Stefanie Ridolfo, founder of Liv Real Estate Partners at Keller Williams, started her real estate career shortly after delivering twins. To fund her business she sold her home and moved the family in with her parents. Two years later she became a top 1% producer, and ever since has become one of the top brokers in Chicago. In her four years in real estate, Stefanie has built up a successful team and teaches other brokers how to duplicate her success. Learn how she grew so quickly and why going “all in” made all the difference.
Stephanie Ridolfo can be reached at 630.200.2120 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
D.J. Paris 0:15
Hello and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for brokers all over the country. That’s our new tagline as we have listeners beyond the Chicagoland market. What we do here, if you’re new is we feature top 1% producers in the Chicagoland area and ask them how they became successful as we are coming up now on our 100th episode, we’ve Gosh been featured on lists that say we’re one of the best real estate podcasts in the in the country. I’m not sure if that’s true, but we certainly do our best and our listeners seem to really find a ton of value in listening to these top heavy hitters in Chicago. Today is no exception. We have Stephanie Rodolfo, coming up in just a few moments. But I also wanted to mention a couple quick things. First, please continue to share this podcast with other brokers that you think could benefit from hearing from top producers, also our Facebook page, we are now starting to add more content. So you can find us on email@example.com forward slash keeping it real pod, we are almost trying to produce one post a day of something very helpful, just like our interviews that brokers could use. For example, today, I found a great thread on Reddit about the importance of doing open houses to find clients. And it’s an awesome thread that someone sent into us. So we wanted to pass that along to everyone as well. So if you’re not already a follower of our Facebook page, please do. Also remember you can find us on Facebook, I just I just mentioned Facebook, but on our website, you can stream every episode we’ve ever produced, which is keeping it real pod.com. So find us on Facebook, find us online, send us your suggestions, we are a sadly we are very behind. So everyone that’s submitted a suggestion. If you haven’t heard back from our production team, we apologize we have, I think we’re over 100 people have been suggested to be on the show. So quite a backlog, but we appreciate it. We appreciate all the fan mail, and all the great suggestions. And if you ever have questions that you’d like me to ask, Are these top producers, please send them in because I’m always looking to increase value for you. You This is for you, not for me. So anyway, thank you for listening as we approach episode 100 Keep listening, keep telling us how to improve and we’ll keep making these episodes. So now on to Stephanie Rudolfo.
Okay, today on the show, we have Stephanie Rodolfo of the of live partners, which is you can find her. I’m sorry, let me start that over my apologies. I can’t read my own notes. Today on the show we have Stephanie Rodolfo of live partners, Keller Williams. Stephanie is a mother of three wife and also an entrepreneur. She got into real estate because she didn’t want to leave her babies for a career she wasn’t passionate about. She started her career in real estate 44 years ago, right immediately after her twins were born, and quickly realized that real estate wasn’t just about helping somebody buy or sell a home. She believes real estate is about the people and their life stories and the events that trigger a real estate transaction. Her goal is to become the number one real estate team in Illinois, also creating a space that allows everyone on our team to thrive in their specific roles. And lastly, to provide endless opportunities for her people to follow their dreams and live out massive lives. So thank you, Stephanie, welcome to the show.
Stefanie Ridolfo 3:52
D.J. Paris 3:54
So tell us and by the way, you have an amazing reputation. We’re so honored that you’re taking the time to spend here with us and tell us but how did you get into real estate?
