Niko Apostal • Getting Involved and Staying Committed

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In this episode we speak to top producer Niko Apostal of The Apostal Group. Although Niko’s family has been involved in real estate for over 40 years, he has blazed his own trail and become one the most successful brokers in Chicago. In this episode we talk about the importance of giving back to the real estate community through serving on boards and also tips that newer brokers can use to build their business. Niko shares one strategy that he estimates less than 1% of brokers use that skyrocketed his open house success rate! Lastly he talked about recently moving firms, and why he’s never been more excited than right now!

Niko Apostal can be reached at niko@theapostalgroup.com and 312.216.2424.

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D.J. Paris 0:14
Hello and welcome to keeping it real the only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. My name is DJ Paris, I am your host through the show. And coming up in just a few moments, we have an interview with top producer, and all are all around great guy, Nico apostle. But before we get to that, a couple of quick announcements first of all, thank you for listening and supporting our show. This is the first time ever hearing us and every episode we get new listeners. So what we do here is we interview the top brokers in Chicago and ask them what they did to grow their business and have them tell their story in the hopes that other brokers who are interested in increasing their production can learn from the very best. So one way that you can support the show, aside from listening, which we really appreciate, is to tell a friend, if you have other brokers in your office that are wondering what the top people are doing, tell them about our show, they can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Stitcher, really anywhere podcasts are served just search for keeping it real. And there’s a few podcasts actually named keeping it real. So look for the one with DJs you know as my name and look for that, and that’ll tell you which one it is. But you can also listen to every single episode we have on our website which is keeping it real pod.com So all of our episodes can be streamed there. Also you can contact us so if you’re somebody who wants to recommend a broker that we should be talking to that maybe we haven’t reached out to and invited on the show, you can do that also, if you are a vendor and you want to advertise on our show, you can do that there as well. And then lastly, follow us on Facebook we post a lot of good content there and we interact with the listeners and that’s keeping it real pod on Facebook so check us out all right on to our interview with Nico apostle

Okay, today on the show we have Nico apostle by the way, Nico is one of the first people I ever met in real estate when I first got involved at my firm and this was like maybe seven years ago or so. So I’m really excited to have him on the show. But Nico, let me tell you a little bit about about Nico. He entered the real estate business in 2001. And he has established himself as one of the top residential realtors in Chicago and a leader in the Residential Brokerage community. His primary focus is his sales practice where he runs a high level brokerage team. He is part owner of the brand new Keller Williams Chicago Linkin Park office, which he helped launch last year. He is also co owner of our management offering leasing and rental property management for his clients. Currently, he serves on the board of directors of the Illinois realtor Association, and has recently served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Association realtors, where he has chaired multiple committees and co founded the local chapter of the YPN which is the Young Professionals Network. In February of 2016. Nico was a featured broker on HGTV House Hunters renovation. He’s a lifelong resident of Chicago’s north side, and Nico comes from a family that has been active in real estate investment management, development and sales for more than 40 years. He has extensive leadership training, which he previously used to teach agents in Coldwell bankers new agent development program, and presently as a member of his local Keller Williams agent Leadership Council. Over the past decade, Nikko and the apostle group has earned a reputation for excellence and expertise as well as caring and personal attention earning recognition among the top 1% of Realtors in Chicago. So, no, he’s just a super nice guy. So welcome Miko to the show.

Niko Apostal 3:58
Thank you. Nice to be here happy to happy to support and look forward to this conversation.

D.J. Paris 4:04
Yeah, so our first question I almost always ask when I when it gets somebody like yourself is tell us how you got into real estate and I know you have the history because your mom is such a prominent figure in the real estate community too. But tell us that that story if you don’t,

