27 Years Old & Over 19 Million In Production • Lexi Belland Perez

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Lexi Belland Perez of The Belland Team at Lepic Kroeger in eastern Iowa is 27 years old and closed almost 20 million last year in production. This year she’s on pace to close over 30 million! In our conversation Lexi talks about the importance of being present, proactive and involved in your community – that’s the marketing strategy her team had utilized to become the top team in her area!

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Lexi Belland Perez can be reached at 319-530-1055 and thebellandteam@gmail.com.


D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real largest podcasts made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your guide and host through the show and in just a moment we’re going to be speaking to a young superstar 27 year old named Lexi Belen of the Belen team. I’m so excited because she’s just crushing it in eastern Iowa. Before we get to Lexi, I want to remind all of our listeners of a couple of things. First of all, thank you for continuing to support and listen to our show. We’re coming up on our 100 and 50th episode in the next week or two. We couldn’t do it without you and we appreciate every one of you who listens. But please remember we could use more listeners of course we have everyone out there goes and tells just one other real estate professional about our show we double our listenership and could do more episodes for you So please think of one realtor that you know that could benefit from listening to the the interview we’re about to do with Lexi and share the podcast with them. How do you do that? Send them to our website keeping it real pod.com You can stream every episode we’ve done and also we have links to videos we just started adding video. So if you want to watch this episode as instead of listening to it right on our website, it’ll take you to our YouTube channel and you can do that as well. And lastly, follow us on Facebook. We have so much great content on there every single day we post an article that we find online dedicated to helping you grow your business. In addition to that we also post video recordings of all of our episodes while we’re recording them live want to see what it’s like a few minutes before we get started and want to hear me screw up and ask questions before we actually go alive. That’s what we do. So follow us on Facebook facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod and other than that, thanks for continuing to listen. Thanks for continuing to support our sponsors and telling a friend and now on to our interview with Lexi Belen of the Valentim.

Today on the show we have Lexi Belland from Lepic Crager realtor from the Belen team in Williamsburg, Iowa at age 27 Lexi success is no accident. This business has run in her family for generations and comes very naturally to her fresh out of college she dove in headfirst. After six years in the business her and her team reached almost 20 million in production in 2019. Actually 19 point 8 million. She is extremely passionate and committed to educating mentoring and supporting her clients. She truly has a passion for what she does and is just getting started and I should share her production goal for 2020 which is 30 million and she’s already done like 8 million a year today, which is insane. Please visit the Belen team.com. That’s B E L L A N D. Team. And welcome to the show Lexie.

Lexi Belland 4:04
Hey, thanks for having me. That was quite the introduction. And one thing I do want to say is, if you’re a new listener, and you’re an agent, this is a super resourceful outlet. When my sister and I are my mom and I when we’re on our way to a listing appointment, we have this blasting in our car, gives you motivation gives you ideas you can hear from other realtors. So if you’re not subscribing, we highly recommend it.

D.J. Paris 4:30
Wow, thank you so much. I really appreciate that. And this is a real honor for us. Because I’m here in Chicago and it’s so nice to hear that people from all over are benefiting and also willing to spend time with us. I know how busy you and your team are. So I know this is something you probably don’t have time to do but but are finding time to do it. So so thank you on behalf of the listeners. So let’s see. I know this real estate is not new to your family. Although you are relatively new to the business. I mean not much anymore, but six years in, but tell us a little bit about how you got started.

Lexi Belland 5:04
Yes. So my mom’s been in real estate almost 25 years. So she was a huge influence. For me, that was one of the main reasons or how I got started and interested in it. But also my dad is a builder. So, um, you know, I’ve had homes in my background, you know, careers with homes forever. So I always kind of knew, you know, most realtors, this is their second or third career. This is my, this is all I know, you know, I started in 2014, at Lepic, Kreger realtors, and this is the only company I’ve ever worked for. So this is all I have really known. So I, you know, like, I wanted to get started in real estate right at 18. Right when I graduated high school, that was my plan. So I sat my mom and dad down, like, Hey, this is what I want to do. And I got shot down really quickly, because they were like, hey, no, you need to go to college. Like that’s not really an option. So I went to college, I’m at Iowa State University. And I really wanted to get done quickly. So I could get going like, you know, I just that was my passion. Because I did fall on my mom for like a few years in high school and stuff, taking your pictures, inputting listings, that type of thing. So I graduated early, I graduated in three years. And so during my last year, I got my real estate license during my undergrad, because I literally wanted to graduate and the very next day started selling so I graduated on Friday, and I had my license by Monday. So it was like perfect timing. I was really excited to get started. And it’s kind of funny, because my senior year of high school, I won a scholarship through the Iowa City area Association of Realtors. And so you have to go and give a, you know, a little speech thanking the Association for the award. So you know, I’m in a room full of Realtors, you know, saying, hey, you know, thanks for this scholarship, they want to know what your plans are. So I said, you know, I’m going to go to Iowa State University, and I’m gonna come back and sell real estate. And you know, it was kind of a quiet room right after that. And I don’t know if they like, didn’t believe me one or they’re like, great, more competition. But three short years later, I literally was basically competing with everyone in that room that day. So it’s kind of unique how I got started, because it’s not like how most do so?

