Why Your Reputation Is Your Greatest Resource In Real Estate • Jerry Wolking

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Jerry Wolking with Keller Williams Greater Quad Cities talks about how he transitioned from landscaping business to real estate. Jerry discusses his involvement with Graduate Realtors Institute and how important it is for realtors to seek similar courses. Jerry also the importance of knowing how to navigate your career when the market shifts. Next, Jerry talks about local association and its importance. Last, Jerry talks about how he got into commercial real estate and why.

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

Jerry Wolking can be reached at (309) 373-0373.

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks.


D.J. Paris 0:00
Today we’re going to talk about a realtors most valuable resource. No, it’s not time and it isn’t your clients, it’s actually your reputation. 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. There 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 on to our show.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcasts made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I’m your guide and host through the show and in just a moment we’re going to be speaking with Jerry Woking. But before we get to Jerry, just a couple of quick reminders as we finish up 2023 The best holiday gift you can give us not that we’re asking you. But if you are so inspired and love our podcast, please do share it with a friend won’t cost you anything but please send them a link to either our website keeping it real pod.com Every episode can be streamed from any browser or send them a link to from Apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever you might be listening to this podcast and also please leave us a review. Let us know what you think of the show. We appreciate it but I hope everybody has a wonderful holiday season we’re going to be cranking out just as many episodes this month as per usual and we have some really exciting things planned for 2024 So stay tuned for that but let’s get to the main event my conversation with Jerry Wilkin.

Today on the show my guest is Jerry woking from Keller Williams greater Quad Cities, which is actually Illinois, and Iowa. So there’s four cities for those of you not in the Midwest and not familiar with, I guess Quad Cities was self explanatory, but it actually borders two states, Illinois and Iowa. But let me tell you more about Jerry. By the way, before I get into Jerry’s bio, Jerry is Alex Wilkins father, Alex is somebody we featured recently on our show, we were so incredibly impressed with Alex, if you haven’t listened to that episode, I really encourage you to do that. And Alex is like, Oh, I learned everything from my dad. So we’re like we probably should bring his dad on to who’s also a very successful agent for 30 plus years. But let me let me go through more of Jerry’s bio. Jerry has been in the business since April of 1993. That is 30 plus years. Congratulations. He started as a part time agents like so many of us and became a full time agent a year later in 1994. After selling his landscape company, he is licensed in Iowa and Illinois. And Jerry is one of these rare types of agents who is able to successfully boot residential and commercial. So we’re going to talk a little bit about how he manages both of those lanes. He is also a graduate of the realtors Institute and a certified negotiation expert, in my opinion, the most. One of the designations I think agents should explore because certainly it’s something you can tell your clients that you are a certified negotiation expert. I’m a huge fan of that. Also, he Jerry has served on the Professional Standards Committee, the Grievance Committee and the commercial committee and now teaches classes to realtors on various topics at his local association. Jerry Oh, I’m sorry, fine. You can learn more about Jerry at his website. We will have a link to this in the show notes and in the description, which is QC biz box QC bei zbox.com and goes over what Jerry is all about. Jerry, welcome to the show.

Jerry Wolking 4:54
Thank you, sir.

D.J. Paris 4:56
Well, Jerry and I just had we were just talking sort of back Stage, if that’s the right expression, and it was really a lot of fun because Jerry is your so much like, like your son, and he is just such a wonderful young man in this Chicago market. And we’re so grateful to have him on the show. And now we’re so happy to have you. So you’ve been doing this congratulations on 30 years, by the way. Yes,

Jerry Wolking 5:21
sir. Yes, it’s been a long haul, as

D.J. Paris 5:26
well, you know, right. Right. Now I well, actually, Jerry, let’s talk about how you got into so I know you were in landscaping, you had a business and why the switch from landscaping to you know, I guess, the way I think about it, landscaping is one of those industries that seems to never go out of fashion. And real estate say people have to live somewhere and people need to maintain their their properties, their lawns, etc. So why to switch from from landscaping.

Jerry Wolking 5:57
Thank you for asking. I’ve done many, many things DJ I’ve had, I’ve had a very I tell people all the time if I died tomorrow, I have lived a full life. I’ve been a drummer and a heavy metal band for a long time. I raced motorcycles, semi professionally i i sold life insurance, I was a welder at John Deere. I’ve been an auto mechanic. I’ve been a contractor many, many different things. And I found a love of landscape back in the late 80s, early 90s and still do a lot of it today. But you know, the body only holds up for so long. They don’t make a laptop that will plant the 400 pound tree so that that takes its toll after a while but I had always had an interest in real estate. And it here in the Midwest and landscape season is pretty short lived and when it gets November, December, all of a sudden there’s no lawns to mow there, you’re not planting flowers and and the ground is frozen for doing any planting. So the winters would be scarce very scarce. And I was actually working in a body shop and I was getting paid $100 a car to paint cars out in Geneseo Illinois, no heat had a little space heater. And this guy was flipping cars he gave me 100 bucks a car to paint them. I was miserable. And, and I was sitting in this little office and I happened to be reading newspaper on my lunch break. And it said a career in real estate reading in the newspaper. And I’m like, I’ve always had an interest in real estate to see what it’s like. So I had to borrow the money long story short, I was so broke, I couldn’t pay attention. I had to borrow the money to go to my real estate my real estate class started. And I get and went through it passed the class with flying colors pass my test. And then next you know, here I am a real estate agents and that was in April of 93. Still had my landscape company. And as you know real estate being a commission business, I’d never worked in a commission world before. It was scarce to start with, you know, because it is far too easy. Here’s my quote of the day, it is far too easy to get a real estate license it there are so many people in this industry who shouldn’t be in it. And let me preface DJ by saying I’m probably going to say something that offends someone today because I love your show. The name of your show is very fitting. So let’s we’re gonna get real here today.

