What is it really like to be a real estate agent, and what does it take to become one? We interviewed six Redfin Agents to find out why they chose real estate as a career and how they came to work at Redfin. Yesterday we profiled Jana Katrusin, who balances a full-time school schedule with her work as an Associate Agent. Today you’ll hear from Chad Pluid, who had a few different careers before joining Redfin.
Not all Redfin Agents started their career in real estate. Chad managed a restaurant and worked at a bank before joining Redfin.
What did you do before you joined Redfin?
I studied business in college, and after I graduated all of my jobs were customer-service focused. I started out managing a restaurant, and then I did banking for four years.
What made you want to pursue your real estate license, and what was the process like?
I always had an interest in real estate, because my grandma was a real estate agent. I had thought about getting into it, but I didn’t have any client leads and with my mortgage and car payment, I couldn’t rely on commission. It took me about four months to get my license. I started taking real estate classes on the weekend, and then took a vacation and spent the time studying to knock it out. If someone really wanted to do it, they could do it in a month or two. The licensing and testing are less than a thousand dollars – a lot less than college!
How did you hear about Redfin, and why did you decide to apply?
I sold my townhome to someone who used Redfin, and that’s how I first learned about it. I got obsessed looking into it! I liked the fact that there was an introductory role at the company, where I could learn about the business and make money at the same time. I might not have gotten into real estate if it wasn’t for Redfin’s unique pay structure, which offers the security of a regular paycheck. It’s so expensive in Seattle that it’s risky to make the jump to a commission based job with no background or leads. If it wasn’t for that introductory role I never would have gotten the experience and skill set that I have now.
Once I learned about it, I jumped all in; I got my license and left the bank to join Redfin as an Associate Agent. Three months later, I became a Transaction Coordinator, after three months I became an Agent, and then I became a Team Lead. One thing I didn’t expect going into it was the great cultural fit. My internal values for customer service matched with the company. The survey system really works; my customers know who I am and rate me on my specific performance, which is different from other jobs I’ve had before.
Do you worry about the market going up and down?
It would be risky if you were working on a commission, but at Redfin it’s different. I joined in a down market! With Redfin, you still get paid when it is slow. Real estate is as risky as any other job; restaurants close, businesses go out of business.
What’s the best part of your job?
What I like about being an agent is that every day is different; some days I’m in the office, some days I’m with clients, some days I’m interviewing. It never gets boring, and it’s a challenge. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t want mundane routine.
What skills do you think are important to be successful as a real estate agent?
It’s important to have management experience. When I look for candidates, I look for customer-service oriented jobs where they’ve shown leadership. When you get to the Team Lead role, it’s important to know how to manage people. With Redfin you also have to have a passion for working with clients and customer satisfaction. You need to have an innate quality in yourself to go with your gut and do the right thing.
Becoming a successful agent is something you need to think about. When you go through the licensing process, it’s a lot of real estate law more than anything. It doesn’t teach you about being an agent, about writing contracts, negotiating, the MLS, none of those day-to-day skills. At Redfin you get a chance to work on a team and learn from others how to be a successful agent. You do it over and over again. At Redfin I write three offers a week, and I’ve closed almost 200 deals, which some agents wouldn’t accomplish in a lifetime. The volume of work and team atmosphere means you gain valuable knowledge and experience in a short amount of time.
At Redfin our motto is “keep it weird.” What’s something “weird” about you?
I work in the “Hello Kitty” office. See photographic evidence…
To get in touch with Chad or read his reviews from Redfin clients, check out his profile page on Redfin.com.