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Hollie Kitchens of eXp Realty: “Community over Competition”

Community over Competition. “5.34 million existing homes were sold in 2019.” With that statistic, it’s easy to say you can help every single person in your area looking to purchase. So many real estate agents have a scarcity mindset that does more harm than good for them. You have to get over that if you […]

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Community over Competition. “5.34 million existing homes were sold in 2019.” With that statistic, it’s easy to say you can help every single person in your area looking to purchase. So many real estate agents have a scarcity mindset that does more harm than good for them. You have to get over that if you want to thrive in this industry. You will have to work with other agents. Make it an enjoyable experience. At the end of the day, we might be representing different parties but we have the same end goal when it comes to closing a transaction.


As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Hollie Kitchens

Hollie’s professional experience includes Real Estate and helping other small business owners, which has a direct impact on having the skills of thinking outside the box, knowing the business side of things, being strategic, being detailed, time management, and managing several different projects at once. Hollie is licensed to sell real estate in Oklahoma and Texas and is with eXp Realty. She’s the host to Unleash Your Inner Legend podcast and co-founder of Women Elevation.

One of Hollie’s core values is continually growing and getting better. If she’s not working or spending time with family and friends; Hollie dedicates a lot of her time to honing her knowledge both professionally and personally by hiring professional coaches, attending seminars, consuming herself with personal development, and surrounding herself with like-minded people.

She lives by her WHY:

“To inspire people to let go of limiting beliefs so that they can unleash their inner legend and live the life they were intended to.”

Her hobbies include spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, and doing things that make her laugh her face off.


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

So, this is kind of a funny story. After high school, I did what almost every kid feels obligated to do and that is go to college. I found a job working as a part-time bank teller making 6.55 dollars an hour. I quickly realized that I needed a quicker path in life. I quit college to pursue more in banking. I became a loan assistant and remember saying to my loan officer “I will NEVER be a real estate agent.” This was because of my experience with some of them.

Little did I know, I’d be licensed to sell real estate three years later. I realized the unprofessionalism of those agents wasn’t the way it had to be in the industry.

A friend of mine suggested I apply to work at this major team in town, the Jay Kinder Real Estate Team. That was a suggestion that changed the course of my life forever. There was so much more than Real Estate at Jay’s team. There was friendship, training, and mentorship from my colleagues that I can say set me up for success in the Real Estate Industry.

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?

The story that comes to mind isn’t amusing but definitely has a lesson learned! I had a buyer that I took through the pre-qualification process and had him sign a broker agreement to make sure he was a legitimate buyer. After he was pre-approved I made the appointment with him to show him homes.

I called my mortgage guy to let him know I was showing and to give him a heads up in case we found a home that day. He cautioned me that this guy seemed a little off to him. I am usually good at judging character, so I thanked him but didn’t read too much into it.

As usual, I drove in my car and he followed. After showing him the second home, he kept talking about salsa dancing and asked if I ever took lessons. I said no and redirected the focus back to the home we were looking at. He kept going back to the dancing and how I was “built like a salsa dancer”. After the last showing, I thought to myself okay he was a little off but nothing too out there. As I was saying good-bye to time and opening my car door he yelled from his car, “Wow, you sure were brave today.” I was taken aback as I didn’t do any heroic actions and replied “Oh, how so?” He said, “I could have killed you seven times today and no one would have ever known.”

Talk about giving me the chills! He thought about it or else he wouldn’t have brought it up. I always let people know where I am showing, so I did take some precautions but to have someone say that was a little nerve-wracking. It was a lesson learned because I thought since he was an older, smaller man that I could defend myself. Since that showing, I have always been a little more alert and attentive to clients that I work with.

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

Yes! Right now, I am working on a few different projects.

The one that excites me the most though, is an educational membership called “The Resimercial Agent Academy.” I am thrilled about this because it will help agents so much with branding and standing out with what makes them unique. My part on the platform is to train others in the industry on how to create an outstanding online presence with easy DIY tips, tricks, and hacks. These courses include podcasting, creating an online presence, social authority, the power of networking, and so much more.

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

I am with eXp Realty. This company is a standout company in so many ways.

First, there’s one cap even though I’m licensed in two states. After I reach my cap, my deals are 100% commission. This is a huge deal, especially being in commercial real estate.

