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Women Leaders Of Real Estate: Lindsey Harn of Christie’s International Real Estate On The 5 Things You Need To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry

 

Vanessa Morcom, May 7, 2024

 

Learning to adapt to market shifts and understand current trends in the market — Always be willing to pivot. I got started in the 2008 recession days. I got schooled quickly about foreclosures and short sales. Some people were unwilling to learn these skills because they were not glamorous. I believe in staying relevant and being willing to provide whatever services your clientele needs at the time. It’s been extremely rewarding to see clients rebound from those tough days — and get back into their homes after surviving those hard times.

Asa part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Harn.

Lindsey Harn is a top-producing real estate expert with a proven track record of over 1,200 transactions and $1.1 billion in closed sales. As the #1 Agent in Sales Volume for SLO County for four consecutive years, Lindsey leads the Lindsey Harn Group, ranked #4 in Top Small Teams in California and #57 in America for total sales volume in 2023. Recognized as an elite member of Christie’s International Real Estate Masters Circle since 2019, Lindsey is the go-to resource for real estate in San Luis Obispo County. Her insights have been featured on national and local media outlets, and she is the exclusive Barbara Corcoran recommended agent on the Central Coast. Committed to giving back, Lindsey has donated $12,000 in grants to local organizations this year.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

Ever since I can remember, as early as seven years old, I’ve loved Monopoly. I would play with anyone and everyone who would play, consistently winning with a high percentage, and getting all of the $500 bills in the game. But humor aside, I did not grow up in a real estate family. After graduating college, I was offered an internship at a real estate office, getting paid $10.00 (a career counselor had told me that I was well worth $20.00). But, Anything was better than going home and working for my dad as an auditor, so I eagerly said yes in July 2008.

The beginning of my real estate career was humbling, dealing with foreclosures, short sales, and more without formal training. When the boss laid off his primary assistant of 10 years in October 2008, I became a “Yes GIRL,” diving in to help with taking photos, handling cash for keys, and short sale processing. The journey continued, and I loved every minute of it, learning from the ground up. I was promoted to Listing Coordinator, Escrow Manager, Office Manager, and then Buyer’s Agent. I invested a decade in the real estate field.

However, in 2018, after a decade of dedicated work, my journey in real estate took an unexpected turn as I was let go by my male partner, who was also my boss, despite consistently outperforming him in home sales. Rather than getting discouraged, I embraced this opportunity as a new beginning. Today, I am a proud female owner of the Lindsey Harn Real Estate Group, a top-performing real estate agent in the US and the #1 agent in SLO County. This unexpected challenge has taught me how we respond to our challenges and define our success.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

In 2018, after successfully selling 118 homes, with 98% of those being buyers, I was unexpectedly let go. This experience has taught me how to adapt to changes and influenced me to focus on personal growth despite the setbacks I’ve encountered. A few friends told me to take some time off, travel, and enjoy life while I figured out my next move, but I just couldn’t do it. I stayed home one day and cried, and then it was time to rebuild from the ground up. I was going to take what I had learned and put my own personal touch on it, which involved a higher level of customer service and more offerings in the luxury space.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, I am working on a few projects to help the community around SLO County. I have joined the SLOMA (San Luis Obispo Museum of Art) board and began the SLO County Chapter of Sereno 1% For Good Foundation which recently donated to Big Brother Big Sisters, the SLO Noor Foundation, the SLO County YMCA & more. These new ventures are meant to make the entire SLO community I am a part of better, and I love spending my free time helping to give back to various causes. We give out grants each year to a variety of organizations in the communities we serve. I also love helping other entrepreneurs follow their dreams and am always looking for ways to support other women-owned local businesses.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I know it sounds silly, but we care. I care about each client who hires me, and the genuine care for the clients comes through to the clients we work with. Being authentic and truly loving what we do daily shows up, and the clients can tell. So many agents I hear about have commission breathe. They cold call every day and are just out to make their next sale, and they don’t make the client feel like they are the priority.