Niko Apostal 4:19
well, real estate was always in our conversation. When I was growing up. My father was a biology teacher. My mom was a history teacher. When I was a kid and they would do real estate on the side. My brother, my father would buy buildings, fix them up and sell them or rent them or, or things like that. And then he’d rent a few things when you know, rent apartments and sell properties occasionally over the summers when he was not in school. And then mom when she became a full time mom, and did volunteer work for the local Lincoln Elementary School in some of the local community groups. She did real estate on the side sort of selling things and renting the things that my father would get involved with And then she, you know, when I got into high school, she went full time into real estate at a group called century 21. Stan Meyer, which is long gone. But was, was a really great move for her. So it was always part of the dinner table conversation. And when I graduated college, I lived in New York City for the first three and a half years and worked for a nonprofit organization. And then I moved back to Chicago in 2001, and end of August. And then I had all these job interviews lined up for marketing and sales type jobs. And then I was determined to sort of make my own way. But then September 11, happened, and nobody was hiring, no one was even calling me back. And I had, you know, student loans to pay, I had things to the head of rent to pay. So mom said, why don’t you come be my assistant while you look for a real job. So I did in started October 1, basically, of 2001. And I learned a ton from her and her colleagues in that couple banker office, it was a magical time for that office. David Hall was our managing broker and was one of the most inspirational mentors I’ve ever had. And he was it was a heady time, this was, you know, the market was really, really easy to sell things. And it was just, it was extremely fast paced, and feverish. And David was bringing in people from all these different industries, and they were bringing their knowledge and expertise, and we were collaborating to create, you know, new ways of doing real estate. And it was really fun. So I went off on my own end of Oh, two. And mom’s phone always just used to ring and I always thought it was pretty easy. You just sit there, the phone rings, and you help the clients out. And, you know, she would have lots of lunches and lots of breakfasts, and meet people here and there. And I always thought that was kind of silly. I also thought I was way more technically savvy than she. So I should probably be able to do this really easily right away. So first month, I had one of my friends by and I got a client off an open house. And six months later, I finally got my second client, my third, right. And I realized that all those silly, ridiculous things that she did, were things that generated those phone calls, and I was not doing any of those. And that’s when the big aha came and I said, the important thing is to, to stay involved in your, in your friends and clients lives. And that’s how you do it. So I pivoted, and I started helping every realtor out that I could find and did a ton of open houses, open houses, my stock and trade, I could not do floor time, I was terrible on the phones. The internet was not at a time when it was generating leads yet. But open houses was my was my game, it was the best thing to do, I would do three or four per weekend, and just load them up. And then the trick to making open house work is follow up relentless follow up. And I just had, you know, don’t, you know, didn’t care. And I had no fear and I had nothing to lose. And so I just went at it full force. And so by the end of that year, I think I had sold over 5 million my first year. And then the following year, I think I did 11. So

D.J. Paris 8:17
that’s those are amazing. First two years. I know. I wanted to go back to the open house for a moment. So I want to say specifically for people that are curious at how you got these open houses. I’m assuming you just went to brokers and said I will do open houses for you?

Niko Apostal 8:32
Well, yes, absolutely. And one thing I learned was, there’s a lot of brokers who will offer up open houses, hey, can someone set my open house this this Sunday, you know, from from 10 to 12. And I would the first few times I did that on my own, I realized those were crappy open houses wanted to sit no one wanted to sit them. So instead what I would do is when a listing came through the office, I would see the we published a hot sheet at the time the office did and I would just read it every week, every day when I came through and I would I would see what new properties came up and areas that I wanted to work in. And I would pick the open houses I wanted to do. And then as I got more proficient at this, I realized that the best way for me to establish myself as an agent was to show that I had that I was active in the industry. So while my friends knew me as a nice guy, but they didn’t know that I was any good as a real estate broker. Sure. So the way I countered that was by letting them know that I was not only a good person but really active so every time I said an open house I would plan it for not the this coming weekend but the following weekend to give me time to be able to invite my sphere to the Open House say Hey, I just listed this this property is just been listed. I’m sitting open house here this weekend. I’d love to have you join me. And I would try and just go through in my contact Next each week on that, on that morning before the open house, and I would text, you know, a dozen or so of my peep people I hadn’t seen or heard from in a while, and and say, Hey, I’m sitting here and I’m all alone, why don’t you come join me pop in for a minute come see this place. And so I built up a group of brokers in the office who loved to have me do their open houses, because I would always get double or triple the traffic. And it didn’t really matter of obviously, if, if any of those people were interested in the house, all it mattered was that they could report back to their client that they didn’t open us and they had 18 people come through and nobody liked the place, they better drop the price.

