HOW TO BECOME A REAL ESTATE AGENT AND START A REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Welcome to the GrayHawk DJC podcast. In today’s podcast, we talk with Andrew Kelton, owner of the Sharp Agent Realty Group to discuss the real estate market in Dallas, Fort Worth and his story on how he started his company and became a real estate agent. If you like this video, please be sure to hit the like button and subscribe to this channel. We hope you enjoy the podcast.
David: Mr. Kelton. What’s going on?
Andrew: Dave, how’s it going? Good to see you.
David: Welcome to the first GrayHawk DJC podcast.
Andrew: What an honor. So honored to be here.
David: I know we’re going to look back on this day and laugh at ourselves. But thank you. So how you been?
Andrew: I mean, been good. Yeah, surviving…Covid and Snowpocalypse, you know, we had in Texas here.
David: That was crazy, yeah. Did you feel anything or get hit with anything?
Andrew: No, we kept our power and kept our water. So we were lucky.
David: So no blackouts at all?
Andrew: Nothing. Not for us. Yeah, we got out unscathed. We did have some of my wife’s friends come and stay with us because they lost power and water.
Andrew: So we housed some people.
David: Thanks for not reaching out to the rest of us.
Andrew: Yeah. What about you, man?
David: We had rolling blackouts. Our internet went out. That was it. So every hour or so, we could recharge. But it was tough at night because we had no entertainment. We just kind of sat there, like, looking at each other. So I was, like, what do you do without all these tech toys that we’re so used to?
Andrew: I know. Yeah, I know.
David: But our friends had real issues. They were, you know, some of the guys that we play poker with. They were saying that they had to, like, be refugees and go to people’s houses because they had no heat for days.
Andrew: A friend of mine in Houston was out of water for eight days. His pipes burst and flooded the house and, I mean, he was suffering. So he’s still feeling the effects of this.
David: Oh yeah?
Andrew: Oh my God, yeah. They’re still working on the plumbing and, you know, they set it up so that, like, I have some friends that are plumbers, and they’re like, we just try to get a toilet, a shower, and, like, you know, patch everybody up for as many people as they can before they start knocking out full reinstalls and stuff.
David: They do that?
Andrew: So they can get as many people, you know, to a point where they’re sustainable, to be able to at least use the bathroom, to take a shower, right, and then, you know, get everybody set up that way and then start tackling the big jobs.
Andrew: Yeah, man.
David: Well, at least, you’re safe.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’m still shocked at some of the guys and what they went through. So, yeah, we got super lucky. So I’m grateful for that.
David: So are you ever going to come back? Will we see you regularly again at poker?
Andrew: Yeah, I think.
David: So for those of you that don’t know, we know Andrew from our weekly poker game.
Andrew: That’s right. It’s been what five years now, three years?
David: Something like that, yeah. No, it’s been about five…but you’re MIA, dude.
Andrew: I mean, yeah. I kind of fell off the earth. I fell off the radar there for a little bit. I started doing other things.
David: Taking over the world?
Andrew: Yeah. There’s always work and I got super into hunting this year. So that took me away. You guys play Friday nights and you know I’m going out almost every Saturday morning at 4 or 5am, heading out to the pond trying to get birds.
David: I mean, the way you play, you were hunting us on Friday nights.
Andrew: I see you still remember
David: Well, let’s get into this. You’re a realtor, right?
David: And since this is a business podcast, tell us how you got started. You know, what led you into it? The floor is yours.
Andrew: So I was out in California. That’s where I’m from. Born and raised in Los Angeles. You know, I loved it out there. I went straight from high school out up into the mountains and became a snowboarder, full-time. That was my gig. I would also work construction. So I was working on houses, painting, laying floors and tile, you know. You name it.
David: So the traditional thing that most kids do.
Andrew: Right. Yeah. Well, I had an uncle out there that did construction, a couple of them, but one in particular that I could go work with in the summers. And I would do that and then, in the winters, I’d go up to the mountains and do the snowboarding thing. So I did that for a number of years. I was kind of learning more and more about houses and the labor side of things, renovations and repairs and things. So I learned a little bit of everything.
David: Did you know you’re always going to do this?
Andrew: I just fell into it, honestly. My uncle that was living out here, a different uncle, he called me up for my birthday in August and said, “Hey, you know, happy birthday”. “What are you doing with your life”? And I was like, man, I’ve just been bouncing up and down the mountain. I don’t really know what direction I’m going in. I’m just trying to figure it out still.
Andrew: And I had done some schooling in college but I never finished. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. And he said, “Well, you know, you have experience in construction, why don’t you come out here”? “I’m flipping houses and you can come work with me and swing a hammer”. So, I did that. I packed up my car, I bought a dog, and I drove out to Texas from California. I’m not sure how long I was going to stay. It was kind of, like, I’ll come work on this one house that he was working on. Maybe I’ll end up staying longer. I didn’t know.