When a family sells an inherited home, they are sometimes mourning the loss of a place they called home and the memories associated with it for many years. We will oftentimes send the client a book with all of the photos of their cherished family home, and we have had clients of all ages brought to tears…At the gesture. Whether it’s a divorce, death, or a downsize, selling a home is an emotional process. People want to work with an agent who understands that part of the process.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so fortunate to have had some amazing real estate coaches throughout my career. Since the beginning of my career, I have worked with some of the very best. Cathy Anderson & Jodi Vavrika of the Mike Ferry Organization have been instrumental to my success and personal growth. They have introduced me to other amazing entrepreneurs in real estate who inspire me daily and have become my best friends. The business can feel very lonely, but having a support system across the US of amazing women to call and talk through challenges is priceless.

The coaches have pushed me out of my comfort zone not just with my business, but with all aspects of my life from health and wellness to investments. When I was coaching with Cathy, I signed up for a half marathon. I had never run more than a 5k in my entire life. When I was running up the hills, I could hear her in my head, pushing me to go the extra mile and not start walking: “If it’s to be, it is up to me” “How good can I be, by the time I am done”. “THE PRICE Of success must be paid in full and must be paid in advance.” When I run into a challenge or have had a bad day, I find myself going back to these inspirational quotes and moments and it gives me the strength to push forward. After all, we are not alone.

The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing, and Public Relations fields, is a women-dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Real estate is actually closer to being evenly split between genders, with about 55% of agents being women, and 45% being men. That being said, it is such a bummer that more women are not sitting at the top of the field. Many things play into this, but it may not be something that can be easily solved. Many licensed real estate agents do this for part-time work and a more flexible schedule than a typical job. I hope to see more female representation in senior industry positions soon, and hopefully, I can help play a part in making this happen.

What 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

Women in the industry should focus on bridging that gender gap through mentorships and generally being public figures. I believe one of the best ways to inspire more women to not only join the industry but strive to be at the top, is by showing that it’s absolutely possible with hard work and determination.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Balancing work and life is an ongoing challenge, but it often seems that women face expectations and judgments more often. While a man working long hours is perceived as acceptable, the same commitment from a woman can be labeled as being “too serious” or having “no life.”

In my experience, I’ve been told by my colleagues that my approach is different, perhaps too serious, or that people prefer a smaller-town vibe. Instead of building each other up and supporting one another, I have seen my friends and colleagues tear me down.

I strongly believe in supporting and empowering other women. I’ve witnessed instances where female friends hid pregnancies from their clients for fear that if the client knew they were pregnant, they would lose the listing and the seller would move on to another male agent.

As a woman in my field, I’ve noticed the recurring need to prove ourselves repeatedly — to our own customers, to earn a seat at the table continually. It seems men can effortlessly connect on a personal level, by showing up and shaking hands to connect. It’s time to transform an environment where women can thrive without the fear of judgment, where success is celebrated, and where support is readily available.

I think women are always challenging work/life balance. If a man works 60 hours a week it is acceptable. If a woman does it “she is a bitch” she “has no life”.

I have been told by my colleagues: “You are just different. You take things too seriously. You are a little too big town, and people prefer a smaller town vibe” Instead of building each other up and supporting one another, I have seen my own friends and colleagues tear me down.

I am all about supporting other women and believing in them.

I have seen friends hide pregnancies from their clients, for fear, that if the client knew they were pregnant they would lose the listing and the seller would move on to another male agent.

As a women, sometimes I think we have to prove ourselves over and over again, to ourselves, our customers and to continually earn a seat at the table. Where as men, can show up, shake hands, and connect on another level.

The pressure on women to outperform the men is high, and yet so many times they are balancing other things at home.

Many of my girlfriends won’t even tell their husbands how much they make…Or what they spend on meal delivery, nanny’s or instacart, because they don’t want the judgement.