D.J. Paris 8:16
Let’s get real. Yeah,

Jerry Wolking 8:18
there you go. So, you know, I started out like most other agents taking open houses from from the big producers who didn’t want to do them. And at the time, I was working for the one of the largest brokers in the Quad Cities that were the largest broker in the Quad Cities at the time. And we had this thing called floor duty, where you could sit at this table in this little office for two hour shifts. Each agent got two hour shifts, and any phone calls that came into the office inquiring about listings, went to the floor duty person and that was your business to capitalize. So I was taking as many floor duty sessions as I could get most of them in the evening hours five to seven, five to six, because I was out planting trees and mowing lawns during the day. And what had happened was I was getting busy enough after for duty in open houses that I would literally change clothes three and four times a day I would go out and mow two lawns, change clothes, Go show a house go out and plant two trees, change clothes go out and show a house that was going on and on for months. And the turning point for me was I had a showing at a condominium in East Moline and I was planting trees all day I was mud from head to toe and I was late for my appointment like 15 minutes late and I did not have time to go home and change clothes. So I drove to the appointment with my rig had my you know my mowers and everything sticking out the back. I’m in my landscape gear. I’m mud from knees down to my boots, dried mud and as I walk up to the showing and 15 minutes late and the gentleman is sitting on the front porch of this condo on the front stoop. And I said hi my name is Jerry walking. I’m the realtor here to show you the property and he just looked at me he He goes, Are you a real estate agent? And I said, Yes, sir. And I also landscape company. And this was the turning point in my career. This day, this gentleman looked at me, he had a very stern look on his face. And he said, I’m not interested in a part time agent. The next week, the next week, I sold the company, I sold the landscape company and went 100% in two real estate, that was a big jump, and I went five months, my first five months with no paycheck. And I had been used to, you know, having steady income, I had employees at trucks I had, you know, plenty of contracts to do, I sold my company to my dad who was retired from the military looking for something to do. He, by the way, today still runs that same company to this day, off of a lot of the same clients that we had back in the early 90s. But it was that push of that gentleman telling to me telling me I’m not interested in a part time agent that made me go, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t continue to go changing clothes three or four times a day. This went on for months. And it was wearing me out. And I wasn’t succeeding at a high level at either position. Now, you know, because I’m part time landscaper part time real estate agent. So it was probably the greatest slap of reality I could ever get for him to say that. And that’s when it turned and I started taking off from there. And I was lucky enough to have a broker by the name of Irene Romeo, who said to me, you’ve got great stuff, kid, you need to go to GRI now. That’s where you need to get so I did my my first full time year I started GRI did the I think he did a fall session spring session fall session I didn’t consecutively learn to not and it catapulted me forward on being able to get my business started and growing. So I’ve been surrounded by a lot of great people who helped me get started and saw something in me that was worth that was worth nurturing. So I’m very fortunate that way.

D.J. Paris 11:54
And for any of our listeners who aren’t familiar with GRI Do you mind sharing just a little bit about what that is? That’s

