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Winter 2013 • Volume 7 / Issue 3

BUFFINI, FERRY & KENDALL

Three top coaches. Three amazing stories. IN THIS ISSUE: • Top Agents: Opportunity Chasers • Buon Vino! • Third Times a Charm


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Winter 2013 Volume 7 / Issue 3

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Letter from the Publisher

You’ve heard the saying, “You learn something new every day.” Publisher Steve Murray learned some new facts about some old friends. Their stories are your stories. Find inspiration in them.

COVER STORY:

The Lives and Times of Three Top Trainers With distinct personalities— the champion of the underdog, the high-energy go-getter and the strong, steady leader—these three top coaches have conquered the real estate world.

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Opportunity Chasers

The individuals in this year’s REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand know how to spot opportunity and run with it.

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Buon Vino! Buoni Amici! A Beautiful Friendship

What began on a whim is now a profitable business for Realtor® Steve Chin and his wife, Val.

Over and Over Again

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Randy Martin has seen adversity and come out on top. Read about his story of hitting rock bottom and climbing back up to the top.

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Letter from the Publisher

T

here are no people who have had more of an impact on our industry than Brian Buffini, Tom Ferry and Larry Kendall. Together they have informed, educated and inspired hundreds of thousands of real estate brokers and sales professionals in their 50 plus years. For the first time, we tell their stories—not just the professional side of their lives, but the personal side as well. For those who don’t know what each of these leaders has dealt with in their lives, take a look. Ben Caballero, Steve Chin and Randy Martin are as different in their business models and backgrounds as any three people can be yet each has achieved the highest level of recognition offered in the residential real estate industry. Each has been admitted to the Fellowship of Realty Professionals, an organization open only to those with the highest level of lifetime sales success. Each has navigated a unique path to their success, both professionally and personally. Then, we have the dynamic duo of Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg and the tech-minded John Murray, all top real estate professionals named to the No. 1 spot on the REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand. We think you will enjoy their stories as, in their own way, they epitomize what is most exciting and rewarding about our industry—normal people achieving abnormal results. LORE—the Lives of Real Estate will continue our mission to bring the challenges and successes of those who impact our great industry.

Stephen H. Murray Publisher

www.loremagazine.com Steve Murray Publisher smurray@realtrends.com Tracey C. Velt Editor-in-Chief tvelt@realtrends.com David Grassnick Graphic Designer chiefcreative@centurylink.net Travis Saxton Webmaster tsaxton@realtrends.com Doniece Welch Advertising dwelch@realtrends.com 303-741-1000 Lore magazine is published online via Issuu four times a year—in February, May, August and November—by REAL Trends Inc. 7501 Village Square Drive, Ste. 200 Castle Rock, CO 80108 (303) 741-1000 Free Subscriptions: Click Here or call 303-741-1000 tsaxton@realtrends.com

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Do you have what it takes to be a member of the most exclusive real estate club in the worlD?

The mission of The Fellowship of Realty Professionals is to recognize, reward and build relationships between the world’s most successful real estate professionals.

apply toDay Find out more at www.realtyfellowship.com or call 855-433-5569 (855-4FELLOWS) The Fellowship of Realty Professionals | REAL Trends, Inc. 7501 Village Square Drive, Suite 200 Castle Rock, CO 80108

The most exclusive R E A L E S TAT E C L U B in the world.


Simply the Best

The Lives and Times of

Three Top Trainers

With distinct personalities—the champion of the underdog, the high-energy go-getter and the strong, steady leader—these three top coaches have conquered the real estate world.


What makes coaches successful? If Brian Buffini, Tom Ferry and Larry Kendall are any indication, it’s undoubtedly not a specific personality type. If Buffini’s Irish accent doesn’t grab you, his confident, professional tone will. Ferry, on the other hand, has energy to spare and a likeable quality that can best be described as the way the brother you always wanted would act

(fun without the torture!). On the other end of the spectrum, Larry Kendall grabs your attention with a calm, steady, strong presence that makes you feel as though there’s a solution to all your problems. The three men’s personalities are very different, but they all overcame adversity early in life and turned it into a positive. Here are their stories.

Brian Buffini: Champion of the Underdog

“I have the Irish immigrant mentality,” says Brian Buffini, chairman and founder of Buffini & Co. in San Diego. “The Irish grew up as the underdogs, being impacted by the famine. So, the ones who came to America are ambitious. I’m not an underdog anymore, but I do champion for the underdog,” says Buffini, whose mother and father still live in Ireland. And he might live there as well had he not suffered a 1980s motorcycle accident while visiting his brother in California. “I had 13 surgeries in two years and was a long way from home. I had to work my way out of it [debt from the medical bills] by selling T-shirts and working as a security guard.” He was 21 years old and decided to stay in the United States for college.

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Simply the Best By the time he was age 25, he had started working in San Diego residential real estate. “By 1994, I had the tiger by the tail and sold a lot of homes—more than 100 a year,” he says. Because of that success, Buffini was asked to speak and sit on panels to share his story. “It was the early 1990s, and everyone was talking about cold calls and door knocks—basically, find them, fleece them, forget them. What I did contrasted with that. I talked about building relationships with customers, and agents loved it.” In 1995, he formed Buffini & Co. to share his systems with others. On Feb. 14, 1996, he did his first seminar touting the system that took his business to the next level. “I was shocked that so many people with whom I had done business showed up. It showed me what great relationships I had with other agents.” He now has 180 people working for him and has trained more than 3 million agents on the Buffini system.

