Lauren Mitrick Wood from OliveWell with Compass in Chicago is a third generation real estate agent and top 1% producer. In this episode Lauren points out how important it is to get involved in the real estate community and why giving back actually grows your business. Lauren shares her “Gift to Grow” philosophy and highlights why listening is the more important skill to master.
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D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to keeping it real, the largest podcast 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 with Lauren metric wood. But before we get to Lauren, I want to remind everyone of two quick things. Number one, please tell a friend think of another real estate agent that you know that could benefit from hearing from top producers like Lauren and pass this podcast over to them. They can pull up any podcast app, do a search for keeping it real and they should find us or you can send directly to our website, keeping it real pod.com And by the way, we’re just about ready to launch a brand new keeping it real pod.com website so it’s gonna look a lot cooler and easier to find things and anyway, I’ll share it with you guys when I’m finished with it. We’re really really close. And the second thing we’d like you to do is also to follow us on Facebook find email@example.com forward slash keeping it real pod every single day we find an article online designed to help you grow your business and we publish it there and also we show the video feeds of all of our episodes you can watch in real time while we’re recording them so again find us on facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod and now on to our interview with Lauren metric wood.
Today on the show we have Lauren metric wood from Olive well with Compass. Now if you don’t know Lauren and you’re in the Chicagoland area you probably do know Lauren but if you’re from outside of our area, I want to tell you a little bit about her. She is a Chicago native and also a third generation realtor who grew up in a real estate family. She started her career leasing residential units in downtown Chicago over 17 years ago. Lauren specializes in residential sales and works with a myriad of clients including first time homebuyers, sellers, renters, investors, and everything related to real estate needs in Chicago up through the North Shore. Lauren is committed to the industry and has served on many boards and committees including the board of directors for both Chicago Association of Realtors, and National Association of REALTORS for her work. Forbes and National Association of REALTORS has labeled her as one of their 30 under 30. For young professionals across the country. She lives with her husband Charlie and their dog Cooper in Bucktown actually just saw Charlie walked by a few minutes ago. And where she practices her interior design skills by keeping up with new trends and trying them out in her home. Now you can follow her at L metric wood that’s Instagram. So l metric wood and also olive well Oh li ve well on also their website, which is olive well.com. Lauren, we are so excited to have you. Thanks for being on the show.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 3:50
Thank you so much for having me. Wow, what a mouthful.
D.J. Paris 3:55
Well, you’ve done a lot and in a relatively short amount of time really I know you’ve been doing this 17 years, but it’s an impressive resume for what you’ve done. And, and you’re one of Chicago’s top producers, which is also of course who we feature on the show, but I’d like to go all the way back 17 years if you don’t mind, tell us. I know this is like part of your family. Probably part of your genetic makeup was to be in real estate. But can you talk more about how you got started?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 4:23
It actually goes back to the 70s My grandmother was a realtor and she started in real estate and working at American Invesco doing development work. Sure Miss suburbs and my father at the time was also at American Invesco. He got shipped out to the suburbs to work on a development there and that’s where he met my grandmother and funny stories. He was actually my grandmother’s boss. So how scandalous right and my grandma was like hey, do I have to bachelorettes at home or to eligible bachelorettes at home which one should I bring by the stockbroker or the engineer? My dad said bring down then the stockbroker. So Oh, as they say, the rest is history. My parents started working together and they got married had me and I grew up in the business. I actually hated real estate growing up, I never wanted to be a realtor ever. I was just always told it around to showings. And when when we weren’t working, we were looking at houses for ourselves. So it was just endless real estate. And I just wanted nothing to do with it. But then, my parents had a pretty busy rental business at the time. And they also started kicking in the sales market started kind of kicking back up into gear. And they needed some help. And I was of age. So I started helping them with some rentals. And at age 21, I got licensed, and I was still in college. And I after graduating degree, I thought, I’ll give this one year. I gave it one year, and I sold 4 million in real estate. And I’ve never looked back,
D.J. Paris 5:54
let’s and we should we should make like I want to pause just for a moment, because having a $4 million first year for it at any age is incredible. But also being 21 where nobody you knew is buying homes are most likely at least none of my friends at 21. Where that is absolutely amazing. And an incredible first year and I imagine from there, you’re like, oh, I can do this. This is?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 6:18
Yeah, yeah, it was it was it was a struggle. Because I had just got into real estate, it was pretty easy when I first started. And because I had done the rentals. Previously, I had this network built and ready, I probably had 100 People in my database when I started just off all the rentals. And so that was that was a pretty good segue into sales. And I did a lot of open houses and I just hustled. But as soon as I gotten into the business, about a year or two later, the recession had hit. And it was devastating. I ended up a single girl living at home with my parents at one point and working at a bar. And that was just not who I ever imagined myself to be. And that’s when I met my husband and I had just moved home. And here I was reaching out to my husband, a male model in California at the time being like, Hey, do you want to go on a date? He was like, Sure. So anyway, I digress. The real estate market was crazy back then. And I really attribute a lot of my success though early on to getting involved in the real estate industry. So early on, I soon as I got my real estate license, I signed up and got involved in the Women’s Council of realtors.
D.J. Paris 7:30
By the way, I want to pause for a second I am the biggest fan of the WC our Women’s Council of realtors. I, I suspect many of our listeners don’t realize this is a nationwide organization, they have chapters everywhere, it is the most supportive environment. I’ve been to some of their meetings and you know, just Google it, I think it’s wci.org, or women’s council.org or whatever, just Google it and find your local chapter, whatever the the annual dues are, are almost nothing. It’s a total no brainer. And you will learn from amazing women see now men were not smart enough. There’s no men’s Council, which would be a good idea. But women are smarter. Well, that’s true men are welcomed. I’m saying like women are this is such a wonderful organization of support. So I encourage everyone who’s listening to check it out. But I’m sorry, go ahead.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 8:18
No, I 1,000% agree. And thank you for the plug for Women’s Council because it’s what got me through and it was such a collaborative environment. And everyone was just so giving and thoughtful and it really helped pump we have we’ve pumped each other up during this awful time. So I highly encourage you to get involved. So growing up, my mom was always so involved in such such a great entrepreneur. And she had volunteered with the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and she was on a committee that helped pick award recipients so she would get these huge stacks of award recipient or, you know, nominations. And she I just remember her reading these applications after application. And she occasionally look up and be like, Oh my God, listen to this person, listen to what they did. Look, look, listen to all these things they’ve been a part of and I was like, whoa. So she taught me early on not just to get involved, but to take leadership roles in organizations. So that was kind of the backdrop of my involvement, getting involved with the Women’s Council of realtors. So as soon as I joined, I asked, Are there any leadership positions I can take? So I quickly became the treasurer of the Chicago chapter. Then I was vice president and then I was the youngest president that there was so that the chapter was dying back then. And we quickly revived it during the height of the recession. No less.
