Do not give your opinion with your mouth. Anything you want to say in your head is fair game. You have no idea where people are coming from or what they like. Learn to smile and nod. Client says, “Is this a good neighborhood?” You say, “There are wonderful neighborhoods throughout the valley.” Client says, “Do you like this house?” You say, “Do you?” I was showing a house to a cute couple that had pink carpet. I had a fit saying, “Can you believe someone would put pink carpet in their house!” The couple did not say much, but asked me to see their home to list. Son of a bucket! The house was completely carpeted in the exact same pink carpet. I learned to smile and nod.
Asa part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Heidel.
Tamara Heidel is the broker/owner of Heidel Realty. She and her family moved to Las Vegas in 1994 which makes them practically natives. She grew up in Wathena, Kansas, a small town just across the Missouri River from St. Joseph, Missouri. You can imagine how amazing it must have been to watch the incredible growth of Las Vegas. Her husband, Craig, was her high school sweetheart and they still like each other! They have two grown children, Kaitlyn and Reid. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and taught several years in the Clark County School District before starting her real estate career in 2003. The same values she used in the classroom — making it fun, loving people, listening to their individual needs, and using my skills to accomplish their goals, worked perfectly in the real estate world. She thanks God every day for the wonderful people He has put in her path to serve.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
Iwas raised in a small town of Wathena, Kansas (put this on a trivia site and see who can find the place). Went to college to become a teacher (nurse or teacher were my only two choices according to culture and my best friend declared education as a major, so I did too). I married my high school sweetheart (because that is what you did and he was cute) and had two children — a girl and a boy. I LOVED being a teacher! However, a great friend of mine suggested I get my real estate license, so I did. Turns out teachers make really good real estate agents — we are caring, people-friendly, educated, and passionate. I LOVE being a real estate broker.
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?
Our team has tons of stories and we learn new stuff all the time. Here are a couple:
1. While showing a cute family a home, we walked in on a naked man. The man was proud of what his momma gave him and not disturbed in the least. We learned to knock louder.
2. One of my sellers accepted an offer from a buyer who claimed to be divorced, except she wasn’t. Since Nevada is a community property state, she could not purchase the property without the husband signing a quit claim deed. Usually this is not a problem except the husband was in maximum security prison for murder serving a life sentence. The buyer’s agent had to go to the prison to have him sign off his rights to the property. We learned community property laws are no joke.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Our team is working on informational videos to help guide our clients through the many phases of a real estate transaction. We thought in the world of YouTube, our clients would like to see videos of what happens next versus just an email explanation. Our bloopers are amaze-balls!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Hmmm. I wish I could put into words the essence of our team. We are a group of women from many backgrounds and ages. We truly love working and playing together. It is a work utopia. (Please don’t grab a barf bag!) This spirit transfers to how we work with our clients. We are the “Cheers” of real estate. A locals’ favorite! People can trust us to take care of them like we take care of our family and friends. Many of our clients become our friends. It is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket. We serve the people God puts in our path!
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?
Coming from an elementary education background then jumping into real estate was a huge eye opener in human behavior. I mean a 5 year old lying to you is completely different than dealing with a dishonest adult. There were many times in the beginning when I rolled up in a ball and sucked my thumb. My husband picked me up and encouraged me to get back out there. Without him I would have quit early on. The growing success is attributed to the entire team and their amazing brains — LARA COX,
JULIANA BURKE, DONNA CORBIN, KATHRYN SCHMIDT, PAULA ENGEL. There is no success without these girls.
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?
When I was a 5th grade teacher, one of my fellow male teachers walked in with huge plywood puzzle pieces for a triceratops he had made. WHAT? I just stared at him in amazement. Then I started thinking, “I bet he did not iron his shirt today or make his lunch or got the kids ready for school or picked up the kitchen before he walked out the door or the million other things his wife did while he was being nominated for Teacher of the Year!”
Actually, it was not any different in my house. My husband was an up and coming executive in the company. He did not ever ever have to worry about anything in his world, but being the best he could be at work. I was excited and happy to SUPPORT him as he climbed the ladder. Women have been in the supporting role for a long time which is one reason why you see such a discrepancy in leadership between men and women.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
Three things we can do as individuals, as companies, and as society are encourage higher education for our girls with no limitations, embrace women with their amazing skill set and insight, and finally teach sharing in labor meaning all genders can cook, clean and change diapers equally. Side note — we need to be kinder to the support person. It is true none of us are able to achieve success alone and we don’t.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Perception of female leaders can be a challenge. A strong woman can be stereotyped as a “beotch”. We need to stop that! Another challenge which I already touched on is division of labor. Running a company and then doing everything else is not only stressful, but exhausting.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
One of the most exciting parts of real estate is sharing in people’s journey. Buying or selling a home is emotional for most people with stories as varied as the houses themselves. Our team is privileged to travel beside and assist along the way.