Jerry Wolking 11:59
a graduate Realtors Institute. One of the things I noticed today, we I’ve written several real estate classes. My partner Deborah and I, we’ve written classes, she does all the technical stuff, the PowerPoints and all that and we presented these classes to realtors, and now the Board of Realtors has picked them up. But GRI is a class is a segment of classes from everything about marketing, about personal growth, about the real estate industry about appraisal. It’s a great place for residential agents to go and get a lot of education in a short period of time because it’s like four and five consecutive days of classes. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is now is brokerages, at least in our area. And please know everything I’m saying is based on our area because that’s what I know. They’re fragmenting so much it used to be in the early 90s There were two 800 pound gorillas here in town. And they controlled everything one of them control 52% of the market at one time. So every other house was listed by this brokerage well as these other companies have come into play, Keller Williams exp, and all these other companies that are coming. It’s fragmented the talent. But what happens when you fragment the talent, unfortunately, is those startup brokerages don’t have the resources or the time to train those agents properly. And that that creates now we’ve got an industry full of the blind leading the blind. And it gets chaotic. And you can ask any veteran agent most of the time. It’s the new agents that are exciting to watch when they’re growing, but they’re also the ones that tend to get in the way it’s not their fault. It’s because nobody’s teaching them. That’s why I said earlier, it’s far too easy to get a real estate license because real estate pre licensed course they don’t teach you anything about the business. You know, it’s all law and agency and all those sort of things, but don’t teach you anything about getting through a transaction how to get through a bad appraisal, how to get through a bad home inspection. And in my opinion, commercial this is just my opinion, commercial and residential should be two completely different licenses. Why why are they able to do both is beyond me. They are two different animals. But so back to GRI what GRI does is takes for a small brokerage or brokerage who doesn’t have a training or mentor program, put those new agents through GRI put them through CRS, the CRS and the GRI courses will teach you years and years of knowledge that you’re not getting just by bumping and banging your way through the pinball machine. In you learn from you know, I’ve said I’ve gotten enough credit hours from the school of hard knocks that I could graduate with a master’s degree now. So but luckily I was at a brokerage that had a great training program. We had some we had a mentor program in place that was very, very helpful. So GRI CRS for residential agents starting up dad is one of the first places that I would go to start getting Your real estate training unless your brokerage offers

D.J. Paris 15:03
or even in addition to what your brokerage, what your

Jerry Wolking 15:07
I attended, what I see a lot of is a lot of training and exercise and efforts, put in the areas of lead generation, lead generation is awesome. But if you get a bunch of leads, and you don’t know how to convert them, or you don’t know how to keep their transactions together, you’re shooting fish in a barrel and are coming right back to life again, through another agent somewhere. It’s a bad experience for everyone all around when you don’t have knowledge and skills to close a transaction.

D.J. Paris 15:32
Yeah, let’s talk about the current sort of climate for realtors right now. So we’re recording this. So it’s we’re getting close to Thanksgiving 2023. We know interest rates are higher than buyers would prefer in relation to where they were three years ago, not in relation to historic averages. But the buyer temperature out there is cool to bid because of the interest rates, a lot of people are locked in or at least feel maybe locked in to a refinance rate they did years ago, I know I feel this way I have a 3% rate on my primary residence. And I don’t want to give that up. And so we have a lot of people like me, who are in a similar situation. So there’s not much inventory, obviously not as many buyers flooding the market. And also it’s the end of the year that tends to slow things down as well. So Jerry, you’ve been doing this 30 years, what do you know that people who haven’t been through this kind of part of the cycle of the business, maybe it’s maybe some part of a down cycle? What do you know that that? Or what would you say to somebody who’s who’s struggling right now? Yeah, in this area? Great

Jerry Wolking 16:43
question. So, so where I pride myself mostly DJs. In my I have, you know, I’m not one of the top 1% producers, as we talked about earlier, but but I can weather the storm, because I can wear many hats. Being is as well experienced in both residential and commercial as I am. It allows me to adapt in many different ways I can go where the hunt is, and I’m very comfortable going where the hunt is, there’s no conversation with any agent that I’m not comfortable having now, regardless of what you produce. I can I can hold that conversation with you. And there was times when, when I remember in down markets, it wasn’t so much. Where’s my next lead? Where’s my next deal? It was what can I learn to get me that next week? What can I learn to get me that next deal, I’ve always built my career on being the chase, not the chaser. And the way I’ve done that is by learning things and getting in depth knowledge on different ways to do things. So you know, when I came in the business in 1993, interest rates were still double digit. So when we hear people talk about now the interest rates are climbing, interest rates are climbing, my first house was 11.75%. And that was on a special lottery drawing rate. I had to stand in line at 530 in the morning to get a lottery ticket to get this special low rate of 11.75%. And I was one of the people chosen. So yes, rates have increased, they doubled from where we were a year or so ago in some cases. But when those things happen, like when 2008 2009 rolled around, that was a huge change foreclosures were coming on the market everywhere. So my adaption was if there is there’s foreclosures and things that’s coming on the market, that means the investors are coming out of the woodwork. So how do I get to work with the investors? I got to learn the investment game and I had some real estate investments before. But I dove deep into figuring out net operating income and what is the vacancy factor? And, and what’s what’s my cost coming in? What’s the cost outlay going to be for purchased this home for 36,000? What’s it going to cost to get it up to 110. So you can be profitable, learned about holding costs, all of those sorts of things, a lot of it, I knew already in the back of my mind, but it moved it to the forefront of the mind. So as the market changes, and it is changing, you need to look at other ways that you can be helpful that you can be of service to the public good. You can be of service maybe to other agents, because when you don’t have something to offer, there’s no reason for anyone to call you. So I just got I just got a call yesterday from a gentleman who wanted to fight his property taxes. His assessment went up considerably. So we took a look at his properties. And I called them yesterday and I said I said Chuck, you might want to keep your mouth shut. They got you assessed at 65,000 square foot. Be quiet. Don’t play that game because you should be higher than what they’re assessing you at. So it just that piece of advice and information alone was priceless to him because he showed up to spend $900 $1,000 on two appraisals. So just by giving that information, but he’s called me multiple times over the last three or four years we’ve done Two or three transactions with this gentleman. But so the point being, there’s always somebody buying something, there’s always somebody selling something, how do you get in front of those people? And how can you be valuable to that particular part of the market when it becomes an investor market be valuable to the investors if it’s a buyers market be valuable to the buyers. But it’s a seller’s market be valuable to the sellers in use constantly, ever changing. Adaptability, learning to be adaptable to what’s in front of you right now, I talked to an agent of a couple years ago. And when the 2008 crash hit, his business dropped dramatically. So he learned how to fight tax assessments. And he was charging people I think, $150 or something like that, to put together their tax assessment, though, he would give them all the information, and they would go to the board of appeals and fight their taxes. But that kept him alive, kept him in the game kept him relevant. And so then when those people, when the market started to turn, they come to list or sell. He’s the guy they call because he got them out of a bad situation, whatever. So I’m very big on knowing the game not just being in the game, but knowing the