Speaking of stock, this is one of the pieces that excites me the most. I’ve never worked for a company that has an exit strategy for its real estate agents. eXp is a publicly-traded company. This means we get awarded stock options on many occasions. This can be when you close your first deal with the company, when you sign up for the discount stock option at closing, when you bring on someone and they close their first deal, etc. It’s great to be a part of a company that understands agents need an exit strategy.

I also get to create my branding and promote myself, rather than a corporation. This also applies to any agent that signs up under me. They aren’t branding “Hollie Kitchens” as their leader, they get to have all of these benefits AND keep their branding in the marketplace.

Another great attribute of the company is I get to help agents that sign up under me. The way that the revenue share program is set up, is that you want your down line to be successful. This eliminates the scarcity mindset a lot of agents have when it comes to helping others. I am incentivized by helping them. If they close more deals, I also get rewarded in revenue share. This inspired me to start the Resimercial Agent Academy with my business partner Katrina Raether. I also set them up to become certified in the home buying and selling process through the National Association of Expert Advisors. It’s such an abundant environment that the company has established.

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?

Many people have helped me get to where I am today but I would like to mention a few.

I am grateful for my very first Broker, Jay Kinder, and his business partner John Kitchens. Before joining the Jay Kinder Real Estate Experts, I didn’t know what personal growth was. I am from a VERY small town in Oklahoma where we had history books or fiction books on the shelves and that was it. I remember them giving us all on the team a copy of Darren Hardy’s “Compound Effect” and I haven’t seen the world the same since then. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of through their leadership and exposure to personal growth. I have read books that have expanded my mind and attended life-changing seminars because of them. I will always be grateful for both of these guys, as they have helped me grow and be a better person.

I want to acknowledge my best friend and business partner, Katrina Raether. Kat has been such an inspiration to me when it comes to being a strong woman in real estate. Not only that, but she has been very helpful in sharing her knowledge and experience with me. Commercial Real Estate can be intimidating and feel like you are on your little island. It’s so hard to find agents in this industry like her. Kat has been my friend for the last 10 years, through the high and low points of my life. Everyone in the industry needs a true “ride or die” friend and she’s been my lifesaver!

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?

Many times you can get the “good ole’ boys club” feeling when it comes to joining a brokerage. The men that are high up in the company don’t see the value that women bring in leadership. Instead, they bring in their good friends to work beside them.

When this happens, companies do not attract women to come work for them. I, myself would not want to work for a brokerage that only keeps its leadership level to men and their friends. Women do not want to work with a company when they don’t feel like there’s an opportunity to grow within the company. Also, men do not understand or relate to women. It’s hard to have a leader that cannot place themselves in your shoes.

A male dominant company also intimidates women. We don’t want to get into a company where we are the minority and feel like outsiders. No one wants to feel that way at their place of employment.

What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

Individuals:

Men need to have the awareness that women in this industry are very dominant and they need to understand how to communicate instead of shutting us down. Check the ego at the door because at the end of the day we are all in this together. It’s 2020, powerful women are here to stay, educate yourself on ways to communicate, and listen with all types of personalities.

Companies:

Companies can make a world of difference when they start making policies that attract women to their workplace. For instance, if you have a company policy on maternity leave that is a huge win! Hire women in the leadership roles that can relate and identify other personal women’s needs. Also, creating a culture that is family-oriented is a huge plus.

Companies also need to be intentional to have women have a face in the company. Have more videos on social media featuring the women that work there. Hire women motivational speakers to speak to the team. Create a professional environment where women are thriving and feel welcomed.

Society:

Unfortunately, we live in a society where mothers face backlash if they go into the workforce. This view creates the mom guilt for many mothers. If we can be a little more understanding as a society that women aren’t bad for going to work. We all have different situations and goals and if society can have empathy and respect for that, it would change the world’s perspective so much.

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

One of my personal biggest challenges is the “that’s cute she’s trying to hang with the big boys” stigma. There have been many instances where my voice was completely ignored by my male counterparts. A man would say the same thing and it’s thought of as a great idea. I feel like as a woman, I have to work twice as hard to prove I deserve a seat at the table. I’m not just an object to look at, I have worthy opinions and experience to back up my views.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

1. I would say the opportunity real estate provides is what excites me the most. The Real Estate Industry has endless opportunities. You can specialize in so many niches all while finding your purpose. You can educate and help first time home buyers, you can specialize in small businesses, you can help nonprofits, there are so many niches!