D.J. Paris 7:29
Well, it seems like you knew exactly what you wanted at a very early age. I mean, when I was 18. I mean, I went to college, and I didn’t even know my senior year of college. I was like, I’m graduating. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing. Like that. And tell us a little bit about about the geographic area that you represent, because you are not in a major metropolitan area.

Lexi Belland 7:52
Yes. So we’re in like a rural area in our populations, 3200 people. So very small town probably compared to you, but it feels plenty large for me. And we have like Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines like their surrounding like Iowa City is only 20 minutes away. So it’s a happiness skip. But there’s something about small towns and I don’t know, if you have been in small towns, I take pride in living in a small town because, you know, you learn a lot about yourself. Like it just there’s more one on one. Even though I know majority of the people and in our community, I’m still meeting new people every single day, and I’m working with brand new clients that are new to town. And when you’re passionate about the community you live in, it’s easy to sell Williamsburg, we have so many large town amenities that other surrounding communities don’t have this size, we have a great school district. So it’s really it’s not hard for me to sell Williamsburg. And I’ve gotten quite a bit of my clients that, you know, if you compare it to, you know, Johnson County, you’re getting a lot more house for a lot less money, and you’re getting more one on one in school districts, you’re paying less property taxes. I mean, I could go on and on and on. But I’m because I’m passionate about Williamsburg and real estate. It just I feel like I can really draw people to this area. So that has helped grow them,

D.J. Paris 9:19
even if Yeah, I mean, even if you were working in Chicago, and we’re one of the largest markets, I think we’re the second largest real estate market in the country, or third largest, maybe Yeah, your production would still be in the very top 1% here in Chicago. So I think that is so fascinating, because again, I live in a big city. And I often think about brokers who live in more rural areas and I think Wow, that must be so much more difficult simply because the population numbers and you are proof positive that you can have this huge expanse of career at a very young age by being extremely passionate and and the fact that you I mean I grew up in a moderately sized City is about 100,000 people, but I went to school. So I have you beat because I went to school in a very rural area to eighth grade, there was a town of 800. So I can appreciate the small towns, and that was in central Illinois. And so that’s kind of my upbringing as well. And I’m always amazed at, you know, Purina, where I, where I went, the one of the top agents, there is I think he was with Keller Williams, anyway, doesn’t matter. But he does almost 200 sales a year, and his average price point is like $160,000. And like, he just crushes it on volume. And that’s, you know, and then you come to Chicago, and somebody might do with $3 million sale, which, of course, is rare, but it happens. And so, you know, you can have success, and in any size environment, and I love the fact that how passionate you are about about your area, because I think you have to be and you have to really love it and, and be so excited to support people buying and selling in that area.

Lexi Belland 10:59
Yeah, definitely. And the thing is, like, you know, a lot of agents in the surrounding communities like that are larger, obviously, you can sell sometimes 15 houses and reach a pretty good, you know, like, we have to close over 100 properties to get to that, you know, so we have a lot more transactions going on, which is more clients more juggling of the, you know, like that type of thing. So it’s something that like, I think, bigger areas, maybe take for granted a little bit like sure, you know, we’re doing 100 Plus transactions. Yeah, so it’s each in, you know, in my year to date, so in 2020, my cheapest house I’ve sold this year is going to be $29,000. And my most expensive this year has been 570,000. So Wow. It’s a huge range, wide range of clients and inventory. So

D.J. Paris 11:53
I mean, you’re doing a closing every three days. Like that’s incredible.

Lexi Belland 11:58
Yeah, it seems like more than that. But

D.J. Paris 12:03
wow, I mean, amazing. And I do want to talk about about this a lot. Because you as a younger person in the business, although I don’t even like saying that because you’re one of the most successful people in certainly I’m sure in your in your market, you you guys have to be one of the top teams, if not the top team. And I want to talk about, you know, at 21 when you started, what were some of your approaches, because we have a lot of listeners who are new to the business or maybe who are younger, who are struggling trying to figure out even in a city as big as Chicago, how do I make this happen? And we have millions of people, right, and you guys don’t have millions of people, but you were still able to carve out this amazing niche for yourself. Can you talk a little bit about like, what did you do when you so day one, you got your license? How did you start to build the business?

