Making A Smarter Agent Episode 4 – Ivan Estrada


Hey real estate agents! Welcome to making a smarter agent. Your program to find out all tips and trends as told by the great ones in real estate. What’s a great one. Someone that’s able to make money and still keep their head on straight. Let’s face it. This is a tough business. We interview tough people who seem to make it look easy.

Hi all and welcome! It’s Edmund. Welcome to Making a Smarter Agent. This is a weekly podcast which time to light on the winners of real estate. What are they doing to do so well? We need to find this out. In a moment we’re gonna need Ivan Estrada, my multimillion dollar man from California. But couple things to note, each of my podcast gets transcribed to text and put up on our blog We also stream on all major podcast provider including Itunes so please take a moment to give us a 5-star review and subscribe to this podcast so not miss any of the great interview that we have in store. Attention Douglas Solomon Agents In early January I will host a cocktail party in New York City please look out my invitation to that and to my other friends please note this February 14 starting at 4:30 PM I rented the ballroom at St. Andrews Country Club where we host the panel featuring  Howard Lorber of Douglas Solomon and Bruce Toll, CEO of the Toll Brothers Real Estate. We gonna discuss the current national real estate climate and it’s going effect to our economy. As always with all my events it will be a disco time you can’t miss it!

Without further a do Ivan Estrada!

Ivan Estrada: Hey thank you! How are you?

Fantastic! Thank you so much for joining us we’ve actually gotten together a couple of times in format like this and I am always excited to hear about just what you’re doing I think you are doing it well. Just back up for the audience who’s large made up of real estate agents throughout the country. Tell us about you and about you know just your business and how you get started. Just a little bit overview.

Ivan Estrada: Yeah! Absolutely. I will be in the business in March, It will be 9 year before I was in real estate I went to school at USC for business in Accounting and thought that the CPA route was gonna be something that I will be interested in doing and actually did do it and I worked in a big CPA firm for 3 years, got the CPA license and then shortly after the 3rd year I discovered this is definitely not what I wanted for my path It was you know the information in everything, the teachings and you know work ethics that I learned there was invaluable which is tremendously help me in career now as a Real Estate Broker. Yeah! I mean it’s been 9 years. I love it! I have a team actually downsize the team to only 1 person we can talk about that later as well. Structuring and redoing, adding new people starting in January but it is been amazing I mean I was born and raised in LA  and every year keeps a little bit more  interesting here. Our markets been a little bit in one word FUNKY and so where I think everyone not just in Douglas Solomon Brokers in general where are trying to re-structure. You know how we do our business, how reaching out to past clients, new clients and so far it’s been a good a year so far. Hopefully 2020 it’s gonna be even better.

Well we gonna get down to needy goody in a bit. You know you’ll be able to volunteer as much as you’d like. But first I know you are kinda pre ritual guy. I’ve been to conferences with you. I know you get up early. I know you work out. Walk us through what your daily routine is and what you think the importance of that is to your career?

Ivan Estrada: Yeah! Absolutely. So I usually wake up anywhere between 4:30 and 5AM for me waking up when it’s dark is actually very like spiritual for some reason. You know I talk to other friends it’s dark outside it makes them sad for me it’s actually it makes me feel like I am a head. I love waking up when it’s dark. I start with meditation I usually do anywhere from I would say 10 – 15 – 20 minutes depending on how much I feel I need and then do some visualization I have a journal where I write about everything that I am grateful for. And after that I head to the gym I am at the gym for a good an hour any half and for the 45 minutes I’ll listen to my favorite music I kinda just dive right in to the working out part and then like the last portion I always listen to podcast or videos on Youtube or books on audio whatever.  I feel I need that day. It’s a tough negotiation that I see ahead. I’ll search you know negotiations and real estate tough negotiations. Or if it’s something that I feel you know that I feel like I need I need a little bit more motivation then you know there’s certain people out there like Mel Robbins Tony Robbins Lisa Nichols Oprah even. And I’ll listen to some of that to really start off my day. And then after I leave the gym then you know I then I head to the office. And so for me doing that every single day it puts me in a very positive mindset throughout the day so no matter what happens you know negative or positive .I stay very you know I stay patient. I stay in the moment. And so if you know let’s say shit hits the fan I usually stay very stable and I’m able to make a good decision instead of something that you know either emotionally or because I’m not in the best mood that I might make the wrong decision. And so and I’ve noticed when I don’t do that my day does not usually turn out the way that I want it. So it’s very important for me to do that including on I do it on the weekends as well just to kind of stay in sync and flow Yeah I know.

