Lance Kirshner, head of LAKE Group at Compass in Chicago shares how he started in real estate as an appraiser, before becoming a real estate agent. With experience in both appraisals and brokerage he believes a successful real estate transaction includes three essential steps. He also gives his thoughts on teams and why they’re becoming the preferred path. Lance also discusses how his group is keeping their business growing during the pandemic with disciplined outreach to their clients and sphere.
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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 Chicago legend Lance Kirschner. But before we get to Lance, a couple of quick announcements number one we just revamped our website you may have been listening for years and didn’t even know we had a website because you’re probably listening through a podcast app but we encourage you to check out our site we rebuilt it from the ground up it’s super easy to navigate and you can actually even look for just the episodes that that interest you and also the categories of shows that we do where we have regular guests on if you want to you know hyper focus in though that particular category you can do that right on our website. So that’s keeping it real pod.com Again, keeping it real pod.com You can stream every episode we’ve ever done there. So check it out, let us know if you like it and if it’s easy for you to use. Also please follow us on Facebook you can find firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod everyday we post an article that we find online written by a journalist was specifically designed to help you grow your business we post it there along with all of our other episodes. So please find us facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod as always guys, thanks for listening. Thanks for telling a friend and now on to our interview with Lance Kirschner.
Okay today on the show we have Lance Kirschner from the late group at Compass. Now backed by more than 16 years of experience Lance is an award winning Chicago real estate expert specializing in concierge level service that makes every transaction seamless and successful. He is the founder and leader of the late group at Compass, which is a dynamic team that embraces his mission of superlative service market knowledge and creative collaboration. Real estate has been a lifelong passion for Lance, he acquired his license while earning his bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois. Lance is also a certified residential appraiser, which gives his clients a distinct advantage when pricing their property. Lance and his team believes in fostering meaningful relationships that last as clients needs evolve. This people centric approach has placed the group among the top 1% of Chicago realtors, Lance has closed nearly 200 million in transactions over his career and he was honored to receive the 2019 industrie MVP award from Chicago agent magazine. Lance resides in here in Chicago and Roscoe village with his wife, Amanda and their two golden doodles. Lance Welcome to the show. Oh, and before I’m sorry, before Lance, please find Lance online at Lance K. That’s la nck.com. And on Instagram, which is at broker Lance Lance, welcome to the show.
Lance Kirshner 3:59
Thanks so much for having me. I’m definitely excited to be here.
D.J. Paris 4:03
Yeah, we are to you are at the very top of our list when we first started this four years ago. And so we’re so we know how busy you are. So we appreciate you finding the time to do this. It’s a big thrill for us. And you know, you’ve been a broker for gosh, 16 plus years, you’ve seen some ups and downs in the market, obviously, now is a trickier time. But I’d like to go all the way back to the beginning of your career, if you don’t mind and sort of share with us how you got into real estate.
Lance Kirshner 4:32
Definitely a long road and that’s one thing I really love about real estate is that everyone has their own story and their own path into into the industry. For me, it was kind of on the peripheral in terms of the fact that my mother was a Chicago Public Schools teacher and she actually got her real estate license and she had zero interest in selling real estate but she did it because My aunt was a managing broker at Coldwell Banker in Deerfield. And basically would pay my mother just to have open houses at a couple developer model units in the summer. And so I remember my mother doing open houses on a Saturday or Sunday, and that’s all she did was, you know, set these open houses for the developer at these, you know, model homes. And oftentimes, that left me in the backyard of a model home, but playing for two hours while while my mother was inside working, you know, so that that kind of put it on my radar, but never really had any strong interest in it until college. I was getting my degree in entrepreneurship. And I had a professor who, who said something that really resonated with me, he said, Hey, half of you guys are going to go in business are going to go into sales of some sort. So he said, you know, if you’re going to sell something, sell something really expensive. You know, he had said, you, if you sell mattresses, you need to sell 1000s of mattresses in order to make a lot of money. So that really hit home. And, you know, the same professor had, you know, during an aside said to me, you know, you have a really good personality, in terms of connecting with people. I think that, you know, real estate might be a good industry for you, and kind of was just a light bulb that was like, hey, you know, yeah, that that does sound interesting.