Lexi Belland 12:49
Yeah, so this is kind of funny. But the first thing I did was I bought a pair of fake glasses, I don’t need prescription or anything, but it was like, Okay, I feel like I look older. And I don’t wear it anymore. But I got, I got a pair of glasses, because it made me look a little bit older. But that is a challenge as a young entrepreneur that, you know, people they want to see experience. And, you know, everyone started from scratch somewhere. So my situation is a little bit different in the sense of I had my mom to lean on. Sure. Um, so, you know, I really had her expertise, you know, she guided me throughout the entire thing. But, you know, even though she had her sphere of influence, I knew that I needed to build my own as well that I couldn’t just follow along with her and, you know, maintain, I wanted to grow my business and our business. And I wanted to make a name for myself. And so my biggest thing was, and I understand when you first get started, you’re not going to have a bunch of marketing dollars to throw around. But I did market myself everywhere that I possibly could. So like my face was on everything, Billboard car, in high school gyms. every social media platform, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, like everywhere that you can in some of those things are free. So it’s like, try, you know, figure out what your best, you know, return on the investment is so it was just figuring that out. And I think this is really hard for new agents, but to promote yourself so to your friends, to your friends, friends, to your family, to your coworkers, to your old coworker, you know like anyone that you know that you can reach out to and this is also kind of silly, but you know, right when you get started you’re not familiar with the assessor website and all that. I mean, I remember my first week, I was like waking up at 6am and I would grab the phonebook and and I would go through every name, get their address, get their phone number, enter them in my database, I now have a database of 2000 plus people and I’m Sending mailings to them, like, it just, it didn’t just happen. Like, I also have to be a hustler, like, and if you want to be successful in this business, you have to hustle. And you have to be available. So our slogan is any house anywhere, anytime. So we pretty much say that we’re available. 24/7. So I, because I’m promoting that, I want that to be true. So I tell them, give me two or three times that work best for you and I will make it work. And so last night working until 10 o’clock the night before 930, you know, I’m out doing offers back and forth doing showings like, this is the prime time. And even in the winter, like setting myself up for success, I have to be a go getter. And I think community and my clients have realized, like, I’m going to give it 100% Every single day. You know, we all have our good days and our bad days. But that’s the nice thing about working on a team is I have I have my weaknesses, I my strength, my sister has her strength, you know, what we’re good at is what we’re doing. And what we’re specializing so with a team, you know, I have three two other people to bounce ideas off of. And, you know, they’re telling me what I need to work on, you know, we have weekly team meetings where we’re saying, Okay, we could do this better. And, you know, what, who are we missing? What are we missing? What could we, you know, how can we establish ourselves even more. So, getting started is always going to be tough. And when you’re young, like looking back, and like, Oh, that was such a bad idea that I would have started at 18. Like my parents were spot on with that saying no. And so it was really good to you know, just kind of market myself, that’s the best advice I can give to somebody new is a if you can get on a team, get on a team, like, you are going to learn so much from that. And like, I can’t believe the amount I have learned in six short years. And, you know, I credit that to my mom, for sure. Because, you know, she was working more hours than she was because she had to train me, you know, I’m going to every open house. But again, it just doesn’t happen overnight. So putting that time and effort in. I mean, if you’re gonna be a hustler, you’re gonna have success.

D.J. Paris 17:14
Well, you just said so much in about the last 10 minutes, it’s it’s a lot to unpack. And I sort of want to just go, I want to go back to just a couple of things, because it was really very impressive. You said a lot. Number one, you talked about farming you’re like and farming as as a prospecting tool, meaning you were reaching out to people you didn’t know, people in the phonebook who you just went, you know, and sent them items of value. And you also talked about, you know, making sure the people you do know, your sphere of influence is recruiting for you too, or, or a better way to say it is advocating for you. Right, so Brian Buffini talks a lot about this in the Brian Buffini stuff as he goes, your contact list is not your client list, although that would that’s nice if it happens, but those are your advocates, those are the people that want you to succeed. So make sure they know to tell everybody they know about you know about who you are and what you do. And sounds like you were doing pretty much everything. But you’re also advertising, right, you were putting your face on billboards and bench backs and in high school gyms, and probably you were probably just really not just your face was a meshed in the community. But I imagine you were very present in the community, I suspect you’re out and about and easily seen and found.

Lexi Belland 18:27
Yes, and like joining you know, local organizations, volunteering, you know, we’re in Big Brother, Big Sister, you know, there’s so many ways that you can get involved joining clubs, local clubs, joining your chamber, like, there’s so many opportunities, it’s all on how bad you want it, you know, you can’t make somebody show up. And even though this is not an eight to five job, I’m here, my sister would disagree. I’m here every day around 830. And then I pick up my kids right before five. And then my husband gets them. And then my husband has them, especially in the springtime, my husband has them basically like, all night, you know. And then weekends, my Sunday I have open houses from 11 to four, you know, like, and I’m not saying like, you know, I make time for my family too. But, um, you know, when winter can be a little bit slower. That’s when we’re like, we’re doing my family vacations. And you know, I’m spending that quality time with my family. And I want them to grow up and know that like, I gave it my all and that my parents are hardworking and like, they need to see that. And that’s what I saw growing up. And I feel like that instilled in me. You know what I wanted in it. It drove me to be a better businesswoman because of that.