Stefanie Ridolfo 4:05
Yeah, so like you had mentioned, you know, I got into real estate four years ago. So how it came about was I got pregnant and found that I was having twins, which was very exciting and scary at the same time, as you can imagine. And so I you know, was looking back and just kind of reflecting on, you know, my life and where I wanted to go and you know, now becoming a mother of twins. And I just I couldn’t find it in my heart to go back to my corporate job. Because I would have to leave my you know, newborn babies, and that just really didn’t sit well with me. And so I kept thinking, Okay, well, what could I do that I would actually be passionate about and it would drive me enough to actually want to leave my children. You know, obviously no one wants to Leave them. But you also have to put, you know, foosball tables. So I just knew I couldn’t go back to the corporate world because I wasn’t passionate about it, it felt like I was going to a job every day. And that’s not I felt like there was a void, there was something missing. So I started just like soul searching, and, you know, figuring out what I wanted to do. So I started talking to my friends and family. And I started thinking about, you know, opportunities. And my brother actually said, Well, what about real estate? I go, Oh, I was like, Yeah, I was like, that sounds really awesome. And I had no idea what without even meant, or what, you know, real estate agent did at the time, I had bought one house. And so but I didn’t even have a realtor, because it was new construction, which we know is a big no, no, in this business. I know that now. But at the time, I did it. And so I was like, Yeah, that sounds like something I could definitely see myself doing. So then I started just, you know, talking to some people that were religious, and in the business already, and really liked what I was hearing about the, you know, potential opportunities, flexibility. So I decided to, you know, get my license. So studied, took the test passed on my first time, which I was really proud of, because that test was, in my opinion. And so, and I knew that when I got into the business, that it was going to be, you know, a career for me, it was going to be for the rest of my life. And it was a, you know, a big deal for me, because I wanted to make sure that people could trust me off the bat. And so that was always something I was worried about was that, you know, hey, I’m brand new in this business, how are people going to trust me, you know, so I, you know, hired on a mentor to really get me started and walk me through, you know, my first million in sales, which was really helpful, because I’m a very hands on learner. And that would, was really gave me the confidence I needed to really jumpstart my business. And so I think the biggest thing too, is that, you know, when I decided to get into real estate, I wanted to find something where it didn’t feel like work to me. And I wanted to love what I did every day. And that was really the reasoning behind it, and why I got into real estate. And literally, ever since I made that decision, I don’t feel like I’ve ever worked a day in my life, because I truly love what I do every single day. Obviously, it’s very hard work, but it doesn’t feel like work. You know what I mean? Yes. And so
D.J. Paris 7:43
that’s a very, I’m sorry to interrupt that that’s a very common sentiment that all of the top almost all the top producers we’ve ever had on the show really seem to have in common that obviously they love what they do, they love being helpful and of service. But also, they’re incredibly hard workers. Because but they love what they do.
Stefanie Ridolfo 8:01
Yeah, exactly. And so if you love what you do, it’s, it’s a natural byproduct that you’re gonna work your butt off to make you know, your dreams come true and accomplish all your goals and helping others do the same along the way. And that that’s really what you know, motivates me every day, that I’m able to impact people’s lives in such a positive way, whether it be with real estate, or growing them on my team. But um, when I, I want to mention this too, though, because this was a big factor to me getting into real estate, was that, you know, me and my husband, both were working at the time. And I knew that if I was going to go full speed ahead with real estate, you know, I had to quit my full time job, which meant that income was not going to be coming in. And so a lot of people think that they can get into this business and do it part time. And to me, that was not an option. Because I felt in order to give people the service that they needed, they needed my full attention. And so a lot of people getting in the business think, Oh, I could just do it on the side and do it part time. And in my opinion, you’re not ready to get into the real estate course yet, because you need to build that nest egg before you jump into real estate, because it’s not, it’s not the right service that you’re gonna be providing to your clients by trying to do you know, give 100% to two things. So what we did, what I did is that I sold my house because actually my house was the first house I ever sold. So I had my twins, got my license, and then I knew that in order to not feel the pressure of like having a mortgage payment and paying all the bills in order, you know, to just focus on real estate and not worrying about am I going to get a paycheck this month and having that stress because I never wanted to go back to the corporate world. We sold our house First home I ever saw was my own so sure, and then moved in with my parents. And then
D.J. Paris 10:07
I love that. I really do love that. Yeah.
Stefanie Ridolfo 10:10
And so that’s, you know, the kind of sacrifices that I think people need to know that these sacrifices happen along the way. And it’s not, it’s not easy to make those decisions. But if you really want something in your life, then you’re going to have to sacrifice something. And so in this case, it was sacrificing our, you know, our house, and then we were going to my parents, so that we could, I couldn’t, I didn’t have to worry about having the pressure of if I was going to sell something. And so that, that lasted about six months. So my first, you know, way of really building this business was all through Facebook. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 10:54
how did you how did you do that? If you don’t mind me asking.