D.J. Paris 21:07
game. Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more, as you were giving so many great examples there, I was thinking, you know about the current situation where I don’t know what the percentage is anymore, I want to say it’s 85% of homeowners in the US have a mortgage rate of less than 4%. That may not be true with a capital T, but it’s close enough to where we have a lot of these people like myself, you know, anyone who has a mortgage who’s refinanced or, you know, in the last several years probably has a pretty attractive rate. So I think there’s a huge opportunity for agents to start having conversations with people like me, people who feel trapped in not trapped, but locked into this low rate. And say, actually, there are some creative solutions. If you did want to move right now, there are ways we can sort of, you know, navigate through high interest rate environments like to like buy downs, for example, there are this is this, I think, is really were in a good agent is separating separate from, you know, really divides the good agents from from the not good agents, because the good agents will will will call somebody before they call them going, Hey, I’m thinking about buying or selling right now. Because maybe there’s lots of people right now that aren’t thinking about that. But if it was me, I would be calling everybody I know saying, Hey, I just want to give you my take on what’s going on right now. If you are thinking of a move, we do have some options and creative ways to explore that. But again, just establishing that, as you said, I’m just not in the market. I know the market. I know what’s going on. I think that’s so important.

Jerry Wolking 22:44
Yeah, it was to touch on what you said about the buy downs that there’s one of the things right there that you should be focusing on right now as an agent coming in, in the game, how does financing work? And one of the first things that I started learning about when I got into business, I would notice and remind you I was in the business before the pre approval thing was a big deal. So now it’s it’s pretty much standard. But I remember you could get pre approval letters and everybody that was like golden. But I sat down with a lender name was Brenda Wilde one day I talked her on the phone. I said, Brenda, what are my qualifying ratios when I’m talking to people? I want to know when I’m holding these conversations with people about buying debt. Yes, you can’t afford to buy so many times, EJ if somebody said, Well, I can’t afford to buy. Well, where are you living now? Well, I rent a little apartment. How much are you paying 1300 a month, or $1,300 a month here in the Quad Cities, you know, our market is about a third of what you that are there in Chicago $1,300 A month I’ll buy you 140 $150,000 house. And a lot of people don’t even realize that. So I’ve had a lot of success in converting renters into homebuyers, because they didn’t think that they could buy not realizing what it cost. They don’t understand downpayment, they don’t understand closing costs. So there again, whenever you’ve got storms like this happening, there’s usually programs that all of a sudden spring up to help keep the market of flow. So you learn about first time homebuyer programs. You learn about programs for veterans that veterans can use, there’s usually something out there to help people. So you have to go learn that program. Because let’s face it, if you’re doing 3040 transactions a year, and then all of a sudden that drops to 15. You need to make up that difference somewhere if you’re going to stay in the game. This is when we see markets like this is when we’ll see the agent count start to drop. It happens all the time. And as is the real estate market picks up all of a sudden everybody wants to be a realtor because they’ve watched HDTV and they like houses I love That’s my reason for getting in the business because I like houses. Okay, let’s see how long that lasts after you’ve shown 137 of them in four days. But anyhow, just learning where there’s always an apple to pick somewhere and is watching closely and learning to see what that is. There’s always nothing stops dead. There’s always some movement somewhere When

