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Words Of Wisdom

You know you’re a young agent when you sell your first listing before you buy your own home.

New agents on a team and those flying solo alike face challenges, but some young business generators are finding success regardless and proving that, indeed, age is just a number.

But with the great freedom that real estate allows — namely, the ability to jump into the industry with just a licensing exam — comes great responsibility.

Common threads of wisdom among stand-out rookies (or those that started in the business at a young age) include the value of mentorship, openness in listening to new ideas, and the power of surrounding yourself with smart and established people.

Here are six young agents who are doing something right and their advice for others in the field.

Those who rise in the business are not expecting any favors and believe in the importance of sheer hard work, they say.

Gilley Mendoza, 30, Realtor, Phyllis Browning Company, LeadingRE member

Experience: Three years

What is the biggest factor that has led to your success as a young real estate agent?

More than anything, there are three principles I live by and do business by.

One is to always do what you say you’re going to do. If I tell a client I’m going to do something or be somewhere, whatever it may be, I keep my word.

The second is the golden rule, which we should all live by — treat others as you would want to be treated.

The third is to practice what you preach. If I’m a leader and want to do something a certain way and get people on board with something, I realize it starts with me, so I make sure I’m doing what I’m preaching to others.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

Find your passion. With me, I found real estate to be my passion. It does not feel like work to me, and that is where success comes from.

I am excited about going to work and helping others. Whether I’m working with families or young professionals, it is the most significant purchase they will make, so it is important for them to work with a person who loves what they do and takes it seriously throughout the process.

And, you have to treat it like a business. While there is so much flexibility in terms of whether you want to come into the office, the real success comes from being there every day — surrounding yourself with other successful people, studying the market, and continuing to learn and grow.

Quite simply, you have to show up and be there, and good things will happen.

Jessica Houghton, 27, sales associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Experience: Four years

What is the biggest factor that has led to your success as a young real estate agent?

Working in the business full-time. You have to make a conscious decision to dive in at the beginning and do the legwork to get your business off the ground.

Many agents treat real estate as a hobby or a part-time job. To make a career in this industry, you have to be fully prepared to put the hours in and be accountable to yourself.

It doesn’t mean you have to work 100 hours per week (although you probably will some weeks), but it does mean having a schedule and being organized in a way that facilitates production and allows for success.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

Get comfortable with social media. It might be the most efficient way to market yourself and your business that exists. Use social media to engage your current contacts but don’t try to do it all.

Pick one — Facebook, for instance — and be consistent with your message. Once you have a good grasp of what’s working or what’s not working, add in Twitter and so on.

If you try to do all social media channels at once, it can be overwhelming, so go at your own pace — but don’t underestimate the power of social networks.

Thomas D’Alcamo Jr., 28, associate broker, co-owner, and franchisee of Exit Realty Top Properties

Experience: Eight years

Thomas D’Alcamo Jr.

What is the biggest factor that has led to your success as a young real estate agent?

I started in real estate when I was 20 years old and the market was in the gutter. At first, it was difficult, but I took all the training that I could get my hands on.

It also didn’t hurt having my father as the broker. My father was my mentor, and he showed me the ropes and set me up for success.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

I would advise any agent starting out in real estate to take as much training as possible. You will learn different techniques and skills that are necessary to succeed in real estate. You should definitely have an experienced agent mentor you.

Follow them around, do open houses when other agents don’t want to do them to build a client base.

Call everyone in your sphere of influence and most of all, get off your butt, go knock on doors, call and knock on the expireds and FSBOs every day.

Meghan Fife, 27, real estate consultant and founder of Omni Properties Group, Keller Williams Realty

Experience: Three years

What is the biggest factor that’s led to your success as a young real estate agent?

The willingness to not believe I know it all and instead, choose to model others who have been successful, has been the no. 1 factor in my success.

Even when they didn’t look “fancy,” “fun” or “techy,” I quickly realized the tried-and-true techniques of prospecting and follow-up would create success for me.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

Start now. There will always be a constant improvement in systems, processes, and marketing material.

