879: How Open Houses Helped Tami Pardee Build LA’s No. 1 Real Estate Team

February 7, 2020
Thanks to her unrelenting approach to open houses, Tami Pardee sold $33 million in volume her first year as a real estate agent. Now, she’s running Los Angeles’ No. 1 team, and open houses helped make it happen. On today’s podcast, Tami shares the open-house strategy she uses to sell millions in real estate year after year, the key to getting repeat and referral business, tips on building a top team, and so much more. Don’t miss it!
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • Tami’s brief bio [1:56]
  • The key to getting repeat and referral business [4:54]
  • Setting expectations with new agents [7:43]
  • Tips on making smart hires and managing your team [10:38]
  • Where Tami gets real estate leads [14:07]
  • The mindset that makes open houses work [15:59]
  • Sayings that help Tami succeed in business and life [22:27]
  • Tami’s advice for new agents [30:07]
  • Tami’s take on the needs analysis [31:36]
  • How to win at listing appointments [33:18]
  • How Tami sold 33 million in volume her first year in the business [35:36]
  • Tips on picking the right real estate farm for you [41:09]
  • Why Tami recommends new agents join a team [43:11]
  • Tami’s take on new real estate technology [45:00]
  • Real estate software Tami relies on [47:17]
  • Paul’s personal questions for Tami [51:05]
  • Tami’s donation to the Agent Success Toolbox [56:51]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Tami Pardee

Founder and CEO of Halton Pardee + Partners, Tami Halton Pardee has established dramatic new standards of success in real estate. She is the creator of a cutting-edge concierge brokerage model, using specialized teams to create life-changing client experiences in buying and selling homes. Since its inception in 2004, Halton Pardee has sold over $3.8 billion worth of residential and commercial real estate and grown to four offices across California.

Ranked as one of the top 10 real estate agents in California since 2008, Tami has represented A-list celebrities and tech industry pioneers, as well as advised some of the world’s most renowned architects in their developments, including Frank Gehry and Marmol Radziner.

Tami’s personal recognition include The Hollywood Reporter’s list of Top Real Estate Agents (2015-2018), Los Angeles Business Journal’s “500 Most Influential People” three years in a row, and nominee for Philanthropist of the Year, Variety’s Showbiz Real Estate Elite, REAL Trends 2019 Game Changers and Good Housekeeping magazine’s Awesome Women Award. Halton Pardee is ranked by Real Trends/The Wall Street Journal as the #1 sales team in Los Angeles, #1 in California and #3 in the nation. The Los Angeles Business Journal also ranked the company as the 50th largest Woman-Owned Business and the 76th Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles. 

Tami has always put her heart into the communities she serves. In the past 14 years, HPP has donated over $1.3 million toward uplifting undeserved areas of Venice and West Los Angeles. In exercising her passion for helping others, Tami established the Life Change Warriors foundation allowing people from all walks of life to face their fears, set goals, and have a life plan for achieving their dreams. From coaching homeless pregnant women to helping underprivileged youth tap into the arts, Tami’s passion is to help Life Change graduates “star in the life they love.”

Not one to let a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis keep her down, Tami is a member of the Santa Monica Bay YPO as a frequent panelist and guest speaker, and an active mom raising her two girls and twin boys. She embraces peace and big love in her life every day!

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Interviewer: Now your first year how much real estate did you sell?

Tami: $33 million.

Interviewer: $33 million, what year is that?

Tami: That was ’04.

Interviewer: 2004 your first year in real estate you sold $33 million.

Tami: ’04, ’05 yes.

Interviewer: How is that possible?

Tami: I told you I literally went open houses, I sat this woman’s open houses she was my mentor. She did not want to sit hers, so I sat all of them and I literally was like if I’m going to be here I am going to pick up two clients every single open house I did.

Interviewer: Welcome Real Estate Rockstars, I am fired up for this interview today. A long time coming and I’m talking to Tami Pardee today. Tami is the number one real estate team in Los Angeles and number two in the state of California and probably about top five in the United States.

Tami: Six actually. [crosstalk]

Interviewer: Top six but who’s counting?

Tami: There is room to go, I love that.

Interviewer: Tami you’ve done more than four billion in sales. I’d love to know, just tell us really from the start how did you get into real estate and give us a little bit of the background.

Tami: Well since our daughters are actually friends, I’ll tell you. I call her my golden child. I just had her and she was a super colicky baby and I had miscalculated how much it was going to cost to live. All of a sudden I was like, “Oh my gosh I should go back and get my real estate license.” My parents were both builders and designers, I grew up in real state and I had my license in Oregon where I’m from. I just decided, I was like maybe I’ll just go back and try this and sell a few houses a year and that’s how it started. Then I sold everybody in the baby group a house literally like 4 out of the 10.

Interviewer: You’re a natural-born salesperson?

Tami: Oh, she was, exactly. [laughs]

Interviewer: It was a motivation for sure. Give me an idea in terms of there’s an area in Los Angeles called Venice which is the cool hip area and Tami among other areas owns that one completely. How many deals did you do last year?

Tami: We did about 300 deals last year.

Interviewer: In terms of total volume?

Tami: $550 million.

Interviewer: $550 million in volume and obviously you’re not doing this by yourself.

Tami: No, I definitely have a team.

Interviewer: What is your team look like?