And I know and I was always impressed with how you. You have a routine and how you maintain that visualization. Again I didn’t plan to go down this road but what do you visualize. Once you walk through just a little bit of that because I’m personally curious.

Ivan Estrada:  Yeah. So for me I visualize what I want my day to look like if it’s for example last Thursday I had my annual client appreciation party which we do every year. It’s a really big event that we start marketing two months prior. And so you know I think that night I probably slept two hours just being a little anxious about you know I just wanted everything to be perfect. You know my clients the people that I want to show up so that Thursday morning as tired as I was still did my routine and I visualize what I wanted the day to look like. I wanted you know everything to arrive on time. I wanted the people that I wanted to to be there to be there. I was visualizing a successful event where everyone was having a good time. You know hub eating networking with each other taking photos and so having that in my head visualize that that morning really put me at peace and just kind of. And it’s funny everything just fell into place. Everything came out.

It sounds like you’re you’re almost like a golfer or. Sorry for interrupting but this is kind of exciting. I mean you’re almost like a golfer or some type of top athlete it seems like it because they always say that there’s some real correlation between success and golf and visualization. So I spoke to a couple that’s really interesting.

Ivan Estrada:  Yeah. Yeah. Well like I said the visualization is funny like at a podcast that I was listening today that the mind sometimes doesn’t know what is real and what’s not. And so in my head as I visualize that it already happened I was already happy because everything came out perfect. Even though the day hadn’t started in my head everything was perfect. Everyone who I wanted to show up was show up the food showed up on time. The setup was beautiful. I was just happy throughout the day because in my head it already happened.

And when it did happen the way that I visualize it it was just kind of like you know it was just easy breezy. There was no stress during the event and I was able to actually be in the moment and stay in the moment to not just you know especially at my own events it’s hard because there’s so much so many things going on and you want to talk to everybody and you want to make sure people are having a good time and I was able to actually be present and I enjoyed myself a lot more than I have in the past when I’ve just you know more my head’s just all over the place in an event.

 It’s kind of like it’s there and then it’s gone in three hours and it’s like wait I don’t even remember anything that happened today because I was just running all over the place and didn’t get time to actually enjoy and be president of my own event he will do so again.

The visualization works. I think it’s something that I’m trying out. I’m relatively new to meditating and all that and hearing it from a guy like you. Certainly I a lot of credibility to it. Tell us just a little bit about your you know we’re gonna get into. Everyone is always curious. How do we get the phone to ring. I don’t even know what to do to get that phone to ring. Where I don’t know why sometimes my phone’s ringing more than not. You know what. Before we get into the actual marketing what are your three or four biggest sources of business. Where’s that mostly coming from for you?

Ivan Estrada: I would say number one is probably past clients I have at this moment. I probably have one hundred and seventy nine past clients that I’ve worked with but these are not leases these are just all sales either on the purchase side or on the list side or the buy side. So I think because I’ve had an all those past clients I really make sure that for example this party that I have on Thursday they were all invited every six months I send them a report a customized report on what how their property is doing.

Like a financial adviser or view it with their clients every couple of months. I sent a report very nicely blinded with what’s going on with my estimation on what their price is worth and also what’s going on in the community as well so they’re aware. So I send those every six months. I do call them. I try to at least call my past clients every two to three months. I use contractually to remind me which clients I need to call every week so that way I stay in the loop of what’s going on in their lives.