David: So no friends, nothing? Just the family?
Andrew: Yeah, just family. I had a couple cousins out here. My dad was born and grew up in San Angelo. So I did have family out here and growing up, I would come out here every year around the holidays and spend time with them. So I was familiar with the Dallas, Fort Worth area.
Andrew: So I kind of knew that I liked Texas. But you know, an extended stay, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay here or not really. I didn’t think I would but I ended up staying here and that was 10 years ago now. I worked on houses with him for a couple of years and then I tried starting a business, attic insulation. I was door knocking, trying to get business…drumming up business. I would insulate people’s attics.
Andrew: You know, I did that for about a year and a half.
David: So complete cold calls?
Andrew: Yeah, literally knocking doors.
David: So how’s that like? Any bad experiences, like, tell some stories.
Andrew: Yeah. So I worked for this guy and he was doing the same thing. He had a company that did energy efficiency upgrades to homes and, you know, it was basically government money. The government was allocating money to Oncor so that they could pay independent contractors to go out and retrofit homes to make them more energy efficient. And then, you know, that money was being funneled through Oncor who then paid these subcontractors to save energy because it was cheaper to do that than it was to go out and build new power plants and create more energy.
Andrew: So I was working for this guy and we were busy and I could tell he was doing really well with it. And I thought, man, if I could just buy an insulation machine, you know, the kit that measures how much air is passing through the home. It’s like this thing you hook up to the front door and it has a big fan that sucks the air through the house and it tells you how much leakage you have, like gaps around the windows. It basically tells you your energy loss. So I went out and borrowed money from friends and family, kind of went out and did a little seed round fundraising for money to go start this business. So I got in, and I think it was like 10 or 15 grand when I bought all the equipment. Then I had to go get a license and all this stuff.
David: And that’s not just your money. It’s other people’s money too.
David: You’re on the hook for them too, right? Were you scared?
Andrew: I had it figured out, how it was going to work. And you know, I really researched it before I got started.
Andrew: So one thing that I couldn’t research though was when I went to the orientation with Oncor that year, and you know, I’m three months in. I’d already bought the equipment and got the licensing. I think the licensing was $1,800 by itself. But when I got to the orientation, they said that they were going to make a change that year. They said you had to have been in business for two years to participate in the program.
David: No warnings?
Andrew: No warnings. So that was a huge shock and I had to figure out a way to get in and still do this because I was on the hook. I had all these other people, you know, who invested in me. For myself too. Everything I had was invested in this, right? So what I did was, I figured out that I could work through another company that was already in the program.
Andrew: One that had been in business for at least two years. So I went to Oncor’s website and I found a list of all the contractors that were participating from the previous year. It was a list of, I think, it was about 85 or 100 companies, you know. They were all over DFW. All these companies doing it. And I just started banging on the phones, calling one after another. I think I ended up calling 60, it was like 61 or 62 companies. Until I finally got one to say, “Hey, you know what, you can practice under me and I’ll take a percentage of everything you do”. But that was my only way in.
David: Did they vet you?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I sat down with them and, you know, first, I talked to him on the phone and it took a lot of calls just too even get that face-to-face with one of these companies. And then, I told him, I convinced him, that, hey, you’re going to make more money as long as you can trust that I’m not going to mess this up and hurt you in the program and hurt your chances of doing work through this program. So once I convinced them of that, they brought me in and I was able to actually do it and go out and get clients and market my company and go do business. You know, do an attic insulation and other energy efficiency upgrades. And then I just gave a cut to that company.
David: So we know that, at the end of the day, it’s all about sales, right? So when you say you went and got clients what did you do, just more phone calls?
Andrew: Oh man, I can remember, one day, in the middle of summer, I was driving around HEB, you know, Hurst, Euless, Bedford and I had a thousand door hangers in a box that I bought and designed. And I was just going out and knocking on people’s doors and putting door hangers out and trying to sell because, really, it was no cost to the homeowner and so a lot of people thought it was a gimmick. They thought you’re trying to take advantage of them. I’m saying, hey, I got this free thing I’m going to give you and they’re like, what, yeah right.
David: Plus, you’re just knocking on their door, right?
Andrew: Yeah, some stranger. You know, some kid with a polo with a little logo on it and everything. That was brutal. I had 95 out of 98 people who were like, “Kick rocks”. “Get out of here”. But I cut my teeth doing that and I got used to rejection and realizing you just have to keep pushing in order to get what you want. I would get a hundred no’s and then I’d get one yes and I could make a little bit of money and pay the bills for the month, you know. I had two guys working with me so I could pay them.
David: So you had employees?
Andrew: Yeah, well, they were like subcontractors and I think they were doing other stuff too. But there was a point in time where it was like four or five days a week that we had work. We were going out and doing attic insulation all over DFW. It was a learning experience for me, for sure. And that was the first time I really built something from nothing.
David: How close did you come to saying I don’t want to do this anymore?