Tami: They’re amazing, they’re very cute. [laughs] I have three listing agent teams me being one of them and then I have about 20 buyers agents and we have a marketing department, assigned departments, and operations department. It’s really run like a company, it’s a team and it’s a company at the same time. We are all in-house, we have two handymen on our staff, we have a cleaning person on our staff. We’re all-encompassing so we can really really focus on our clients quickly and efficiently and it’s all in-house instead of trying to get independent contractors to work with us.

Interviewer: You take listings and you have two listing specialists? Is that what it is?

Tami: I have listing agents and they have teams around them as well.

Interviewer: Two listing agents.

Tami: Yes. My team is a four-person team and then I’ve got them and so three-person and the other one is a two-person. They all specialize in different areas and different things, what we try to do is because our relationships are based on connection we try to fit the right people together so that they’ll connect better.

Interviewer: Tell me what the breakdown is between buyers and sellers?

Tami: It’s about 50-50. Last year we had a little bit more on the buy-side which was surprising to me, then on the side, it was a 60-40 but normally it’s literally always about 50-50 within a couple of points.

Interviewer: I’m sure you work your sphere of influence and one of the things that people really want to know is other than sphere of influence, how are you getting listings?

Tami: I work my sphere and I always have, it’s really a lot of repeat. Here’s the thing if you do a good job for somebody and you connect with them and they like and they appreciate what you’ve done and you get from the highest price and it’s a smooth transaction they’ll tell their friends. Everybody wants to talk about that, 57% of our business is from past clients and referrals. It’s a [crosstalk].

Interviewer: That’s good.

Tami: The average agent and I think is like 11%.

Interviewer: There’s a national association of realtor statistic that I always refer to and that is that at the end of a transaction nationwide they ask a bunch of questions in the survey but bottom line is would you use the same realtor again? 84% said yes. In the lifespan between the time they conclude that transaction till they do another transaction 12% actually use the same realtor. What are you doing to-

Tami: That’s actually really important. One of the things that we do is it’s all about connection and it’s keeping connected. We have an ISA that keeps connected. Through the year we also touched our clients all the time. As the listing agent we have all the lists and we’ll go through it and say, hello, we have– my party, so we have a big pray for snow party we add like a thousand people to it. Actually, I think we invite everybody on our list about a thousand people come. Which is good. It’s at my house, it’s a wild one it’s a pray for snow there’s nothing religious about it.

It’s actually a ski party but having that connection and having people in your home is really important. I’ll do some political fundraisers like last year we did Gavin Newsom and I invited everyone to come to that to meet him. I’m not very political but I like to keep people up-to-date on what’s happening and all of that. The personal connection is really important and then I really want all my agents out there with my clients as well. Just talking to him and like Facebook, Instagram, tagging them saying, “Hi,” we Google search everyone. If something comes up in the press we just want to make sure that they know that all roads really lead to Pardee real estate.

Interviewer: One of the things that a lot of teams struggle with is you’ve got these great systems and you’re doing a great job and you’re training people as you go. You’re maintaining your core, what do you do if anything to keep them from, “Okay well I’ve trained this person and now they’re going to go on their own, they’re going to try and do their own business. They’re going to try and compete with me.” Obviously, you have done something to create this giant thing that goes on and on.

Tami: I’ve definitely had that issue and it’s hard because I’ve had some of my best friends that work for me they’re like “Oh, I can do this better.” They take my business and go. I did create a contract that people need to sign and it’s really saying that this is how this is going to go. I’m very clear which I used to not be because I didn’t have a voice on it but I’ve been working on it my whole life. It’s like having my voice and just saying this is the expectation, this is what I’m going to sign, this what you’re going to receive from me, this is what you’re going to sign. If this isn’t okay with you then this isn’t your place.

It’s important and I think people try to chase around people that aren’t their people, and I think that there’s a lot of like really setting the expectation from the very beginning of the relationship. This is any relationship, we never want to see it. What are my requirements? I lay out my requirements for them and I want to know their requirements for me. Then at that point, it’s like are we going to do this because in a way it’s a relationship and a marriage. You need to make sure that everyone’s clear on that.

Interviewer: This is such a key point because so many people want to do real estate on the team, they’re like “Hey, I’m doing on my own there’s so much to do, I’ll partner up with somebody.” One of the things that I always talk to our realtors about is before you get into a team relationship even if it’s, “Hey we’re going to sell together,” number one put it in writing, and number two what’s the exit strategy? People always think you’re not getting into this for it not to work, so you’ve got the whole how it’s going to work plan but as we know relationships don’t always work, so what’s the exit strategy to it?

Tami: That’s what we do and we put it in super clearly, they can go ahead and take my clients. That’s fine but they’re going to pay me 50% for seven years. To be honest with you, the brand is the people that I have now and also one of the things I did last year when I came back I had to re-evaluate. We let a lot of people go last year because of that because I’m like I just wanted a clean slate, I want to optimize my business. I was always scared to let people go and oh my gosh, what’s going to happen and also I’m like I just want to walk in my office and feel really good about everyone here. Them to feel really good about me walking in because if I walk in and don’t feel good, it’s going to set everybody in a different way. I basically decided that that’s what I was going to do, and it was a little scary to be honest because it– did I usually do about $650 million and I did $550 last year.

Interviewer: Wow, okay. That’s a big step back.