Stefanie Ridolfo 10:56
Yeah, so I just, I was a very private person on Facebook before getting into real estate, I didn’t really post a lot. So the whole Facebook space was very intimidating to me. And I’m a perfectionist. And so I wanted every time I posted something for it to be perfect. And so because it’s a brand, you know, I’m branding myself and anything I’m putting out into the world, people are going to see it. And I was very cautious of that. But I knew I had to do it. So I had to go out of my comfort zone and start putting, you know, my life on Facebook, which was very uncomfortable for me. But I knew I had to do it because I had a lot of people that were watching. And so I slowly started overcoming, you know, that fear of mine and put stuff on Facebook, when I was out doing an open house if I was out showing clients. And then every time I had, you know, sold a property to help someone buy something I would put out, you know, hey, just, you know, a picture with me and my clients and, you know, close this home or help someone buy this house. And so I just kept creating this story on Facebook. So people saw what I was doing, and I was staying in front of them in an organic way. And so that’s really what jump started my career because people started you know, my sphere of influence, started seeing everything I was posting about. So I started getting, you know, people reaching out to me saying, Hey, I saw that you’re, you know, you’re in real estate, I’ve got a house I gotta sell or I’ve got a house I’ve got to buy. And so that’s how I started building my business initially.
D.J. Paris 12:42
That’s what you just said so much. I want to touch on a couple of those points that you mentioned. Number one, I love the story of going all in, right? You’re like I am willing to sacrifice my own residence and do something that’s in the short term uncomfortable, I’m assuming somewhat uncomfortable to move back home. But yeah, you’re starting a business. That’s what entrepreneurs do. They go all in. Yeah. And and by the way, this is not a 20 year journey. This is a four year journey. So far. And you are already I mean to to really to tell the listeners, what Stephanie has accomplished in four years is truly remarkable. It’s not just because she’s on the call. I’m mentioning this, like if you actually look at her numbers, incredible. Nobody does this in four years. Nobody builds a team that quickly. Well, you’re the one who’s done it. So congrats to you. But yes, I’m glad to acknowledge it, because it’s such a big deal. But how many people are willing to go to that, that extreme that that length to build a business? And that’s I think a good point about part time versus full time is technically Can you sort of dip your toe in both waters? Yeah, I guess so. And you can do a handful of deals a year maybe. But at some point, you have to make a decision of what do you want to do you want to make this a career or not? And, and I think that’s really, I’ve never seen anyone really successfully do it. Who also had another career, it just seems to be too difficult.
Stefanie Ridolfo 14:03
Yeah, I agree. 100%.
D.J. Paris 14:06
And, you know, also people you talked about having a mentor when you first started, I think that’s really helpful because everyone’s fear and we have a lot of brokers who listen who are new to the business, their fear is very warranted. It’s like what happens when I don’t know the answer to something that my clients ask, it’s like, that’s gonna happen all the time. That’s normal. So you better have a support system in place where a mentor somebody where you can say, Hang on, let me double check on that and get right back to you or if somebody even come with you, if possible. Yeah, and, but and also, like Stephanie was saying she was her own first client. Another really good idea because we’re gonna screw up you might as well screw up your own deal. Oh, I
Stefanie Ridolfo 14:44
learned a lot. I learned how to deal with the difficult seller which was my husband who wanted to price our listing and I was like, What are you thinking? Like, no, we can’t price it here. It’s like, well, let’s just see and see, you know, what we get and of course, you know, then we had to do an adjustment to the price. And so that was it was actually a really good learning experience because I learned how to handle right away. Sellers that wanted to overpriced your listing and, and what what happens when you do that? So it was a great learning experience for me.
D.J. Paris 15:14
Yeah. And just because we get this question a lot, you know, how do you handle that where somebody says, Hey, I understand I’m gonna list it up more than what, you know, even somebody who’s rational and reasonable goes, let’s just try it for x amount above. How do you do? What’s your sort of philosophy on what to do in that scenario?
