Getting Referrals As A Real Estate Agent, Having Multiple Passions & Interests & Finding Your Niche In Your Business

Getting Referrals As A Real Estate Agent, Having Multiple Passions & Interests & Finding Your Niche In Your Business

An interview with real estate agent Leah Turner of @nextmovewithleah

Hey, everyone, welcome to Twin Cities collective podcast. I'm your host Jenna Redfield, as always, and here I have a special guests. Miss Leah Turner, welcome. Thank you. This is your first podcast. It is we met at your business mastermind this past fall and you are a real estate guru. Who has been in business for a long time, right?

Leah Turner 1:23

Yes, I have. I've been had my real estate license since 1998.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 1:27

Wow. So that means that you're really experienced what's kind of like your life story. What's How did you get into real estate kind of tell us a little bit about you?

Leah Turner 1:36

Sure. I started in the property management industry in 1996, I had just gone back to college and needed a flexible position. And I was working at a luxury building downtown Minneapolis doing leasing. And I was able to kind of set my hours a little bit around my school schedule. And it took me five years through part time and weekend college to get through my degree. So when I was done, I was pretty well established in the property management industry, and ended up staying in that instead of following my degree, which was an art degree because I thought I was going to be a teacher. And what changed? Why did you switch? I really enjoyed the property management side of things. I liked working with people and had kind of started moving up I was managing properties at that time, had started working with affordable housing programs and had a couple certifications. Yeah, so it just seemed to make sense. And there weren't as many art teacher positions available in the public school system when I was done.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 2:39

It's very, two very different jobs. So did you have so what we'll talk about your art background a little bit in the episode, but so with real estate. So what's I guess the difference between property management and real estate, I'm not in this field. So like I what is property management? And then how did that translate that over into real estate?

Leah Turner 2:58

Sure, for property manager, man, I work for companies that mostly managed apartment buildings in the Twin Cities. So we worked in the office leasing, accounting, different things like that. And one of the companies I was working for in 1998, offered all of the employees in the office the opportunity to get their real estate license, which wasn't required for the position, but I decided why not and went ahead and took the classes, it takes about three weeks to get through all three of the courses you need to take. And then you take a state and national tests that you have to pass in order to become license. So being a real estate agent, once your license has to do with helping people buy sell homes, condos, townhouses and properties.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 3:45

So you basically what you do as a real estate agent is help them find the house, you do all the paperwork, but you've really focused a lot on women. Can we talk a little about that? Because like, you've kind of probably gone with a lot of different people over the years how how did you kind of niche down to women that are looking to buy a home,

Leah Turner 4:04

they kind of found me a home wasn't something I realized I've done a lot of work with first time homebuyers. Just because I think I'm a very patient person. And I'm the type of person that if someone hands me a contract, I'm going to read every single line. So I have the patience to help people you know, make sure you understand what you're signing what you're reading what you're looking at. So as I was kind of getting started, I worked with a lot of first time homebuyers, because you look at a lot of houses, you help them narrow down what they thought they were looking forward to what they really like once they see it in person. And from there, it just, I mean, the majority of the people I work with, know me are our referrals. So as I've started working with more and more women, they're referring their friends, like, my goodness, Leah, listen to me, she heard what I said. And we found what I was looking for.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 4:58

How do you feel like you are different than because I remember when I met you who were telling that like you were different than most people because you feel like you're like a friend of theirs. Like it's just like you're the person holding their hand especially for you work with a lot of people who are divorced or single parents or you know, first time homebuyers. Like house like nervous? Are these people. They're just they're very overwhelmed with the process. And how do you How are you different than most realtors.

Leah Turner 5:26

I am a calming force sorrow. I feel I was just telling one of my clients yesterday that I think I need to take a class another class in psychology, just because there are so many emotions, so many things that go through. And you just need to be able to answer the questions take the frantic phone calls, like oh my gosh, what did I just do? And be able to walk them through what that means in real life. So they understand.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 5:54

Well, that's a good transition because I was going to ask you like what does it look like to be a realtor because you do have to take calls it like we hours I always see realtors like leaving conversation to talk on the phone with someone what is your day look like?

