906: How to Thrive Through the Next Recession with Karen Briscoe

May 28, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to stifle the economy, we could be on the brink of a major recession. Today’s guest, record-setting Realtor Karen Briscoe, sold real estate through some of the worst recessions in recent history, including the global financial crisis. On this podcast, Karen shares how she stays positive and profitable in a bad economy to help listeners thrive through tough times. She also discusses the indicators of a shifting real estate market and explains why home values should hold through 2020.
Karen Briscoe4 Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • Why coronavirus may strengthen D.C.’s housing market [3:37]
  • COVID-19’s impact on housing inventory [7:15]
  • How consumer confidence affects the real estate market [10:20]
  • Indicators of a market shift [15:08]
  • How past recessions impacted D.C.’s housing market [20:45]
  • Karen’s predictions on home values in 2020 [24:32]
  • Karen’s real estate books [31:50]
  • The affirmation that changed Karen’s life [36:31]
  • Karen’s advice to those who are struggling now [40:54]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Karen Briscoe Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of “Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day”. Over the years, the group has sold over 1,000 homes valued at over $1 billion. Karen and her family are active members of Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean, Virginia – their home since 1994. It was at Trinity Church that Karen met Sue and Jerry Huckaby and joined the Sue Huckaby Team. Sue said that their “partnership was made in heaven”. Karen is an Associate Broker in Virginia and a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist with the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. She works with both Sellers and Buyers in McLean, Great Falls, Falls Church, Arlington, Vienna, Alexandria, Reston and Oakton, Virginia. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, Texas. Further, she worked in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Before moving to northern Virginia, Karen completed a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Her BA is from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown. Through HBC Group, Karen launched Community Charity Champions to raise funds for local non-profit groups and was awarded by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce for the Social Corporate Responsibility Award for 2012. Karen has been a Board member for Lift Me Up!,a therapeutic horseback riding program for children and adults with disabilities in Great Falls, Virginia since 2006. In 2013, Karen joined the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce as a Board of Directors member and in 2015 was named Vice Chair. She is also a valued voice in the real estate community as a contributing author for Inman News, REAL Trends, and locally for The McLean Connection and The Sun Gazette Fairfax newspapers. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Aaron Amuchastegui: Real Estate Rockstars. This is Aaron Amuchastegui. Today I’m getting to interview mega agent Karen Briscoe. She’s going to be able to introduce you to the numbers that she did last year and this year so far with just three agents. When you think about the stuff that she’s doing, it’s really amazing. More interesting, some of the stuff we’re going to talk about is just recessions years past. She has been through this before. Right now, we’re in the middle of quarantine, which is a different sort of recession, but there are a lot of things that we can talk about for dos and don’ts in real estate, and especially, in life and survival in times like this. Karen, welcome back to the show. How many times have you been on this show?

Karen: Oh, my gosh. Real Estate Rockstar Nation, this is my third time, each with a different perspective. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity with you because the other two times were with Pat Hiban, my good friend.

Aaron: Yes, Pat is a great friend of mine, too. I am glad that you were lucky enough to be interviewed by him a couple times before having to come in with me. Hopefully, I can live up to a little bit of the way that he used to do the show for you. Tell us, where is your office at, and what volume are you doing with your team out there?

Karen: The team is located inside the Beltway of the Washington DC Metro Region on the Northern Virginia side. Think CIA, think Tyson’s Corner, every time you see the movies where they show Langley, and nearby to where Amazon HQ2 is now located.

Aaron: Wow, what an interesting spot. I’ve interviewed a lot of agents lately from that area. I say a lot, I’ve had three or four people in the last couple months that live near there. Overall, a lot of them have said during past recessions, Washington DC in that area just plugs on the same because whether the market’s going up or the market’s going down, people need government. The government stays big or gets bigger, and they haven’t seen many changes up and down in the real estate market. What is your opinion on that? Is that an accurate assessment?