Nothing can replace taking action today to build and multiply a database of people who choose to buy a home, sell a home, or invest in real estate with no one else but you.

Miles Daly, 18, Pacific Union & Christies International Real Estate

Experience: Obtained his license in August 2016

What is the biggest factor that’s led to your success as a young real estate agent?

Up to this point it has been having the drive to complete my goals. When I began working for my current broker as an intern in September of 2015, I had a goal that in 12 months I would be on my own — 11 months later, I completed that goal.

When I began my original internship with the brokerage, I set my sights on the end goal of passing my license test and made sure that I had concrete stepping stones to get to that goal. In a larger sense, I look at the bigger picture of my personal success and the path to that success.

Since getting my license, this same mentality of goal setting has helped me to become a more knowledgeable and diverse agent, trying to learn as much as I can at every opportunity and fully understanding that the steps I take now in my career will have a direct effect on the success of my career in the future.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

Try to get started as an assistant with a top producer. You will learn the nuances of the industry in a much more influential way than just in a classroom or online, and my experience with a top producer helped ignite a passion for real estate that keeps me interested and excited to do work every day.

The passion and experiences that you will pick up from working as an assistant will infinitely enhance your career later on.

Jay Luebke, 22, marketing coordinator and Realtor at The Art of Real Estate

Experience: Four years

What is the biggest factor that has led to your success as a young real estate agent?

The biggest factor so far has been the support that I have received from being a part of a high-functioning team.

With 12 other team members, everyone with different experience levels, and from different walks of life, these varied perspectives have been instrumental in my professional growth. The leads that were provided by the team were also an unbeatable advantage that most agents don’t have access to.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to a peer or to an older agent wanting to restart a career?

Find a solid mentor with the heart of a teacher who wants to see you grow and improve.

It’s important to work with someone who will not only listen to your ideas but provide constructive criticism and advice along the way. While you may be able to figure it out all on your own, you will excel much faster if you have the support of a mentor.

The article is originally published here!

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Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What makes a house a home? To our team here at Gilley International Group, a home is where you host family get-togethers, spend Sundays in the kitchen, and summer evenings lounging on the porch. A home is not four walls; it is a place where you create memories. Unfortunately, for some, there comes a time when your home doesn’t work with your life plans anymore, and you have to make the hard decision to put it on the market. Closing a chapter of your life is never easy. To help you make a smooth transition, our team is here for you and your family. One of the first things we recommend you do before listing your home is to walk out to the street and evaluate your curb appeal. Most likely, it’s going to need some work. In today’s blog, we are sharing seven tips to make your house stand out against its competition!

Upgrade your exterior lighting

               To start, let’s talk about lighting. When a potential buyer is interested in your home, they will most likely drive by it at different times a day; this gives them an idea of how traffic flows and how peaceful or noisy your neighbors are. The last thing you want is for them to swing by in the evening and have a hard time seeing the front of your home. Upgrade your exterior lighting and show off how gorgeous your house looks!

Bring out the pressure washer

               A good rule of thumb is that you should pressure wash your house at least once a year. If you’ve excelled at keeping your home clean over the years, this task should be quick and easy. Run your pressure washer over the exterior of your house as well as the driveway and gutters.

Make a statement with a colorful front door

               In 2020, a pop of color is in! We recommend that you paint your front door a color that is eye-appealing and flows well with the rest of your exterior colorways.

Invest in lawn care

               This is home-selling 101. Potential buyers need to be able to visualize themselves living in your house; this includes spending time in the yard. Before listing, trim your bushes, plant some flowers, and make sure your grass is lush and green!

You can never go wrong with a white picket fence

               Have you ever heard of the American dream of owning a nice home with a white picket fence? Although the saying is old, the desire to achieve it is still fresh! Tear down your wired fence and replace it with one that is simple, pretty, and easy to clean.

Clean your roof

               Unless you have experience doing roof work, we recommend hiring a professional for this task. A roof is a significant investment, and the health of yours will be a point of discussion with all of your potential buyers. Make sure that yours is clean and in good condition!