They are suppose to do it all, but often times we need help and support.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

In the real estate industry, success has no limits. It’s a field where your background and education aren’t a requirement to be successful. With consistent hard work and kindness, you can become successful. The limitless potential in real estate opens doors for anyone driven by dedication.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Concerns:

1. Low Barrier to Entry to become a real estate professional, which can give the whole industry a bad reputation.

2. Fraud

3. Affordability Challenges

Implement:

1. Consider increasing the prerequisites or education required to obtain a license. Perhaps set minimum standards to keep the license active. When the market got hot, we saw so many new agents enter the market without the proper experience or training. Perhaps, like appraisers, mandating at least 1–2 years of apprenticeship before being allowed to take on clients without a mentor/supporter.

2. Fraud is on the rise — We are seeing wire fraud and seller fraud, where sellers are impersonating a landowner and selling a property they don’t own. Educating agents, financial officers, and property owners on ways to track their property activities is key. We work with our DA regularly anytime we receive a suspicious call and attempt to put our colleagues in the local market on notice as well.

3. Educate individuals on affordable living options such as ADUs or duplexes. Educate high school and college students about what it takes to be a homeowner and start educating them on improving their chances of hitting this goal. I often have clients in their mid-30s just starting to figure out what is required.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

Empower not only your team but your community around you. Outwork your competition, and lead by example.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Embracing rejection leads to new opportunities and learning how to grow — Every no gets you closer to a yes. Rejection is a part of sales and the sooner you can deal and accept that it is a part of the process the better off you will be. Whenever I do get rejected, I try to understand if there is something I could have done differently to convey my value proposition to the sellers. You learn more from the rejection than the easy YES’S.
  2. Learning to adapt to market shifts and understand current trends in the market — Always be willing to pivot. I got started in the 2008 recession days. I got schooled quickly about foreclosures and short sales. Some people were unwilling to learn these skills because they were not glamorous. I believe in staying relevant and being willing to provide whatever services your clientele needs at the time. It’s been extremely rewarding to see clients rebound from those tough days — and get back into their homes after surviving those hard times.
  3. Being transparent and resourceful builds better client relationships — I have had clients ask me to help them sell or buy properties out of my wheelhouse or out of my area of expertise. I am always the first one to say — Wow I so appreciate you thinking of me, but that is out of my area of service. I don’t think I would be the right fit to sell that particular business or piece of property. Then, I am prepared to help them find the expert. People appreciate when you are honest and direct — especially once they know you have their best interest at heart.
  4. Networking can appear in everyday conversations — You never know when one conversation or one interaction can change your life.
  5. Never stop learning — I usually attend anywhere from 4–6 educational conferences a year to improve my skills. Whether it’s increasing the services I can offer the family law community, luxury real estate trends, learning about the latest technology and marketing trends, or focusing on sales skills & motivation — I know that to stay in shape for my clients I must continue to grow and learn. It keeps me humble, inspired, and ready to take on new challenges.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It is important to set an example for the next generation. I think of my nieces, nephews, and cousins and want them to know that you can do anything you set your mind to. I love that in real estate we get to meet people from all walks of life and we can learn so much from the challenges and lessons they have learned. Real Estate is an even playing field in the sense that you don’t need a fancy college degree, and you don’t have to have come from a certain type of upbringing. Anyone willing to learn, put themselves out there, and try can be super successful.

Everyone I meet, and it should be a class everyone has to take in undergrad — I try to tell people about the benefits of owning real estate. I met with a lender the first time to try and understand what I might qualify for. I was 21 years old and just out of college. I sat down, knowing I was not in a position to buy, but learned what I would need down and what I would need my income to be to own a home. It gave me something to work toward, and by the age of 23, I purchased my first home, a condo.

Everyone can be a homeowner and educating ourselves on what that might look like -is key. Take a step toward your future, even if you are still getting ready to make the leap into home ownership.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: https://www.lindseyharngroup.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindseyharn?igsh=MWZkd2lhY3l3dnRzcA==

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindseyharn/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lindsey.harn?mibextid=tPfjzR

Use my Site/Instagram handle?

Yes, you can use my website and handle.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Article originally published by Authority Magazine.