Everyone was talking about cold calls and door knocks—basically find them, fleece them and forget them.

Did You Know? Buffini was an accounting major in college. “I am a very systematic type of person, which surprises people,” he says.

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Fired Up What still fires up Buffini is to hear stories of agents who struggled and are now successful. At a recent MasterMind Summit®, an agent talked about the — Brian Buffini terrible time she was going Buffini & Co. through. Her marriage had ended, the recession had hit, she was losing her house to foreclosure and, at one point, she and her three children had been living out of her car. “She chose to take my training program rather than buy food that week. She went from making $16,000 to $55,000 by the end of that year. This year, she’s making $126,000. That inspires me,” says Buffini. A Juggling Act However, it’s Buffini’s family that drives his success. His wife, Beverly, is a former U.S. Olympic volleyball player who played on the U.S. National team between 1985 and 1988. Married for 23 years, they have six children. It’s apparent that the children’s mom’s discipline as an athlete and their dad’s ambition have rubbed off on them. The oldest, A.J. (21), is a wide receiver at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and Anna (19) is a two-time state champion in dressage with Olympic dreams. Alex (15), Adam (14) and twins, Amy and Alysha (11), also play competitive volleyball. In fact, the twins are

Lives of Real Estate


starting on their varsity high school team, and they’re only in sixth grade. The children are homeschooled so they can share experiences with their parents. These experiences range from watching “Duck Dynasty” every week to extensive travel as a family. “We love to travel and all of the kids come with us,” says Buffini. In fact, at press time, he had a speaking engagement in Spain, where they were spending a few weeks before traveling to Ireland to spend time with family. “That’s the beauty of homeschool. They get to travel with me around the world.” They’re also involved in a number of charitable causes, both as a family and as a company. Following Hurricane Katrina, Buffini & Co. put up money to build homes for Habitat for Humanity®. “We had more than 300 volunteers, many of them clients, and we built four houses in a week.

The following year we built 12 homes—one in each major market we serve,” he says. “There are a lot of organizations we support. We do a lot with military families here as well.” At the end of the day, says Buffini, he has a soft spot for people who persevere. “’The Shawshank Redemption’ is my favorite movie. I root for the Rudys of the world. I’m a sucker for the same story— the underdog fighting through difficult circumstances and coming out winning.”

All of the Buffini children, from left, A.J., Anna, Alex, Adam, Amy and Alysha, are homeschooled so they can travel the world as a family.

Did You Know? The writings of Zig Ziglar, Jim Rome and Og Mandino are Buffini’s greatest source of inspiration.

Photo courtesy of Carly Mac Photography

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Simply the Best

Tom Ferry: High Energy

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It probably won’t surprise you that Tom Ferry was a bit of a live wire when he was younger. “I barely got through high school and was kicked out multiple times before graduating with a GED,” he says. “I was bored stiff at school.” So, like many other 17-yearolds who “know better,” Ferry moved out of the family house and into a neighborhood known more for murders than charming picket fences. He worked the overnight shift in a local grocery store while finishing high school. “I had a lot of time to think while stocking shelves. I looked at the old guys, who were probably in their 30s, stocking shelves, and I knew I didn’t want to do that,” says Ferry. A year later, he graduated from high school and decided to mend his relationship with his parents. “My mom was easy; she accepted my apology right away,” he says. “When I invited my dad (well-known coach Mike Ferry) over, he pulled up in a brand-new Rolls-Royce, and I thought, maybe he’s not just an SOB,” laughs Ferry. He took advantage of that visit to talk to his dad about what he did as a coach. “When I was young, I worked at his office over summers, but I never really understood why people paid him to talk. He was very direct with me, and I realized that what he was doing was fascinating. You help people get better, and in the process you can have a great life.” About a month later, his dad came into the grocery store around midnight after returning from a trip. They talked and the younger Ferry decided he wanted to run the Ferry organization. “He jokingly told me, ‘When the drugs wear off, call me.’” Four hours later, I gave my notice, dyed my hair to a reasonable color (it was jet black), put on my best nonblack outfit and went to see him.” It was decided that, if, over the course of five years, the younger Ferry could master each department in the elder Ferry’s company, he

Life is really short. I only want to spend time with the people I love, minimize doing the things I tolerate and get rid of anything I don’t like doing. — Tom Ferry


The Perfect Match In 1991, Ferry thought he had it all together. “Then, a mentor of mine told me it was time for me to get married,” he laughs. “I was 20 years old and sitting next to a girl I was dating but had no intention of marrying, but it made me think.” Soon after, he listed everything he wanted in a spouse. “I still have that journal,” he says. Two years later, he was introduced to Kathy, now his wife of 20 years. She was a real estate agent with ERA Real Estate in Orange County, Calif., and she had everything on his list. “It took me a year and a

half of lead follow-up to convince her to marry me. It allowed me to become the type of man she would say yes to,” he The struggle that says. They now have everyone faces, me two sons—Michael (14) and Steven (12). included, is that left “[The boys] are polar opposites. My 14-year- to our own devices, we old is fascinated by sell ourselves short. technology and has We’ll always do better built several computers, in a team setting. starting when he was only 5 years old. — Tom Ferry Everyone expects him to do something in technology and

would be awarded the job of president. “That five-year plan took me nine years but I did it,” says Tom Ferry. “I worked as a receptionist, as a receiving clerk and in sales.” He says he also “made every mistake in the book. I hired friends; I was young, stupid and cocky.” Luckily, he made some changes to the business that corrected those mistakes, including hiring Steve Belmonte to be president of his company.