D.J. Paris 25:00
you said something really important earlier, which was about providing value being of service? And yes, that really is the name of the game and in my in my opinion, it’s yeah, it’s it’s really, I think it’s, it’s a creative fun thing to to consider for your business. Because you know, we have this database of customers we have or prospects, and we go, Gosh, I don’t why do I? Why Why would I, I don’t have any reason to call so and so well, you should have reasons to call them you should know a lot about every one of your contacts in your database, you should know what’s going on in their lives. And you if nothing else, if there’s nothing to talk about with real estate, you could at least contact them and celebrate things that they’re experiencing or or helping them with any like, you know, Jerry, for example, is, you know, he has been doing this 30 years. Do you think he knows the best Roofers in town? Of course he does. He knows the best accountant. He knows the best inspectors. So Jerry is is breadth of wide breadth of information that he gets to then reach out to his sphere and say, Hey, I’m your guy. I know these things. And of course, that takes time to develop lists like that. But if you can start to put your value proposition together, and start to think about how can I continuously add value, people only buy and sell when every five to 10 years, seven to 10 years, whatever it is. So you better figure out something that you can do in those seven to 10 year windows, where you’re going to stay in front of them. And it’s probably not just your real estate, email newsletter, hey, that’s fine, whatever, it’s fine. But you should be thinking about other things that those customers actually want to learn about. During that time. To obviously, just keep your name in front of them. Yeah.

Jerry Wolking 26:43
And being very involved in your community. That’s where Alex has had huge success. Being very involved in your community became become the the source. I just had a guy text me here last week, he goes, You’re my source, man. But I need something. You’re my source. So what a great compliment, actually, for you and I got online, I was texting a previous client who’s like, hey, I need somebody to put windows in Who do you suggest, you know, being that go to source that keeps you in front of people a lot of times, but being involved with your community is another big way. Because people recognize your name. And I’ve been around long enough now. I can be be anywhere Menards or Lowe’s and I’ll put down my debit card and the person go, oh, you the real estate guy. That’s awesome. To hear that they know you for that. But yeah, there’s this being involved on different levels and being of service to everyone around you. That part I think I’ve done very well. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to help a lot of people with a lot of things. And a lot of times DJ the business comes to me just because of those things. Not not not because I’m out, you know, pushing my Facebook post, or, or I’m the greatest realtor. And none of that is just because I’ve established a relationship on a different level through a different avenue. And they know you’re the real estate guy, right? Yeah. Why do you ask you buying or selling? What I’m thinking about selling my mom’s house, whatever. Next thing, you know that conversation is going whenever someone says to me, you’re the real estate guy, right? I always say, Are you buying or selling. And then we go from there to conversations things into something. I

D.J. Paris 28:15
love that it reminded me of one of one of the interviews I had a few a year or so ago, where a woman gave a suggestion that I had not heard before. And it’s so simple. And that, you know, if you have a local newspaper, for example, most most markets do. And you know, reach out to who’s ever in charge of the real estate portion of not necessarily the advertising. But if anyone’s you know, the real estate person to talk about what’s going on real estate wise in the community and start sending them stats, say, Hey, mister missus, reporter, I’ve got some stats about what’s going on out here. I thought maybe that would be helpful for you because they’re looking for content. And I said, Oh, that’s such a smart idea. Because people still read newspapers as much as we think people don’t some some people do, of course. And this is another way to get your name out there. And to be seen as an expert, when you can help a journalist with making sense of what’s going on out there. There’s a million ways to do it, to be of service and to be a value. And I want to make a big strong push, Jerry, with your help to encourage our audience to get involved with their local association. I want to talk about why that’s important, and how that can benefit the individual because I wish I would have done that. 14 years ago. I just started getting involved about five years ago. And I wish I could go back and get involved at our local level earlier because what it did for me and I’m curious to get your thoughts. What it did for me is not only did it did it, is it a lot of fun and we do a lot of good work and we’re here to support the industry, the real estate industry, and I got to make some wonderful friends along the way people who are like minded people Who want to see the industry succeed, and also just mastermind with all these great agents who also give back. And so I’ve learned more about the industry, I have a better social life. And and I’m doing good out there, or I think we’re doing some some version of good out there. So I’m just Just curious. And also, there’s so many great things the association’s offer, that the members oftentimes don’t take advantage of trainings, you know, all sorts of things. But just, I want to make a pitch for everybody to consider getting involved. And just want to hear your thoughts on that. Oh, absolutely.

Jerry Wolking 30:30
There again, when I first got in my career, I was so blessed to have Irene Romeo, who pushed me towards GTRI. But I was also still to this day, I hear this gentleman’s voice, I see his face. And I asked questions, sometimes I get into situation and I’ll and I’ll be to myself, What would Fred tell me to do? Fred Desso, the best broker in the business as far as I’m concerned, he’s just a wealth of knowledge. And and he always has an answer. Even if he has to make it up. He always has an answer, but I just love talking with him. He’s just full of wisdom. But both of those agents are very involved with the both those brokers were very involved with the board, they suggested I get involved with the board. And I did, I got involved with the board very early on with the professional standards, the Grievance Committee, the regional professional standards, sitting on different various committees throughout the board, and we have a dynamite Board of Realtors. But it teaches you not only do you get to know the players and who’s who in real estate, but you also see the adversity sometimes that people are dealing with from a whole different perspective. See, it’s very easy as an agent, you have a rub with another agent somewhere and you’re defending your position. But if you get out of yourself and get into what is that person experiencing. And by being on the board and hearing, especially on like the grievance committees and professional standards, you hear those stories and things going on, and then you start to have a little little more compassion for I get it, I know why they got in this position. But it helps getting yourself in that position, you know, at some point in time, and it just helps move the board forward as well. So I cringe a little bit when somebody complains about some of the board raise the rates again, well, of course, they did just look at the economy in general, that’s not the board trying to gouge you. The board’s trying to keep up so I get a little offended sometimes when people complain about a board because our board does a lot for us. We have a great MLS, we have great keysafe system, we have great leadership, we’re in great position financially. And that’s all from having good people sitting at the table. So you learn a lot from the inner workings of the business, when you’re involved at the board level as well. It’s not You’re not seeing it from your little perspective, but seeing it from the overall marketplace that you’re in. So highly, highly encourage getting involved with the board at some point in time. I