D.J. Paris 10:38
Well, and add it to your sphere of influence, it makes you look incredibly busy. Which of course, I do once a month we do I do an episode with Carrie McCormick, I don’t know. Absolutely. And Carrie might be about the best if what she her, her sweet spot is Instagram. And so Carrie constantly and she ever all of her posts look amazing, her pictures, but they’re constantly reminding you just how busy she is and just how successful she is. And it’s not even so much in a self promotion way. It’s its branding, and she’s able to say, I’ve got this going on, I’ve got this going on, come check this out. And you can’t help but think like, oh, and she is one of the most successful realtors in Chicago. But you would also without knowing that you would think that just by you know, and you were doing the same thing, essentially,

Niko Apostal 11:24
exactly. And I think that, especially if you’re new to this business, it’s really hard to get someone to trust you with the, you know, a very personal experience they have with with the largest financial assets they have, with a place where they’ve had raised their kids and had experiences and showed off their stuff and had parties and where they sleep at night. It’s very difficult for someone to trust you if you’re if you’re new. And the way to get around that is just to basically be in their face all the time and show that you’re a dynamo. And I had a lot of trouble at first, cuz I had an age problem, I looked way too young to be handling a property and Linkin Park or lake view or the Gold Coast. But what I made up for it with was I basically embrace it. And at first I started trying to be this guy that I wasn’t and I realized that no one was going to work with me. But instead what I did was I would always treat an open house like an interview for a listing, my goal has always been get listings, because if you have listings, you have something to advertise some way to get other clients. So I approach it that way. Each open houses interview for a listing, if I had if I could get to the open house an hour or two early, then I could door knock and invite the neighbors to the open house and say, Hey, I’m doing open house over here at this listing, why don’t you come out and see me I’d always dress nicely and always bring a listing presentation book, you know, no, CMA and inside, but just the presentation materials. And I would always say oh, yeah, I’m heading to a listing presentation after this. So I have this with me, why don’t you take a look at it. And just quite simply, you know, I would use the line, I would say who are you going to list your property with with Carrie McCormack, you know, she’s got 22 listings right now, which means you’re gonna get 1/22 of her time, I have no listings right now, you’ll get 100% of my time. And if I don’t sell your place, I don’t eat so right, you don’t have working for you. So basically, I embraced my nervousness as a as an asset instead of as a detriment. And I think that that really helped me to get some of those first listings. And over time, I obviously can’t say that anymore. But but you know, it was a great way when I was getting going to establish myself and to give myself credibility.

D.J. Paris 13:38
It’s so it’s such a brilliant move. And and I do want to like you went through this very, very quickly. But I want to back up just a step and say, I wonder or ask the question. And it’s more just a hypothetical. But I wonder what percentage of brokers who are doing an open house will ever knock on the next door neighbor’s door to let them know, I bet you it’s less than 5%.

Niko Apostal 13:58
So and it’s even less than that. Yeah, you’re right.

D.J. Paris 14:01
And so just the thought so so what did need to do, let’s go back, he first went around to the brokers in the office who had listings and said, I’m going to make you look great in front of your seller, I’ll do an open house for you, you know, for a property that, you know, he sort of wanted to be known as, as being active in that particular area. So Lincoln Park Lake View in particular, and then, you know, and that’s, that’s a win win for that broker with that listing. And then he went around to the neighbors and said, Oh, by the way, I have this and also promoted it in it with his own sphere of influence. And so all of a sudden, you’re like, Man, this guy, Miko is doing a lot of a lot of stuff. And, and it’s, that’s a really brilliant branding strategy. And so,

Niko Apostal 14:41
absolutely, and when you start off, you know, you spend a lot of money, relatively a lot of money to get into this business and the flow of revenue that comes is really intermittent. And sometimes, like in my case, I had six months of no money coming in. So you You learn you, it’s a difficult business to get traction in. But what you have at your disposal most when you’re getting going is time. And so if you use that time, if you really devote a lot of time, spend that free time that you have doing activities that will generate business that’ll get you in front of more people. That’s how I think a new broker can get going much faster and shorten that learning curve and shorten that, that you know that and flatten out that revenue curve, so that you can get going at this point. Now what I crave more than anything is time. Sure. And you know, it’s the one thing that you can’t create more of. So that’s where leverage comes in. That’s when you start hiring people and you realize, what’s my time worth? And could I pay someone else to do some of these things that gobble up my time so that my attention is best focused on those activities that will generate new, more business?

