Don’t forget to ask for a referral. It’s encouraged to end conversations by saying “so if you ever hear of anyone thinking of selling their home, please pass my name along.” It’s so simple and planting the seed — especially at the end of a client relationship — is important. People will think of you!
As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Molly Gallagher.
Molly Gallagher is Partner at Falk Ruvin Gallagher Real Estate Team and one of the top agents in the multiple listing service in Shorewood, Wisconsin. She is an expert in luxury homes in Shorewood and the East Side of Milwaukee with an eye for design and staging. In addition, Molly has extensive knowledge of older homes and familiarity with all the tradespeople who keep those beautiful homes working. Molly is a lifelong resident of the Milwaukee. She has raised her four children in the community and is heavily involved with schools and organizations that make Milwaukee a special place.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
I had been in sales earlier in my career. After having four children and being involved with various school and philanthropic endeavors, I wanted to do something I knew I would enjoy and be good at. Friends and relatives frequently asked me to help them, or their friends, tour neighborhoods, talk about the communities and houses and find the right spot. I figured I might as well get paid for doing so!
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?
Without a doubt, my most interesting and somewhat harrowing experience was having to move my client out myself and put his things in storage. I represented a man who was clearly going through some difficult times. It just so happened that my partner at the time represented the buyers. As closing was approaching it was clear my seller was unwilling to pack. I will add that he had a lot of stuff! I made it clear that he needed to be out and asked where he wanted everything. To fit all his things, I encouraged him to get a storage facility. I also hired movers, packers, cleaners and junk haulers. Over the course of three days, he was all moved out. During the move, I packed suitcases for his two young children because they had to stay at a hotel for two nights before their rental was available. It was exhausting — and sometimes scary — but we had to get him moved out! I am now good friends with the new owner of the home and the next-door neighbor who became a client because she had never seen anyone work so hard. This experience proved the value of sheer determination. With it, you can truly make anything happen. I also learned it’s really rough out there for many people and we don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes.
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 don’t know if I would phrase them as ‘life lesson quotes,’ but there are two things I am known for saying often. The first is “can’t means don’t want to.” The second is “the more fun you have, the more fun you have.” I got the first saying from my husband as he enjoys telling it to our kids. It’s quite true! There are many times when people say they can’t when they really don’t feel like trying. I came up with the second saying when I was thinking about my family and how much fun we have. I realized that people who are open to having fun and making fun things happen continue to be involved in fun things. The fun begets more fun!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I have a friend and client who purchases homes and gives them a complete makeover. Together, she and I have been periodically filming snippets of the progress that’s been made on the homes and sharing them on social media. What makes her unique is her quest to dig into the history of the home and honor it. After we’re finished with our current home, we’ll have the 96-year-old seller back for a tour. He built the house!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our company is so special because we care about each member of our team and treat each other like family. The warmth and compassion we share with each other can be felt in our relationships with our clients. We truly want what’s best for them and fight — hard — to make it happen!
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?
I am truly grateful for my two partners Katie Falk and Rick Ruvin. Each of them has different strengths and I have grown both personally and professionally because of them.
Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share three things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.
The real estate industry is such an exciting one to be a part of. Two of the things that excite me most about the industry are why I went into business — the great people and homes! I love homes. Not just houses. Homes are where people grow together, grow apart, grow up and grow old. Each home is special to someone no matter how old or run down it may be. I love the architecture and inner workings of homes, and I continue to learn how homes are built and how they operate through my career. If you don’t like people and relationship building, residential real estate is not the career for you. The varying personalities and energies of my clients make my job amazing and fun. Right now, it’s a special and exciting time in real estate with the continually low interest rates and low inventory.
Can you share three things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement three ways to reform or improve the industry what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
I am concerned about commissions being eroded. I feel sellers continually expect a high level of service, but do not believe they should pay for it. There are agents who have cut their commissions to get into the marketplace and that hurts other producers. It is not sustainable. I’ve also been increasingly frustrated with the inspection process. It has become one of the more difficult parts of the transaction. Managing the expectations of both the seller and buyer is critical. If your buyer is purchasing a 100-year-old home, it isn’t going to be spanking new from top to bottom. Homeowners have been told for 18 months that the market is hot. I think it’s starting to slow, and I fear that sellers will come to the market with an unrealistic expectation of what they can sell for.
What advice would you give the other real estate leaders to help their teams thrive and create a really fantastic work culture?
I think it’s so important to have an open and transparent culture from top to bottom. It’s critical for leaders to share their struggles so everyone can learn and grow. I firmly believe you can never compliment the people you work with enough. Employees want to feel needed and empowered. Additionally, getting together for fun is essential because it builds camaraderie.
You are a ‘Real Estate Insider.’ If you had to advise someone about five nonintuitive things one should know to succeed in the real estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- You have two ears and one mouth. Talk less and listen more — especially when you are trying to get a listing. Agents tend to want to go in and give a big presentation about how great they are in addition to their company. Take time to ask how the client envisions the working relationship and listen closely.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Agents — young agents in particular — tend to hide behind email and text. Tone and context can get lost in electronic communication. Call and touch base.
- It’s ok to overcommunicate. Never assume someone understands or already heard it from someone else. Throughout the sales process, I like to check in and get a pulse on how things are going for my clients.
- Gift giving is good. We always send flowers after we meet with potential clients. I also like to drop off little pick-me-ups like fresh cookies or a candle. Selling a home is stressful and clients will appreciate a little pampering along the way.
- Don’t forget to ask for a referral. It’s encouraged to end conversations by saying “so if you ever hear of anyone thinking of selling their home, please pass my name along.” It’s so simple and planting the seed — especially at the end of a client relationship — is important. People will think of you!
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?
I am a lifelong learner. I loved school and always thought if I won the lottery, I would start a foundation for underprivileged girls to provide the opportunities for them to go to college or receive the form of higher education they need. Education — starting as early as age three — is so critical. I also wish everyone had great opportunities to learn when they were young. If I could wave a magic wand, I would it all happen.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Visit www.thefrgteam.com to learn more about myself and our amazing Falk Ruvin Gallagher team.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.