Tami: I was willing and able to do that because what I wanted to do is make sure that if I don’t feel good it would have crashed. Now, it’s interesting because we’ve had the strongest month in January we’ve ever had with me back and with all of us happy. I’m like, “Okay, good.” Last year was sometimes you have to step back evaluate what’s actually happening because you get so phonetic, you get like, “Oh good, we’re growing but are we growing smartly, and is this, my tribe? Or is this not my tribe?” If it’s not, then you got to really focus on that too.

Interviewer: The energy around the people that you work with and the team that you have. We all make the same mistake I think is I’ll look at somebody and go like, “Wow, they have so much energy and power in this area, but they’re not really a cultural fit for me maybe, but I look at the upside what this person will bring.” Sometimes get into the wrong business relationship for that reason, but you’re looking at the-

Tami: I used to look at it that way as opportunity, but now I look for connection and relationship because the thing is I have opportunity. I’m giving them the opportunity. That’s the whole point. [laughs] I have more leads and more– I don’t even know what to do with them all. What I really want is someone that’s great with my clients and isn’t an opportunist because they’re doing the right thing for my clients, because some of them is– What I found is those people were trying to turn and burn and do all these things and I’m like, “Oh, that’s not how I do business. I want to do what’s right for the client not what’s right for that person.”

Interviewer: Now, do you ever get the– when you lay things out very clearly. Everyone’s going to say, “Oh yes, of course. Do we keep things cloudy or do we make them clear? Oh, yes, that makes them clear.” Then when you lay them out clearly, one of the things that I experience is, “Oh, well, it’s either Paul’s way or the highway.” Do people say “Oh, well, if it’s not Tammy’s way,” do you get that?

Tami: I have my requirements, and those I don’t bend on, but I bend on a lot of other things. I go to my team, I’m like, “Okay, who has an idea about this or this or this?” I actually appreciate it. Most of my team’s a lot younger than I am, and they’re bringing in tech ideas and things that I’m like, “Oh my God that’s great.” I really honor and I really appreciate them coming in that direction and saying, oh, this and this and this. I’m open to that, but I’m very clear on what I will not bend on. They’re very clear what I will not bend on.

Interviewer: What won’t you bend on?

Tami: Transparency the contract. My biggest thing I would say is transparency. I need you guys to everyone to be fully transparent on what’s happening. If you make a mistake, tell me, do not cover it up. Just tell me because I can deal with anything but the unknown it’s like actually something from my childhood actually scares me. It doesn’t work for me. I know that is a weakness of mine. If I don’t know something and people are hiding something from me, it’s the worst for me. Just tell me, I’m a really good strategist I will figure out how to fix it or repair it.

Or sometimes I’ll just say that we really messed up and I’ll say to my clients, “We had a big mistake and we’re going to help. This is what we’re going to do to fix it.” My clients appreciate that because it’s not like I’m hiding. It goes throughout the company is my requirements go throughout the company too.

Interviewer: One of the things that you said was you have more leads than you know what to do with that. That is not a problem that most realtors have. How do you get to that point? What are your lead sources? How are you getting all these leads?

Tami: I think it’s one of the things when I started every single time I went out in the world I was like I’m going to meet somebody. Then I’m going to connect with them and I’m going to talk and I don’t. I remember like “Oh, what are you doing with your house?” It’s like connect with them on a level of who are you? How do you build your own house? What’s your foundation as a person, your walls, how do I get in your door? Once I was doing that, literally, and then people knew I was selling, it was like a natural fit. I know how to build a house to like physically build a house. I’m very educated on what I do and when I’m talking to people on homes.

I just started getting a lot of referrals and then open house leads and honestly, Zillow leads have been helpful. Literally, all like having our Abbot Kinney office people forget if you’re on a busy, really busy, beautiful street like Abbot Kinney, we have a lot of, walk-ins like a ton of people walk in that office. We’re an international marketplace they’re on Abbot Kinney we get them all the time people in. We have so many leads that’s really managing those and making sure that people are getting touched and with the appropriate, getting the appropriate attention is probably the most important thing to me. The thing that we’re working on that we’re lacking the most because there’re so many.

Interviewer: One of the things that I hear in that, that our audience can definitely use is that real estate is still a contact business. When you say, not many people can afford a physical office space to stick on Abbot Kinney, but you got there somehow. One of the ways that you got there was that physical contact was being out there and talking about real estate. Is that right? Were you networking?

Tami: Yes. I started my business on open houses. People are like oh, open houses I’m like, they 100% work and well and where I am for sure because I would go in and I’m a very big intention and I set my intentions and it’d be like, “Okay, if I’m going to sit here for three hours, I’m meeting two people, but I will buy or sell a home with, that’s it.” I’m not going to sit here for another reason. It’s funny I did. That just started then I would work those people and I have coffee with those people, and I look at that person’s shirt that walked in and if it is Black Butte, I’d be like, “Oh my God Black Butte I was there. Oh my gosh, and what do you do?”

That’s like shooting fish in a barrel because people that are coming to open houses are either buying or selling, looking for a friend that’s buying or selling, or super interested in houses and are kind of like the neighbor guru on houses. You should be really, really connecting with them.

Interviewer: Is not a person that comes through your open house that you shouldn’t for one reason or another connect with.

Tami: My thing is even on a human level, we all need to be connecting more. I connect with homeless people when I’m walking down the street because not saying hi to someone where I’m from is not an option. Like you say hi to people and you’re kind to people and you talk to everyone because that’s really human nature.

Interviewer: What an interesting– Some of it seems very basic and yet do we actually go to the open house with that intention and manifesting it. We talked a lot before about energy and that sort of thing. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be as mystical as it might sound, if you go to an open house you’re like, “Well, my intention is X, Y, and Z.” You’re just going to naturally behave in a way that’s consistent with that.

