“Find a mentor, be a mentor, and change the world” with Laura Adams

Like many industries, women in real estate likely don’t have as many senior positions due to factors such as taking time off to have children and caring for kids and aging parents. Many women may also find their way to real estate later in life when they want a career change that offers flexibility. And […]

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Like many industries, women in real estate likely don’t have as many senior positions due to factors such as taking time off to have children and caring for kids and aging parents. Many women may also find their way to real estate later in life when they want a career change that offers flexibility. And some of the most successful agents I know are women, who may be earning more in sales than they would in executive positions.

As part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Adams.

Laura Adams is an analyst at AceableAgent, a leader in online real estate education. A seasoned finance expert, award-winning author and nationally recognized consumer advocate, Laura represents AceableAgent in the media to help consumer protect their future by getting the right online education.

A subsidiary of its parent company, AceableAgent is an online real estate school and first-ever provider of real estate education designed for mobile app and web. Laura is on the forefront of AceableAgent’s mission to create and support agents in their pursuit of becoming the best in the world through superior educational programming and instructional tools.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

Ibecame interested in real estate within a few years after graduating from college because several close family members were working in the industry and doing well. They were in residential and commercial sales, property management, investing, and appraising. I saw a diverse range of opportunities in the field and knew that I should explore them. I studied for the real estate sales licensing exam during the lunch break at my job.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

When I was a licensed salesperson in Florida many years ago, one of my buyers made an offer on a home that included the seller’s patio furniture. For some reason, the buyers insisted that we include the furniture, even though it wasn’t a valuable set.

The sellers made a counteroffer at the same price but excluded the furniture. That upset the buyers so much that they walked away from the deal. As hard as I tried, there wasn’t anything I could say to prevent the buyers from feeling offended. They ended up working with a different agent, which was probably for the best.

I learned that some people let their egos or emotions get in the way of making a good deal. I’ve seen many real estate transactions fall apart over something insignificant, such as patio furniture worth a few hundred dollars. Agents must do their best to counsel clients to see the big picture of a deal and be creative, but their emotions and stress can still destroy a sale.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Today, my focus is on personal finance and small business education through my spokesperson, podcasting, and writing work. My newest book Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers, is available to pre-order and goes in sale in late September. It’s a perfect resource to help agents build a business and a secure financial future.

My work as an analyst with AceableAgent, a leader in online real estate education, allows me to support new agents. I represent AceableAgent in the media to help bring attention to their online school designed for web and mobile apps. The company’s mission to bring new career opportunities and a superior educational experience to students has become even more critical during the pandemic.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

AceableAgent, a subsidiary of its parent company, is the first to offer real estate education designed for mobile app and web. They have a mission to support agents and help them reach their potential by providing excellent education programs instructional tools.

A recent AceableAgent survey revealed that 51% of full-time workers surveyed said that if they lost their job or had a reduction in pay or hours, they would consider making a full career change. Of those respondents, 18% said they’ consider a career in real estate. That’s a large number of Americans who believe there’s an excellent opportunity in real estate.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve been fortunate to have many successful role models in my family and work life. My grandmother, Doris Dean, was a successful real estate broker in the town where I grew up, Summerville, S.C. As a sophisticate who worked and played hard, she turned clients into real friends. She made newcomers feel welcome by inviting them to parties and easily winning their real estate business. Seeing her success helped me understand that I could achieve it too.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, the Real Estate industry is woman-dominated. Despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Like many industries, women in real estate likely don’t have as many senior positions due to factors such as taking time off to have children and caring for kids and aging parents.

Many women may also find their way to real estate later in life when they want a career change that offers flexibility. And some of the most successful agents I know are women, who may be earning more in sales than they would in executive positions.

What three things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance?

Parents can be good role models and examples to show daughters that they can choose their career path. Taking an interest in a young woman’s career by being a mentor is a great way to pay your success forward. Companies can create formal leadership training programs to match up willing candidates and cultivate female talent. Seeing and interacting with female leaders can inspire women to see what’s possible for their careers.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

There’s an unfair expectation that female executives must fill traditional roles, such as doing housework, caring for children, and tending the needs of aging parents. While many women want to spend a significant amount of time caring for others, no one should assume that it will hurt their job performance.

As work becomes increasingly remote and flexible, one benefit is that it may equalize spouses and partners’ household demands. Having the option to use technology, such as online real estate certification and continuing education courses, gives female professionals more choices. They can advance and pursue alternative career paths while juggling many responsibilities simultaneously.

Can you share three things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

Technology in the real estate industry is fascinating to me. Everything from online education, virtual showings, video tours, drone footage, HD images, and online marketplaces make transactions easier for agents, buyers and sellers, which is excellent for the industry.

Another aspect of real estate that I’ve always enjoyed is being creative to make a win-win deal. Coming up with creative terms that satisfy both parties takes outside-the-box thinking and skill.

Lastly, the low barrier to entry in real estate is exciting because if you’re willing to learn and work hard, you can succeed in good markets.

Can you share three things that most concern you about the industry? If you could implement three ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

I’m certainly concerned about our struggling economy and the number of homeowners and renters who won’t be able to make payments. The solution is more COVID-19 relief in the form of unemployment compensation and business loans, so lenders and landlords get paid.

Another concern is the decline in tax incentives for homeowners. With fewer taxpayers itemizing deductions and lower limits on deductions, renting may make more financial sense for more Americans. Increasing potential deductions related to homeownership would help many individuals and families.

The downside of some online marketplaces is the perception that buyers and sellers may not need agents and brokers to complete a deal. The immense value that real estate pros bring to complex transactions can’t be understated but is often misunderstood, especially by first-time buyers and sellers. Ensuring clients understand the variety of tasks and coordination inherent in each deal could increase their perceived value.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

Leaders in the real estate industry should encourage teams to share best practices and create formal mentoring programs. While agents may feel they compete with one another, their collective success boosts the company and potential resources.

Using online real estate education tools, such as AceableAgent, is a smart way to make sure agents complete continuing education requirements at a convenient time and stay compliant.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about five non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Real estate is mostly a people business, and good communication is critical. Your success depends on setting and managing a client’s expectations.
  2. Networking with a variety of real estate-related professionals — such as mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, handymen, surveyors, appraisers, and home inspectors — will help you build a stable career.
  3. Being successful in real estate typically doesn’t happen quickly, and there are no shortcuts. It takes time to understand your role, become more efficient, and develop client relationships.
  4. Every successful real estate agent started with no listings or prospects.
  5. Successful agents find ways to leverage their time using technology.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement I would start is “Find a mentor, be a mentor, and change the world.”

No matter your industry, career, or personal interest, you have skill and knowledge that can help someone. Likewise, we can all get help for professional or personal challenges from someone who has more knowledge and experience than we do.

How can our readers follow you online?

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