Karen: Yes, that is generally true. The Metro Region expands, it doesn’t contract. That being said, we have felt impacts. The dot-com bust around 2000. 9/11, actually, the market pretty much stalled. Took some time for people to get confidence back. We’ve had sequestrations. In the one of after 9/11, the rational exuberance, we actually experienced more rational exuberance because of the build-up of Homeland Security at the same time. We then had a pretty meaningful correction. That being said, I anticipate a very similar– could have a very similar phenomenon happen with this COVID-19 because as the Homeland Security build-up occurred after 9/11, we anticipate that there will be a health infrastructure. We have NIH already, Johns Hopkins, Amazon HQ2, which has got a lot of importance in terms of the data storage capacity and just providing the bandwidth. We anticipate that, long-term, the market area will benefit from, as it has, ongoing, being so near the state of government across the river.

Aaron: You guys have started the year really strong. You’re at $40 million in sales or something so far, which is really amazing. A lot of people had a great start to 2020. What has business done in the last 30 days? What are buyers and sellers doing out there? Have you redone your estimate for 2020 yet?

Karen: Yes, it is really beneficial that we front-load in 2020. It wasn’t intentional. It was really we were just on a roll after 2019. I actually anticipated that there was going to be some sort of market correction in 2020. I remember telling all my clients of January and February, “Do it now while we all know that we’re in an exuberance seller market. I’m predominantly a listing agent, as most mega agents are. I anticipated it was going to be a correction at the fall of the year associated with the election, which is more typical. We’ve had 10 years, a decade, of recovery and expansion, generally. We’ve had a couple little small blips of sequestrations that we have, and also, Dodd-Frank impacted our market, but this was really– we were reaching peak prices over and over again, going over peak prices.

Those things aren’t sustainable, so I had started to prepare my clients for that, and I really kept telling them the first-mover advantage, “Get out there early. Get your house sold.” That turned out to be very prophetic because everybody who did that, did get their houses sold. We are still putting houses on the market at a much slower pace, I would say, because our dollar average is about $1 million. $900,000 to $1 million is our average sales price. We were typically putting on two houses a week, selling two houses a week. Right now, we’re putting on one house a week, and still selling two houses a week. The thing is is we’re running out of inventory. That’s the biggest thing I see that’s slowing down the market is the seller’s hesitation for putting their houses on the market.

We’ve increased our messaging to the marketplace. We hadn’t really done videos extensively, but we are one or two times a week sending out video messages to our clients to show them how we can help them in this time. The other reason why I’m really hopeful about housing market is that in this time of shelter place and sanctuary, the thing that people are discovering is the things about their house that doesn’t work for them, or maybe it worked before but it doesn’t work now. One of the most significant trends we’re seeing is people wanting more physical space, more physical distancing.

Aaron: Yes, people have– they’ve never spent as much time in their houses as they have now. They’re seeing the things that they’re going, “Hey, I never really liked that.” Now, they really don’t like it. Some of that stuff gets so amplified. We’ve had a lot of people on here, and talk about– There’s still a lot of people that have to sell right now. People are still listing. When you’re reaching out to people and they’re telling you, “Hey, I was going to list but now I’m going to wait it out,” what advice are you giving those people that are potential clients out there? Are you telling them they should go ahead and list now, and why? What is that script that you could share with some of our listeners?

Karen: Well, it’s really we’re the customer service business and one message that we have found to have the most impact is that we’re here for you to serve your needs. What we’re helping them through is a lot of times just in their mind the logistics just I’m wanting to know how the process works, and we had put in as many agents have the processes and systems for– Like for example we had an open house this weekend and a new listing on the market, and the people were living in the house. We set up the other showing time system so that only one group would be in the house at the time. The agent is on-site to manage the movement through the house and those kinds of things.

I find it when the clients understand how we can help them with technology, we can help them with putting in good systems, that gives them the confidence. If that level of confidence, then they also need the confidence on the other side. It helps that they have a place to go. Where we’re seeing also on the other end is that the people are ready to move, but don’t have a place to go. We need both an increase in supply of– It works both ways because if you’re going to sell your house, you need a place to buy put their house on the market.

