Real estate is a fascinating adventure so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. I believe in “old school” marketing such as open houses, farming and door knocking (in areas that allow it). As I mentioned previously, getting back to that personal connection while still implementing the use of new technology is critical.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Chute.
Lynn Chute started her real estate career in 1998 after relocating to Colorado from California. Her career started as a receptionist for a large brokerage in Colorado and she quickly realized she had a love for the industry. She learned every aspect of residential real estate, working in various positions and majoring in “getting it done” — constantly pushing herself to the next level. Building and empowering people is Chute’s passion. She loves helping, educating and sharing experiences with others. From her time as a front-end receptionist to now vice president of one of the largest real estate companies in Colorado, she has had the opportunity to work closely with some of the top real estate leaders in Colorado and enjoys being a visionary in the industry. Chute’s goal is to empower brokers to build successful and prosperous careers in real estate.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
In the late 90s, a move to Colorado from California as a young family created the obvious need to seek a career that would be productive and financially sound. But also important to me, was having a career that was meaningful and sustainable. I was quickly drawn to the real estate industry as making a new Colorado home for my family and entering the employment arena seemed to collide. I was offered a front-end position with a brokerage that provided me with unlimited training and expert counsel. The growing market combined with my ever-increasing desire to set and reach new goals promoted my upward movement in the industry.
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?
Where do I start? I have often joked about writing a book about all the crazy stories from over the years. I have heard it all. My favorite are of course the harmless moments that all agents have experienced at one time or another. Text messages that your phone so graciously auto corrects but you don’t notice until after you have already hit send–where is my recall button? You agree to tour properties for your clients, take videos/photos to highlight special features of the property, but you hit send and regrettably included one photo too many that you forgot existed. Not to mention the surprise showings when sellers are not expecting to see you. You knock, ring the door and enter the home, only to be extremely surprised at the current view and the sellers lack of clothing. Mistakes happen…learn from them, laugh about them and move on.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
There is always an endless supply of opportunities and challenges in this business. The manner in which we respond to these opportunities and challenges creates countless possibilities for new and creative projects. I approach everyday with an attitude of gratitude that I can make “this day” my project; I can coach, encourage, lead, motivate and respond to people in my daily care in a professionally positive way — that is my project.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
HomeSmart is the only brokerage in the country with the right foundation and system of people, processes and technology to successfully service and support an unlimited number of agents. Our commitment to our agents is unparalleled. Only HomeSmart provides agents with all 6 things every REALTOR® needs: technology, service, training prestige, culture and 100% commission.
We’ve had all of these things from our beginning — we were poised for the transition due to the pandemic from the start, making virtual real estate a seamless process for our agents. Besides offering the technology and training to allow them to continue their work remotely, HomeSmart International’s corporate leadership also opened up the lines of communication to the entire nationwide network. They implemented company-wide huddles every morning, offered webinars with expert advice on how to navigate the “new way” of real estate, and provided support and guidance to those needing medical or financial assistance. HomeSmart truly showed that they care for the businesses and the well being of our agents and brokers.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
From my time as a front-end receptionist to now vice president of one of the largest real estate companies in Colorado, I have had the opportunity to work closely with some of the top leaders in the real estate industry. Most importantly, Matt Widdows, founder and CEO of HomeSmart International. He has built an amazing, progressive and cutting edge brokerage from one vision: to make real estate easy for agents. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the real estate experience, not only for brokers and agents but also homeowners. I love being a part of a brokerage that is making a positive impact across the nation.
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 woman 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?
I think this is due to a combination of two things. First, the fact of the matter is we still face gender bias in the workplace. People still think men are better suited for executive roles when in fact, women are just as capable. HomeSmart’s executive and management teams happen to have many women in senior positions which I’m incredibly proud of. Second, some women simply choose not to take on those higher-level roles. They may decide to dedicate themselves to other positions in real estate or feel they’d prefer to prioritize their family or other elements of their life over climbing to an upper management position.
One reason real estate is a woman-dominated industry is because the work of a real estate agent allows for flexibility — something many women seek so they can balance work, family and other priorities. But I believe the reason for the imbalance of women in senior positions is the same across all industries.
What 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
Women have to understand that the imbalance exists and they need to be self-driven enough to write their own stories. Every opportunity to gain additional and varied experience and education should be viewed as a step upward. Women need to be professionally prepared for upward mobility. The windows of progress can often be very small. Oftentimes, for women, there is also sacrifice.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that are not typically faced by their male counterparts?
Women are held to a higher standard and I don’t quite understand why. I think that women have to do more to prove themselves and are less likely to ask for help. In my opinion, women are less likely to speak up and men are typically more blunt. Women hesitate to self promote and are so hard on ourselves where we lose sleep over missteps and mistakes. I believe, oftentimes, we create those challenges for ourselves.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
- Helping clients achieve their dream of home ownership. I can remember the first time I handed my clients the keys to their very first home. They both had tears in their eyes and were shaking with excitement. There is no better feeling.
- I enjoy getting creative with staging, color and decor. Helping clients transform their new home into their dream home brings me so much joy. I love helping them visualize the potential in a property and then bringing it to life.
- I love that this industry is constantly changing so we, in turn, are constantly learning. Everyday is different.
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?
- Over the last few years, we have seen a major surge in listing portals which created challenges for agents and homeowners as well. I feel these listing portals take away from the true real estate experience.
- Real estate is a relationship business no matter how you look at it. Buying and selling a home is a delicate process and clients need that personal connection. Now don’t get me wrong, technology and automation is critical to a successful real estate career, but agents need to find a perfect balance of both.
- Real estate will forever be lucrative. There will always be ups and downs but history shows if you just hold on, investing in real estate is a smart move.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Empower your agents! Provide them with tools, education and support they need to build successful and prosperous careers in real estate. Allow creativity, expression and some risk while remaining in compliance of course.
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?
- Real estate is a fascinating adventure so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. I believe in “old school” marketing such as open houses, farming and door knocking (in areas that allow it). As I mentioned previously, getting back to that personal connection while still implementing the use of new technology is critical.
- Education, education, education. I cannot stress enough the importance of real estate education. Educated agents are simply better agents.
- Always stay on top of trends and market conditions. You are a licensed professional and your job is to fully understand what is going on in your market. You always want to be prepared to answer market questions and you never know when those questions will be asked.
- The willingness to adapt can drastically progress your career. How many times have you heard, “I’ve been in this industry for 30 years and…”? Our industry changes on a daily basis and refusing to adapt and change in a forever changing industry can shatter your career.
- Be mindful of what you are posting on social media platforms. Time and time again, I have seen real estate careers be negatively impacted by one simple statement that was not intended to offend but ultimately did. Keep in mind, you can never fully remove something that has been posted online.
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. 🙂
Live for today, because you may not be here tomorrow. As challenging as 2020 has been for us all, I think we’ve learned so much about how not to take things for granted. Enjoy your moments and make memories.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!