And when it comes time to buy or sell you know they’re going to think of me because you know I’m constantly reaching out to them and they also get my newsletter as they say I’m connected with them on Facebook on Instagram on YouTube.

So they’re saying Oh we’re we’re we’re breathing past all the all the good stuff here. We can’t miss the desert here you. You reach out to them when you say you actually call them. How many calls you making a day a week monthly. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Ivan Estrada:  Every week to my past clients it’s probably I mean it’s every week it’s probably like 10 but those are just for past clients. But I mean total calls Jesus probably like two hundred at least a week like my assistant every Monday. I mean like today she puts a follow up sheet on my desk like I’m a true believer of like the the hybrid of obviously having the tech but it’s also nice to have it in writing on my desk where I can actually check it off. They’ve reached out to this person for some reason it gives me some type of satisfaction than just pressing you know going to like you know my contractually and saying OK talk to this person like actually checking it off on a piece of paper for me.

Just I think for me it just has a different connection to me and more of a satisfaction than just clicking on a computer. So I use both you know technology and also you know the old kind of I would say you know business tactics of actually having a piece of paper on my desk. So it’s is nice every week huh. Paper is nice. Yeah paper is nice.

There was a comedian who once said What if it was the other way around and suddenly everyone said who. What’s that. It’s called a newspaper. You could buy it for 50 cents and you could read it on the toilet. You can throw it away. Well actually I think Jackie Mason said that act that is something very nice about paper.I know that over and over again like some of.

Ivan Estrada:  You go back to like you know to me it’s like you know I’m 35 but like you know when I read a book like actually flipping the pages there’s a sense of satisfaction to me than just pressing next on an iPod right. I tell you you know old habit. But yeah just I do about like I would seem you know maybe maybe during those months sometimes during other weeks it might be 300 calls but that’s a combination of past clients of referral partners of people that we met at open houses people that I have lunch with during the week you know leads that we’re getting on Zillow or

So it’s a combination of different things. But I mean the phone calls I mean for me it’s always I guess it’s been the most the one that I’m getting the most return on. Then just you know all the other stuff that I’m doing so definitely no one would be past clients. The second one is my referral partners. So you know I’m luckily I was very lucky to to go to amazing school and then I do have a business degree and a CPA license so I go and I connect with other CPA is in my in my Los Angeles area to other attorneys to trust officers and business managers and a network with them.

I’m part of this group called providers which they have in California and it’s a group of individuals that are in the you know providing services to clients like legal or accounting or finance or real estate. And so I get a lot of business from that group. We meet usually twice a month. The other one is social media. So you know social media for me has been huge. I as you know I do these videos the real estate minute. I also just finished another kind of set of videos it’s the top 15 questions asked by sellers buyers investors and renters and I did a whole series on that which I post on YouTube and we could see that by searching youtube I thought yeah.

 They’re on YouTube. They’re all in YouTube. So I haven’t on YouTube. I posted on my Facebook once a week. I posted on my Instagram once a week and it’s posted on the actual wall. And then also the stories and I think you know having those stories a combination of the story and putting it on the wall and then also having it on YouTube for people to search you know it’s very powerful and I think it’s a constant reminder to people that are following me on there who are you know friends who are referral partners who are relatives who are past clients who could be people that I don’t know who could be future clients.

 I mean they’re constantly seeing these every single day every single day I’m posting you know either myself at a broker’s caravan or a new listing or what am I real estate minute videos or one of my top six 15 questions asked videos so there’s the social media for me has been huge because it’s a constant reminder without saying come and work with me come with work with me that I’m a real estate broker Sure and I’ve raised in the top three.

Yeah go go go. So we had the past sales. We tried your influencer you know the partners if you will. And what was the word on social media. So I what social media can mean many times in the system. The other two don’t you think it’s a why don’t you think that it’s almost an assist within the other two that you said it serves as a constant reminder. So I personally I’m just curious have you ever had someone say wait a minute. A friend of mine that connected you on social media I love your videos and therefore can you tell me how to sell my how does it ever work that way.

