It’s Our Little Secret


Here’s a true confession…when I got into the business in 1990 I really didn’t know diddly. I took a correspondence course, because we lived in Denver at the time, and then took the state test to get my license. The state test was full of useless information…defining “avulsion” and “accretion”, subdividing acreage, lots of math questions that I needed a calculator for. At the test that day I met several people who were taking it for the 4th or 5th time. Fortunately, I passed the first time and soon thereafter moved here and joined my first office. On my first day I was warmly greeted and introduced around the office, shown my desk and told where the coffee, bathrooms and copier was. It was very friendly. On the second day they wanted to know when I was going to sell a house…and I was encouraged to do so. Outside of some video tapes they had, there was no training. They gave me a phone directory and encouraged me to start cold calling. I learned the secret really quick…being a Realtor is sink or swim.

In a market very much like this one, I devised a system to market myself toward expired listings, that is homes that somebody else couldn’t sell. There were, of course, reasons why these places didn’t sell…I just didn’t care about them. I wanted a listing after all, and having a listing was better than not having a listing. I ended up with five of them…and I was proud of myself! The problem was I had no clue what to do with them! I couldn’t sell them either and they ultimately expired again…after I had spent a bundle on advertising them. It became very clear to me very quickly how important experience was and I realized that I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know! Here’s what I now know…if I had those listings today I could sell them in my sleep.

Most consumers don’t realize that it’s not the company an agent works for that matters, it’s the individual agent who does all the work. His of her abilities and experience make all the difference. I also don’t think most consumers know how much turnover there is in our industry. I share an office at Re/Max Today with another agent and since I’ve been there (1999) I’ve had 7 office mates. With the current exception, all the rest have gotten out of the business. It’s a tough business, highly competitive and very expensive.

I don’t think it takes 20 years to be a great agent, but I do think that an experienced agent has more value than an agent selling their first or second home. When interviewing agents, ask them how many homes they’ve sold.


  1. all it really takes is a work ethic

  2. Good points. We knew the job was hard when we took it. All it takes is alot of good swimming

  3. Jim experience is a very valuable tool but your drive is what makes you successful. Experience helps you get to the answer faster and saves a lot otime. too many of us think because we have experience we are a shoe-in but we can never stop learning as things always change

  4. I agree, Experience, Education, and the hard work necessary to combine the two into something useful for the client.

  5. I have been hearing about many state boards requiring a certain number of transaction to be completed before you can even take your brokers exam. I am all for it, if you can work for someone for a year pass a test and then open an office without ever closing a deal there is something wrong with your state requirements (in my opinion) Steve

  6. Thanks for the post Jim.

    It is hard work & is definelty not easy. You have to be on top of the game at all times to be successful.

  7. OK Jim…how many houses have you sold? Hey, you told me to ask 🙂

  8. Jim Minkey says:

    I’d be happy to tell you Chuck…as long as I get to be your Realtor!

  9. You sold me already! Great post, Jim….

  10. Jim, words of encouragement from me would be, keep doing the good stuff! I have been doing so for almost 22 years and I believe, it is the reason for my success

  11. Jim,I enjoyed your comments on having experience as a real estate agent as a plus for sellers and buyers. I love working with people,but being into the real estate business for only 1 year,I know that I have a long way to go in learning how and what to do in serving the people. But serving people is the only way that you get “experience.” My only other advantage is that I have also been a home builder. Thank you. Tom Snowden.

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