D.J. Paris 9:40
Wow. So this is like what, like 2008 to 10 around there or
Lauren Mitrick Wood 9:44
Yeah, yeah, probably probably around. Yes. Probably. A little early. It was like 2006 was kind of like right before our membership. I think there were five people coming into meetings. I remember. And once we had our installation, when I became President, we had about 100 50 people in the audience, and people started taking note we started turning heads and the Chicago Association of Realtors started noticing what we were doing. And Marvell Guzman, who was a past president of Women’s Council of Realtors noticed how are we kind of injected some fun and youth into the Women’s Council. And so they asked me to be on the board of directors for the Chicago Association of Realtors. And I said, Hell yeah, I’ll definitely I would love to be a part of that. So that just I started kind of climbing my own corporate ladder. I called it within the real estate industry, because there’s no direction in real estate. There’s no like, I’m going to be this this this and that you don’t. There’s you just I just kind of made my own ladder, I would call it Sure. So after behind the board of Chicago Association of Realtors, then I also applied for the National Association of Realtors. We even say something sorry.
D.J. Paris 10:49
No, no, I keep going.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 10:53
I’m a chatterbox. So I I know Bell had I’m now I’m stuttering. A bell had suggested that I apply for the Forbes 30 Or sorry, the National Association. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 11:08
the 3030 under 30, which, by the way, was just released, like a few weeks ago for this year. So this is apropos. It’s good timing. We’re actually we are having on other 30 under 30 people. So this is
Lauren Mitrick Wood 11:20
awesome. Yeah, I love that. So I had one that 30 under 30 for the National Association of Realtors, really, because of my work in the industry, not because of my sales numbers. I again was really selling 4 million consistently at that time per year. And I thought, wow, how the heck did I make this list and it was because of my involvement in the industry. And after I joined the National Association of Realtors, Board of Directors, I was on some strategic planning committees and different things there, I really got involved. And that’s when the Forbes 30 under 30 had highlighted me on their list for being one of the youngest board members for the National Association of Realtors. And that’s really what catapulted my career was getting credibility from these these big lists, and you’re involved because when you’re selling homes at age 21 I thought I wouldn’t want my realtor to be 21 They’re probably partying and you know, being lazy on the weekends, but I needed to prove myself to people. So that’s that’s how I tried in my course.
D.J. Paris 12:26
Yeah, it’s really interesting too. Because, you know, if you’re in a traditional corporate salaried environment, where you know, getting involved, there’s some usually direct benefit to your career doing that, right. So, if you if you work at a big corporation, and you take on more responsibility, more leadership positions, they’re going to promote you most likely, however, you’re in a position where you’re doing this with Women’s Council of Realtors, Chicago Association of Realtors National Association of Realtors, there’s no immediate direct benefit to your business, other than, you know, yes. There’s some wonderful accolades as a result, but this is really you just giving back. And, you know, it’s funny we had on Jordan Pyle a few weeks ago, who’s the YPN president? And I was he’s obviously super involved, like, like, like you are. And I said, just out of curiosity, has it impacted your business at all? He goes, it’s the weirdest thing. He goes, I get four, he was about 40% of my business, are now referrals from other realtors, because they just know who I am. Because I’m so out there he goes, I never would have thought that would have happened. And that he goes, like, that’s not the reason why I do these things. Right. But he goes, it’s pretty cool that all of a sudden, people just know me and they refer business.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 13:37
It’s icing on the cake. Absolutely. It’s yeah, you know, you don’t really I never started there for the referrals. But course say aye. Aye. My business has grown exponentially just because of the referral business. And that’s, it’s something that I would highly encourage everyone to deal with their realtor. And even if you’re not starting your career, just get involve sign up for a committee get to know your, your other realtors in the industry. It’s easier to do deals with people that you know,
D.J. Paris 14:05
that’s true. How much how much of your success would you say had to do with what you learned from, you know, just supporting and, you know, you know, hanging out with other successful women are not just in the Women’s Council, but but just realtors in general men and women in all those leadership positions. Would you say that was a really important thing that ultimately gave you more knowledge and skills to grow your business?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 14:29
Yes, yes, absolutely. And it really opened doors and led me in different directions. And it kind of made me see that the sky’s the limit. There’s really no glass ceiling in real estate. You can do whatever you want. I mean, I was able to go to Washington DC and go into congressman’s office and fight for our homeownership rights and just rubbing elbows with these people was just so unreal and so exciting and fun and interesting and I can bring all those little gems and those pearls home with me and help. It was straight to my clients, what’s going on in the real estate world on a more national level and things like that. But I do have to say, Now, I’ve pulled back my engagement, I was over committed. And so there is a fine line of getting too involved, and then also being able to run your business and make money. So I would highly encourage you, if you do get involved, it’s so easy to say yes. And learning to say no, was a challenge that I had to overcome and figure out and navigate, because you just want to help you want to be out there, you want to do these things. I was founder of one of the founding members of the YPN here in Chicago. And it’s just so fun to be a part of that. But you know, looking back, it’s like maybe I shouldn’t have said yes to all these things. Because my business didn’t end up growing. For some time, I stayed at that 4 million mark for years. And I think that’s because I spent a lot of time giving back to the community. And so once I pulled back, I was able to propel a little bit quicker.