Leah Turner 6:06

You know, it's interesting you say that, because I just posted a picture on Instagram this weekend. I had buyers that found a house that we were pretty sure was going to go into multiple offers. They hadn't quite decided what they wanted to offer. And they were going out for their anniversary dinner and I was going to a surprise engagement party in Uptown. So at 1130 Saturday night, I had my laptop, my hotspot on the trunk of my husband's car, right in an offer to get it in by midnight. Oh

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 6:38

my gosh. That's like one of those like college stories where you try to get a college paper in by midnight on your laptop that I did that too many times? Yeah. So if there is a lot of deadlines, there's a lot of my parents actually, when they bought the house there and now it was like a battle like, like offer battle. So it was kind of like we'd offer and then somebody else would go up and we offer again. And finally the reason we got it was there was some sort of paperwork error. And that's why they got the house. So there is a lot of legal things. How did you learn all that is that part of the training,

Leah Turner 7:12

the training covers the law and regulations, everything else you pretty much learn on your own. I was thankful I had a lot of good people that were doing real estate in my life through the years that I've been able to ask questions. And I'm always I like to learn I'm always taking classes to see you know, what are the changes in the forums each year? What are the changes and regulations, and you just have to keep doing it. I wrote a lot of practice contracts just because I'm a bit of a perfectionist. So I kind of wanted to know everything, which isn't possible. But

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 7:49

so with real estate, a lot of it is it's almost you basically are self employed. I mean, a lot of it you might be working with like an like the real estate agents. Which one do you work for?

Leah Turner 7:59

I I'm working for Keller Williams Realty lead in Eden Prairie right now.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 8:03

But basically what the thing that a lot of people don't think about is you have to do your own marketing and all that stuff. So how so beyond referrals, I know you've really kind of started doing more online online. How has that been going so far?

Leah Turner 8:16

I enjoyed the online and social media I like because I get to be creative. So I feel that art side of me come yet. So I really have enjoyed that part. But yes, it is. You do everything I designed my own business cards, my flyers, I have to figure out my own disability insurance, how much to put for retirement, kind of all of that stuff.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 8:40

Yeah, you are basically your own boss at that point. I mean, you're working for a larger company, but you're doing everything. So how did you learn all of that stuff? Does that just by over time just figuring it out? Or did was it some of those people that help do

Leah Turner 8:56

that is something you figure out over time, you really have have to kind of figure out what works for yourself. When I first started, I said yes to everything, because I was so worried if I said no to someone when they asked that no one would ever asked me again. And I'm just finally now kind of coming into my own that yes, I can do it. But it doesn't may not fit with what I'm doing right now. So I've been building up my referral network for people that can handle other things. For people,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 9:26

how many clients do you have at one time?

Leah Turner 9:29

It varies. Depending it depends a lot on the market right now I have five, which is a lot. But it just really depends on when people are ready to buy and reach out and ask.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 9:42

And right now I feel like the housing prices are like really high is that at least they were in the last few years. How does that does that? How does that affect your business to all the pricing?

Leah Turner 9:52

Yes. So March of this year, the Twin Cities metro area hit its highest median sales price since they started tracking these numbers 15 years ago. It is very great for buyers or for sellers. Yeah, excuse me. Yeah, because they are getting historic sale prices, multiple offers and doing really well. It is more difficult for buyers. I have one buyer that we wrote an offer for last fall, and we were one of 32 offers. Did they get that one they did?

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 10:29

Yeah, it's kind of like that's that's just, it's based off, like whoever is the highest right here is a kind of are.

Leah Turner 10:37

Some of it is based off the highest there is a lot of cat more cash buyers in the market than there have been in a long time, which makes it more difficult for people that have mortgages are using an FHA or even Unfortunately, the veterans loans tend to lose out, that's too bad. But I have in six multiple offer situations 159 we were not always the highest, but it goes back to that paperwork. And the agent said they were the best written offer. I didn't make mistakes or miss things. So they wanted to that stood out it shows how good you are what you do.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 11:16

So basically, what are some of the challenges people have when they're first buying a home? Like? Is it just this? Like, what is this stuff that may be? What are some of your most frequently asked questions when people are buying a home?

