How We Rebuild – Agents and the Real Estate Recovery

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Stephen Hnatow is an agent for @properties in Lakeview.

By Stephen Hnatow

Entering the industry in 2007, I thought a declining market and number of sales would give everyone the opportunity to become a better resource and broker for their clientele, that it would push stronger agents to be elevating their skills, and, for lack of a better term, it would “trim the fat” of those that do not have the focus of this industry in their heart.

It’s no secret that you can make a decent living in real estate. What I’ve heard far too often is that our industry is a great opportunity to make a “quick buck” while “figuring things out.” At the height of the market and an influx of individuals, I feel we were reduced to an equal level of importance as your Starbucks barista.

A great Chicagoan once said, “Everyone has a calling, and your job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.” In my ideal world, everyone I encounter on a daily basis within this industry should have a passion for real estate.

This specific blog I am writing isn’t about tips to be your neighbor expert, to increase your sales, or sell homes faster with social networking. I want whoever is reading this to give a damn about what they do everyday for their business and the business of others. I want everyone to help rebuild this community of real estate professionals.

I don’t have the exact number, but I know membership with CAR has significantly declined over recent years. The “fat” has been “trimmed.” While I understand you cannot teach passion, I hope that the next generations of Realtors embrace this industry with true enthusiasm.

For me, it’s not about volunteering with YPN, serving on the CAR Board of Directors, or giving back to the community in other forms. To best service the industry, I want to see an agent on the other side of my transaction know the market. I want that agent to care about the transaction while wanting what is best for their clients. I want the agent to not look at their client with a dollar sign over their head.

I’ve built a successful business over this short period of time because I treat each client how I would want to be treated, given my knowledge and professional experiences. That is the sole key to my success. I never push a sale unless it’s in the best interest of my client.

I know very little in life, but I do know this: in order to be better, we need to want to be better. We need to inspire others to be better. We need to kum-ba our yaya’s, regroup and encourage the next generation (and even some of our current members) to prepare for what is to come.

Because I feel that true success for our industry is just around the corner.

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