Really, ultimately, the whole market depends on everybody having confidence. If you think back to the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, and I know this seems like, “Why is she bringing this example right now?” George Bailey when he was in the savings and loan, and it was during the stock market or the market crash in the 1920s, he was explaining to his neighbors, his community, that we all rely on each other. The ability for one person to move depends on the other person to move. In the case of him, he was talking about money. For one person to be able to borrow money to build a house, that required that somebody else to put their money in the bank and have that confidence.

The entire economy and system and communities are built on the fact that we all believe that by taking our action we’re not putting ourselves vulnerable because that’s where people are feeling that they want to try and manage that risk. Increasing those with explaining ways that we can help people is one way, and then finding them motivated because there are people that have real external needs for moving and then there are people that just have an internal need, but we think that that’s going to become even more evident as we see some loosening of some of the state guidelines. The Northern Virginia, Washington DC suburban Maryland have stayed as an essential service, real estate had because of homeland security. We were fortunate, at least, in our market area that we had been serving people’s needs all the way through the crisis.

Aaron: Being able to be that essential service. You’re right, for real estate to work, everybody needs to do their part. You need to have the entry-level houses and the entry-level buyers, you need to have that move up for them to go to. Someone says, “Hey, I want to sell my house right now but I want to make sure there’s a house to go to.” I’ve been telling everybody. We listed a house that I had just moved out of right when quarantine started. We had that listed on the market 40 days ago. My agent worked really hard on it. He did great pictures, great virtual tours, everything that he could do to market that thing. The transaction is still happening. Now it’s going to close in about a week. We were able to sell our house that the– We didn’t know we were going to have to sell it until this started, but we had just moved into a new house right when that started.

As we jump back a little bit too, you talked about– I think most people over the last year before coronavirus happened has said, “Hey, we’re at a peak. Hey, this can’t last forever. The prices have gone up for a long time.” A lot of people were trying to time them. People were selling assets going, “Hey–” I would tell people I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but there’s a better chance that my house would be worth less a year from now than worth more a year from now. I’ve been saying that for a few years. I thought we were peaked out maybe a year ago, and then in six months ago, and then a few months ago. I think what everybody was failing to see was what could cause this because everybody said, “Hey, we’re at a peak but nothing slowing it down anytime soon.” Did you hear much of that, feel that way?

Karen: Again, I thought it was going to be election-related. If you look back at the last recessions, and it’s interesting because some people– I’m not an economist, but some economists say the market was ready for a correction then it found COVID-19, or COVID-19 found it. The market was ready for a correction.

Aaron: It just needed a domino. Yes.

Karen: I would say that if you were going to, “Okay, how do I predict the future?” Well, the past performance is the best indicator of future results even though your financial adviser will say not to rely on them, but that’s why the muscle memory of looking at what’s happened in the last recessions and how long these market cycles last typically because really truly nobody can predict the future. We do have signs and indicators that we can look at. One of the indicators is that when the market gets completely out of balance one way or the other, I track supply and demand on a quarterly basis for our market area. It was a tier-two market, so in the upper bracket, there’s plenty of supply and not as much demand. When you get down into the more affordable brackets, there’s a lot of demand and not a lot of supply. When you have these scenarios, oftentimes those are indicators that something is going to happen in the market to shift it. Just think about how fast it shifted. Oh my gosh. Did you see the– What was that movie that came out that was in Korea? I wish I could remember it, but anyhow, it was Parasite. Think about it how fast they shifted places. The person who was in power control and the other person is in power control, and that’s what happened in markets. Whenever one is getting really out of whack, that’s usually a sign that something is going to shift. Really truly, Warren Buffet even says he doesn’t even time it perfectly because nobody really can time it perfectly. You can generally see the signs when you’re starting to peak and then you could see signs when you’re on the other side of the peak, and same with– It’s a little bit harder on the because this is when markets are peaking, people have a lot more confidence. When markets are correcting, people have less confidence. What could happen is you could end up with the death of a thousand cuts. He could just follow the market down multiple times all the way down and that could be very painful. You usually getting ahead of a market, and those scenarios are one of the best strategies.

