Christine Nieva from Deausen Realty in Washington D.C. was just awarded NAR’s 30 under 30. In this episode Christine discusses how she shifted from a successful career as an O.R. nurse to a full-time real estate agent. She shares the importance of social media and how she uses it to prospect and deepen connections with her sphere of influence. Christine also talks about the importance of an agent’s knowledge of the market and why she spends time every day studying the MLS.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
Christine Nieva can be reached at 202-924-6078 and Christine@NievaInc.com
D.J. Paris 0:00
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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 Christine the EVA. Before we get to Christine a couple of quick announcements. First, we just rebuilt our website from the ground up, you can visit us at keeping it real pod.com Not only has it website, undergone a massive facelift. But in addition, we now have organized all of our different categories of episodes into sections. So you can actually go to the website and if you have a particular show that you’d like to listen to, for example, learning with a lender or Monday market minute or coaching moments and you just want to hear those you scroll to the bottom you can find the show you want and listen to all the episodes in order, which we think is hopefully pretty helpful to you. So most of you are probably listening on a podcast app probably don’t even know we have a website. So check it out. Let us know what you think again, keeping it real pod.com And then our second thing to ask everyone to do is to please tell a friend think of one other agent that could benefit from hearing these kinds of podcast episodes, interviews with top producers to help you learn from their successes and grow your business in the way that they have. So send them a link over to that new website keeping it real pod.com and let them learn the way you’re learning. Thanks guys so much for your continued support and now on to our interview with Christine Neva.
Okay, today on the show, we have Christine Neva from Towson Realty in Washington DC. Let me tell you a little bit about Christine. She is 29 years old resides in the Washington DC area. She’s been a licensed Realtor for just four years but even more incredibly has only been really being a full time realtor for the past two years now her previous career was an operating room nurse and after a major life changing motor vehicle accident at the end of 2017. It was at that moment after recovery where she decided to leave the hospital and pursue a full time career in real estate. Now since then, and this is some incredible accolades. She’s been recognized by National Association of REALTORS rising star in real estate, what also the 30 under 30 award that was just given a few months ago, which is basically the top 30 agents in their 20s in real estate, which is amazing. She’s also a council member for Forbes real estate. She was featured recently in top agent magazine and also Washington Washingtonian magazine, what drives Christine to constantly grow is remembering her roots coming to the US with her family with only $200 in their pocket back in 2001, making something worthwhile for themselves and financially supporting her family back home, which is the Philippines, please visit Christine at Christine neva.com. That’s Christine ch ristinenieva.com. Also, please follow her on Instagram, which firstname.lastname@example.org Eva Kristina, welcome to the show. We’re so excited to have you.
Christine Nieva 4:11
Thanks, AJ, I’m excited to have you too. Thank you for having me.
D.J. Paris 4:15
Oh, we’re really excited. I cannot believe how much success you’ve had so quickly. And but I’d like to start all the way back at the beginning. So So you came to the United States from the Philippines, in back in 2001. And then you pursued a career in nursing.
Christine Nieva 4:33
I did. Yeah. So when I was growing up, I have a Filipino background. What you’re taught to do is to follow your parents lead either going to be a doctor or an engineer, or in this case, my mom’s a nurse so I’ve known wanting to be a nurse since I was five years old. So fast forward. I practiced I went to school for four years, got my BSN. And then about a year and a half practicing in the operating room. I thought I think there’s something out there else for me And I just started nibbling in different things, which was really entrepreneurship. So I had a fitness company with meal prep and like personal training. And then I even did like network marketing. And all of that was a little bit of a taste of what entrepreneurship is like. So I kept coming back to listen to a ton of podcasts. And I found that I wanted to be an investor time and time again, I could continue my job as a nurse, put some money aside, make money work for me through real estate investing. So I thought, Alright, I’m gonna save some money, get my real estate license. And then I need to buy my I bought my first house, I helped my mom buy her first house. And I had two friends from the fitness industry that wanted me to help them buy their first house. And that was my first year being licensed. It was really stressful. And I close four houses, I guess, two. And then the next year, I thought, Man, this is addicting. So I took a leap of faith, I went part time not approved by family. And I only worked for 20 hours a week or 24. But with the commute was essentially 30 hours. So my second my second year, I closed 14 houses, I was still juggling real estate. And actually nursing at the same time wasn’t until it wasn’t actually until the end of 2017. I was actually with my lender in the car, we finished the Office meeting, I picked up my client from the metro to bring the settlement. And it’s just some reckless driver totally crashed my SUV. And I have like these plates and hardware stole my body that actually reminds me that event still, but that was actually a blessing in disguise DJ, that was when I thought after fully recovering, I thought we have got one life, I get to choose what makes me happy. So again, I actually decided to go full time in real estate because of that. And that was a hard decision to make. Because all I knew growing up was you’re paid, you have your degree, you go for a job, you get paid hourly, but that was it. I didn’t know anything about investing. So I invested a ton of time and hours on education from books, business, and I pretty much self taught. So my first year full time, no more nursing, I was a full time realtor, I closed 29 or 30 houses I believe. And it was under 10 million. So write a 10 million my first year. And I remember in the office I was in there was a an agent that produced 10 million by himself. That’s why he switched to this new brokerage. And I thought all right, I’ll shoot for 10 million. I didn’t know any better. I mean, ignorance is bliss. And then I hit that. And then the then last year 2019 was my second year full time that I just finished and I sold under 15 million, I sold about 35 or 36 houses. Yeah. And from there and I was also able to travel to like five countries last year, and the year before I traveled to like nine or something 15 places. And I could not have done that. Well at the same time be able to enjoy my life and fitness, getting the best shot my life and then also give back to my family in the Philippines, which I was not able to do as much when I was by previous w two. And all of these things just happened because I was so aware with what my heart wanted. And I think when I started in that mindset, I just constantly just listen to have peace within myself and just listen and ask, you know, what is it what’s gonna make me happier next, what’s gonna make it better for clients and make this life so fulfilling? And I think that with that route of coming from the Philippines and being taught ambition seeing that with your parents, it really just was it was my DNA. So today it’s this past quarter these Apple as you mentioned, the recent March was not 30 under 30. The Forbes was actually a month ago, top agent was two days ago or three days ago. So it’s this just started coming in. I was always just this like, you know, kind of girl next door, knock on my door and let me know if you need a realtor and I’m here and let’s have fun. That was it.
