Jason Gelios of ItsAllAboutTheRealEstate: “One of the biggest things investors should know is how to spot the right property”

One of the biggest things investors should know is how to spot the right property. Purchasing the wrong type of property and over renovating it can cause flippers to make little or no profit on the home; in some cases even owe money at closing! Knowing what to look out for and how to purchase […]

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One of the biggest things investors should know is how to spot the right property. Purchasing the wrong type of property and over renovating it can cause flippers to make little or no profit on the home; in some cases even owe money at closing! Knowing what to look out for and how to purchase the right property is the first thing to learn in my opinion.


Shows like Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines have really glamorized the creativity and enjoyment that comes with buying a rundown home, fixing it, and then selling it for a profit. Some amateurs have ventured into this industry and have made a lucrative career out of it. But others, particularly when a market is stagnant, have lost their shirts. As a part of my series about the ‘5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Career Buying, Rehabbing, and Selling Properties’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Gelios.

Jason Gelios is an award winning Top Producing REALTOR® with Community Choice Realty in Southeast Michigan. Author of the real estate book ‘Think Like a REALTOR®: A little book about buying and selling residential real estate through the eyes of a REALTOR®.
 
Creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show, contributor of expertise to the likes of major media outlets, Jason educates aspiring home buyers, sellers and existing home owners tips and real world knowledge to help achieve their real estate goals.


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

Thank you for having me! My career in the real estate industry started on the mortgage side helping clients obtain financing for their home purchase. In this space I learned a good deal about the ins and outs of the home buying process and helping homeowners through refinancing. I also had the opportunity to meet and network with a lot of great people who I still remain in contact with to this day. While I had a lot of great years on that side of the business, I wanted to have more flexibility over my time and have a more interactive experience with my clients. Choosing the REALTOR side of the real estate business has been something that I truly enjoy! I still utilize my years of lending experience to provide the basic understanding of mortgage options for my clients.

I love seeing home buyers get excited when they realize we found their next home. Or when I sell someone’s home and it allows them to move on to their next chapter, or a better suited home. Being a REALTOR to me is like being a matchmaker putting home buyers in touch with the right property. No other career has fulfilled me the way real estate does.

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?

One of the stories that stays on top of my mind is about a home that I had on the market. I had been getting a lot of attention for the property and it seemed as though things were on the right track. As time went on and multiple showings occurred, it became apparent through the feedback we were getting that some things needed to be changed. One of the issues that kept popping up was that the home smelled like smoke for every showing. Almost every agent that had showed the home provided feedback about the smoke smell. This was deterring people from placing an offer on the home.

After a hard and honest conversation with the seller, they decided that the ‘right buyer’ would come, despite those issues. After another of showings, it was determined that this was not going to change. It became evident that I was spinning my wheels with this client and that the home would not sell with that consistent issue of negative feedback. It was at that moment that I had decided to release them from their contract and to part ways.

Looking back, I still believe that walking away from that type of home seller was a good decision. The key takeaway from that day is that no matter how much I wanted to help them, I simply can’t always help everyone. I also learned that you have to keep the health of your own business in mind as well and to not let things, or people, drown you in your business. I am a firm believer that a client and the professional need to be a good match to accomplish each other’s goals. Letting that difficult client go was the best thing for my business which enabled me to focus on other opportunities that required my attention.

Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?

I am a huge fan of quotes because they provide quick motivational spurts when you need it. My favorite quote that I apply to my life is by Zig Ziglar. He states, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This quote is a reminder to always provide daily value to others and to be someone that people consider a great resource for expertise and inspiration.

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

I am currently working on my second book focusing on the subject of overcoming personal barriers and self doubt to achieve great things in life. While it’s not about real estate, I feel it will be an inspiration to those that are on the fence about going after their own goals and creating a life that they truly look forward to. If the book helps one person take that step forward, I will consider it a success. I’m also looking forward to getting back to in-person home buyer classes at one of the local universities where I taught prior to the pandemic. Educating people about the home buying process and sharing real world tips is what I love to do for my community.