D.J. Paris 15:53
Now they say balance in all things. But you’re right, because I serve on a few non real estate boards, but I serve on two boards. And because I’m a somebody who says yes, most of the time. And also because I’m a worker, like you just put me to work and I’ll do it. I you know, they know that. And so a lot of that gets put in my lap. And I’m now at the point where I need to start saying no to certain things, because it impacts you know, my, the amount of time I have to do other things, like with my business here, so So I totally understand that. But the knowledge you must have gained had to just be immeasurable. As far as just your being able to bring that to your clients. Just be a better realtor, I’m sure and
Lauren Mitrick Wood 16:33
made lifelong friends, I got to go to weddings of some of my other colleagues that I would have never gotten to know. And it’s just so fun getting to meet these people and explore and create friendships and lifelong relationships that I never would have had. So I’m so grateful and thankful for that engagement in that that part of my life.
D.J. Paris 16:50
Yeah, and by the way, I want to also commend you on your website, I’m a I’ve designed websites as well. And I, I’m often not that impressed with broker websites only because that’s not really what most realtors are good at, and nor should they be. But I like that yours is very clean, it’s modern, it’s minimal. And it’s and it’s got style to it. And it’s one of those things that obviously a lot of Karen thought went into it. And it’s just really impressive. So for everyone listening, go to Olive well.com. And you can see some of the neat design she has, for example, illustrations of all of her all of all of the people on our team, which I think is fun and cool. And just the design itself. And layout is really cool. But tell us now you do have this team and I want to talk about your team, because, um, tell us how that came to be and how that all works.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 17:41
Sure, yeah. So as I said before, I was consistently a $4 million producer, which was great and fine, but I wanted to get to that next level. And I think a lot of if you if you ask me what my turning point was, in my career, it was delegation, delegation is key delegate, delegate delegate, and I was really, really scared to let go of tasks because I thought I can do them the best that anyone can ever do. And oh my god, what if that person messes up on that listing agreement, post or whatever, or they, you know, didn’t show up on to the showing on time, like, Oh, my God, you know, so that was terrifying. And I also have to say education was also another key factor. So I had gone during as the recession was kind of pulling out of itself. I went to Colorado and signed up for the ninja training, sure, and forgot the guy’s name anyway, ninja training, and I hired a coach and that coach helped me and it was super expensive at the time, I could hardly afford it. But I knew it was something that I needed, I needed to figure out how to navigate my career. And so she had taught it had coached me through giving up some letting go of some of my rental clients, because I was doing a ton of rentals, which was impacting my sales numbers. I was still making money and still creating connections, but I just needed to get my sales going a little more quickly. So it was the hardest thing I ever did. I was like, Oh my god. So every I committed myself to every new rental client that came in, I would basically give it over to one of my colleagues. And that was terrifying. But I realized that when you start growing a team, you need to get very clear on what you’re expected. What what you’re expected of these people and constantly ask for feedback. So I would have a friend that would want to rent to rent a new home and I would give them to my friend who’s my colleague, and I would ask her feedback. How did it go? How did it go with her and it was good, but she was swearing while she was driving me around town. What not okay, so I you know, you have to have some hard conversations with people as they as you grow. And I started realizing I hate paperwork. I’m very disorganized in that department. And it’s just, it’s something that just stresses me out and I just can’t stand it. So my next move was A transaction coordinator or someone to help me process the paper and keep organized in that department. So as soon as I started delegating these tasks off that I hated doing, even though I thought I was the best of them, I started growing my business because I was it alleviated that time for me to do other things. And that’s kind of how olive oil hatched is I had, I had this vision I wanted to make wanted to inject some fun into my business. After doing it for 15 years, I was kind of getting a little bored, to be honest. Like, here’s how you buy a house, right? And I wanted to have some fun, and I thought, why can’t we throw some colors in or illustrations or wear some hats, you know, just do some fun things. So Oliver was always kind of a dream to me. And it’s really started kicking into full gear. And I’m so excited. My team is just like, I could cry right now, I may cry, thinking about how great they are.
D.J. Paris 20:55
Let’s, where does the name come from? Tell us the name like what what’s the Where’s olive? Well, what’s the or the origin of that?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 21:02
Okay, so I had gone on a family trip with my close family, my parents and some aunts and cousins in Greece. And I was just enamored with the beauty of the olive oil or olive trees. Sure, they were everywhere fields of them on little tables, they were just so simple and beautiful. And in our hotel room, we had a bar of soap, and the soap was made with all of olive oil, or olive. And there was a little logo that said, Oh, dash live, and the live just kept sticking out to me. And I thought, wow, I need to make a brand out of this with the live and the olives. And there’s so many like all of what is so beautiful. I have cutting boards, it’s all of wood. So we were on the plane home and I gave that piece of soap container to my cousin, I said go make a real estate brand with this. So she came back, she was sitting a couple of rows up, she came back and she’s like, here we go all of well, we’re all live well, I love it. I thought wow, I just loved it. So it was really hatched out of just the beauty of the olive trees. And I just kind of like to play on words. And I had been trying to come up with a name for so long. And it’s just one of those things that I was like, you know, just let’s just do it. Let’s just Let’s just go for it.