D.J. Paris 32:59
couldn’t agree with you more, I think I’d be shocked if it didn’t result in actually indirectly getting you more business, even though that’s not why you’re going to do it with

Jerry Wolking 33:10
us. Yeah, I think I told you earlier, a lot of the commercial referrals I get are from residential agents, even from other brokerages. They have their own brokers, and they’ll refer me people because I can speak their language or I’ve sat on a committee with them. And at some point in time, so I’ve established that relationship. You know, there’s a great dynamite agent here in the Quad Cities, his name is John locust and, and he’s told me once I saw him last year, I did a class I was teaching, and he said, you know, you have two reputations in this business, one from your peers and one from the public. And that is very true. That is very true. So

D.J. Paris 33:45
yeah, I want to I’m going to say that I’m going to say that for Jerry, again, we have two reputations in our industry, one with our peers, for remember is called a cooperative commission. Everybody cooperative compensation, and, and and with our clients as well. So those are two separate things. And oftentimes, the relationship between the agent and the customer might be different from the agents and to other agents and you want to have a good relationship with both because you both have to play in the same sandbox.

Jerry Wolking 34:17
Absolutely. And, yeah,

D.J. Paris 34:20
I want to I want to talk about the importance of learning the market. So when when people are newer to the industry, of course, the primary focus is on lead generation as it probably should be. And they also have to become good at the job which of course, we’re talking about skills. So I want to talk about actually becoming a good realtor. So there’s the marketing side, the lead gen side. I’ve talked about that. A ton on the show over the years, million ways to lead generate. I would like to speak to you and get some best practices in your opinion about if if I was a newer agent and I’m full could sing in a local area? How might I start to learn about the actual inventory? Price points? You know, what, what do you recommend? Because ultimately, you do want to be an expert in some some geographical area. Yeah,

Jerry Wolking 35:14
yeah. And, again, that’s where Alex has excelled. He’s learned his neighborhood just by walking the streets getting involved with neighborhood associations, those sorts of things. And myself area, because we’re in the Quad Cities, there’s a large difference between the Iowa and Illinois sides of the river. Valuation wise, big difference. In fact, the joke is, for a lot of us, it’s not the Mississippi rivers, the Mississippi ocean, because it there is a huge divide between the two sides of the states. If you’re an outsider, coming in, a lot of it looks like one big city here to us. But from those of us who live here, it’s very territorial. The difference between Iowa and Illinois and the islands, to try to get somebody from Iowa to come to Illinois is very difficult. Although there’s one little catch to that. But we there seems to be more people moving from Illinois go into the Iowa side, the property taxes are less those sorts of things. So by knowing your market is knowing not only the price of the home, the sell price of the home, how many days on market, that’s all stuff that you can get from your stats. And by looking at it. But knowing what makes those areas tick, what makes those neighborhoods work, like Alex talks about the neighborhoods and he’s worked in, he knows the historical, the history of a lot of those homes. He knows who owns those homes, he knows who lives in them. Now, those sorts of things. Same as myself, I look at things more from a I’m a very mechanical person, I’m blessed with the ability to fix or build anything. In fact, 20 minutes before I got online with you, I was I was putting brick and mortar on some columns. I’m building a site but I learned the neighborhoods from the architecture from the years they were built from the mechanicals that were used to build them like for example, a simple example would be here we have certain neighborhoods that have this sewer system called Orangeburg pipe. Not all four cities have the habit Moline hardly use it at all. Rock Island uses it a lot that dwarf the older parts of bettendorf used it Northwest Davenport used it a lot. It’s failing across the board, it’s getting old enough now that it’s collapsing, it’s not a question of will it collapse, just when so buy when I’m representing buyers, going to those particular neighborhoods, I’m asking that house in into we’re just Orangeburg pipe us there because that’s kind of set forth and inspection that maybe I would not use in Moline. So knowing your market that way, not only valuations and wise, but what makes that neighborhood work? Where are the city streets? Where’s their development coming bike, if you go to bettendorf in North Davenport, you know, to 53rd Avenue corridor, I know you don’t know what that is. But 20 years ago, that was cornfield. Now, it’s 200,000 plus per acre, to go out there. So if I’m leading an investor, and he’s going to be looking forward to long term buy and hold properties, let’s go where the growth is next, you know, so our cash flow may be a little less right now. But in the end result of property value increase. So it’s knowing the market that way as well. And not just average sale price and things of that nature. There’s so many other things in the intrinsic values is what I call it, what else is happening there? Are their school closings coming up, or their school boards and merging. Is there we just had a new Amazon development that come into town here this year. Where’s that? What’s gonna happen around that area, we have an area called the T BK that’s growing like wildfire out there. Those sorts of things. It’s knowing the market from from that aspect, as well as the dollar values and things of that nature, if that makes sense.