Did You Know? Tom recently brought his kids on stage at an event. Steven and Michael were selling T-shirts to raise money to help a sister school in Ghana buy a piece of land and build an orphanage for 50 children. “It was so inspiring to see my children on stage doing such a great thing.” Lives of Real Estate

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Simply the Best business,” he says. “My 12-year-old is very much like me. He has more energy than he knows what to do with. He’s becoming a really good tennis player, and he’s ranked in the state of California. It’s a passion for him.” A passion of the family is travel. “The boys have had passports since they were 11 months old. They’ve to Australia, Because family is so been New Zealand, all important to Ferry, over Europe and to he worked to build at least 25 states in the United States.” his company culture Because family is so important to Ferry, around it. he worked to build his company culture around it.

His Drum Beat Ferry has also built the company around what drives him, and that’s helping real estate professionals find their personal secret to success.

Ferry speaks to sell out crowds helping them become the best form of themselves possible.

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“In my heart of hearts, I believe that real estate professionals get a bad rap. I want to help them grow and develop into the men and women they want to be,” he says. He does that, he says, by recognizing that much as he does, everyone beats to his or her own drum. “Our customers are diverse. Sure, they share common attributes, but the way they go about things is different. I like to find what makes [agents] tick and help them build their business around it.” Though it took some time to find himself, Ferry has certainly figured out what makes him tick. “At the end of the day, fear drives me and that’s a good thing. I’m mindful that I need to work my [butt] off every day to be the daddy that my kids believe I am. That inspires me to fight the good fight every day.”


Larry Kendall: Quiet Determination When Larry Kendall, a founding partner of The Group Inc. in Fort Collins, Colo., was in first grade, he was diagnosed with life-threatening encephalitis, a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus. When he awoke from a coma, Kendall had a speech defect and paralysis in one leg. “My experience growing up was being the last one picked to play on a team, and I absolutely hated reading out loud,” says Kendall, author of Ninja Selling. Through encouragement from his mom, Kendall eventually regained the use of his leg, conquered his speech defect, went to college and joined the Army. Like most people, he didn’t choose real estate, but rather it chose him. “When I got out of the Army, I couldn’t find a job in Colorado, so I decided to sell real estate. It wasn’t my career dream, but I developed a sales system that worked for me,” he says. He eventually became president of the brokerage with which he was affiliated and trained others on that

Pat and I live a fairly simple lifestyle, yet we try to think big and make a big difference in the world. — Larry Kendall

system. Even then, his thoughts weren’t really about building a coaching company, but more about teaching the agents in his office how

to build a systematic business. That all changed with one phone call from REAL Trends’ founder, Steve Murray. “Steve called me in the early 1990s and asked me to come to Dallas to receive an award for the brokerage. We had the highest per agent productivity of any brokerage company in the United States. That put us on the radar screen,” he says.

Kendall and wife, Pat, enjoy travel and outdoor activities.

Off the Hook Soon, Kendall was getting calls from real estate professionals asking him to train them on his Ninja Selling concept. “There are three keys to success: mindset, skill set and actions. Most sales programs are strong on mindset and actions; we’re strong on

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Simply the Best the skill set side of things,” he says. Kendall says he takes a scientific approach to looking at what top salespeople are doing, figuring out what’s unique to them and then giving them the teachable skills that work best for them. That discovery process and the ultimate chance to make a difference in someone’s life motivate him to continually hone his program. “What I love most Pat and I founded the about teaching is making a Kendall Anderson difference in Nutrition Center to someone’s life. train students to be The way I measure that is through a practicing nutritionists. box of notes. Each year I have an A passion we have empty box in my is combating the office. Each time I obesity trend in the get a personal note that talks United States. specifically about — Larry Kendall how my program

Family first for Kendall and wife, Pat, seen here with son, Matt, son-in-law, Scott, daughter, Kristin, and grandaughter, Tessa.

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changed or improved [a person’s] life, not just career, but life, I put that note in the box. “I received a phone call from an agent who was so excited. She had just walked out of her seventh closing, and she had two more scheduled. She was a single mom of two boys, had lost her house to foreclosure and was living in her mother’s basement trying to get started in real estate. Her broker loaned her money to come to my class,” says Kendall. “I asked her what specifically helped her, and she said it was the morning mindset ritual. Because of her circumstances, she realized, she had a victim mentality and that it emanated negative energy. She said to me that no one wants to do business with a victim, so she had changed her mindset and changed her business.” That’s the sort of thing Kendall lives for. Family Time Kendall realized early in his career


that family time was important to his own growth. He and his wife of 45 years, Pat, have practically grown up together. “I met Pat when I was 18 years old, shortly after I lost my mom and dad. (They died in a car accident.) I was a lost soul in college, and she was and continues to be a great source of inspiration and support for me,” he says. Pat’s been everything from a role-playing partner, when he needed to practice his real estate selling skills, to a business partner. “She’s a life partner.” Pat has her doctorate in nutrition and recently retired from Colorado State, where she was a professor. The two lived in Germany for three years when Kendall was in the Army. “That changed our worldview. We’ve since traveled all over the world,” he says. “Life is about the people you meet, the places you go and the books you read.” The Kendalls have two grown children. Kristin (41), a property manager, is married to Scott Beasley, a real estate professional, and they have a 7-year-old daughter, Tessa. Matt (31) is a sound supervisor in the film business in Las Vegas. “He’s headed to Moscow to do sound for the Miss Universe pageant. He lives an adventurous life,” laughs Kendall. The senior Kendalls live a pretty adventurous life as well, taking bike trips all over the world. Last year, they rode the Oregon Trail over a two-week period. Before that it was a bike trip down the Danube from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary. “We booked a river boat tour, so we just rode along and hopped on the river boat at night to sleep,” he says. They’ve also biked through Spain, Rome and, of course, Colorado.