D.J. Paris 22:15
Yeah, and it’s worked out well for you, I also wanted to come back to this idea of getting help, just for a moment for our listeners, because there are people who are starting out maybe who don’t yet have the resources to really build a team or, or to hatch their own, you know, sort of thing with with other people. And as Lauren said, she would just pass leads over to colleagues and say, Well, you know, here’s how, you know, I would work the lead. And here’s what you know, I hope you can do as well. And also, you mentioned that hiring a transaction coordinator to help with the paperwork. Because you’re like me, you’re a marketing person, you and I are marketing people. And we’re good at creative ideas. And that’s, that’s our skill set. So I’m not good with anything related to paperwork, either. But for a lot of people, they’re like, Well, I have to do my own paperwork, because I don’t have a team. And the good news is like, now we live, and this wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago, maybe 10 years ago, it would, but 15 years ago, it’s certainly not 17 years ago, where you could then reach out to people from all over the globe, who will actually help you with this business, and can do it for a really reasonable price. So if you’re somebody who’s not absolutely able to hire a full time person, you can hire the you know, we live in a gig economy, a world economy where you can actually say, here’s what I need. And there are people from all over the world that can help with that. So I just wanted to make that point that there are resources out there, where you could probably afford it even if you think you can’t,
Lauren Mitrick Wood 23:39
yeah, and I would also say, look, look around you, I realized that a lot of times you want, like you might have this dream to have a transaction coordinator, but they might be sitting right beside you and you don’t even realize it. So Laura, my cousin who’s on my team, she loves paperwork, she lives for spreadsheets, and checklists, and all these things. And she, you know, her hair business wasn’t where she wanted it to be. And she wanted some more stability in her career in her life, because she has diabetes. And she’s, you know, trying to navigate that. So we have team meetings, you know, I partner up with, with my team, individually every couple of weeks. And that was all of a sudden I realized she wants to do more paperwork and have more stability, and I can be more of the face for her clients if need be. So she’s pulled back a little bit more on her own sales, and she’s helping with the transaction coordination, and it’s worked out really well. So it’s, and also I would say you could partner with people in your office if like, hey, let’s let’s go 5050 on this deal if you can, if you do the paperwork and do all the background stuff, I’ll do the showings I’ll do the running around, you know and let’s just get the deal. So you can start do creative things. You don’t have to hire someone full time or you know, just start slow.
D.J. Paris 24:56
Yeah, and I want to I want to also talk about you are known and you’ve been featured in a number of publications, including like Wall Street Journal and a number of other every basically everything. Inman and a number of other publications about your gift to grow, sort of strategy and methodology, you are known for the gifts that you that you provide to clients. Can you talk more about that? I think that’d be really interesting to our listeners.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 25:23
Yeah, absolutely. I think it starts with listening, and opening your eyes to what your clients like, and being intentional and thoughtful with your gifting. So instead of giving a bottle of champagne, or something that just goes away, like a good standard rule of thumb for me when I do gifting for anything is something that lasts and sticks around the house. So I loved I go to a furniture store in my neighborhood called the Painted Lady, and I absolutely love it. And I fell in love with these pillows they have or they have all these neighborhoods stamped on the pillows bucktail Wicker Park Logan Square. And so I just I love the look of them. And I thought my clients might like to look at these too. And there’s something that’s stick around the house. And it’s been really cool, because I started giving these pillows out maybe six years ago now. And as my clients have bought their houses, and they need to upgrade and sell their house homes, I come in and I see the pillows and the pillows start traveling to all these different houses. And I used to give engagement pillows with a little knot on it like you’re tying the knot. And I’ve seen those pillows, and they’ve ended up in baby rooms and things like that. And, you know, are my clients remembering that I gave them those pillows every time they look at it? Probably not. But some might. And you know, I like to create conversations with my gifting as well. So think of like, Oh, where’d you get that pillow? Oh, my realtor gave it to me. So it can be as easy as a, you know, $20 pillow or sometimes on Etsy, some of the pillows I found were 10 or $15. But I can get as big and glamorous as hiring a private chef to kick off a housewarming party for a client. So that happens when the paychecks a little bit more when you sell a million dollar house or above that. But that has been such a special moment for me is to my favorite part of the transaction is watching the house come to life. And seeing what people do with the home. And they live in it. They experience so many different magical and sometimes sad moments, but the housewarming party or having friends around the table. It’s just such a special moment. I love entertaining, love eating. I love connecting with people. So hiring a price a personal chef for someone to have their housewarming party is such a great moment. And then they invite you of course, sure know them that well. And you know, the goal is to get referrals in the end. And hopefully you get to work with the people sitting around the table with you. And if they don’t know you that well you don’t have to invite yourself over for dinner. And my chef will be a little clever, too. And okay, do you want to invite Lauren over as well? Sure. And it doesn’t have to be a full dinner, sit down dinner, or sometimes I just pop in for a cocktail and appetizer and leave, just say you know, thank you so much. And I’m excited to see your house come to life and you know, or blah. But gifting has just been such a it’s so fun for me to it’s fun to pick out and select and think about what these people would want.
D.J. Paris 28:15
And I know you’re doing it solely for the purpose of giving back and saying being grateful for them as a client. And and I’m just Just curious that when you do have those type of events where there is a chef or you’re invited to a party, I wonder just coincidentally like what, like what I bet some of those people end up becoming clients, right that are the guests of Yeah,
Lauren Mitrick Wood 28:40
yeah, absolutely. It’s all about just creating relationships, maintaining them and staying top of mind and expanding your network. And it doesn’t have to be, you know, for some of these relatives that may be listening that are just starting out. You don’t have to think about oh my gosh, how much is a private chef? And just like I said, originally just listening to what your clients say is key. I spent $5 on people and it has made a lasting impact. I’ll give you a quick example of that. Yeah, I had a friend who has become a client, but she was in an airport and she was texting me that she just broke down because she was so crazed and stuck in this airport. And she thought starch, she was getting eggs or something at Starbucks, and they ran out of hot sauce and she melt down because she didn’t have her hot sauce. Sure. And I thought, Oh my God, I’ve totally been there. You know, I just needed something and wanted something and God dammit, they didn’t have it. So I went on Amazon and I shipped her the mini hot sauce packages. And she posted on Instagram and just wrote me a thank you note and was like, thank you so much for that hot sauce. And that was just such a fun moment for me just you know, just thinking like that really meant something to someone. And just it’s really about listening and trying to understand what your clients like.