D.J. Paris 9:00
Wow. Well, you just said a lot. I want to I want to back up to your first full time year. Because obviously there’s a lot of people listening who are probably part time broker part time realtors, and are thinking I would love to make that transition. But you know, you had a great career as a nurse. That is an amazing career. There’s job security, obviously there’s a lot of risk and a lot of fatigue in that industry, especially right now of course, but it’s still a wonderful career and it is a lifelong career. So you basically you didn’t walk away from a job you walked away from a career that you had done special schooling for a special accreditation. And I think that’s an amazing leap of faith to take. But can you talk about you know what, what was it like once you decided obviously you’d been doing it part time for a few years before so you had a general sense of of maybe what to do, but you know you closed and and to do 10 million in your first full time year is One of the biggest success stories I’ve ever heard, and we have people on the show that do 100 million a year, and they didn’t even do 10 million their first year. So that is an incredible number that I if you have any thoughts about how did you find clients back when you first started? Obviously people mostly new you as a nurse, I’m guessing. So how did you make that transition? How did you find clients back then?
Christine Nieva 10:23
That’s such a good question. I had to really break this image of me as a nurse because I love sharing my journey. I was in nursing school and you know, practicing in the Oh, war, and trauma, surgery and all the cool glory stuff you get to learn. But that was the blessing and also a curse too. So I had to change this Christina Eva nurse to now she’s in real estate. So that first year full time, I want to backtrack a little bit like what was my mindset when I was part time in real estate and still full time in my career? My my actual w two. The first thing I needed to figure out was like, alright, am I going to figure this out on my by myself? Or am I going to associate with the team and leverage that I didn’t have time to actually have a mentor DJ, I tried. I tried to touch book appointments or, you know, meetings with brokers or top producers, and they were very busy. And I thought, You know what, I’m doing everything on my by myself. I’ll just find it my way. So a lot of the previous brokerage I was in, they were big on Realtor realtor networking. And I read this book called The One Thing. Yeah, that’s got Gary Keller. Yeah, so that was a life changing book for me, because I thought, if I could do one thing that could really move the ball. For me, it was being in front of prospects and clients, my network. And so this is what I did, I figured out that the microphone, all I needed was this, this phone. And this was literally my podium and my microphone to speak and syndicate that and go viral just in my network, not like in crazy websites, just through social media, I didn’t have time to meet with clients through coffee, I didn’t have time to meet them through lunch. And also I didn’t have that money anyway. So I literally just started showing properties that weren’t necessarily mine sitting at open houses, and just just be so immersed that I’m the realtor, I’m the only rich, you got to think up, I really wanted to capture that share of mine. So when I was able to really start developing that image, most people actually think of two people in their mind when they think of moving and of Realtors, it’s or brokers it’s just a family member and someone they see constant on Facebook. So I knew on the Facebook demographic, I could probably capture maybe the older folks there. But Instagram, with my age in the in my 20s People are increasing with their career, they’re they’re starting to settle down, I knew that that was going to be a good market for me to go and tap into, which is their Instagram, they are all free. And that’s how I came into that I need to be profitable, I need to be with a brokerage that gave me a high split, because I knew that if I was going to be profitable, and be able to leave nursing, I had to be able to keep more in my pocket. And it wasn’t to be able to give it to a brokerage that took, you know, maybe 30% Because then I would have to close 20 versus just 10. So that was my mindset, how much can I keep in my pocket so I can leave quicker?
D.J. Paris 13:14
Well, also too. I mean, at the end of the day, you and I’m sure you work at an amazing brokerage. And I’m in no way suggesting that there’s anything wrong with your brokerage. I’m sure they’re amazing. But at the end of the day, you just need to you right, you’re doing the bulk of the work. And I think a lot of times, realtors often think well, what’s my brokerage doing for me? And yes, your brokerage should be doing wonderful things for you. And they should have great training and mentorship and opportunities to do open houses. But at the end of the day, you’re still doing 99% of the job. And you’re a perfect example you did by the way, in your first full time year, you did not have an assistant you did everything yourself. I think now you’ve you’ve now gotten to the point where you’ve got on some some help, but you’re still doing almost everything and I’d say that’s amazing. I want to go back real quickly just to social media because it’s one of the most requested topics that our listeners ask is okay, well what do I post write and obviously there’s an art and a science to it. But for a lot of realtors all they post is just listed just sold. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of other content so I heard you say hey, I would go do open houses and I’m guessing I’m in this might be wrong but were you doing also videos have showings of the house on on you know IG TV or on Facebook Live? Or were you predominantly just doing static posts or what kind of image posts rather what were you doing
Christine Nieva 14:40
there? So when I started out, I don’t think Instagram store on Instagram Live existed then and I wasn’t too big on Facebook Live. So at the time I really leveraged to static posts and Facebook stories and Instagram stories. And I just thought my friends are pretty nosy with what I do. And I think in general people like to, you know, pry and what people do and I just got Get into that mindset. I’ll just post about my life. So I was into cooking I relate to a lot of women that wanted to cook also men, of course. And then fitness people want to, you know, figure out, you know, what is the healthy way to go about your weight training, whatever it was, it was largely me, Christine Eva has this lifestyle. And then here and there, I was like plugging showings. And then little by little, they started to see, oh, she’s actually a realtor, or we but I’m actually tuning in for her life for meal preps, I’m tuning in for her family pictures, and because she just loves her mom. They’re literally like BFFs, and they take shots together. But they’re genuinely like seeing what they want to see my life, opposite the real estate as a part of it. And then eventually, the minute they become ready, that’s when they reach out, they’re never actually looking for real estate, they wonder and curious about your life.