D.J. Paris 38:47
It makes perfect sense. I was just thinking that one specific example about the Amazon like a distribution center, or whatever’s coming coming out your way. That’s a really, it’s a really interesting sort of comment, because there is opportunity there because now we know they’re going to be hiring people to work at this particular plant, or maybe they already have people there. But just getting curious about what is that going to do? Where are those people going to come from who are going to work there? Where are those people may be live? What would their commute look like? If they are coming from further away? And maybe they now want to move closer to the facility? You know, where’s where are the school districts that are desirable for people, you know, understanding that, what the needs of those, you know what, here’s what’s coming? Situations, I think are making just incredibly valuable. You’re more proactive than reactive because, yes, I want to I wanted to also switch gears and talk a little bit about commercial because this is we have about 800 agents in our firm and boy, a lot of them who are really residential agents go I would like to dabble a little bit in commercial. And of course that’s like what does that even mean? Because there’s Lots of different sectors of commercial. And of course, it’s not just a, you can’t paint it all with the same brush commercial could mean lots and lots of different things. But you, you really straddle both, which is impressive and difficult. So I’m curious about how did you get into commercial and why

Jerry Wolking 40:17
being a bigger business owner in the past, commercial use was important to me. Because I needed space, I needed a shop space. And it’s probably one of the calls I get most is for people for shop space, but I guess had an interest in it and watching it. And I like math and working with numbers who work with numbers a lot. And I noticed there was a void. There was a void in that marketplace as far as people being serviced, and a lot of it was from intimidation. A person wants to start a business and they’re not sure where they’re going to find space. So they don’t know what a triple net lease is. They don’t know the difference between triple net and a gross, and they don’t know what cam charges are. And it wasn’t being explained to them on many levels. And and there used to be signs I remember seeing signs up that would say you’re in front of a space that would say available, what is available means it means for sales that mean it’s for rent, what is available mean? And I so I just started learning the language itself and managed to get into a couple of transactions and started learning from there. But there’s the difference DJ, I started learning, I didn’t just do the transaction and get a commission and walk away. I wanted to know the why. How does it work? So So you know, started doing a lot of reading leases, just just going through them and reading what does that mean calling an attorney say okay, this clause says this, what exactly does that mean? And took a CCI M course some different CCM courses, reading articles and realtor magazine, truly learning what it’s like or what it is to be a commercial practitioner, because I truly believe with the whole of my heart that commercial and residential should be two different licenses. And they’re not. And unfortunately, you know, I was really looking at one of your podcasts from another gentleman, I can’t remember where he’s from. But he’s talked about staying in your lane and referring out I think he said when he bought his own house, he referred to a residential agent to buy his own house, because he didn’t know that area. And unfortunately, our license gives us the ability to list and sell just about anything. And that creates problems. And you know, the commercial practitioners they get irritated with our residential person is trying to do a deal with them. And I can see why then that agent will call me say, well, he won’t talk to me and won’t give me the information. And it’s because you’re not going to know what to do with it even if they gave it to you. And if you’re going to represent a tenant, for example, let’s take a tenant that’s going to go and lease this space. And it’s $13 a square foot, you know, net lease and you got to canvass $7 a square foot and you can’t calculate that rent, or you look at their lease, and you can’t determine if it has an escalation clause. And what is that escalation clause? What is the escalation clause based on as far as the rent, increase those sort of things, there’s so much trouble that you can get a person into because you didn’t know how to play that particular game or didn’t know how to guide them. And you should really stay out of that, because you could think about it. I take it very personal as my responsibility. If I’m representing a tenant, and I’m getting

D.J. Paris 43:26
weak Jerry there for just a second. He’ll be popping right back in so bear with us just a moment. There’s Jerry. Okay, once. All right, we that’s okay. You we were just finishing up with we were just talking about commercial and how maybe referring out is, you know, staying in one’s lane and yeah, not necessarily practicing until you’re competent, so to speak. Yeah,

Jerry Wolking 43:52
exactly. So if you’re going to do a commercial Ted, you use the term dabble. I hear that all the time. Don’t dabble. And Don’t, Don’t dabble, your financial responsibility that you have for that client is huge. And it can be the determining factor of their business profitable, they’re not because you got them in a bad lease in a bad position or something where they made a bad purchase. And there’s so much more than just pricing and dollar per square foot and all that it’s what are the environmental, what’s the environmental outlay look like? You know, Is there potential problems there? I lost the listing once because I noticed the test spot on the building and I asked the gentleman about it, and he’s like, Oh, that’s nothing I meant nothing. Because across the parking lot, I see a trailer over there. This is environmental survey or something like what what is this all about? Come to find out he had been contaminated by a neighboring gas station and he didn’t want anyone to know that. So when I asked him to prove to me you’ve got a clean site. It cost him $5,000 But it made him angry and he pulled the listing from me and I was okay with that. I’m okay with that. Take that list right If can’t be honest with it, but yeah, so you’ve got to know the game is more than just making a commission because you can make huge especially in commercial, you can make some really big mistakes, and people are relying on you the expert, and you did not give them expert advice.