Aaron: Some of the steps I’ll need to remember 10 years from now at the top of our next one but, as you described that, I think Northern California a few months we would have seen that. You’d have seen that under 400,000, there was a month and a half inventory, but for sales price over $1 million, there was 12 months inventory. That was a very, very extreme difference. We’re like, “Hey, we’re in a really, really hot market and everything is really high, except for once you get over $1 million there was a only a few buyers out there and lots of products out there.” That is something interesting too. I had never heard that as something to track before, at least, a comparison between those. We have seen it but not knowing it like, “Hey, this is a sign of something to come.”

Aaron: Let’s talk about your experience in last recessions. You talked about they happened during election year, but now we’ve had them every 10 years-ish. Your business, you were in real estate during those times, is that right?

Karen: Yes. I graduated college in 1981 [chuckles] which was a recession. [laughs]

Aaron: Yes. Right at that time.

Karen: That recession was based on oil and gas shortages. Can you imagine? We just don’t even believe that that could ever happen. There was very tight money. Monetary policy in the ’70s, very high-interest rates. I always like to say, my business partner, who’s now deceased, but she was in business in the ’70s, if you could sell a house at 18%– [chuckles] Think about it.

Aaron: Right. 15% interest rates in the early ’80s was the normal.

Karen: It was. In fact, people were very creative and resourceful. That’s the point I would want to say in terms of learning how to manage the market at the moment. I was doing a training during the whole “coming soon” status early in this 2020, and when agents were vying for inventory and all the MRIS rules about “coming soon”. I was like, “What we should be teaching agents is how to be scrappy because they will be something different.” Right now, it’s “coming soon”. Really, you have to learn how to be resourceful and scrappy because in the ’90s, that recession in ’91, that was around the Gulf War, is generally what they attribute it to. Then 2000 was the dot-com bust, remember that? There was a major correction. A lot of large numbers happened there. Stocks and startups, anything that had a .com after it was running up. We had a correction associated with that.

Then 9/11. 9/11 really is the most impactful market in the last half-century because of what happened afterwards with monetary policy. Government in that situation decided to be very free with money. The other thing that was different about 9/11, it was not just an economic. We weren’t coming out of just an economic situation. We were also experiencing a security and safety. That is important to think about.

Aaron: I’ve found a lot of people talk about, “Hey, does this feel like an ’01-type correction or does it feel like 2007, 2008-type correction?” Obviously, the ’01 was the correction, but not as much financially as the ’07, ’08 correction, was just absolutely crazy for real estate prices. When you bring up that idea, so September 11th wasn’t just real estate and financial recession of the businesses that happened there, but it was also a safety issue.

People changing habits at that time because that’s when we had to start taking our shoes off when we flew and that’s when we had to change the way that we were living at that time. I could see that comparison being very similar to what we’re going to see now. As we’re opening stuff back up, it may be that every time we fly, we fly with masks now. God forbid, I hope that’s not what’s going to happen.

Karen: It’s already happened. Trust me.

Aaron: Right. It is happening now. How long will they say, “You always have to fly with masks or not”? Especially because the airport used to be a place that they would never have wanted you to cover your face, and now, they’re going to be requiring people to do that. When I think about what you said there, 2001 was two of those changes, but that time the government policy came and injected a ton of cash in the market, a ton of subsidies, a ton of bailouts, a lot of things that way, and then the housing market had a huge run-up after that.

Do you think this is the correction that we’re going to see now? I guess there’s some comparisons to September 11th as far as that extra change, but do you think we’re going to see a price correction like what we saw in 2001, or do you think we’ll see a price correction like we saw in 2007, or do you think that within a few months, we’ll be balancing along?

Karen: See, I don’t feel like we had a real estate price correction in ’01. ’01 was the dot-com bust. People were impacted, but they weren’t impacted anywhere near

Aaron: Right. There’s just a lot less cash in the market.