Andrew: Oh man, a bunch of times. A bunch of times.
David: What kept you going? Was it just because you needed food on the table or…?
Andrew: I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder and wanting to prove that I could do something on my own. At the time, when I was running that business I was also engaged. I had a lot to lose. I needed to find some way to do something to stop being an employee and building somebody else’s business. I mean, this is the typical, I got to put food on the table, there’s no second chances story. I can’t go back to where I came from. It’s either do or die, right? So yeah, it was definitely that kind of burned the boats mentality. Like, look, there’s no going back. I didn’t want to go back to swinging a hammer every day. I was willing to work harder, building something for myself even if it didn’t pan out. There’s something to be said about when you’re working and you know that it’s for you and that you get to put your name on it and build it up. And it’s something that you can hang your hat on as opposed to going to work for somebody else. I’ve always worked hard my whole life. Long hours and, you know, always willing to put in work. But I definitely was working harder when it was for my own success.
David: Do you have any door knocking stories that are weird or the kind where your Spidey senses started tingling?
Andrew: The worst thing is when you knock on the door and the dogs are going crazy and you got like five, six dogs in the house and they’re just barking. You’re standing there with your little clipboard and you already know that when the homeowner gets to the door they’re going to be pissed because it’s like, you woke me up, all my dogs, and they are barking. That happened a few times, but nothing where it was creepy.
David: Nobody showing up in their underwear?
Andrew: No. I had people just telling me to, you know, piss off, like, get out of here. You know, cuss at me.
David: What about threats, guns, or just the get-off-my-lawn stuff?
David: I know when we started with GrayHawk, our biggest problem was getting customers. So you make those phone calls and, like you said, 99 percent of time, they’re just like, “Who the hell are you, stop calling me”. Literal hang-ups.
David: But there doesn’t seem to be any other way to do that except, to do that.
Andrew: So as I’ve gotten more business and started a couple different businesses and learned more, the ideal thing is to have clients calling you, right?
Andrew: If you can get people hitting you up and say, “Hey, can you help me”? That’s where it’s at. You don’t have to do the cold calling as much but I still do. I still do that with real estate.
David: What percentage of the time are you making calls?
Andrew: Right now, I probably make, I don’t know, about 50 to 100 calls a week.
Andrew: And that’s low, you know. I have someone that makes calls for me too. I think it’s just part of keeping your pipeline full.
Andrew: That’s a big part of the business. If you don’t have that, then you really have nothing. There’s nothing there, right?
David: So you were doing the door knocking and then what happens next for you? How did you get on this road to where you’re in real estate?
Andrew: So the company, the attic insulation and energy efficiency company, it just wasn’t panning out the way that I had hoped. I got all these dreams of, whatever, you know, world domination. I don’t know what I was thinking but taking over the world, blowing attic insulation up one house at a time, one attic at a time. I mean, you never know. So a year into it, maybe a year and a couple months into it, I realized that I didn’t want to be struggling to convince people to let me do this stuff anymore. There had to be an easier way, right? So my Fiancé at the time, she kind of slapped some sense into me, and she’s like, “You know, you’ve been thinking about getting your real estate license for years, why don’t you just do it”. “Maybe this is an opportunity for you to do that and pursue something else”.
David: And so a good woman…
Andrew: Yeah, right. And so I did. I jumped into online classes. I knocked it out in about a month and a half. It’s pretty easy to get your real estate license and most people probably know that. I think it should be a little harder. Anybody can do this. Anybody can get licensed to sell real estate. I think it’s like a trade. You can go to trade school and be an air conditioning technician and that’s probably even harder schooling than it is to get your license because you’re actually physically doing something, building something, right?
Andrew: But, you know, the attrition rate in real estate is really high and a lot of people get in and then they get out within the first couple years. I think its eight out of ten are out of the business in the first five years. So it’s this constant revolving door of new agents coming in, thinking it’s going to be one way, it’s going to be easy, and then realizing that you actually still have to work pretty hard.
David: So what do you say to people that say, “Why do we even need an agent in the first place”? “Why can’t people just transact by themselves and not pay all these fees”?
David: I mean, have you heard that? How do you reply to that?
Andrew: I think that real estate transactions are complex and more complex than most people would think, if they haven’t done it before. Yeah, you have a buyer and a seller and you both want the same things but there’s a lot of moving pieces. There’s a lot of different parties involved. You’ve got title companies. You’ve got lenders insurance, home warranty, and the agents on both sides. The agents have brokers typically if they’re not one themselves. So, all in all, you’re looking at, I don’t know, seven, ten sometimes more people involved, right? Your contract is going to have nine, ten pages of different things that you may understand but there’s loopholes and things that could really mess people up and end up costing people a lot of money. If they have a misstep or if they check one box the wrong way… I think that just understanding that process and being an expert in guiding people through every phase of the contract from shopping for homes or listing a home to bringing in buyers on a listing or finding the right property and not spending more time than necessary, getting to those properties that you’re looking for…there’s definitely expertise that comes into play there. You know, I’m a lot different than I was when I first started out. And I think most agents that are still in the business, after a few years, would say the same thing. I’m still learning stuff as I sell but I think protection for my clients is, like, the number one thing in having the experience and seeing different mistakes happen on one side or the other, understanding buyers or sellers and learning from those experiences and really being able to say, “I’ve seen so many different things happen where people have gotten into trouble” and learning from those things and then becoming more of an expert.
