Francie Malina the team-leader of Francie Malina Team with Compass in Westchester County NY talks about how she got into real estate and how the moment she entered the market helped her build her business. Francie discusses how her team is built and how it works. Francie also emphasizes the importance of leisure time and how that makes you a better professional. Last, Francie discusses how she behave if she would have to start her career over in another country.
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D.J. Paris 0:00
As an agent, how do you take your professionalism to the next level? Well, we’re going to talk about that today. Stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. Their agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And now onto our show.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of 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 top producer Francie Molina. Before we get to Francie wanted to give you a couple of quick announcements number one actually requests not even announcements, I need something but they’re pretty hopefully reasonable and simple request number one, tell a friend think of one other agent that could benefit from talk listening to an episode with a top producer like Francie and send them a link to either our podcast website, which is keeping it real pod.com Or just have them pull up a podcast app search for keeping it real, hit the subscribe button. And the second thing is to leave us a review whatever app you might be listening to the show in, whether it’s Apple podcasts or Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Amazon, you know, wherever else, let us know what you think of the show. Leave us a review. We read every review and comment and it helps us improve. But enough about all that let’s get to the main event my conversation with Francie Molina.
Today on the show we have Francie Molina from the Francie Molina team compass in Westchester, New York. Let me tell you more about Francie. Francie is the team leader of the 10 person, Francie Molina team and went Westchester County, which is just north of New York, New York City. Francie is more than an award winning top producing agent. She’s also a powerful force in the Westchester market and a highly sought after industry thought leader through her involvement as a women of Compass regional leader, and also co founder of the women of Compass clubhouse, and a founding member of realme Global which is a worldwide luxury real estate Think Tank. Francie keeps her finger on the pulse of issues affecting the market. In 2021, France’s team held the distinction of selling the most homes in the county, which is incredible because Westchester County is incredible. Please everyone visit Francie on her and her team on their website, which is Francie molina.com. Fr ANCIE Molina ma l i n a.com. There will be a link to that in our show notes. And also please follow her on Instagram or her team on Instagram at Francie Molina team also link in the show notes. Francie, welcome to the show.
Francie Malina 4:08
Thanks for having me. I’m super excited.
D.J. Paris 4:11
I feel that you know, when we just first started talking, I was like, I feel like I’ve known you for a long time. We just very comfortably started communicating. And I am really, really excited to have you on the show first for all of our in I’m sort of geographically challenged and my a bit embarrassed to ask but for anyone who isn’t that familiar with New York geography? Where is Westchester County?
Francie Malina 4:39
That’s a great question, actually. Because most people have no idea. So it’s directly north of New York City. So you’ve got Manhattan and then you have the Bronx and then you hit Yonkers and you’re in Westchester, so no bridge between the commute which is like New Jersey you have to cross the George Washington Bridge or Long Island you’re crossing either the Throgs Neck or the Whitestone. Westchester County is a suburban commute Double area to New York City without a bridge straight up parkways highway straight up. So it’s a highly sought after suburban marketplace for folks who are in their living in New York City or just want close proximity to New York City. And it also has a distinction of being carved out of a forest. So it’s really I mean, almost every area of Westchester is just, you know, mature trees and beautiful nature. And we have bears walking in our yard and Fox and coyote and Turkey. And, you know, we have the distinction of like being 15 miles from New York City, but still have
D.J. Paris 5:33
nature. Isn’t that incredible? That that have that that juxtaposition of, you know, the the busiest city in the country? And then 15 miles beyond it. It’s you know, there’s you’re you’re battling bears and nature. And how lovely, gosh, I’ve I’ve always heard of Westchester and I’ve really never spent time in Westchester County. So I’ve been to the oh, gosh, I’m so we’re West Point. I’ve been to West Point.
Francie Malina 6:06
So beautiful. That’s the bridge Cross River. So
D.J. Paris 6:10
that’s probably the closest I’ve been in. That was insane. And I was like, just so beautiful. But let’s, let’s learn more about you. Where do you come from? How did you get into real estate? Tell us your story.
