If you want to be able to shrug off the daily stresses of a career in real estate, work in a family business for a couple of years first. After that, according to David Morris, this week’s RealEstate.com Pro of the Week, the stress of the real estate business is nothing. In fact, Morris worked in two family businesses – retail – for over a decade before making the transition to a career in real estate.
Morris, owner of the David Morris Group in Reno, Nevada, grew up in the amazingly beautiful Zephyr Cove area of Lake Tahoe. After graduating with a BA in business from the University of Nevada Reno, he spent six years serving our country in the Air National Guard. Then came the family business stint and, in 1980, the lucky folks of Reno gained a business-savvy real estate agent devoted to customer relations.
Unfortunately, his timing wasn’t very good as he got into the business “just in time to catch interest rates rising from 10 percent to 21 percent by 1983.”
At the time, Morris worked for Coldwell Banker and a broker that developed the new franchise-training course for new agents. “I had to spend the first six weeks of my career in class before I was ever allowed to touch a phone or speak to a buyer or seller. After my release [from the class work], when I was able to work on my own, I was monitored for quality and consistency.”
That training, along with his business education, gave Morris a firm foundation and a “commitment to using business principals to grow a business in an industry notorious for not being business-like.”
The David Morris Group shuns gimmicks and instead relies on the tried and true. “We are very conventional in what we do, we just do it correctly and consistently. We avoid short-term flashy and look for long-term results.”
While Morris strives to remain traditional, the world and the real estate business is becoming ever more technology-reliant. It seems Morris has found that fine line, however, between an over-reliance on technology, which he describes as a “crutch to many, who think that technology will solve all of their production problems,” and being left in its wake. One look at his gorgeous website, packed with neighborhood photos and information, is enough to prove his desire and ability to “keep up with change.”
While Reno’s neighbor to the south, Las Vegas, demands “flashy,” if an agent is to get ahead, old-school traditionalism works in the Reno market.
His 40 percent referral rate is testimony to the fact that his “personal-service, face-to-face business” style works.
So what does a relatively stress-free Realtor® do in his spare time? One thing he doesn’t do is watching a lot of TV, especially “news programs or listen to any talk shows. I just stay away from the talking heads and their negativity.”
You might find Morris making the skies friendlier, soaring above the majestic Lake Tahoe area as a private pilot. Morris and his family are foodies and love to experiment by “exploring new places and new types of food and food and wine experiences. I’m also flirting with trying out motorcycle touring.”
I asked Morris what he thinks constitutes the key to success in real estate. If you guessed that his answer includes some solid business basics, you guessed right.
According to Morris, success in real estate takes “not putting yourself first, being willing to apply yourself to the necessary hours, and committing to the business. Ninety percent of the people that enter the business fail in under three years, or become hobbits, because they want an easy income yet are not willing to push that extra mile to become good enough to stand on their own two feet.”
Since leaving the real estate business myself, one of my pet peeves is the excruciatingly long lead-response times of so many agents. I asked Morris what his typical response time is to a phone or e-mail query.
“My business is not based on a 24/7 mentality, but we treat our customers as we want to be treated – as important to us, and with respect. If the customer is treated with respect, it is amazing how many can live if their call or e-mail is not responded to within seconds or minutes.”