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

I am a brand within a brand. I operate under a real estate broker, but operate as a brand that runs like a business. This means that I focus on things that build equity in my brand first. From the design of my marketing materials to the professional advice I provide to media outlets. People hire the REALTOR based on what the professional representative does and not so much what office they work at. Clients are looking for a solid professional that can solve their problems and help them feel at ease. When you look at what many agents are doing with their marketing, their messages blend together.

A solid professional that brands themselves can stand out from the crowd and be seen as a person of trust, value and reliability. I feel my personal brand conveys this message to potential and existing clients through my daily efforts.

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 played a role in my success. I was fortunate enough to have met and marry a woman who inspired me from the beginning to level up and go after what I want in life. I have also been blessed with two wonderful parents who taught me the value of hard work and earning what you want. I am further blessed to have great in-laws who have been a sound board for many of my ideas and a great source of feedback that I count on.

When you have people around you that motivate you and build you up to achieve in life, it makes it that much easier to succeed, because it builds your mentality stronger to defeat life’s obstacles.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I believe that having certain traits is the key to being successful. The first trait I would attribute my success to would be having self-discipline. Knowing what I need to do on a daily basis and why I need to do those things, is crucial because it’s too easy to become complacent and fall into the ‘lazy days’ syndrome where nothing gets done. A great example of this is when you have a beautiful warm and sunny day where you really want to sit back and enjoy the rays. Having the self-discipline to keep focused and move forward towards what you need to get done is what separates the successful from the non-successful. Sure it’s ok to take a day off, but if it becomes a common habit, that can wreak havoc on your business and productivity.

The second trait I believe is the desire to be successful. It’s perfectly fine to be content with making a certain amount of money, or having a certain amount of material things. But those who want more out of life and themselves tend to feed off of their inner desire to want more, whether it’s material things like a new car, or other things such as freedom over their time. Having a strong desire to be successful should override slipping into laziness on certain days rather than giving into that temptation.

The third trait I believe is wanting to learn. Self-education was a huge factor in my success, because I really try to learn as much as I can on a daily basis. Think about this, so many successful people have written books about how they became successful and many even share their failures! I love that I can read about their experiences and gain tips from what they share to apply to my business. Wanting to learn as much as I can about what I do has played a huge part in my career.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.

There are so many things that I love about the real estate industry. I would say my top three favorites are the opportunity the industry provides, being a part of someone’s dream to own a home, and the great professionals I have met and interacted with. The opportunity to create something from nothing is amazing to me. I have learned of success stories where people who were struggling became highly successful in real estate just by learning and putting in the effort. It’s truly amazing to me.

Being a part of quite possibly the biggest purchase of someone’s life is exciting, because the feeling you get when a home buyer closes on a property that they will make their home is satisfying on so many levels. You just don’t get that much emotion from purchasing anything else. When my clients’ eyes light up and they start talking about how they will decorate the home, or set up their furniture, it’s really cool to witness.

I get the pleasure of meeting and interacting with many great professionals who are also driven to provide value and succeed in their industry. It’s inspiring to hear about their ambitions and success stories of how they helped their clients. This allows me to refer people that I would personally hire to my clients.

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? Please share stories or examples if possible.

This is a great question. If I could change one thing about the real estate industry, it would be to hold incompetent professionals more accountable. This may sound like a harsh thing to say, but I have seen too many ‘professionals’ really do wrong by the client. From either not being proficient in what they do, to providing horrible service; it’s something that is rampant in the real estate industry. If I had the opportunity to reform the industry as a whole, I would push for the education of effective communication and increase the amount of required education for not just real estate agents, but for other professionals involved in the process. I would work with our National Association of Realtors® to create educational pieces for mainstream media to help educate homeowners looking to sell on certain things to look out for. I would also increase the penalties for those that incorporate this type of behavior in their sales practices.

