This month’s YPN Mentor Series features Michael Rosenblum of Koenig & Strey Real Living. If you have done, or are planning to do, a transaction in River North, chances are you’ve met Michael. A true master in the field, Michael has personally completed more than $120 million in sales. No matter how successful he becomes, however, Michael remains humble and preaches the core values that got him this far: be respectful of other agents, act professionally and market your butt off. Simple concepts, but it’s amazing how many agents don’t follow them.
We are proud to claim Michael as a YPN Mentor -- his knowledge and tips can be used by anyone in real estate today. Enjoy the interview!
Me: What got you into real estate?
Michael: It was actually by accident. I was a journalist for 22 years and oversaw the creation of three magazines. I always loved looking at properties and used to buy and sell for fun as a hobby. My friend was in real estate and asked me if I would be interested in turning my hobby into a career and becoming a REALTOR full time. I tried it and grew my business from that point forward.
Me: How did you establish such a strong niche in River North?
Michael: I live in the area as well. I moved to River North during the time it was being developed and learned as much as possible about it. The buildings, the neighborhood, everything. That way as I built my business I was the area expert. Clients came to me because I was the most knowledgeable and could properly represent them
Me: Out of all the areas in Chicago, why did you choose to move to River North?
Michael: I went off of my instinct and intuition; it felt like the right choice and went for it.
Me: What's your best "lesson learned" during your time in the business?
Michael: I would say it has to do with leveraging exclusive Buyer Agent representation. I got burned a few times with past buyers not respecting my time and effort due to my not locking them into an exclusive agreement. Clients will walk all over you if you let them. You have to respect yourself and your time and never allow your clients to take advantage of you. If they won’t sign the buyer rep agreement, let them go. That most likely means that they are working with 20 different agents and couldn’t care less about you. Use buyer rep agreements every time!
Me: Is networking an important piece of a REALTOR's success?
Michael: COMPLETELY! Your job as a REALTOR is to be a professional networker. Network with fellow agents and brokers so they can become aware of your listings. It’s a small business and real estate definitely follows the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the business is done by 20 percent of the agents. The more active agents you can get in front of, the more aware they will be of you and your business. Other agents are the feeding line for your transactions, so you have to let them start coming to you to help their business.
As for the general public, you have to constantly put yourself out there. Most importantly, focus on your sphere of influence. I believe that for your business it’s closer to 2 degrees of separation. You have to constantly let people know what you do or you become out of sight, out of mind. The more you dig into your sphere, the more you build your competitive advantage. This doesn’t only mean your current day sphere; dig into your past life. Everyone you have ever interacted with, high school, past jobs, fraternities, etc. All are part of your sphere. Keep digging and putting yourself out there. You will be amazed at the result.
Me: What are your top "tips for success" for REALTORS at the beginning of their careers?
Please join us as we highlight this quarter’s YPN Mentors at a panel discussion that will take place at the Hubbard Inn, Sept. 8 from 4-5:50 p.m. After the discussion we’ll have a year-end YPN celebration to thank all you – our incredible members -- for an outstanding year!
Grigory Pekarsky, 2011 C.A.R. YPN Chair and Managing Broker/Partner, Vesta Preferred Realty