An Interview with Real Estate Broker Jen Dillard of The Hasson Company
Hi Jen! Tell us your story! Why did you decide to become a Realtor? What made you want to get into the real estate industry?
I sort of fell into Real Estate by happenstance! I was dating someone who worked for a Real Estate investment company and they needed someone to help with property management. I wasn’t in love with my career at the time, so I got my license and caught the Real Estate bug quickly. I worked in the industry until the 2008 market crash, and then decided to take a break. After having my second baby and being at home with my two kids for a few months, I felt like I really missed working. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom more than anything in the world, but I knew that in order for me to be an even better mom, I needed to do something for myself. I have always loved to work, but when thinking back on what career made me the happiest, it was a no-brainer that it was Real Estate. I love the challenges being an agent brings, the problem-solving, the obstacles of appraisals, inspections, and lending. I love the people and being by there side to hold their hand through one of the biggest purchases of their lives.
As the founder of the JDRE Team, what inspired the decision to start a team and how do choose which Realtors you bring on board?
Just two years after getting back into the swing of Real Estate, my husband and I decided to move our family from the Seattle area to Hood River, Oregon where we live now. I barely knew a soul other than my husband’s family when we moved, so I had to start all over again and build a name for myself. After being in Hood River and doing Real Estate there for 1 year, I met a young man that was working at a local coffee shop. The way that he engaged with the customers caught my attention. I observed as he said hello to each guest and remembered most of them by name. He had a big smile and a laugh that was contagious. After witnessing his interactions several more times while I was a patron of the coffee shop, I started a conversation with him and learned that he had recently moved back to the area, that he had previously been in sales for a well known company, and that he had a wife and child at home. I asked him very bluntly if he had ever considered becoming a Real Estate agent, he said he had considered, but didn’t know how to get started. I wrote down the name of the program I did, gave him my business card, and told him to get his license and that I would love to mentor him. Several months down the road, he called and over the last 3 years he has gone from making minimum wage to making 6 figures, he bought his first house, and he is thriving! I have met some of my best agents this same way. I firmly believe that you do not need past experience to be a great Realtor. I look for people that have a great personality, people that I could see myself trusting and wanting to work with, and people that have strong work ethic. I can mentor them on the ins and outs of the business, systems and processes, and help them to grow from there.
Do you believe there are any advantages to being a women in the real estate industry?
Real Estate used to be such a male dominated industry, but it seems like over the last decade, the ladies have really been stepping up. Selling or buying a home is one of the biggest life events and the purchase or sale can be due to a divorce, death, moving into assisted living, a growing family, etc. Women tend to be more nurturing in these situations and can give the client the support that they need through the process.
What has been the biggest challenge for you within your career and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge for me thus far has been proving myself in a new town! It takes time to build a reputation, earn trust, and gain notoriety. I got bullied a lot by other Realtors for the first few years. They would call me on the phone and say nasty things to me and make me feel so awful about myself just for working hard and trying to build a business. I overcame it by not allowing those conversations to take place, by surrounding myself with people that love me, support me, and cheer me on (and vice-a-versa), and by keeping my head down and my eyes on my own business and nobody else’s.
As a woman in this industry, what heightened skills do you believe you have to offer your clients?
I have an eye for aesthetics which comes in handy when buying a home or when prepping a house to sell. Women tend to have greater attention to detail, a softer approach when necessary, but we also know when we need to be aggressive and be fierce negotiators for our clients.
You literally do it all - Wife, Mother, Broker & Founder of the JDRE Team! How do you find such a great balance between work-life and family-life?
It has taken me years to realize that I have the ability to set my own boundaries when it comes to time for myself and time with my family. You have to put up guardrails around what is most important to you and not let anything knock them down. I am clear with my clients and set the expectation that I am unavailable between 8-10 every morning and between 5-8pm every night and I generally do not work on the weekends. For the most part, my clients and team respect my boundaries and appreciate that I am making my family the priority.
What has contributed to your success in this business so far?
I am a huge believer of mentoring/coaching. I would not be where I am today without the support and guidance of my mentors. I have the most supportive and encouraging husband who understands what it takes to grow a team and he has had my back every step of the way. Last, but CERTAINLY not least, the individuals that make up the JDRE team have all contributed immensely to not only my success, but each others success as well. We have all grown so much, and have done it together.
How do you withstand the highs and lows of the business and stay motivated within one of the toughest sales industries in the world?
I surround myself with people that inspire me, that support me, and that keep me grounded. This industry can be so crazy that you feel like your head is literally spinning around and having your tribe to brainstorm with, vent to, and to share the wins (big and small) with makes it all so much more enjoyable.
What would you say is your #1 tip for others to start thriving as a Real Estate Agent?
My #1 tip is to be authentically you. People choose to work with people that they like and that they trust. If you are trying to mimic someone else’s personality, you likely won’t make genuine connections. Be yourself!
What’s one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself on day one as a licensed Realtor?
Develop systems and processes…NOW! Don’t wait until your business gets super busy, you can always improve on things, but having a system in place will make your life so much easier.
What advice would you give to empower other women within their real estate careers or/ to women who are thinking about starting a career in real estate?
Know your “why”. What drives you to be successful? Is it your family, ego, freedom? Knowing your why will help keep you focused and help you to push yourself. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and overcoming objections. You will be faced with both of these scenarios many times in your career, the better you are at overcoming them, the stronger you will be.
Lastly, don’t get into Real Estate for the money. If you do, you will live in the fear and scarcity mindset and that is a trap. If you are in Real Estate to genuinely serve your community, to educate, and to help people with one of their biggest assets…the money will come.
Such wise words and incredible advice! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Jen!