D.J. Paris 29:52
Yeah, I also want to hear about I know last night you were watching the Michael Jordan documentary which everybody I mean it’s funny. I’m Not really much of a sports guy play tennis, but I don’t really pay any attention to other sports. I don’t even pay attention to tennis. School. Yeah. I don’t know, is it? But but I’ve been playing it my whole life. But it’s funny because I just learned one of the top tennis people is an anti vaccination guy. And I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to know that about. But anyway, the point is, is I don’t really pay much attention to sports, but you are watching the Michael Jordan documentary, which everybody is telling me to watch. And it just came out on Monday yesterday, I think. Yeah, Sunday, Sunday. Yeah. So tell us tell us that story.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 30:31
Yeah, so I grew up in 90s. Kid, bulls, everything. Sure, creepy. I remember running down the streets, begging pans when they won the three pages, screaming and just in total, total bliss. So I was just drenched in nostalgia the other night when we were watching this documentary, and my husband’s a huge Beatles fan as well. And it dawned on me that I never got to see Michael Jordan play in his heyday, for as much as I love them. We just never really went to games. My family wasn’t really into sports. But it’s something that Charlie, my husband, and I love doing. We go to the bowls games all the time and enjoy them tremendously. So it dawned on me like I didn’t get to see him. But I have had some experiences with Michael Jordan. And it was just one of my funniest memories looking back on real estate. And I’ll give you a little little backdrop of the story. I was showing another pro athlete, some condos, and we didn’t realize we were stepping into Michael Jordan’s in town condo. We were showing his house. And Juanita, his ex wife was the realtor and I didn’t realize that she was a realtor number one. And number two, I didn’t realize we were showing her house. I didn’t realize this was Michael.
D.J. Paris 31:47
Yeah, that’s a lot of information. That’s really interesting information. And then you wouldn’t even know that. Yeah. Because why would you know that? And yeah, wow.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 31:56
So we were on the showing and my client and I just kind of started realizing what was happening. And we were like, kids in a candy store. We were so giddy. We were kind of like giggling but like without letting her see and notice. And when we left the showing, he turned over to me and he’s like, look at my shoes. And he was wearing Air Jordans and cracking up and I just remember leaving that showing like this. I just feel like this is the highlight of my life. Like my highlight of my career. I felt like I had made it like I was in Michael Jordan’s condo with another pro athlete and like, how did I get here? And it was just such a fun, funny moment.
D.J. Paris 32:33
Did he end up getting the condo or No, you didn’t
Lauren Mitrick Wood 32:35
buy that one. He bought something else. It was it just screamed? 90s It was 290s in there for him?
D.J. Paris 32:42
Was there like memorabilia everywhere? Or was it not that way or Oh, it
Lauren Mitrick Wood 32:46
was vacant. So all the all the furniture had been removed. But just it was kind of one of those things where if these walls could talk, you could just picture Michael smoking his cigar, you know, in this corner drinking whiskey and it was just such a such a fun moment. And it just it kind of was all brought back to me when I was watching this documentary The other night.
D.J. Paris 33:07
And then also, I want you to tell us the story about going into where the tenant was Mia, this is a rental that you were doing. Can you mind sharing that story?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 33:16
Yeah, so my I was actually helping my dad out at the time. I think they were traveling on vacation or something. And he’s like, Hey, I need you to go do something for me. You know, so of course yeah, whatever you need. So it’s like just I need you to go check on this apartment with the owner, the tenants. Mia. We can’t reach him. We don’t know where he is. He’s not paying his rent. He’s not replying to voicemails text, email. So just need to go in and check. Make sure he’s like not in there. I’m like, what? Like, you want me to go check
D.J. Paris 33:42
that it could be? He could be dead and on the couch. Yeah.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 33:45
What are you talking about? So you know, just kind of whatever, Dad Sure I’ll go. So I went with the owner. And it was in a high rise building. We had to get keys and access from the manager and be like, we don’t know where he is. So we got keys. We were holding each other’s hands like knocking on the door. We were so nervous. You’re gonna walk into like a dead body. Why the police weren’t called they don’t know. Like, why did my dad send me here? I don’t know. But I was with another human. So that made me feel comfortable. But we walked in we didn’t hear anything. Although in the bathroom. We heard like water trickling like, kind of a heavy trickle and we thought, holy cow. Is this guy something
D.J. Paris 34:22
something bad is going on in the bathroom? Yeah.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 34:25
I mean, you can’t be in the shower for like, days and weeks. So and the curtain was drawn. So one of us had to like, open the curtain and make sure no one’s there. And I volunteered and I was like I’ll do so. Open the curtain. Nobody was in there. But it was one of the scariest moments ever was like, what is happening? This is so weird. And why am I doing this?
D.J. Paris 34:50
So what the guy had just skipped town or what was
Lauren Mitrick Wood 34:53
the it’s funny because I it was almost 10 years ago now and I don’t remember all the details except that I was tremendously He terrified, I think, I think he was on a cruise ship or something and didn’t tell anyone and the cruise ship got stuck or something I don’t really I have to. I’ve been meaning to ping my dad and ask him about the details. But it was just one of those moments when I was like, This is ridiculous.
D.J. Paris 35:16
Oh, I wanted to that’s a super funny, funny story. And because there really is, yeah, what happened is the best possible scenario where no one was there. But more likely than not, would have not been that scenario. Right? It would have been, there’s probably something in here that is nobody’s going to want to see. Yeah, but But yeah, thankfully, that worked out, I guess. But yeah, that is scary. But I want to, you know, speaking of rentals, just to sort of go from that story. You know, it’s funny, we, we have realtors in our own firm that right now we’re all you know, this is of course, still during the stay at home order. And we have realtors that are still doing rentals. We had we have a couple brokers they’re doing like two to three rentals a week right now? Of course they’re not they’re not going to showings. These are not necessarily vacant units. But But in general, how important I know you started doing rentals. Are you? Are you do you suggest that to realtors that are starting out who maybe don’t yet have a lot of sales in their pipeline are rentals a good way just to stay busy and learn the industry and maybe hopefully convert some of those people over time to buyers?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 36:21
Absolutely. And I have to say that I’ve never fully let go of my rental, they still do rentals are just a little a little more strategic on who I take out and what listings I take on? And don’t you know, have another colleague take take over. But my parents have been in the business for 40 plus years, and they’ve seen so many dips, and they started a business when interest rates shortly after they started interest rates rose to 21%. Right? Sure. So they couldn’t sell homes. I mean, it just was nearly impossible. And right before that they had done a lot of condo conversions. So they had a lot of investors that had bought all these units and needed filling. So they started in rentals, and they have never let go of their rentals. And I have to tell you, it’s something that has gotten us through so many different ups and downs in this market. So a lot of realtors turn their nose up to rentals. And I think that’s just foolish. You can’t just say I’m not doing I can’t tell you how many times people say I don’t do rentals,
D.J. Paris 37:18
like I was at? Yeah, I don’t know if you’ve been to NEMA down in the South Loop, which is this big, massive luxury apartment building. Yeah, kind of the darling of Chicago right now for luxury apartment rentals. And there was an event there that I was you actually might have been at it. But certainly it was for the Chicago real producers magazine anyway, yeah, it was like a top producer thing. And I was lucky enough I write for them. So I was lucky enough to go. And on the on the way down. It was like this, like the most beautiful building. If you haven’t seen it, it’s
Lauren Mitrick Wood 37:50
so I haven’t been in there. But one of my agents went to that event. Okay, yeah.
