most part. I think they're a little bit too overeducated because they're reading things from other markets that may not be specifically applied to ours. However, I think that we're working with a very educated buyer. So, with that being said, you have to educate yourself as an agent and be ahead of even your buyer that is already educated. Low inventory is a problem. However, there are ways, I think, to mitigate that For us. Personally, I know that a big thing for my clients are the contractors and the relationships that I hold, so we may not be able to find you the perfect home that you wanted perfectly.

Speaker 1:

However, we can make it exactly what you want right so I have a lot of clients that have really good budgets. They're trying to buy a house under 1.5 million dollars and they can't find the perfect home that they want either, because isn't that crazy, it's insane right like and 1.5 in our area it's kind of just like a yeah, that's a normal home, which is crazy right, however, I think that we're able to say look, buy the, buy the $1.1 million home, give us $100,000 in cash and we can make it exactly what you want, right?

Speaker 1:

Not every agent can do that and I understand that, and that is something that we provide for our clients, and we can manage the process again from start to finish.

Speaker 2:

So you guys manage actually the home renovation after the purchase.

Speaker 1:

And even before, If you're trying to sell, depending on equity and stuff in the home, we could actually cover those costs. Renovate the home so that you can net more once you sell.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's interesting.

Speaker 1:

So we do everything. We also even own a property management company, so I have clients that will buy a second home, use us to manage their first home, and then we rinse and repeat the cycle.

Speaker 2:

Oh, wow, yeah, Helping people invest and grow their portfolio left and right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a huge thing for me as well, because I love investing. No one taught me directly how to invest, and then I started to learn from those around me, people that were much smarter than me, and it's something that I love passing on to my clients as well.

Speaker 2:

Yes, absolutely. How important do you feel home staging is in a cell of a home these days?

Speaker 1:

Great question.

Speaker 2:

Because I feel like it's been getting more up and up.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so I think that we had a small shift to like AI staging, which is terrible.

Speaker 2:

I saw that for a little while Some of it.

Speaker 1:

I just saw a house yesterday and they were like they're like, look at this beautiful house. I was like, did they put a fireplace in the middle of carpet? Like what's happening? So I think staging is extremely important, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel like the AI part is kind of leveled off?

Speaker 1:

It's gotten better and sometimes it looks really good and sometimes, like I said, you're like that's throwing my eyes off Something's off.

Speaker 2:

Something's off.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know that staging a lot of my clients will kind of give me pushback in the beginning, but then we can look at actual data and see that homes sell between 8% to 15% more staged. People can't visualize how to live in a home that's empty. A lot of times, especially on like these big open floor plans, they're just like it's too big. What do I do?

Speaker 2:

How do I fill the space Right?

Speaker 1:

So you stage all of a sudden you get a lot more people being able to envision themselves in that space. Yeah, do you have a certain demographic you like to work with, like? Do you like working with new home trying to potentially sell their home? They have to sell in a very specific timeline and then they are going to take the proceeds and, in the 60 days that they have their post-settlement occupancy or their rent back, purchase another home. That's a very stressful scenario. I do really good with things like that. I love working with first-time homebuyers, investors, so anyone that's trying to get into investing. Those are what I do typically first-time homebuyers, investors and then people either downsizing or upsizing yeah, I've seen both yeah and this area yeah, it's so transient, you see everything yeah for sure, yeah, what do you find most rewarding about what you do?

Speaker 1:

So it's a very stressful time in someone's life and I think that it's great that I'm a part of it. Not because it's stressful, that's not the great part right. But at the end of it, it's extremely rewarding because I'm able to say like hey, I helped to get you into your home, the place that you're going to live, the place that you're going to build your memories and start a family or not start a family, or whatever you're going to do I get to be a part of that.

Speaker 2:

You're good.

Speaker 1:

So I get to be a part of that and I love that. I think that there's not many professions that you get to be a part of someone's very intimate personal life. Sure, and real estate is one of the, or one like is one of those professions. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

How do you help them manage those stress levels You're talking about? It is you're dealing with people in the most stressful time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

One of the most. Unless they're a repeat offender Right, yeah, I love those people too, and you love. Unless they're a repeat offender Right, yeah, I love those people too. You love those people too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think everybody's different. So I think that it's my job and something that I'm always working on, to stay calm even in the stressful scenarios. I'm not naturally just a calm person, I'm more high strung. So it's taken a lot for me to be able to take a step back and to sit there and say how do we look at solutions every single time? So when you're, I think, focused on solutions, then it's very difficult to get caught up in the weeds and get stressed out about things because they're like okay, well, we're going to have issues. We know we are. It happens on almost every transaction but how do we mitigate them? How do we move forward? Right? So I try to keep my eye on the prize, try to get my clients to keep their eye on the prize, and I think that's usually the best way to mitigate that kind of situation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what do you like to do outside of work?