You know, so that was my senior year of college, I was 21 years old. So I went and got my license, while still going to still get my bachelor’s degree. And so I did so down in Champaign, and I was amongst many second flash third career people. So a lot of people in my class were, you know, 3040 50 years old, getting their license, and they kind of looked at me, and were like, What are you doing here? You know, so I don’t know, being a, you know, a 21 year old college kid, I was like, Hey, I’m gonna, I’m going to sell real estate. So. So fast forward, I graduated. And obviously, being 2122 years old, you don’t have a vast network of people looking to buy and sell. So I took a look, took a look at the industry and said, you know, what else can I do right now. And so that’s where I became a leasing agent. And so moved up here to Chicago spent my first two years as a leasing agent, little shout out to Chicago apartment finders back where it all started. And, you know, being right out of college, I kind of took a college student approach to the industry in terms of, I was like, let me just study, you know, I know school, I know how to study for stuff. And so I started making flashcards of the streets, you know, we’re on a grid system smart and and literally learned, I could tell you every street from smack down in the south loop all the way up through, you know, Howard, up in Rogers Park, and I can tell you every Street West all the way out to Cicero, you know, and I literally just use flashcards and I started learning the neighborhoods started running all over with, with clients doing rentals, which, you know, is just a simplified, you know, purchase or sale transaction. So, so it really let me get my bearings on what was going on here, here in Chicago. So, again, fast forward two years, you know, now I’m 24, still not ready to jump in full time into sales. So again, I didn’t want to stay as a rental agent just because it is easy to get burned out. And so appraising got on my radar. So I went and got my second license, I became a real estate appraiser, and just started going to small appraisal companies saying, who’s looking for an appraiser. And that landed me at an appraisal company that had an office in Roscoe village and one out in in Elmhurst area. They had about 15, appraisers and the owner of the company, you know, recognized my ambition and hustle and knowledge of just neighborhoods and whatnot and said, You know, I went and spent the next five years appraising. So, you know, I was doing everything from condos to four unit buildings, you know, doing them for banks, attorneys, state planning, all sorts of different different things. And so, while I was appraising you know, my network started to grow and I started doing some sales on the side and, and so at this juncture, I had been appraising for about five years and I was doing about anywhere from two to $4 million in volume moonlighting as an agent while I was working full time as an appraiser. And yeah, and so I had another shout out, I will give credit to Janine McShea, who’s still over at at properties at the time she, she, she said to me, she said, What are you doing, you know, three to 4 million in sales on the side, you know,
D.J. Paris 10:27
which which, which is a decent production for even a full time, it’s not a great production, but it’s a decent production for a full time agent, and you were doing it on the side,
Lance Kirshner 10:36
totally. And so she said, you know, you really should should commit to sales, I think that you really have a knack here, especially with the appraisal background as well. And so, you know, when I was appraising I was seeing these agents, I’d meet them out for an appraisal, and some of them were doing 10 15 million and no offense to my industry, but some of them just didn’t seem super ambitious or together. And I said, you know, I can do that, I can do that. And so, you know, I left a very cushy position, appraising because I had a great business as far as appraisal work goes, and more appraisal work than I could handle. And I took the scary plunge and became a full time agent. So that was not great timing, because that was in 2009 2010, after the crash. But my my mentality was, hey, if I can build my business during the downtime, that when the market really rebounded, I would be really set up for success. And so in 2009, December of 2009, I remember remember, well, I moved my license over. And I became my career as a full time real estate agent and said, you know, hey, it’s great to have the appraisal knowledge, but I really want to focus on building my business. And so, from 2009 to 2012, I was a sole practitioner, very end of 2012, I added my first team member, and then it’s been a strategic process from the end of 2012. Now, here we are, you know, seven and a half, eight years later. There’s five of us full time brokers on the team, we are a boutique team, I would say. But, you know, here we are, you know, in the past two years, we’ve done 40 plus million each year. And, you know, obviously, we’re looking to grow that and hopefully, we’re looking to expand to 50 plus million for the team. Yeah, that’s it’s
D.J. Paris 12:41
an incredible story. And so I think so many agents who start out, and I say agents only because certain parts of the country still call them agents, or I should just say maybe realtors or whatever. But, but so many brokers start out doing leasing. However, a very, you probably saw it with leasing is so few of those leasing agents really make the transition to full brokerage. And it’s kind of a shame, because if you’re good at leasing, there’s a chance that you just have to adjust your skill set, learn, learn more, but that same discipline and customer service really translates perfectly well. And it’s a great way, like you were saying, to just really even learn the geography of the city or the community that you serve, you know, you’ll learn every apartment building, you’ll you just a great way to get introduced to the business and, and then to add on an appraisal on top of that, I imagine that gives you you know, not that you’re necessarily competing with other brokers, I’m sure at this point for listings, but if you were to be competing, oh, by the way, I’m a certified appraiser. And I did that for five years brings in additional, you know, value add to the client, which a lot of brokers have never done. So that that’s, that’s pretty awesome.