Hide unsightly items

               Last, hide all of your unsightly items. Don’t leave your water hose lying on the ground. Instead, find a decorative container to store it in. To step up your curb appeal game, plant bushes around your ac unit. Buyers want to see a picturesque home, not a house that they will have to put a lot of work into. The easier it is on their eyes, the more likely they are to buy!

               We hope that these tips help you feel confident as you put your home on the market. Our team here at Gilley International Group wants this process to go smoothly for you, and we are convinced that by having a strong curb appeal, you will have a long list of buyers interested in turning your house into their home. Best of luck!

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How to Find Your Dream Home

Are you thinking about starting the process of purchasing a new home? That’s fantastic! As you know, Gilley International Group is a family-run real estate agency. We aim to help our customers find a home that fits their budget and exceeds their wildest dreams. A house is more than walls covered in paint. It’s a place where a family can grow, find comfort, and call home. Today, we are excited to share a few bits of advice. We’ve gained a little experience over the years, and we are eager to help you understand the steps it takes to find your dream home.

  • Have a real estate agent that you can trust

               We know that there are horror stories out there about working with a real estate agent. Your goal should be to find someone you can trust, someone who understands what you are looking for and is willing to put your needs first.

  • Be blunt and honest with your agent

               The only way you will find your dream space is to be completely transparent with your agent. On top of the obvious information that they will need, like your budget, they also need to know what style of home interests you, how many rooms you need, and the vibe of the neighborhood you are looking for. No detail is too small; this is your home we are talking about!

  • Know your finances

               At this point, you most likely have already been pre-approved for your home mortgage loan. When figuring out your budget, you need to also think about all of the expenses that come with purchasing a house. We are guessing that your home will be the most substantial investment you have ever made, and we want to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. Trust us; you can still find the home of your dreams while being financially responsible.

  • Understand your wants and needs

               Now onto the fun stuff! Once you have all of the items above checked off your to-do list, you need to lay out your wants and needs. Are you planning on expanding your family in the near future? Then, realistically, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Have you grown up dreaming of planting a beautiful garden? Then, you will want a yard that has enough space. Be honest with yourself. This list is what is going to propel your agent in the right direction.

  • Look at all of your options

               Walking houses can be fun! The moment you lay eyes on one, you immediately start imagining yourself living there. We urge you to think rationally, and not jump on the first place that you see. If you’re in love with it, that’s great! But, before you put down an offer, check out a few other places first. Give yourself the ability to have options!

               Our family here at Gilley International Group could not be more excited that you are looking to find your dream home. This is a moment in your life that we want you to look back on with a smile. The tips above are just a few bits of advice that we hope help you on your home buying journey. If you have a vision for what home looks like, let us help you make your dream a reality! To speak with us, call 210-445-1384.

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Homebuying During COVID-19

Today, we want to be completely transparent about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects home buyers. As real estate experts, Gilley International Group’s main priority now, like always, is to help our clients find their dream home here in Texas. When this pandemic hit, we were concerned, just like everyone else. Questions flooded our minds. How will this virus affect our family? How will it alter the economy? Is continuing to run our business the right thing to do? Fortunately, the CDC has been our country’s rock during these troubling times and has provided advice to help companies continue to run smoothly and safely. Our business practices have been altered; however, our dedication and commitment to our people have not. We are in your corner and are determined not to let this pandemic stop you from moving into your perfect home this year!

The first few steps in the home buying process, whether there is a pandemic or not, is to look at your budget, speak with your bank, and determine your financial eligibility. Once you know your price range, you can contact a real estate company and start looking for homes to walk. However, the COVID-19 virus has made this process a lot more complicated. Many banks are running remotely right now and are not allowing their customers to speak with their agents face to face; this can make it difficult to determine your financial eligibility and hinders your ability to talk with an expert and fully understand the financial commitment you are making. Also, many banks have been forced to have harsher credit score requirements. These setbacks may make you rethink purchasing a home this year. However, we want to urge you to call your bank, speak with them in detail about your financial reality right now, and ask them to explain how they are willing to help you. Trust us; they are in your corner just like we are. Don’t continue renting just because you are nervous!

