a career in real estate · Parenting · Real Estate

I’m Glad My Daughter Didn’t Listen to Me

Devon Nichols RealtorYes, you read the title correctly.  I am glad my daughter didn’t listen to me when it came to all the ‘sage and safe’advice I gave her about real estate.

Devon declared she wanted to be a hairdresser when she was younger.  I told her that was a great career but that she needed her degree first.  I suggested a degree in business because then she could own her own hair salon and she wouldn’t be at the mercy of a salon owner.  She could also have other people paying the rent so she’d have multiple income streams. Owning a salon would open up a whole lot more doors and opportunities than simply being a hair stylist.  She agreed but didn’t have much interest in business so she stopped pursuing hair.

Then Devon said that she wanted to be a teacher and I was happy because she was going to college.  Teaching is a wonderful profession even though I didn’t think it was right for her but I still thought it was important she learn that on her own.  And, truth be told, I just wanted her to have a degree.  I delayed getting my degree out of necessity and didn’t want her to go through what I went through–working at a series of low-paying, low self-esteem jobs.

Soon, Devon agreed that teaching was not for her, and switched her major to graduate as a school counselor.  And I was still happy because she was still in school and she’d end up with a degree.

But she wasn’t happy.  Every time Devon came home from college, she wasn’t thrilled to go back–she was much happier at home where she spent the majority of her time visiting with friends, watching HGTV and succumbing to marathons of “Say Yes to the Dress.”

At some point Devon quit school and came home.  She knew that she wanted to be a real estate agent after being hired by a property management company in Arizona–nothing else was going to satisfy her.  We argued, we pressed, we tried to get her to change her mind but once her mind was made, it was a done deal.

Devon started her real estate career in California back in property management.  She loved it but ended up working for a psycho and quit.  I didn’t blame her especially after hearing the horror stories from one of her co-workers who had been with the woman for years.

After the half year in property management, she was then hired as an assistant to an agent who was somewhat busy but also had Devon tutor her kids which was not a real estate related task.  Devon loved the woman and got great experience through her but she was slowly getting fewer and fewer hours and needed to find something more reliable income-wise.

Finally, she ended up at a real estate office where she was doing some activities that an agent does coupled with those of a transaction coordinator/office manager.  Devon always claimed that she was going to go for her license but for some reason she was dragging her feet.  I tried to pin her down and make her commit to a date but she never would.  I’m not sure if it was because she didn’t learn anything at the local community college in her real estate specific classes or she was nervous about her test.  Devon always felt that she wasn’t an effective test taker.  She suffers from ADD and I refused to get her medication when she was in school (this was a poor choice–if I could go back, I’d put Devon on medication).

It wasn’t long before Devon learned about companies that provide weekend long cram sessions specific to the California real estate salesperson exam.  After cramming for a weekend, the goal is to then take the State exam within a few days of course completion.  While the whole family (minus her) was on a trip to Oregon, and she was house/pet-sitting for us, she not only scheduled her cramming weekend but also her test date.

Because the test is so difficult, I suggested frantically through texts that she hold off, reschedule so that she would have a better chance of passing but she refused.  I felt so powerless because I knew how difficult the test was and I didn’t want her to fail.  Failing the test and then going back and having to take it again is demoralizing.  It’s so hard to get back on that horse once you’ve failed.  I passed the first time but only because I had studied for months prior.  I had flashcards of every single real estate term ever invented.  I had them sorted by topic and had them memorized verbatim.  Even on the day of the test, I was looking through my flashcards whenever stopped at a stoplight on my way to the test facility.

Devon went to her weekend crash course, took the real estate test a day or two after and…passed. That was the first time she didn’t listen to my advice about real estate and was successful.

Although she hadn’t listened to me, I was still so proud of her, maybe even more proud since she did it all on her own and on her terms.

