Find your niche. Who do you resonate with most? Whether it’s first time home buyers, second home buyers, investors, luxury. Once you know your target market and stop trying to serve everyone half way you will be able to serve those in your niche to the best of your ability. They end up referring people that are just like them and you grow a business of clients you love.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christy Hutchison. Christy has been an entrepreneur her whole life. She went from being a hairdresser for 20 years, to the fast paced world of real estate. She was looking for something different, something that would be just as rewarding, where she could still serve people, create lasting relationships, and see her clients dreams come true. What makes her different is she acts as a real estate consultant. She has a program that takes her clients through a series of questions and weekly calls that helps her really figure out why they are buying or selling, what in their life is driving their decisions, and what does it mean to them. As they go through this they discover things that may change their course, and realize what they thought they wanted may not be what they need.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
Ineeded to make a career change, I had been a hairdresser for 20 yeas and the chemical exposure was causing me health problems. I knew I still needed to be my own boss, and feel just as rewarded in a new career as I did with hairdressing. My husband and I have always been involved in real estate at some level. We’ve owned several homes, and have done 2 flips so far. I was constantly looking for new deals to invest in, or checking how the market was doing, so It felt like a good fit.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
Sofar my most interesting story is working with a client, that thought her house was worth more than it actually was. So we listed high, the highest in the neighborhood, and I marketed this home like nobody’s business. The first weekend it was on, the open house brought in over 20 buyers. Got a full price offer. But as we did inspections they found mold in the attic and in the crawl space under the house. The seller did not want to pay for any of it. She wanted to offer a credit to the buyer. So of course we lost the buyer. I finally made her realize she had to repair it. No buyer was going to be willing to take this on. With hesitation she agreed, we pulled it off the market during that time and when we re-listed she wanted to come back on the market another $15,000 higher. Since she got a full price offer so fast the first time, she thought she could now get more. Mind you on MLS any agent can see the original price, and we now have to disclose the mold, so to most buyers the price should not be increased if anything it is worth less because it is a risk once a home has had that kind of an issue. I could not talk her out of it. So we listed higher, and every agent questioned the price. Every potential buyer was not willing to pay more. It sat on the market and ended up selling for less than the original price. What I took away from that was, it’s ok to walk away. My credibility, integrity, and values are not worth compromising for a sale. There were a few other red flags before the mold, the transaction ended up being very frustrating and sucked lot of energy out of me. I would have been better walking away.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I am implementing a consulting program! I have some amazing coaches and mentors who are not in the real estate business. They build business and think outside of the box. They have helped me create a program, where I onboard my new clients with a series of questions and weekly calls that help me know a little more about them. Not your basic questions like, how many sq. ft., location, style, price. These are questions that touch their emotions, I want to know why they want to move, what does their life look like in 3, 6, 9 months if they do, what would their life look like in 3, 6, 9 months if they don’t move? Why is this important to them? What is the function of their home for them? Do they need move in ready, or can they really buy a fixer upper that’s more budget friendly and make their own changes? Who and what is being considered when making this decision? This program is especially helpful if they are moving from another area. I put together a plan of action, whether that’s immediate or something we just get started on depending on their situation
I think this will help people really get to the root of their decisions right away, these are often things agents may find out along the way during the process, but if we can start with this then we can do a much better service to our clients and find the right fit for them in regards to their finances, their purpose for the home, best community, must haves, and discover they may not need what they think they needed. They may be more open to other options than what they’ve been told needed to be the next phase of life. I think this will help keep my clients focused, not looking at every home on Zillow in their desired area as an option or having unrealistic expectations.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Ithink my business stands out because I truly want to serve others. I don’t just want to put a sign up in their yard and show their home when asked. One of my clients is a single mom who lost her job and had to sell her home, so my husband and I went over and repaired her fence that fell over. We took loads of junk to the dump and helped clean up around her house to get it ready to sell. I also recently got new clients in their 80’s that have to move out of their home. They have no family around, so guess where you will find me the next few weeks. Helping them clear out 30 years of stuff!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Without hesitation my husband. When I decided I needed to make a career change he was my cheerleader from day one. Going from hairdressing to real estate was a big shift. Lot’s of studying, classes, training, and meetings. My family was used to me being around more but he stepped in and did everything. He would make dinner, do the dishes, clean the house, laundry, whatever needed to be done he was there to take care of. He took so much stress off of me. Not only that, he has been on board with any new marketing idea I have or investment I want to make in coaching. He wants to see me succeed, even if he thinks it’s crazy!
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet 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?