D.J. Paris 15:47
Right? Yeah, I’d say that’s, it’s one of the big, I don’t want to call it a mistake. But one of the limiting beliefs that a lot of realtors have is to shield their personal life on on social media. And look, there are some people that everyone’s got a different version of what privacy means to them, and what vulnerability means. And it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to share every area of your life. But if you expect people to want to tune into your content, you better show something. And you know, it doesn’t have to be something that’s intimate or inappropriate or violating a boundary. But just you know, this idea of, hey, this is my life, this is what I do. Here’s what I do during the day, is it’s funny, because it doesn’t sound like that would be that interesting yet, it is what we all tune in for on social media, we want to see what’s going on in people’s lives. So if you can find things that you’re comfortable sharing, like obviously, Christine did, this, it number one, it makes people feel closer to you, because they feel like they know you. And they also don’t feel like you’re advertising to them, which people typically don’t respond as well to, but they want to get to know you. And then oh, by the way, you know, I also do this real estate thing. And you’re able to pepper those posts in and then eventually, through repetition and just immersion and getting people hooked on your content. I’m guessing that’s that’s kind of how it worked.
Christine Nieva 17:10
Exactly. And I actually don’t have any paid marketing right now with my business model. So I’m telling you, DJ, everything I do is as organic as possible. I was so cheap starting out when I wanted to take my business to a different level. And I still actually find it really even better right now, where you’re trying to cut down on expenses. But my business model was never expensive. So because of these trades in the beginning, because I wanted to just connect with my network and being so human and fun with them. And friends. Really, that was really what made me more successful is because I had this network of friends that are or associates or acquaintance acquaintances because of social media.
D.J. Paris 17:51
Yeah, and we I think it’s easy to remember that are easy to forget, rather than on average 16% of everybody that all of us know are going to transact in real estate within the next 12 months. And in many cases, those people might be doing two transactions and then be selling and then buying, right. So we have this, we already have a giant list, even if you know 50 People, you know, and 16% of those are going to need assistance in the next 12 months. So the question always is, how do you capture more of that 16%. And the way to do it is through communication. One of the ways to communicate, obviously, is through social media in other ways calling or writing personal notes or texting. And there’s a million ways to communicate, but realizing that if you want to grow organically, and if you want at least your sphere of influence to think about you, you better be in front of them in some capacity as often as possible, right? And then you’re just kind of playing the waiting game, eventually they’re going to need me. Hopefully they’ll think about me and and it’s worked out really well for you. It sounds
Christine Nieva 18:53
absolutely. And you have to think of social media as a CRM.
D.J. Paris 18:57
Yeah. Oh, that’s great. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Christine Nieva 19:00
Yeah. So some so what I do is I don’t have a fancy CRM, I actually use Lyon desk. It’s like 25 bucks a month to one $50 annual, it’s as cheap as it gets. All I needed was something to see when my pipeline was was under contract. But I actually haven’t, I need to tap into making that thing work for me. But aside from that, I use it to keep track of where everybody is. And then eventually I use that to go into Facebook and catch up with people who actually had conversations with and because Facebook people actually scroll through. So there’s so much content, you need to be your posts need to have pictures, it needs to have a video, you can’t just like write paragraphs and expect nothing. And you need to actually wait on the posts to let it collect comments and likes and then eventually, maybe give it two days then reply because then it pops up on people’s feeds again, very smart. Yeah. And aside from that, use those posts to engage even more organically with people All people like to post about their engagement, their successes, their kids graduating empty nesters, and then, you know, people getting engaged, they’re going to be finding their own home and purchasing, or they just had a kid, they’re gonna be a move up buyer, and also they’re gonna sell. So when they have these achievements, they share, don’t just like nobody looks at your likes, they look at the comments. And when you start engaging that way, the algorithm of Facebook and same thing with Instagram, you start to show up in their feet, because people have 1000 friends of how are you going to pop up? It’s because of that constant algorithm interaction with their posts.