Lance Kirshner 13:58
Absolutely. You know, I think that there’s definitely some clients that recognize the value of the appraisal license more than others. But I think it’s it’s hugely beneficial for working with both buyers and sellers. You know, I’m very data driven in every thing that I do, in terms of pricing out properties, both for buyers and sellers. And I think that this is really attributed to having my appraisal license now at this juncture for 14 going on 15 years, is that I’m so in tune to market data. So when I talk to buyers, I say hey, you know, it’s just not my experience in the field in terms of selling but also being able to look at numbers really pegged what the the proper price is, you know, for this property, which ultimately helps with negotiations. The same comps or comparables, you know, that I present to my buyers are the same thing that I’m utilizing in terms of negotiations. With list agents and sellers, you know, on the flip side for the listings, you know, sure everyone wants, you know, the most money for their property when they’re selling. But, you know, I tell clients in order to have a successful sale, there’s really three parts that they need to hit on. One is getting the property ready, you know, the preparations, the upgrades, the repairs, that that’s on them, to having incredible marketing, and that’s where my team, you know, and my brokerage compass come into play. But the third piece is, is pricing. And really, if you mess up on any one of these facets, it really does blow the whole deal. So I tell people, Hey, you can have just an impeccable place, it looks like you can eat off the floor. And I can come up with just the most incredible marketing collateral via virtual tours and brochures, and digital ads, and all those things of nature. But buyers are not stupid. You know, we’re in an age where there’s so much data out there. So I can’t just artificially pull a price out of thin air, you know, I think that it needs to be much more methodical in terms of pricing out the property. And, you know, that’s something that I talk to my sellers about. And I think that our, our sales have really shown that we do know how to do that well, because over the past three years, we are averaging over 98%, sale to list price ratio, on top of having, you know, under 30 days, days on market for average listing time. So I tell people, hey, you know, it’s a team effort, meaning I need them to work with my team as far as getting the place ready and getting marketing collateral in place. But, you know, I’m going to do the research, and I’m going to present my case as to why I think we need to be listed at a certain spot and positioning in the market. You know, for the past few years, you know, as we saw the market rebound from 2013, call it through 2018. I think 2019 kind of leveled off. For the most part, I think that you, you could be a little bit more aggressive with pricing. But as pricing gets a little flat, or coming out of something like we’re dealing with now with COVID, I do think that the market is extremely price sensitive in terms of pricing our properties. So in an appreciation or appreciating market, you have a little bit more leeway in a flat or declining market, I think it is just incredibly important to have that pricing down from from the onset, not only to garner a, an offer, but also we’re seeing appraisal issues kind of peak their ugly head again, which was something that we dealt with quite a bit at the downturn, from oh eight through 2012. And I think that having a broker that can speak to the pricing and sales prices and have the the data driven support that we do is a huge advantage, because I do find that we are running into less appraisal issues than some of my colleagues that that I’m talking to and then history.
D.J. Paris 18:15
So I bet there’s a lot of listeners right now thinking, oh, what appraisal issues? Are you seeing, obviously, as a top producer, and somebody who also is an appraiser. Can you mind sharing? What some of the challenges that that you’re seeing in the industry right now regarding appraisals?