David: What would you tell people to look out for in an agent?
Andrew: Yeah. Communication is a big one. A lot of times, when I get clients that have already worked with another agent, they say that they couldn’t get a hold of them and it would be hours or days before their agent would call them back. And in the market we’re in now, it can be hours when a home sells, right? Because sales are happening very fast. It’s very competitive for buyers. So communication is definitely toward the top. Let’s see…expertise. You know, guiding them and putting them in the right direction. For me, when I have a buyer, I expect to put them in front of the right home within five to ten properties. If we’re looking at more than 10 houses then I’m not doing a good job because if you really tell me we’re communicating the right way and you tell me what it is that you want in a home, within 10 houses, I should be able to put you into the house that you want.
David: And that’s if the client is being honest and forthright, right?
Andrew: For sure. So you might have to parse through that sometimes. You have people that will tell you, hey, this is what I want and then you see five houses and they say you know what, I don’t want to buy anymore. So communication. They should have a house for you, something reasonable, within the first five homes. You should be looking at the right properties because time is money. So I set that precedent early on. I want to save you time and there’s no reason why we should be looking at properties if they’re not hitting pretty much everything that you want. I try to avoid just spraying and praying, like, hey, let’s go look at 25 properties and maybe one of these will work, you know. It’s like, do you have time to do that?
David: Are there realtors that do that to people?
Andrew: I think so, yeah. I think a lot of new agents will go out and just show whatever the client wants to see because they’re just trying to get that sale and they’re very eager and I was the same way. I’d go out and show 20, 25 properties to clients when I should have known this isn’t going to work out for them. But I was kind of green and just so eager to get that first sale or the first couple sales.
David: So that means before the meet up with clients, you’re doing all this background work, right? Like research and all of that stuff.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely, man.
David: All right, so what kind of clients do you like then?
Andrew: Man, I like everybody.
David: What should the people be ready for?
Andrew: You know, it’s just whatever they want because it’s their dream home. It’s definitely whatever the client wants. It’s not about me. I think I’m good at being a chameleon and getting along with every type of client that comes my way. I haven’t had to fire clients much in the past. There have been one or two where it’s just like, okay, look, it’s not working out the way we thought it would and maybe it’s better that you work with someone else. And, you know, it’s all respectable and professional. But I pride myself on just being able to adapt to working with every type of person.
David: Any oddball stories you got about stuff that happened?
Andrew: Oh man, I’ll have to come back to that. I’ll think about it.
David: All right, so you decided to become a realtor. What’s your next step after that? What did you do after that? Did you just dive right in, did you have to call places to get hired?
Andrew: So I did the same thing like what I did when when I had to call those energy companies to try and get in with them. I went on Linkedin and Indeed and I started calling a bunch of real estate companies to try and find a company that would actually pay me, which is very hard to find in real estate because it’s all commission based.
Andrew: So I found a company that was willing to put me on a small salary. Most realtors don’t have this. Getting into real estate, you’re going in and its commission based. To find a company that was willing to put me on a very small salary to start out, but enough to where I could like put gas in my car and eat at like Taco Bell or whatever.
David: Are you an employee or are you consider like an independent contractor? Can you write these expenses off?
Andrew: I think I was still an independent contractor at that point.
Andrew: So I decide I was going to help out and do things that the company needed. But, I was still kind of deciding what I was going to be doing. I just had to make sure that I was staying busy and helping them. And they were great. I worked with them for eight months. I stayed on that team for eight months. After three months, I went full commission. That was another big step for me. It was kind of scary.
David: What was the benefit to that though?
Andrew: Well, you have the opportunity to make more money, but, then, you have the risk of making no money, right? So it’s one of those moments, of like, okay, I’m taking a risk and can I do this. Can I perform the way that these other people are doing it? I’ve seen them do it and I’m, like, I think I can, so let’s go for it.
David: That simple, huh?
Andrew: Yeah, and you know, it was a hard decision for sure. It’s, like, okay, well, I have some security but I wasn’t making a killing. I was just getting by and I did that enough in my life.
David: Does the company help you get clients or do you have to get them yourself?
Andrew: So for me, I went straight out into trying to convert for sale by owners, people that were trying to sell their houses on their own.
Andrew: I was getting a few leads from them but not a ton.
David: So how do you find these people?