D.J. Paris 37:55
So this, I’m sure was not your agent, but I was in the elevator on the way back. And these are all top producers like yourself and your team. And there was somebody in the elevator with me who I didn’t know. And I was and I just said, Wow, isn’t this place? So cool. And that was all I said, and it’s you know, and I mean, I think anybody would say that. And she was she was like, I am so glad that none of my clients will ever rent I tell anyone not to rent, it’s a waste of money are throwing things, you know, and, and I just kind of, you know, none of my business, of course, I said, Okay, you know, that’s interesting. And I just got to the bottom floor. And I thought, boy, you know, I think there is a case to be made that sometimes it really does make sense to rent even if you can’t afford to buy. Renting doesn’t always not make sense. And I just kind of thought, wow, I bet she’s missing out on a lot of opportunity. Because anyone who’s renting in that building is going to be buying a property at some point, probably sooner rather than later. And what a great opportunity to build the relationship now. And not everyone’s ready to buy, whether they can afford it or not. There just maybe they’ve just not what they want to do and to pass up those opportunities or to counsel somebody like never, in any circumstances, you rent seems like a really unfortunate decision, because you’re just going to be missing out on opportunity.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 39:07
TJ couldn’t agree with you more, couldn’t agree with you more. I have a lot of clients that come to me from out of state and Chicago’s a pretty hard town to just land and understand each little neighborhood, they all have their own little nuances. And even if you just move four blocks, west or south from where you want to be, it can be a completely different world. So I’ve had clients that we go out, explore they they’re fully intending on buying, but they’re just kind of overwhelmed with the city and we say I said let’s switch gears, why don’t you just rent for a year, six months, and then we can pick back up once you’re comfortable and once you decide where you want to hang out. And those some of those clients have become really good friends and have sold multiple properties with me. And I think that’s something that sets us apart is not just going for the paycheck but really trying to help clients and understand their needs and wants and make sure that they’re happy and comfortable and educated on their purchase and starting with location.
D.J. Paris 40:00
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And so I, you know, I don’t want to continue to belabor the point of rentals. But if you’re somebody who’s in between sales and you’re not as busy, just consider, you know, the most important thing is learning the inventory. Of course, once you know some of these buildings, you can be really valuable to people who are, you know, not sure you know where they want to buy yet, or maybe they’re just wanting to see what what apartments are available, you can really begin to, you know, learn that inventory right now is such a great time to because we’re probably all a little less busy than we were, of course, with a stay at home order, at least. And I think most of the country is, of course, still under the stay at home order. I also wanted to ask you speaking of that, being that we’re all at this point, you know, at home, mostly, what are our How has your business adjusted? How are you doing anything different? Or is it just I’m really kind of doing the same things just maybe in different ways?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 40:51
Sure. Before I jump into that, I just wanted to finish the rental real quick, because keep in mind that these renters have networks and spheres. And if they feel like you’re treating them like they have a million dollars, they will refer you to other people. And I remember going around the city with this renter who wanted to find a place for $1,200. And by the end of the day, I was probably making $1, because of all the time I spent Sure, but she referred me to her boss and her boss bought a $700,000 condo, and then we sold it for him five years later. So those relationships just don’t forget, it’s not about the paycheck for a renter. It’s about tapping into their network, understanding who they are and building those relationships and maintaining them. As far as today goes with what’s going on in this crazy world right now. Things have definitely shifted for us. We lost several deals, a lot of our listings didn’t end up going to market because they were terrified of getting having people come in and show their homes and they weren’t just they just weren’t ready for showings if they didn’t have to be. So business has pulled back. But what we’re doing is I’ve never felt busier, to be honest. And every day I am trying to get my inbox down. And I like how do I still have 500 emails in this inbox, it’s just phenomenal. But we have been spending a lot of time on things that we just never get to. And it’s funny you say like our website, I totally want to revamp it. So we hired a digital media strategist, she’s been helping us with some things. Just kind of cleaning up the back end. We’ve also hired a new branding company, we’re going we’re going to be doing some rebranding, just some fun things and ever get to do. We’ve had a lot of projects that we launched this map project where we’re highlighting different neighborhoods within the city in and creating them. And you know, we only got to two last year. And I’m hoping to get to two this month, you know, so just really kind of getting back to basics as well. And getting in touch with our clients. I’ve never reached out to clients more often, we did a mail out the other day, and we gifted $100 gift card to the fix that people which is a handyman service in Chicago. And I’ve never received so many thank yous from a little note. And it was like, thank you so much for this gift card and I spent money just on the postage and the fix that people have donated the $100 gift cards. And I’m really under the mentality of one hand washes the other and they both wash the face. So trying to back to gifting working with partners that you can collaborate with. And both a rising tide lifts all boats. So I’m happy to promote another company that I like, if they’re gonna work, we’re all going to win in the end.
