Student Success Story: Meet Melissa Stanley, Real Estate Agent

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Student Success Story: Meet Melissa Stanley, Real Estate Agent

As the leader in real estate education, Hondros College of Business prides itself on educating some of the top-performing real estate agents in Ohio. It’s our mission to continue our relationships with our students following completion of their real estate education. We sat down with recent Hondros alumna, Melissa Stanley, to learn about her time with Hondros and how her life has transformed since entering the real estate field.

What did you do before you were interested in real estate?

I was a financial counselor in an emergency room at a children’s hospital. I worked part-time – I worked two twelve-hour shifts, so twenty-four hours a week – and I considered myself more of a stay-at-home mom.

So what inspired you to start taking classes at Hondros?

I’d been doing my job for eighteen years, I’d been at my current place for eight years, and I had a difference of opinions with the new management coming in. So I thought well that’s it, so I went to go look for other jobs at other hospitals, but nobody was hiring. My husband has always said ‘do real estate,’ but I said it’s risky. I can’t do a hundred percent commission paycheck; we need a [consistent] paycheck. I had a friend who sold cars and he’s obnoxious, but he’s successful and he loves what he does. So I thought, well I’ll do something with him. I didn’t want to sell cars, but I wanted to do something. He didn’t have anything either though. My mother-in-law does real estate, so I knew the reality of it. My husband didn’t talk me into it, but I decided to go back to school for that.

Why did you choose to get your education at Hondros?

I spoke with the broker first, and they recommended Hondros. And I’d heard of Hondros before, and when I looked into they were more affordable and much more flexible so that’s why I chose to go there.

So how was going through your courses here? What was your favorite part of going to Hondros?

My favorite part was that the instructors were real estate agents and/or brokers. The actual classes are teaching you to pass the test, and it can be dry. And the instructors did a really good job with that, but I liked that they would start talking about real scenarios and real life, “this happened to me.” And they’d give suggestions – I probably took more notes on that sort of thing.

After going through your courses, did you feel prepared for the real estate exam?

Pretty much, I still felt like I needed to study more but I think that’s a personality thing. I felt as prepared as I would be.

When did you take classes?

I started last September, and I took evening classes. So it took me awhile, but I finished in November and I took my test in early December.

And it sounds like you’ve been pretty successful in the past almost year now.

I got licensed in December, so it’s maybe nine months now. But yes, I have. I don’t like to brag, but I’m really excited. I feel that I’m realistic in that I know that I came in on a good year. I know that it’s not always going to be like this, there might be some dry years. This isn’t something I could have done ten years ago – I didn’t have the maturity, I didn’t have the drive. So I haven’t fooled myself into thinking “this is easy, anybody can do it.” But I’ve had a good year so far.

Tell me about your first sale.

It was a friend – she knew I was new, which was great because I probably came across as very new. She knew some things I didn’t know. Luckily they were first time homebuyers too, so I only had to go a couple steps ahead of what they knew. I called my manager – she jokes about it – I called her all the time. She jokes that I don’t call her as much anymore, I don’t need to now. And that’s what they’re there for, and they know that. I even joked one time when I called her, “are you tired of hearing me?” and she didn’t say no. And the selling agent was older and experienced, and was a snowbird. We started in January and closed in February, so he was down in Florida. So I did a little bit more legwork, and I’ve had other agents say “oh he’s taking advantage of you” – he might’ve been, but everything was a learning experience. I hadn’t even sat in a closing besides when I bought my own house years ago.

What was the biggest challenge early in your career?

I was very lucky in that I got buyers right away. I thought my biggest challenge was going to be getting things going. I didn’t even anticipate doing anything until four or five months in, I mean I read the statistics. I lucked out that I know a lot of people that seem to like me, I’m so involved in my stay-at-home mom stuff that I had a huge sphere of influence. Personally I think balancing, even to this day, because I worked part-time before and this is more full-time (even though the pay at times feels like part-time). But balancing that and what I used to do, which is things with the kids and the PTA and getting dinner made and the house clean. I think coming up with a good balance between work and home has been one of the biggest challenges.

Do you still feel like you have flexibility?

Absolutely. I’m still very involved with my kids’ school, like I said I’m the director of the PTA this year so I get to be involved in that. And as long as I plan ahead of time, I can usually plan around things. Now there are things that pop up – like I was going away for a weekend and the night before I had two clients want to make offers. So while I’m still out, and having fun, I’m also negotiating all weekend. To the point where it was like 9 o clock on Saturday night and I told them to call me back in the morning because nothing else was going to get done that night. But like I said, I still get to do lots of things with my kids and that’s a big plus.

Have you had any unusual or funny moments as an agent?

Not yet – I mean I’ve seen my share of dead animals in houses. There’s one client, we joke about it, but he seems to take me to every weird little house. Like there was a dead squirrel in the closet once; and a skunk. And I’ve had some friends that come across as rude without realizing it before too. One friend asked if they could put in a lower offer if they weren’t working with me [as a real estate agent] and if that would be a better offer. So basically asking my advice while telling me they’re going to cut me out of the deal. But you know, their priority isn’t to buy a house to pay my commission, it’s to buy a house that they like. So I told him I don’t know how to buy a house without a real estate agent, good luck to him but I couldn’t really help. Turns out they didn’t end up buying anything.

So do you have any advice for someone who might want to go into real estate?

You have to know the reality of it, both negative and positive. When I was saying I couldn’t do this ten years ago because I wasn’t mature enough, it’s because I wasn’t. If I say “oh on Tuesday I’m going to make phone calls,” ten years ago I would’ve said “oh I don’t want to” and then Tuesday comes and goes and I don’t. Also if I’d have gotten a commission check I’d have said “sweet, let’s go have a great week or two” and it’s gone. And then I think – I don’t know that it takes a certain personality, but it’s nervous to talk to people you don’t know, or walking up to a group and introducing yourself. I’ve always been very extroverted, but it’s still nerve-racking. I don’t know if everybody can do it, but I just stand up straight, smile, and jump into it anyway, just do it. Like I said, just be realistic on your strengths and your weaknesses.