Andrew: So I would go on Zillow and Realtor.com and find the people that are trying to sell their property on their own. And so within, I want to say two weeks, I went on 30 appointments. I went to all these different for sale by owners people and was trying to convince them that they should let me sell their house, even though I’ve never done that before. Eventually, I got this guy to agree to it but the way I convinced him to let me do it was, I said, “Look, I can sell your property in three weeks”. And, you know, that was a mistake. In hindsight, it didn’t work out. So I told him I could sell his property in three weeks. And he goes, “All right, you know what, I’ll give you the listing”. So I’m pumped, right? I’m in the office and I get off the phone and I’m screaming. I’m jumping up and down. I’m so excited. My first listing. This is a $500,000 house in Plano, in a King’s Ridge subdivision. I’m on cloud nine. I invested about a thousand bucks and I built a website for it. I got professional staging photos. I mean, I knew I had three weeks and I was on the clock.
David: So you pay for this? The company doesn’t help you with anything?
Andrew: No. This is all me, out of my own pocket. I took a thousand bucks, maybe a little bit more, and invested it in doing all of this. I even fixed a broken window in the house before we did the photos for the owner. Again, I’m just trying to go above and beyond and get this done.
David: You’re not still fixing broken windows, right?
Andrew: So after three weeks, we get about like 19 days in, I got like two days left with open houses every weekend, Saturdays, Sundays, and back-to-back days. We’re getting showings. Like, a lot of people are coming through but it’s not sold yet. So I call the owner and I’m talking to him and I say, “You know, we got two days left, you got to give me an extension”. “Give me another week”. “I know I can sell this thing”. He says, “Nope”. “I’m a man of my word and you got two more days, okay”. Well, I didn’t end up selling it and he terminates the listing. I lose it and, a week later, it sells. It goes back to being for-sale-by-owner and, a week later, he sells it.
David: Who knows, maybe it was the work that you put in that kind of helped that?
Andrew: Probably, I mean, I’m sure I gave it a lot of exposure and, you know, had a lot of eyeballs on it. But he ends up selling it a week later. So it’s one of those times where it was a moment of, you know, defeat. That I failed at this thing, right? It’s hard to separate yourself from that failure.
David: So, in this time period, were you trying to get other clients or were you just focused on this one house?
Andrew: I think I was pretty much all in. I might have been working with a buyer at the time. I think I might have had one buyer client, as well.
Andrew: But I pretty much focused on getting this one sold. And when it didn’t happen, and I lost it, I think I spent maybe a week kind of licking my wounds and just kind of going down into the depths of thinking, can I do this? I wasn’t sure.
David: So with that experience, what do you think kept you from selling that house? Was it the time period that’s wasn’t really reasonable?
Andrew: Yeah. I think so.
David: Did you make any mistakes?
Andrew: I don’t think I made any mistakes other than signing a 21 day agreement. I mean, that’s what it takes, a little bit of time.
David: What’s the normal turn around for you nowadays?
Andrew: Well, my average days on market in my career has been about 27, 28 days. So that’s a good time to estimate for me. I would never do less than 60 days now. I think that was the big thing. I just would never sign such a short listing agreement with someone ever again. But to get my foot in the door, I was willing to do whatever it took to get my first client.
David: So that was your first failure. You haven’t sold yet.
David: So what was your first sale like? How did that happen?
Andrew: Man, I’m just trying to think back. So I was on that team and I closed three deals with them. But those leads really were given to me so you don’t count that. I don’t really count that. I’m trying to think. I went out on my own after eight months of being on that team and I finally took the leap to just go out completely solo on my own.
David: This is without ever making, what you consider, your own sale? You just went out there?
Andrew: Well, I did convert. I converted listings while I was on that team.
Andrew: So I knew I could convert clients. Months before I decided to go out on my own, I ended up doing a couple more with them. So I felt like I could do what I needed to do on my own. I’d done a handful of deals and I knew I was ready. So, yeah. I jumped out on my own, I want to say, five years ago.
Andrew: So I go out on my own and I think it’s been three months since I sold a house. I’d been on a little dry spell. But I go out on my own. In that first month, I had four deals pending. Then the floodgates opened. I got connected with a lender and we started passing clients back and forth. So I was able to hit the ground running that very first month when I left that team. I had four deals pending which is really good.
David: How did they feel when you told them you’re leaving?
Andrew: I think it was unexpected. It had been brewing with me for a little while. I knew I wanted to go out and do my thing. I mean, I went a couple months without selling anything and I was leaning on them for support and maybe I was expecting too much from them. But I think deciding I needed to go do it all on my own forced me to grow and forced me to really push harder than I’d ever pushed. So when I went out on my own and there was no one else that I could call or count on, it was just me. It pretty much forced me to grow and make it happen.
David: How are you paying for expenses in these three months that you’re not making any sales? What are you living on?