Francie Malina 6:22
So my story is not that exciting. But I’m from originally from Connecticut. And then we ended up we lived in New York City, my husband and I when we were first married. And then you know, as soon as you started to think about our family, often folks that I would say 50% of the New York City population moves out for space in schools or 30%, depending on the year. So we did the same. So we moved up to Irvington on Hudson, which is on the Hudson River side of Westchester County. So it’s the west side of the county. And I’m been living there for 31 years. And I ended up in real estate because I was a formerly in banking, I was at the Federal Reserve Bank years before that. And when I decided to, you know, I had sort of the break in the action to kind of leave the kids and start a second career. My husband and I had some less than stellar real estate transactions in our history. And I always felt and we always felt we’re pretty tight Bay on steroids. And we always felt like our agent just showed up with a key. And that was really it. And the worst story was that we live on a private road and the house we’re in now. And it was a few days before closing before we even knew that. And we were responsible for maintaining the road. And it’s unclear who owns the road. But we own at least in front of it of our house. So we’re responsible for all those potholes. So I think subconsciously, I had it in my head that, you know, the bar was pretty low in real estate, and I love people. But more importantly, I love numbers and models and financial stuff. So that combination, so I decided to get my license on a whim, I’m telling you, this was not a thought out thing. I was at the gym, and I thought I was gonna take a real estate class, a friend said I’ll do it with you. And again, now 12 years later, I run a team of 10. And it’s been amazing. It combines all the things I love.
D.J. Paris 8:08
Yeah, but you don’t just run a team of 10, you’re on a team of 10 that sells the most amount of property in the county. And to do that within a decade, let’s let’s just be honest, is a really impressive achievement. And you’re too humble to sort of brag about it, but I’m going to brag about it. Because I think that’s an incredible achievement. I’ve been in this industry longer than that. And I’ve I’ve rarely rarely seen that anywhere in the country. So tell us sort of how did you so you talked about, you know, real estate kind of put together a lot of the different qualities that are you and that you love. Tell us how that work? What what did that journey look like?
Francie Malina 8:47
Well, so in the beginning, I came into the business around two in 2010, May of 2010. So obviously the market time. But in the in the end, it was the best of times, because I could sit in the office, listen to other agents, especially when you you know, if you want to be a millionaire, you surround yourself with millionaires, if you want to be a great agent, you surround yourself with a lot of top agents. So I would listen to how they did business. And because it was slow. You know, I wasn’t they weren’t running in and out all the time. And also there still was floor time. So you could sit there and if the phone rang, you might have the honor of getting a lead. So I spent a few years doing that. And that was really good for me because for me this was going to be a marathon not a sprint anyway, even though Westchester is big, all the communities are very small. And we live in work and then our kids go to school in them. And in my experience, most of my friends raising their kids would kind of cross the street to avoid their agent after buying the house. And that was not the kind of relationship based business I was going to build. So it had I you know, got into a hot market and got all this business thrown at me. I probably wasn’t prepared to do it very well. So I was glad that I had the time to learn the business before I was hitting the road running. So therefore A couple of years were slow. And, and then, you know, as I worked with lots and lots and lots of buyers from the city, and worked lots and lots and lots of weekends, they referred me their friends and their neighbors. And over time it builds, I always say, if you run a relationship based business and you stay in touch, you show up and follow up, you start with like a little bucket of clients, and that bucket becomes the storage container, and then it becomes a moving truck. And then it becomes a factory warehouse, which is the need for the team. And that’s how it worked out. You know, we really my team is a part of the fabric of the communities in which we live, we’re always giving back, we always show up and follow up in every way that we can. So even the newest agents on my team are still are building relationships and getting referrals from those relationships. So you know, the pot just keeps getting bigger.
D.J. Paris 10:49
Wow. So you really started out helping people transition from city living out to rural, more rural living, I grew up in a more rural environment as well. So I can I can appreciate that. But yeah, so So talk about so for the first couple of years, you come in the markets kind of at the bottom at this point, which, which I think you brought up a really good point that a lot of people exited the industry, the business, a lot of realtors left the industry. And a lot of realtors were avoiding clients because of of all the of all the challenges and and also you saw an opportunity yourself you said that maybe your own experiences with with realtors weren’t always super positive, and you’re like I can do this better? Or at least I can do this as well, if not better. You know, I’m curious on since you’ve seen people come and go, you’ve seen agents start and have success and not have success. What do you usually when you bring on a new team member who’s new to the industry? What do you usually have them do to sort of, you know, so understand that, yes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but what are they doing day to day to kind of build that pipeline?
Francie Malina 12:04
Yeah, so all the agents on our team, we’re basically new when they join one maybe had some experience, a little experience, we just took on a seasoned agent, the first one ever, and I love new agents. Because if you join our team, you’re you’re you’re kind of following our credo we chase reviews, not commissions. So you’re going to learn the business before you’re out there doing, you know doing much so you’re shadowing you’re you’re coming to the office, you’re listening to us, we know our tax rates, and every community in Westchester has amongst the highest taxes in the county. So that’s really the most important thing you need to know when you’re showing houses. You’re understanding the different lifestyles, you’re learning all that and then you’re following us, you know, appraisals, inspections, inspections are big in the suburbs, right in the city. It’s an apartment building or a co op. And following us around learning the pricing. And we don’t really have a firm timeframe. Typically I hear other teams say oh, you can’t go out and show and sell for three months. We always that’s always the goal. But somehow an agent we just took on in September last year, we were gonna hold her out for three months. And by November she was out showing and selling and she’s like, we’ll close 10 deals already. Because she was like a sponge. There’s there’s, you know, nine others to tell you how to do things were very collaborative, we meet every Tuesday without fail. And then we also do team time blocking and other meetups. So there’s a lot of a lot of, you know, a lot of hands to help.