Leah Turner 11:30

Sure, the biggest thing I see is credit scores a lot of people are using the free services, like Credit Karma are going online and they see their credit scores. And those numbers from even the three credit bureaus do not necessarily translate into the FICO score that a mortgage company is going to use. So people may think their scores are higher or lower than what they actually are in relation to a mortgage. The other thing that I get a lot is for so many years after the kind of the 2007 to nine market is that you have to have 20% cash down to buy a house. And that is not the case, you can get now get a conventional mortgage for as low as 3% cash down, and FHA is 3.5% down.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 12:22

That's really good to know, because I think I want to ask how, because you were probably a realtor during that time. What was that like?

Leah Turner 12:31

That was it was difficult because people were needing to sell houses that you know, if they had done adjustable rate mortgages, the payments had ballooned, where they couldn't afford, they were needing to sell. And they weren't they were underwater, so they weren't able to appraise out or get the price of what they owed on the house.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 12:51

And that kind of changed by the time obviously now but like that was that the people slowly get out of that or how did that what did you see it slowly coming back? or How was it more fast? What would you say?

Leah Turner 13:03

It was a slow recovery, the mortgage companies really revamped a lot of their programs and underwriting so that people weren't kind of over called fired for mortgages and amounts. So it's definitely turned back around.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 13:19

Yeah. Did your business suffer at all during that like, specifically you like or was it everyone was struggling or

Leah Turner 13:26

everyone was struggling? There were a lot of agents that left the business behind it. My for me, it was a good time for buyers. And I work with a lot of buyers.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 13:39

Yeah. Oh, well, there you go. So yeah, because there are people that work more with sellers and more with buyers. Is that just because you probably work with both, but how do you decide which one you want to work with?

Leah Turner 13:50

A lot of agents prefer sellers because the house is there, and they just have to market it with buyers, you have to go find interest so people can specialize when they depending on the time they have available. I mind most of the sellers I know our family, friends or friends to my parents that are getting ready to sell things like that. Or if someone that I help them buy their house, they're selling them and we're buying again.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 14:19

I was gonna say cuz sometimes they do both. Usually they're selling and buying correct. So that's interesting. I never thought about that. It's so funny, because like, I watch like House Hunters? I don't know if like, is that realistic? It is not? It definitely doesn't seem like it. What is your opinions on those shows? I like what's what's different than real real estate stuff.

Leah Turner 14:41

I think the hard part is that people don't realize all the behind the scenes and how much else goes into finding those three houses that you see on House Hunters. And I haven't seen any houses that no one would live in and how centers and there are a lot of those houses out there. I'm sure. So people if buy their third house, they haven't found the 10 the expectations are a little bit harder to manage. And the same with kind of the HGTV network. People walk in and they want that neutral new cabinets, stainless steel, and

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 15:19

is that well all your buyers are like to at first they're like, Oh, I want everything and then they're like, Oh, that's way too much out of my budget. Is that kind of what happens or it does

Leah Turner 15:27

happen. I when my buyer consultations, I sit down and we go through a pretty detailed you know, what are your you know, give me the laundry list? What's your dream home? And then we work from there and narrow down to can you live with a bath and a half versus the bathroom? Three quarters? Do you need that three car garage or will to work now because the teens won't have a car for a few more years? So really trying to find out up front? What are your non negotiable goals? What are your in the perfect world call from

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 16:00

Do you spoke focus on like a specific area town or you just do everything that don't cities?

Leah Turner 16:04

I do my farming network that I send marketing materials to is kind of St. Louis Park Golden Valley, new hope, that area. But I sold the house in Santee last. So I'm kind of

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 16:20

kind of anywhere in Minnesota. So if you're listening and you're looking for a realtor, you can live wherever and she'll help you out. So what, like when you're actually working with a client? Do you ever turn any clients down?