Andrew: I’m just draining my savings and hitting my credit cards and charging it up. You know, getting in more debt. I was purchasing leads from different services and I remember saying, “Okay, I’ve got X amount of credit that I can exploit and I’m halfway there”. So, at that point, I have another $4,000 or whatever it was that I could leverage of credit. And then it’s, like, well, obviously that’s risky. You don’t want to be so leveraged like that but what do you do? So I was using credit cards to pay the bills and to generate leads. All I could do was that.
David: So how far down the rabbit hole were you in for when you made your first commission?
Andrew: I was pretty much maxed out. I was paycheck to paycheck, towards the end of my limit of credit. Like maxed out. I opened up another credit card in that phase to help out. And I tried to kick the can further down the road. But ultimately, it paid off.
David: What’s your Fiancé saying this whole time?
Andrew: Yeah, so we got married and a few months after that is when I went out on my own. She’s not from here. She’s from Costa Rica. You know this. She moved here and we got married. So she’s like three months into being in Texas. She can’t work yet because she’s still waiting on her work visa to get approved. So I’m the only one that can even work and I’m just trying to figure it out as I go.
David: So how long is this before you joined the poker game and we met you for the first time?
Andrew: This was right around the same time. Like, right around that time.
Andrew: Yeah, because she got granted a work visa and then we met shortly after that. I remember that. But she always had my back. I mean, from day one, she was, like, “You can do this on your own”. “I believe in you”. She’s definitely got that tough love when I need it and pushes me to be better even though, in the moment, sometimes I feel, like, “Give me a break”.
David: The reason I’m asking is because when you talk to entrepreneurs, one of the biggest walls that they have to get over are the people that care about them the most. They are usually the detractors, their parents, their wives, or family members. They are the ones that are like, “We don’t want you to suffer and stop taking this risk with your life”. “It’s not a good idea”. “Go get a normal job”, right? And that’s one of the biggest detriments to continuing their journey. But you seem to have it pretty good.
Andrew: I mean. I think I got lucky with her. She knew, when I had that energy efficiency business, it wasn’t taking off. She was the one that kind of snapped me into thinking, I need to stop doing it. Like, let’s try something else and see because I think she just saw potential in me. When you start businesses, one of the hardest things to do is give up on something that you invested all your time and money into.
Andrew: At that point, I was like a year into building and branding a business that was not really going anywhere. But, for me, I always had that drink your own Kool-Aid attitude and you think to yourself that, at some point, this is just going to blow up. And maybe it would have and maybe it wouldn’t have, but, at that point, it was the right move. It was the best move that I could have made to get into real estate.
David: So you make your first sale. When did things start happening for you?
Andrew: The first year.
Andrew: The first year I did pretty well. I ended up, I think, selling 13 homes my first year.
David: And was the market good at the time?
Andrew: Luckily, when I got in, in 2015, the market was good and it’s been good ever since. I can say that, luckily, I’m in one of the best markets in the country and in one of the best times. But you still got to put in the work.
Andrew: You can still be in the best market, in the best state, at the best time and you’re still going to have eight out of ten people failing at it. I was working, and she can attest to this, my wife, I was taking calls at 10, 11 o’clock at night, in bed. I’d be on my computer running comps.
David: Who’s calling you at 10 at night?
Andrew: Well, so, when you allow, people, clients to do that, they’re going to continue to do it. And it took me a little while to figure out how to “train” my clients how to interact with me.
David: Were you literally saying, you can call me anytime?
Andrew: Yeah. I was, like, “I’ll answer the phone 24/7”. And they took advantage of that.
David: Oh my, gosh.
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t think I would do that again even if I was desperate. But, you know, I allowed that to happen and it’s not their fault. It’s not the client’s fault that I say, “Hey, you can call me at 11 o’clock” and then they do it, right?
David: Well, yeah.
Andrew: If I told you, you could do it then you’re going do it, right? But, after a few instances of it, getting in the way of me being out to dinner on my anniversary or whatever it was, I’m like, looking at my phone or getting interrupted by clients like that, it gets old fast. So I had to figure out how to set boundaries with my people. Now I think I have a much more balanced approach and have boundaries set.
David: So ever since that first year, it just hasn’t stopped, right?
Andrew: It’s been good. Yeah. It’s been pretty good. So I’ve increased my sales every year and grown every year. So this last year, in 2020, was a different year for me, especially with my health. At the end of 2019, I ended up having to get a couple surgeries.
Andrew: From the end of 2019 into 2020. So I was basically out of commission for about six months. When Covid hit, like in April, where everybody got shut down, I had already been in bed basically for four months. So I was already quarantined, you know. And it was kind of, like, everybody got put into the same boat as me at that point. I had spent four months not really being able to work. And then, that trailed into June. So I had about six months of 2020 where I really didn’t work.
David: And right before you got sick you started your own company?
Andrew: Oh, yeah. I switched.
David: You switched again?
Andrew: I switched brokerages, yeah. It was crazy timing. I switched companies for the first time in my career and a week after doing that, I’m in the hospital. I didn’t know what was going on. It ended up being really six months for me to come out of it and get to a decent health level where I could get out and sell real estate.
