As you might know, military experience has been one of the most important foundations of the Keri Shull Team’s rise to real estate excellence. My co-founder and husband, Dan Lesniak, began his illustrious career after leaving a long stretch of service in the United States Navy — and several of our other agents had similar starts in the armed forces. We personally believe that military experience is a massive boon for those who are interested in starting a career in real estate; in fact, we’ve talked in the past about what the military taught us about the real estate process!
I recently got the chance to sit down with one of our military veteran real estate agents, Elisa Seth, to talk about what she learned from the military and how it helped her transition to the world of real estate.
So, without further introduction, here are the 7 things that military service can teach you about being a real estate agent:
Lesson #1: How to interact with people from diverse backgrounds
There are a lot of skills that go into being a top-selling real estate agent, but one of the most important is the ability to connect with anyone. After all, a primary part of an agent’s role is connecting their client with someone else so they can buy or sell their home as fast as possible!
Some real estate agents rely on being a “people person” to make these connections — but in the current high-stakes real estate market, that often isn’t enough! You need to be able to work with people from all walks of life if you want to make deals and help clients get the best price for their home. It doesn’t matter if you are working with a veteran and want to help them learn the benefits of a VA loan or have a cash-offer for a home that you want to help put down — you need to be able to connect with that client instantly!
“No matter your differences, you have a common mission.”
This skill is essential in real estate…and it is essential for military personnel, too! When serving the country in the armed services, you have to be able to work as a cohesive unit with people who come from all manner of backgrounds — and you need to be able to adapt to the situation quickly!
Lesson #2: How to be self-disciplined
I can’t imagine that anyone would doubt the self-discipline of active duty and retired military members. From the high standard of physical fitness to the mental acumen required to protect the country, service members have to be very disciplined!
Once they leave active-duty service, this dedication can re-manifest in many ways. In Dan’s instance, he continues to challenge himself physically and mentally with Ironman triathlons and other endurance events.
Regardless of how else this self-discipline plays into their life, military veterans who go into real estate have a big leg up over their fellow agents who have not served. Being a real estate agent requires a ton of patience to do well. This is part of the reason that so many agents wash out of the business in just a few years: they don’t have the patience and discipline required to help their clients get the best deal on a home!
Lesson #3: How to Organize Responsibilities
Real estate is never a solo venture. Even if you are trying to sell your own house (which we would never recommend), you still have to interact with at least one other party — the buyer. As a real estate agent, you have to engage with your client, the other agent, their client, as well as any lenders or other professionals who need to be involved.
Some agents try to take on all of the responsibilities when doing a deal…but this is a great way to burn yourself out incredibly quickly!. This is especially true if they are a solo agent who has to also manage their own marketing, social media presence, and transaction details!
In the ranks of the armed services, however, being able to delineate and organize responsibilities is key. This is true for both those giving orders and those who execute!
This skill is particularly useful for agents on the Keri Shull Team, thanks to our unique and diverse team structure. We have entire departments dedicated to marketing, lead generation, and transaction support, so our agents can focus solely on helping their clients find off-market homes for sale, deal with the stresses of outgrowing their home, or locate the perfect buyer to sell their home now!
Lesson #4: How to Prioritize a Crisis
If you ask most real estate agents, there’s always some kind of crisis with their clients. Maybe the inspection didn’t go as planned; maybe they’re worried about winning a competing offer on their dream home; maybe they are trying to start a bidding war on their listing — there’s always something!
The thing is, a lot of real estate agents treat every “crisis” with equal weight. But they shouldn’t!
Selling homes for a living can be pretty stressful from time to time. And if you let each challenge be a full-blown crisis, it will be even more difficult than it needs to be!
At one of our recent Real Estate Coaching events, Dan made a pretty incredible analogy that more agents need to hear:
“Having a real estate crisis is like when a reactor leaks on a submarine. Sure, it might seem like an emergency — but even at its worst, you have a few hours to figure out the solution and deal with it.”
Being in a high-stakes situation like those that military service members deal with will certainly teach you how to analyze a situation and determine whether it is a real crisis. This is a skill that is invaluable for real estate agents, especially in fast-moving markets like DC’s hottest neighborhoods!
Lesson #5: How to Be a Leader
Leadership is a key trait of a great real estate agent. Home selling experts are walking their clients through a situation that has the potential to be very stressful, and they have to do it while keeping a level head.
If you are trying to learn how to be a better leader, there are few schools more effective than the military! No matter what role a member of the armed forces serves, you can gain invaluable leadership experience that is sure to pay off in the real estate industry.
Of course, being a leader is only one side of the coin when it comes to real estate excellence…
Lesson #6: How to Work in A Team
This lesson is one that more real estate agents could stand to learn, frankly! As I said earlier, buying or selling a home is never a solitary event, so it’s key to have the ability to be a team player.
This is true for solo real estate agents because:
- They are on a team with their client
- They are teaming up with the other agent to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for both of their clients
- They are teaming up with any outside vendors to get great deals
Of course, it is even more vital for any agents who work as part of pre-established teams! At the Keri Shull Team, we believe that cooperation is one of the most important (and most overlooked!) traits of a great real estate agent — which is part of the reason that we love working with veterans who have been extensively trained in how to work with a team towards a common goal!
Lesson #7: How to Be Confident in Yourself
Self-confidence is key for real estate agents. Most home owners and searchers want to work with an agent who knows and respects their own skills and value, because they know that that self-confidence will translate into better results for them!
Confident agents often have more successful home searches, better relationships with their clients, and more effective negotiation tactics at the closing table — it’s an all-around boon for the agent!
When speaking with Elisa about her time in the military, I noticed how much she emphasized this self-confidence as a reason for her success in real estate.
“I joined the military when I was in college. I had to learn to stand firm against anyone who was biased towards a young, small, black female. Although those biases don’t impact me as much anymore, you still have people who want to challenge your knowledge and your position. I’ve learned how to comfortably deal with them and to not feel uncomfortable about it.”
Real estate agents are supposed to be the experts in the world of housing — and we want all of our agents to have the self-confidence to respect themselves and their clients’ needs!
BONUS Lesson #8: How to Have the Mindset for Success
Succeeding in the world of real estate — whether it be when buying and selling a home at the same time, working as the agent who is helping that move up buyer, or anywhere in between — relies heavily on your mindset. This is something that we emphasize very heavily in our real estate coaching service, HyperFast Agent!
At the Keri Shull Team, we are dedicated to helping our agents create and foster the mindset to succeed — and we want to help you, too!
So if you are an active duty or retired military service member who is looking to make the move into real estate, you’re in luck! Just click here to learn more about our newest role, the Military Affairs Specialist and submit an application today!