The Alimond Show

Shakha Agrawal - Realtor

November 21, 2023 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Shakha Agrawal - Realtor
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us for a captivating conversation with our guest, a dynamic professional who swapped her interior design career for a thrilling adventure in the real estate industry. As an agent in Virginia's hot market, she's spent the last four years mastering the art of navigating multiple offers and building trust with clients. She even integrated AI and chatbots to streamline her business, a testament to her innovative spirit. Be prepared to gain insider knowledge about the real estate industry and the future role of AI.

On a more personal note, she shares her trials and triumphs in balancing her family and work life. The importance of determination, setting boundaries, and having an unwavering belief in your abilities are all under the spotlight in this revealing discussion. We delve into the significance of consistent visual branding and affirmations in realizing your dreams. So buckle up and come along on this informative and inspiring journey through the real estate industry and beyond!

Speaker 1:

Tell me a little bit about what it is that you do exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so I started out with doing my associate of arts degree in design architecture from Newport Beach, california, and my husband's work brought us to Virginia. I was working as an interior designer with a very nice interior design firm in McLean and I think that's how I met you years back. I remember, and I was always running after realtors right, because buyers, when they're buying the property, they might want to get things done. Sellers want to update the property before they are selling for the top dollar and all that stuff. And then one day I was like you know what? I'm always running after these people. If I get my license, I am in a much better situation to assist my clients and that's how it just started. So I got my license and got started with real estate and definitely I was working with my design clients at that time. But then once you start getting feel of it, if you love contracts, if you love everything real estate, you just cannot do two things. So I had to move away from the design business to concentrate more on real estate business.

Speaker 1:

But you still pull in those aspects of design. I do.

Speaker 2:

I do Great, yes, all the time. That's awesome All the time. And so now I actually so I know I do interior design, so I have that eye that can make things pop out and look good that way. And then I was doing it again in real estate for my real estate clients. When it comes to selling the properties, I was doing it on my own, but then I was like you know what? No, it's not working out, it's so much of time. But then I partnered out with the other designers in the area. Now I have one which is like in-house designer. She understands my choices, she knows what I'm looking for and we work together. So I'm really happy how I started with design and you know, like you know, morphed, yes, evolved.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, yes, that's awesome. So tell me a little bit how have you navigated some of the changes over the last four years as an agent? Oh, yes, because it was really good. Things were really good a few years ago, right.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, and you know what. Honestly, things are still good. So, I mean, I don't know what the national news is saying, but I'm talking about the local market because that's where my business is. That's where I'm either selling properties or helping the buyers. So the market has not stopped. Like Virginia is one of those hot spots where, you know, people are relocating, right, and they want to buy houses. They want to enjoy, like you know, that rolling scapes of Loudoun County, want to be near to Middleburg, get that Old Town, leesburg, downtown feel and then still be able to commute to DC or Tyson's for their job. So the market has not stopped here. The interest rates have not stopped the buyers yes, still, like you know, representing buyers, we go through the multiple offer scenarios where the interest rates have shoot up to like 8%.

Speaker 2:

As far as to answer your question, like you know how, like, definitely, when the COVID had, it was different, right. Like I think everything was becoming more online, like your online presence. And like you know, you know you're people trusting you in the business because they don't want to come and see it. Right, they have small kids. They have, like you know, parents in the house. They're scared they might get something, but at the same time they know they want to outgrow from that small space. They do not want to miss that opportunity. So you have, like you know, you need to have that trust relationship with your clients where they absolutely trust you. So when you are doing those videos with them, they know exactly what they are looking into, right?

Speaker 2:

So from there coming back to going and seeing the houses now, from there, there was a time where literally, like you know, you couldn't get showing appointments because after COVID, suddenly, when the market again started, everything was booming. Right. Like a property comes, it already have like 50 showings. You cannot get any slots in over there, right. And then coming to this time where the properties are staying on the market at least through the weekend, right. And you can go through at least two showings if you want, but still you know you might get into multiple offer scenario. Yeah. And then, with you know, the chat, gpt, ai integrations. Like you know, coming from that online thing I think it has that online business of real estate has just been evolving.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, tell me how you're using that in your business. It's been fun, you know.