D.J. Paris 13:34
It’s It’s really impressive. And I’m you know how just to give our listeners some understanding of your volume, because I think it is something that that helps provide some context. Tell us what is this month look like for you guys?
Francie Malina 13:48
Yeah, so I always the stat that I was so proud of the team for last year was we sold 153 houses so every two and a half days we close to house. And I just thought there’s they’re just amazing. I mean, you know, lots of the team of young children have lots of personal things going on in their life, but they do these are full time jobs for them. They’re not agents by accident. They’re agents on purpose. They show up and follow up and it’s really amazing. My kids are grown it’s a little easier and they but they they get get there every day and and do it. So this month, I will probably in June we’ll probably close between 60 and 70 houses. But that’s typical because it’s a school district you know, this is a school district buyer. Yeah, because we have a lot going on I think so far this year, you know over 90 total.
D.J. Paris 14:37
Wow. Just just incredible. And you guys go go go and I love that. What what where do you find what’s the biggest challenge right now for your group? Because I we don’t ask that question enough. And I think oftentimes people learn the most from challenges so we’re what what do you see as the biggest challenge right now for your business?
Francie Malina 14:58
Yeah, our biggest thing challenges is the weekends. It’s you know, especially up until you know, end of May, a house came on, it was gone. If it lasted through the weekend, we were lucky if it had, you know, less than 20 offers, we were lucky. So you know, the, on a Friday night an agent puts a house on and by Sunday, if you can’t show it, because you have your fully booked or you have something else on your schedule, perhaps a wedding or a family event, you know, that client misses out on the, on the house, or obviously now there’s a team so we can help each other. But that that inability to schedule your life is so hard. And in COVID, we were busy throughout COVID. Because we were even though we were non essential in New York, we were showing I feel like I made it was March 20. By that we were out showing by April 15. Sitting outside while our clients went in, but people were calling us from all over to you know, to buy a house in the suburbs. So we were out and about. So for you know, last like two and a half years, we really haven’t had a break. So it feels like those weekend, the weekend. Is such a burden at this point.
D.J. Paris 16:04
Yeah. And have have rising rates affected your buyers much has that been a concern? Because I and the only reason I’m bringing it up and I know everyone’s got a different take on it. But I always think that this this is something that I want. It’s not that I always think I hear agents talking about rates, rates, rates, rates, rates. So I’m curious on how that how that affects your business and how you maybe talk to me, maybe pre approval letters might not really be as well, they need to be rerun right now maybe, right?
Francie Malina 16:39
They definitely do. And I mean, as you know, a 1% interest rate increase reduces their brain purchasing power by like 12%. So it definitely is affecting them. I will also, I would also like to add because I’m hearing this everywhere I go every mastermind group meeting, I mean, it’s like interest rates, interest rates, interest rates, interest rates, interest rates. It’s also this isn’t really the first summer where we feel free to go do things where families feel free to be on the sidelines of the baseball game, send their kids off to sleepaway camp kind of relatively easily, all go on vacation. So we also feel like it’s just a little bit of a there’s a buyer fatigue in the market after a really, really tough market. And people just want to live their summer, normally. So if you’re buying a house this summer, you’re on the phone with your attorney, and you’re dealing with inspections, and you have all this other stuff going on. So our slowdown is also somewhat driven by that they’ve been in the January to June or may market it was a nightmare. And now they’re just tired. Now they’re using interest rates as an excuse, or just the the normalizing of the market takes a while because the sellers don’t adjust their pricing that rapidly. They’re talking, they’re out on the lawn mowing their lawn, and their neighbor says I got X for the house. So now they want why. So it’s just a bit of a normalization process. And as we all know, change in real estate is slow. So we just have to wait for people to adjust to the new interest rates, you know, get their summer plans out of the way. And in our market, it’ll be fine. Most folks who moved to Westchester want proximity to New York City, once base schools, nature safety, whatever it is, there’s a whole litany of things you get from it. So it’ll pick back up. Again,
D.J. Paris 18:18
when you when you meet when you work with a buyer or a seller. What’s the most important part of that first interaction like what are you looking for? In order because you talked about at the beginning, hey, when you were working with with other realtors, sometimes it was like they were just opening doors and that was kind of it? What type of relationship are you looking for with your clients? Sure.
