Valerie joined Sibcy Cline in August 2017. That’s also when she joined the real estate industry after a career in corporate America. She tells us more about what her life is like now:
Why did you join?
I had been in corporate America for quite a number of years. When I was out of a job and trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, I would have submitted my resume to various places to find a new job in the same field—but likely not in this region. However, I had recently gotten married and my husband needed to stay remain in Cincinnati. So I thought, what can I do to stay here and have flexibility? I was sick of corporate life and wanted to be master of my own fate. I wanted to start something for which I was 100% responsible.
I remembered that when I bought my house, my real estate agent (and friend!) had asked me if I’d ever thought about going into the business. I had said no! But when I found myself out of a job, I thought about that conversation.
My former job had been at a well-known company, so I had a good network. I had also been a financial planner for a short time and always felt like I hadn’t given building my own business the chance should have. And since I loved real estate from a hobby standpoint, I decided to give it a shot to go out on my own into something I really loved.
Why did you choose Sibcy Cline?
The agent I mentioned was a friend, so I didn’t consider any other agency. Her husband is at Sibcy, and they were always impressive to me. I wanted an opportunity to be in their environment. They’re successful. If you emulate people who are successful, you can be too.
And actually, she had always told me, if you get into the industry, think about coming to Sibcy. I was really flattered. I’m happy to be here. I love the idea of a homegrown company—and the fact that it’s a leader in the Cincinnati regional arena. Throughout my career, I’ve gravitated towards companies that have name recognition and positive equity in the minds of consumers.
What was joining the real estate industry like?
Getting through the test wasn’t hard. I love to learn new things. But after I took the test and passed, I didn’t have a manager telling me what to do or telling me what my priorities were. I was so used to having a boss.
But, Sibcy Cline is a really great place to start, because they have the Steps program and a process to follow, should you so choose to follow them. That helps to define the actions to take at the beginning to set yourself up for success in the future. I relied on their predefined activities to guide me through the process instead of figuring it out myself. That gave me the jumpstart I needed.
My prior experience has really helped me in real estate. I was in market research and marketing, and I loved talking to people and creating messages to market to consumers, then delivering a product and having them buy it and respond positively. That really fits well when I’m listing a home to sell. Also, when I’m working with buyers, it’s important to read between the lines and know what to probe into a bit more to help someone find exactly what they’re looking for and my market research background has helped in that area as well.
What’s an average day like?
There is no average day, which I love! But I know I have to keep myself motivated, which can be challenging in a seasonal business. On a daily basis, coming into the office and looking at new listings, and working on my prospect list helps a lot. Also, being around movers and shakers keeps me motivated, too—that’s so important! I try to keep taking positive action steps. You can’t do anything without taking action.
The best part by far, however, is the closing! To me, that’s the best because you know you have seen your clients to a successful closure. Not only do they hand over your paycheck but there’s a big sense of satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped them reach their goal. Not every deal is the same. Some are stressful and even tense. If you can get to the closing table with everybody, that’s an accomplishment.
One time, for example, I had a family who wanted a particular home. Yet, throughout the negotiation process, I had to talk them off the ledge several times so they didn’t walk away. I knew it was right for their family—I had observed their behavior and listened enough to understand this house represented everything they wanted! They simply had cold feet. I was stressed out and in tears throughout the process, questioning myself for pushing them but trusting my gut. When we left the closing table, they were so happy and grateful. We were all in tears—this time tears of happiness!
What advice would you give yourself now that you wish you’d had when you started?
I would say, trust the process and jump in full force. I was tentative and skeptical. I was just scared it wouldn’t work, so I didn’t want to put a whole lot effort in and be emotionally invested. That made me timid. Have patience, because as long as you’re taking action and setting goals and following your plan, the process does work!