David: How are you feeling right now?
Andrew: I’m pretty good.
David: So no pain or any other issues anymore?
Andrew: A little bit here and there. I’m still dealing with it. I ended up getting diagnosed with Crohn’s.
David: Okay. I’m not familiar with it.
Andrew: So it’s an inflammatory autoimmune disease. I have inflammation in my digestive tract and I didn’t find out until August of 2020.
Andrew: So I’ve just been kind of navigating that.
David: And is that going to affect you more with Covid out there?
Andrew: I don’t think so. No. I don’t think so.
David: I mean, I’m just asking. Are you ready to run, play ball? We’ve been talking about this forever and, not that we’re great or anything, but we need more players.
Andrew: I’m down, for sure.
David: All right. I’m not going to take it easy on you.
Andrew: I’m still exercising and that’s something that has really helped me. Getting back in the gym and hitting the weights and doing all that. I mean, it changed my life in a way that just kind of blindsided me and it was unexpected. But just like any other challenge that I’ve gone through, it’s like okay, how do I adapt to this and be better and be stronger? So I’ve cleaned up my diet completely. I’m eating really healthy.
David: So what’s the diet like?
Andrew: A lot of probiotics. A lot of stuff for gut health. Turmeric is good for inflammation. I’m eating turmeric every single day. Just really clean, no processed foods for the most part. Kind of eliminated all fast food.
David: Is that hard?
Andrew: It is at times.
David: Because during our poker games, late at night, we get a pizza, bring in donuts. I mean, we weren’t eating the best.
David: So how’s business then. Is it still going well?
Andrew: It is.
David: Where do you see yourself in like 20 years from now?
Andrew: Man, that’s way out there.
David: I’m getting deep.
Andrew: Honestly, I don’t know if I even think about five years. I think, in about five years, I’ll probably still be in the real estate game.
David: Because you’re set now. You get regular clients. You can make sales. You’re providing for yourself. Any anticipation to grow, do new things? Is it going to be in real estate or are you thinking of getting into to other places?
Andrew: Yeah, I think I’m definitely still focused on growth in real estate. I’m still in this, you know, for the long haul. Now, there’s other things that I want to do in life other than real estate. I think if that’s all you’re going to do, then, yeah, you know, then it’s not for me. But yeah, I’m going to continue to do this and I feel like, if I’m not growing then, you know, I’m just going backwards, like staying the same, and getting passed up, right? So it’s always about trying to grow for me. Like, in the middle of 2020, the middle of a pandemic, I grew my team. I brought on a buyer’s, agent.
David: How many people do you have right now?
Andrew: So, right now, it’s myself, Claudia, she’s a buyer’s agent, and then we have an ISA that just started on and is making sales calls.
David: So they work directly for you?
Andrew: They’re contractors.
David: I mean, you got a team at least, right?
David: How’s that like juggling people.
Andrew: It’s good. It forces you to be better. It forces you to grow. If you can explain something to someone else then you’re going to understand it better. So it’s really forced me to be a better agent and there’s challenges to it for sure.
David: Nothing strange with the personalities or anything like that or can you not say it on camera? I just ask because a buddy of mine, he works down at Waco, when he became a manager, he told me that, on his very first day on the job, he had an employee come into the office and say, “I’m being sexually harassed”.
Andrew: Oh wow.
David: That’s literally the first thing he had to deal with the day he started. I mean, people are strange. So nothing weird for you?
Andrew: So far it’s okay. You got to be smart and careful about whatever it is you’re talking about. There are certain things you just don’t need to discuss.
David: Do you guys have any rules about all this stuff happening, like social, political stuff happening in the world. My wife’s company has a whole seminar on how to treat people. What you can and can’t say, how to use the restroom, like as detailed as that.
Andrew: So we’re not there yet. No corporate training on my team. Nothing that big yet. We’re all pretty down to earth and I think everybody gets it and they are very personable and just keep things clean. We’re just about helping people to buy and sell houses.
David: So I want to pick your brain. What are any new things that you’re thinking about doing? Are there any opportunities you see for yourself?
Andrew: Anybody that’s tried to buy or sell in the last year will know this. The market has been extremely competitive. We’re getting multiple offers on almost every house you put out there.
Andrew: Yeah. If you’re not getting offers within the first couple days of listing it, then you overpriced it or you just did a really bad job of marketing the property. There’s almost no way to not get offers in the market right now. You got a shortage of inventory from pre-owned homes. So we’re down 50 percent from this time last year.
David: This is all of DFW?
Andrew: Yeah, DFW as a whole. So, like, the whole Metroplex is down 50 percent, roughly, in inventory. So we have half as many listings and then you’ve got the interest rates lower. So, you know, more buyers have come into the market and buyers have more buying power, right? So you’ve got all these buyers in the market, low inventory, and then, new construction. They’ve got lower inventory too. Lumber prices are up and you have this perfect storm of a shortage of supply and more demand. So, as a buyer, you have to be extremely aggressive. I’ve had people go $30, $40, $50k over asking price and still not getting the property.