Devon went back to her job as an assistant for another Realtor but wasn’t happy with her old tasks now that she had her license.  The guy who hired her had her doing things that a licensed Realtor does but he never gave her any clients.  She felt frustrated and decided it was time to go out on her own.  I cautioned her against leaving such a lucrative job but she didn’t listen to me and left.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Devon only wanted to sell high end properties.  She wanted to sell mansions.  Well, who doesn’t?  But I told Devon that because of her age, most people weren’t going to give her that kind of opportunity.

Once again, Devon didn’t listen to me.  She placed her license with Sotheby’s, a luxury brand.

I sighed and hoped that the lesson Devon was about to learn wouldn’t be too painful.  I feared she would fail and in a big way but since she was back living at home, she wouldn’t fail to homelessness.  I reasoned it was a perfect time to test out her new wings since she had her family safety net surrounding her.

Sotheby’s is synonymous with high-end, and as such, they charge high fees when an agent sells a property.  I’m not saying they don’t deserve the fees but for a newly minted agent, their fees are steep.  I had hoped that Devon would start somewhere that was a little bit more economical; however, she interviewed with Sotheby’s and was offered a position on the mentor team.

Once again, I sighed.  She was doing it all wrong!  But she was excited so I went along with her choice because it’s her life.

Devon started right away at Sotheby’s.  She went to every meeting and listened to every word the team leader had to say.  She followed all their instructions, especially the ones where they told her to do open houses every weekend.  With Sotheby’s, there’s so many listings and so many listing agents who don’t want to hold their houses open, Devon had her pick of houses all over the county.  I cautioned her against getting too excited because nobody ever gets a client from an open house.  Again, Devon didn’t listen to me and went to the open house expecting to walk out with a client or two.

Her first open house was a cute little condo in La Costa.  I didn’t have high hopes for her selling it because although the condo itself was well done on the interior, it was still on an amazingly busy, four lane avenue, but she held it open anyway with excitement.

And that’s where she met her first client.  Lo and behold, this gal had been living in a hotel after moving to California on a whim and needed a house immediately.  Devon showed her a couple in her price range and she bought one.

Yes, Devon found an unaccompanied buyer going through open houses and the lady bought a condo through her.  Anyone who has done open houses knows this is rather rare.

Unless, of course, you’re Devon.

A week after Devon closed on her first sale, she was holding a luxury new build open and she met a couple who were, wait for it, living in a hotel and needing to buy a house today.

What are the chances?  They are probably so small as to be microscopic.  I’d hate to be the person charged with figuring out that math.

So far Devon has written many offers and has been in escrow on a few properties from this couple but nothing has closed yet; however, they’ve chosen to continue working with her, so another score.

At a flip Devon was holding open on a rainy, cold day in Encinitas–a rarity for this area, Devon met a couple, and chatted them up.  My husband and I happened to be at the open house because it was a single story with an ocean view on a half acre–another rarity for this area.  We were there to support our daughter because we didn’t think too many people would show up at an open house on a rainy day.

The house was beautifully redone with high-end appliances, skylights everywhere, barn doors, and an ocean view from almost every window.  The only drawback was that the house overlooked an elementary school along with the ocean.  Devon skillfully appeased the potential buyers with firsthand information about living above a school because we have lived above an elementary school since it was built about 16 years ago.

At the conclusion of their tour, Devon gave them her card and made sure to get their contact information.  The very next day, the couple called Devon and not only did they want to buy the house she held open but they had a home they wanted to sell in a very desirable community in San Diego–one where the houses rarely come on the market, and when they do, they’re snatched up in a day or less.

If you’re keeping score, so far she’s sold one house and has three in escrow–all from doing the open houses that nobody wants to do because ‘they don’t work.’

Devon didn’t listen to any of the advice I gave her for real estate, and I’m so glad she ignored my Debbie Downer ways.  I have slowly learned that not only is my advice not wanted but it’s not needed nor is it relevant.  Now I keep quiet and listen to how she’s going after what she wants.  Unlike me, she will be successful at real estate and I couldn’t be more proud–not because of the potentially high income but because she’s doing exactly what she’s always wanted to do–be a Realtor just like me.  Perhaps one day I will be her assistant.



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