Real Estate. Vietnam. What’s the connection?

What do real estate and Vietnam have in common?

It is at this time of year that many of us take stock. We have come through the holidays and the slow down at work that comes before the holidays. Maybe we have made some resolutions that this year, for sure, we are going to do whatever it is we have promised ourselves to do. And maybe we have thought about our job and where it is going.

Maybe we need a change.
Maybe you’re thinking that you would like to be a Realtor. It seems to me that almost everyone has at some point thought about becoming a realtor, an agent, a broker. And why not? You get to choose your own hours. You drive a fancy car and you can put your face on signs all over town.
That must be good for the ego.
‘I’d be good at it’, you tell yourself.
You’ve seen all those shows on TV, and heck, you just bought a house a few years back and process was easy.
Many get their real estate licenses. That is no so hard. Many get hired at brokerages. That’s easy. But many fail and that is a problem, not only for them and their dashed dreams but for the whole industry. The statistic is something like 70% of agents will be out of the industry within five years of receiving their licences.
It is not about driving around showing people houses.
It is not about sitting in an open house and selling it to visitors. Real estate is not about selling at all, not in the traditional sense of the word.
It is not about marketing (except for yourself) and most agents seem to do whatever everyone else is doing in terms of marketing. We do have pretty strict guidelines in this regard.

After you get your licence, that’s when the learning begins.
I got my license because I wanted to control my career. But I learned that I don’t control anything really. There are ups and downs. Victories and false starts. Failures too. Curveballs. Communication breakdowns. You plan and schedule but you never really know what’s coming down the chute. You never know what is coming down the pipe. You never know exactly how things are going to play out. I suppose that can be said for most things though.

Man makes plans and God laughs.

But it is not all bad.
It just isn’t what you expect.

Expect Vietnam
It is like this. You like Vietnamese food, so you decide that you are going to go to Vietnam and learn how to cook. You read lots of books about Vietnam and about Vietnamese food. Back home, you know a few recipes and everyone says, ‘oh, yes, this is so good’. So you book a ticket to Saigon, Hanoi or Nha Trang.
Of course, when you arrive, it is a confusing mess and 35 degrees. You struggle with the language. You don’t know where to find the ingredients. Your kitchen has no counter space. You’ve seen the movies Forest Gump, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon. The Deer Hunter, you’ve seen The Deer Hunter. You’re here now. This is Vietnam, but without the bullets. ’I wasn’t expecting this’. It was much easier when I was back home, dreaming.

Fortitude, that is what you need at the beginning.
You must resolve to get through the early years. You have to learn from the seasoned agents. And, you have to figure out how to differentiate yourself from them. You need to carve out a niche. There are lots of successful agents doing things in lots of different ways. For example, some work with builders, some do blanket advertising, some are great networkers joining service organizations and clubs, some are active in their ethnic and cultural communities…there are so many ways that realtors find business and have business find them. But you can’t do everything. The best advice I got as a new agent is that you should do three things and do them consistently.
That’s it. Pick three. Do them consistently. Pick three things that you will do consistently. Do them, consistently.
But know what you are getting into. Think Vietnam. I recently visited Vietnam and I didn’t think about real estate once the whole time I was there. Here are my notes.

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