Speaker 2:

It's been fun. Do you do your own social media? I?

Speaker 1:

do we handle it all Okay. So it makes it more effective and efficient for you?

Speaker 2:

probably, it does, and you know what? I was actually listening to another podcast where you know it was about, like, as a solo agent because I'm still a solo agent, right, or as a business entrepreneur. Right, there are so many aspects to the business. Right, you are the CEO of business. You have to go and find your you know clients, right. Then you have to market yourself. Then, when those clients come in, you have to, you know, either photograph them or show them houses, right, contracts for them, and in between, still, you want to showcase your presence.

Speaker 2:

Right, like, there is so much as a business entrepreneur that you do, right, and things have just been evolving with that right. So like, and I don't like, in between virtual assistants, I think they are, they still have an impact, but I think, with AI integrations and with child GPT, like, you know, sending something to them instead of just typing in what exactly you are looking for, I think that I mean that has changed the way I work, where you know, like, literally, it's I love my virtual assistant, but still, like, there are things that, even after going through the virtual assistant, you have to do it yourself, right, because you just want to control everything, I guess.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're right. And so now, like your virtual assistants can really be used for different tasks, right? Instead of maybe the older tasks that now chat, gpt and AI components can handle for you. So either it's the same VA or a different VA with different skill sets that can now help you do different pieces of your business, right, exactly, that's awesome, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I love that.

Speaker 1:

So, in terms of like kind of looking forward into the future for your business as a real estate agent, what are some different things that you're wanting to get into from a marketing aspect or from a branding aspect?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So, from marketing aspect, I think, like YouTube is something that I am really eyeing right now. I have these beautiful videos that I know it all started with YouTube videos, right, and then it transitioned into real, like you know, you just have 30 seconds to make that impression, right. And then I know, like YouTube, also have these shots right now, right, but I, like, I have this organic following on social media but then my YouTube but, like you know, google ranking is going up, but then YouTube is where, you know, I really want to focus growing my real estate business and, you know, like, going forward as we talk about marketing and social media, yeah, yeah, and I know that's smart, because the people that were on YouTube five, 10 years ago and they've been consistently posting Right there's only a handful in our area that have been doing that and now you see it really has paid off for those people.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, exactly.

Speaker 1:

So it's good that you're.

Speaker 2:

And then again, you know, coming back to like you know how much can you do? I know Right. And then I know I spoke to a couple of other companies. They help you out with social media, but nobody is like I'm looking for somebody Like you know. Okay, this is here it is, take it and just do it Right. This Like it's still like you have to tell them what do you want and all that stuff. And then you get client calls. You have to write contracts, yeah, so to show them houses.

Speaker 1:

So yes, yeah, yeah, I know that's something that we're going to be really seeing in the future, because that's a big knee that we see a lot of people have, where we're going to help our clients create a full year of social media content videos, youtube videos, as well as shorts but it's going to be done over the span of one to two days, right, right, like, everything is done for you.

Speaker 1:

You just show up for those two days, we film everything, we edit everything, and then we scratch a lot for you because that's another thing is we used to do it where they come in monthly, but they're busy, you know, so they couldn't stay consistent because they're like I have to reschedule this month. I have to reschedule this month. So I'm like you know what, let's just not get all out and just be super efficient with our time, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so far. Again the same thing with my reels. You show up on time, block off that time and carry your shirts around with you.

Speaker 1:

That's right, you can change yeah.

Speaker 2:

And, yes, right. And then you feel like, okay, you know what? I've been there a couple of days and you've been doing this regularly.

Speaker 1:

That's the easiest way of doing it. I totally agree. So tell me a little bit about family life balance. How does that go on for you? Oh, family life, wait, family work balance. There we go, it's tough.

Speaker 2:

It is really tough. And I have a 12-year-old, you know, so he's getting into that teenage, now teenage boys, you know yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm not 12-year-old myself so I get it.

Speaker 2:

Everything is like why am I here? What am I doing here? What is this? Right, you know? And then I have my daughter, who's going to be five in December. So there's a difference in the age right, where one is literally going through his teenage things. The other one just lights up your mood with, you know, sitting there.