Karen: Yes. What we experience in most of these markets is really tight monetary cash flow, lending guidelines become stricter, all that kind of thing, which, of course, we’re seeing that again right now. I think it’s really a combination of two. The ’07, ’08, or the economic crisis of ’07, ’08. That was a housing and financial market crash. This is going to be an economic crisis, not necessarily a housing crisis. The safety security crisis of 9/11 is the other aspect. I think we have a merging of two at the same time.

What is different about this than those– First of all, let’s talk about what happens if people don’t have jobs or economic, security, or safety nets. They’re not going to be able to buy a house or they may lose their house. Now, what’s different now than in the ’07, ’08 is now, there would be a little more equity. They have the ability to carry longer. I don’t think we’re going to see an immediate rash of foreclosures, but I do think that it’s going to– Again, with the stricter lending guidelines, it’s going to be a smaller pool of buyers because you’re going to have to have a really stable job, you’re going to have to have a lot of reserves. That’s what we’re hearing over and over again. Whenever you have highways and roads, they put in traffic-calming devices, and they put in speedbumps, or you narrow the road, or whatever. We have narrowed the road, not we, but the market has been narrowed because there’s just going to be less people that are going to be able to go through that road, that qualify.

Whenever you have a demand change, if the supply isn’t mirroring the demand, then you’re going to have a market correction in pricing. What’s different about this is is we don’t have any supply. I say “we”, most market segments whether it’s demand, don’t have enough supply. They were already going into that. See, the difference was in ’07, ’08, ’09 is supply kept increasing. That’s why tracking the numbers on a quarterly basis, I find to be the best way to know which direction the market’s going. As a real estate professional, we live into the future of the market. Appraisers look back, but we look into the future, and we’re trying to predict where the market’s going. When you’re tracking supply and demand, you can see if it’s getting ready to shift over to a either buyer’s market or a seller’s market. What I see signs are that we’ll have less buyers, but we also still have less sellers, so I don’t think I see prices going down.

Aaron: I think watching that supply-demand curve for everybody, so all you agents listening out there, we’re going to see changes every week right now, at every week and every month, but one of the biggest indicators historically that we saw back from 2007 to 2010, when we were deciding what neighborhoods to reinvest in and what neighborhoods to buy in, we looked at that housing demand curve. If you’re going to calculate your supply-demand where you’re living, it’s how many houses are on the market and how many houses sold last month, and you divide those. If you had 1,000 houses on the market and 500 sold last month, that means you have two months of inventory, that everything there could sell within a couple months. There’s a lot of different opinions on what a healthy amount of inventory is. I remember Northern California back in 2008, 2009, you’d have 24 months of inventory in some counties.

Karen: That’s definitely oversupply. Six months over time is considered to be a balanced market. I think the important thing to watch is which direction is it going. If over time you’re getting more and more supply, it’s becoming more and more of a buyer’s market. If over time you’re getting more and more demand, it’s becoming a seller’s market. You want to know which direction it’s going because, again, as a real estate agent, we’re living into the future of where the market’s going. It’s like the Wayne Gretzky quote, “You want to skate to where the puck is going.” You want to project to which direction it’s going. That’s the best way to know is to always be looking in terms of which direction it’s going.

Aaron: Look at those statistics and be able to see what is the change that’s happening. You could have a ton of inventory this month and a lot less next month, especially when you’re going to have those extreme things happening right now. People all of the sudden saying, “I’m going to put my house on the market.” People taking their house off the market and saying, “Hey, I’m going to wait this out because I don’t want to show my house right now.”

On the State of the Market 46 that just went live today, Trevor Mauch had come on here and he showed a bunch of data of the amount of buyers that were searching, like in Google, they were typing in, “Sell my house fast,” or, “Sell my house right now,” or, “Cash offer for my house.” The week or two right after the “shelter in place” orders hit, the search demand went way down for a week or two. Then on about the third week, people started searching again, “Sell my house now. Sell my house now.” Now, the searches for that are 40% higher nationwide than they were pre-COVID. That means way more people right now are searching, “Sell my house now.” One of the pieces of advice you gave is, hey, when you’re talking to those sellers, tell them now is the time to list your house because all of a sudden, shelter in place will lift, all of a sudden, people will go back to normal and there will be a bunch of buyers, and that might be too late to get your house ready to list. You don’t want to decide to list when everybody’s flying out to go buy a house. You want to decide to list two weeks early, right?

