Rustin Low

From Classroom to Contract: My intro to RE

Rustin Low
From Classroom to Contract: My intro to RE

This morning I turned to Facebook for some writing inspiration. Opened the floor to worthy topic ideas. Though, "Doggos you've seen in New York that are good boys" was almost the winner, my friend Ben Rimalower asked to hear, "Step by step how you got into real estate, like from the ground up everything you did." He's not the first to ask me this, and he wont be the last, and considering how long the answer is, I decided it'd be better to put it all out there for inquiring minds. Stay tuned for good Doggos, though.

Like every idea, it starts with a little inception. CUE LOUD MUSIC. Real Estate is a general interest of mine - it always has been. In college, to procrastinate, I'd look up new developments in NYC with my roommates and we'd fantasize about moving to the Penthouse units. Just like "Friends" but with fantasy money. In high school, I used to google maps myself around the streets of Manhattan to remind myself there was a city out there better than the small town I was temporarily stuck in. These buildings have been a beacon of hope for as long as I can remember. My affinity towards NYC real estate has been positive for ages, so it didn't take a ton for the idea of turning it into my career to stick. A couple friends would jokingly tell me, "you should be on Million Dollar Listing, you'd be so good at that!" I'd laugh, but then I'd picture it. And I'm the type of guy who believes if I can picture it for myself, I can make it happen.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not a complete idiot. I knew there was more to being an agent than those shows led on. I have a degree in this stuff, and a former career in the entertainment industry. I've seen firsthand how easily a situation is changed by a production crew or decent editor. I did my due diligence - I treated it like a college project. I mapped out responsibilities and expectations of the job and interviewed people in positions I sought. What were there lives really like? Was it something I wanted for myself? Could I picture myself happy doing what they do? I spent weeks exploring this opportunity. I like to be thorough. Luck favors the prepared, darling.

Once I had my mind made up, however, I threw it up it everywhere. I made a little Instagram campaign to document it, even - one building for every one section passed. I completed my entire real estate licensing in under a month, the entire education section in under two weeks. I made a post after every class I finished so that if I got lazy or slowed down, I'd be held accountable by my friends and family. Knowing that's there is enough to keep me motivated.

Once I was licensed it became all about finding the right firm. I interviewed everywhere I could get in the door. I made it a point to even go to the firms I didn't have much interest in to get a bit of "practice" in before some of the firms I was more eager about. I stayed true, honest, and upfront the entire time. They might have been interviewing me, but considering they're taking a huge percentage of my commission, I was interviewing them back. I value my time and myself and I would be doing nobody a service if the firm wasn't a right match.

In fact, I ended up at CORE because I told a managing director of a different firm that my 10 year plan included winding up at CORE or another prestigious boutique firm known for luxury listings and new developments. He set up a meeting for me with Dough Heddings, our VP, and I ended up getting an offer on the spot. When you know, you know, ya know?

Part of my offer with CORE involved an eleven week training program with the best of the best in the business. The founder of our company,  top brokers, lawyers, mortgage lenders, everyone. I made sure to never be late and take plenty of notes. I made a promise with myself to never let my intimidation cost me a learning opportunity. It's okay to not know an answer, it's not okay to be too scared to find it.

Everyone has their own techniques. Some people are great on the phone, some people have excellent mailers, some people have family circles they never have to leave. If you stay true to you, and your style, then business will come.

My vow to myself was that I wasn't going to become sleazy. I was never going to push a deal to close that wasn't going to make my clients happy. I decided it wasn't my job to "sell" but to help guide my clients through a decision they are comfortable with. Some people think I'm crazy for this, considering my official title is "salesperson." I think my first contract was well over a million dollars.

People aren't stupid - especially in NYC. When you aren't being authentic, they smell it as clear as sharks smell blood, and when you're being shady dealing with people's money and home, those sharks will bite. Be honest, be open, be true. Be ambitious, be hard working, and be proud of the work. These are things I constantly remind myself, and these are the reasons my business is blooming.