Stefanie Ridolfo 15:34
Yeah, so I think the biggest thing is just always to remember to become very prepared and know your market and know the traps. Because if that person sitting across from you is an analytical person, and you can show them the data that proves otherwise, I always look to the numbers, because numbers always tell a story. And so I do try very, very hard to help them understand why it’s important to list at market value, and what happens in the event that they don’t. And so, you know, like anyone else in this business, I’m sure you’re always going to have those clients are like, No, I want to test it at this price. So if they are very adamant about testing at a certain price, I say, okay, that’s fine. We’ll test it at your price for two weeks, we’re going to monitor the activity. And we’re looking for five to seven showings a week to indicate to us that it’s a successful launch. And so at that point, now, every week we’re having conversations with them saying, are we hitting our benchmarks of five to seven showings a week? Now, in some cases, if it’s overpriced, we will hit those five to seven showings a week. But at the end of two weeks, let’s say we’ve had 12 showings, we hit the benchmarks, but no offers are coming in. That’s an indication that the markets rejecting our price because we’ve gotten this, we’ve gotten the showings, we needed the activity but the offers aren’t there. And so now we’re having that conversation of adjusting to the price that you know, we recommended initially.
D.J. Paris 17:04
I love that I love all of that. And in for the listeners, just in case anyone listening doesn’t know this as an option. You can actually via M read, you can see how many eyeballs have looked at the property on the MLS, right? You can’t see what Zillow those numbers, but you can see how many brokers have shown either shown the listing to their clients buy an email, or it was on a search and it came up. So if you’re getting hundreds and hundreds of people that can that see the property, you know, online on via em read and nobody’s scheduling appointments. Obviously, that’s an indicator as well. So a lot of brokers probably don’t know you can see that number, right.
Stefanie Ridolfo 17:41
There’s prospecting. Yep. Well, oh, by the way, the actual activity, like the physical showings that a listing is getting, because views to me don’t mean anything. It’s all about what is the actual right action that’s happening. It’s all about the actions.
D.J. Paris 17:58
Absolutely. And that’s the thing is, if you’re getting 1000s of views, and no one’s coming to see it, there’s a there’s an issue, which, again, that’s data. So you can actually go back and say, Hey, here’s the here’s the reality. And you know, so that’s awesome, and awesome. And again, you have a whole process. In fact, I want to before we continue, because I forgot to mention this at the beginning, I want to talk about you have a really cool website, by the way, which is live with live without the E live real estate partners.com. It’s one of the better real estate websites I’ve seen, which by the way, everybody should have a cool real estate website or business have a website. And but I want to talk about your team because you guys, as you’re always expanding, you are also looking to add on more team members. So can you tell us sort of what that looks like?
Stefanie Ridolfo 18:44
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So just to kind of get back into where I left off, because it’s like, you know, go to how I started building the team. So my first two years in real estate, and again, this is just for all those listeners that are new in the business. It is a lot of hard work. I mean, I worked seven days a week, a lot of days, like eight till 10pm at night for almost two years straight. And so that was really hard because I was a new mom, I had twins and then I also got pregnant again. And so I was pregnant. With my third child, I had, you know, 13 month old twins and I was working, I would say eight hours plus a week. And so, you know, that’s when I got to the burnout phase. When I was getting my business was building, which was so exciting and loved every minute of it. But I just there was no more time for my family and my family then started to become what I was sacrificing. And I at the time understood that you know, because I wanted to be build such a massive business, I knew that I was going to have to sacrifice time away from my family. And so I would say, you know, if you’re, whether you’re the husband or the family, the wife or the family, or just your own self, just know that you’re going to have to sacrifice time away from people that you love and you care about, in order to build the business that you want, just to know that you’re doing it. Because five years from now, my goal was always that I wasn’t going to have to work nights and weekends anymore. So that was kind of like my driving factor was like I’m putting in the work now. So that we can build this team so that don’t have to work nights and weekends for the rest of my life. So I really got to that burnout phase, at about two years into the business, I was doing about 10 million in sales by myself. And that’s when I knew I could no longer continue at that pace, and continue to grow the business because I didn’t want the customer service to Slack, right. And that was really important to me, it was always putting my clients at the forefront of everything. And so if I ever felt like I couldn’t give them the service I needed they deserved, then that was the that was where I was starting to get to that point. And I knew I had to start building out a team to gain leverage. And I will tell you, I did not build my team the right way from the beginning. And that was one of my big failing forward. You know, lessons that I learned and I wouldn’t take it back. Because I learned really valuable lessons. And I’m still learning every single day about, you know, building this business, but I didn’t hire properly. The first I hired was not an administrative person. And so that was my biggest mistake. And I did end up hiring administration. But it was a part time. And it was also a shared admin. Sure. which I also was a big learning that, yes, it got some things off my plate. But the big picture was that I wanted this person, you know, the admin to be also a branch of me, and they didn’t have client facing. And so that was then put back on me so that yeah, they could do some of the paperwork, which is great. But it wasn’t really the ideal situation.