Francie Malina 18:42
I forgot to mention that when I got into the business. I had the benefit of coming into the business sort of with Zillow and with realtor.com and Redfin and all the transparency that was occurring in the market. It obviously it started a little earlier. But so to me, the industry, it was an industry that was rapidly changing. And I worked with agents who had been doing it a certain way for many, many years. And as we all know, pivoting is very tough and slow. So I’m coming into an industry that you know, everything’s on Zillow, thank God. I mean, I’m not, not because it’s on Zillow, but I do love the transparency of the information, especially in a county like ours where taxes are criminal. So in fact, Zillow is taxes are wrong for Westchester County, so maybe it’s not Zillow, but that they can go to the websites and find the real estate taxes, because that’s the most important thing that we can share with our clients is the cost of living in Westchester. It is actually cheaper to live in Westchester than in New York City, obviously real estate’s cheaper. And also you don’t pay New York City income taxes if you live in Westchester, even if you earn your income in New York. So that’s about a three or 4% reduction for a lot of people so it’s a big benefit, but the property taxes are crazy high and the property taxes on a $4 million brownstone in New York City is are like $2,000. So when we really need To make sure they understand the difference right away, because if they find their dream house, and then they’re finding out that the taxes on that dream house are, you know, 30,000 They haven’t been educated. So we’re always educating our clients as when when our when we start with a new client, they get a full buyer packet full of information about Westchester and access to our buyer resource website, which has more information than you can digest, where you know, we are trusted advisors on the West Chester marketplace, there’s almost nothing that we don’t know the answer to or can’t get the answer to. Yeah, I
D.J. Paris 20:31
think knowledge is it’s one of those hurry up and wait sort of situations where if you really want to be the person that your client picks up the phone to call, you really have to accumulate information, right, you have to accumulate knowledge. I’m curious. I was I was at a breakfast this morning. Actually, I was playing Francie. I was I was at a breakfast this morning with a bunch of other compass agents use a compensation. And we were talking about studying the market every day or and I was curious. You know, do you spend time every day looking at listings looking at the MLS? Curious if you have any habits for for agents, because, you know, there’s a lot of times agents wake up and they’re like, I don’t know what I should do today. So curious what you might suggest,
Francie Malina 21:17
oh, I have habits. So we are an MLS region, which is very helpful. So I look at the hot sheet more than once a day, the hot sheet is the new listings coming soon is what went into contract. You know, you’re just that’s how you keep your finger on the pulse of the market. Right? If, like, if you go on our hot sheet today, there’s like three pages of actives. If you went on our hot sheet, you know, two months ago, there’d be you know, one half page of actives, right, and the pendings would have taken up the other pages. So definitely do that we use market insights that compass provides to on the market. You know how many price I think the other day we checked market insights, there was like 1076 listings in Westchester active and 50% of them had a price improvement, that would not have been the case in March. Right. So just that that enables us to keep our finger on the pulse of things. From a statistics perspective, there’s also 10 of us, nine of us are producing agents. The other one is our team manager, he’s like God’s gift to the world, we’re like, so blessed to have him. He’s also good at keeping track of the insights and sharing them. But also just you put, you know, nine producing agents in a room who are out showing and selling all day, we really have our finger on the pulse of what we’re hearing from buyers and sellers all the time. And we’re always sharing. So of course, we have like the team slack. And it’s running all day, and people are talking about whatever.
D.J. Paris 22:40
So you guys have you guys have a Slack channel that you’re you’re communicating and firing off questions. And that’s actually really smart. I think that’s what’s really smart, because it’s a great way to for newer agents to get answers or to collaborate or to say, Hey, I’ve got this idea. And teams have really picked up the slack. I feel in the last five years or so I’ve started to see teams take on more of a training and support role than maybe were in the past. And I’m seeing the burden for agents getting trained coming off of the managing broker, the person running the office and pushing that more towards the teams, which I think works really well in a lot of cases. And obviously that’s that’s what you guys are doing. How important do you think teams are right now in real estate? Obviously, you have one. So you’re a big fan of teams. You know, for me, I I’ve always thought that, you know, hey, two is better than one. But tell me a little bit about your team and why you built it.