Living in Colorado, the Kendalls would be remiss if they didn’t enjoy the great outdoors. The entire family are expert skiers, with their favorite place to ski being Copper Mountain. The support of his family is what got Kendall through the early days of his business, and it continues to drive

him today. “Largely, who I am today is due to my parents. They both were people with vision. They were hard workers and instilled in me the importance of being a go-giver, not just a go-getter,” he says. “While I didn’t have them with me through my adult years, they taught me habits that I still have today.” L

Living in Colorado has its advantages, including worldclass skiing, which Larry and Pat enjoy.

DID YOU KNOW? Kendall mostly reads books on selfimprovement, psychology and business leadership. Some recent favorites: “Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success,” by Napoleon Hill, and “How We Decide,” by Jonah Lehrer. Lives of Real Estate

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REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand

Opportunity Chasers The individuals in this year’s REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand know how to spot opportunity and run with it.


No. 1 Individual Salesperson in Both Transaction Sides and Volume answering phones and greeting visitors. He received his Texas real estate broker’s license at age 21. After working with a custom apartment Once Ben Caballero, CMP, MIRM, builder for a few years, president of HomesUSA.com in Caballero started his Dallas, sees a problem, he fixes it. own home-building When, at age 21, he used a rental business, which he service to find a home and was operated until, he unhappy with its handling of the says, “Interest rates transaction, he started his own rental service. “I ran that for a few years, got were up to 17.4 percent. I figured the to know people in the apartment market was volatile, so business and then partnered with a custom builder who built apartments,” I took some time off.” says Caballero, who was ranked No. 1 Caballero found his next opportunity in individual salesperson in both creating a niche business for transaction sides and volume for the homebuilders—problem No. 3 2013 REAL Trends/The Wall Street (Builders needed to get buyers out of Journal The Thousand, an their old homes and into the new ones accomplishment not achieved since quickly) solved. The program REAL Trends has kept a record of Caballero started was a “guaranteed those accomplishments. It was his experience working with builders that buy-out” for families buying a new home, Caballero says. “Builders paid eventually spurred Caballero to build me a fee to insure the sale. It was very the automated system that’s so structured. I would do an analysis of successful today. Another problem the value and get a percentage less solved. commission and closing costs. Owners were free to list with an agent of their Getting Started choice, subject to my approval, and if It’s no surprise that Caballero it didn’t sell, I would buy it.” Soon decided to pursue a career in real after, Caballero developed a flat-fee estate. Both of his parents were real listing system. “Builders save money estate brokers. In high school, by reducing the listing-side Caballero worked in their office Ben Caballero: Finding the Shiny Penny By automating a cumbersome system, this broker was able to see sales skyrocket.

Ben Caballero is the only individual agent to be ranked No. 1 in two categories on the REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand.

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REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand

commission and get a streamlined way to monitor all of their listings,” he says. Launched in 2007, the Internetbased system connects builders with the MLS. He built it because he was frustrated with the time-intensive, inefficient paper-based system he was using. “This system allows us to handle a much higher volume than we would with a paper-based system. An additional benefit is [production of higher-quality listings and creation of] additional builder-centric services that reduce average days on market by 30 to 40 days for builders’ inventory homes,” he says. This, of course, reduces builders’ carrying costs.

Success will increasingly depend on specialization— creating a niche. That’s what my company has done.

Tech Guru Caballero’s fascination with technology gave him the idea to build the system. “I’m in awe of the advances that technology brings to our lives. The pace and breadth of these advances — Ben Caballero challenge people to remain current,” he says. HomesUSA.com “Success will increasingly depend on specialization—creating a niche. That’s what my company has done. Instead of being all things to all people, we’ve selected an area in which to specialize.” His company has nine employees and works with about 30 builders and 650 different individual sales counselors, sales managers and marketing people in the building industry. He says his company can process a new listing and post it to the MLS (the listings are syndicated by ListHub and Point2) in an average of 13 minutes. His passion for business has

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extended into customer service as well. “Providing excellent customer service requires engaging your customers and providing multiple opportunities for them to give feedback. We’re a specialized service, and we’re not competing with other agents to sell homes,” he says. Industry Reform Caballero is concerned about the future of the real estate industry. “I am deeply concerned about certain practices of online publishers such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. While these publishers are bringing us some benefits, they are not governed by any real estate licensing laws or regulations, Multiple Listing Service rules or industry code of ethics.” For this reason, he founded the National Association of Real Estate Professionals. “I live, breathe and eat real estate,” he says. “At the moment, my focus is national in scope. I want to help advance reforms within the online real estate publishing industry. The best ways I can serve my community are engaging in good business practices and participating in industry trade associations to promote ethics in my profession.” Healthy Living Outside his industry advocacy and systematized business, Caballero is vehement about leading a healthy life. “I believe in moderation in just about everything and keeping stress to a minimum,” he says. While he isn’t a fanatical exerciser and doesn’t have a strict diet regimen, he manages stress by shooting hoops and following Dallas’ Cowboys and Mavericks. “It gives me a distraction,” laughs


As for his thoughts on the industry’s future, Caballero says, “One doesn’t have to be a visionary to see that technology is enabling tremendous change within the real estate industry.” One example of that, he says, is the statement by a broker, to an audience at a recent real estate conference, that she has 42 agents and that technology has enabled her to have a monthly telephone bill of only $64. “In addition, her office space is only 2,500 square feet, so most of her staff works remotely. This kind of operation would not have been

possible prior to the advent of tools such as smartphones, tablets and more.”