Karen: Yes. I call it the first-mover advantage. It may be second-mover advantage, but the early to whatever usually has a benefit. Yes, because if you get stuck in rush hour, if you will, then your house could not benefit from the fact that there’s a lot of demand in that particular segment. I’m always an encourager of going for the first mover because I think you have more control over the process than if you get stuck in the rush hour.

Aaron: It’s much easier to make your house stand out right now. While inventory is still low, there are a whole bunch of people that are getting ready to sell their house soon. Right now is a good time where inventory is still low. You can put your house on the market now, make it look different, make sure, as agents, you guys are using that, telling people now is the time, and then giving them all of the extra stuff that they need to be able to do that. Let’s shift gears a little bit. You have this huge real estate team, you do a bunch of real estate stuff, but you also do a lot of encouraging speaking and life coach type stuff of have life hacks for your life. You have a book that came out a year ago that talks about that, and maybe it’s more applicable now than it ever was. Tell us about that part of your life, your book and the other side of that. You’re obviously successful in real estate, you’re financially successful, but let’s talk about that life stuff.

Karen: Yes. I call those my creative endeavors. What happens oftentimes when people achieve a high level of success, other people want to know how they do it. I’d started coaching and speaking and training. It really came because after surviving multiple market corrections, and people really want to know how you’re doing. My first book is Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day. That came about because people wanted to know my hacks and my tips and everything, but they all said they didn’t have enough time. I was like, “Okay, well, do you have five minutes a day?” Everybody had five minutes a day. It turned out to be true. There’s this principle, Parkinson’s Law, that says limiting or restricting time actually will help you be more effective and efficient. That book is designed to be a daily reader. It has these basic principles or time hacks for being a successful real estate agent or a salesperson or entrepreneur. It really translates well into all those areas.

The second book was Commit to Get Leads: 66-Day Challenge because I had a lot of people say, “Yeah, that’s really great, Karen, but I really want to just dive into lead generation. I want to get my business development and my prospecting up,” and so there’s a lot of research on habit-formation in 66 days and how that is. That’s where that book came about, so Commit to Get Leads: 66-Day Challenge. The way Flip Time / Love Life came about, is I was asked to actually do a TedX open mic and somebody said, “Well, I’ve kind of become an expert on time,” because I’m kind of a productivity expert because what I had found so much in my podcast Five Minute Success and all these conversations is that time is really a created thing. To say you don’t have time is like saying you don’t want to. In this TedX open mic talk, I was talking about time and what happens if you get to be successful in your career and then you find out you’ve run out of time, or you don’t have time to do what you say you want to do. You may remember through your psychology days the whole Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where you work your way up the pyramid. You start with your physical needs, your safety needs, your esteem needs, your relationship needs, and then you do your self-actualization on psych. What if you just flip the whole pyramid and you start with self-actualization? That’s where the whole idea of flipping time to love your life.

Aaron: For people that haven’t seen that pyramid, it’s saying the order that people get stuff done. At the very bottom, it’s our most basic needs like shelter, safety, food.

Karen: Toilet paper. I mean, really, COVID-19 has brought it all out. Everybody is going back to the basics. The reason why it’s really relevant now is that I wrote it because my story, the heroine in the book, she was really successful and she was like, “Is this all there is?” Well, with COVID-19, I think a lot of people are looking around going, “Is this all there is? Is this what I want to focus my time and my life on, now that I know that this could be it?” It’s really relevant. In fact, it may be more so now.