D.J. Paris 15:58
Yeah, let’s talk about the recent move to to Keller Williams, because you and your your group was at a Coldwell Banker forever. And I know you know, you have very fun things to say about Coldwell Banker, but talk about the transition and how that’s worked out for you. And well, I know you’re really excited about it. So

Niko Apostal 16:15
yeah, you know, I, I, I had such a great formative experience at CB and their training and their their environment is such a great place to get going and real estate and, and I really did like it there. I think what what the opportunity came out of the blue, sort of late summer of 2016. And for me, it was an opportunity to see if I could recreate that office that we had from the beginning where it was a collaborative environment where new people were coming in and got to work side by side with experienced agents. And we it was a culture of training and, and collaboration. And it was kind of I’ve always been a little bit entrepreneurial, I had started our management. It’s now it’s six years old. So I learned a lot from that experience. And then when Tommy and Josh, Tommy Choi, Josh Weinberg, Joe Zimmerman, Ameri hate approached me and said, you know, we’re thinking of opening this Keller Williams office, do you know much about the company, I didn’t actually know anything about them. But I knew that these were very smart guys that I’ve collaborated with in the past. And when the more I learned, the more I realized there was a ton of training and systems that the company offers, that are just on the next level that would take me from the business that I was doing to what do I do next, you kind of reach a plateau several times as you grow in this business. And I think I had reached a plateau at CB and, and this is not the right brokerage for everybody. You know, I think if someone wants to just do a few real estate sales on the side is like a side business, you’re probably better off at a more traditional brokerage, where they take care of a lot of things for you. But here, what you get is a community of brokers who were building this nurturing this community of brokers who, who want to work with one another who want to make this a full time career who want to build a legacy in the business that they can then hand down to the next generation that they can build, treat this business like a business and create, you know, sort of the next generation of top producers in the industry. And so I’m really excited about what we’ve been able to do our growth is staggering. We’ve been open since March. And we’re already up to I think it’s nearly 140 brokers in this office. We had lease additional office space. We’re bringing in trainers from all over the country and the Keller Williams network of agents across the country is tremendous. They’re extremely tight. And everyone is so generous with their time and knowledge.

D.J. Paris 18:57
Yeah, I mean, they you know, I’m a huge fan of, of the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, which is about you know, Gary Keller’s book, which I know has been recently updated. And that alone is probably about the best book on how to be a successful realtor that I’ve ever seen. So I suspect the the other voices that are traders of Keller Williams are amazing. The I did want to bring back to you mentioned Josh Weinberg, we’ve had him on the show. And he said, he said something that that was Tommy was not on the show at the time, but he mentioned something about Tommy which I thought was really interesting. sort of goes back to something you had mentioned very briefly earlier was that you were talking about you know, in particular for new brokers but I suspect you feel this way even today was that getting in front of more people obviously drives the business and and helps smooth out that curve of you know, when when the income comes in, but meeting new people is maybe that most important activity and when I was talking to Josh, I asked him I said What are your his own personal hit him and Tommy’s personal goals? For I guess it was sometime last year we asked him They go, Yeah, we don’t really think in terms of production. He said, We have really one goal, which was, Tommy needs to meet 365 new people over the next year, basically one new person a day, if he does, that, all of our goals will be met. You know, and I just love that because these guys are, you know, they’re already top 1% producers, they’re probably working almost exclusively by referral, they’re clearly you know, doing great. And yet, they’re still going back to that fundamental, get more meet more people talk to more people.

Niko Apostal 20:28
Absolutely. You know, and it is sort of, I mean, as I’ve learned, especially over this year, working side by side with them, as well as some of these new agents that I’ve met across the country, it really is, it’s a, it’s about doubling down on the basics. When you have something that works well, you just have to think, How can I make it more efficient, to be able to do more of that. And you know, when you boil down the numbers in your day to day activities, and down to the time to the minute, you realize, you know, everyone has their their source of business, their nugget, that thing that makes them special. And you should be building your business around facilitating more of that. You know what I’m saying? Yeah, and Tommy is probably one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met, you know, yeah, for sure. Yes. He just knows a million people. He does things from his heart. And you know, any any doesn’t, doesn’t does the results don’t matter. He just does it out of the kindness of his heart. And his motivation, I think is to, to see if he can improve the lives of everyone around him. And I was very much aligned with that philosophy, which is why I think we have such a great working relationship. And I think Joe and Mary are exactly the same way to their MKT team is amazing. And they’re definitely the office leaders. They are forging ahead, they are building a seventh level real estate team right now. That is incredible. I mean, I’m so excited to see what they’re going to do this year, and how that then I’m learning from their mistakes and their, you know, their accomplishments. As I build my team to reach new levels.

