Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Informational Interview with Cynthia Haydock

Mrs. Cynthia Haydock, Realtor

Keller-Williams Realty

Interview by: Jonathan Kappler

After the financial crises in 2008 the real estate sector in the United States became a very tough business. Many real estate agents had to leave the field due to the market decline. Under these circumstances it seemed very interesting how to get a career started in the real estate sector. I was fortune to interview Mrs. Haydock who is working as a realtor for Keller-Williams Realty in Fresno. Mrs. Haydock offered an interesting insight in the life of a real estate realtor and how to get started in this field.

Q: What was your educational background before you started working in the real estate sector?

A: “I attended Cuesta Community College and then Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, pursuing a degree in liberal studies with a minor in music.”

Q: What made you decide to work as a realtor in the real estate sector?

A: “At the age of 40, after 15 years out of the workforce, as a stay at home mom, I decided to get my real estate license because of an interest in homes and real estate and the appeal of the flexibility of work hours.”

Q: Would you choose the career as a realtor again?

A: “Yes.”

Q: What does a typical workday look like for you, including, duties and responsibilities?

A: “One of the things that I enjoy about real estate is the variety of tasks and duties I do in the course of a work week. My duties are a little more specific than some realtor’s because I work with a partner. As a team, we each have areas of our business on which we focus. My partner focuses mostly on lead generation. My responsibilities focus on administration, contracts, transaction coordination, and marketing. In a typical day, I manage any open escrows. This includes working with escrow officers, lenders, and clients to assure the transaction is proceeding on schedule and that all required documents are in the file. I maintain and service our listing inventory which includes monitoring the signs, marketing through advertisements and websites, and communicating with sellers. I also prepare listing contracts for new listings, review any offers on our listings that are received, and write any offers that our clients want to make.”

Q: What is the most important personality characteristic a person working in real estate should have, and why?

A: “I think integrity is the most important characteristic in real estate or any profession. Being self motivated is also absolutely necessary. In California, realtors are independent contractors. So, while we must be “under” a licensed broker, we set our own hours and work strictly on commission. A successful agent is disciplined and works regularly.”

Q: What educational background and skills are required to start a career as a realtor as well as succeed in the real estate field?

A: “In California it is necessary to complete Department of Real Estate (DRE) coursework and pass an exam to earn a real estate salesperson license. At the time of licensing a background check is conducted by the DRE and a live scan fingerprint must be submitted. In the first 18 months of being licensed the realtor must complete 15 units of additional coursework. After that the license is renewed every four years. Completion of 45 hours of approved coursework is required for the renewal.

There are several skills that are very important to the success of a realtor. The first is sales abilities. Lead generation and conversion is necessary to build a client base. In addition to being a skilled salesperson it is important for a realtor to communicate clearly. Realtors must be able to review and explain contacts and disclosures to buyer and sellers. Because of the amount of paperwork and the numerous components to a successfully closed escrow it is very helpful for a realtor to be detail oriented and organized.”

Q: What have been the most challenging part and the most enjoyable part of your position?

A: “For me, the most challenging part of real estate has been lead generation. Sales ability is not one of my primary strengths, so that aspect of the business has been the most difficult and least enjoyable. The contracts and paperwork, or files, is the part of the business that I enjoy the most and that I am best at handling. Because of that being my strength I have partnered with an agent whose strengths as a lead generator complement my administrative strengths. One of the advantages of working as independent contractors is that we have the freedom to structure our business in ways that can maximize our strengths.”

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

A: “I personally gain great satisfaction in doing a job well, so simply successfully closing an escrow is very satisfying. But the most rewarding part of my job is opening a home and handing over the keys to a buyer who has just taken ownership of the home. That is a great moment because it is the culmination of hours of viewing homes, an accepted offer, an approved mortgage, completed inspections, and a closed escrow.”

Q: What are some lifestyle considerations for a career as a realtor?

A: “Because real estate is a commission based industry it is helpful if a realtor has the resources to market and meet expenses (dues, signs, office fees) while building their business. While flexibility of hours is a benefit of the career, it is also necessary to be available evening and weekends to meet with clients, show homes, and host open houses.”

Q: Keller Williams Realty was ranked as one of the top 2010 workplaces – what makes it so special to work for Keller Williams Realty in your opinion?

A: “Keller Williams follows a slightly different business model than some real estate brokers. Each franchise is locally owned and operated, benefits from a wealth of resources (educational, motivational, and technological) provided by the national organization, and offers profit sharing to every agent.”

Q: How did the decline in the real estate markets affect your job and your life?

A: “Fortunately, my career path and opportunities have not suffered in relation to the market. Because I have focused on and pursued work in my area of strength, I have partnered with sales oriented realtors who were seeking the assistance of an agent with my skill set. Many agents have actually left the business over the last few years as a result of the market decline. Although business may slow in a difficult market, there will always be people who need to sell or buy a home due to life changes such as job relocation or divorce. The key, for me, has been to find a place in the market where I can put my skills and abilities to use. For some realtors, the current market has provided new areas of specialization and opportunity such as working with banks to sell foreclosed homes, and helping facilitate short sales.”

Q: What does the current situation in Fresno look like, particularly after the decline in the real estate markets in 2008?

A: “The market in the Fresno area is depressed. We have a large percentage of home owners that are ‘upside down’ on their mortgages, or in default. Because of that there has been a large inventory of foreclosed, or distressed, homes on the market in the last few years. There are also a large number of listings that are short sales. The current home values are very low. The upside of that is that homes are more affordable - particularly with interest rates as low as they have been. The general consensus is that the market has probably ‘bottomed out’ and will not improve very quickly or very soon.”

Q: What is the most expensive and demanded area in Fresno?

A: “The most demanded area in Fresno is Northeast and Clovis if we open the question to include the Fresno area. The area North of Herndon and East of the 41 is the area commonly considered Northeast Fresno.”

Q: Why is this location so expensive and what are the components that create this desirable and expensive location?

A: “The major factor in the desirability of Northeast Fresno is that it belongs to the Clovis Unified School District. Because Clovis Unified is highly acclaimed and enjoys a strong positive reputation for academics, athletics, and safety most families choose to buy in areas in that district. Because of the demand for those areas many new housing developments were built in the late 90’s through 2005, so many of the homes are relatively new. In addition, much commercial growth has taken place in that area, providing those neighborhoods with appealing shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: “It is my goal to continue in my current partnership. We are currently in the process of adding a buyer’s agent to our team to meet the demands of our current client base. We expect to continue growing our team as need dictates. In 10 years I intend to be continuing in an administrative and managerial role as we meet the real estate needs of our clients in the Fresno area.”

First of all, I would like to thank Cynthia Haydock for taking time out of her busy working day. The answers of Mrs. Haydock to my questions gave me a very interesting insight in the working life of a real estate realtor. The motivation and enthusiasm she reflected in her answers showed me that she is really into it and is enjoying her duties and working in this field. It was very interesting to see how the current market situation in Fresno/Clovis looks like and what skills are required to get a career started in this field. All in all, the interview helped me to get a very different but positive perspective about working in the real estate sector in the United States.

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