Francie Malina 23:46
Sure. So if there’s any solo agents out there listening or solo with an admin or team manager or Chief of Staff, whatever, I am so impressed with you. I don’t know how you do it. Because I do feel with the entire US population being locked down or most of it for a year or two people’s patients was you know, their nerves were shot and their expectations didn’t really meet the reality. You know, I want to see this house on Saturday at one and that’s the only time I can see it. And you know, you have five clients that want to do that. How do you pull that off? So I just we just when I started and after I started to have some business I just couldn’t be a solo agent anymore. I did I build a team out of necessity because I couldn’t be in 15 places at once. in Westchester buyers are accompanied by the agent, the buyer’s agent. A lot of listings are accompanied by the listing agent higher and luxury listings. But still the buyer’s agents still comes in New York City, the buyer’s agent doesn’t go with their buyer. So maybe that’s a different situation. But for us, we had to be in 50 places at once. So it was almost impossible the solo and carry a big deck of clients especially if you’re a seller’s agent to which we do 5050 So you’ve got your sellers calling you on a Saturday because someone leaves the door unlocked and you’re with buyers and So I became a team at necessity. And I always say this, I stole it from somebody, I don’t know who but if you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant. And that was really my first hire not because I’m brilliant, and not because I thought it through not because this was a straight perfect line, it was a very zigzag, bumpy line to where I am now. But but I just found myself coming home at six o’clock or seven o’clock at night and spending like hours doing the paperwork, or the emails or the keeping in touch. So the assistant was the first hire went through a few now I have God’s gift to the world. He’s our team manager. And he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. And then added agents. So, you know, when you have a team, you know, the team leader isn’t the only one doing trainings, you know, the other agents can help. My agents are amazing, they all take ownership to the team, they all feel a part of it. rising tide raises all ships, they’re in it for the long haul. We feel like we’ve each built each other’s careers for as long as we want to do this. And we all believe in the brand. So together, we’re rising. And I think that I love talking about teams and I can I emailed you this but you know, we’re just we’re all collaborate without ego team, we share everything out in the marketplace, we’re kind to almost everybody who reaches out and, and or some we just only communicate via text. But you know, we really want to help elevate this profession, because like I said, like my husband and I had less than stellar real estate transactions. Now we happen to be type A on steroids. So maybe our bar is too high. But I do feel that a lot of times, and I’m sure you feel this way, when you go meet with people. And you if you ask them, how are your prior real estate experiences, more than 50% say not so great. So I don’t want to feel like my industry is letting people down. And I’m sure you don’t. So our goal, as a team is to really serve our clients. And we do we show up, we follow up. We keep in touch we gift our clients twice a year religiously say say to us, some of them bought a house 10 years ago, they said when did we fall off the list? Never because you’re you’re a part of the Francie Molina teen brand. You’re part of our family. And we’re always doing things in the communities. We have volunteer fire departments and all that stuff in Westchester. So we’re always running events and doing things, we’re gonna run some events at the farmers markets this fall, we try to stay up, you know, right out in front in the communities.
D.J. Paris 27:27
Now you also founded and by the way, very well said, But you found your coach, you are co founder of the women of Compass clubhouse. Tell us about that, because that’s the first I’m hearing of it. But I think compass in so many ways is at the forefront of some, some some more progressive sort of ideas. And so I’m curious, tell us a little bit about that.
Francie Malina 27:50
Yeah, so Compass has, I mean, easily 40 affinity groups out at Compass, black at Compass, women of Compass, etc, you name it, they’ve got it. And if they don’t, you can dogs at Compass, and you and I are dog lovers. You know, if they don’t have it, somebody finds it and workplace people meet up and do things. So. So because 50% of the profession, I think a more than 50% of the profession is women. Women of compass was founded early on in urban compass days like that. It is a nationwide affinity group and it’s very, very active. I’m a regional leader for that. So I lead Connecticut, Westchester and New Jersey. And some of my colleagues decided to found a woman of Compass clubhouse that would meet every Thursday morning 8:30am on clubhouse and dragged me along. I wish I could take credit, but they really did it. I was the one who was going to fill the room. So so we have an agent from Philly, Stamford, Connecticut and Austin and me, and we invite agents, leaders, the employees, people from outside of the industry every 45 minutes. Every Thursday morning, we’re off for the summer now we’ll start back up in September and it is really it’s like a it’s a place you come you’re vulnerable. You’re honest. We talk about cancer, we talk about death. We talk about real estate, anything. Our CEOs wife, Denise Raskin, who is amazing and and his mother both have been on it and they’re both amazing in their own right. But they they had, you know, the audience in tears with both of their stories. So it’s really special. We took the summer off just because it was it’s harder especially because a lot of our guests are on different time zones to get people you know at 830 which sometimes is there 530 So we figured we’d give people a break.