D.J. Paris 22:06
You will I do want to transition and talk about your involvement in the industry in the community, because you’ve been so involved. But before I do that, real quickly, I had a just a memory of something that you you had said and this is many years ago, we I was at a YPN event. And you were on a I believe you were on a panel. And the panel was interesting, because I believe it was a technology panel. And then I know you’re you’re always looking at systems and always looking for technology. And at one point, there was a conversation about what’s the best CRM to use. And so different people on the panel had different opinions about their preferred CRM. And, and you it was really funny, you sort of stood up and said, You know, I’ve tried pretty much all the CRMs and they’re all fine in ego. But you know, and maybe you don’t do this now. But at the time, it was really great. You said I kind of just went back to using Excel, or maybe it was Google Google Sheets, you’re like, yeah, yeah. And I thought that was great. You’re like, I just decided I didn’t really need those. And I it was more effective for me just to sort of, you know, go back to the basic tools.

Niko Apostal 23:05
Absolutely. You know, the, the tool is only as useful as your ability to use it. And so and your desire to use it. And I have, honestly, and I’ve tried to add another dozen since then. Sure. Try. I’m trying a new one this year again this year, but this one’s now done by a Keller Williams agent who’s running a team exactly like mine. So I’m hopefully this one will work but but I think what it comes down to is you has to be a tool that you understand that you’re going to love using because you’re going to use it every single day, it’s the single most important tool in this business is you know, like you were saying, with Tom he does best is getting in front of people and then following up with them. And that only works when you know who to follow up with and you keep their accurate information. So whatever you’re going to use, whether it’s a three by five, no card file, that’s alphabetize if that’s what you love, and you’re going to use it and it’s good working for you use it, but if you choose some fancy, you know, really expensive software and you hate it and you’re never going to use it, then it’s useless to you. So you know, it’s it comes down to building your business around the way that you work. Yeah, and that Yeah, and that’s true for hiring too. You know, don’t hire if you’re really great taking buyers out. Don’t hire a buyer’s agent when you need as an admin, you need someone to do the paperwork in the office because you’re really great taking buyers out of the office. You know, it’s a huge mistake that agents make is the first hire they do is another agent to do the same work that they’re doing. That’s a huge mistake. The bigger thing you need most agents need the best and most successful ones is someone to do the other stuff, because it’s a whole different skill set managing details than it is finessing people and it’s an entirely different motivation level entire different skill set. So when I hired my first assistant, that’s what I did. It was They said, Okay, this is all the stuff I hate doing. This is the job description. I’m, I’m right, I’m hiring for right. And so. So and then from there, the systems and the software follow. So, you know, you build it around the people, and the first primary person is who are you? And what are you the best at? So start with that? Where is your business coming from? What is it about you that brings a business in, and then from there build around that get someone to do the other stuff that doesn’t that takes you away from that, you know, do that 80% of the stuff that you have to do, but only 20% of your that stuff that you you know, that other 20% is the stuff that makes you the most than more money or that gets to the next level, if you can hire someone to do that 80% and focus on the 20%, or get a software tool that can do that. 80% so that you can focus on the 20% you should be doing. That’s how you you get successful. And that’s how you reach that next level.