Aaron: Yes. I remember several years ago in my family, we had gone broke and we were struggling with putting our family back together. My dad passed away way younger than he was supposed to. When he died, he had money in the bank, but all the stuff he was supposed to do. We think back then, that was when we kind of looked and said, “Hey, if we ever get out of this, we’re going to do this different. If we ever get successful again, we’re going to do this different. If we’re ever financially stable again, we’re going to do this different.” It’s kind of that self-actualization that then for all of the years following, the created memories of the family, the doing stuff that’s really important, putting that stuff first. Mindsets happen out of crisis. I think your book really can help apply now for people. Everybody’s looking around now saying, “Hey, life is crazy.” Just like you said, they’re saying, “Is this all there is?” or they’re longing for the days of, “God, I wish I could just go to a park. I wish I could just go drive over there right now.” They’re starting to appreciate so many things they didn’t have before. I think this is probably one of the few times people will get to re-look at everything and go, “Hey, what do I want to do to change my life for the rest of my life? What is really important?” Have you had any actualizations out of this that’s been like that maybe you knew early on that you had forgotten that now you’re saying like, “Hey, I’m going to change this in my life, or do this different in my life now?”

Karen: Well, I’ve had a couple of life events similar to yours with your father. My husband, last year, was in the hospital for congestive heart failure on my 60th birthday. That really does make you re-evaluate your life. We had made a decision as a family, I was like, “You know what? We’re going to go to all of the places now we want to go.” We scheduled this trip for my husband and I to go to Santorini and [unintelligible 00:37:00] and then my daughter and I went to Switzerland and then our whole family with now my son’s fiancee, who he proposed to her in Argentina in Chile. I look back at the time when I was doing I was like, I thought the urgency was related to my husband’s health and how long will he be able to travel. He’s fine now. We’re very blessed, but I started really feeling the urgency then. I was like, “I want to do everything now.” You may know Hal Elrod with The Miracle Morning.

Aaron: Oh, yes. Good friend of mine.

Karen: Hal has an affirmation and it is, “I love the life I have as I create and co-create the life of my dreams.” That really became my affirmation because sometimes people live into the future, like, “Oh I’ll do that when the kids graduate from school, or when I retire, or when whatever happens.” They’re waiting to live their life, and they don’t necessarily love what they have now in their life so– Or it’s the other way around. They’re living their life now like there is no tomorrow and yet they don’t have anything in their future that they can look forward to. It’s an and statement, “I love the life I have and I love what I’m creating or co-creating for the future.” That was a real pivot or shift for me. I feel like I was as much as anybody could be mentally and emotionally prepared for this. I see it as an opportunity. I’m looking for all the opportunity. If you think about the symbolism, and the Chinese symbol of crises where danger and opportunity intersect. I’m seeing all the opportunity here and I’m also reflecting on the fact I’m so glad I did everything I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Aaron: The biggest realization that my wife and I had a couple of weeks ago. We have spent the last few years just traveling all over the world with our kids. We pulled our kids out of school and we’ve gone to dozens of countries with them and all sorts of different things. A few weeks ago, she was very down about what was happening. She was very down about going, like, “Hey, we had some trips that got canceled. We were supposed to be somewhere else. We were supposed to be in New York.” She was down, and then she had this moment where she said, “But, hey, we’re so lucky that we spent the last few years doing that.”

I think right now everybody can take that, like, “Had we not made that shift now, now there’s going to be some countries we won’t be able to go to or may not see.” I think everybody can assess right now and say, “Hey, what are you grateful for that you did in the last year or two that you’re glad that you did, you’re glad you didn’t wait because right now you might not be able to do it, or may never be able to do again or it may be a year or two before you do it?” Also, people can look at this and say, “Hey, when everything does open up, this is what I’m going to do first and this is what I’m going to do different.” I like seeing so many people walking through the neighborhood with their kids, with their dogs, with their everything, so many people are out doing this stuff again that everyone was too busy to do before. I hope some of that stays. I see people being kind and saying, “Hey, is there anything I can do for you?” I see people at the grocery store walking out the way saying, “No, you first. No, you first.” Human kindness I’ve seen just upping its level. When I get to see all those opportunities and changes for people, I hope those are the things that people have come out of it.

