Real Estate and Self Deception

Steep hill on the back road
Steep hill on the back road by Nigel Brown is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Let’s have a little fun.

I think we need some definitions as we start this journey.

Real Estate and Self Deception is the title.

Real Estate is defined as ‘real property’. Basically, it’s dirt. You buy dirt and whatever is permanently attached. Houses, fences, buildings, ponds, and other improvements. Mobile homes are not real property unless some changes are made to make them a permanent attachment.

Self is likely the root of most of our problems. We are selfish. We focus on ourselves way more than we should and we lie to ourselves a lot.

Deception is a lie. “A half-truth is a whole lie”. I used to tell my children that. It’s possible for something to be true but not the truth.  Context matters. The tone of voice matters.

We all deceive ourselves. We probably would not admit that in public but we know it’s true. In fact, that is just what we are trying to avoid. The Truth.

This is dedicated to telling the stories I have told, heard, and lived through in the years since getting into real estate in 2003. Some of this will be ‘insider’ info and some of it will be for the folks outside the business. Entertainment is part of the goal but the Truth is more important so that defines the tightrope I will be on. One note, if you believe I have misstated or told something that is not true, call me out. The truth can stand the questions, a lie cannot.

All names have been changed to protect the innocent and most of the guilty. 

“Hi, my name is Jerry and I’m an engineer.” My truth is that this is not true.

My real estate story starts with the fact that I am a recovering engineer. I wrote software and developed control systems for 25 years before I changed careers. The change was an answer to prayer. My prayer was always the same “God, what else can I do to earn a living but still be home so I can be connected better to my family?” I asked that question in lots of different ways. Sometimes quietly in the night in the hotel room. Sometimes loudly in the car on the way home but consistently over the years I wanted to do something else but was not sure what. 

Sales NEVER entered my mind. I was an engineer for crying out loud. My belief was that “those that can, do; those that can’t, teach and those that can’t teach, sell.” I remember a day when I came back from vacation and found a note on my desk. Kenny was the VP in charge of sales at the company I worked for and he wanted to see me. 

I walked across the hall and knocked on his door. As I sat down he said “Jerry, I’m moving you to sales.” and I saw red. I was not going to be herded into a career that I did not want. This is not a real estate story but in reflection, it might have been the first time God tried to tell me. I was not listening. Yet. I would have quit if Kenny had insisted I make the change so he relented and I continued to be an engineer.

Actually, it was not the first time. Funny how writing this can bring out more memories. I was 15 and worked at the Indiana State Fair Expo hall. I was selling different things but I had a schpeal and stood on a stool and talked to the crowd. My boss was sharing with my Mom that I had a gift, and he called it. It never entered my mind at that time that this could be part of my gift but now I can see it. 

The sales guys that did work for Kenny would come and get me to talk to the clients. That got me the chance to travel all over the world. Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, and more I can’t remember right now. That’s not the point. The point is that I could talk to anyone about almost anything and I enjoyed it when I was doing it. I did not know that was ‘sales’. 

The answer to prayer started on a sunny Sunday morning in Shreveport, LA. I had rented my first Harley Davidson motorcycle and was waiting on my friend Steve to come to meet me so we could spend the day riding. I was waiting at the hotel and to get a cup of coffee I had to walk across the parking lot. 

I was standing in front of the pot and getting a cup and I had this odd thought that said ‘get two cups’. It was an odd thought because it had substance. It was almost imperative but I just thought to myself that it was odd and I shook it off. 

Stepping back into the sunlight, about to sip that first sip and I hear a voice say ‘If I had known you were going to get a coffee I would have had you get me one’. Now I was freaking out inside. I contained myself and stepped over to talk to the woman who was standing outside smoking a cigarette and gave her the coffee. I talked with her for a few minutes and we said goodbye and I went back to get my own cup. 

As I was pouring that one I said to myself, ‘that would have been a different conversation if I had listened to the thought and gotten two cups’. Was that God? I think I just missed a blessing. Maybe God was trying to tell me something but about that time my friend showed up and I promptly dismissed it.

We spent the day riding and had a great time putting about 500 miles on the Harley. Perfect. The rest of the trip was good too as the job was done and once I proved it all worked, I was able to head out back home on Tuesday morning. Driving my black Ford F150 on Interstate 20 toward Atlanta and home. 10 hours and I started praying my prayer. 

“What else can I do to earn a living and still be home more with my family?”

Well, about 4 hours into the drive home I was in the truck doing 70 miles an hour, with no radio, no music, and no other person in the truck, and I heard that same sort of thought as the ‘get two cups’. It had substance. It was almost audible. Not a voice from God but it was so close it gave me chills. It said ‘have you ever thought about real estate?’ and I had about 6 hours more to think about it. I decided I was not going to miss another blessing. 

On Wednesday morning I found the Georgia MLS store in Sugar Hill, GA, and for $300 I purchased the CDROM program to get my agent’s license. In about 60 days I had my first real estate license. I joined Keller Williams Realty and my wife thought I may have lost my mind. That was in 2003 and I have done this ever since and most of the time I love it.

The point is, we deceive ourselves every day. I was made for sales but denied it because I thought being an engineer was better somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I was a skilled engineer but I had to work hard at it because it was not how I was gifted. I watched gifted engineers write code and it looked easy for them. For me, it was work. Hard work.

What are you doing that is outside your gifting?

If you want to talk about it, give me a call. My cell phone number is 678-231-1578. Really, and I’ll answer or call you back if I can’t.

There is more to come. Stay tuned, sign up and keep reading. This just might be fun.

Thanks for listening,