D.J. Paris 20:35
Yeah, Facebook wants engagement, right? They want people, you know, interacting with posts, they want you interacting with the people who have interacted with your posts. And you know, we also have to remember that, and LinkedIn is a good example of this. And I always forget to mention this. And for everyone listening, you might not know this, and it’s a great thing to know, is in LinkedIn, and you should be connected to everyone in your sphere that way, and also your clients and anyone you’re interested in prospecting, because LinkedIn has an activity feed, but they do something very special in there. Not only do they mention people’s birthdays, which we know Facebook, of course does, too. But LinkedIn also says when someone starts a new job, and so I’ve always thought, I bet a lot of people don’t know that because all you have to do is look, I have about 5000, LinkedIn friends, whatever that means. And about every day, about three people have started a new job. Now, I’m not a Producing Realtor. But if I was the first three calls I would make every day and I would actually, I would post a comment on LinkedIn to, you know, say, congrats, I saw you’ve got a new career, I would also either shoot them a text, I would probably call just and hopefully I really, I really just want to get their voicemail. Because I’d want to say, hey, just FYI, I just saw you got a new job. Just wanted to congratulate you. That’s amazing. Good luck at XYZ company. Nobody else is probably calling man person either. So this, this is a great little pro tip is go to LinkedIn, look at your activity, or notifications, I think it’s under the notifications area. And you can see when people switch jobs, when they change careers, anniversary dates at their job. Another cool thing to call, Hey, I saw you’ve now been five years over at XYZ company. That’s incredible. Keep up the great work, you know, even if you’re just doing that, that sort of engagement is huge for your sphere of influence. And also, most people in their life probably don’t even know they just celebrated five years, maybe their best friends don’t know that. And here you are, as you know, maybe you’re not even that directly connected to them. But you call them and congratulate them. They’re gonna remember that.
Christine Nieva 22:29
Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more with making them feel super special on something that they achieved, and they didn’t even realize it’s something big.
D.J. Paris 22:37
Yeah. And you know, and again, you don’t have to call either because you can just, you know, these you see somebody takes a nice vacation and posted on Instagram. Make sure you’re following your your the people you want to develop relationships with and you’re commenting and letting them know Oh, I like for example, I’m, I’m heading to Savannah, tomorrow on a vacation. We’ll see if I survive it. We’ll see. We’ll see how smart that was. But if I was a realtor, and I you know, I technically am a realtor. But if I was not a realtor, and there was another realtor out there, I would be commenting on my future Instagram posting, Hey, I see you’re in Savannah, that looks awesome. Hope you’re having fun. That in and of itself would make me think, Hey, that was nice of that person to pay attention to notice. So great suggestion. Also, Christine, since you’re so I don’t want to say you’re new to the industry, because that’s not exactly true. But you’re you’re newer to the industry and having tremendous success. You have probably seen even in your short time as, as a full time realtor, you’ve probably seen agents, you know, succeed who are newer, and also maybe ones who struggle or maybe even leave the business in that time. So I’m curious, aside from you know, being really present on social media, sharing your life, commenting on other people’s posts interacting with the people that comment on yours. But aside from that, are there any other suggestions, advice you have for agents looking to, you know, to get to that next level?
Christine Nieva 23:58
Yeah, I think the the networking component, of course, online is really important. And because the whole virtual side of things is even more the method to communicate nowadays, I think that if you genuinely just reach out to them, and just see how they’re doing that, just naturally, they already know what you are doing. And they usually will just visit you through your online profiles or anything that might you’re using Facebook or Instagram, and you’re never really selling on who you are. You’re just generally saying, hey, it’s been so long. I haven’t you know, talk to you, but just making sure through the pandemic, how are you in the family? I just thought I’d touch base with all my friends and, you know, it’s really a tough time. This is really a time to actually connect with people. And because you’re coming at like this sincere way where you’re just like, yeah, you just want to connect with old friends. They don’t see that as salesy. So eventually this end up visiting what you’re doing. And I think aside from the calls or the text messages, ultimately when you communicate with them and just touch base, genuinely really sympathetic and making sure they’re safe. They eventually will start to see oh, yeah, I forgot about Christine. Like, What’s she up to nowadays? And you don’t need to say you’re in real estate, they’ll see.
D.J. Paris 25:12
Yeah, I think that’s true. My very first, well, not my first career, but I had a career as a financial advisor and one of the top sales guys. And I should even say sales guys, when the top advisors in our office who had been doing it 25 years at that point, said, if you have to ask people for a sale, whatever it is, you’re you’re selling or whatever service you’re offering. His opinion was, you’re doing it wrong. You know, if you if you exceed people’s expectations, and you’re good at your job, and you stay in touch, typically things will sort of fall your way. And, and I found that to be to be true as well. And certainly, it seems to be true for you. So that’s awesome. I would love to talk about, you know, you got in in a very interesting time where you’re now you know, in your second full year, full time year, as a realtor, you’re having tremendous success. And then of course, you know, the pandemic hits, everything, or things move or change. But I know you’re as busy as ever, can you talk a little bit about what shifted for you and how you shifted to adjust for that?