Caballero. His son, Prescott, has his own ecommerce business and has been a big help to Caballero in building his system. “We complement each other,” he says.

Caballero hopes to capitalize on that tech The most innovative boom and expand his among us will have company’s services nationally. “We’re the best chance to talking to brokers about succeed. It’s an licensing the system and exciting time. doing a private label for national builders who — Ben Caballero would be able to use the HomesUSA.com system and have conformity in all markets to simplify inventory management.” There’s no doubt Caballero will do all he’s set out to do. “The most innovative among us will have the best chance to succeed. It’s an exciting time,” he says.

No. 1 Team by Transaction Volume The Jills— Jill Eber: Sweet Song of Success From performer to top real estate pro, this half of the dynamic duo dubbed The Jills is up for any challenge. When she was growing up, all Jill Eber, broker-associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT in Miami Beach, wanted to do was perform. “It was a dream of mine to perform. My sister and I would

Jill Hertzberg (left) and Jill Eber

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REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand perform for anyone who came to the house. She played piano and I would sing,” says Eber. That dream of performing took her to Boston University, and, when the cold weather came, back to the University of Miami to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. “I played Hodel in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” laughs Eber. After college, she was living the dream, performing at a dinner theater and touring with a Jill Eber is currently band. Then, tragedy struck. “I developed nodes on my volunteering for the vocal cords and couldn’t Special Olympics. speak, much less sing,” she “I support so many says. A girlfriend suggested charities helping she go to real estate school, and the rest is history. “Life terminally ill children happens when you’re not and animals,” she says. planning it!” quotes Eber. At age 26, she earned her real estate license and started selling. Her past experience of performing for others served her well, making it easy to strike up a conversation with a buyer or seller.

she came back one year, we decided to share an assistant; then, we just started doing business together,” says Eber. “The amazing thing is that we found each Eber and her two Shih Tzu poodles, Louie and Ziggy.

Did You Know?

Partnerships After a few years of selling on her own, Eber met the other Jill—Jill Hertzberg. “She would go away to camp every summer and asked me to handle a couple of her listings. When

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other.” The two share many traits and even have birthdays one day apart. What makes the partnership work is that they “have the same drive and passion for what we do,” says Eber. “We have a magical business relationship. We respect each other.” Another magical relationship Eber formed was with her husband, Seth Nachman, who owns a mortgage company. “He is an inspiration. We enjoy life to the fullest,” she says. The couple enjoys paddleboarding and scuba diving. “If I don’t see a shark when I’m scuba diving, I’m bored,” says Eber. The couple travels to exotic dive locations such as Fiji and Polynesia.


Energize Like her “superathlete” husband, Eber doesn’t believe in down time. “I wake up energized. Energy comes from within, and it energizes me to think of the people I’m going to meet each day.” She gets up early to walk, go to a spin class or work out with a personal trainer. “When I go for a walk, I don’t leave my phone at home,” laughs Eber. “I’ll be doing deals or making appointments while I walk.” After her workout, she devotes some time to her two Shih Tzu poodles, Louie and Ziggy. “They are my babies,” she says. Then, it’s off for a full day of work. She and Hertzberg recently sold the Versace mansion at auction for $41.5 million. Believe it or not, that price wasn’t even the record for The Jills. “We hold the record sale (in the area) for $47 million for a residential property on Indian Creek Island,” she says.

“I’ve always had a passion for whatever I’m doing. Now, that passion has moved from singing to real estate.” — Jill Eber

Eber credits her mother, Bertha, for keeping her on track. “She’s my biggest supporter. And, she’ll even call me to find out why my name wasn’t in the newspaper!” The truth is, says Eber, her life couldn’t have worked out better. While she misses performing, she still sings when she can. But, she says, “I’ve always had a passion for whatever I’m doing. Now, that passion has moved from singing to real estate. I’m driven to be the best I can be—no matter what I’m doing.” Jill Hertzberg: Supermom Find out how this mom juggled her career with mom duties. Raising three children and handling a successful real estate career takes a person who works hard and has energy to spare. Add to that a stint directing a summer camp and daily responsibilities managing her children’s after-school program, and you’ve got Jill Hertzberg, broker-associate, the other half of The Jills Team with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT in Miami Beach. “I got my real estate license when my youngest started preschool so I could work when I wanted. At the beginning, my career was secondary to my family,” says Hertzberg. Growing Family and Business As Hertzberg’s children grew, so did her real estate business. So much so, that she suggested to her children’s school leaders that they start an after-school

Jill Hertzberg

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REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand program to enable mothers to get a little bit more work in during the day. Instead of benefiting from that extra time, Hertzberg decided to run it. “The school didn’t think it would fill up, but it did. Eventually, I handed over my director duties to a friend,” she says. Now, her children are grown