D.J. Paris 25:58
Absolutely. Yeah, let’s, let’s transition I and by the way, very well said and I had interviewed somebody recently who said, you know, a lot of times when people build teams, they don’t realize they’re likely to take a pay cut additionally, meaning, you know, the overall revenue for that broker who is hiring, you know, but then over time, you know, if they’re doing the things you just don’t want to do, or they just take up too much of your time. You know, eventually, of course, that that should should grow the business. But

Niko Apostal 26:25
I tell people, if you have 15, to 20,000, to put into a checking account, set up, set up and, you know, incorporate and set up a checking account business checking account, if you put in $15,000. In that account, you have six months salary for that person. And then after that, if you don’t have it, and then if it’s not working after six months, guess what, you should probably let the person go anyway. So if you haven’t made more money than you did over the previous six months, because of that, then then you know, maybe you shouldn’t hire the person. Yeah. itself, right.

D.J. Paris 27:01
Let’s talk about getting involved in the in the community and and also in the, you know, giving back to the to the industry and getting because I know that’s a passion of yours. You’ve been very involved. You’ve been on YPN, you, you’ve founded one of the chairs of YPN, you’ve been Where you’ve done some work with car IAR. Can you talk a little bit about why you’re why you’re involved, what you do, and maybe what you’d like other people to know about that?

Niko Apostal 27:24
Sure, absolutely. I think that part of the reason I’ve been so successful is I just like collaborating with others. And it’s not just trying to get involved with members, you know, organizations within the community, like your local chamber of commerce or your local neighborhood association, or condo association. I think those are important too. And those definitely give you insight and knowledge. But it’s equally as important for a broker to get involved with your local real estate Association, and then maybe your state and national Real Estate Association. And there’s several benefits of doing this. Number one is you get an insight into how other people are doing the practicing the business and what they’re doing and how they’re doing, how they work. A lot of these people who come to these associations work in very different marketplaces, even if you’re, you know, the Chicago Association of Realtors, is 14,000 brokers and think about every neighborhood in the city and how different they are from one another. And there’s different needs and different approaches and different types of housing and each of those areas. So to sit there and hear what’s working for one broker in one area, which isn’t being tried in your area, it’s just a great way to collaborate and share knowledge. Likewise, I think also, I don’t know, do you remember that movie? It was a beautiful mind was Russell Crowe? And it was about that mathematician who said that Adam Smith was right. Right. And his so I’ve good friend of mine is a real estate developer. And he’s got an MBA in finance, real estate finance from Kellogg, and he took a lot of classes about that the, you know, the the guy who was in that. And he said, it’s really it’s not well understood, but the basic premise holds true, which is, I think that a trade organization, when run well, like a union or a guild of some kind, when Runwell can actually produce a higher level of quality service or product to the consumer, as well as a better quality working environment for the employee. As long as it’s not abused in one way or the other. So, meaning when we’re involved, we work together, we’re facing common issues. We can also set higher standards of practice, which you can invite other brokers to live up to. And by being a member of this community, you’re settling disputes between one another, you’re creating an efficiency of resources by by, you know, you know, going together with, to purchasing power and to get perks and benefits that you can do in bulk, which you couldn’t do as an individual. And then also you you are setting a level of, you know, an openness of communication among the industry, which helps business to be transacted a lot more efficiently. So, you know, I would very much encourage every broker, especially new ones who are in this industry for the first time and wondering, What should I do next? Or how do I get to the next level, to get involved in your local real estate Association, I don’t just mean show up to the to the parties to the drinking events. I mean, get yourself on a committee, there are so many committees in different areas. The managing broker of our office is a guy named Dave Nassau. And he’s phenomenal. He chaired the forms and contracts committee at the Chicago Association Realtors for several years, and literally rewrote our real estate, the association real estate contract to adhere to the trade regulations. And in that process is causes a whole series of communication that allows that makes our contracts better, that protect the buyers better and make more clarity for sellers. So the consumer benefits and then we as agents benefit by using a more concise form, that creates fewer problems between the contract and closing. So it’s things like that, you know, no

D.J. Paris 31:17
question. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, I was gonna say if you whatever board you’re with whether you’re with Chicago Association of Realtors, Main Street NAS bar, Three Rivers down in Joliet, the easiest way to learn about getting involved in these ways is literally call them or go to their websites, and you will see a list of all the committees, there’s almost they are they are starving in a good way for your involvement. They want you to be on these boards, they need you to be on these boards. And there’s usually a pretty simple process to get to get involved and active. So contact your board. Do that. And I also know that you’re passionate about our PAC, I believe, as well. Is that correct?