Ivan Estrada:  Oh yeah. I get those I get those a lot. I get people just that I don’t know who are following me on social media and they’ll send me a message. You know I’ve been seeing her stuff for the last year or two or three and you know you seem like the type of guy I would want to work with and you know who I would want to represent me. And so these are people that I’ve been I’ve never met before or they might not even be connected to my sphere of influence or a friend or a past client.

 And so I mean that’s always great for me to get those because I feel incredibly flattered because it makes me feel wow this is working you know because yeah. Yeah. Well yeah. You know what’s in it for the you know. So it’s I think it’s a combination of everything right. It’s like trying to create the perfect storm doing everything you can you know for a common goal.

No listen I love the videos and I think that brought me made me want to gravitate toward you because I think a true personality does come out. Let me dig a little bit deeper here. If I’m getting too far in your business just you could tell it now. What do you wind up spending annually on social media and videos or maybe you break it down separately.

Ivan Estrada:  It’s probably a good 50 grand. I would say that the grand brand which is a combination I think the part where I spend the most is on the advertising of these videos because you know years ago when I would post a video on Facebook and Instagram as well it would get a lot more viewership than it does now and I think because of their constant changing and an algorithm. You know I’m having to boost my posts on Facebook promote my posts on Instagram and on YouTube and it’s you know it’s getting a lot from what I would spend if I were to spend one hundred dollars on one you know that’s probably unrealistic.

 A good three hundred four hundred dollars to advertise one of my real estate minutes I could probably reach maybe twenty five thousand people with that same amount. Now it’s probably less than half that amount. So I’m having to spend a little more on the advertising than the actual creation of the video because I think now you know video is such a big thing not just for real estate but for all people all people in business. You know doctors attorneys people in finance are now doing videos as well. And there’s a lot more people providing these services which has really brought the costs down but because of it now it’s brought up the costs of actual promotion of your videos because now you know I think Facebook got very very smart and scrambled and got very smart and YouTube as well and so they’re charging a little bit more in comparison to what it was two three years ago.

We’ll have to have another meeting at some point about Facebook. I’ve been a big Facebook advertiser and then one day everything changed where you can’t target married or single you can’t target 18 to or 35 to 45 years old. Now they’re really restricting you in those searches. And I found that in overnight quite literally it became a real challenge to get the results. But that’s another story for another time I am curious to hear more about this but we have a limited amount of time. You mentioned two things that I want to touch on.

 One is your team change which we’ll get to but before that in keeping with the marketing your advertising on Zillow and realtor talk to that about the budget about the outcome about just your overall experience with those two portal right.

Ivan Estrada:  So for real turn Zillow. Right now I’m only advertising on Zillow and use my advertising for Zillow R for it in areas where homes are less than two million dollars I think in this market and the Los Angeles market at least people who are buying homes for you know over 2 or 3 million dollars already have either. There are brokers that they’ve been working with for a while or you know they’ll probably go and ask their CPA or attorney looking to buy or sell who would you recommend. And that’s why I know networking with a lot of people in the law and CPA area.

 It’s worked pretty well. I think you know the response time is very important because anytime I do get a Zillow or you know lead from real sometimes they’ll come in for free just because it’s from realtor dot com just someone that you know went on there clicked and wanted to meet with me directly. As long as I respond with them within two minutes it’s I’ve had a good amount of success. Most of the Zillow leads I would say 95 percent of them they just go to the team. I primarily work with past clients people within my sphere people within my networking groups the Zillow leads are something that I’ve purchased for my team for them to have leads come in and for them to you know get some more opportunities other than open houses or other events that I’m having them attend.

 But it’s been pretty successful. You know I’ve heard many different things from many different people saying you know it’s a waste of money it’s a waste of time. Obviously these leads sometimes won’t turn into an actual business transaction for maybe six months a year two years so they’re going to take a lot more time to you know incubate. I would I would say and you know especially with the loyalty you’re really going to have to work a lot harder because obviously with a referral from a friend or someone within your sphere the you know the likelihood of the loyalty is a lot higher than someone that you’ve never met before.