D.J. Paris 43:31
Yeah, and this is also great to also for everyone who’s listening who thinks oh, I don’t have those partnerships. They’re our partner partners that you can bring on to help with these, right? So there are lenders, there’s title company, there’s attorneys, and if you’re thinking, Well, I would love to do some of this, but maybe financially, I’m not really capable of doing that all myself. Well. That’s what some of these partners can assist with. And they might already have these contracts in place as well.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 43:54
Yeah, like I said, you just kind of you have to look around your sphere and think about who could help me right now. And oftentimes, you know, I’ve had little competitions with myself and said, Okay, I’m gonna call five people a day and ask them to promote me. And it’s people that I’m comfortable talking to that I might know and that know a lot of people like I remember talk calling one of my friends who’s a DJ, and I was like, hey, hey, dude. I know you’re in front of a lot of people. Would you mind? If anyone comes talking to you about real estate? Like, Throw me a bone? He was like, hell yeah, for sure. So oftentimes, you don’t even have to like spend any money. It’s just opening your mouth and asking for the asking for the business.
D.J. Paris 44:37
Yeah, and I’m sure if anyone ever has planning a wedding or any event where they could use a DJ, you’re gonna refer this person as well.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 44:45
Speaking of which, I need to write a recommendation for him. He asked me for that the other day because he did do my wedding. DJ Rock City. He’s awesome.
D.J. Paris 44:53
Well, there we go. Now he just got a plug. So even better. DJ Rock City. I love it. I’m a DJ. but not an actual, you know, not a real DJ but, but I appreciate all all things with my name in it. But anyway, so yeah, so let’s talk just really quickly about your team as well. How many people are on the team you have? You have quite a big, big team, it seems.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 45:15
Yeah, we have three more or less full time staff members. And then I always like loot I always lose count, but I think just I should know this a little bit better. I think there’s seven Realtors on our team. Yeah, there are Lauren.
D.J. Paris 45:31
I counted the carrot, the the illustrations.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 45:35
So it starts with mom and dad. They’re on my team as well. And my husband, Charlie, my cousin Laura. And then we have a few others as well that aren’t related but do feel like family. So we just it’s just a fun work environment. I miss going to the office and hanging out with my crew and we’ve we’ve switched to virtual we do every Thursday, we do a Thirsty Thursday where we have our favorite drink where a fun hat or something silly and catch up for 30 minutes and then we started watching those masterclasses. So we just finished watching the Anna winter one, which was super fun.
D.J. Paris 46:12
So I just signed up for masterclass yesterday. So it was a buy one get one free. I don’t know if it’s still happening. Yes. So I gifted the other half to my boss. And yeah, so he and I are still going into the office because we have checks. You know, we have to we barricade the doors no one else is allowed in. But I so I was going to ask you what should I be watching? Tell me because there’s like 80 of them.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 46:37
Oh, I’m sure I only have seen the Anna winter one. And I really liked it. That of course, the backdrop was fashion, which I think is always really fun. But she had some really good life lessons in there, which I think any entrepreneur can take value from.
D.J. Paris 46:52
Yeah. And you know, I know interior design is like your biggest passion or one of your big passions. And in addition to being you know, being a realtor, do you feel like that skill set helps you when working with clients?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 47:05
Yeah, I like to just, I call it put your Pinterest goggles on and see what the space could look like. And a big thing I do before bringing a listing to market is make sure it looks absolutely as perfect as can be. And I was talking to a seller yesterday and I said, you know, this is a perfect time to get your house ready, start decluttering let’s start, you know, doing pulling things out and this and that. And we’ll have a FaceTime call to go through what else you need to do. But I said, picture you’re going on our first date with someone and would you ever go in your pajamas with your nails undone and are like were you with your nails looking horrific. And she laughed and it’s like it’s a perfect analogy. Let’s get our our best look on Let’s Let’s put on our best show. So just as little things like tucking in sheets for the beds, when you are taking photographs. It’s all about the details. Those things really matter. This sometimes shifting a light fixture here or there can really change a whole space. So I really rely on Pinterest to show my clients the vision say hey, let’s let’s swap out this light. Let’s do this. Let’s paint this. And it’s again, it’s fun for me. I love it. And I think it’s something that separates us a little bit from the other realtors.
D.J. Paris 48:20
And do you do you ever use staging as well with certain properties?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 48:25
Yes, it depends on the property. I have a slew of things I bring to homes oftentimes, not only just for pictures, but sometimes I leave them there. So my house is a little cluttered with stuff right now because
D.J. Paris 48:38
all of our homes are cluttered with stuff right now.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 48:42
But yeah, I have like a slew of inventory. I’ll just bring for photos, like pillows and knickknacks and doodads, but it depends on the space. Sometimes we do hire a staging company to come in and staged completely the whole place. Sometimes it’s just a mixture of hey, we need artwork, and some fill in fill in the blanks, some rugs and tables or chairs. So it’s every situation is a little different. But it really starts with putting on putting your best foot forward and making sure that the house looks as good as it can be.
D.J. Paris 49:12
Well, yeah, we live I mean, Instagram is basically the number one social media platform right now in terms of engagement. And so if we think about how everyone’s Instagram photos look, which that you know, they look perfect, we need to realize that that’s in the the zeitgeist This is how we as at least in this country, how we think about beauty now in visually visual beauty. And so this is an opportunity for us, you know, it used to be years and years ago, as you know, was like No, keep it keep it not as much stuff in there so people can visualize their own. But but people don’t do that anymore because they don’t need to because it’s right there. And they’re looking at everyone else’s stuff and we look for that perfection. And of course nothing actually is perfect, but we want it as close to perfect as possible. It’ll just help the home sell faster, right?
Lauren Mitrick Wood 49:57
And Virtual Staging can help to sometimes we go in that direction. If you’re you know, financially, the the seller can’t get all their furniture out or it doesn’t look as trendy. And I sold me before and after pictures and it’s just so fun to see the transformation and you have like nanosecond to capture someone’s attention online. So is good as your pictures can look, the better they have, they have to capture somebody’s attention.