You’re right, while there are a lot of female real estate agents, there are not many female brokers or female commercial real estate agents. Men are still seen as the dominant sex in the work place. Not because they are smarter but in my opinion it comes down to who takes care of what in the home. These are harder positions to achieve and for a lot of women they are not awarded the ability to go for those positions because they have responsibilities at home that don’t allow them the extra hours to be spent in an office. Which may entirely be a personal choice, one that I believe is just as important as your career. Women tend to stay as agent because it allows them the flexibility to make their own schedule. On the other hand, most women don’t go into real estate as their first career or at least not out of school, they usually transition into real estate later in life, but men do go into it sooner. I believe that also plays a role in the senior positions, women have to work harder to catch up and prove themselves.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
Ithink women should speak up more. Men are better at asking for raises, and promotions. Women have a harder time with rejection if we don’t get the job so they would rather not ask.
Ithink companies can do a better job of recognizing who their top performing women are and offering them more pay or higher positions in the company.
There has been definite progress, but society can take some more pressure off the women, allowing women to feel like they can have a career too if that’s what they want. We are all wired differently. I’m sure there are some men out there that would rather be in the home and be the better care taker but society has put these stigmas on us.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Respect and experience. I think it is much harder for a women executive to get the same respect as a man. They are seen as weaker, more emotional, and not as smart. So they are not always respected, or taken seriously. Women tend to have less experience due to time on the job so they are treated as though they don’t know as much as the men.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
What excites me about the Real Estate Industry is it is always changing and evolving. No transaction is the same.
Iget to be with people at their happiest and their lowest, and have the opportunity to really make a difference in their lives.
Iget to be invited into a space that is so meaningful to them and share that intimate moment in their lives that they never forget.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1) Real estate is an old industry, one that has not had many disrupters. My concern would be that disruption is here with Zillow, ibuyers, Open Door and we are not prepared.
2) We are still cold calling and door knocking.
3) Realtors are seen as sales agents that are just looking for the next transaction.
I would implement more training on social media/online marketing.
I would focus on building your personal brand, getting away from the brokers names and reputations, creating a brand for yourself so people will know exactly who you are and what you represent as you serve them.
I would serve people not sell people. We need to figure out a way to still be needed as the real estate industry evolves. Offering something to our clients that an online company can not.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Pay attention to the next generation, and the movement happening around you. Don’t get stuck in what you are doing now or have always been doing. I see a lot of older agents not willing to get on social media or create videos for youtube but that’s where the millennials are so we need to meet them there.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 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?
- Build a brand. People need to know who you are, how they can relate to you, what you value, and what you’re about. I currently have an out of state client that found me through Instagram because he was able to get to know who I was by what I posted, and see what mattered to me without even meeting me. It doesn’t matter who your broker is, clients aren’t working with them. They want to know who you are.
- You don’t need all the answers, it’s better to ask than give wrong advice. I have a hard time admitting when I’m wrong, so learning to say “I don’t know” or “I’ll get back to you” was a hard thing to do but my clients end up respecting that because I was honest and didn’t want to give them the wrong advice.
- Find your niche. Who do you resonate with most? Whether it’s first time home buyers, second home buyers, investors, luxury. Once you know your target market and stop trying to serve everyone half way you will be able to serve those in your niche to the best of your ability. They end up referring people that are just like them and you grow a business of clients you love.
- It’s a small world, talk and treat everyone with kindness you never know who is your next client or referral. I meet people in the grocery store line, salon, or restaurant and many times we talk about what we do, if my actions or words are not inline with how I want my business to be perceived than I may be losing potential sales.
- Have a business plan. Time blocking has been a game changer for me, I would waste so much time with busy work and never actually get anything done. Having a plan of when you are working on lead generation, marketing, sales, training, systems, or having family time will help you be more organized and productive which turns into more revenue.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Iwould love to inspire a movement of conscious leaders. Leaders in their industry that are serving with purpose. To me Real Estate is a service industry but it is treated as a sales industry. What if we dove into action with our clients and helped them achieve their dreams in life and real estate. What if we raised the bar in our local community and used each others gifts to make someones dream come true or help them out of a tough situation. Networking on a whole different level, with people that truly care about others success and want what’s best for them. The money will come, because people will be drawn to that and word of mouth will spread about the service we provided and the people we connected them too outside of our industry who are now taking care of other needs they have. I would love to see Real Estate be an industry that if realtors no longer existed a community would suffer because of it. Because we knew everyone in it and we were the go to person when someone needed help or direction.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook Christy Hutchison- eXp Realty
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!