Monday, March 5, 2012
Real Estate Entrepreneur Informational Interview
By: Elizondo Mendoza
I had the opportunity to interview Frank Llano who is one of my brother’s friends and who used to be a realtor. I was interested in interviewing him because I felt that he had a unique story to tell since he never attended college or had any inspirations of one day working in real estate. By interviewing Frank, I was able to find out more about real estate and what it is that realtors do. He was able to give me an insight of the real estate world and clarify some of the beliefs that I had about realtors and real estate as a business.
As I sat down and spoke with Frank, he told me that he never imagined himself working as a realtor; it was something he basically stumbled into. He knew that he had good people skills and he enjoyed working with people and since his friend was already working as a real estate agent, he felt that he could do just as good as his friend or better. The reason he got into real estate was because at that time the real estate market was good and he saw an opportunity to make some money. He didn’t have to go to college to become a realtor he was able to obtain the knowledge and licensing through the company that hired him.
At first Frank can be an intimidating person with a 6 ft. 4 in. and 265 pound frame, but with a calm and friendly demeanor people naturally get a sense of protection and comfort around him. He is very outgoing and with his gregarious and dynamic personality he had ample success selling houses. I asked him if one has to have that kind of personality to succeed in real estate. He told me that there is no particular type of personality that guarantees success. He met many people in the business that were successful with different types of personalities and goals. He said one basically just needs to enjoy working and interacting with people, it is very important to make the clients feel comfortable around you.
He told me that being a realtor takes a lot of dedication and one really has to be in it whole heartily if one wants to have success and longevity in their career. He worked relentlessly at first because he said it is very important to build a strong base and build connections and relationships with people. For him, it was basically a 24/7 job, even on weekends and late evenings he was still working “one always has to be prepared and dress for success” he chuckled as he thought about his days as a realtor. He enjoyed his job, since he is Latino he naturally gravitated towards the Latino community and he tried to help those families that hardly had any credit, bad credit or were looking to become first time home owners that were oblivious about the process of buying a house. Obviously, he said one of the things he enjoyed the most was the relationships that he built with the people that he was trying to sell houses to and the satisfaction that came with it knowing that he was helping them.
The first couple years he was working in real estate, he said he worked very hard and built a strong base and was having great success, but he said the hard work and his off-work personal issues started taking its toll on him. After five years, he said he was unable to focus and remain fully dedicated as he was before, therefore, he decided to give up being a realtor right before the liquidity crisis of 2008. He told me that it is hard to have a long successful career in this profession; pretty much only 15 to 20% of the first year realtors end up staying in that profession, the rest move on to different things. Besides not being dedicated he told me he was also getting tired of the lack of integrity and ethics that goes on in the field. He said real state can be a “cut throat” business with some self-serving realtors using unethical and deceitful practices to be able to get their money and further their careers without caring about the clients the way they should.
I asked him if he had any regrets about leaving the real estate business or if he had any plans on returning in the near future? He said although he is older and wiser and especially now with the market flirting with stability he believes he can be successful again just as he was when he first started as a realtor, but he does not think he would venture into real estate again. He really enjoyed his brief time as a realtor, especially the relationships that he built, but now he has other future desire outcomes that he is pursuing and being a realtor was just another chapter of his life.
I had a great time conducting this interview with Frank and I could see with his personality why he would be a successful realtor. I always had the misconception that a good realtor had to be outgoing, talkative, or have a dynamic personality, but through this interview, I have learned that those things do help, but anybody can do it just as long as they have a good work ethic, attitude, and right mentality. Frank really emphasized to me the importance of net-working and building trustful relationships with people that one can depend on. I would like to thank Frank Llano for the interview and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.