Lance Kirshner 18:31
Sure. I mean, you know, oftentimes sellers say, Well, why do I care who the lender is, or, you know, they’re always looking for that highest price, but they have to keep in mind that the bank is lending on that asset, based on what the market value is. So just because some maybe some people got into a bidding war, that does not necessarily mean that the sales data out there supports that purchase price. So it’s really important that like, yes, it’s great for you to go under contract, but you also need to be able to appraise out in order for that buyer to get that loan. So you know, sometimes it’s there, there’s a piece of data that’s kind of hurting you like obviously, everyone knows, like, you see a sale and you’re like, Wait, why’d that sell for so cheap or whatnot? So I think it’s important to be able to speak to that issue. And one thing that I talked to a lot of my colleagues about is that we should be creating these appraisal packets for the appraisers for when they come through to oftentimes I find that some of my colleagues come to me with issues and they’re, they’re saying, Hey, I ran into this low appraisal, and I’m like, Well, did you provide comps? Did you talk to him about why that sale was low? You know, if you have any insight analogize to like, why that one sale was offer whatnot. So what we are Doing is being proactive in terms of creating a whole appraisal packet for the appraiser when they come through. And what we’re trying to do is put our best foot forward. And, you know, this is something I talked to my team about in terms of being proactive on the front end, so you don’t run into issues as opposed to being reactive, hey, sold this place Praiser came in totally undercut me, now I have to do a, you know, an appraisal appeal, or try to convince that buyer to switch lenders to start start the process over or whatnot. So I tell people like, hey, yes, there is a process for an appraisal appeal, but the percentage of appraisal heels that are very, very low. So you know, spending that hour putting together the appraisal packet on the front end, could save you hours upon hours of headache on the back end. So really my message that is just being proactive on the front end?
D.J. Paris 20:55
Yeah, that’s a huge tip that Lance just gave, and I just want to reiterate that because our audience, you know, if they weren’t paying super close attention, they might have missed it, which is what what Lance and his team do is they actually provide comps and data for the appraiser to help them with the appraisal process. And I’ve heard that advice before, I don’t know that anyone’s shared it on the show before. So I really appreciate you doing that. And it just helps the appraiser do their job better. And some may or may not be all as open to the information you’re providing. But there’s zero downside and saying, Here’s what we put together. Hopefully this helps you. And you know, you do it sort of with a smile. I imagine when you were an appraiser that was probably with it was agents that you that you trusted and liked and and weren’t trying to convince you one way that wasn’t, you know what you were going to do anyway, I imagine you were really grateful that people would help you put that information together.
Lance Kirshner 21:52
Absolutely. And I don’t think it’s just the comps. When we put together the appraisal packet, it’s, you know, we’re giving them a copy of the executed contract, we’re giving them the assessor records, we’re giving them a floor plan, if it’s available, we are giving them the comps with notes. Because a lot of times we do have insight as to some of these sales, I absolutely do call agents on the buy side or sell side for insight. So I will include this project information for condo associations who they need to contact. My whole thing is, you know, when we do an appraisal, it’s an indicated range. Yes, we do have to pick a number, but it’s an indicated range. Okay. So if I can present a good case as to why our sales price is within range, as well as make their job as easy as possible, you know, more times than not, you know, if it is very close, you know, we’re gonna get the nod. Again, you know, as, as you mentioned, you know, appraisers need to be completely, you know, objective, you know, in terms of what they’re, they’re trying to put the information and so I’m not trying to, like, bribe them, but just, you know, again, that’s my job to make our case as to you know, where, where we came in. And so that’s something that I talked to both sellers, the team appraisers, I’m like, Hey, this is this is the number, here’s how we derived it. And so, again, if if I can make their job a little bit easier, hopefully they can make my job a little bit easier.
D.J. Paris 23:22
Yeah, and I wonder what percentage of agents provide any sort of information for the appraiser? I would imagine it’s in the single digits.
Lance Kirshner 23:32
So very little, very little. So you know, oftentimes, when I was an appraiser, it was like pulling teeth trying to get some information. And I’m like, hey, you know, I’m, you know, and oftentimes, you have to remember that the appraiser is making the least amount of money, right? Then anyone in the transaction, the loan officers, the attorneys, they’re all making more than the appraiser, right? So my thing is, like, hey, you know, it is probably an underpaid job. But you know, the reality is that we’re just an industry that’s not going to pay $1,000 for an appraisal. So, you know, hey, if I can make your life a little bit easier, save you a little bit of time, you know, if I can give you applicable comparables, who’s to say that the appraiser maybe just doesn’t miss it when they’re looking that right? So, so again, you know, if I can highlight it, you know, if they don’t use it, because they think that they found better data that so be it, but you know, if I can highlight it, and they’re like, No, this is good, relevant information. Why would they not use it?