D.J. Paris 22:29
That’s still not giving you back your nights and weekends. Correct.
Stefanie Ridolfo 22:32
Exactly. Yeah. So So then, I really decided at that time, like I need to know how to do this the right way. And so Keller Williams, you know, I knew was a company that was number one for training and leadership. And I knew that they had already created. They had the systems, the tools, the processes to build out a team, that’s what they’re known for. Right. And so I decided to move my business to Keller Williams because I was like, why am I trying to reinvent a wheel that’s already been created? Right, you know, so that’s what I decided to move my business to Keller Williams. And, you know, the first day I went to Keller Williams, I saw Lance Logan. He is a big, mega agent, and Keller Williams out of Houston. And I saw him on a panel and my life changed that day, I heard him speak and my mind was expanded. And once your mind gets expanded, it never returned back to its original form. So shout out to Lance, because you know, Lance, and Karina, they’re, they’re amazing. And so he talked about building a team and how it was the hardest thing he ever did in his life. And at the time, I was just like, Oh, it doesn’t sound that hard, right?
D.J. Paris 23:53
You just hire somebody to help out? It should be easy, right?
Stefanie Ridolfo 23:57
Yeah. And at the time, I think they were doing like 300 million in sales. And so at that point, I saw a light bulb switch. And I realized that real estate, you know, was so much bigger than just you know, helping people buy and sell homes. It’s about building business, a business big enough so that you can hire amazing talent and help other people accomplish, you know, their goals and their dreams. And so like that, at that point, I was like, Oh my gosh, like, I am so grateful to be here and hear this. And from that point on I started following the Keller Williams systems and models for hiring a team. I read the mrea book, which is the million Millionaire Real Estate, by the way.
D.J. Paris 24:43
Well, let’s pause for a second. Everybody should read Gary Keller’s millionaire effect. I think it was recently updated in the last year to it and he also has another book called The one that he’s a few other books but the one thing that really great I mean everything Gary Keller’s written you everyone should read.
Stefanie Ridolfo 24:57
Yeah, I mean the Red Book Um, the MRE a book is by far the number one book every single real estate agent should read, because it lays the foundation of how to run a successful business. And I think that, um, a lot of people don’t understand the difference of being a realtor versus running a business. And so if you’re sitting there right now thinking, Oh, I’m, I’m just a realtor, it’s like, no, you’re running a business. And if you’re not running it, like a business, then you’re doing it wrong. Right. Agree. So. So that was my big, you know, kind of like Pivotal, pivotal point in my career, was starting to build the team,
D.J. Paris 25:40
right? It’s sometimes to building a team also is sacrificial, right? You, you might sacrifice some income initially, you might sacrifice some control. It’s a scary, difficult thing in you know, sometimes you hire the wrong people, like you were saying, happens. It happens to everybody who builds a team, but also realize that’s another point of sacrifice, at least for a short term.
Stefanie Ridolfo 26:02
Totally. Yep. And I think the biggest thing for me is I’m always a believer, like, if you build it, they will come Yes. And so but, you know, at the time, my husband was not in the real estate world with me, you know, he was working a full time job staying home with the kids on the nights and weekends. And then I go to him, and I say, hey, I want to hire an assistant that’s gonna cost me, you know, 30 $40,000 a year. And he was like, Whoa, right. You know, so it was a lot of, you know, just believing in the process. And I think people sometimes they’re very fearful of that, of making those decisions that it’s going to change their business, because they’re like, Well, you know, if I spend all this money, that means I’m gonna have to sell more houses, and how many summer houses and so it seems like, you know, they just keep postponing it, and they don’t ever get the chance to actually peel back the onion. And hire out that leverage to let to give them the ability to grow. And that’s something that was really, really changed my business when I hired the right, you know, person to help me it with all the administrative work. Yeah, absolutely.
