I’ve spent the last seven months doing a lot—traveling a ton, finishing the full catalog of improv classes at Unexpected Productions, writing my first play, hiking and backpacking, going on my first-ever bike tour, falling in love with running and completing my first half-marathon, doing SIFF right for the first time in four years, co-founding Organizing for Seattle, reading books again, having more fun dating than I ever have before in my life, giving my third Ignite talk, pitching an idea at Crosscut’s inaugural Community Idea Lab, telling a live story at The Moth’s Story Slam in Fremont, taking a 15-day break from modern technology, finding my voice as a private citizen in local politics, playing chess again for the first time in years, facilitating and helping put together the Hack to End Homelessness, learning to salsa, driving Ferrarris and Lamborghinis, watching a pair of baby hummingbirds gestate, hatch, and then grow up and eventually fly away right outside my kitchen window, helping friends buy cars, serving on the board of the co-op I live in, watching live theater and dance again in earnest, learning AdWords and the basics of SEM over the course of self-publishing my first book, spending a huge amount of quality time with friends…and, for the last couple of months, taking the online courses that are required to become a real estate agent in Washington State. I passed the state exam two days ago, and about an hour ago I became an officially licensed agent with Windermere Eastlake!
I did a lot of soul-searching immediately after the Mayor’s Office, and I explored a lot of different options for my next career move. I looked into everything from advocacy work to getting a master’s degree to starting my own business, but none of them felt quite right. After sitting with it long enough, I realized that the one thing I’ve been missing in my life since the day I stopped selling cars at Millennium Ford over 10 years ago is the feeling of “eating what I kill,” as my used car manager put it. It’s a phrase that encompasses both being paid precisely what I’m worth and being forced to stay hungry and lean in order to succeed, not being allowed to get complacent and soft. In other words, I realized that I’ve really been missing working on commission.
When I thought about commission-based jobs that I would actually want to do right now, real estate was the first thing that came to mind—I had a great experience buying my apartment 4 ½ years ago, and the idea of helping other people have a similarly great experience navigating one of the biggest, most complex, and most stressful transactions of their lives really appealed to me. So did the prospects of essentially running my own business, having to master a wide variety of marketing techniques, being able to spend more time in strangers’ homes in a socially acceptable way (since I’m being honest—one of my favorite things about selling Cutco back in college was getting to sit down in peoples’ living rooms while I was selling them knives)…and, of course, being able to pay off my own mortgage much sooner than I would otherwise be able to. I do my best work when I’m strongly motivated, and aside from elections, becoming debt-free has historically been my best source of motivation where work is concerned. It’s why I was willing to put so many hours in as a car salesman immediately after college, and also why I was debt-free at 23 and able to travel for nearly a year and a half on the money I saved up 10 years ago.
The more I thought about becoming a real estate agent, the more I realized it was what I needed to do. All real estate agents in Washington are required to take a 90-hour course (I did mine online), pass the state exam, and operate under the umbrella of an established brokerage. While I was getting the coursework out of the way I did some research, set up several interviews, and ultimately decided to hang my license with Windermere’s Eastlake office. Windermere has by far the biggest share of the real estate market in Seattle at around 42% (John L Scott is next in line with around 16%), and they also have a strong culture around new agent training and support ; I’m really glad to have ended up with them.
As I’ve talked to people informally over the course of the last couple of months, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten has been what my focus or specialty will be. The answer is twofold: I’m most passionate about helping first-time homebuyers find homes, especially now in a red-hot seller’s market where there’s significant competition for every available property (I’ve always liked going to bat for the underdog); but in the early stages, realistically my real estate practice is going to depend on how many of you either choose me as your agent when it comes time for you to buy or sell your home or recommend me to your friends and acquaintances when they’re going through that process themselves.
So if you don’t already have someone in the “my real estate agent” slot in your mind, please consider me your agent on call and let your friends know that they can do the same. Whether you want to email me with questions, get coffee and discuss the market and your options, dip your toe in the water by going out and looking at homes, or go all in and either look for a new home in earnest or sell your current one, I’d love to talk to you.
Thanks for helping to make the last 7 months so much fun, and please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be of service, in real estate or otherwise!