Founder and CEO Nick Warren discusses how he got into the Boston real estate market over ten years ago and some of the secrets to success that have helped him build his brokerage to one of the top in Boston.
I always knew I wanted to be in the real estate business. I had been studying the investment and development side of the business since I was 12, reading whatever books about the subject that I could get my hands on (instead of doing homework). I went for my real estate license while I was still in college so that, when I graduated in 2006, I’d be able to start buying and selling my own properties - saving myself commissions. After graduating, I began working as a real estate agent at a small firm on Newbury Street here in Boston. I started in rentals and quickly added a few sales transactions during my first year.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to open my own brokerage and did so in early 2008. From a friend’s studio apartment in Back Bay, I took on about $75k in credit card debt spread over 20 different credit cards to build out my website to generate leads for me (and my future agents). In September of 2008, I moved my one-man operation out of my friend's apartment and signed a five-year lease for an office at 138 Newbury Street. I timed this perfectly to coincide with the largest global economic collapse since the great depression. I was 23 and figured, if I crashed and burned, I’d have plenty of time to get back on my feet. Luckily that never happened!
Looking back, I think many of the obstacles preventing success for agents back then are the same ones today. I noticed very early in my career that many of the “successful agents” I saw weren’t necessarily the "best agents." Within six months of being in the business, I knew I could compete with pretty much any of them when it came to things like understanding market statistics, having knowledge of new construction luxury buildings, negotiating deals, marketing properties, etc. At the end of the day, however, they were still killing me in overall sales.
The simple difference, and the key factor in success, is generating more leads than the next person.
I was one of the first agents in Boston to really commit significant money and effort into generating leads from the web. I did this out of necessity, not because I was smarter than everyone. I was 23 and didn’t have a network that I could tap into to generate clients - so I had to find them in different ways than my competition.
Today, lead generation has been commoditized. For a thousand dollars, you can put up a template lead generation website overnight and start generating leads day one in the business. The obstacle, and opportunity, now is to have the best conversion strategy.
Those agents who master how to best convert web visitors can build a significant real estate business in a much shorter period of time than you could a decade ago.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential, we have a great group of agents that not only have an excellent knowledge of the market but also are successful at converting leads and running all aspects of their business. An agent has to quickly understand that being a real estate agent is not a "job." You don’t have a boss, you don’t have set hours, and you don’t have just one job description. You are running a small business which means you are the finance department, marketing department, sales department, business development department, administrative department, and so on.
Once an agent wraps their head around this, their perspective on things will change and they can start finding ways to create systems and processes resulting in the consistency and structure needed for success.
work with agents every day to help them with these systems and building out a structure that works for their business. Many of the agents have a strong network of contacts and just need the additional tools and support from the company to grow their business. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, as one of the leaders in the market, provides excellent tools and our in-office support ensures smooth transactions for agents and their clients. And, we are growing! We have a new office space opening later this summer with over 4,000 square feet and room for many more agents.