Speaker 1:

Jack of all trades.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it sounds like you wear a lot of different hats within your company.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I try to. So I love being active. So I train jujitsu and Muay Thai, so, like martial arts, I used to teach yoga. I do yoga as well. I love traveling yeah, so I travel all over. I just got back from Asheville, north Carolina. I need to buy a property there.

Speaker 2:

I've heard that's a cool city. It's on my list. You need to go, I need to.

Speaker 1:

And then go and visit the Biltmore. Yes, I've heard. Yes, I've heard of that.

Speaker 2:

Anybody that likes architecture, design, real estate. I think I've actually looked that up online.

Speaker 1:

I think I'm obsessed. Really cool, it's stunning, yeah. So yeah, travel, I like to be active.

Speaker 2:

How do you balance your personal life and your work life?

Speaker 1:

A very strict calendar. Yes, yes, I, quite there's my calendar. If anyone was to look at it, it would be like this looks terrible and I love it I have. Why would you? This looks terrible and I love it.

Speaker 1:

I have it just because there's so much on it all the time. I mean, that's how I I time block everything. I think that you know I look at my real estate business as a real business. I know some people do it on the side and there's no shade on that at all. I know some people that do it on the side that are doing better than me. That's great. However, I take this very seriously. So every single thing, whether it's calling my clients and checking in on them, whether it's trying to find them a house, everything is time blocked and very specific, and that allows me to be able to still put time in for an hour for jujitsu or Muay Thai or lifting or whatever it might be and you put that on your calendar.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's true.

Speaker 1:

Everything I mean. If you want to hang out with me, it's on my calendar.

Speaker 2:

If it's not on my calendar. It's not going to happen. Do you send people calendar requests All the time?

Speaker 1:

People are like you are so annoying. I'm like, look, it's either this or I'm not going to see you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I have a friend that does that. I'm like can we just say it so absolutely? I mean otherwise again. Time management in when you're running your own business is so important Absolutely, especially in something as high stress and that has so many checkpoints as real estate in a trans like in the transaction. There's so many things that have to go right and that you have to keep in line.

Speaker 2:

So it shows that you value your own time and you value your clients time Absolutely as well.

Speaker 1:

That's why I was early here. I know and I loved it Right you have to be yes.

Speaker 2:

Jonathan, where do you see this all going in the next five, ten years down the road?

Speaker 1:

In terms of real estate, the market.

Speaker 2:

The market with your business. Do you see growth?

Speaker 1:

I see, yes, is this a path you want?

Speaker 2:

to stay on.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely For me, yes, so I'm going to continue to grow. I'm already trending to double what I did last year, which in volume, which is great. So my business is growing. I'm very thankful for all my clients. I see the market getting more and more tough. I mean I don't see it changing. I see I see the market getting more and more tough. I mean I don't see it changing. I see inventory is getting low. It's always been low and I think that when they reduced the interest rates for a couple of years down to 2%, about 30% of the market purchased a home and we're not seeing those people sell again.

Speaker 2:

Or refinance.

Speaker 1:

That's it and that's what I would have done right. I did do that actually. I'm about 3% interest rate on my home and I would have done right. I did do that actually. Yes, you know, I'm about 3% interest rate on my home and I would never sell unless I paid it off right, and I think we're seeing that. So I think that we're going to see more restrictions on the market and I think anyone that has a home is going to see the benefits of homeownership and be able to either purchase more homes and those are the people that are purchasing right now are people that own homes. It's becoming harder and harder for first time homebuyers to purchase, which is why I love working with them as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it's helping them get in the door.

Speaker 1:

Correct, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And make one of the biggest purchases of their life and biggest investment.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I can even talk about my house. I bought 10 years ago and I purchased it for $355,000 with $5,000 back to me. So that was $350,000 back in 2014. My house is worth $585,000 right now.

Speaker 2:

It's crazy. I know we bought in 2008. No, 2009. Moved in in 2009. New construction and I never thought our house would see the price that it's seeing locally here in Leesburg. Oh, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I mean anywhere in Northern Virginia.

Speaker 2:

Never imagined the growth.

Speaker 1:

No, it's crazy. Ever, Anywhere in Northern Virginia. Honestly, right now is seeing growth, some areas a little bit better than others. However, like every single place, I have clients all the way down to actually Richmond place. I have clients all the way down to actually Richmond, so Richmond all the way up to. I have some clients that I passed off to some of our Maryland clients, so I'm all over the East Coast.

Speaker 2:

All over, yeah. As we wrap up here, are there any last parting words you'd like to leave us with? It can be business advice, a mantra that you live by, life advice. I keep looking at the picture that says do the right thing.

Speaker 1:

Do the right thing. You know I feel like in, in right now and everything that's going on in the world just do the right thing. I think we need more kindness, more love, and I'd love to help more people buy real estate, for sure yeah, and more trust in each other, yes absolutely yeah absolutely well.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for coming in today. Thank you for having me yeah, it was a pleasure to have you thank you.

Real Estate Agent Sharing Success Stories
Real Estate and Personal Growth