D.J. Paris 24:32
Yeah. Wow, it’s such a great tip. So hopefully everyone listening can start to think about how to, you know, help the appraisal process and this is a great opportunity, since we’re most of us in the country are probably restricted in in our mobility or we’re not as out and about or probably still, most of us stuck at home. So great opportunity to put to put together some of this information and start to think about what data could I provide to these professionals. As to help you know, this get pushed through a little faster and, and also maybe help make their job easier, which, as you said, hopefully will help make your job easier. So the number one question we get on the show, and I’m so glad I’m bringing, I’m bringing this up only because we do a pre interview process with our guests, Lance was kind enough to give us a ton of great information about himself and what he wanted to discuss. And one of the things he was he’s very passionate about is team building. So he built a team starting in 2012, he now has five, or maybe six total people, depending on how we’re counting it. But Lance has a good sized team, they do a ton of business. But the number one question we get from our listeners is, can you talk more about teams and whether individual practitioners should consider joining a team or maybe even developing their own team, my girlfriend’s a good example. She’s She’s a leasing consultant in house at a luxury building in the west loop. And she’s seeing all these brokers come through her building. And she’s like, I can do that. And she absolutely can do it. And so she’s now getting her license just as leasing license now, but it’s getting her broker license and now is trying to figure out, should I meeting her? Should she join a team right away? Or Should she go off on her own? And she’s trying to figure that out, too. So not just for new people, but can you talk Oh, and by the way, also, one last thing we we just did an interview with, we do a monthly episode with the clothes.com, which is a great real estate website. They’re fantastic. They publish articles, she teaching Realtors how to grow their business. But anyway, we do a monthly episode with them. And Chris Lindh Sal, who’s one of their senior editors said 2020 is the year of the team. So this is really apropos of of this conversation. We’d love to get your thoughts on on building a team, how that’s worked for you maybe even suggestions you have for agents thinking about doing it and and how to find the right team, if you’re looking to join one. And maybe why you should create one on your own. If you’re I know that’s that’s a lot to cover. But just your general thoughts on teams are would be really helpful.
Lance Kirshner 27:01
I do think that teams are here to stay in terms of you will see the expansion of it, just because I think that people have realized that is all about leverage. And by having by working together with with other brokers, they can leverage their skills to create more business. So I do think that it’s a trend that you’re going to continue to see. My overall opinion is that, like, a lot of the other realtors, there are good teams, and there are bad teams. I won’t call anyone out. But you know, I think that it all really, it does come down to what you’re looking for. There’s a couple of different motivations for why people build teams, I think sometimes they’re improper motivations. You know, I think that some people, okay, we had to build this team, and we’re going to make so much money off my team and everything else like that, which, for me, was never really a factor in terms of, okay, hey, I’m gonna make money off my team members. Because the reality is, I think that I give more than I take in terms of with the team. So, you know, there was no guideline no blueprint, necessarily, especially, you know, years ago. Now, I think that there’s more good examples to kind of follow along with in terms of how people have built out to their teams. And I was part of that. My first team member, I will give her the shout out Laura Dewey Landau, who just so happens, knows DJ well,
D.J. Paris 28:46
very well. Let me pause here for a second. Not only do I know her well, she’s her family, her parents and my parents are basically best friends. They are essentially best friends. My dad golf’s with her dad at least once or twice a week, it’s been doing that for 30 plus years, we grew up across the street from each other. So it’s a really just funny kind of coincidence, because we’ve been wanting Lance on the show. Since since we started this. Laura has always been on his team. But it’s funny because there are 44,000 agents in Chicago and I grew up across the street in central Illinois from one of them. And it just happens to be your your first team member and still your team, one of your team members.