D.J. Paris 45:18
Yeah, I agree. So if you know, or at the very least partner with a commercial agent and be you know, their apprentice or be their shadow, while you are educating yourself on the transaction, just make make your life as easy as possible. Don’t, don’t take on clients that you can’t service, it’s, it’s just not gonna

Jerry Wolking 45:42
only make your life easy, but it’s take care of that client the best way you can and some way, you know, I would not go to my dentist to get my ankle operated on. They’re both in the medical profession. But you know, they’d be able to figure it out. Maybe, but no, I take that responsibility very, very personally, and I wish more agents would do. So there’s a lot to know in the commercial world and you need to learn that game. Yes, you can bang your way through. I’m happy to help anyone who will get through a transaction, but I don’t partner very often, I’ve been asked to do 5050, I’ve always turned it down except for one occasion. Because it won’t be 5050 It’d be more like 7525. And so I have offered it if someone wants to 5050 Look, I’ll coach you through if you want to try that. If you want to try the transaction, but you need to put in your time, you need to serve your pain, because there’s a lot to learn and it’s not gonna be as easy as you think it is.

D.J. Paris 46:41
Yeah, I agree. I think for everyone listening right now, there’s the you know, to sort of recap everything Jerry was was talking about on the show. We On this episode, I think we’re really speaking of his competence, and I think or skill development maybe is a better way to say it. Let’s make 2020 for the year of skill development. So what how are you going to do that? Well, you’re going to lean on your brokerage for additional trainings, you’re going to seek out certifications like GRI, certified negotiation expert like Jerry, who’s who’s does both? You’re going to reach out to your local association, not just to maybe serve on a committee, but also to find out what are they offering? What sort of trainings and support are they providing to agents, remember, we do pay our associations quite a bit of money. So there are lots of services I’m, I’m on our member care taskforce here in Chicago, I didn’t even know all of the benefits and services that we provide to our members. Until I now I’m the vice chair of the committee and I still don’t know them all by heart. So reach out to your local association, especially if you’re struggling and say, Hey, I’m struggling right now. Do you have any suggestions for classes I can take people I can talk to, you know, and also, as Jerry said, you know, we got to learn the market, right? So this is a great opportunity to really do a deep dive into your local market. Get that expertise so that when people do reach out to you, you have knowledge about what’s going on. Jerry Of course, does 30 years in the business. I think this is a great place to wrap up I do want to encourage anyone who’s a buyer seller and investor, commercial or residential who is interested in doing something in the Quad Cities area Jerry wilking is your man please reach out to him Jerry if there are any buyers sellers investors out there that would love to speak to somebody with your expertise what’s the best way the

Jerry Wolking 48:34
best way for me actually DJs to text me because I respond to texts we get so many bombarded with people trying to sell us Internet services and marketing services text me because then I have a greater chance of knowing that you’re real and that you’re legit but or email email me very well also.

D.J. Paris 48:55
Yeah, do you mind sharing your your number numbers 309-373-0373

Jerry Wolking 48:57
and email is Jerry walking kw@gmail.com.

D.J. Paris 49:08
Well, Jerry walking Keller Williams Quad Cities the not only a 30 year veteran in the industry amazing reputation and has a now a son who is crushing it here in the Chicago market. This is the first time we’ve done a father son not combined episode but had a father and son on the show at different times. So it is it is no surprise how, why, how and why Alex is doing so well. Jerry, so congrats to you on your career and also on raising another realtor family who is not just not just surviving but thriving in thriving in this market. So please check out Alex’s episode and let’s send Jerry’s episode to anyone else in your area. Any other realtor that may be struggling right now guess what? Everybody’s struggling a little bit right now. So send them a link To this episode, the best way you can help us our listeners is by telling a friend just think of one other realtor that could benefit from all the great stuff Jerry said and shoot them over a link to this episode. Also leave us a review. Let us know what you think of the show. We would greatly appreciate it on behalf of our audience. Want to thank Jerry, for coming on. We appreciate you, Jerry, thank you gave us tons of great strategic sort of objectives that we can do right now. And on behalf of our audience want to thank Jerry for spending his time with us today. We will see everybody on the next episode. Thanks Jerry. You’re

Jerry Wolking 50:32
awesome. Thank you, man.

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