It’s Always Something … Every real estate professional has a story of his or her first transaction or a memorable one. Here are two stories from The Jills. Wining and Dining For Jill Eber, working with her very first potential buyer was like a dream. “I was working with a celebrity who was interested in a $1.5 million home in Bal Harbour,” she says. “I ended up driving him to Palm Beach, where he fell in love with a different property. He had a yacht in Fort Lauderdale, so he invited me to dinner so we could finalize the contract. He signed his contract by candlelight while I sipped a martini,” she says. That huge sale earned her a trip to Mexico as well. Dog Gone “Years ago, I had these big clients who were very important to me,” says Jill Hertzberg. The clients were looking for a large property and had narrowed it down to one in Fort Lauderdale. When they came to see the property, they brought their dog, Princess. “The dog was like a child to them. Unfortunately, the owners had dog allergies, and my buyer was told he couldn’t bring the dog inside.” Hertzberg quickly volunteered to stay with Princess outside. “I was walking around the house. It was dark, and all of a sudden the dog shot out of the leash. I almost had a stroke.” Hertzberg ran around the house calling for the dog and even got on her cell phone to call animal rescue. “I was desperate. I was ready to run out and buy a new poodle.” As Hertzberg was frantically searching for the dog, her buyers started calling her name. “They were holding the dog. They didn’t buy that house from me, but we did become friends, and we always chuckle about that.” 22

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and are working with the Jills. Her oldest daughter, Jerri, is an attorney. Her son, Danny, is an attorney, and her youngest daughter, Hillary, is a marketing and advertising specialist. Both work as sales associates for The Jills. Hertzberg has been married to husband, Robert, who is a litigator, for 35 years. Cooking with Love Hertzberg and her husband, who is also an attorney for The Jills, are passionate about cooking, although they don’t always find the time to do it. “Robert can open a refrigerator and make something out of nothing. He is also very into meats and marinades,” she says. “Cooking is a fun activity for me. I love to bake, and my girlfriends and I get together to do so.” She also likes to feed her father, whose wife (Hertzberg’s mother) died last year. “We love making special chicken dishes,” she says. With all that scrumptious food around the house and the stress of her high-level real estate career, Hertzberg runs to keep it all in check. “I used to run marathons; now, I just run for fun. I love to run on Miami Beach in the hard-packed sand. But, I also run when I travel. You can learn a lot about a place just by running or walking it,” she says. Positive Energy After all these years, Hertzberg says she still gets excited when she gets a listing. “Jill and I really like our clients. We want to make them happy. We market the property, get deeply invested in it and build positive relationships,” she says. “My partner


inspires me. She’s always trying to create and make things happen for our business. We also have a mentor in our business, Nancy Quarry, the manager of our office. She always sees the big picture.” But, what Hertzberg finds most inspiring is the way her children have gotten involved in the business. “They think differently. They brought technology to the forefront of our business and changed it five years ago. Change is hard, but necessary.” Through it all, Hertzberg says that her love of what she does drives her. “For me, it’s a dream come true. My life made a lot of left turns that ended

up being right turns,” she laughs. Left turns include “I didn’t have a plan when I went to college. I just tried to make good decisions. I married my husband when I had just turned 23. I just did the best I could, and it worked,” she says. “Sure, things blew up and went wrong, it wasn’t a perfect journey, but it has all been worth it.”

Did You Know? Jill Hertzberg supports Seeds of Peace, an organization that offers a camp to children from war-torn countries. “It teaches them conflict resolutions and gives them an outlet for fun,” she says.

Jill Hertzberg with husband, Robert, and children (from left) Danny, Hillary and Jerri, love family trips and outdoor activities.

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REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal The Thousand

No. 1 Team by Transaction Sides John Murray: Finding the Next Next LORE magazine catches up with John Murray, who was featured in our fall 2012 issue. After building a system to handle a large volume of REO properties, John Murray, who has a background in information technology, saw his business boom. Never one to rest on his laurels, Murray, now managing broker and president of Key Realty in Rockford, Ill., has set his sights on the “next-next” in real estate. He recently merged his agency with United Realty, a company that specializes in traditional sales, in order to “get my Murray, with wife, Tina, love spending family time with existing twins, Madison and James. brokers accustomed to working with nonforeclosed assets,” he says. However, Murray is quick to say that Rockford has a good three-year supply of foreclosures, so that market niche isn’t going anywhere fast. “The Wall Street Journal just named Rockford as the underwater mortgage capital of the world,” he says, “so that’s an indicator of what’s coming down the pipeline.” In addition to getting a head start on the inevitable market turn, Murray says his Realty Pilot software is going gangbusters. “We’re off the stratosphere on that. Our mission is to change the way real estate is valued across the United States. We’re bringing a day-trading mentality into real estate valuation,” he says.