Tami: You’re setting the intention. I’m big on writing letters to myself.

Interviewer: Wow. This is good.

Tami: I’ll do it from like, I call it my hundred-year-old goddess. I’m like, “Okay, well, how did I live my life? Or how did I live this year of my life?” I’ll literally write myself a letter of exactly what happened in that year. Then it will come true because I’m setting the intention for it. I’ll sell so much, then I’ll go on this trip so and such and I’ll meet to the point where I can meet people and do all these things. Then I go back and I look at them like, “Oh my God, it came true.” You really, what you asked for and you put out there in writing. I think it’s important to write it down and write it to yourself, and write it like kindly to yourself, be kind to your own self.

Interviewer: That’s a huge one, for sure.

Interviewer: Are you doing affirmations? How are you effecting this?

Tami: No, I just look at them. I do a vision board. I do do that every year and I set my intention on that and I write them out on this, like, Oh, just write things that I want. Then I’ll look at it and I’ll be like, “Oh, that’s what I want today. Yes, I’ll do that.” I have all these little sayings, so I, that come to me-

Interviewer: We want to hear some of the sayings for sure.

Tami: Do you want me to tell you now?

Interviewer: Sure. Tell me some of the sayings, absolutely.

Tami: Well, my mom, I grew up with them. I get to watch out for the chocolate-covered spider and all these things, but that’s is my mom.

Interviewer: Where did you grow up?

Tami: Oregon. I grew up from Portland, Oregon. I have things that come to me at night. I’ll literally go to sleep and I’m like, “Oh,” and then, so I had this term called GAAL it’s I say it to everyone. This is throughout my company, “You have to GAAL everyone.” Everyone you meet, you meet with gratitude, acceptance, acknowledgment, and love in every conversation. If you’re with a client or a friend or a lover or your kids, if they call and they’re mad at you or whatever, your client’s upset. Gratitude. Thank you for calling me. Oh my gosh. I can see you’re upset. What can I do for you?

Interviewer: That’s acknowledgment.

Tami: Let’s talk about acknowledgment and then love them. I really appreciate your business and I don’t want you to be upset. Let me work on this for you. Let me get you an option by 5:00 PM today, or some things by 5:00 PM today. I do it like I actually have given myself a challenge doing it. I like to do it at hotels. Because the person that you go check in with, they’re always miserable or there’s a long line. I went to Vegas the other day it was so funny and I got the cheapest room at Caesars it was $79, but there was like this two-hour lineup to get in.

I was going to have a glass of champagne before I went in that line. I did but I went up to the front desk and I was like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for doing this for me. I’m really in the cheap seats here, but wow. You really worked hard today and I saw you, how are you doing?” He started laughing and we were talking and I said, “I’m only here for one night. I just got the cheap room but I used to come and stay at really the nice rooms when I was here. It was so fabulous.” He was like, “I’m going to put you tonight. He put me in a 2000 square foot suite. I was like, “Oh my God.” I ended up in this gorgeous suite by just being, acknowledging him, and being grateful and kind and loving. It’s cool.

Interviewer: A lot of times you don’t get that but you’re still [crosstalk].

Tami: A lot of times. It’s shocking if you saw what actually happened in my life. It happens all the time.

Interviewer: It happens all the time.

Tami: The other day I just got upgraded to first-class, the same thing. I was just like, “Oh my gosh,” and my kids are like okay. Because people aren’t connecting in kind. If you just stop and breathe and give them a moment, then they’ll take that moment and they get grounded and settled and that makes them feel better.

Interviewer: I love it. Very cool.

Tami: Good.

Interviewer: GAAL

Tami: GAAL yes. Then I have another thing in my company and we call it the conductor in the caboose. I’m always in a closing the loop. Clients don’t like anything open-ended because it makes them like, then their brain goes crazy, and then they’ll yell and scream. I’m always closing the loop with a conductor in the caboose. You are the conductor, you are going to take them on the ride. You’re going to close the loop every time and you’re always going to be the caboose. Any texts I get at the end, I’m like thumbs up and even if the conversation is closed, I want to be the last person talking and not talking, just saying you bet you got it.

Interviewer: Yes, That’s good. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. That’s a great takeaway for me because I have so many unanswered text messages and what happens is it’s not an intention at all to ignore somebody or whatever, but I looked at it, and if you sent me a message it was like, “Hey, I’ll be there at– Oh, running a couple of minutes late, I’ll see you at 11:06 in my brain.

Tami: I did. Did you get it?

Interviewer: Yes exactly. My assistant told me that’s a real-life example, but in my brain, I just go like, “Oh, okay, Tami, no problem. I need the extra six minutes. It’s all good thumbs up, but I didn’t do the thumbs up.” Just going in and doing that. There’s a funny saying that Mark Twain said, “I’ve had thousands of conversations and some of them have been with other people.” I think we all do that to an extent, but closing that loop is that closing that conversational gap. Then the people feel like they’re taken care of.

Tami: Right. I do that because I need that actually with my team, I’m like, “You have to close the loop.” It’s so funny because whatever, I feel like I need, I also want my clients to have to, and everybody to have. Because then I was like, “If I feel this way and the loop isn’t closed and how do they feel?” I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing for myself that’s why the transparency thing and all of this. That’s really important.

Interviewer: Got it.