Leah Turner 16:34

I have not had to fire a client. Yeah. Okay. But I also have not been fired. So I think that kind of speaks to our initial meeting, and how comfortable people are in talking with me and giving information

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 16:49

because I think that that that shows to that, like, you know, you work with a lot of different people. I mean, you kind of tend to focus more on women, and they probably are referring, you know, a friend of hers a friend, and they're probably good people, you know, so it's interesting. Have you ever had any just like cold lead come to you? Or

Leah Turner 17:06

how does that work? I just got my first cold lead. And I'm actually trying to figure out how to call it cuz I'm like, I don't know what to say. Yeah, most of the time. I'm like, Hi, I'm Leah, so and so called you. So I have to work on a new script.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 17:19

Yeah, that's interesting, because I feel like most most people listening to this episode are probably working with cold leads, they found them on Google, or they found them on Instagram. And they're like, I don't know, you or anyone that you know, but I like you know, want to work with you based off of what I see. So I think that's really cool that you've never had to deal with that. Because I'm like, that happens to me all the time. Let's talk a little bit more about like how you fit your, your actual personal life into your business, because you're really into art. And I feel like that's really cool. And I'm like, I don't want to just talk about real estate all the time. Like, let's talk about like what you're actually interested in, because I think having someone who has these other passions is really So can you tell us a little bit about your like art background? Sure.

Leah Turner 18:04

So I've got a degree in studio art, and I drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and of all of that when I thought I was going to be teaching it. And I've had opportunities over the years I've taught classes art classes for Boys and Girls Club, the why different things like that to keep up with it. Arts, something I've just always enjoyed. I started my own kind of art company. Seven years ago, I think it was and so I did a lot of craft fairs and art shows and it's kind of moved over the years I did ceramics for a number of years jewelry. Now I'm doing making the very popular wood signs, the core and that stuff that you're seeing and Hobby Lobby and my Yeah, everywhere.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 18:48

Are they custom? They are Costco, I might have to get one. You mentioned you wanted to start a gallery or something. I just remembered that is that still on the border ship, I love to talk about that. Yes,

Leah Turner 19:01

that is still on the board. One of the things with being fully self employed, I wanted to be able to find a space and I've started actually have an appointment tomorrow to look at a commercial space to I want a co op artist retail slash studio space. So some place where artists can display their stuff. And we have a I've got a business concept behind that. That's very different from what's out there. But then also kind of a co workspace for artists Oh cool, where you'd have spaces where you could store your stuff, but then kind of big tables in areas where you could spread out and work just because studios are very tough to find. And they're very expensive. So if I could do something where you could, because right now like my dining room table is covered with wood that's been stained that needs to be painted that needs a stencil that needs hand painting. And I need to move off my dining room table. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 19:58

So that's really a interesting because I think there are probably a lot of people listening that either artists or you know, or they're artsy at some something. So how are you friends with a lot of artists, you know, a lot of people in that community, how are they you know, selling and how are you selling your art?

Leah Turner 20:15

Yes, I do have a lot of artists, friends and crafty friends and things like that. I have done shared studio space at Northrop King building a couple different times. So I know people through that. And I was mostly doing craft fairs. And because what I do, I do a lot of custom. I stopped doing craft fairs because Christmas two years ago, I literally was working full time making custom signs for gifts. So I found that fall crafts fairs been very busy Christmas season for sure. So right now, when I have the time to do signs, I'll post on Facebook because I always booked up. So I didn't do any craft fairs last year for the first time.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 21:00

Do you saw it at all?

Leah Turner 21:02

I haven't done at sea because by the time I posted, I have too many things. But I haven't done it for a while.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 21:09

Because I I haven't Etsy shop for stock photos. And I've had it for four years. But it's interesting because like I just changed so much. And like what I don't sell as much as I used to just because I also don't promote it or like I literally haven't talked about it I don't think I've ever talked about in the podcast maybe once or twice. So it's just like interesting that like Etsy and Facebook marketplace. I didn't mention like, that's a huge place to sell. Yes, it's insane. And it's just like people finding it is people you know, or is it just random people?