Christine Nieva 26:14
Sure, that’s a great topic that I think a lot of realtors have been trying to figure out. So just to mention, I’m actually starting now my third year as of March. So in this year, when the when COVID came in, of course, there was a ton of uncertainty, there was so much gray area, what we could and couldn’t do, where we essential are we not. And when I was in when in those two week period in our area, I had to really make sure I was in touch with the real estate boards with all three states. And in order, once I found that out that we were able to do it, then I was able to market myself with my network who is actually currently in my pipeline, what to do next, when you are so obsessed with the details of what you can and cannot do today. And you are practicing way safe. It’s the right protocol, it satisfy the sellers or the buyers concern in terms of what the CDC guidelines are, and you’re constantly educating. And you know how to handle it. It’s you know, in our industry, it’s called handling objections. But for me, it’s solving their concern. And I see it as like, like a patient who’s super scared for their surgery. And in this case, they the clients or my network are afraid to do something in real estate today. So when they start those conversations with me, first, you’ve already established yourself as a figure two as a resource, because you know, all the things that’s occurring today in this market, when you know the facts today in this current situation and what you’re able to do, they’re going to pick your brain. So be prepared to answer those questions. They’re going to usually say what rates have been so low? Is that going to be something that’s beneficial? Absolutely. If you’re a buyer, this is now the time to go. But then if you’re a seller, I don’t know if I want to list my house on the market. Well, actually, right now sales have been less, but even listings have been significant last, did you know that you’ve put your house on the market now we’re going to implement safe protocols, you’re all the agents and the decision makers are the only ones allowed through the door, they wear a mask, they weren’t gloves, the only thing being touching your house is just the front door by that agent. no kids, no other immediate family, when they come in, they all the lights are already on. They don’t have to touch any lights. And you have to teach them to that this is Don’t you think it’s safe, safer than a grocery store, you go to a grocery store, people don’t wear gloves. We’re here requiring, you know, prospective clients to go through the sellers house with gloves. And when people touch products at the grocery store, they put them back hot and potentially could be you know, I mean, generally safe grocery stores are safe. So when you’re constantly finding methods to satisfy their concerns, it actually become way more comfortable and they are going to be able to say alright, I’m actually ready to suit this year, I want to take advantage of the rain, or I want to take advantage of getting the highest net for my house because there’s such a demand for it, the prices are going to push up for it and have more favorable favorable terms as a seller. And because of that when I started that message I had put in right now I’m about two thirds close in escrow more than 10 million, it’s only May, I’m already two thirds of the way I’m closing close north by myself as a solo agent between 25 Possibly 30 million with a transaction coordinator and assurances but that said I’m still so aged for the most part. But because of this marketing the shift my message is no longer open houses just listed. We just sold it the messages. We just closed the contract here. It was a very scary time but my client actually got a $75,000 equity just from the appraisal and the closing costs covered Wow because the seller decided that they were so motivated in the first two weeks from quarantine happen and then seeing thing for the seller side, we were able to get the highest square price per square footage in our property. Because Christine actually guided me and told me that there is such a demand of buyers. And when when that occurred, I have actually put it under contract like 4 million the past five weeks.
D.J. Paris 30:18
That’s incredible. Yeah, it’s we have to remember that, you know, people still need to move. And now with rates being as low as they are in inventory probably being lower than normal in most areas of the country. This is a wonderful time, if you are courageous enough, and have the time and the energy and the emotional wherewithal to go through the process like now is a really good time, because it sort of benefits all all sides. And of course, we hope that that continues, and hopefully things will go back to normal here shortly as well. But it doesn’t seem like it slowed you down at all. So so now that you’re you’re doing a lot of closings, you’ve done already 10 million this year, which is beyond incredible. What are you doing on a day to day basis, sort of to stay busy outside of working with the clients you have, you know, how is your day shifted? Or has it not really shifted?
Christine Nieva 31:14
It’s shifted a lot. And I think because of the time I took away from making the drive to the office chatting up with the agents, it saved a ton of time, I think that’s why I’m probably busier. Because right when I wake up, it’s straight into first, you know, kind of enjoying and taking time for yourself and having peace and planning your day. And then once I’m on that computer, once I have my phone in front of me, I mean, I pretty much attack, the way I see it is like oh my gosh, I have to protect my business, or else. I told everybody that I’m not coming back to nursing and my plan is to stick that stay that way, I don’t want to be the agent that wasn’t able to shift during shifting market. So in my day to day process is essentially the same, but I tried to group no showings closer to or appointments towards the afternoon now. Because that way, I can really focus on a lot of lead generation and follow up in the morning, which I think is pretty much the same for for a really successful top producer. But I think that more so being careful. And essentially also making enough time for showings and appointments, making sure you don’t have a client be in the same room as the other one as the other family that’s inside the property. But aside from that, it’s and also I actually moved to this new house, and I now have a gym downstairs. So that same time from the drive and the commute and the chit chat with you know, friends at the gym. So a lot of these changes really happened because of the shift and in many good ways. And I think that I had such always had a positive thought on things. And fear really drives me a lot to fear loss fear of like failing. And I think that’s why things turn out the way they are right now. The past few Yes,
D.J. Paris 32:54
yeah. And fear gets a bad rap. I mean, we certainly none of us would ideally like to be motivated by fear, we’d love it if it was the carrot versus the stick. But to be honest, I am a lot more motivated when fear isn’t involved. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think, you know, and I don’t mean you should, you know, live in in a constant state of arousal or a constant state have a fight or flight obviously, that’s not going to be helpful, but this idea that you just said this and he said it very quickly, but I want to I want to just bring back to you said I need to protect my business, which is which is really a fear based comment, not a negative comment. It’s a very, it’s actually a very, very intelligent and sophisticated way to look at your businesses it is something to protect which means you have to work at it every now I’m not saying you you already know this but for our listeners, you need to work at it every single day and protect it because as it continues to grow your you have you’re gonna have more and more responsibility and you have to really think about how am I going to utilize my time because it is your business whether it’s part time or full time this is your career or a career that you’re embarking on and you do have to protect it you have to protect your time you have to protect your energy and you have now found you know through through you know what we’ve we’re all going through is that you found some efficiencies you found ways to actually you know give yourself more time by obviously you’re now you’re probably not able to go into the office as much but you’re able to do everything from home your gyms now downstairs. So there’s there’s a lot to sort of find. And those are all ways to protect it. And you know what? I’m so glad you said that. I think that’s a really interesting take on on your on a practice.