Interviewer: If you had advice to give to a brand new agent that’s going into an area and they don’t have any business, they’ve got lots of great qualities. They have great intentions. They’re going to do great things, but they’ve just started in the business. What’s your advice to them?

Tami: If they want to work on a team, they should go work on a team. As just advice to a new agent, I would have to say no, every single thing. They know the stats of every single thing in your area, like home, all the stuff. Also importantly, is know the community, know where to get the best French fries. Is there a vegan restaurant? Is there a great yoga spot? Know all of that.

Interviewer: I’m taking notes on this.

Tami: There is something [crosstalk].

Interviewer: No, yes, it’s good.

Tami: Could there be a new agent in an area.

Interviewer: That’s right. There’s some tough areas, but yes, go ahead.

Tami: One of the things is really getting out of your own way. I think that there’s a lot of agents that are like, “Oh, I’m this and I’m that. I’m so great.” It’s like, they don’t even listen to their clients. They literally like bulldoze a situation and that’s not what your clients wanted. Don’t get in your own way is one of the biggest mistakes I see agents, all agents not just new. Sometimes I’ll say it. I’m like, “Let’s just both get out of our own way. The clients want this property, let’s make that happen for them. It’s not about you and I. It’s about them.”

Interviewer: I think also maybe what you’re touching on there is what we refer to in the businesses and needs analysis. That is really instead of going in and saying, “Hey, I’m Tami, and here are all the great things I can do asking them what they need.” What is your-

Tami: I don’t ask them what they need is. I’m more of a curious person. I like to be curious with people because I’m curious on how you live your life. Because for me, it’s not like, what you need is a home. It’s like, who are you? Who are you? What makes you tick?

Interviewer: You’re connecting at a personal level.

Tami: Yes, because I need, I don’t like the word need because if I needed you or I was curious about you.

Interviewer: Is a big difference in energy. For sure. One is heavy and one is not.

Tami: Needing is to me actually, I wouldn’t want to work with someone that needed me. I wouldn’t want to be with a person that needed me. I want to be someone that’s curious and that’s my partner and that’s like having fun and we’re like, “We’re going to do it in this together.” That’s very different for me and for my team. I’m just curious about what makes you tick?

Interviewer: One thing for sure is you’re crushing a listing appointment.

Tami: Yes. I won’t say crushing, I’m connecting.

Interviewer: Okay. I love it. That’s good. Keep course adjusting me. I like it because we’re learning. What I bring to the table I’m sticking on Tami. Tami is not accepting. I like it. She’s like, “No, I’m not taking that. Here’s where I’m doing.” You are definitely doing listing presentations for great listings. There are great realtors that are also doing listing presentations in the area and you’re going to get that listing.

Tami: Yes I am.

Interviewer: How do you get the listing?

Tami: I just connect. Every listing is different. I don’t go in and script myself out. I’m going to have a listing kit, and I have all of that. Sometimes I don’t even go through it. I’m like, “What’s going on?” Sometimes they’re going through a divorce or somebody just passed away or they want to go into a bigger house. I want to talk to them about who they are and to be curious about them. I always have a plan. I do know what I’m talking about when I’m doing it and you have to know that. I’m very confident in who I am and what I can do for people. I think that shows and also in a kind way, I’m not pushy. I’m not like, “Sign this, sign this.” I’m not one of those people. I’ll never be that person because that’s actually not who I am.

Interviewer: That’s amazing to hear given how much real estate you sell. Really, and a testament to you, for sure. What do you do with a client that says, “There’s a great realtor in the area. He sells a lot of houses and he’s going to take the listing at discounted rates.” What do you do in those scenarios?

Tami: With the discount broker?

Interviewer: Yes.

Tami: If they can’t negotiate their own commission, how are they ever going to get you the highest price? I’m here to get you the highest price because usually people it’s an emotional attachment to their home. They’re doing it for financial reasons. It’s like, you’ve got to mirror those. Listen, I’m also the one thing about me too, is if they want to go with a discount broker and do that, they can go that route. That’s okay. I’m not one that’s like, “Oh my God, if I don’t work with you, I’m never going to work again.” I know I’m going to work again. I know my value, I know my worth, and I’m worthy of a full price, I am.

Interviewer: Let me ask you again. One of the things I definitely want to go through with you is you went from not selling real estate, obviously to having this amazing team. The question really is I really want to get a little bit more on how you went from zero to 650 million in one year, which you did a couple of years ago. Right?

Tami: Right.

Interviewer: Now, your first year, how much real estate did you sell?

Tami: $33 million.

Interviewer: $33 million. What year is that?

Tami: That was ’04.

Interviewer: Wow. 2004, your first year in real estate, you sell $33 million?

Tami: ’04, ’05.

Interviewer: How is that possible?

Tami: I did exactly what I told you. I literally went to open houses. I was like, I saw this woman’s open houses. She was my mentor. She did not want to sit hers. I sat all of them and I literally was like, “I’m going to be here. I’m going to pick up two clients every single open house,” and I did.

Interviewer: Wow. I think you mentioned, so you didn’t have many expenses so your GCI, your take home very similar was how much in your first year?

Tami: It was about 675, 700. It was just me and I worked at Remax.

Interviewer: Wow, so it was very low expense model and it’s 700,000.

Tami: Yes.

Interviewer: That’s amazing.

Tami: Yes, it was good. [laughs]

Interviewer: Again, new in the business. Your number one piece of advice is get open houses.

