When I met Millie for this interview I went in for a professional hand shake -- you know, trying to be all professional and proper in the presence of a real estate mogul. She wouldn’t have it. Millie accepted a hug or nothing to start things off. That’s what I find so fascinating about our YPN Mentors. No matter how many millions of dollars’ worth of property they have sold in their careers or how much recognition they’ve earned, one-on-one they are the easiest people to talk to.
Welcoming, warm and humble. That’s Millie, and she was so excited to do this interview. Her career looking back is one that I can only hope to achieve looking forward. Millie has worked with home buyers, developers and investors and is regularly turned to for real estate industry insight. Her numbers are staggering and make you double-take when you read them. For example, her Web site reads: “She has participated in the acquisition of over $520 million in land development sites. During her career, she has procured over $500 million in residential developments, overseeing each from inception through the final sell-out.”
When you rank number 27 for sales volume and 54 for unit sales nationally in the Wall Street Journal and Real Trends, Inc.'s “Top 400 Real Estate Professionals,” which Millie has, you’re kind of a big deal!
Yet Millie doesn’t solely focus on sales. She was the 2001 C.A.R. President, is heavily involved with the real estate community and still active with the Association. Millie is a leader who leads by example and has professional qualities we should all aspire toward. Read my interview with Millie below – and enjoy!
Me: How did you get into real estate and when did you know it was the right career path?
Millie: I started young; my mother and father dabbled in real estate. It was a side hobby for them, just something fun to stay involved with. I’ve always loved real estate; the architecture aspect is fascinating to me. I’ve also always loved what real estate means to people. There are real emotions tied to real estate and I recognize and respect that. My family always had the same REALTOR growing up and I saw what it meant to be a great REALTOR through her. I watched her do what she did and absolutely loved it!
I started in 1982 and that was a horrible time for real estate. The market was in turmoil and real estate was not a good place to focus, for most. However, I wasn’t intimidated by the negative hype. Rather it motivated me to find the opportunity. As I started my career I knew I had the right personality and the confidence required. That, in turn, allowed me to handle the ups and downs that come naturally with this business.
Me: What is a trick of the trade you can pass on, about staying organized and constantly upping your game in this business?
Millie: Have the right support network and have the right process. An efficient workflow process is critical, it lets you know where to focus your efforts. Have systems, track them and make sure they work! You also need to know how to promote yourself.
Me: You are a point of reference for market trends and real estate advice. What are some ways you stay informed and ahead of the curve on this?
Millie: Online is a great resource, there is a sea of information there. Look at the statistics provided by our Association. The National Association also has great market stats. Study that data, analyze changes and understand what they mean. Attend good seminars and conferences -- ones that you will benefit from. Don’t go just to go. I personally read Crain’s, and Baird & Warner provides us with great market data. It’s also critically important to study the mortgage industry and understand how it relates to real estate purchase and sales.
Me: What would you say was your best "lesson learned" from working in this business?
Millie: Understand your clients’ real goal and how to represent them properly. This comes from industry knowledge. Don’t ever approach things in a negative way; guide your clients professionally, be a facilitator and stay positive. The end goal is to bring the buyer and seller together. Don’t let your personal emotions get in the way.
Me: What are a few points that separate the best from the average in this business?
C.A.R. YPN Past Chair and Managing Broker/Partner, Vesta Preferred Realty