D.J. Paris 50:22
When right now everyone who is who is at home and not able to be as free roaming about this is the time to make sure all of your listing photos look great. Right? And, and being that you probably can’t always go to the location to make it look better Virtual Staging is an add on option to at least make the photos look good while people are scrolling through. Yeah, awesome suggestion. And I just have one final question. This has to do with you know, you started out so young and had success really quickly. You got involved, you were doing rentals. You know, obviously your family gave you, I’m sure some guidance as well. But but you really built this all up on your own. You’ve seen a lot of agents have tremendous success, and you’ve seen other agents not be as successful and maybe leave the industry would what what advice do you have for somebody who’s listening going, what should I be doing right now is just even just one piece of advice. And you’ve given a lot already, just curious if there was anything that you would recommend to somebody to really help get their business rollin.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 51:20
I would say consistency is key. It’s just like dieting, if you’re going to expect to lose some weight, you can’t keep eating the same way and not exercising. So think of your business as your body and do good things to it. So stop eating the Cheetos and a pizza and drinking the beer and start shifting and to a cleaner diet and you’ll feel better. So even if even if you have no funds to do anything, you can pick up the phone and start calling your clients consistent consistently and making sure they’re okay right now, why not just con, don’t talk about real estate today? How are you doing? So I would ask someone to write five notes a day to clients and birthday, whatever. How are you and call at least five to 10 people a day or text them? Just say I’m thinking of you reaching out? Hope you’re well. And if you consistently did that every day, for two months, I would say your business will there’s no doubt your business will grow? No,
D.J. Paris 52:25
no doubt it might it might be the best possible advice, right now it’s going to be hard to go out and meet new people that’s a bit more challenging. But what you as, as Lauren just said, this is the time to connect and reach out. And it will pay such dividends because the odds are their accountants probably not reaching out to them, their attorney, their financial advisor, maybe the financial advisor with how crazy the market’s been. But generally speaking, most of the service people in their life, you know, are not reaching out, I look in my own life and the only person that has reached out to me while my accountant reached out because I had to pay some sort of tax bill, but and she’s very sweet. And I’m in no way am I being disparaging to her. She’s lovely. And and I’m one of probably 1000 of her clients. So I get it. But I think back to all the people that I pay Duke fees and commissions to the only person that has reached out to me individually is the person that cuts my hair. And she reached out because she needed to reschedule because we had a thing and we couldn’t do it. And then she’s like, Hey, by the way, how are you doing? I wanted to I really want to check in with you and just make sure you’re okay. And she means that it’s not a BSA. And I went, you know, she’s the only person. And I’m not suggesting that all of the people I pay fees to need to check in on me. I’m not that important. But you know what it felt like to have somebody reach out. It felt really, really good. And you can do that with everybody in your sphere of influence. And yeah, maybe now’s not the right time to say hey, by the way, if you want to by yourself, as soon as this is over, I mean, I’m your person, or maybe it is the right time, I don’t know, but just reaching out and checking in and seeing how they’re doing people are obviously, you know, scared about their their economics, they’re scared about their job. They’re not getting as much human interaction as they probably are used to. So this is a great way just to make people feel needed and appreciated and just connected.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 54:15
Yeah, and speaking of your sphere and trying to grow it and network right now. And speaking of your hairdresser, like we everyone goes to in my family goes to our hairdresser and we talk about real estate and you know our life and whatever. And she ended up becoming a client and her fiance had had a $2 million place to sell and we sold that. So you know, don’t leave anybody out with people that know like and trust you need to be part of your network, and you promote them they promote you and everybody wins.
D.J. Paris 54:44
Yeah. Well, I think that’s I don’t think we can end with a better a better a piece of advice that you know, help other people and they’ll help you and everybody wins so perfectly said. So for anyone out there who is listening who may be looking to work with a realtor like Lauren or anyone on all of wall team, what’s the best way someone should be reaching out to you.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 55:07
Emails always great they can or they can just I have a really long name. So they might not be able to capture my email here, but emails great. Or just go to our website on the Contact Us page, they can fill out the form.
D.J. Paris 55:20
Yeah, and that website again is olive Well, again, olive oil, I ve well.com. And then also please follow Lauren and olive oil on Instagram. So for Lauren, it’s Elle metric wood, and also olive well on Instagram to see what they’re up to. And they do some pretty cool stuff on Instagram. So definitely, definitely check them out and also visit their website even though it might be the getting redone. It looks pretty good as is. So everyone should check out to see what a good real estate website looks like, versus so many that are like, oh, and just overwhelming and you know, not not my personal style. So Lauren’s got great style, as and if you’re watching this video, you can see Lauren style. If you’re not she’s got a really cool hat and sweater on, even though it’s like 70 degrees outside. She is wearing the sweater and I’m teasing you. You look.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 56:11
It’s cold today. It’s cold. It
D.J. Paris 56:13
is cold. You know what it was? It was like 60 something yesterday and I woke up expecting it to be that today. It’s like 30 something. Yeah,
Lauren Mitrick Wood 56:18
it was cool. I needed gloves today. Yeah.
D.J. Paris 56:22
Well, Lauren, thank you so much for being on the show. No fun. Yeah, it was fun for us, as well. So on behalf of the listeners wanted to thank you. And then also on behalf of Lauren and myself, we want to thank our listeners for being so kind as to listen and support our show. And also please we ask just two things, everyone who’s watching or listening right now one, please tell a friend, think about one other real estate professional that could benefit from hearing this great interview that Lauren just gave with so much so much great tips and advice for brokers looking to grow their business and just pass the information over, you can send them right to our website, which has every episode we’ve ever done, which is keeping it real pod.com Or just pull up on any podcast app and do a search for keeping it real will pop right up. Also, the second thing is please follow us on Facebook. So every single day, we post an article that we find online that’s been written specifically to help Realtors grow their business. So please do that. And also we post the video of all of our interviews here as well. So you can actually watch them being recorded live, which a lot of people are actually doing right this very second. So you can follow us on firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod. And with that, Lauren, thanks again. This was so much fun, and we will see everybody on the next episode. Thanks Lauren.
Lauren Mitrick Wood 57:39
Thank you so much, DJ. We’ve been great night everyone.