Millennials buying their first homes excites me! I just closed with one of my kindergartners on her first house. Super fun! I passionately believe that owning a home is one of the biggest leaps up the economic ladder a young person can do.
America is going to be a “super-aged” society by year 2030. Preparing and facilitating is essential for the longevity of humans staying in their homes. Looking into alternative housing such as Next Gen floor plans or renovations is exciting.
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?
Homelessness and affordable housing are the biggest concerns facing the real estate industry today. We are freaking real estate agents and there are homeless people so let’s find them a home. However, before we can get people a home, we have to address the reason they are homeless. Remove the stigma of mental illness and open more treatment facilities. Laws need to be passed where humans are not allowed to sleep on the street period! This gets the people to a warm safe place and (call me a beotch) helps the
property values. Moving the homeless to homes is a process and not only our industry, but all industries need to be involved.
Affordable housing can be solved by getting rid of greedy bastards. I will let you know when I figure out how to do that.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Our team grew up in the Keller Williams philosophy of God, Family, Business (business being last). As we developed our own boutique brokerage, we kept the God, Family, Business philosophy. Just like little kids coming to school hungry and cannot concentrate on learning so goes the adult who does not have the spiritual and family issues in balance. As individuals it is difficult to bring our best to others if our life is in the sh** hole. Bottom line — address the all the goals in life, not only business.
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?
Let me say I do not believe you can be successful in real estate unless you are intuitive or it is much harder if you are not intuitive. So here are my 5 non intuitive musts:
1. You have to know math or figure out how to download an app that does the math for you. You are helping people buy or sell the biggest asset they have. The money is important. If you cannot explain what kind of money they need to buy the house or what you will get when it sells, then don’t be a real estate agent.
On my first transaction, (a parent who said you taught my daughter to read, you can sell me a house) we sit down at the closing table. My client is signing and signing and I am smiling and smiling because I do not know what in the hell-o I am doing. We get to the final paper which is the one with all the figures. CRAP AND CHAOS ensues as my client goes ballistic over how much the closing costs are and the loan fees, etc. He sweeps his arm across the desk and the 443 pages of closing documents fly through the air and land on the floor. He storms out and I stop smiling. From that moment forward, the first page we sign is about the money and I know how to figure it and explain every freaking dime.
2. DATABASE. You need to develop a database which means people you know, might know, or met in a restroom at McDonalds (this one is iffy). You need to name your database like a pet and feed it. If you don’t know or want to know people, then don’t be a real estate agent.
There are no stories here. You either serve people or you don’t.
3. Do not give your opinion with your mouth. Anything you want to say in your head is fair game. You have no idea where people are coming from or what they like. Learn to smile and nod. Client says, “Is this a good neighborhood?” You say, “There are wonderful neighborhoods throughout the valley.” Client says, “Do you like this house?” You say, “Do you?” I was showing a house to a cute couple that had pink carpet. I had a fit saying, “Can you believe someone would put pink carpet in their house!” The couple did not say much, but asked me to see their home to list. Son of a bucket! The house was completely carpeted in the exact same pink carpet. I learned to smile and nod.
4. You are going to starve! New agents do not believe me on this. Starting a real estate business is like starting a business — IT TAKES TIME AND YOU MAKE NO MONEY. This is no different than any other business. Gary Keller said if you do the activities then the money will come. Discipline and tenacity! Plus, don’t make it about money, make it about the people.
When I started, I worked my arce off (I still do). I went to all the classes. I did everything they told me to do. I prayed (I always do though). I knocked on doors I created postcards out of posterboard and decorated them with stickers and smiley stamps (remember I was a teacher). I did not stop and I did not sell crap. Going into the office was depressing because I saw people who did not look like they had two brain cells to rub together selling homes. Then the six month mark came and I sold 36 homes in the next 6 months.
It was crazy. God was laughing! It has been a ride ever since.
5. Purpose — find it! Real estate is not for everyone. I get it, you don’t need a college education and the license is easy to get, but that is where easy stops. If you are interested in being a real estate agent, shadow a successful agent and interview several.
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. 🙂
Influence is not an attribute I want to encompass. Guide is a better word. My guide to the greatest amount of people is the person who is in front of me. If I cannot guide or help the person in front of me, I can help no one. Be present and listen to one person at a time and you help the world.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!