Lance Kirshner 29:24
So yeah, so, you know, working with Laura was a great example. You know, I was looking to build out a team. Because I was my I felt the wave of my business getting built bigger. And I knew that Laura was looking to get out of leasing. She was still at Chicago harbor finders where I had originally met her and she had been doing that for years upon years. And so I knew she was looking to get into sales full time. And my business was built was growing. And so I convinced her to come over and I said hey, you know you can help me out a little bit first year I’ll help you get your bearings and hopefully this is mutually beneficial. The reality is that a lot of the work that I had Laura doing, she had no interest in. I had her, you know, and more power to her, you know, she was, you know, vocal about, hey, this is not exactly the role that I envisioned for myself, which, you know, I think oftentimes happens, you know, someone were to build a team, they come across someone who wants to get into real estate, and they like, basically leech on and they say, Hey, you’re on my team now, and let’s go. It wasn’t a great fit at first, you know. And so, what I found was what I really needed help with was I needed an administrative assistant. And so after that first year, what we did was we transitioned Laura into a Colace position. So she works on all my listings with me, which, you know, fast forward, seven and a half, eight years later, she’s still helping with so that was obviously the right move. And then I hired a administrative assistant. And so, you know, one of the things I will, you know, strongly advocate is for people who are going to build out a team kind of really define what you need, okay? What is your need, like? What do you not like doing or what do you not have time doing? And finding that person that fits that need, as opposed to just finding a person first and then saying, Okay, here’s what I need you to do, you know. So for me, I realized I had to become much more methodical in terms of dictating what my expectations were what I needed, from that person. And for each person that has joined my team, it’s been for a very specific role. I have, as I mentioned, I have Laura, who is coulis with me, Nancy Gordon is my buyer’s agent. I have Joanna Belbin, or Joanne Melbourne, who is my director of operations. She’s an amazing assistant slash Director of Operations. And then we added Christina to who handles all the rentals. And now she is actually starting to pick up with some of the auxilary listings and buyers that we have. But everyone’s had a very specific role. And so I found that I’m having much more success with the team, in terms of being very clear with what my expectations for them are, what I can help them with, you know, so that we can figure out a way to make it mutually beneficial. I think that too many times, team members or team leaders just think that they’re going to throw this team member on the team, and they’re going to grow it and it’s going to be great, and not really realizing that what some of the growing pains are in really kind of taking time and dedicating it to them in terms of okay, what can I help you with? What problems are you experiencing, you know, with, with our team meetings,
it is easy to get off track. So I definitely come in with an agenda for the meeting. And we run through everything that we need to talk to you that I have, and then it’s kind of open to the floor and saying, Okay, what else? What do you need me for? What can I help you with and, you know, everyone on my team knows that they have direct access to me, I mean, I talk to all of them pretty much on a on a daily basis. We, when the offices are, are open, which we are hoping will open again, we we very much are a team that’s in the office quite a bit. I know a lot of realtors work out of their home, which sure I am speaking to you from my house right now. And I work out of my house quite a bit too. But I would say in quote unquote normal times, you will find me in the office minimum four days a week, oftentimes five days a week, but always available to my team, literally seven days a week, as they’re working with buyers and sellers of their own, outside of just working on the deals that that I assigned them to as well. So I think that you know, long story short, my number one recommendation would be to make sure that they if you’re a broker looking to build out a team, make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for. And you’re very clear in what you are looking for when you’re hiring people. If you are on the other side and you’re looking to get into the industry, I think it’s an excellent opportunity to learn from someone but I also would warn people from just joining a team because they found someone who’s willing to take them on you know, it’s it’s kind of uh, not kind of it definitely is a pain to change brokerages. So I think that you know, really doing your homework and making sure it’s a good fit up front is really crucial in order to have long term success and fortunately, I think that we are doing things the right way. You know, as I mentioned, Laura’s been on the team this you know, later this year will be eight years for her that my my previous assistant Mary was with me for five years before she moved Over to California, not that she was looking to leave me in the team, but you know, life circumstances took her to the coast. But, Nancy, my buyer’s agent is going later this year will be five years for her on the team. So fortunately, you know, I’m finding people who, like how we integrate things like working with me and the rest of the team and have stuck with because I think that is definitely something that you see quite a bit with teams, just having team members or assistants come and go and just kind of a revolving process. And that’s just something that I was very adamant that I did not want to see for me or my business I, I like consistency, I don’t love change. You know, I definitely appreciate when I’ve been able to find someone who’s like committed, and I feel is a good fit for the team and be able to, to run with it.
D.J. Paris 35:57
Yeah, and I think now, that was all very well said, and I think now is kind of a unique opportunity. If somebody is is for our listeners are thinking, well, maybe I’d be a good fit for someone’s team is to, you know, really now start to have those conversations with other teams, and you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. And great, a great way to really sit down and write out here are my strengths. Here’s what I can offer a team, here’s where I think I could fit in, and then start, you know, start interviewing teams, you know, everyone’s doing zoom meetings now anyway, what a great opportunity to reach out and just say, Hey, I’m thinking about joining a team, you seem like you might be a good fit, here’s what I can offer, can we schedule a quick phone call? And Lance’s team is not currently taking on new aid and you know, they they’re at capacity right now. But lots of teams are are looking. So this is a great opportunity just to, you know, now that we’re all maybe just a little bit slower, although I’m sure Lance and his team aren’t, aren’t any slower. But a lot of agents listening maybe are right now. So this is a great opportunity just to see what teams are out there. And, and really come to the team with a proposal of sorts, like, here’s what I can do, and here’s where I’m strong. And here’s where I can add value. And I would say that’s probably the best the best chance and and remember to that team owners are or team leaders are business owners, I mean, you’re everyone who’s a real estate agents, probably their own business as well. But team leaders are running a business and, you know, give them a proposal. So here’s what I’m thinking, and see if it’s a good fit. And but yeah, I think the advice is very, very strong, which is to say, you know, don’t just join a team, because they’ll accept you or that, you know, you feel that it might be a good fit, like really sit and hammer out the details of what am I going to do for you? What are you going to do for me? How is this going to mutually benefit each other? So great advice there?