2. The fulfillment from helping clients find that dream space for their business or their first home is priceless. It’s amazing to be a part of a transaction that will change your client’s life!

3. The flexibility to create my own business and schedule. Real Estate is great in the sense you can “be your own boss”, it is tricky though when starting and having to understand you get what you put in. I love being able to spend time with those that mean the most to me but I also know that I have to keep putting the work in to make that happen.

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. The VERY first thing that concerns me about the industry is how easy it is to get into it. For example, in Texas, you have to go through 90 hours of schooling before taking your state test. Which is insane thinking that is the only requirement for a profession that handles the transaction of someone’s biggest investment. Compare that requirement to a Texas professional cosmetologist that has to take a minimum of 1,000 hours.

I would implement a more thorough education requirement before obtaining a license. Having a more education requirement will deter those looking to make a “quick buck” and it will also help those new in the industry get more competence in the field.

2. Another area of concern is ethics. We do have NAR (National Association of Realtors) that have ethics codes in place. However, many agents do not abide by these codes and give real estate agents a bad name.

Many agents just chalk it up as a lesson learned when they get burned by an unethical agent. Every unethical dealing needs to be reported to keep a high standard of professionalism.

3. The thought of the technology replacing real estate agents is a huge threat to the industry.

People question price in the absence of value. As Real Estate Professionals, we need to make sure we are trained in our skills, so we do not dilute our profession. We know that computers cannot do our jobs, however, the untrained agents are a major threat to our industry.

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

The most important thing is to be transparent and authentic. Long gone are the days of leaders pretending to know all the answers and being the perfect person. Great leaders know that they will be wrong sometimes or might not have all the answers, and that’s okay. Always be looking for areas to grow and improve upon to help you be the best leader possible. Find a coach, pick up a book, and/or attend a webinar to gain knowledge of areas you need to grow in.

You can’t lead a team if you aren’t leading yourself. Make sure you are practicing what you preach or else the team members looking up to you will resent you and not respect you. Always ask yourself “Would I follow me?”, if the answer is no, you have to change your behavior and habits.

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?

1. It’s not as glamorous as it seems, don’t give up on the hard times.

I’m sure many people get into the industry because they watch HGTV or TV shows like Selling Sunset. There will be days where you have to show 110-degree heat. There are days when you show bank owned properties that are infested with fleas and smell horribly. There are days where you question why you even decided to get into the business. It is an extremely rewarding profession but know that there are a lot of things that come with it! Know that every day isn’t going to be a walk in the park and that you will have to show up when you don’t want to.

2. You do not get paid until a deal closes, so don’t count the money that is not yours yet.

Yes, you can make a lot of money in real estate. However, there are a lot of things that are in and out of your control. You cannot rely on money that hasn’t been funded yet. You can expect not to get a paycheck from your first deal for the first 3–6 months. And that is being on an awesome team with leads and leadership.

3. HAVE FUN.

This might be the most important one for me. If you lose focus on having fun and the reason why you got into the business, you will be chewed up and spit out. Make a priority to take care of yourself and reward yourself when you close deals! Celebrate in ways that bring fulfillment to you.

4. Community over Competition.

“5.34 million existing homes were sold in 2019, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.” — NAR “Quick Real Estate Statistics.” With that statistic, it’s easy to say you can help every single person in your area looking to purchase. So many real estate agents have a scarcity mindset that does more harm than good for them. You have to get over that if you want to thrive in this industry. You will have to work with other agents. Make it an enjoyable experience. At the end of the day, we might be representing different parties but we have the same end goal when it comes to closing a transaction.

5. Put in the work.

Real Estate is fantastic, but you must put in the work to reap the benefits. Every day you take off is a day your prospects or clients went with someone else who was working. Make sure you have the grit and work ethic to put in the hours. It’s easy to create bad habits that will be a major threat to your success.

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. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement it would be to have women in real estate to stop hiding behind their logo and embrace their uniqueness and showcase themselves with an effective personal branding strategy. I believe so many women would feel much more confident when they showcase their brand and what makes them unique in their marketplace. With an effective personal brand, you will start attracting your ideal client and who wouldn’t want to do business with people that like them for who they are and what they stand for?

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at @holliekitchens! You can also connect with me at holliekitchens.com to learn more about me, my journey, podcasting, and more!

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!

Thank you so much for thinking of me! I appreciate it and am honored to be featured.

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