Tami: Yes. Get open houses and also connect with people. My biggest client, my first year, I met her in line at the airport, in the security line. I connected with her on our [unintelligible 00:39:57] She said she lived in Brentwood. I was like, “Oh my God,

Brentwood.” I said, “There’s this beautiful house up there,” and she’s like, “I’m looking to buy.” That was it.

Interviewer: You’re smart and you know what you’re doing. I get that. Being smart and hardworking and the connectors’ going to come out no matter what, but you’re in your first year of real estate. Someone in Brentwood has money, and there are a lot of people that sell real estate in Brentwood. How do you convince a client to do a $2 million purchase out of the gate with you? You have three months experience or nine months or whatever it was.

Tami: I didn’t go in saying, “I’m a brand new agent, I have no experience.” That was for sure. Because the truth is, I had been flipping houses, my parents were in the business for years, and I knew my stuff around real estate. I had been in the business of homes for a really long time. I never said, “Oh my God, I’m green,” and I think that that’s the thing. You throwing out there like, “I’m green, I don’t know what I’m doing,” is going to make them think you don’t know what you’re doing.

Interviewer: You can’t deliver for them what they want.

Tami: Right.

Interviewer: Really what they want is a great house at a great price or whatever. Whether you’re new or not, you could deliver that to that client.

Tami: Absolutely. Without a doubt, yes. You have to be steadfast. You have to be calm, steadfast, and strategic, and know what you’re doing. People can feel it. If you’re nervous and you’re throwing out that you don’t know what you’re doing. I wouldn’t want to work with someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you’re going into a doctor where they’re scared, it’s like, “Oh God. I don’t want [crosstalk] sitting here.”

Interviewer: Right, or the flight attendant, right?

Tami: [laughs]

Interviewer: If the flight attendants freaked out, we’re really scared.

Tami: Yes, we’re really scared at that point. That’s when you want to get the plane and you just can’t [laughs].

Interviewer: There was definitely a point in time during our conversation today where I had this feeling like, “You know what? I would absolutely have Tami list my house. There’s no question.” I just felt that connection for sure, but also a professionalism and steadfast for sure.

Tami: Thank you.

Interviewer: Know your community was one, but also, know the houses in the area, all the statistics you said. Break that out for me.

Tami: I like to know my numbers. When I go into somebody, and if it’s a listing site, I know exactly, there’s 89 properties on the market, there’s 5 in escrow, there’s 2 houses that have sold there for $4 million in the last 6 months, I’ve sold 2 of those. Then I just start telling them and I remember it. I don’t go in and read something. I’m like, “Let’s talk about it,” because that’s to me the conversation. I also, in today’s day, I do a lot of research on the person-

Interviewer: Okay, that’s interesting.

Tami: -because I want to know what I’m walking into. You can usually look at Instagram, and Facebook, and Google and really find out a lot about the person, so do your research. I think research is important.

Interviewer: I think really, 10 minutes of research, right?

Tami: Right.

Interviewer: 10 minutes of research, you’re going to go into that appointment with that person and know more about them than almost anybody else.

Tami: You don’t want to be like, “In 2004, I saw you took a Cabo trip.” That’s just kind of weird, so you don’t need to do that much. Just get the vibe of them. Get their energy and know. Usually, I find I know somebody they know. This is a pretty six degrees. I feel like with me it’s more like two. Usually, that’s a connection which is so great. Just great.

Interviewer: I love it.

Tami: You and I knew each other through three different connections.

Interviewer: Oh, I’m sure.

Tami: For sure.

Interviewer: I was surprised that we hadn’t connected before to the point where when you said, “Nice to meet you”, I was like, “Are you sure?”

Tami: [laughs] That we know each other.

Interviewer: Yes. I think again, really, really great advice in terms of the statistics about a particular area. Picking a farm, do you have advice for people about picking a particular farm?

Tami: Pick something you know and pick something you believe in. Don’t pick an area that you don’t like. People can tell that when you walk in. If you believe in an area– I really think that you should live or be close to the area that you’re picking. I think a lot of people come to Venice, they’re living in the Valley, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m a Venice agent.” I’m like, “You have to be ingrained in the culture and know exactly what’s happening.” It’s like street by street where I’m at, so I’ve always lived there and I will always live there. I’m a Westside person really and I’m okay with it. People are like, “Oh, don’t you want the big money in Hollywood Hills?” I’m like, “I don’t want to drive to the Hollywood Hills, no. Not for what I do.”

Interviewer: Are you taking, maybe even earlier in your career, what would you do if you had a client that it was a big number or it was an important amount of potential commission, but they wanted a house way out of your area? Is that something you would–

Tami: What I would do with them is I would say, “Listen, I’m going to get the best person there.” If they wanted me to work with them and with that person, we would just basically take that person together and work with that person together. The things that my clients really appreciate me is they trust me. Trust is something that you have to earn. You can’t just get it in a minute. If I don’t know an area, I do have a network of agents that I work with that I trust, but then I will help guide them through my clients through the process as well, so I work hand in hand with another agent too.

Interviewer: Got it.Get open houses. When you’re a new agent, you don’t have listings, so you can work somebody else’s open house. How you make that happen?

Tami: I just worked with my mentors. I think that now it’s more leaning towards teams because I don’t give my open houses to just any agent. I have enough buyers’ agents that work my open houses. That’s how I do it, but I think it’s different everywhere.

