Written by Nathaniel Birdsong, Realty One Managing Partner and Broker
I bought a house in January of 2007. Terrible timing. Like many people who purchased a home that year, I was upside down before I even got settled. It was my first home purchase, and I hated it. I didn’t blame my real estate agent at the time. Not really. She had no idea the market was going to crash that badly but I like to think she had some idea the great market couldn’t last forever.
I decided what really upset me was my own personal lack of knowledge when it came to home ownership. I felt completely unprepared to make a decision that big. Why wasn’t there anyone to tell me the real story about how owning a home worked? Why didn’t anyone layout the possible downside of the particular home I had chosen? Why did I feel like the whole process was a bunch of people just selling me to keep me moving forward so they could get paid?
It was in the wake of that entire situation that I decided to get into real estate for myself. I’ve always been good at sales and I like working with something that matters to everyone (their home). My plan was to turn my personal mission to never make a financial mistake like that again into a new career for myself.
I remember my first day of real estate school. My instructor was introducing the class to some basic concepts about being an agent. He called on one of the students in the front row and asked her name. For the purpose of this article, I’ll just call her Jill. He then proceeded to grab a piece of paper, write his address on it, and write the phrase: “I hereby give my home located at this address to Jill.” He then signed the piece of paper and gave it to her.
“Now” he said, “I just gave this piece of paper to Jill. Who owns my house?”
Everyone in the class, including me, thought this must have been a trick question. This was that cliché teacher trick of trying to get the class to yell out, in unison, the wrong answer on the first day. We all remained quiet.
“Jill owns my house,” my instructor said. “In the state of North Carolina, a general warranty deed can be as simple as a single page and it doesn’t even require the signature of the buyer. In the State of North Carolina, Jill now owns my house.”
And it’s true. It CAN be that simple to transfer property.
“But,” he said, “now there are some questions. Do I have the right to give her this home? Have I sold it to someone else as well? Have I had the roof replaced, but not paid the company that did the work? Is there a buried oil tank that is leaking into the ground? Have I separately sold the mineral rights? Do I owe back taxes?”
He continued to ask questions and we quickly realized the point.
He concluded with this thought: “Buying or selling real estate can be easy. Protecting the people who buy or sell real estate is hard, and that’s why great agents exist.”
Mind = Blown.
Suddenly it clicked for me. I had the idea of why I wanted to get into real estate. My instructor knew how to put that idea into words. Really what I wanted was to be that person who was missing from my home purchase so many years earlier. I wanted to help people buy and sell homes, of course, but I also wanted to provide education! I wanted to teach people all the things to look out for and empower people to make great decisions for themselves. I wanted to protect the people who were trying to buy and/or sell their homes.
That has been my personal mission since I got my license. Sometimes, helping a client is easy. They already know what they are doing they just need help getting the results. Great- get the sale done. But I actually prefer people who discover they need a little more of the education. I love it when I see something click for my clients and they realize they now understand something about home ownership they didn’t even know was important.
That is my driving force in working hard for my clients. The other agents who work with me at Realty One are all similar. We believe our relationship doesn’t end when your contract closes.
That is why we take a more personal investment in each and every one of our clients. We aren’t just selling a house, buying a house. We are helping people buy and sell homes. Our clients are making some of the biggest decisions of their lives. They need more than just some agent looking for the next big commission. They need a team of people invested in helping them make the right investment for the future of their family, and then the talent to get the results they need. That is what we strive for here at Realty One.
And for me… it’s personal.