Christine Nieva 34:41
I love that you shared that to DJ protecting your time and protecting your business. Because all too often one of the things I’ve heard a while back a couple of years ago they said that you’re either in real estate with a business or hobby. And you know, there are times where I feel like it is a hobby because I love it a lot. But at the end of the day you ignore Ready to have closing 6090 180 days out what it is all has an effect with what you do today. So when I came into the Sheila shift when the COVID the quarantine came in, I knew that there was going to be probably a, you know, a halt in business maybe. And it depended on my mindset, it was either I was going to take on all the news as negative thoughts and be fearful as well, or am I going to shift that and be a support system for my network that actually does still need to move. So because of that mindset, I knew that was how I would protect my time was to change my mindset first and be positive, it’s this is temporary, we just have to make sure we shift in a way that’s safe. And it’s positive for a client, it’s so beneficial for them, and they’re actually happy to still move on because you’re right, people seem to move.
D.J. Paris 35:50
Yeah, and I would like to ask you too, about learning your market, and how much time you put into that, or how often especially when you were first starting up, how critical was it for you to really understand, you know, inventory, average price points, neighborhoods, I know, you know, DC area, it can can be quite large, including the suburbs, you know, how important was it for you to kind of localize and say, okay, you know, I you’re licensed in three states, right? And all of a sudden, it’s like, okay, there’s a lot to learn here. How did you build that into your day to start learning inventory and just facts and figures to be able to then help clients?
Christine Nieva 36:32
That’s a really good question. So I could probably answer it. The first way is, I use the MLS a lot. I saw that as a golden, you know, database for information. So prior to me meeting with a client, whether it was in person two, three years ago, I would already have researched that specific neighborhood they wanted, because there’s so much information out there from Google schools. And in our area, we have something called Get Smart Charts. And these Smart Charts would already pull up the statistics for that specific zip code they were looking in. So I just memorized it. And there was that, and then the other components, which was like, Hey, are, you know, the school is so important for us. And although you should refer them to their own, you know, what does that school great schools are, or you can still give some insight to that, hey, here are the ratings. It’s your own personal perspective of what you think is a good school. But this is everything for you. And it was it was such a customized plan. Think of it as like a meal plan, you got someone who’s diabetic, someone who’s athletic, someone who has a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not going to give a sedentary lifestyle person, you know, 5000 calories that way Michael Phelps has, it has to be so accustomed to that. So going back to studying that market, and making sure you’re so hyperlocal, you also have to assess who you’re who your clients, and who’s your network, who are the ones that will actually relate to you the most. And in the beginning, a lot of it for me were millennials, because they saw me as someone that was equal to them. And eventually, of course, as I gained so much knowledge, when I was referred to someone older, who I might not relate to as much, and all they see is my young face, I look like I’m 18. Once they speak with me, they know how much knowledge I have, because of the questions they ask. And it’s specific to them. And then they’re just blown away. They’re just like, alright, let’s meet. And I think that when you know, your resources, your facts, your MLS, the statistics, the inventory, what is the absorption rate? What is the turnover rate on certain neighborhoods that you want to market? When you are when you’re very familiar for that for a specific client, you’re just going to be able to earn that trust right away. That’s how you’re hired is because of your source of knowledge.
D.J. Paris 38:39
Yeah, and right now, I think we well, most of us have a little bit more time than we may have when things are back to normal. And now’s a great time to really up that knowledge. And if you even if you just spent 30 minutes a day, studying your MLS, learning the price points, seeing what the inventory looks like, and expanding your knowledge, even if it’s okay, well, I know this neighborhood really well, well maybe added the adjacent neighborhood now now you have some time. And within you know, a month or two, you’re gonna know more than the vast majority of other realtors also looking to service that area, obviously over you know, extrapolate that out for for several years, doing 30 minutes a day, and you’re going to be like the biggest expert ever. And so Christina is absolutely right is is take the time to really learn the market because at the end of the day, really nothing’s more important than that is being able to provide value. And the only way you can provide value is is understanding, you know, the the the area and what’s available. So, so, so great there. Thank you for that. I would love to totally shift gears because you wrote a we always ask all of our guests just a peek behind the curtain to share a couple of experience they have and like 90% of the time. Your guests are so nice. They like right off these long experiences and then I never get to them and so you wrote out a really interesting one. I Could you hear it? Can you tell us the squatter story? Do you mind? Yeah,
Christine Nieva 40:03
sure. So this happened two months ago, actually, two weeks before the quarantine hit. And I had a client that I showed a picture of this really small single family too. And you know, when you’re just going about opening up the lockbox and I got the key, it just could not open. And usually, you know, you give it a couple minutes. Sometimes you pull it out, or maybe put it in a little bit more. But I mean, I guess at this point, you become an expert door opener, sometimes a locksmith, and I could not open it. I call the agent and I say, hey, walk me through this. He walked me through it, nothing happened. And then he says, I think I know what’s going on. I said, Hey, look, we’re on a time schedule. I’m gonna go to the next property, figure it out. We’ll reschedule and then he calls me later in the evening. And he says, hey, it sounds to be exactly what I thought there were squatters that have raided that house. They change the locks. They, they had, they knew the codes of the lockbox. And they went in, they’ve already made themselves at home. Literally, they have furniture, food groceries. And
D.J. Paris 41:05
so when they took the key from the lockbox, they used it to enter the property, then they changed the locks. So those keys wouldn’t work any any longer.