D.J. Paris 27:18
I the interview that is being posted today that just before yours will drop next week. Gentleman, his name is Nick vellum, and he had the almost the exact same experience. He’s like, I want to reclaim my nights and weekends. And he said, he realized the only way to do that is to build a team. And to make all of them so incredibly successful, that he was able to reclaim more time for him. And he has three kids as well. So his his family. So it’s, it’s a concept, but you have to be willing to take the leap and just trust the process. And I guess, you know, you’re you’re accustomed to, to, to taking a pretty scary leap. And the good news too, is if everybody for example, they just read Gary Keller’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent, that is pretty much if you only had to read one book about how to be successful in this business, that that’s the one and just do everything in that book and be willing to just trust the process. And you’ll probably be fine.
Stefanie Ridolfo 28:12
Yes, exactly. If you build it, they will come. So but it’s scary to do that. It’s really scary. And a lot of people don’t do it, because they’re there. They’re fearful of it. So I would just say, you know, this business is all about taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone. Because if you know, if you’re comfortable with your, with what you’re doing everyday, that means you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing, you’re not building a business.
D.J. Paris 28:39
Yeah. And you’re supposed to be scared. Fear is completely in fact, if you’re not scared, I’m worried. Because fear is a good thing. It’s a totally good thing. And to find the courage to sort of live and coexist with that fear and trust, that it’s all gonna work out because you’re doing the right things. I want to actually transition that into something that I think you do. That’s super cool. And I suspect to you, you probably don’t even see this as all that, you know, different from what other realtors do, or maybe you do. But I love that you have a process for everything. So tell us about the process. You were talking to me before about how you work with home sellers because I just think even having a process like this is sadly sort of unique and also elevates you among all the other brokers maybe so you talk a little bit about that.
Stefanie Ridolfo 29:29
Yeah, I would love to see so. So while you know on this journey of of, you know, working with sellers so in the Red Book, Emery book, they talk about, you know, leads listings leverage and so one of the biggest things that I realized that if I was gonna, you know, have leverage that I need to bring in more business and so, you know, sphere and referrals were about 80% of my business last year and then fizz bows and expireds started becoming the 20%. Prior to that, it was all sphere and referrals. So last year, my husband actually joined the business, got his real estate license. And he’s he started with me, and he started as an ISA, which means inside sales. And so that was really also key to the growth of our business because he came from sales and quickly learn the scripts, how to call fizz bows how to call expireds. And so his role on our team is to call these homeowners and set me up with listing appointments. And so because we want, you know, to lead with listings, that’s the way you grow business. And so he started doing that. And, you know, when you meet with your sphere, or your referrals a lot easier, I wouldn’t say easier, but it’s, you know, they’re not going to be interviewing as many agents or they’re not going to be, you know, beating you down with commission as much. And so when I started going on the fizz bows and expired appointments, I quickly realized, like, I need to really differentiate myself and bring value and show them why they want to hire me, and why they want to hire me for, you know, 5% or 6%. And when they’re, you know, used to paying, you know, three and a half percent with a discount broker and nothing when they’re a Fizbo.