David: Oh my, gosh. Is it everywhere in Dallas or just certain areas?
Andrew: I mean, it’s mostly everywhere. I haven’t seen many spots or cities where you can’t sell a house, where they’re not getting multiple offers. It’s pretty much everywhere.
David: So is there an influx of agents coming in who want to be a part of this, who don’t know what they’re doing?
Andrew: I haven’t noticed more of that. I think there’s always this influx of agents. I think HGTV, Million Dollar Listing, and all these shows…people see that glamorous lifestyle. When you really put in the work and get to a certain level, it can be really fun to sell high-end properties. But again, a lot of people get in and then they struggle and they end up getting out. So I would say it’s probably similar to any time that I’ve seen as far as new agents coming in.
David: So what type of properties are you into right now? Are you on the higher end now or…? You got closer to Frisco where we’re at, right?
Andrew: Yeah. I’ve done some sales in Collin County. I sold a house in Allen a couple months ago. My average price point is in the mid fours to 500 range. So every year, it grows a little bit. It just comes with experience and homes get more expensive every year. Appreciation keeps happening. So first time home buyers, when I started out, I was working with people buying for $150,000. Now our first time home buyers are at $200,000 or $250,000.
David: Can you help us stop that trend because I’m tired of paying the taxes.
Andrew: Taxes are just going to keep going up, man. Sorry. I’ll put in a good word but I don’t think they’re gonna care.
David: So with inventory so low, how are you getting clients and selling? Are they finding you or are you reaching out to them still?
Andrew: There’s a lot of activity even though there’s low inventory. There’s more buyers than sellers. I’ve gotten a lot of past clients hitting me up, like, “Hey, we want to sell”. “We hear the market’s crazy”. So I’m getting business that way. I’m on the sales side but, you know, I generate leads on all different platforms. We have social media. We did Zillow for a long time. I’m not doing it currently but there’s a lot of different avenues that business comes in from.
David: Do you still do cold calls and all of that?
Andrew: Oh yeah. I’m generating probably a couple hundred Facebook leads a month.
David: Are you doing ads on Facebook or just posting regularly?
Andrew: All of that.
David: Interesting. So what else is going on with your life? You got your business running. You’re happily married. How long has it been now?
Andrew: Five years.
David: Okay. Just about as long as I’ve known you. You got your business and family life is pretty good. What else is happening for you? I mean, anything else in your life that you’re into nowadays?
Andrew: I think I mentioned it before but I’ve been really into hunting in the last 12 months.
David: What got you into that?
Andrew: Just a buddy of mine. The same guy that you know had no water for eight days down in Houston. He invited me to go duck hunting last season and it was an awesome time. Like right off the bat, you know, the very first time, I was hooked. I’ve been doing a lot of that. My brother is down in Austin. We’ve linked up a bunch of times to hunt this year.
Andrew: And I just got back last weekend. I was in Arkansas hunting for geese. Conservation goose hunting. We did pretty well.
David: So what about it makes it so appealing for you?
Andrew: There’s so much about it that I like. I think there’s like a primal connection to hunting and what our ancestors did, like getting your own food and eating everything you killed.
David: So it’s not for sport.
Andrew: No, definitely not. So, yeah, the sustainability of getting my own food. Being out in nature. You know, I was into snowboarding for many years and when I moved out here, it was just all business, all the time. So hunting became a way for me to tap into my relationship with nature. The best parts about it for me are, even the down times, in between when there’s no animals and there’s nothing happening and I’m just watching the sun come up and it’s quiet and I’m hearing birds making noise. Animals are all around me. That’s an amazing thing that I wouldn’t be doing if I wasn’t into hunting.
David: So do you think it was your sickness that helped facilitate that?
Andrew: Yeah. I was holed up in a dark room, watching Netflix, on painkillers for six months just trying to not be in pain. So when I started feeling better and I had an opportunity to get out and get some sun, I jumped on it. And, you know, I haven’t looked back.
David: Were you into hunting ever before?
Andrew: No. It’s a whole new thing.
David: So that’s your new identity now.
Andrew: That’s part of it. I’m also just trying to spend time with my wife and spend time with my family as much as I can. I’m going out to California in a couple weeks to see my mom. I haven’t seen her in over a year because of Covid. So I’m just trying to stay connected with the people I love and keep the business rolling. Keep it growing and be a good husband, a good brother, a good son, and a good friend.
David: Well, you’re a good friend because you came out and helped out with this.
Andrew: My pleasure.
David: Thank you very much.
Andrew: This was awesome. Happy to do it, man…anytime.
David: I think we’ll wrap it up here but thanks again.
For more information on Andrew and the Sharp Agent Realty Group, go to: https://andrewkelton.exprealty.com/