D.J. Paris 29:38
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Francie Malina 31:24
So and our team manager, Trevor is as a systems and processes guy, and thank God, because the end is what everything that we do in any deal, buy or sell is pretty robotic, you pretty much do all the same things every time. There’s nuances to every deal. But the truth is, if you look at your you know, your transactions, they’re all they all take very similar paths. So Trevor joined us over three years ago, thank God. And he put a system in place for literally everything we do. So there’s a template for Congratulations, you have an annual Mr. Seller, congratulations, you have an AR Mr. Buyer. You know, congratulations, you’re in contract, Mrs. seller, and it it links to whatever all of our resources, whatever their next steps are, obviously has checklists for every step of listing a by all the documents, etc. But through Trevor, and through six Amer’s at Compass, which is another affinity group that meets at 6am. I’ve developed some very regimented habits of just you know, waking up, you know, you say your gratitudes. I don’t know if everybody does, but you have three things you’re grateful for. And then, like I said, checking the hot sheet, I am the queen of the remarkable two. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. But
D.J. Paris 32:41
tell us what the queen of the remarkable two are. The
Francie Malina 32:43
remarkable two is the thinnest tablet on the market. And it’s really just 1000 notebooks in one. And so, I and I, and I all my team has one now, too. So I met my week. So on Sunday night, I’ve mapped my week. So I know exactly what I’m doing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, three, Thursday, Friday, and it’s time blocked, right? So that I’m being efficient. And then on the night before I’m in my remarkable I’m doing my Monday or my Tuesday or Wednesday to do list and fine tuning it. So after I wake up and do my my gratitudes and go downstairs and get my iced coffee, I’m at my dogs out. Like I’m looking at that list. And I’m just assessing, what’s the first thing I have to do? And then you know, getting my head set on that and then possibly looking at the hot sheet on the MLS to see what’s going into contract overnight, or what’s come on, and that kind of thing. And then I kind of unfortunately, the phone drives my day, then, inevitably, I haven’t planned on the phone rings. But I’m almost you know, pretty. I’m pretty religious about getting all that stuff done before I hit the ground running.
D.J. Paris 33:49
Curious too, because you do so much volume, your team does so much volume. How do you really set boundaries in place for work life balance? I’m curious how you do that, or don’t you do that?
Francie Malina 34:01
Right? No, I was not great at that I would say up until two or three years ago. And it’s a combination of Trevor and the girls on the team. All of our producing agents are female. So coincidentally, but they’re taking on so much of the business that it’s really helped me have a work life balance. So most of the buyers, they’re handling, which is so amazing. And I’m sharing a lot of listings with them, or referring them to them so they can handle them so I can help run the team. You know, do the rainmaking do these kinds of things. And also like I’ll fly to Naples and do a woman of Compass luncheon with 16 agents to talk that you know about what they’re seeing in the market and you know, just to run events that bring agents together so we can collaborate and talk about how to make the industry better. So I love that stuff. So having the team helps me have more time to do that. And then of course, I’m a skier and I love the look eek. So I are on our team, we time block our leisure. So for years, I’ve been saying to the team on our Tuesday meetings, you know, you put in your whatever it is, you know, nephew’s birthday party and nothing changes it you go, right. I mean, if somebody on the team can’t cover you, then we lose the buyer, or the seller fires us like this is not I always say we’re not treating cancer because my father treated cancer for 60 years. So you know, we you time block your leisure, and you don’t let it go.
D.J. Paris 35:32
That’s a really smart thing. And do you? Do you ever? I always curious about how Realtors set boundaries around time. Because if you get a text in the evening, like, let’s say you’re it’s kid, it’s, you know, time with the family. What are you doing? Are you responding? Because texts, texts conversations never officially end, right? They don’t they start, but they don’t usually ever, officially. And so what’s your thought on on responding to texts? Because I know it’s we’re getting into the weeds. But I think it’s another way to get it. Yeah, good. Let’s tell me what you what your thoughts are about texting.
Francie Malina 36:08
Yeah, I have a Do Not Disturb on. So I almost won’t. By eight or nine. Now. I used to respond at 3am. And I used to get up at 5am and write to clients and be, you know, they’d be writing me back at 5am. I’d be like, Wow, I tried to get that out of the way. And now they’re, you know, I’m in a conversation with them. But in the over the last few years, as I focused more on work life balance, and most of my focus on it was also to help my team, because I’m modeling bad behavior when my hair’s on fire all the time, then their hair’s on fire, and then the poor little children are going to be raised in a family that’s, you know, on a treadmill all the time. So do not disturb. And, you know, I choose wonderful clients, a lot of my clients are doctors, and I just adore them, I’ll respond because they’re mostly reasonable. And they were in surgery probably all day. But for the most part, they they the client gets to do not disturb and it’s silenced. And they’ll hear from me in the morning. And I was telling the team and example the other day, on Father’s Day 7am, the client started on me with just like, really stuff that could be dealt with, during business hours in, they have the tendency to text like 50 texts. And I wrote it’s Father’s Day, I have a house full of people I’ll respond to during normal business hours. It was everything was fine. The next morning, I hit them at you know, 8am and nothing in the world and and so we’re really trying to help each other, remind each other that you know, we deserve respect, too. We work really hard. We work seven days a week, so evenings with the kids or Father’s Day or Easter or whatever it is, you know, leave us alone.