D.J. Paris 31:34
Yeah, and let’s pause for a second because for people who are listening brokers who are listening, these are the toughest phone calls and toughest in person appointments you could possibly have. These are people that have already decided, if they’re Fizbo, for example, they do not want to work with a realtor, they don’t want to pay those fees, and is a massive mountain to climb. But those are people that probably need your help the most, because they likely aren’t having success on their own clearly. So
Stefanie Ridolfo 32:01
and raising their hand saying, I’m trying to sell my house. Yeah. And I’ll never forget the first Fizbo appointment I went on. I went to the appointment, and I, you know, they signed with me on the spot, my first ever and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is like free money, like, free money, like, Bring it on. And so it really was exciting. So for anyone that’s brand new in the business, I would definitely recommend like, if you don’t have you know, your sphere, big sphere of business right now the easiest, the again, easiest, you know where it’s hard work. But the the number one thing you should be doing is contacting those fizz bows and expireds. Because those are people that are raising their hand, it’s a low hanging fruit, it is a challenge. They are going to be your toughest clients, but it’s going to be a great learning experience. So
D.J. Paris 32:59
Oh, yeah, just just for the sake of learning how to call strangers and ask something that likely is not going to be received well, by a majority of them. That is a great experience, too, because it teaches you how to have conversations with people that aren’t as your sphere of influence who probably wants to work with you, because they know unlike you, these are people that don’t know you, maybe will like you, maybe they won’t. And it’s just and by the way you can purchase expireds and fizz bows for almost nothing. They’re really affordable.
Stefanie Ridolfo 33:33
Yeah, yeah, we use Vulcan seven, is about welcome. Seven. That’s the best system that we found with the most accurate numbers. So yeah, so just to kind of sew back to that. So when I again, when I first started the business, I would I did have a referral. That was a cancelled listing. And I you know, I was trying to figure out like, why didn’t they sell the first time? What happened? What What was the reasoning? And I walked into the home and I you know, have an I guess you could say that for design and for you know, I can I have a vision for each home, I walk into a what it can look like. And so I’m sure everyone has seen those photos online where you know, the house looks like a mess. And the photos aren’t done properly. There’s, you know, things everywhere and the house looks outdated. So that was what I noticed with this house. And I was like, you know, I was like, if you guys can do me a favor. Let’s walk through every room and let’s talk about what items we can remove from the home so that way, you know it looks different, it looks fresher. And we’re just gonna move things around so that the space feels larger. And so I did that with the sphere. But then once I started meeting with the fizz bows and expired I realized that that was the value I needed to bring. I needed to bring something different that other Realtors weren’t bringing. So I developed the three step process. And so I also noticed that when I was going into a lot of these homes, I was like, Oh my gosh, if this red wall was just gray, or if you know, the trim was painted white versus oak, or the white, or the OIC, outdated cabinets were painted white, that this house would literally like transform. And so I started slowly by testing the waters. And I would talk to sellers about, you know, a budget, did they have a budget that they would be willing to invest in their home, in order to prepare it for resale that they would be comfortable with? And if I could guarantee them a return on that investment? You know, how would they feel about that. And I found that about 50% of the time people were willing to invest in their home. Because again, you’re dealing with people that want to get top dollar, they want to get that unrealistic price. So to get them that price, then I would say to them, well, we have to do XYZ to your home in order to give it that same look, that the other comps are showing a demand in this price. So so that’s it kind of like slowly started evolving. And so then I would, you know, started walking in these houses at these listing appointments. And I’d say Okay, I think we need to paint your home Gray, I think we need, you know, your cabinets painted white, we need to replace your carpeting. And people started, you know, doing what I was telling them to do. And then I would go through the home, and then I would declutter, I would walk through room by room and say, okay, remove this piece of artwork, remove all these family photos, remove this, you know, let’s rearrange the couches like that. And so they started doing it. And then I was able to elicit the price they wanted and get them, you know, the value that they wanted, because they listened to my recommendations. And so that was really cool to see that all happening. And so then the third step in the process. And the final one that we’ve just really started building on about a year ago was was staging the homes ourselves. And so that now what we do is we have a staging division. So we have a warehouse with inventory. And now we’ve been have movers that we hired to stage our homes. And so the goal is, is to really build out our staging division, even from where it is just today.
D.J. Paris 37:38
That’s incredible. So how often do you find you you end up staging homes is it every time,
Stefanie Ridolfo 37:44
time. So there’s two different kinds of staging. So again, so the three step process is number one, I come in for the listing appointment, I go over, you know, all the updates that the home needs, I get a budget from the client, and then we prioritize based on their budget, which items need to be done to the home. And so typically, I like to look for like a three to $5,000 budget, sometimes homeowners, you know, it’s a $10,000 budget, sometimes it’s 15, depending on, you know, where we want to price it, right. And so that’s step one, is the updates. And then step two is to redesign the declutter removing everything from the home that needs to be removed. And then step three is the staging and bringing in those personal items. And so that is our process every single time.
