NSDCAR REALTOR® member Michelle Harvey is the broker and owner of Harvey Homes and Property Management, founded in 2005. She has been recognized twice by the San Diego Business Journal newspaper as a “Women Who Mean Business” finalist. The native of Vista has worked in real estate since 1999, and has been a member of NSDCAR ever since. She is the author of “Home Buying Basics: Insider Tips to Purchasing a Home” (2010). Michelle and husband Jason are raising Mason, age 9. Michelle first met Jason at a math class at Palomar Community College. “He drove a 1965 Mustang, which I liked more than my 1966 Mustang,” Michelle said. She recently shared her thoughts about the real estate profession.
Gutsiest thing I ever said to anybody in real estate:
After working for over a year as a real estate assistant, I wanted to become a sales agent. During my interview with the office broker, she asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Without hesitation, I replied, “Doing your job, sitting in your chair.” Initially, the broker seemed startled, but then she invited me to join their office as a REALTOR®. Actually, I didn’t wait 10 years, but it was five years later before opening my own brokerage.
Toughest decision I had to make in real estate:
For more than 10 years, I worked both in sales and property management, managing individual homes. My management portfolio was not huge, but it was profitable. But then, about a year ago, I decided to drop property management. It wasn’t easy, but I had to be honest and admit that I could not be as effective as I wanted to be because my level of control was minimal. For example, owners would refuse to spend their money on repairs that were requested by the tenants, so then you had both sides angry at you. I am not a product of my circumstances, rather I’m a product of my decisions. To achieve your dreams in life, you need to decide on what really matters and what will last in your life and focus on that. If you’re not dreaming, you’re dying. Nobody is born great, there are only ordinary people committed to great dreams.
One of the most painful aspects of working in real estate:
It really hurts to lose a deal, especially when you’ve worked hard and tried nearly every strategy to make it work. However, I believe it hurts even more to see a client you’ve invested time and effort with decide to change their minds and leave to work with another agent. Ouch.
How to deal with failure in real estate:
Failure is not failing to reach your goal; instead, failure is not having a target. Failure is not falling down, but it’s refusing to get back up. You’re never a failure until you quit. Failure is not trying; instead, failure is failing to try. I believe that every situation in life, good or bad, has a lesson that can be learned and you can always benefit by learning from your failures, and then you need to move on. Never forget this truth: Failure probably won’t kill you. It’s not the end of the world, although sometimes it feels like it. However, sometimes, we vastly exaggerate the effects of failure. We overreact with the prospects of failing. For example, on the first day of kindergarten, imagine if I got in the wrong line or in the wrong classroom, and then I went home my mom and dad and said, “I’m a failure at education, this school thing just doesn’t work.” Of course, that example sounds crazy. Instead, you keep going. If at first you don’t succeed, it’s no big deal. You’re never a failure until you give up. Accept yourself, flaws and all. Make failure a learning experience, a teachable moment. It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.
Keys to time management in real estate:
It’s not always easy, but I home-school our son, which makes time management even more important. It’s imperative to follow a schedule, which includes school work in the morning and real estate work in the afternoons and evenings. Both my son and I have our own computers. At this age, I can give Mason a task, which he can complete on his computer, while I’m checking e-mail on my computer. We are called to be stewards of our time. We tend to live our lives by either priorities or pressures.
Keys to stress management in real estate:
I believe balance is the key to stress management. It’s easy to get busy and get overwhelmed. Work must be balanced with fun in life. Take time for inward rejuvenation and recharging. In the Air Force, they’ve mastered the art of mid-flight refueling, which is an important illustration on how to last in this profession. I’m not always successful, but I try to focus on one thing at a time (you can’t chase two rabbits at the same time). Preparation prevents pressure but procrastination produces it.
How to think the right way in real estate:
I set aside time on a regular basis for investing into the real estate business. Real estate operates on a cycle and it is important to be prepared for market changes. I need to stay current with the latest changes, stay connected with the Association and also spend time looking for new opportunities, even while I’m selling in the meantime. The battle to change unhealthy habits in your life is always a mental battle. But it starts in the mind, and it’s won or lost there. Change in your life requires new thinking. So, tell yourself the truth in order to stop defeating yourself and stop deceiving yourself. We are not a victim of our thoughts, we have a vote, we have a choice. We can exercise thought prevention.
Keys to success in real estate:
I try to keep an open mind and truly listen in order to make informed decisions. I also try to pay attention to the little things. Integrity shows up in the stuff that nobody sees, behind the scenes, and in the small, unseen, unspectacular choices of life where you do the right thing even though nobody’s ever going to see it. Also, I believe in giving back, not because it is a write off, but because it is important for us to share with others. Even if you don’t have a lot, give whatever you can. Anybody can be generous when they have a surplus. But, generous people give even when they don’t have a lot to give.
Keys to success in working with other real estate agents:
I try to never be rude or talk down to other agents. Treat each other with respect and as team members working towards the same goal. There is no need to establish dominance or show up another agent.
Why some real estate agents are not successful:
I’ve noticed some agents have a `know-it-all’ attitude. They’ve quit making the effort to learn new things. They don’t attend classes offered by the Association, which is unfortunate. It’s important to me to always keep learning. You don’t make decisions out of ignorance. It’s also important to continue to invest into yourself as an agent and as a business for the benefit of your clients.
A recent deal that was raised from the dead:
I was representing the seller and the buyer had a very long and expensive list of repairs after an extensive physical inspection. My seller wanted us to walk away from the deal, but I convinced her not to walk away and not to take the request for repairs personally. I also took the time to really get inside her head and also inside the buyer’s head to think on how to satisfy both parties. It took about a week of negotiations to come to a mutual agreement, but the deal was saved and closed on time. My seller was very happy and so was the buyer. Sometimes, things seem impossible but by working as a team with the other agents and not as adversaries, then you can work through just about any difficult escrow problem.
How to win new clients:
Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. People can see genuineness in a person.