If somebody reached out to and said, “Karen, I’m really struggling right now.” Not even real estate, “I’m really struggling right now with this. What can I do?” What would you tell somebody that they should be thinking about doing? I love the Hal Elrod quote, I had to rewrite it down. I’ve heard it a bunch of times, but I also love times like this to re-assess the things that maybe we had learned before that we should be saying again before we got to this level. What would be the one or two things you would tell somebody right now if they said, “Karen, I’m just struggling. I’m just having a tough time with all of this. What can I do?”

Karen: Well, I’m sure you’ve heard, what you appreciate, appreciates. What often happens when people are struggling, and myself included, we start focusing on the things we don’t want in our life. I’ve been there when my husband was at the hospital on his 60th birthday, I wasn’t like really thinking, “This is exactly what I wanted for my birthday.” I started to appreciate all the things that had brought us, first of all, a second chance for him in his house. It turned out to be a virus that had impacted his heart.

There are viruses out there all the time, guys. There’s not just COVID-19. We appreciated the fact that there was really a health wake-up call. Our daughter came up to visit, we appreciated the opportunity to be with her. We appreciated all the healthcare workers, we appreciated all the people that support and help us. We focused on that. I would say if you’re struggling right now, focus on appreciation for what you do have, and that will expand, so then expand it from there. Find what you do love right now about your life and then start to create and co-create because you can create your future by what you think about and focus on now. Just know that if I can do it, you can too.

Aaron: I love that. Because you’re right, what you appreciate appreciates. If you’re focusing on the negative, then the negative seems bigger and bigger and bigger. If you’re focusing on the thing that you can’t have in your life right now, man, that can take over everything. If you focus on what’s good, and what you appreciate– because I think everybody’s life it can always get worse. I’ve learned so many different times in my life, it can always get worse. There’s always something to appreciate on what we have. Sometimes you have to search for it. Sometimes you really have to look to find that thing to appreciate. I think you’re right, if there’s nothing else to focus on, you get to focus on that. Karen, if somebody wanted to reach out to you for real estate coaching, or get some tips, or send you some leads in Washington DC, or anything, what is the best way for them to find you, and what do you want to have them go do?

Karen: Well, my name is very Googleable, Karen Briscoe under real estate, you’re going to find me. I think I have the whole first page or second page. If you want to find out about the books and the podcast, it’s very easy because it’s the number 5 Minute Success. That’s the website, that’s the podcast, where you can pick up all podcasts. The books are all on Amazon, Real Estate Success and 5 Minutes a Day: Commit to Get Leads: 66-day Challenge, and Flip Time/ Love Life. You can reach out to me through all those portals.

For the real estate world as well, as you mentioned, because we are here where HQ2 is and we can help any of your clients that are coming this way. I think we’re going to see well, we’re going to have an election so that’s going to change a lot of things coming up in a few months. We’re happy to help with your real estate needs here as well in the Northern Virginia, Washington DC, suburban Maryland region.

Aaron: They can go find you. How often do you release your podcasts?

Karen: It has an episode once a week. We had been twice a week but we’re taking a little bit of a step back on that formatting but we also have a special episode once a month called Flip Time/ Love Life. Then we just went into a philanthropic partnership with Front Row Foundation. You may be familiar with those guys.

Aaron: Oh, yes, I know Jon.

Karen: Jon Vroman. We wanted to do something where we can make a contribution as a community, and so we had a special episode for that but you can also find out more about the Front Row Foundation on the 5 Minutes Success website.

Aaron: That is awesome. I’m good friends with Jon. I’m part of Front Row Dads as well. So many great programs out there. Karen, you have given everybody some great advice today on what they can be looking for, different things for them to be able to analyze the real estate market where they are. I think one of the things that I’m the most excited about checking out some more is your book of the Flip Time/ Love Life and that whole lifestyle change.

I think that is the biggest thing everybody should be getting out of this. We’re going to find a way to survive financially, we’re going to find a way to survive in our life, but what are we going to do that actually makes the next 10 years way better than the prior 10 years? It’s times like this where we rediscover and find that. Karen, thank you for joining us on Real Estate Rockstars today, I’m sure we will have you back in the future.

Karen: Thanks, Aaron.


Aaron: All right. Goodbye.

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