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 Chad Pluid, who managed a restaurant and worked in banking before joining Redfin. Today you’ll hear from Bree Al-Rashid, a Redfin listing agent who worked as horse trainer, financial planner, and a real estate agent at another brokerage before joining the company.
Before joining Redfin, Bree worked as horse trainer, financial planner, and a real estate agent at another brokerage.
What did you do before you joined Redfin?
In college I ran a riding school and summer camp for kids to help pay for my tuition. One of my riding students ended up being a high level VP of a financial planning firm. She tried to hook me up with her son, but when that didn’t work out she said I should work for her firm. I did that for about two years, and stayed in the financial planning industry for six years.
What made you want to pursue your real estate license, and what was the process like?
I was tired of being stuck inside an office. My husband worked in real estate and was looking for help, so I decided to become licensed. We built a business together at Keller Williams, and then worked at RE/MAX for awhile.
Coming from an industry where there was a lot of licensing that you had to obtain, getting my license was pretty easy. You have to plan it out and do the classes, but if you’re a good test taker it’s fine. For most people who are interested in the industry, it’s totally feasible. You don’t have to have achieved high levels of math or analysis to be a licensed real estate professional.
How did you hear about Redfin, and why did you decide to apply?
A colleague at RE/MAX became a Redfin partner agent, and he introduced me to it. I was a partner agent for awhile, but when I decided I needed more balance in my life, I applied to Redfin. I started as a listing specialist, which provides the opportunity to keep regular hours. It has afforded a much more balanced life, especially with vacation time.
Do you worry about the market going up and down?
It hasn’t been a problem. I was always very lucky; I had as much or more business than I wanted.
What’s the best part of your job?
Redfin has a team of people that you can count on for support, so you can create balance in your life. Working on your own as an agent is a challenge; it’s hard to be a graphic designer, HR manager and bookkeeper all in one day and be successful. Now my day is spent marketing houses, negotiating contracts, and solving real estate-related problems. Redfin offers a chance to get your life back.
I love Redfin’s feel, the corporate culture. I love its weirdness – how we’re thinking out of the box – it’s super progressive, not stale and stodgy. I’m sick of it sounding like real estate is only for people who are over sixty. Redfin is really fresh. There’s also a lot of room for growth. If you want to work in other parts of the company, there are options. You’re not stuck being an agent for the rest of your life.
What skills do you think are important to be successful as a real estate agent?
People who come from a liberal arts background are often successful in real estate. 90% of what we do is good communications, reading into subtext, connecting the dots for human beings. People who are overly analytical struggle in this industry because they lose sight of the human component. There’s so much that can’t be measured in real estate; you can’t measure human emotions or the layout of a house. It takes people skills and good communicators to be successful. Organization, problem solving, and the ability to be calm during stressful situations are also important.
What would you tell people who are thinking about becoming an agent?
If you’re getting into real estate as an independent broker and you have no background in the industry or a natural market to find business, it’s a tough business to get into. I came from financial planning, which has a similar struggle. It’s very difficult to find clients right off the bat. That’s what is unique about Redfin; if you have interest in the agency and you’re 22 years old, you can get into it right away. Or if you’re 50 and coming back for a second or third career, you can do the same thing. There are so many great built-in systems, and there’s an opportunity for mentorships. We don’t let people fail at Redfin.
At Redfin our motto is “keep it weird.” What’s something “weird” about you?
My pig won “Grand Champion Market Hog” at the 1994 Oakhurst Fair. I didn’t get chicken pox until I was 14. Then I gave them to my mom who was 41. I can throw a Frisbee with my feet.
To get in touch with Bree or read her reviews from Redfin clients, check out her profile page on Redfin.com.