D.J. Paris 37:41
What would if you What What mistakes did you make the first started that you that you would love to go back? And and wish you didn’t do?
Francie Malina 37:53
Me every single solitary mistake you can possibly make. I’ve learned from most of them. But I would say hmm, what do I wish I didn’t do? Um, that’s a really tough one. I wish I mean, I wish I balanced it better. Before that I have to be honest, like I was in the Serengeti, with like elephants and lions right at my feet. And I took a call from a client back in the day, because and they knew they knew on
D.J. Paris 38:27
Safari, and you were taking the club.
Francie Malina 38:31
But you know, again, my kids are were older when I started in this business. So it’s not that I’ve been doing this with, you know, five year olds. So it didn’t feel as burdensome, but over time it does. It builds there’s so much noise in our head as real estate agents. And I do feel that when I tune out the noise and take a little time to whatever to go on the lake stand up paddleboarding, or kayaking. I come up with brilliant ideas for the future of our team. And we need to take time to do that, too. So I guess I wish I was better at that, or in the earlier stages. But you know, when you’re building phases, when you were building a business and showing the community that you were, you know, a show up follow up agent that really was I didn’t have the ability to do it, to be honest now that there’s 10 of us. We all have the ability to do it.
D.J. Paris 39:18
Yeah, I think I think that’s a great point. It reminds me of that, that old expression. It’s the space between the notes that makes music. So it’s the silence that actually allows for creativity to sort of flow through and, and this idea of getting quiet, sometimes is really is can be the birthplace birthplace of creativity. So absolutely. For those of us that are feeling because realtors have to wear so many different hats, and they just have so many responsibilities. It’s it’s easy to think busy is productive. And it may be or it may not be or it might be He, you know, you can judge the effectiveness of what you’re doing based on the results that you get. But it’s it’s easy to feel busy is is all that I need to be reality I found because I’m, I’m a pretty busy person I have found that I actually get more done when when I slow down just a little bit. Me too. And I liked what you said about in the intentional setting of leisure activities, I mean that it sounds like, again, it’s one of those things that’s easy to hear and go on. Yeah. But it actually is really important. Because I know for me, like the only reason I’m in any sort of shape right now is because for the last two years I’ve had on my calendar, my personal training sessions, right? Scheduled, if I didn’t have them scheduled, I wouldn’t be able to talk myself into going to the gym, because I’m just not that motivated to go to the what if it’s on my calendar, I tend to do again. And I think you can schedule your leisure. Well, obviously you guys do that. And and it’s also really important then because then you can give yourself fully to that to that event. Right? You can be present for that. And, and I think that’s that just creates a lot. It’s a good recharge and a refresh.
Francie Malina 41:19
When I tell I tell the girls, I say test it, we have your phone upstairs for an hour and go downstairs and play with your kids. Did the world end? It didn’t. Right? I mean it you can it’s not. Everything isn’t urgent?
D.J. Paris 41:35
And yeah, and most things that it and that’s the other thing too is there’s an urgency and importance scale. Right. I think Stephen Covey talked about that. Urgent is an important. And then there’s there’s a matrix there that that you can sort of evaluate, but, but sometimes things that are urgent seem important, because of course, that’s how our bodies are wired up to respond, you know, to and to reward us for doing things urgently, not necessarily always being important things. Do I have a question? If you were starting over today, knowing everything you know, now, if you had no real estate, you know, you have all your experience, but you’re starting over now as a new person, we drop you off in a new country where you don’t know anyone. But you have all your experience. What would you do to drum up business? I’m just curious. If we drop you off in a new place, we’ll assume you can speak the language. But you don’t know the the the area you don’t know the listings, you’re you’re not familiar with the what would you do to start your real estate practice?