 But it’s really I mean it’s been pretty good but I definitely have seen a reduction of leads come in this year alone it’s been 50 percent less leads or or leads that I think are actual people who are interested and ready to buy and sell than it was last year.

And wow you said that it’s remarkable. What what’s the ad budget the jab on on Zillow.

Ivan Estrada:  Usually it’s like twenty five hundred dollars a month about a year.

You’re doing a lot of stuff but you know you mentioned that some of the leads you’ll send down to some other team members and at the beginning of the meeting you said that there’s been a big team change. Talk about that. What’s going on with your team.

Ivan Estrada:  Yes. So I pretty much I only have I was we were a team of seven that’s including my admin and my transaction coordinator. I’ve now reduced it to only a team of four. So we three people I had to unfortunately kind of part ways with I think this year it’s just been it’s been a very complex year here in Los Angeles and I would say probably California as a whole which I’m sure you know people in New York City can relate as well. You know we’ve definitely had a large shift. The higher end the market has been very very slow for myself you know I realize a notice in the past since January the amount of time that it’s taken me to close a deal has maybe even tripled tripled in time of the time commitment that it’s taking for myself and my team and also with you know there’s a lot of uneasiness with people especially when it comes to an election year on you know they’re hearing everything from the media from their friends from their relatives and you know don’t buy we’re at the top of the market know now you only get a certain amount of deduction of ten thousand dollars on your property taxes which is not worth it just keep renting or you know.

 So it’s it’s been a battle for myself to obtain you know clients commit to either going through with a sale or a buy. You know I think this year out of all my years in my business you know as much as I try to really walk through with the client with their an easiness or all their questions you know I’ve had a lot of sellers list. And then within 30 days changed her mind and want to delist or clients who were in escrow who then you know I think the pressures from them watching what’s going on in the media and the newspaper what their friends are telling them and then canceling within 10 days just saying I just don’t feel comfortable and I get what you’re saying.

Thank you for educating me. But I just don’t want to buy right now I’m just going to wait. So I think for my team as much as I try to train them and to let them know that I knew this was coming. I knew this was coming over almost a year and a half ago. I know through either from my coach or just from seeing what was going on in the world markets and you know I just don’t think that they were. There were newer agents so they’ve only been in the business for less than a year.

 And so I just think they couldn’t really handle the amount of time and work and effort that it’s going to take in this new market to close a transaction. And so you know I just it was actually it was hard for me to let them go but it was something that I that I need to do. You know there’s a certain amount of resources that it takes especially when you’re running a team and not just financial resources but also my mental resources. You know like it’s taking a lot more of my time and brainpower to close a deal to incubate with a client and like you know walk them through the whole process than it did before and so you know I felt like I needed to really downsize the team and in order to build it up for you know 2020 which I feel now when I started my team two and a half years ago it was my first time doing it.

 And you know as much as I had amazing coaches and managers who helped me build the team you know it’s not until you actually do it and you actually run with you your team for a good year to realize what it is that you actually need in order to make the team work. And I know I picked up a lot of things that I wasn’t going to through a book or a coach. You know you actually have to live through it to realize OK these are the type of people and you know my team these are the people that I don’t need on my team because you know when things aren’t great you need to be surrounded by positivity and people who will still work hard no matter what the market is doing.

 And so you know if people are not willing to put in the time and you know and are negative about you know what’s going on out there it’s going to infect the whole team and that’s something that I just could not deal with.

What do you suppose the best way to compensate. You know I’m kind of torn and I see different people now who almost have host or hostess is opening up spaces and not really having any brokerage skills and back then a one guy here in Boca Raton how weak it is I’m not sure but he he has the hostess unlocked the door for him and people could go in and technically they’re not allowed to answer any questions about the property. But my question for you is this would you adopt a business model where you pay your staff who happen to have a license for their time and then maybe give some type of bonus.

Or does it work just purely on the commission. Like how do you actually compensate effectively when it comes to creating a team.

