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Ask McEnearney: Coronavirus Took My Job — Can I Turn What I Know Into a Career in Real Estate?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Karisue Wyson, Director of Recruiting & Agent Support at McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article, contact Karisue at 703-615-0876 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Coronavirus took my job. Can I turn what I know into a career in real estate?

Answer: The Coronavirus pandemic has led to many professionals unexpectedly reevaluating their current career paths. Jobs in the hospitality, travel, retail and education industries are in peril as unemployment reaches double-digit figures due to containment measures that have restructured so much of our lives.

Real estate offers an attractive option for those with excellent customer service, managerial, education and sales skills as these are the building blocks to becoming a successful agent. If your current industry is undergoing upheaval, here are ways to translate what you do well to cultivating clients and becoming a trusted advisor in real estate.

Hospitality: Working with the public has taught you how to listen to guests and anticipate their needs. You’re a multitasker who knows how to prioritize your day and adjust as needed when confronted with a challenge — or an opportunity. You have an attention to detail that ensures nothing is left to chance for the maximum enjoyment of your guest. You know that you will only get the job done well with the assistance of others and collaborate easily.

You are comfortable assisting a wide range of guests with diverse backgrounds and needs and thrive on the unpredictable nature of working with new people. The opportunity to learn something new every day keeps you going and ensures your guests recall it was you who helped create that memorable stay, meal, or event that they will never forget.

Travel: Logistics and deadlines are your native language! You are a planner who does your research based on the dreams, aspirations and experience of your clients. You are managing many moving pieces at once and know that your carefully crafted plan can be upended with one missed connection, so you’re prepared to assist at a moment’s notice and are ready with back-up plans.

Clients appreciate your clear communication skills and will return to your company year after year and refer others to you because you gave them an experience they will remember forever. (Being paid on a commission basis doesn’t scare you and you know what it’s like to do the work upfront without payment. You know how to have conversations about commission because you know how much value your services bring.)

Retail: There are a lot of people who claim to be great salespeople, but you have what it takes to make great deals come together. You are a natural connector because you are naturally curious about others. You ask questions, probe deeper, listen for what is not being said, ask more questions, offer alternatives and help your client narrow their choices. You know how to apply your professional knowledge and not your personal opinion when a client asks, “What do you think?”

You guide your clients through the decision-making process so that they feel empowered in their choices and not stuck in “analysis paralysis.” As a manager, you know how to create a team that maximizes the strength of all its members and increases the bottom line. You earn the trust and repeat business of your clients and the loyalty and respect of your colleagues because you listened, cared and delivered exactly what they needed.

Education: It’s not easy to take something complex and make it understandable to everyone, but you do it with ease. You are patient and can adapt your lessons to the level of the student you are working with. You have excellent leadership skills and can command the attention of even the most distracted minds. You are organized and have a plan that works, but you also know how to adapt it as new tools and information become available. You are also creative, finding new ways to solve problems and bring fun into what can be an unfamiliar and unnerving process.

Most importantly, you are empathetic and don’t take it personally when someone gets frustrated that things aren’t going the way they expected. As a result, you’ve got a wide network of people who trust you and count you as one of the most important people in their lives.

There are many paths to becoming a realtor and every agent started with their own unique story about what led them to real estate. What’s your story? Visit and then call me at 703-615-0876 to see how McEnearney Associates can help you write the next chapter.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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