Speaker 1:

So we know who the favorite is. Don't kidding, you get it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and I think my son knows that. But I always tell him, like you know you have not seen, like and this is what my husband tells him that if you think your mom loves your sister more, that isn't true, because your mom has not done anything. What she used to do it for you. That's right. So, but anyways, no, it has been tough, but I'm very grateful for my husband.

Speaker 2:

You know, like I think, as a business entrepreneur, whether you are doing real estate, whether you are doing anything right, like it's very difficult to keep a track of time and especially how real estate is. Like you know, there are properties that come on the market. The inventory has been really low. You have to act on that. You might go to showing, maybe, like, say, 11 am, and you know your clients say, okay, we'll think about that, and there's a possibility at 6 pm. They're like, you know what, this is the house, we want to write an offer.

Speaker 2:

And then you know you have already done your background work and all that, and then the agent suddenly takes a sense here. What takes that? Hey, 9 pm is the deadline. There's no dinner, like you know, you are not at the dinner table because this is important, but then I think I have really learned how to set boundaries in my business and how to manage expectations. So, until and unless it's really important, like I have a closing tomorrow or you know my clients went on a contract, or my client, if I'm representing the sellers, if they have accepted a contract, then I know, like you know, initial first few days are important because we have these, you know, these contingencies and all that stuff and about. From that I have started managing my time by just time, blocking it Like I don't have the calls after like 6 pm or 7 pm it can go to voicemail. I have come to realize that I'm not a doctor, so nothing is going to happen to them if I'm not going to pick up the call.

Speaker 1:

But how about a therapist, or your therapist?

Speaker 2:

I am a therapist right, I am a therapist, but like nothing is going to happen. It's not, like you know, life-threatening emergency that I really need to put my kids and my family on the back burner and attend this. But I do understand that there are timelines like if I have a closing early morning and my client is calling me, then I mean there's something going on, right, yeah, and I think it just comes from a within that you know you have to time block it. It can get crazy. It can get crazy sometimes.

Speaker 1:

What's one of the hardest challenges that you went through as an agent, like what's a crazy story that you learned a lot, even if you didn't win that thing. It was like a great lesson for you.

Speaker 2:

There have been many great lessons. Say, for me, it has not been an easy road, right, like I know, for some people they come to real estate, right, they just start. For me it was. It's not easy, like you know. Okay, we talk about being persistent, continuous, consistent, all that stuff. One thing that I keep on reminding myself is and I think that is a lesson that I would always incorporate Like you have to be really hungry, you know, to get to that level. If, like you know, ignite that passion, whether, if it's not there, right, it's the same thing. Like you go to the gym, you show up, half the battle is won. But if you are 80% of the battle, right, which is good, but like it till one year, if you just keep on going there and just show up and do nothing, then you know you are not seeing changes. But you know, to see those changes, to see that growth, you like, you know there has been struggle.

Speaker 2:

I was doing door knocking, you know, or even like, for open houses, I would go and invite neighbors and I would have these doors shut on my face or you will hear that people are there, they are seeing you from their window, right, but they do not want to open the door because I'm a stranger to them, but, like after every now, or like you know, when you're going through the tunnel, there's darkness, but at the end of the tunnel there's lights. It's just stuff to keep on going. You just have to keep on going and always remember like you really have to be hungry and you know like you need to have that. One thing is oh, I can do this. Or you know, like you know, as I train like newer agents, I always tell them Okay, you are doing this open houses, you are doing this, you are doing this right, everything is good. You are doing what it takes to be a good, successful agent in real estate. But how hungry are you? Yeah, right, so that ignite that passion.

Speaker 1:

That's right, because a lot of times it's the late night, especially in the beginning. It's really making those decisions of like where do you spend your time, that extra hour a day or two hours a day, and it's easy to say okay, it's five o'clock, it's time to shut things down. Not five o'clock because I know agents usually work different Right.

Speaker 1:

But it's like okay, I've put in my eight hours today, so I'm done, Right. And like, especially at the beginning, it's like no, no, no, you're putting in like 12 hours. Sometimes it's right. Yes, Because it needs to be done if you're going to hit that.