Niko Apostal 31:56
Sure. Yes, the real estate political action committee is it’s an advocacy organization that is part of the National Association of Realtors, and is administered mostly on the state level through each state association. And then obviously, each municipal or City Association, then feeds into it as well. But a lot of people wonder why, you know, when you pay your dues for the association dues for MLS access, and things like that, they also try to tack on voluntary, you know, 30 or $40 contribution to our pack, and is really important. Those dollars have tremendous influence on our industry, you can see them at work, even in this tax plan that just came through. Well, you know, it is definitely not beneficial in the way it was written. For both for homeowners and for real estate brokers, there’s a lot of things that are not as great in there as the way we used to have it. It was a horrible, horrible Bill was much much worse when it first started out. And it was through the lobbying efforts of on both state level and on on a national level, to get in front of politicians and have the wording and language change and have certain provisions rolled back and things like that, that allowed that bill to be much less onerous than it was. And you know, it’s just a great, it’s also a great way to get in touch with the leaders in the industry. Because I what I find is some of most of the top producers in this industry, they understand the value of, of contributing to, you know, a political action committee, and they realize that it is it’s super important for maintaining their livelihood and for protecting their clients being able to protect their clients. So they get heavily involved. And it’s a great way for somebody who is new to get in front of and to get an introduction to some of these top producers. So there’s just tons of benefits for getting involved in it. And the way I like to think of it just from a from a basic standpoint is, you know, if it’s like paying your insurance, it’s like it’s like employment insurance, it’s protects our industry from outside influence. And would you know, would you contribute 1% of what you earn in order to protect the other 99?

D.J. Paris 34:27
Absolutely. I have for sure what not, it’s even way less than 1% Right? It’s literally like $30

Niko Apostal 34:34
Yes, your fair share contribution is something small, it’s like 30 or 40 bucks, depending on where you are. And

I mean, I contributed I think this past year I did $5,000 toward our pack because it was such a big year and those dollars go such a long way. There’s something there was some New York New York Times article that said that you get a something like on average at 26,000% return on your investment when you Do political action investment versus non thing, I mean, it’s a multiplying effect. And we have one of the most, you know, the most active and influential trade organizations in the entire country with with one of the largest memberships of any organization, that country and its fingers go into right down to the local politic political level, all the way up to the national level. And, you know, politicians love Realtors for their ability to network across an entire community.

D.J. Paris 35:32
Yeah, no question. And I was talking to you offline about I bought Beth Wallace, who I we interviewed. So if you’re interested in learning more about what these these lobbyists do on brokers behalf, and also not just brokers behalf, but also consumers go all the way back, I think it’s episode two or three, where we interview Beth, who is a lobbyist for our back, and she gets a lot more specific about exactly how to get involved and what they do and all the resources that brokers have at their disposal, like through Illinois Association of Realtors, that they don’t even know they have, and so that it’s a great episode to listen to, to really get more in depth and, and how that all works and why it’s important, but well, well. Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time. And this has been really, really great. What’s neat, if we do have any buyers and sellers, or renters out there that are interested in working with your group, what’s the best way or even maybe brokers that are interested in learning more about what your your, your your firm has to offer? What’s the best way that anyone should reach out to you?

Niko Apostal 36:33
Well, yes, I mean, obviously, I’m always looking for clients, but I’m also always looking for talent and people who have enthusiasm and drive and are looking for to make a successful career in real estate. There’s we’re hiring both at our management and here in Keller Williams, and even my team, I’m always looking for someone great, but best way to reach it to reach me is probably by email. It’s an ICAO at the Apostel group.com. That’s an ICAO at th e apostalgroup.com. And I check that email all day every day. So I would love to hear from anyone if you have questions. I’m always happy to help and we you know, if you want to see some of these teams and people doing high level practice in action, you’re always welcome to pop on our office. We’re an office of sharing and giving and just kind of the environment where where we want to support one another

D.J. Paris 37:26
wonderful and also visit Nico’s website tube. It’s a great example of a really effective and aesthetically pleasing broker website. And I find I am not usually saying that about people’s website. So I feel like you guys have done a great job, you know, explaining what your team does also in in just a way that I think looks really cool. So thank you so much for being on the show. Really appreciate your time. And it’s my pleasure anytime. Thank you so much. All right. Take care.

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