Leah Turner 21:44

A lot of people I know know that. I do art and I would collect at craft fairs, people would leave their email address. So you know, to find out what other events I was doing. So I'd pick up new people through the craft fair.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 22:00

Hmm, that's really interesting that you like have these almost it's almost like a side hustle for you just because it's like a passion. Have you ever thought about doing that full time? Or is that not really still doing real estate? So

Leah Turner 22:12

I'll probably always still do some real estate. But yes, if I could go and art full time and fulfill your

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 22:21

fulfill your college degree,

Leah Turner 22:23

makes my parents very happy. Nice.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 22:26

So if somebody is like wanting to get into real estate or something along those lines, what are some advice that you have for them?

Leah Turner 22:36

I would say seek out a couple different people at different stages of being real leaders and talk with them and get some different people that are different places, different spots. And I think the big thing for me and my personality, as I like to know think what I'm getting into up front. So I took a lot of classes on being a business this person. And you know, some through women ventures through the library and through score. Yep. Because I'm like other people have businesses if I don't have to completely reinvent the wheel. And so I found that very helpful and started out with an LLC very quickly from the top and insurance and figuring out that Yeah, I need to save for retirement.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 23:25

That's really good. I don't know if you've ever talked about that on here. I've been to all those I've been to score I've been to I haven't been to women venture but I did go to the St. Thomas has like a business program where you can get free business. A lot of people don't know this, you can just go and like get business advisors and mentors. It's really cool. And then what was the other one? So you school I know library? They was that the one that Springboard for the Arts? Was that the one? Yes,

Leah Turner 23:47

springboard does a lot of really great things. They

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 23:49

do a lot of stuff for artists to I've been to some of those classes, but they have like a business plan. One, I don't know. I've been to some of their classes at the library. But I think that's really cool. Especially if you're starting out I think how that foundation of like what a businesses and what a small businesses is so helpful. So is there any like lessons biggest lessons you've learned from starting a business that you could share, like over the years, like maybe what not to do or what to do with running a business. I mean, there's so many ways you can go. But

Leah Turner 24:17

I would say the two biggest things for me were know your worth, know how much know what value you're bringing into your business. So you can tell people why you're different. And what that peace of mind is really worth in the marketplace. And also, in knowing your worth, decide if you're really the best person to be doing things. I thought I was the perfect person to design logos and things like that, because I have an art degree. But it also takes me longer to do because I'm a perfectionist, a graphic designer can give me what I want in less than half the time and I wouldn't can use.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 24:56

I think outsourcing and knowing when Yeah, when did DIY or actually hired out is so valuable because like, I decided not to do my own LLC, I hired a lawyer because I'm like, I don't want to mess this up. And I would take I could do it myself. But it would take me a while to figure it out. So I'm like, I'll just pay her still do it. And I'll keep working on my business, you know. So it's like, it's interesting, what people outsource. And I think that's really good to know that like, you don't have to do it all. Yeah, I mean, you have your skills and people have their skills, and it'll take you way less time to try. I need to tell myself that because I just learned everything and do it. My

Unknown Speaker 25:35


Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 25:36

Yeah, but it's interesting. So I just wanted to thank you for being here because I think that you're someone that I think everyone should meet if they're looking for a realtor, what kind of are the ways that they can reach out to you? So like social media, email, all that stuff?

Leah Turner 25:53

Yes. So I'm on Facebook as Leah Turner. Its next move with Leah. Instagram. I'm next move with Leah. www dot next move with and my email is Leah at next move with Leah calm.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 26:10

Got the branding all there. I love it. It's so great. Well, thank you so much for being here and I'll talk to you all next week. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield. Make sure to click subscribe if you haven't already. And make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks again for Ian at Studio Americana for producing this episode as well as Melanie Lee for designing the podcast art and thanks to Nikolai had less for the use of the song in the intros outros. Thanks so much again, and I'll see you next time.

Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

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