Interviewer: You started as an individual agent. Do you recommend people getting into the business? Should they start as an individual agent? Do you think there’s an advantage to being on a team?

Tami: I think that the world is going towards teams. When I was an individual agent, I quickly created a team around me. Every year I picked up a few people because no one’s good at everything. As an agent, you have to play to your strengths. If you told me to get on the computer and type 15 emails a day, it’s a big waste of time for me, and I’m horrible at it. Play to your strengths and know them. Then create a team that everyone is playing to their strengths, and so they’re all excited to be there, and everyone’s doing their best job. That’s really important.

Interviewer: I had a great conversation with somebody who said, “The upside of your upside, will always be far greater than the upside of your downside.” Right? It sounds obvious, but trying to fix what I can’t do is a lot of wasted energy as compared to really diving into what I would be good at. From our conversation, I can guess the answer, but what do you think are your superpowers?

Tami: I think connection and just people. I love people. I really do.

Interviewer: Getting them into a deal or transaction that they love or a house that they love.

Tami: Yes, I think that’s based on connection and transparency. People want help. They’re coming to me for help, and I’m going to help them. I’m going to do it in a way that’s not pushy or like, “You have to do this.” I’m also going to be really open and honest with them.

Interviewer: Technology is a helper or a disrupter. Nowadays, people are really searching for homes a lot before they even go to a realtor. Do you think that technology is going to replace the realtor, and what’s going on in the market right now?

Tami: I think that technology, which I think is great. I think that technology helps people find the home. Period. I completely agree with that. It’s what you do after you’ve found it because this is a huge investment, and I don’t think that can ever get replaced because the emotional aspect, a computer technology can’t answer. I do think that power teams and people doing it correctly are important. I think that the technology helps with transparency which I love. I lead with all the Zillow, Trulia, Redfin numbers. I’m like, “This is what the consumer is looking. Let’s put this out there.” I’ve done that. I started doing that with Zillow 10 years ago when they started with the Zillow Zestimates, everybody was so scared. I was like, “This is fantastic. Let’s talk about it.”

Interviewer: Yes, you’re embracing it. When I look at it, I see the two ends of the spectrum like the travel agent which was really supplanted almost entirely by technology, and then you look at a cancer surgeon. In the same way that people will always come to a realtor with all of the papers or the houses, I would go to my doctor with the WebMD stuff. He’ll be like, “Okay, put that down.” Right?”

Tami: Right. [laughs]

Interviewer: I know that a realtor is not a surgeon, but I also know that a home purchase, it’s the largest transaction most people do in their entire life. Unless you’re in a tract home area, which some people are, one house is really different from the other, from the other, from the other, so there’s a lot that a realtor can bring in knowing the inventory and the community was another thing.

Tami: It’s interesting because I don’t know if you’ve seen this little surgenceback of the travel agent?

Interviewer: Oh, yes. For sure.

Interviewee: Actually, there’s two travel agents Abbot Kinney right now and high-end trips, guess what they want to use? Because they don’t want to mess it up. I think that’s the same. I truly believe that’s the same with an agent. They don’t want to make it 2 million, $3 million purchase of their home and then have it be infested with mold, but they never got the right inspector, or like literally the foundation is gone and they didn’t know, or the paperwork and some things weren’t disclosed. I think there’s always going to be a definite need.

Interviewer: Always, right? I bought a second house in Palm Springs, and the next thing I know, the wind was insane. They’re like, “Oh, yes. You’re on the windy side of town. I’m like, “I am?” What does that mean? I knew I was near the airport, so I’m like, “Okay, how’s the flight path?” They’re like, “Oh, I’m on the windy side of town.” I had never heard of that before. A great realtor would be like, “Okay,-

Tami: You’re on the windy side.

Interviewer: -you’re on the windy side.” Then you decide, okay. I’m okay with that or not. You don’t want that surprise after you bought the house, which I had. I obviously have a lot of great real estate resources.

Tami: Right, exactly. That’s a great example.

Interviewer: Yes. Okay, so we talked a little bit about technology. What technology are you using right now?

Tami: We use Slack, Follow Up Boss, Daylite, which is our CRM. Obviously, it’s the regular ones. I would like to get a more comprehensive technology strategy and there’s really not from what we’ve seen, that’s completely from A to Z.

Interviewer: What pain point is the technology solving? For example, Slack is a great communication tool–

Tami: Interoffice, yes.

Interviewer: Interoffice, right?

Tami: And inter-clients. Some of our clients are in too [crosstalk].

Interviewer: Then you would create a Slack channel for your client and you communicate with them on that?

Tami: Right. works really well, which is like a Salesforce kind of a thing as well. It’s not as integrated as I’d like it to be. There is a little bit of a pain point still for us on technology and just really the lead management. That’s our biggest.

Interviewer: Okay, that’s cool. What lead management would be better? What’s missing in the lead management side of it?

Tami: I think that what I’d like to see in like all of it really is something that’s just more takes a client from like the first touch to the very end. We don’t really have that without a lot of manual putting everything in. I also think that it’s a lot of one-on-one with the client so I think it just doesn’t flow as well.

Interviewer: You also mentioned Follow Up Boss.

Tami: We’re just starting with Follow Up Boss as far as lead management. We use it on their buy-side right now, and I’m the beta tester for the listing side so I’ll let you know when. We just started.

Interviewer: when you know more about that. Technology really is helping you, it’s helping you along to the extent that it is, could be better, but it’s not really make or break your business for sure.