D.J. Paris 19:49
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think that the you’re leading by example, right? And you’re going to you know, you sort of just hope that when your kids come of age they’re like Have those same values and same work habits, because at the end of the day, and you and I both know this, it’s, it’s usually not the most talented person who’s the most successful, it certainly could be. But it oftentimes is just the person that works the hardest, and also work smart. But but the idea of hard work and discipline is something that in this industry particularly is difficult for a lot of people, because there isn’t really built in accountability. And you have, a lot of people we’ve interviewed on the show have real estate coaches for that exact reason. They’re like, you know, I need somebody to check in with me on a couple of items that I struggle with, to keep me on track as well. So I love the idea that, that you have built this discipline into your practice, and I’m sure you probably see it mostly as discipline. There’s, you know, it’s, I’ve interviewed a ton of people who, you know, top producers who just say, that’s really what it is, is I probably just outwork, and it doesn’t mean they don’t have balance in their life, they have great home lives, they have great social lives, in addition to having a great business life, but they’re like, you know, I treat it very seriously. It’s a real thing I show up on time I leave, you know, after all the work is done. And I just keep going.

Lexi Belland 21:07
Yeah, definitely. I mean, it can be hard to find that balance. But the nice thing is with having a team, you know, my sister, Kylie, she might take one night a week, and then I’m the next night, and then our mom’s the next night. So, I mean, we with that’s another aspect of the team where it’s like, everyone’s giving it their best effort. And with it being family, like, I don’t have to question that one ounce. And that’s the other thing that holds you accountable to is if you’re on a team, especially with family, you know, if they’re not taking like a day off, or they’re going to be there every day at eight, like I want to be there, I want to show up, and I want them to know that, like, I’m giving it my all. And I I’ve never had to question between either of them, like, you know, are they giving it. So that’s the nice thing about accountability with a team is, you know, if you’re on your own, like, and you don’t show up for a day of work, who knows, you know, no one even knows about that, right? It’s like I have to teammates that I don’t want to disappoint. And so it’s like, I’m gonna show up, I’m gonna be present, I’m gonna give my 100%. And we’re gonna sell some real estate.

D.J. Paris 22:18
Talk, you talked about a lot of different marketing strategies that you did when you started. And I imagine you’re still doing a lot of those. What I’m really always interested in what doesn’t work or what didn’t work for you. So I definitely want to find out what what’s what’s working today. But what did you try over the years that really wasn’t successful? Only because it might help some of our listeners who might be thinking of doing something similar?

Lexi Belland 22:41
Yes. And that’s kind of a tough question. Because sometimes you don’t always know like, 100% Hey, what is working? What is not sure? Like, I had previous, you know, like, you do coffee mugs? Like, sure. And it’s like, Are you being Are you is that that visible? And like? I wouldn’t say that there’s any like one thing that I’ve done that I’m like, Oh, that was a total waste, you know, sometimes, like on Zillow, all by a zip code. If like, it’s slower, and I know that zip code, the markets booming at that time, and then I’m like, Was that really worth it? Like, did I really hit that many? You know, like, for what I’m paying? Is it worth the amount of work that’s being put into it? Like, honestly, the it’s hard for me to say what exactly isn’t working? Because I feel like a lot of my stuff, like it just kind of comes from everywhere. And that’s like, one of my first question is like, where did you hear about our team? How did you find out about us? If they show up at my open house? Like, did you see this online? Did you see this newspaper? Did you drive by, like, you need to figure out what is working? I try not to focus on like what’s not working? Right? So I don’t necessarily have an exact answer for you for that. But, um, I don’t think I

D.J. Paris 23:57
think the hands I think I think you did answer it. You basically said, you need to ask people when they show up, how did you find out about me, and you’ll find out pretty quickly what’s getting the best return, right? And if it’s, Hey, I’m the I’m the Instagram person. And that’s where I post everything. And that’s where I get a lot of hits from then you you’ve put more energy into that. Or if it’s, Hey, I saw your Billboard, and your billboard was really great. And, you know, it could be anything. But yeah, I think you just said something really important, which I didn’t want to gloss over. Which is you need to ask your clients, how do they find you? And you know, it’s a simple question, but I bet most most agents probably don’t ask it. So it’s a great, great suggestion. Yeah. Can we talk a little bit about social media because I know this is a big, big deal for you. And I know you guys, you do all of your own social media and you would, a lot of our listeners might think, okay, at the level of production that your team is at, maybe they outsource it, maybe it’s just easier to give it to someone else and they can get that done. Since you guys are so busy and you’re posting two to three times a day sometimes but you’re doing it all yourself or your team is doing it. Is that Is that right?

