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Joda Mize, founder of Girl’s Guide to Real Estate, discusses what it takes to get into the real estate business.

First, please tell me a little bit about your background?

Well, I moved to San Diego from Los Angeles, where I was booking appointments at a high-end salon in Beverly Hills, back in 2002. I had just had my son, and was looking for a new career that offered flexibility with huge growth potential. My mother-in-law had also been looking for a house, and I have to say it was her experience with other agents that gave me a sense of “I could do that”. That’s how it really all started for me.

Joda Mize

How are things different now?

Without question, technology and media have had the biggest impact on the real estate market. In the day and age of Zillow and HGTV, buyers and sellers have a much different impression of the market in general.

Let’s say I think I’d be a great agent, what are my options as far as getting into the business?

Two months after receiving my real estate license, I quickly realized what was needed most to become a successful agent: leads, and a sphere of influence. New to the area and in my mid-twenties with very little money saved up, I didn’t have either. I approached one of the lead agents in my office, and pitched the idea of becoming her buyer’s agent. Looking back, it was the smartest decision I made early on. She taught me the importance of knowing the rules back and forth, every part of the real estate contract, and how to appropriately negotiate while remaining ethical. Becoming a buyer’s agent is always an option, when it’s financially a win-win for you and the lead agent. Otherwise, you are on your own. But there is also a benefit to working solo. You end up building your own brand much faster as a listing agent as opposed to working for one.

What would you say are some of the unexpected challenges the job poses?

While interviewing various brokers as I was studying for my real estate exam, one manager actually looked at me and said, “Well, if you think selling real estate is all about pretty clothes and driving a beautiful car, think again.” I’m glad she said it. The idea of being a real estate agent can look quite glamorous on the surface or perhaps give the impression of making fast money. But most people do not have an inkling as to how many hours or the amount of skill it requires to successfully close a transaction. Being financially prepared for the various cycles and seasons of the real estate market is crucial to the longevity of an agent’s career. Saving money from each commission check can make a difference. You’ll have some good months, and you’ll have some bad months. It’s just the nature of the business. And how quickly you get back up after losing out on a listing will ultimately determine how successful you will be.

What about unexpected advantages or perks?

Navigating a first time homebuyer through a real estate purchase can be quite gratifying. Experiencing their excitement as they embark on a new chapter in their lives is an absolute pleasure.

Are there any particular personality types or character traits in those most cut out for the real estate business?

Three traits come to mind. You have to have a can-do attitude, be resilient, and be self-motivated.

Which companies are well suited for helping newbies get started?

Most of the major real estate companies have a blend of new and experienced real estate agents. Focusing on a company with a good support system versus how much they offer in commission splits will pay off in the long run.

Any final advice for those who think they’ve got what it takes?

It took six months before I closed my very first transaction before growing a successful business. Don’t give up.

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