One of the most common and concerning things I come across is when real estate agents talk bad about other agents if they are competing to gain a client. Instead of remaining ethical and professional, some agents will knock down others, or make false promises to the potential client. I see this often when multiple agents are meeting with a homeowner looking to sell. The questionable agent will make promises that they can sell the home for more to gain the contract. More professional and knowledgeable agents will be upfront and honest while sharing what they feel the home would sell for, based on facts and comparable properties. Long story short, the seller typically signs with the false promising agent and ends up selling for less.

What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?

Creating a great work culture starts with focusing on the people on the team. Too many times I have been approached by other brokers looking to recruit me who start off their sales pitch with information about what they do. If they had started off by mentioning benefits that an agent may find attractive in a workspace, they just might keep the attention and grow their team. Giving their team the tools to succeed and being a resource with an open door policy is the key to having a great work culture which usually spreads around town like gossip. I also think that many real estate brokers believe that real estate agents are only motivated by money. I experienced one broker who started off the phone call with a money based incentive, before even asking me if I was interested in knowing more about their office. Bad move! Focusing on the agent and asking more questions to provide better answers is how they should interact with potential recruits.

Ok, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share with our readers your “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Career Buying, Rehabbing, and Selling Properties”? If you can, please give a story or an example for each?

What I feel are the top five things first time real estate flippers need to know about creating a successful career in flipping homes are knowing what type of property to buy, Knowing the different types of financing available, Working with the right professionals, knowing what the budget is for buying distressed homes and being realistic about what they can do.

One of the biggest things investors should know is how to spot the right property. Purchasing the wrong type of property and over renovating it can cause flippers to make little or no profit on the home; in some cases even owe money at closing! Knowing what to look out for and how to purchase the right property is the first thing to learn in my opinion.

If the home purchase requires a mortgage, knowing what finance options are available to purchase a home to flip is key. Most lenders view investment properties differently compared to a primary home, so the home buyer will need to know what requirements come with loans like this. Many lenders will not offer financing for an investment property if they feel it will be sold quickly after renovation. This is because the lender won’t really make money on the deal.

First time home flippers should set themselves up with the right professionals that they feel will work with them in a profitable manner. This process should be taken seriously, because if the wrong professional(s) are chosen, it can cause major headaches and more money to fix any issues that were caused. Asking for referrals from trusted resources should be the first step.

Creating a budget and knowing what they can spend should be on every real estate flippers mind. Experienced real estate investors account for every dollar spent on things from materials, to marketing the home. While many budgets are estimates and may have to be adjusted throughout the process, it’s much better to know what you can spend on a property, versus not knowing at all and winging it.

Lastly, I would recommend all first time flippers and even any home buyer in general know what they can realistically do to a home. This is where optimism should be limited. Knowing their limit and what they can do, or not do, to a home is knowledge that should be obtained before purchasing any property. I’ve seen many homes that started as a ‘flip’ but were then placed on the market partially finished. It’s an all too common story where money ran out and the flipper had to sell.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen other people make when they try their own hand at house flipping? Can you share any stories?

One of the biggest mistakes I see first time home flippers make is that they have unrealistic expectations of what they will earn. Oftentimes first time flippers will see how much these investors on major television shows make per deal and they expect that to happen when starting out. Real estate investing is a business that should be built up slowly so that it can become a successful venture. First time Flippers should want to learn about the in’s and out’s and not rush the process.

From your experience, what can be done to avoid those errors?

First time home flippers should get their feet wet and start small while learning as much as they can about the process to potentially get to the level that will bring them higher profits. Investors should also line themselves up with experts in areas that affect flipping a home, including working with an experienced REALTOR who is familiar with the area they are flipping in as well as what to look for in potential properties.

You are a person of great 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. 🙂

Interesting question! If I could create a movement to greatly improve people’s lives, it would be to share a message to slow down and be kind to others. We are a victim of wanting everything rushed. Almost daily I see people that are in a ‘rush’ to do what they need to do and treat others around them horribly. I would use my influence to remind people that it’s ok to slow things down a little and still get things done, while treating others with respect.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I invite everyone to visit my website at www.ItsAllAboutTheRealEstate.com and to connect with me on Social Media from the website.

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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