Lexi Belland 25:04
Yes. So we do everything, social media wise advertising in house. So it’s hard sometimes when you start that to kind of like, give control to someone else, like, I’ve been doing it for so long that like, I know what I want to post about type of thing. And it’d be hard to just like outsource it, and I see so many Facebook pages and that you can just tell that, you know, someone else is doing it. And they’re very generic, like, I want to try to be as raw and real as I possibly can. The thing I do struggle the most with and agents, you know, everyone probably does a little bit is posting just the accepted offer the accepted offer the new listing, I sometimes run out of like, things to post about, especially in smaller communities, there’s not as many like events going on or so I do struggle a little bit with the sense of posting accepted offer, you know, new listing, but I will say your marketing is working when people are talking about it. So I get a lot of people coming up to me, like, Oh, I saw you sold that house, and like the only way they would know I sold that house, right? Because I haven’t even put the accepted offer sign up. But I’ve put the posts on Facebook, or Instagram or Twitter. So I know, you know, we get a lot of people asking do you do your own. And we do. And, you know, that’s one thing I learned at Iowa State was marketing and how that can make or break your company. And so, um, you know, and I want to be the best in our area, you know, I want to be the best on online. And so, you know, posting those two or three times a day, I just would like to expand more than just the accepted offers and the new listings. We do like giveaways every once in a while we’ll obviously holidays, and then like local sporting events we post about, but again, like I definitely could improve in that area a little bit too.

D.J. Paris 26:58
I have a suggestion for you, if you if you’re interested. It’s a suggestion you already know, but I’ll mention it anyway. Yeah, reach out to local businesses and say, hey, you know, they probably know you guys already. Hey, we’d love to, you know, if it’s a business you want to promote and that you appreciate your service or product, say we would love to promote you do you have a coupon that we could offer our you know, social media followers or a giveaway? Maybe you even you know, spend the money yourself for that. Or they’ll just maybe even give it to you, but then you’ll promote them. And of course, it promotes you guys as well. But that may be something to consider, which I’m sure you’ve already thought to

Lexi Belland 27:32
do. Yes, no, that’s a great idea. But yeah,

D.J. Paris 27:35
I think we’re gonna start a new feature on the show, you just inspired me this is a really big deal. You just inspired me to to create help a top 1% producer, and I think we’re going to start it with you. Just because it just came to me. If anyone has ideas for Lexi and her team about what works it aside from just posting on social media about, Hey, I just sold this wonderful home and, and those kind of things, send your ideas to us or to her and let’s get a lot of ideas. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna do help a top 1% producer, which everybody needs help, right. So that’s the whole point. And what a great, what a great answer about the social media, what’s working for you guys. So that actually brings us to a couple of listener questions. So let me see one second. So you talked about Zillow, and I want to just one of our listeners happened to ask this exact question. Nicholas asks, What are your thoughts about buying internet leads?

Lexi Belland 28:28
So Zillow is really the only like online investment buying leads that we do. And it depends which month you asked me. But, um, for the most part, like, we get a lot of visibility from it, it’s the number one buying was website even though Realtors aren’t big on Zillow. And, you know, they don’t have the best track record for that. I still like it, because it’s an outlet and outlet that my buyers like to use, and if they like to use it, I need to be present on it even though I might not agree with, you know, people calling on properties that have sold months ago and they just haven’t updated it I you know, like, that’s where we’re gonna invest our dollars because I know that’s where the buyers are coming from, you know, we see it all the time, the amount of you know, likes and leads we get from it is outweigh you know, like what we make from what we pay for it. You know, like we it’s working for us, but we get calls daily on, you know, people wanting us to pay for leads and they have a lead ready for us right now. They don’t do any of those. So yeah, I read Zillow is really the only one that we’ve ever invested in.

D.J. Paris 29:48
And it’s really sounds like more of a branding thing for you than anything because you’re right. They have I think it’s over 200 million people. It’s maybe more than that might be like 300 million people go there a month, or whatever it is. Uh, but yeah, you have to be present there, whether you’re paying for it or just getting a lot of reviews there or whatever the strategy is, but to pretend that it’s not important, I think is probably not a wise idea. And obviously you feel the same way.

Lexi Belland 30:13
Yeah. And to piggyback on the reviews, is, that is one thing like, because we are investing in Zillow, after every transaction we send out please review us on Zillow, we have almost 100 reviews. And so the odds of them picking us is going to be a lot more considering we’ve taken the time we’ve gotten the five stars we have almost 100 reviews. You know, like if you’re going to pay for it, you need to work Zillow, you know, when we get a lead. You know, when we get that lead, it is sent, you know, we contact them within the first 30 minutes of getting it. So we’re not letting it sit on the email cycle through three days later respond. We’re working Zillow, because that’s what we’re paying for. And if I’m paying for it, it has to work, or I’m not going to pay for it.

D.J. Paris 31:02
Great answer. Okay. Another question. This is a woman from Delaware named Lee, who says, As a woman, how do you stay safe when meeting with clients who you’ve never met before? This is a good follow up to Zillow, because there’s going to be times when you meet people as a result of Zillow, or another outlet where they see maybe they see your billboard. And by the way, you know, that’s something that also now that I’m just thinking about, it probably comes up a lot. So how do you deal with that from a safety perspective?

