Throughout the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of meeting more and more San Carlos Blog readers in person. One of the most common questions that I receive centers around how I became a realtor. I believe that very few agents grew up wanting to be a realtor……I know that for myself, it was not even on the radar screen. Somehow, I finally figured it out. I realize that this is not a traditional blog post, but hopefully it will give you some additional insight into me and the posts on this site.
In 1975 my parents bought our first house at 1023 Alameda de las Pulgas, on the corner of Brittan Avenue and Alameda. We later moved to Graceland Lane in the Alder Manor area of San Carlos where I attended Clifford School, on through to Mc Kinley Jr. High and down to Saint Francis High School. I then attended Santa Clara University and immediately thereafter enrolled in law school at SCU. I went to law school at night and took the four year plan, instead of three, so that I could work during the day. I obtained a clerk position at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto. I worked as a clerk until I graduated from SCU when I was hired as an associate. I passed the July bar exam upon graduation and thus began my career as an attorney.
I quickly realized that working at a big firm was not for me. Myself and another associate, Alison Sayar, decided to leave big-firm-life and our stable paychecks behind in order to open our own firm. In September of 2001, we opened the Law Offices of Bredel & Sayar, LLP in Los Altos. We had a profitable firm in eighteen months and began to slowly expand. By 2004, we were doing very well. As we began to calculate a plan for the future growth of our firm I came to the unfortunate realization that I absolutely hated what I was doing. The pride of having my own firm and making a good living was not enough to overcome the feeling that I simply was miserable with my life as an attorney. Everyday was a fight….mostly with opposing counsel. Spending hours dreaming up ways to serve a last minute discovery request or ex-parte order at 4:59 pm on a Friday with the hope of ruining the other side’s weekend seemed ridiculous and counter productive to me, but it was the reality of the profession. Some attorneys are simply built to fight like this on a daily basis…..I am not one of those people. It took me a solid five years to fully understand this concept. I was faced with the realization that the last nine years of my professional life had been going in the wrong direction. I had a choice: give up everything that I had worked for, or continue on with my practice for the next 30 + years.
Just past my 30th Birthday I walked away from Bredel, Sayar & Czarkowski LLP and ventured off into the wonderful world of real estate. The looks on the faces of my family and friends after telling them I was leaving my firm to become a realtor ranged from painful smiles to utter shock. And, yes, I do have a very understanding wife.
I thought long and hard about how I wanted to present myself as a realtor and my areas of concentration. I started with what I knew best. I knew San Carlos and I knew how to tightly manage a residential real estate transaction from a legal perspective. I studied everything I could get my hands on regarding San Carlos real estate: trends, neighborhoods, schools, community, downtown, San Carlos buyers and sellers. I watched every transaction in San Carlos. I knew who listed it, sold it, the motivating factors for the sale, overbids, and why certain properties sat. I became entrenched in San Carlos real estate.
The next step was understanding the buyers and sellers in San Carlos. The first mistake I think many realtors make is that they underestimate the knowledge and resources of buyers and sellers. Today’s buyers and sellers are far more in-tune with the market than a generation ago. They are smart, diligent with their research and come armed with loads of information, much of which is made possible by the internet. In other words, realtors have to work harder than ever to stay ahead of their clients and make sure they are able to add value to the transaction. Many have not. These same realtors are also wondering why their production is down.
I spent a long time thinking about my presentation as a realtor. In the end, it came down to having good old fashioned respect for people. People do not want to be accosted walking through the front door of an open house, they do not want to see you knocking on their door, they do not want to be given a hard sales pitch…etc. I have found that people respond well to realtors who respect their time, do their homework, and present solutions based on reliable data and common sense.
In the most humble manner possible I can tell you that I have been very pleased with my business in San Carlos over the past few years. I have worked seven days a week for the last three months and I have loved every minute of it (well, most of it). The funny thing is that there has never been a day when I wished that I was still a part of my old law firm….and I think that pretty much says it all. The other realization that I have come to is that those nine years spent in the legal profession were not a waste of time at all, rather they have enabled me to better represent my clients as a realtor.
My wife Lori and I live in the Howard Park Area of San Carlos. Our oldest daughter attends Brittan Acres. Our youngest daughter can’t get to school fast enough…..for all involved! I consider myself fortunate to be able to raise my family in such a wonderful town.
I want to thank all of you for allowing me this small tangent from the usual posts. I sincerely appreciate your patronage to the San Carlos Blog.