Dying to Get Ahead
Dying to Get Ahead
Melissa Fazli’s first year in real estate nearly killed her — literally.
It was 2004 when Fazli, an agent with Tarbell, REALTORS®, in Orange County, Calif., got into the game. She and her husband had just had their second child, his business was doing well, and she wanted to provide extra financial security for their family. But she was in for a rude awakening.
“I thought I would just sit at the desk and the business would come to me,” Fazli says. “I thought Tarbell would give me the leads.”
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Nothing could be further from the truth. She soon found herself chasing after business, running ragged everywhere. “I took it very seriously,” Fazli says. “I was always in the office. I just threw myself into it.”
She was working as a buyer’s agent, but a close call soon convinced her she was on the wrong side of the transaction table.
“I was helping this young couple buy their first home, a condo. This is when a listing was only active for a week if you were lucky,” Fazli says. “I rushed to show them the condo and missed my left turn into the complex. So I did an illegal U-turn, but could not make the complete turn without hitting the curb.”
Next thing she knew, a city bus came around the corner and stopped about one inch from her car, she said. Shaken and panicked, Fazli threw her car in reverse — only to careen into the side of a truck. “I had about $1,000 worth of damage to my car,” she says, adding that she offered to pay the driver of the truck for the damage to his vehicle as well, but he declined.
The real lesson that day came after the chaos. The couple she was racing to meet ended up being late to the appointment — and then they decided to go with another agent. “Come to find out, they had several,” Fazli says. “I just had an alarm go off, this wake-up call. There’s no loyalty to buyer’s agents.”
She remembered another couple she worked with, the first-time buyers who bought with her. When they decided to sell a few years later, she didn’t get a phone call. Then she remembered a piece of advice someone passed along to her: “List to last.”
“After that, I decided I would become a listing agent, and I put all my time, energy, and money into a farm of about 1,000 homes,” Fazli says. She listed in a neighborhood she was familiar with. Her first listing was a $1.4 million home that happened to be across the street from “a very well-known and successful [agent],” she says. Three years later, she had taken over the neighborhood, beating out dozens of agents for listings.
“I knocked on doors, put up flyers, and connected with other agents to get listings,” Fazli says. “The reason I got listings first was because I sold myself.”
She has some tips for agents who want to get away from the buyer rat race and focus on listings: “List in an area that you know well, and be yourself. You don’t have to hard-sell yourself. You’ve won half the battle by getting the appointment.” And the best reason for becoming a listing agent? “You will find loyal buyers in the people you list with,” she says.
If you take anything from Fazli’s story, let it be this: Slow down. “Don’t chase, because it could cost you your life!” she says.