Lexi Belland 31:33
So our company at Lepik, Krieger realtors, when we get a phone number, we can send it on to our company, and they can do basically like a limited background check. So we send over the phone number, they can give us, you know, their name, their address, you know, a lot of history on what properties they’ve purchased, what they’ve sold, any felony, you know, like, it’s very detailed. So if I’m ever in question, I’ll send it to them. And like say, they told me their name was this, well, the phone number is linked to a different name or a different address. So I mean, in smaller towns, you know, a lot of people that you’re working with, but I mean, we cover all of Eastern Iowa, it’s not like we’re just in Williamsburg, or we’re in eastern Iowa, we’re in Cedar Rapids, we’re in, you know, we kind of go all over this area, a pretty big area that we’re covering. So my sister or my mom, like, if we’re not comfortable, then multiple of us go together on the showing, or we’ll do that background check. But, of course, everyone has their stories and the sticky situations you’ve been in. And it’s been questionable, and you probably shouldn’t have gotten a loan, but you had to. But for the most part, we do a pretty good job on, you know, and if you’re not on a team, take a guy in your office like, yeah, you know, somebody is willing to go with you, you don’t have to go alone. And, you know, if you ever do, um, you know, the hair stands up on the back of your neck, like, call or like, don’t go or, you know, like, listen to your instinct. And I feel like that will help along the way. But I really haven’t had too many situations where I felt uncomfortable. So it’s, I’m pretty fortunate in that aspect.

D.J. Paris 33:21
Great, great answer. And good suggestion, too. And I bet a lot of people are going, I wish my firm had a, like a phone number lookup background check. And so those services do exist. And you know, if your firm doesn’t offer that, I’m sure it can be done at a relatively inexpensive price. Like look online, there are lots and there are apps you can have on your phone for emergencies. And there’s lots of ways to stay safe, but certainly something to always, always keep in the front of your mind. Okay, one last question from our listeners. Janae I think I’m pronouncing that right. Janae from Idaho asks, I’m about the same age as you also in a somewhat rural area, but my friends are still mostly renting. It’s hard because I’m younger, and I have a tough time finding buy or sell clients. Any advice.

Lexi Belland 34:12
So I would say like when I first got started, it wasn’t like, I had a ton. You know, I was still like 21 years old. So your friends weren’t buying either. Yeah, so it wasn’t like, Hey, I could reach out to all these leads that were in the market to buy but the nice thing is, is right now, you know, she should be at the time where like Millennials are purchasing and that’s our generation and so more should be coming. But, you know, I have clients of all ages and that’s the other nice thing about our team is you know, we all you know, like Cindy works better with certain clients. Kylie works better with her age, you know, like we’re all in a different. We bring in different clients. We have different ages, but really, as long as you can sell yourself and your work ethic and your company in your business, you should be able to get a client at really any age, I think it’s just getting out there. And you also have to remember that the way you’re marketing has to be suitable to all different age levels. So the newspaper, like, that’s not probably one that you think about right away, because it’s one of the least effective marketing strategies, but the newspaper is where 60 and over are looking. So you still have to be present there. And then for social media, the biggest buyers are the millennials and the Gen X, like, then you need to be on social media. So just hitting and getting involved with that will help. So you know, we’re involved in a golf course, or, you know, being on the chamber or being in small little groups, you’ll meet people of different ages, and you’ll make that connection, and they’ll start to trust you and get to know you, and they want to use you with your real estate services. So I don’t think you can just focus on one client group, you kind of need to hit all. And as you know, I would say this last year, our referrals has grown incredibly, because, you know, that’s my thing is like, I want them to leave that transaction. And I want them to think like this went smooth, so smooth, it was perfect. You know, like, I want to make it as smooth and perfect as it possibly can be that they’re gonna tell all their friends and family about it. So we’ve definitely got the most referrals I’ve ever gotten. And they do say after like five years is when you should get that repeat business or the referrals. So that is definitely helped.

D.J. Paris 36:37
Yeah, amazing. God, again, so much good information, in that in that one answer. I have really one final question for you. And I know this is a huge passion of yours. And I you know, I’m not a Producing Realtor myself, but we have lots of them at our own firm, we have 650. So I suspect that this is something that even our Realtors are struggling with. But you have a really solid process for which is how do you stay in touch with your clients you just talked about? Hey, it might be five years before they need me again, what do you do to stay in touch along the way.

Lexi Belland 37:15
So yeah, that’s very important to me to stay in touch. Because I do want them to use me again, I want to be there forever realtor, not just there one time, and I want them to tell their friends and family about me. So um, you know, if they’re new to town, I’ll meet them for coffee sometimes. Now, keep in mind, it just depends how busy we are at the time and when you close, but I tried to like meet them for coffee, some clients will have over for dinner at our house. You know, every Thanksgiving, we deliver pies. And so we get 200 and some plus pies and we go and deliver them to their houses for for Christmas, we’ll do like a gingerbread house for Halloween, we drop off pumpkins, just am checking in on them. When they have a baby, we send them a baby book, when they have their birthday, we send them a birthday card, like just the little bit of contact that you can make. And it’s not all out of like business, you know, I genuinely do want to know how how they’re doing right after having their first child. And it’s not just for business purposes, it’s, it’s also to stay connected, you know, I want to meet them for coffee, how are they adapting to our community have they met people this is ways you can get involved. You know, if they’re needing daycare we have, here’s the daycare providers, you know, just like little things anywhere that I can help them after the transaction, I’m going to do and so I honestly have a lot of friends that were strangers when I met them, and are now some of my best friends because I have stayed in touch with them. And I you know, I want to be involved even after the transaction too.