Once you have determined your price range, it is time to speak with your real estate agent and start walking homes! In the past, you would physically view houses and determine if they were a good fit for you or not. In some cases, this is still true. However, thanks to technology, you can also have a virtual tour of the home online. While this virus continues to spread, we all must make an effort to practice safe social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately, that means we have to make a few sacrifices and alter the way we do things.

You have found your perfect home. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to close. Thankfully, technology is once again on our side! All of your closing documents can be read and signed online. Getting the keys to your home is a big deal, and we are so grateful that, even during a pandemic, this is still possible thanks to e-signing and e-closing!           

The COVID-19 pandemic may have thrown us for a loop at first, but our commitment to our clients forced us to reevaluate our business practices and make necessary adjustments. Here at Gilley International Group, we are resilient; nothing, not even a pandemic, will stop us from helping you find the home of your dreams. For questions on how we can help you, email us at!

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First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

Our goal here at Gilley International Group is to help our clients find not only the home of their dreams but a home that fits best for where they are in life. Purchasing a home for the first time is exciting, and many home buyers tend to jump in feet first without thinking through all of their options. Lucky for you, we are home buying experts! Today, we are going to discuss three mistakes that we see most often when working with first-time home buyers. We want to educate our buyers and assist them in smoothly entering this next phase of their lives!

Looking for a home before applying for a mortgage
Like we stated earlier, buying a home for the first time is exciting! So exciting that many of our clients tend to start touring homes before they have applied for a mortgage. It is easy to assume that you will be preapproved for a certain amount; however, this process takes time, and the preapproval rate can come as a shock once finalized. Our advice is to start your home buying process at the bank. Sit down with your lender, complete the paperwork, and wait until you receive your written preapproval before looking at houses. By doing this, you will save yourself extra stress and keep you from getting your hopes up!

Making decisions based on emotion
Purchasing a home is an investment. Most likely, the most substantial investment of your life. In situations of this importance, you need to think with your head instead of your heart. If you begin this journey solely thinking about finding the perfect house, you may find yourself overpaying. It is currently a seller’s market, and that means if you are not flexible with your options, you may end up in a home you love but with a demolished budget.

Draining your savings
Most home buyers have saved for this moment for years. They know that they are financially capable of putting 20% down and that this will allow them not to have to pay mortgage insurance. However, we want to caution against this. Yes, your monthly mortgage payment will be cheaper, but what about all of the unexpected costs of being a homeowner? Most first-time buyers don’t think about the extra costs of homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and maintenance fees. Think smart and keep a few extra dollars in your account!

First-time home buyers, we hope that by discussing these three common mistakes, we have helped you head into this experience with confidence. We know that learning the ins and outs of home-ownership can feel daunting, but we are here to help! Remember, your first step is to meet with your lender so that you can get preapproved, then start looking for a home that makes sense with your budget, and lastly, think long-term when it comes to your savings. From all of us here at Gilley International Group, happy buying!

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Stay Warm in a Summery Sunroom

We’re only halfway through fall, but as arctic blasts spread across the U.S., we’re already missing summer—specifically, lazy weekend afternoons curled up in the sun. But fortunately, if you have the right space inside your home, you won’t have to give up these blissful, vitamin D–drenched days.

By the “right space,” we mean a sunroom, also known as a Florida room or a three-season room. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these indoor, window-filled paradises, then you know that they’re a great way to enjoy the warmth of the sun, no matter how brisk the outdoor temperatures are.

So if you’re ready for the ultimate way to stay toasty this season, keep reading for these expert tips on how to remake your sunroom. (We should note that even if you don’t have an official sunroom, you can try these tricks with any light-filled space in your home.) So what are you waiting for? Get your moment in the sun!

(Find the original article HERE!)

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Top 5 Home Improvement Projects

Looking to start a home improvement project over the holidays? Start with one of these five listed below! 🔨💡

  1. Minor Bathroom Remodel
  2. Landscaping
  3. Minor Kitchen Remodel
  4. Exterior Improvements
  5. Convert Attic to Additional Bedroom