D.J. Paris 38:32
Wow. And I just love that you have that process. I don’t think we’ve interviewed anyone yet on the show, who had that specific of a process and that comprehensive. So that’s incredible. And, and I love that you’re able to go in and say it’s almost more like a consultant than it is anything else. Right? You’re going in saying, this is I know how to do this, you have to trust my process here. And, and that
Stefanie Ridolfo 38:57
I mean, not every seller, is the right fit for us. Sure, no, because there are people that say like, Oh, I’m not investing $1 I want to listen at this price. And you know, it’s just totally unrealistic. And so, you know, not everyone’s a good fit for us. And that’s okay, because we want to work with the people that understand the value that we bring to the table because every single time that someone follows our process, we’re able to get them top dollar and sell it in 11 days or less. And that’s the average days on market.
D.J. Paris 39:31
Wow, incredible. Well, I know you are looking for team members to continue to grow tell because we have 1000s of listeners, almost all of which of course are brokers. Tell us what you’re looking for in a team member and how they should reach out if they’re interested.
Stefanie Ridolfo 39:45
Yeah, absolutely. So we’re always looking for top talent. For people that are very hardworking, that are driven, self motivated. They want to win In, and they care about people. Because when somebody enable it has the qualities of a go getter and wants to win, but they don’t care about the people, it’s not going to work in our culture, because that is all have everyone on our team right now. They embody that. But the number one thing is, is that we always want to do what’s best for our client that comes number one. And so in order to, to have that kind of soul, right, you have to love people, right? You have to care about people, and you have to put their needs a lot of time before your own. And so we’re looking for those people that you know, want to grow, have big dreams want to have, you know, accomplished the world with us. And give them a space where they feel like, they can have a voice and help make decisions and really just are a part of a family because that’s really what we are. We’re like a little family, you know, and we want people that can come into our family, and, and help us grow and take us to the next level. And while they do that, they’re doing that for themselves.
D.J. Paris 41:16
What and what’s the best way for a listener? Who says that’s me? That’s where I want to belong to a team like that. How should they reach out?
Stefanie Ridolfo 41:24
So yeah, I mean, just contact me directly, or email me. So my cell phone number is 630-200-2120. And then my email address is Stephanie with an F. I will say I’m an ephah. As she s a n, ie at live li ve real estate partners, one word.com.
D.J. Paris 41:51
We should also want to mention your website. Again, everyone should get to see what a cool real estate website looks like. And when that’s useful and helpful. Go to live real estate partners, again, live without the E live real estate partners.com. Also, I want to make sure we mentioned Stephanie’s Facebook page, which is live partners. Just type it into you’ll find it also there’s a link to it from her website, and Instagram. And that’s Stephanie. Is it separate auto or it’s stuff for Adolfo? Yeah. So
Stefanie Ridolfo 42:21
I’ve got my personal one that I do a lot of like, you know, the process of what we do for listings on and its staff STF, Adolfo God, that realtor
D.J. Paris 42:32
Perfect. Well, this has been so helpful. And I know and by the way, again, I just want to congratulate you on behalf of the listeners of all the success and the sacrifice that you’ve made. We so rarely, and it was a good reminder to me to talk about sacrifice a lot, because of course, that’s a huge part of it. And obviously, you’re a great living example of how to have success through sacrifice. And the success you have had in a short very short period of time is nothing short of astonishing. So we appreciate by the way, Stephanie’s too busy to do this. To do that. She’s that busy. But she took the time out of her day just to help our listeners. So we we thank you on behalf of them.
Stefanie Ridolfo 43:16
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me. And I hope that you know, I helped at least one person out there today. So that’s that’s always a win. Right?
D.J. Paris 43:25
Definitely did and it was more like 1000s of people who listened. So thank you. Thank you, Stephanie. And we’ll see everybody on the next episode.
Stefanie Ridolfo 43:34
All right, thank you go get them guys.
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