D.J. Paris 38:54
Yeah, and it sounds like the majority of your your touches we’ll call them are personalized, and really about the individual more than real estate, like, Hey, I’m going to make sure that they get a card on their birthday and when their children are born, etc. And around the holidays, we’re going to do a drop by and give them a little gift. And those are all I always say it’s it’s the personal touches that win the game. Certainly you need to be competent, of course at at the job, but afterwards, you know, you got to stay in touch. And the easiest way to stay in touch is to know as much about your client as you can, so that you can then have all these data points of like, okay, I know so and so’s birthday is coming up. So we’re going to do something for that or, you know, that’s that’s awesome. And I suspect that’s where a lot of broker or real estate agents struggle is just knowing what to do and it’s like, well, how much do you know about your clients? If you don’t know they’re having a baby? You can’t celebrate that with them. And don’t wait for them to tell you because you’re probably not you know, first of mind when it comes to it’s a big life event but you need to be you need to be staying in touch so that you do know about all these things and it’s obviously you guys Eyes are doing an amazing job of that. I just realized to everyone on your team has Alaska has a first name that ends with the e sound. So it’s kind of cool. If you guys ever want to rebrand, you could be the eighth. And let’s see what we think of we add one other Oh, and I want you to know to like, how is talk to us about how the business is going? How is the market going for you? Right now in 2020? Has that things changed at all in the last six years? Is it is it easier now? Is it more challenging as the role of the realtor changes, it’s stayed the same? What’s it been like for you?

Lexi Belland 40:35
So role of the realtor has changed a little bit in the sense of, you know, like, we’re doing a couple appointments, where it was like, before, it felt like, you were just going to their house or getting it list, and you’re putting it on the very next day, whereas now it’s like, two to three appointments, a buyer consultation, like I take pride in educating my clients on, this is what you can expect. first time homebuyers are blind, just as I was, you know, they don’t do this every day, they don’t know how the transaction works. So it is my job to sit them down and say, Okay, here’s what it looks like, these are the inspection costs that the offers contingent upon these things, and just walk them through the transaction so they can kind of piece it together and learn as we go. But before, you know, I meet them at the house, and you know, the process was described later. And then on selling side, you know, sometimes we would just take a listing the day of now it’s I’m prepping them, we’re walking through each room and saying, okay, remove this furniture piece, it’s too bulky for the room. You know, we need more walk space, we need natural light, we need scent, we need smell, we have one first impression, we need to wow them the second they walk in. And that goes with pictures too. So online today, you know, everyone is looking at your house online. So we have to wow them on the internet. And, you know, they see one picture they don’t like and they’re not scheduling the showings. So we have to wow, that we have to let them picture what’s in, you know, not necessarily the items in the home, but picture their own things in the home. And so I feel like it’s changed a little bit in that sense, the market is super good. Right now, we have 23, sale pendings right now, you know, we we’ve closed on roughly around like three to 4 million and a half, we’re right around 8 million contracted to close. So it’s definitely a busy market, our team is growing. So this June, we’re going to be adding another realtor to our team. So we’re really excited about that. And so, you know, our, our hope is that we’re going to be the best team, we’re going to grow. Our clients are going to grow with us, we’re going to be there forever realtor, and I can guarantee that our team is going to be the best. And we’re going to provide that customer service that no one else, you know, with, with three or four agents on a team, you’re getting three or four agents for the price of one. And so, you know, we’re going to bring that expertise to the table. And we’re going to hustle and we’re going to get your house sold. And we’re going to find you that perfect house when you’re going to look so

D.J. Paris 43:12
by the way, I Yes, you are. And I want I wanted to sort of piggyback on that by asking you a question if you’re willing to share? If not, I’ll just answer for you. Would you be willing to tell our listeners because you’re the first team or realtor from Iowa that we’ve had on the show? And we have? I mean, based on our demographics, we have listeners in Iowa who are realtors, you are not the only listener? Do you mind sharing how you how you got booked on our show? Do you do you mind sharing that?

Lexi Belland 43:40
Um, so I, I started listening to podcast got really, you know, like, at the first of the year, everybody is on this kick that, you know, like, I make myself a goal every year and it’s always huge. And my mom and sisters are like that is way too much. Like, just be happy with this. And I’m like, No, we need to grow. Like, I want to get as big as we possibly can which within reason. But um, so you know, this year, I said, like, I really would like to see us hit 30 million. And if we don’t hit that, that’s fine, but I want to do everything in my power that I can to try and get there. So at the beginning of the year, I started listening to motivational podcasts because, you know, I, every day I want to wake up, you know, get that positive energy and then it just pushes me out the door and I’m ready to sell. And so, you know, I was looking up real estate podcasts and I found yours. And so the first one I listened to was Go Go and

D.J. Paris 44:37
Oh, yeah. And she’s also in a rural area in Michigan.