Speaker 2:

Right, yeah, now I know, like you know. So when I go to these parties or when I meet new people, I know some people say, oh, oh, so you are in real estate. Oh, that means you have a very flexible job and I'm like, yeah, very flexible, where we don't even get time to eat our lunch. So I've taken few videos that I've posted on my social media that, hey, like you know, sometimes, like you are in between appointments and I'm dying because I need to eat something and I've taken sandwich and I'm still driving and I'm eating that sandwich in the car.

Speaker 1:

On the other, hand on the wheel. The other one is trying to look at it Exactly.

Speaker 2:

And that is, and that is the true, the reality of, I would say, not only real estate but, you know, with any business entrepreneur. So I was out for a small vacation with my family and I get a call from the seller and I'm already down with some nice bourbon and you know, and I have this nice music playing, but it's a number and, like you know it, like my phone was on roaming, so there's only one number that shows. So I just have to pick up the call. You never know what's your extended family, who was calling you or what. So I pick up the call and then you know, yes, I'm here, like, yes, please tell me.

Speaker 2:

A little bit wrong but let's do this, but let's do this right. And she's like okay, do you have men with, like you know? And then I'm not telling her that I'm on vacation, Of course not. Yeah, I'm on this real estate conference.

Speaker 1:

But yes.

Speaker 2:

I'm coming back and I'm definitely there to take care of you. So, I mean, the grass is always greener on the other side. This reminds me of one thing that I really want to share. I don't know how people can be what people think about realtors, but you know, we all are part of all the community groups on social media and all that.

Speaker 2:

So one of the community groups, I think one person, posted that, hey, the price range here in Virginia and I've just been increasing, right, so if you look at single family houses like Space Nain, loudoun County, with a little bit of yard, nothing is less than like a million dollars. Right, so he's like oh, if the realtors are selling like even two or three, just imagine, like you know how much they're making. I'm like is that that sounds easy? But is that that easy? If that is, then you get your license and work as a realtor.

Speaker 2:

Right, then, instead of looking what the other person is doing because or criticizing it, or criticizing it, and I think, like because I consider real estate also as a service industry, right, like how we go to these nice restaurants and just if they are busy, if the food was one, I'm not good. You have this privilege to go on Google or you know, to go on to these community groups and write a bad review for them. I think real estate is also that service industry that, hey, that person did not do their job well, so I'm just going to leave a review for you. But Rom hero, it is tough. It's tough for everybody. As an entrepreneur, I would say, and real estate is no different.

Speaker 1:

Oh, yeah, yeah, now I agree, I think it is. It's definitely a service industry and I've worked with different agents and there's a vast difference in how the relationships I've had with one agent versus another. So the first agent I will never work with that person again because of the service aspect of it versus the second one, just five-star treatment all around and it all comes down to a little things.

Speaker 2:

I always say strawberries. The same, like what starts with D, whatever that is called. You get them at Costco. You can go to Costco and buy them. You can go to Whole Foods and buy them, but the ones at Whole Foods, it's the experience, it's the taste. It's the same thing and no matter what, wherever you are in the world, what you pay for is what you get. This is a fact. How do you want to be treated? That is what differentiates you from the other people, also in your business.

Speaker 1:

That's true, true. I totally agree. Yeah, is there anything else you want to add. I think that was awesome. Is there any other thoughts, pieces of advice or Pieces of advice, like in general. I am just talking about for business owners who are looking to start a business or have been in business.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes. I would just say again what I said be hungry for it, like consistency being persistent. That is all good, but that ignite from within has to be there to get to that level and follow your dreams. It will come. You really need to sleep with it. You really need to marry them. You really need to nourish them. You really need to feed them. That's. Affirmations play an important role, right?

Speaker 1:

That's a question, do you think just last question do you think visual branding, like the way you carry yourself, the way you show up, do you think that has a factor in?

Speaker 2:

That. I strongly believe that. I strongly believe that it does, because you are already enacting something there you want to be. You are already perceiving that in yourself. So I am a strong, firm believer of that for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yes, awesome, it does. Thank you so much for being on the Alamon Show podcast. Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

All my pleasure. It was such a fun conversation.

Evolution of a Real Estate Agent
Work-Life Balance for Real Estate Agent
Consistency and Visual Branding Importance