Meet the President: Bobbie Nelson
Bobbie Nelson Talks Referrals, Industry Changes & Women's Council's Role in the Future of Real Estate
As a residential specialist with an independent real estate company, Bobbie Nelson, CRS, GREEN, GRI, PMN, SRES, has tapped into the potential of association involvement to build her business – and make great friends in the process.
With Women's Council, Bobbie has contributed as a leader on the local, state and national levels and will serve as 2012 National President. She has also chaired national committees and has served as a faculty member at the Leadership Academy for the past eight years.
Bobbie is active with her local REALTOR® board as well, where she has served on the Board of Directors and various committees. Bobbie was president of the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS® in 2006 and has been a California Association of REALTORS® director for the past seven years.
We recently sat down with Bobbie to discuss her business strategies, as well as the role she sees for Women’s Council in a challenging industry. Bobbie's Introductory Video
eConnect: How did you first get into real estate?
Bobbie: After 25 years in the retail sector, I was ready to try something new. I’m actually a third-generation REALTOR®. My mom has been in real estate for 48 years, and she begged me for years to join her at Longacre Real Estate in Rio Del Mar, CA.
At first, I decided to try my hand at property management. However, I learned from others in the office that you are basically doing the same things – building rapport, showing properties and so on – as an agent, except with a much bigger paycheck. So I got my license and never looked back.
I honestly never thought I’d join the family business, even though that option was always open to me. However, it is a great career, and I fell in love with it. It has all the components that feed my soul – helping people, building teams, networking with great professionals. Helping people to find that place to call "home" is the most rewarding part.
eConnect: What are the main characteristics a person needs to be successful in real estate today?
Bobbie: Compassion, enthusiasm and the willingness to persevere are so important, as well as patience and persistence. As a real estate professional, you must hear what people need and then help them weed through the maze of what’s going on in the marketplace today. You must definitely be a good listener and really be able to put their needs into words for them and to help them create a plan for themselves.
Today, the process is so daunting with all the paperwork and legalese. You must have good knowledge about the location, the challenges of the lending environment, all the different types of transactions and so on and really be a treasure chest of tools to help them – to be devoted to the client and facilitating their needs. And if you do a good job, you will get paid and get referrals if you finish the job the right way.
eConnect: What is the biggest challenge facing today's REALTOR®?
Bobbie: Still being at the center of the transaction. The way to do that is to be the client's resource for accurate, local information.
There is misinformation and a lot of personal opinion circulating as "news" in the blogosphere. News media love to exaggerate the negative. There may be a local newspaper column citing foreclosure statistics from a thousand miles away. Or there may be a website with an algorithm based on lot size and number of bedrooms to define property values. However, this industry has always been about location, location, location.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that foreclosures are so much cheaper than traditional transactions. The agent is here to say, "Okay, you want to live here? So this is the reality of that neighborhood." It's educating both sides of the transaction to something that will make sense for both of them based on what’s really happening in the neighborhood.
eConnect: How can Women's Council assist real estate professionals with the issues and challenges in the marketplace?
Bobbie: The education piece is a big part of it. I feel every time I attend a meeting, I learn something new.
It's also a place to build a "team" beyond the agents in your office. Your team is the inspectors with whom you can have an honest dialogue. It’s the professionals who will give your clients their best service in all steps of the transaction. At Women’s Council, you are connecting with people who you can admire and developing a network in the field to help you become versed with every aspect of your job.
If you are an up-and-coming agent, you can get connected with a good mentor and get involved in mastermind sessions. You can also network with members across the country to get a pulse of things – a validation of "Yes, it's happening all over." The anguishes are occurring all over, and we are learning how others are dealing with it. We have a community of professionals with the most education and experience, who are truly willing to share. They understand you can't give it away, because no one can do it exactly like you do it.
Also, I work pretty much by referral. About 80 percent of my business is from referrals, and 20 percent of my referrals are related directly to the Women's Council network.
It's the ideal spot for anyone in the real estate community. If real estate is your career, then Women's Council is your organization.
eConnect: As a successful and influential woman in real estate and a wife and mother, how do you balance your personal and professional lives?
Bobbie: Early on, I learned that you must schedule time to be with your family because it's very important. You must schedule time for business, family and yourself. In my career, it's always been family first. I chart it all on a calendar visible to me and them. If you get off balance then you’re really missing out. They support me too, and they know what’s important to me.
eConnect: Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
Bobbie: People have helped me in my career through their support, and in the future I see myself empowering others to do what they want to do. It’s my turn to help others to achieve their professional and personal goals. Also, to have a grandbaby!
Bobbie Nelson is a full-service REALTOR® with Longacre Real Estate, serving the real estate comminutes of Santa Cruz County in California. Her website is www.bobbienelson.com.
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