Christine Nieva 41:13
Yeah, exactly. And then moved in essentially, I love it pretty much moved in, like they were the brand new owners. And this is the part that really got me and I thought, Man, this this guy’s crazy. He said, You know, this is like the 30th house. It’s happened the past few years, I thought, how Oh, I thought that this would sound like it’s brand new. He’s like, no happens all the time. And I thought, man, if, if I’m a seller, I don’t think I could hire him for that track record of getting getting a lot of prospective tenants entering and breaking and entering me because they noticed it’s his yard sign. He thought, oh, that’s the house. He’s listed. I know how to get in the same home.
D.J. Paris 41:50
You know what, I’ll bet you that’s exactly how it happened. That makes all that makes perfect sense. Yeah, so So let’s another pro tip for everyone listening to change your lockbox codes. When you get a new property? Don’t I’ll bet you I would bet I wonder what the percentage is of realtors that keep the same lockbox code for years and years and years. Because they bought the you know, a $20 lockbox on Amazon and just set it up once and never again. Yeah, let’s Wow, that is a that’s an amazing story. So yes, let’s let’s all change our lockbox codes today, probably good idea to change all of our online passwords once in a while to and while we’re at it. Because you know, it’s funny, I get hacked. Speaking of a similar that I get hacked with my credit card, I would say every two years, you know, somebody somehow gets my credit card number, because I keep the same password for every single account I have, they somehow get in, and then they spent like $10,000.30 minutes on things. And thankfully, you know, it all gets resolved. I don’t have to pay it. But that’s because I’m stupid enough to use the same password every time. So don’t Don’t be like DJ, change your lockbox codes and your online passwords. But know that that’s a really that’s a that’s a funny story. But I’m glad I’m glad that eventually got resolved. It sounds like so. Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then, you know, look, I also wanted to talk about, you know, this idea of as, as we’re wrapping up here, about, you know, any final tips you have for agents that are struggling right now, look, you know, we have to remember, of course, our listeners, to the listeners, rather, is that, you know, your clients aren’t the only ones that you know, need support and help and you you need support and help too. And I know, Christine, you have been kind of a lone wolf, I obviously I’m sure you have lots of great brokers at your firm that you can bounce ideas off of. But are you also staying connected to other realtors right now either through? Maybe you have an accountability partner or you just have people that you bounce, you know, thoughts and ideas with how are you staying motivated?
Christine Nieva 43:47
I’m thankful that yes, you brought that up DJ. So last, I’ve actually hired a coach for my salaries kettleby. Coach, last April 2019. And my contract actually was time to renew just last April. And that was right at the time when the you know, the quarantine came in I thought all right, I gotta save money. I can’t spend money on this. And I just thought, I don’t know if the coach is really the coach from the whole year really helped me. But then I actually renewed because I figured that this was the time for me to be more accountable to mastermind with other realtors. What are they they were doing in their market? And those masterminds, the networking, aside from the one on one coaching, those were actually where I got the ideas, what were they doing differently that I could do in my market? One that they’re they’re not competing realtors in my market. So when I came in that whatever they were doing, I copied a little bit about of it and then did it my own way. That helped a lot. I think that networking with realtors I think is even more imperative now. You need to actually maybe buddy up their accountability partner, even if it was like a five minute Morning Call huddle say hey, I’m gonna be able to have 20 conversations Today with my network, or I’m gonna follow up with 20 people my database, and boom, that’s it five minutes, and then check at the end of the day and see Hey, how’d you do? What’s the tally mark? But but that’s it. But now the way that our minds our work, we do more for others than we do for ourselves, sometimes percent. And I think when you tell someone either out loud or even if it was your family, will families too forgiving, so go with like friends or people in the business? If you tell them what you’re about to do, you’re more likely to set out to do it. So definitely masterminding accountability partner. And if you do have a coach, make keep them. It’ll help a lot.
D.J. Paris 45:36
Yeah, boy, yeah. You just said a lot of great things there. And that’s the thing for anyone listening who thinks I can afford a coach? Yeah, maybe not today, you know, and that’s okay. But what you can, what you can do is you can start reaching out to other realtors in your market and saying, Hey, are you struggling with staying on top of various tasks? I mean, when you work for yourself, you can’t be perfect. You can’t do everything on your own getting help, whether it’s a coach or accountability partner or reaching out to your the managing broker your office and saying I need some help with my day to day activity or whatever. Setting up that structure. I will tell you, this is embarrassing, but it reminds me because I have I have hired a coach from the Philippines. So So shout out to to your to your homeland there for this is, I wish I wish I was saying this in a different way. Because it’s going to make me sound like I’m the world’s most irresponsible person. But the truth is, for the last three years, a woman from the Philippines, a lovely woman named Olga who I absolutely adore. She calls me every morning at 7:30am. Now, this is not real estate related. But she asks me about 15 questions every day. They’re all things I should be doing on a daily basis. So essentially, we’re talking about accountability. She asks me, and I pay her a fee to do this once a week, our phone calls last 90 seconds. That’s about it. And she’s never missed a day. She’s like the most important person just about my life right now. Because one of those questions is, Did you clean the litter box for the cat? No, I have had a cat, I’ve had cats pretty much my entire life, I should be pretty used to cleaning litter boxes twice a day, which is what my goal is, and it takes all of seven seconds to clean the litter box each time. So it’s not a big time commitment. And I’ve been doing it for most of my life. And yet, I still need her to ask me every morning at 7:30am Hey, DJ, did you clean the litter box yet, and sometimes, sometimes I will have forgotten and just her reminding me of it, I race over clean it and then run to the office. So it sounds silly to have accountability partners for things that you go well, I should just automatically be doing