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Realty Pilot is a turnkey, back-office solution to handling sales and listings. Helping Homeowners Living in a depressed area has spurred Murray to join forces with one of the largest developers in town to form a nonprofit. “We’re in the beginning stages. We would like to structure it to be a type of homeownershiprevitalization path, where we help identify federal, state and local funding,” says Murray, who notes that Rockford is still in the throes of high unemployment, soaring real estate taxes and foreclosures. “We want to provide that anchor in the community.” Thriving on Chaos When he’s not working, Murray is spending time training for triathlons and spending quality family time. “I challenged myself to do 10 triathlons in 10 weeks. I did one a weekend and medaled in seven of the 10 races. I was in fourth place in the three races where I didn’t medal,” he says. “I bought a new bike so I could improve my times. I’m all kinds of freaky when it comes to bikes,” he laughs. “I’m amassing quite a collection of bikes and running shoes.” He’s even gotten his 6-year-old twins, Madison and James, into it. “They’re very competitive, so we’re working on the fact that the objective is to race and not maim each other. They’re constantly trying to trip each other,” laughs Murray, who is married to Tina. “They’re so carefree and raw. It’s a circus around here because I’m always chasing them. Then the dogs go wild, and my wife starts yelling at us to settle down. I love it,” he says. L


Buon Vino! Buoni Amici! A Beautiful Friendship

What began on a whim is now a profitable business for Realtor® Steve Chin and his wife, Val. It all started with a 1999 “adventure trip,” says Steve Chin, with Prudential Utah Real Estate in Park City, Utah. Steve, his wife, Val, business partner Ann MacQuoid and her husband, Mac, decided to go away. Partners in Parallel Wines, from left, Steve “The guys were Chin, Bulent Pulak and Mac MacQuoid. going to a John Jacobs golf clinic while Val and Ann were more interested in the food and wine,” laughs Chin. The perfect place for both was Napa Valley, Calif. At the time Ann MacQuoid was working with a different real estate company. She and Steve are now partners in the Chin MacQuoid Fleming Harris team, specializing in development and resort properties in Park City. “Since Ann and I were both in real estate, we naturally picked up an issue of Homes and Land (while on the trip). We were taken by the number of vineyards for sale,” he says. That soon became “Wouldn’t it be fun to own a small vineyard?”

The two couples went home and couldn’t stop talking about it. Pretty soon, they decided to go for it. A Wine Is Born The two couples started researching ways to make it happen, when some friends heard what they wanted to do and asked to partner. Mike and Toni Doilney and Bulent and Mary Pulak round out the group of partners. Finally, the partners bought 14 acres of land near St. Helena, Calif. “We decided to buy acreage, not land that was already planted,” says Chin. From there, they searched for a winemaker. “We wanted a phenomenal winemaker and found that in Philippe Melka. He is quite well known, but in 1999 he was just starting,” says Chin. Well known is an understatement. Melka, born and trained in France, was named Food & Wine magazine’s 2005 winemaker of the year. Next, says Chin, they hired a vineyard manager. “We had the essential three components: great manager, good land and a great winemaker. Now, we just needed to plant the grapes.” Because the group loved red wines, they started with a Cabernet Sauvignon. Eventually, “because the gals wanted a white wine,” says Chin, they started producing a Chardonnay as well. “It’s from the Russian River area of Napa.”

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The Perfect Name After the grapes were planted, it would be another several years before they were ready and the wine could be processed. During that time, Chin and his partners set about finding the perfect name. “Our children nixed the idea of a name and label that had anything to do with animals or a chateau,” laughs Chin. “We wanted something that was cool but reflected our lifestyle. We are very into skiing and moved to Park City for that very reason, so we threw around names related to skiing such as Stem Christie and Snowplow,” he says. Someone threw out the name Parallel, and it stuck. “It was a ‘Wow’ moment,” he says. Passion to Business The first bottles of wine were produced in 2003. Today, Parallel Wines produces 1,800 to 2,500 cases of wine each year. The company has also won several awards, including a “Best in Show Cabernet” for Tasting Panel magazine’s Tour of Double Golds. The wine also scores well in Wine Enthusiast magazine. “It started out as a passion, just a fun hobby,” says Chin. “We wanted a business that we could pass along to our children. We’re still considered a boutique wine, but we’ve grown so much.” The fact is, says Chin, “Real estate is our business. We’d like to grow the winery in moderation. The longterm objective is either to continue as a part of it but let our children take over, or to have a company buy us out and take it to the next level.” He says that “Ann and I spend about 5 percent of our time, but Val and Mac spend a lot more time on it. We also have a manager who lives at the vineyard.”

Parallel Wines are For now, Chin and the group available online and do a lot of in about 10 states, philanthropic events and including New York, network with Illinois, Nevada, other wineries California and Florida. and winemakers. “It’s a passion for the love of wine,” says Chin. For more information on Parallel Wines, go to parallelwines.com. L 26

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Ciao, Italia! Always looking for their next adventure, the Chins and the MacQuoids took a trip to Italy this year to meet with the family that owns the world-famous winery Santa Margherita in Valdagno, Tuscany. “They grow the grapes for Pinot Grigio wine and introduced the wine to the world,” says Chin. The group toured the vineyards and crush facility and talked to company executives about distribution, corks, bottles and labels. “It was an educational tour,” says Chin. “We talked about the soil and what makes it great. We’ve always known that it’s all about the distribution. When people have a glass of wine, no matter how good the product is, you need distribution channels,” he says. “This tour gave us a lot of useful information to improve Parallel Wines.”


How I Got My Start

&

Over Over Again Starting over is never easy. Just ask Randy Martin, who found out that the third time is a charm.