Ivan Estrada:  So my admin and my transaction coordinator there on a salary so they’re strictly salary. The people that were on my team were strictly commission based on their production level we had different tiers on what their our commission split would be which normally most when you know for most teams it’s 50/50 starting and then the scale then goes up from there like for us here you know Elliman the more we sell the better our split is. So I had something like that similar from my team. I think it depends on what your production level is and you know there’s certain team member or team leaders that I’ve met who have adopted that new form of team where they’ll have two other agents on their team who are strictly on salary and they’re getting a bonus depending on their production and you know for a lot of agents and a lot of team members their team leaders that’s become very beneficial for them.

 I mean they have these newer agents were on salary and they’re getting bonuses based on their production and the team lead is now you know depending on how much they’re make doing a year and production they’re you know they’re making more GCI or net after their GCI than strictly being on a commission in a split with with their broker with their agents. For me I you know like I said it’s only been commission based but you know moving forward in 2020 that’s something that I can that I’m that I might explore myself.

Yeah. Then I’m hearing more and more. And these team members. All right. You’re giving them the lead that you’re not wanting or you’re getting them like. Exactly. Well what’s in it for them like that. That’s just to coin a phrase. Yeah. Yeah. What do you bring to the table. Why am I even sharing my commission with you. Yeah.

Ivan Estrada:  So for the brokers who were joining my team they would. I haven’t done an open house myself and maybe three or four years. And that’s because all my open houses were for my teams even on the first week it hit the market which is usually when we have the most amount of actual people coming through when possible you know good leads of buyers or maybe sellers. They were doing all my open houses so that was one thing. All the Zillow leads under 2 million were going to them. So anything that was over 2 million over 2 million which is very rare would come to me maybe 1 a year but the rest roll going to them.

 I was the one who you know as a as a mentor they would get an hour with me once a week to go over their plan. What was working what wasn’t working also with my actual coach which I coached with Aaron Keith he coaches a lot of the top agents here at Elliman and other brokerages as well. They would get time with my coach once a month to ask any questions that they had that they would have on their own business. Also my coaching sessions that are every Thursday I would share everything with my team every Monday everything.

 I’m very open and very transparent with my team about everything that I’m doing because I know if it’s working for me I want it to work for them as well. And so you know a big part of it is is that part is the mentorship that I’m giving them which honestly is a lot of time. It’s a lot of times a lot of time.

It’s a lot. Oh boy. For every employee it’s a lot. I get it. And that’s what I was just more curious curiosity than anything else about just you know I always say with the team one plus one equals three for everyone. You know you need to know that the time you’re investing is going to make you wealthier or give you more time or preferably both. And so that’s what I’m seeing from from all of that. Well you know the time has slipped away here. Anything else that you want everyone to know about you.

Before we move on

Ivan Estrada:  I think really getting covered pretty well.

Yeah I is. I really do appreciate your time I really do love your videos. I’ve been Estrada I’ve been Estrada properties out in California and I’ve been I’m going to you know with your permission include your contact information with absolutely and the notes of this of this meeting for those of you this meeting this podcast airs every Thursday of the week. We’ve got a whole host of other participants. I think Peter Hernandez from your office will be on next week. And yet for those of you who are listening I want to give a shout out to my sponsors organized Palm Beach a phenomenal company that does home organization between New York and Palm Beach.

 I would imagine they’ll go out to California as well as well as REIGNation and this is my think tank for realtors. If you’re curious to see if you could imagine it is group therapy expense for realtors and boy do we need it. So please do sign up for that. Ivan thank you so much. I hope to have you back and I hope to have everyone else back every week.

Thank you. We’re listening to making a smarter agent. Do me a favor if you like making a smarter agent please go to Apple podcast or any of the podcast services you might be listening through and give me five stars if you didn’t like it that much then don’t even bother to say anything. Five stars that’s all that really works. I look forward to seeing you next time. And remember connect with REIGNation  on Facebook. It’s part think tank part group therapy for realtors all coaching and it’s affordable.

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