Lance Kirshner 37:48
Yeah, I you know, and and I love talking to other team leaders, because I don’t have all the answers. I think that for me after being in the business so long, you know, I know a lot of people in the industry and so absolutely, I try to get together with other team leaders to kind of find out what they’re doing. Because, you know, again, I don’t have all the answers, you know, I’m trying to figure things out just as much as everyone else’s as I grow my team. And so, you know, I’m always looking for best practices from from other individuals. And, you know, all I can speak of is what’s worked for us as far but you know, we are always evolving, and every year, you know, we kind of take a look at the business and say, What can we improve on that usually in that fall, Flash winter, because that’s right after our busy season, obviously, the whole situation now put a little crimp in the spring selling season, but that’s absolutely summer, what I’ve been doing over the past month and a half is trying to not only also figure out what’s going to happen the rest of this year and plan for future business, but also kind of work on some of the things that we would have normally had a chance to work on during the spring.
D.J. Paris 39:00
Can I ask you now that that, you know, things are have shifted, obviously, with the market, obviously with the global, you know, sort of the global economy as well as just people’s ability to to move about as as a successful team and a successful agent yourself? Can you mind sharing with our listeners, sort of what you’re doing to keep the business you know, growing and, and or at least maintaining it during this time, where you’re gonna you’re restricted in some of your activities, what and just any advice you have for the listeners about what they could do during this time as well?
Lance Kirshner 39:36
Well, one thing I would say is try to keep doing what you have been doing as well. You know, like, a lot of people have kind of just hit pause. I have talked to some brokers that have literally been sitting home for the past two months kind of doing nothing, which I think is a you know, great if that’s what you want to do and recharge your batteries. So be it that’s your prerogative Um, you know, I would definitely say that the first couple of weeks were a little bit slower for me also trying to figure out what’s going on what’s the new norm? But you know, after a couple weeks, I mean, I’m used to go, go, go, go. So I said, alright, what can we what can we continue to work on? And so, we’ve been, we’ve been pivoting to certain things, but also, you know, still doing a lot of what we do in when I say that, I mean, you know, we have our team meetings once a week, No, we cannot meet in person, but we have it on the same day at the same time. And so we have our zoom meeting with my entire team, because I want to keep that routine. So that once we do open up, you know, it’s not like, hey, we have to get back into this routine. It’s like, No, we meet as a team on Tuesdays from 11. To one like, that’s how it always is. Also, you know, continuing with our marketing plan, I am continually still doing our social media posts, I’m still sending out at least one to two postcards a month, you know, I’m continuing on with the things that I had put in play earlier in terms of how I wanted to continue with my market. But then, also, obviously, I’m spending less time in the field. And so I just, I took for me, personally, I took the opportunity to really kind of reach out and talk to my sphere, and not about real estate, just, you know, fortunately, most of my business is built on referrals. So I have some just like, absolutely amazing, amazing clients that I think are just, like, way smarter than me and incredibly intelligent people. And so I do enjoy just connecting with these people and seeing how, how they’ve been dealing with everything. How is their work life been affected as far as like, hey, you know, like, how is your company adapting? Like, what are best practices that you guys have been doing? And, you know, I will be honest, and that not everyone wants to talk right now, some people are like doom and gloom, and like, hey, so that’s okay, I’m not personally offended if they don’t take my call or call me back. But the people who do pick up, the people who do call back, like, I’m having some just like incredible, meaningful conversations with clients. And I will say that coming out of the stay at home order, we I’ve picked up a lot of clients the past couple of weeks, both by sell everything. And so who knows what exactly how 2020 will end up just because we are kind of in the, in the evolving situation. But I will tell you that we are already planning for 2021 I have, you know, I would say between 30 to 40 transactions lined up for 2020 2021. Just knowing you know what, people when they’re going to be moving, you know, kind of moving on with their life. So, again, you know, it has to be an authentic conversation, I am not calling for business, I am just like legitimately calling to connect with people. But you know, it’s just another one of those like, quote, unquote, touches, you know, it’s just another opportunity to reach out to people and be like, Hey, how are you guys doing? You know, exactly. So, you know, again, if you call people and you’re like, Hey, are you are you squashed? Are you thinking about moving? You know, people don’t want to be sold, you know, but, and I’m never about that. Because what I tell people is, I’ve been doing this for so many years, I don’t care. If you are moving this year, or next year, what I care about is that like you that we stay in touch, and if in five years, you decide it’s time to upgrade that, hey, I’ve been talking to you for five, six years, you know, I’m going to be the first person that you reach out to. So, you know, it’s just kind of, again, just being in touch with people. And, you know, fortunately, I’m in a position where I really like 85 to 95% of my clients, you know, so it’s not a painful thing for me to be reaching out and to have a conversation and be like, Hey, how’s life? How are things on your end?