For years, Martin, a sales associate with Watson Realty Corp. Mandarin South in Jacksonville, thought his career would be spent in healthcare. He graduated with his registered nursing degree in 1973 and worked as a nurse for many years. Disaster Strikes Twice When he was 40 years old, disaster struck. He went through a divorce, found himself a single Dad with two children, Chad and Danna, and ended up “emotionally breaking down,” says Martin. “I lost everything,” he says. Martin filed bankruptcy and was forced to start over. “It took me six months to sort out my life, and I got involved in healthcare again as an area director for a homecare agency,” he says. Then, the unthinkable happened— his 21-year-old son was killed. “My son was killed in a wakeboarding accident. The neat thing about Chad was that he was a carefree, loving person. He put a lot of living into those 21 years.” In fact, Martin had been called to visit the emergency room so many times that he wasn’t even concerned when he first heard that Chad was in the hospital.

“This was probably his fifth or sixth accident. He was a daredevil.” At age 50, he was involved in a corporate downsizing. “I was devastated all over again. I was one of the top-performing area directors. What was I going to do now?” After losing his job, Martin decided to take a month off to clear his mind. Soon after, while reading the Sunday newspaper, he saw an ad that caught his eye. “The ad said, ‘Tired of working for the corporate world? Want to be your own boss?’ It was a Watson Realty Corp ad. “I called the next day, met with the recruiter and started a real estate class the following week,” he says. While interviewing with the office broker, Martin mentioned that Sunday’s would be difficult to work due to his commitment to his church. He was reminded that it would be a challenge to be successful in real estate and not work on Sundays. Martin says he has been “blessed to have worked few Sundays and still have a successful career” while maintaining his church commitment. Within the first year, he was named Rookie of the Year and closed just over $5 million in sales. That was August 2002, and he’s with the same office today thanks to the support of his broker and fellow agents. Lives of Real Estate

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How I Got My Start Giving It His All “I invested [almost] every dime I had into my real estate business,” he says. “It wasn’t much because I lost everything at age 40.” However, it was enough to get his name out there. “I put my name everywhere: placemats [in restaurants], ads in the paper, full-page ads in Homes and Land Magazine, which I hand-delivered to my farm area. I started a newsletter, put flags by mailboxes on July 4 and walked the community that I lived in,” he says. But what really put him on the map, he says, is the Easter egg hunt he organized for two communities near a local school. “I had a tent and my business cards, and I got to know people. I maintained 80 to 90 percent of the listings in those Service First neighborhoods for the next several years.” And, from there, During Martin’s first six his geographic territory spread as people moved out of the months in real estate, he got a communities and continued to call on him. “My second year call from a frustrated buyer. “He in business, I doubled my sales to $10 million. The third had spent the day trying to find year I hit $15 million. I wanted to sell $20 million my fourth an agent to show him rentals, and year but I sold just under $19 million.” However, at that no one wanted to do it,” says point, his business, which he calls an addiction, was starting Martin. “I never worked with to hurt the people he loved the most—his second wife, rentals, but I told him I would do Melanie, whom he had married in 1993, his daughter and it. He actually had a house picked stepson, Brandon, with whom he is especially close. out, but needed to see it. I took Scaling Back “I needed to balance my life,” he says. Although a top agent in his office had warned him about burnout, it didn’t hit home until he left his family on Christmas Eve when a customer called to write a contract on a home. “I was in the office at 6 a.m. and wouldn’t leave until 8 or 9 p.m. I realized that I was on a self-destructive path.” Soon after, Martin added two support people, but did not start a team. “I’m the type of person who thinks no one can do it as [well as I can], but I needed to get help.” Martin now works with a marketing person and a closing coordinator. His experience of losing a son has also helped him. “Every day I meet people who are stressed beyond For me, real estate who have lost has never been about belief, children or lost a job,” the money. It’s about he says. “For me, real estate has never been the people. about the money. It’s — Randy Martin about the people,” he says. Martin still gets letters from people he did business with 10 years earlier, giving him an update on their lives. “It’s about relating to someone, listening to him or her and truly trying to

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him, and he rented the property.” However, the man left town without paying the $250 application fee. “The rental agent called to tell me she had forgotten to collect it. So, I wrote the check, and then called the renter to have him send me the money. He couldn’t believe I wrote the check. He sent me the money, and a year later he bought a house from me.” Since then, he and his partner (both real estate investors) have bought more than $5 million from Martin, proving that going above and beyond pays.


understand what he or she is going through.” In fact, Martin still lives in the same $200,000 home that he lived in when he started his real estate career. “I give to my church and to people who are in truly bad financial situations,” says Martin. Even though it’s not about the money, Martin does have a competitive streak in him. “I like seeing my name on the marquee as No. 1 or No. 2,” he laughs. “I have a competitive nature.” At the end of the day, Martin says there are many things that helped him become so successful in real estate, but one stands out. “Whether I’m working with a buyer of a $5 million dollar mansion or a $5,000 piece of land, I treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.” He also feels that a part of his success is the support he has received from his wife, Melanie and his Mom. In his free time, he loves traveling with his wife, and playing with his Chihuahua, Cocoa. Every Sunday he plays the piano for his church as he has for the past 44 years. Now at age 61, Martin is a founding member of the REAL Trends Fellowship of Realty Professionals, an exclusive membership club for super producers. “If you put God first, treat people right and focus on helping the customers accomplish what they want, you’ll succeed.” L

What drives me is seeing people getting what they want. When I sit at the closing table and I see my customers smiling, I feel good. — Randy Martin

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Lives of Real Estate Winter 2013 Edition  

Lives of Real Estate Winter 2013 Edition

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