Francie Malina 42:37
Okay, so I had an amateur who I call a banker who told me that if you just put me in a in a deli all day long, and then have somebody you know, and Jen, I talk and generate business all day, and then he’d have somebody run around and actually do like all the the back end of it. So if you put me in another country, I’d probably hang out in coffee shops, and meet people. And then at the same time, of course, probably spend it, you know, every day, previewing, listing, so I guess sense of the word of the market, yeah, to learn the market. And of course, if there’s you know, municipal stuff, like we have, and flood zones, and all the kinds of things that we deal with radon, we have radon gas, and we have asbestos and mold, I learn all that kind of stuff. But at the same time, I’d probably just go to the local haunts and, and get to know people, like I said, you know, we we take the this is a marathon, not a sprint. So we are our most of our business is relationship based. And because of that, we started out as trusted advisors. When I first got in the business, I would say to any client I ever had the pleasure, the pleasure of being in front of I’m going to eat whether I sell you a house or not, because I had I had that ability, and that I think that automatically, you know, relieves the stress. So I would jump into that country and become somebody, you know, a part of the fabric of that area and, you know, not chased on that Chase, we often get calls. In fact, in the last six months, we got more than I’d like to think about from buyers or buyers, friends or sellers and sellers, friends, who you know, whoever fill in the name of the agent that they were working with, and they weren’t happy with their service, and they wanted to work with us. So we always ask them, well, who’s the agent and 90% of the situations were like, you’re with a fantastic agent, we love that person. We love to collaborate with them in the sandbox. This is a terrible market. But what that tells me is, you know, they don’t feel that that person is a trusted adviser, regardless of the fact that in most cases, it was like, in some cases, it was our favorite agent. It just people were frustrated, but what can we do as an industry to like, help each other so that until we would say no, we’re not taking your business and no, you’re not switching, you know, call somebody else because you’re with the best and we can do better. But But I would go into that country and I would just befriend people and show that I’m not really out just Are the commission I’m out to, you know, help them I sell lifestyles, not houses, right? So I’d learned the lifestyle and I’d start living it and sell it.
D.J. Paris 45:09
But you just set it all. I don’t have anything to fall I think that is a perfect place to wrap up because what you really said is become a fabric of the area, you know, become immersed in the area, not become a citizen of your of your community, know everything about it, be part of the community, hang out in the community, meet people. And that is, it seems like a for all the years of doing the show, that seems to be a pretty consistent message that I hope our listeners take to heart is you get to and by the way, the all the business that you’re going to get from doing that is really a side effect from contributing, right you’re going to be attributing you’re going to be making people you know learning more about people you’ll be developing friendships and relationships and learning about small businesses and helping them and and really being part of the community and being part of the solutions to whatever issues that community might be facing. And as Realtors you have a lot of opportunity, I think to get involved. And you have gotten involved in a tremendous way. And here you are now with the number one selling team in the entire county of Westchester, New York so frenzy this is I could talk to you for hours and hours and hours and I would absolutely I need to have you back on the show. Because you just have so much to say and everything you say is so valuable. But we want to thank Francie because she has to get back to her because they’re closing a couple homes a day here. So she’s gotten hurt her team have to get back to it. So we are going to let Francie get back to her busy time. But for anyone out there by the way, if you are in if you’re a realtor, and you have clients that are moving to the Westchester area, please consider reaching out to Francie and her team. The Francie Molina team, they would love to talk to your clients or if you’re a realtor, and you’re like I’m not getting the the attention I need for my firm and you want to see what other options exist, reach out to Francie as well and see if their team might be a good fit for you. So whether you’re a buyer seller, renter investor or a realtor looking for maybe another place to hang your license, reach out to her she’s awesome. She’s super generous, of course, and incredibly, incredibly impressive and successful. We are such big fans of frantically to please everyone visit France’s website which is Francie molina.com FRANCIEML. Sorry, m a l i n a.com link in the show notes so you don’t have to type that in. Also, please follow her on Instagram at Francie Molina team. We’ll also have a link to that in the show notes. I’m such a big fan of yours. Thank you, Francie. So, so much, we I’m so excited. We have to have you back on the show.
Francie Malina 47:56
Anytime I love this podcast.
D.J. Paris 48:00
Thank you so much.
Francie Malina 48:01
That is one thing I didn’t say, if I were new in the business, and it didn’t exist when I got into business then but I listened to podcasts, you learned so many nuggets from your podcast. It’s like I feel like I’ve had coffee with everybody on it. Oh,
D.J. Paris 48:15
well, that’s very sweet. And we thank you for saying that. And thank you for being a listener and one of our guests. And on behalf of all of our guests, we thank you for your time. Also, we want to tell everybody before you sign off, please please tell a friend about this episode. Just tell one other realtor that you can think of about Francie, and she had so many great nuggets of information in this episode, send them a link to the episode, send them over to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com Or just have them pull up a podcast app search for keeping it real, hit the subscribe button. And last please leave us a review tell us let us know what you think of the show. Leave us a review whatever podcast app you might be listening to the show. Let us know what you think we take those comments to heart we want to always improve to meet your needs better but anyway, we are wrapping up so we will see everybody on the next episode. Francie, you are amazing and we are so grateful to have you and we will see everybody next time. Thanks, Lindsay.
Francie Malina 49:12
Thanks for having me.