that. But of course, you’re not going to be perfect at everything. So this is a great opportunity. And I’m using it in a non real estate example. But we all have any areas of our life where you can find accountability partners. You know, mine is mine, his name is all from the Philippines, which I love her she’s the best. Hopefully one day maybe I’ll get a chance to meet her in person. But but you know, so far, I have somebody that calls me every morning. And if I was smarter, I’d probably pay her extra and have her call me at the end of every day to but I haven’t quite figured that out. But it’s the best money I spend. And because she keeps me accountable. Same thing with our podcast, I have Zonta she’s our casting director, she’s the best she does everything that I struggle with doing and she does it better than I can do it. So I have you know, I think that, you know, finding people that can help you and that you can help is so important. And it doesn’t even need to cost money. You know, Brian Buffini who most people have probably heard of Buffini and company, one of the largest real estate training centers and maybe the largest, I think they are in the country for about 30 years. He started and he had an accountability partner. And he said, here are the five things I want to do every day. And as the guy’s other name is Joe Nago. He’s actually a Chicago guy. And they would call each other twice today and say, Did you do your thing? Oh, okay, great. Did you do your thing, and it’s, it helped them. And it obviously helps you with your coach and your accountability team as well. And also, because this is where Facebook comes in really, really handy. Forget about coaching, I mean, do coaching. But in addition to that, even if you don’t do coaching, there are so many realtor mastermind groups online, there are on Facebook, they want you to join and every day even if you browse for three minutes, you’re gonna get a really good idea. And it’s going to keep you motivated. And it’s going to just get your mindset correct. And you’re looking for an accountability partner post on on one of those groups, hey, I need somebody to check in with every day, you will get so many people that reach out to you and then you can find a good fit and it could be somebody from all the way across the country or the world even it really doesn’t matter.
Christine Nieva 49:43
I love that you share that DJ because you just hit it in the nail everywhere. I do you want to also add for the realtors that are listening, how to catapult themselves whether it’s now or in their future. And actually I don’t know why I missed this when I was commuting on An hour to work in my to my nursing job full time and then eventually part time. So I invested myself in podcasts actually, I studied what the people were already doing. So good at it. And I tried every single one of them. I didn’t have analysis paralysis, one second, in that 30 minutes, you just said where you spend 30 minutes just to read the unsteady the MLS inventory. For me it was that commute. If you have a job right now, and you’re actually right now nobody’s driving as much. But let’s just say when we get back into things, in those 30 minutes or one hour, whatever commute for me that back then was two hours a day, four times a week, multiply that over two years, I had 280 hours with a podcast, real estate producers that I already absorbed. And I knew how to execute that. I didn’t start it from scratch, I study from what people already did.
D.J. Paris 50:55
Yeah, they say they call that standing on the shoulders of giants, right stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before you by learning what that is they do. And thank goodness, we have technology like podcasts that make it very easy to distribute this kind of content. You know, 30 years ago, it didn’t really exist, there just wasn’t that many opportunities to and a lot of it was behind lock and key if you wanted access to, you know, this kind of information, you had to pay for it. And now you know, it’s basically all free. How great is that? So I think this is a wonderful final point to wrap up on. But I also want to for anyone in the DC area that is looking for a realtor like Christine who’s who’s young, she She’s aggressive, she’s on top of things. And she’s extraordinarily professional, and clearly incredibly successful. What’s the best way that any, like a buyer or a seller and investor might want to reach out to you?
Christine Nieva 51:51
Sure my actual work phone is 202-924-6078. You can also reach me on my email Christine at Neva inc.com. Or just like one of the websites that you mentioned earlier, Christine neva.com, or follow me through social media Instagram is christine.me Eva.
D.J. Paris 52:11
And that’s Christine with a ch and the EVA is n i e V A. So Christine eva.com. It’s got links to all our other stuff there too. And you can email or contact her directly through that website. Christine, thank you on behalf of the audience, I want to thank you for spending time with us. I know how busy you are, and your energy is infectious. And I know all of the listeners are going to have well, by the time they hear me say this, they will have already heard you. So I know they have appreciated this interview. So thank you on behalf of them. And then also on behalf of Christina and myself, we want to thank the listeners for not only continuing to support our show and listening to our episodes, but also for telling a friend think of one other real estate agent that you can think of that could benefit from hearing this interview with Christine and send them a link you can find us on our website, every episode we’ve ever done is can be streamed there, which is I was gonna say Christine neva.com. That’s your website. Our website is keeping it real pod.com. Although go to Christine’s website anyway. But go to ours to keeping it real pod.com and tell a friend, and that’ll help keep our show rolling. And also one last thing for everyone who is using a podcast app like Apple podcast, formerly iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or Pandora worked. We’re on all those platforms. Leave us a review. Let us know what you think of the show. Even if you hate the show. Leave us a review. Of course we hope you don’t. But we want to hear that feedback so that we know what how to continually improve us and also send us a message. Let us know any thoughts you have about what we can do to further help you in your real estate career. Christine, thank you so much for being on our show. We’re so excited to continue to watch your growth in real estate. You’re crushing it. You’re a total superstar already in your now third year at full time, which is beyond incredible. And we just wish you the very best and thanks again.
Christine Nieva 54:03
DJ, thank you so much for having me. It’s been such a pleasure. And whatever I can do to increase the knowledge with our broker community. I’m all about it. Thank you so much for taking the time today.
D.J. Paris 54:13
You’re welcome. Thank you
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