Tami: No, not right now. I think that there’s a lot, I think it could grow a lot. I think there’s a lot of growth in the tech side of things in real estate.

Interviewer: Lots of growth opportunity, but still not replacing the agent.

Tami: Right. Exactly.

Interviewer: All right, that makes sense. I’m going to switch to a little bit of a fire round type of question, and I pulled these questions for a reason because you’ve got this sort of like spiritual connection type of thing and so just have at it and we’ll see what happens. What’s your idea of perfect happiness?

Tami: Being imperfectly perfect.

Interviewer: Being imperfectly perfect?

Tami: I think that there’s no perfect happiness. I think that the things that go wrong are kind of the fun times. It’s like the ups and the downs are really important to me.

Interviewer: I love it. What’s your greatest fear?

Tami: Heights. I hate Heights.

Interviewer: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Tami: I don’t like that I probably sometimes I can fear. I fear the unknown. I really fear the unknown.

Interviewer: What’s the trait you most deplore in others?

Tami: Jealousy.

Interviewer: Which living person do you most admire?

Tami: My dad.

Interviewer: Nice. What’s your greatest extravagance?

Tami: [laughs] Oh God. I don’t really know what it is. This sounds really silly, but I have an Alaska MVP, so I get to get upgraded to first-class and it’s not something I bought, but I got it. I love getting upgraded. I love sitting first class, but I would never pay for it. I actually like when they upgrade me.

Interviewer: I like it. What’s your current state of mind?

Tami: Calm, excited at the same time.

Interviewer: Wow. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Tami: I think it’s like perfection, like people striving for perfection. I don’t think that’s real.

Interviewer: On what occasion do you lie?

Tami: Sometimes I say that I’m on my way to something, and I’m not really on my way yet. I’m like still a mouse and I say, “I’m in the car.”

Interviewer: I love it. I love it.

Tami: Maybe I should say I’m on my way walking to the car.

Interviewer: Some version of on the way. I used to do that too because I run late and I’d be like, “Oh, I’ll be there in 14 minutes when Waze says 17 [crosstalk]”

Tami: I just did that on the way here. I was like, “I’ll be there in 10,” but it really was 15. I do that a lot.

Interviewer: I’m trying to practice saying exactly what it says on Waze but that’s a practice.

Tami: It’s tough. It’s tough.

Interviewer: What’s a quality you most like in other people?

Tami: Kindness and honesty. Transparency, actually. Transparency

Interviewer: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Tami: Awesome.

Interviewer: Awesome?

Tami: I don’t know why I keep cool and awesome. I’m like, “I’m not out of the ’80s for God’s sake, stop.”

Interviewer: Oh, see there you go. I was thinking, “Maybe that’s because we’re Westside LA,” but you’re right. It’s probably ’80s.

Tami: It’s ’80s. When were you born? We’re probably [unintelligible 00:57:04]

Interviewer: When and where were you happiest?

Tami: I’m really happy now. In my own self. I wouldn’t even say it’s a place, it’s just me.

Interviewer: Nice. Which talent would you most like to have?

Tami: Singing. I’d love to be a great singer.

Interviewer: Can you sing at all?

Tami: Not at all.

Interviewer: I can’t sing at all and I would love to be able to sing.

Tami: When I went to Japan and I sang by myself in a karaoke booth just to do it. Just to be a rockstar on myself.

Interviewer: Wow. Okay. I’ll have to try that. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Tami: I would really love to sing. I’d like to be a rock– I always wanted to be a rock star.

Interviewer: That’s cool. You’re a rockstar realtor, for sure.

Tami: Oh my God, that’s right.

Interviewer: That’s true.

Tami: Maybe this is my dream coming true.

Interviewer: It is true. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Tami: My kids.

Interviewer: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Tami: Honestly, I’d come back as myself. I really am happy with myself where I am.

Interviewer: I love it. What’s your most treasured possession?

Tami: Honestly, I hate to say it. It’s like my family and myself. Not a big material possession person.

Interviewer: Really nice. You’ve achieved a lot of success, which along with the success comes money and you seem like you’re not money-driven. What drives you?

Tami: I really love connection. The thing I do love about money is it gets me freedom and which gives me freedom to do things I want to do. It’s more about experiences and than anything else. My feeling in the world is, is that time is your most valuable asset and it’s not money, but money can allow you more time to do things you love do.

Interviewer: Yes, it can’t buy you back time that you’ve already spent, but it can certainly give you time today and the future.

Tami: Right.

Interviewer: That’s cool. I like it. One of the things and I can’t tell you how amazing this has been, this experience. I really appreciate your time. I appreciate your energy. I’ve learned some great things today. I know that our listeners will also have, there’s a lot of takeaways. You don’t sit down with somebody that sells $500 million worth of real estate a year, very often. I appreciate that time.

Tami: Thank you.

Interviewer: One of the things we talked about, everyone gives a gift to the listeners. One of the things we talked about today was your gall approach to things. I think it’s very fitting and appropriate and really appreciate you giving us a video that really explains that in action.

Tami: Yes and see what they can do. Try it. Try to gall people, see if you get a upgrade, free room.

Interviewer: Let us know how that works, for sure.

Tami: My kids do it and they got ice cream. They just get a kick out of it.

Interviewer: Yes, I love it. Thank you very much. Really appreciate it and I know we got great stuff.

Tami: Thank you.

Interviewer: Okay.


Tami: Thanks.

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