Lexi Belland 44:42
Yes. And hers was so good and it was like spot on it was everything that I you know, that I was thinking about and even though you know like she brought on a lot of stuff that I’ve thought about but like haven’t really put into action. And so when you know then I catch myself at Every listing appointment, I’m going to I’m just like, well, I got 20 minutes in the car, like, I’m not going to listen to the stereo. So I’m listening to these motivational podcasts. And when I go to the gym, I’m, you know, I’m on your podcast, because I’m getting more experience and hearing, you know what those agents have to say, and so anyone who is listening right now, I highly recommend that you do subscribe. And when you do have that drive time, or you’re at the gym, and instead of, you know, just listening to music, if you can grow your business while doing that, and educating yourself, you know, we all can learn more and more every single day. And obviously, that helps us all in our business. So that’s kind of why I got started on it. And then once I got started, I was like this, you know, I loved it. And so it was just it worked out perfectly.

D.J. Paris 45:50
Yeah, I mean, we got we got a message from from Alexi who said, I have to I need to be on the show, I want to be on the show, I am a perfect fit for your show. And it’s funny because we get messages daily. But this one was so passionate, and so sincere and and, and impressive to us. And I wanted to sort of let the audience peek behind the curtain a bit, because that’s how people get things done. They boldly take action. She goes, DJ, you have to have me on your show, I have a lot of great things to share. I like the show, I want to be on it. And we we just said fine. It was just an immediate Yes. And and I think that says a lot about who you are and how you build your business in general. And and we’re so honored to have you on the show. Because you’re not afraid to go out and ask for what you want. And I think that’s a huge thing that especially younger realtors have a hard time doing. And, you know, you came to us and said I want to be on the show. And we said we got to have this person on the show. She’s amazing. And we didn’t even know you. And so I just want to, to sort of credit you and honor you for having the courage not not I mean, our shows not not that big of a deal. But just to have that have that passion and the confidence to boldly take forward steps, right. And obviously that’s helped you build your business. And it’s the reason we’re talking today and I couldn’t be more thankful for you. Because not only you know, I don’t know if this will necessarily benefit you directly to being on our show, but it benefits our listeners so directly and so we really want to want to thank you and I want to note tell everyone out there who is in Could you mention the areas you do service and and you know the major communities because I want every one of our listeners who is a member of those communities to reach out to you if they’re looking for another realtor. Can you mind sharing that with our audience?

Lexi Belland 47:44
Yeah, so we cover pretty much all of Eastern Iowa we’re on to multiple listing services. So we’re part of the Iowa City area Association realtors. We’re part of the Cedar Rapids Association of Realtors. So you know we really cover a large area Cedar Rapids, Ely, Swisher, you know, Iowa City, Williamsburg, of course marinko All around we can cover so we you know, we are still growing our business. So if you have real estate needs, we definitely want to assist you and I know that we’ll give it our 100% effort.

D.J. Paris 48:18
And if you are looking to hire the Belen team, the best one of the best ways is to go to their website, which is the Belen team.com. We’ll be putting a link to that in the notes and do you mind sharing your email address and or phone in case any clients want to contact you directly?

Lexi Belland 48:34
Yeah, pretty simple. Our email address is just valentim@gmail.com My phone number is 319-530-1055 Feel free to check us out on Facebook, which is the Belen team with Lepik Kreger realtors and then we also have Instagram that we’re very active on which is also melon Diem. So we would love to have you follow us.

D.J. Paris 48:55
And we’re going to be posting links to all of those social media outlets as long as well as the face of sorry as the website as well. Lexi, thank you so much for being part of our show. Thank you for reaching out to us from from, you know, your area, we are so grateful that you found the show and are here providing value to our listeners. And I know this will be one of our most listened to episodes so I appreciate you. And we also want to tell everyone who’s listening if you’re a realtor, and you think there’s other realtors that you know that could benefit from listening to people like Lexi, please tell a friend all you have to do is send them to our website keeping it real pod.com Please also follow us on Facebook which is facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod. Not only do we post links to all of our episodes every single day we find an article online designed to help Realtors grow their business. We post that and then we also do video recordings of all of our episodes like the one you might be watching right now if you’re not listening, you’re probably watching it on our Facebook page. So we post those live in real time. So you can watch a little behind the scenes and see us actually speaking in real time. Again, Lexi Belland, thank you so much from the Belland group from the Valentim, rather, at Lepic Crager. Realtors, and in eastern Iowa, congratulations on all your success. It’s incredible what you’ve done. We have 46,000 realtors in Chicago and I don’t know that anyone as young as you has had the most amount of success even among the realtors here and there’s obviously a lot more of them. So you’re really crushing it. It’s really an inspiration to everyone who’s listening and and on behalf of the listeners, thank you very much.

Lexi Belland 50:35
Yeah, no, thank you so much for very grateful that we had the opportunity to come on and talk and thank you

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