D.J. Paris 44:04
I was just doing a survey for Walgreens before we started. They sent me I’m one of those morons that when they say do a survey, I do it even though, you know, there’s no benefit directly to me. I’m like, Oh, I’ll help out Walgreens. And so I’m doing a survey. And one of the questions though it got me, you just triggered this memory. One of the questions was very interesting. It’s and it really didn’t seem to have anything to do specifically with Walgreens. But they said, Do you feel more connected to your friends and family since the beginning of the pandemic? Or has it stayed the same? Or has it gotten worse? And obviously, there’s a lot of lonely people out there, and I’m just talking about my experience, but I actually thought about it for a second because I was like, that’s an interesting question. And I want you know, I actually feel more connected to my friends and family because we’re having more of those conversations. However, I was also and I’ve shared the second part of what I’m about to share before so I apologize to listeners who’ve already heard heard it. But I started thinking about so my friends and family were all really well connected. And I think a lot of us can can say that that’s happened as a result of, unfortunately, what’s happening in the world right now, however, where I have not got a lot of communication and connection, are from the professional service, people in my life, the people I pay fees to who I consider part of, you know, like my account, and I’m not in any way criticizing anyone who I pay service fees to and who, you know, I like them all. And I don’t expect them to call me. But I have not received phone calls from my accountant or my financial advisor, or, you know, an attorney or anyone you know, anyone who, who’s in that sphere. And I’m not criticizing them for doing it. But I just see what a great opportunity for you as for our listeners, and for anyone who’s an agent, or anyone in any sales capacity, just to reach out and say hi, the only How are you doing? And the only person that reached out to me, this is funny, but true. Is the person that cuts my hair. She said, How are you doing? I’m thinking about you. And it’s a legitimate you know, she can’t cut my hair now anyway. But she was just wanted to let you know, I was thinking about you sent me a text with went back and forth a little bit. How’s, you know, how are you doing? How’s your girlfriend house? You know how, and I’m asking her about her family. And I as silly as that sounds, it meant a lot to me that, you know, there was no business to be had, she just was reaching out and you were doing the same thing. And I think what a great opportunity. It’s not like the majority of us are getting a lot of calls like that, except for maybe friends and family. So great opportunity to as LANSA deepen those connections, deepen those relationships, and just check in and see how people are doing.
Lance Kirshner 46:39
Yeah, totally. It’s, it’s, you know, again, it’s not because I expect those people who I’m calling to be buyer buying or selling, I just want them to know that I like genuinely care. So that, you know, ultimately, if they do know someone who is buying or selling, even if it’s not them down the line or whatnot, they’re like, Hey, this is a person that like actually cares, on top of, you know, my clients do know that I know what I’m talking about and know what I’m doing. So why not like, it makes it makes it such an easy referral to refer someone who a you know, is good, and then be you actually like, you know, or think is like a caring person. So, you know, to me, it’s it’s not about the cell. It’s about the connection. And, you know, fortunately, I have a great network that’s really treated me very, very well over the years. And so I’m very thankful for that.
D.J. Paris 47:34
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I would love to as we’re wrapping up, I would love for you to share it because this is such an interesting story. And I’ve never heard of story exactly quite like it. Do you mind sharing the experience you had selling the church? This is just such a great story. I think our listeners would would love to hear it. Sure. These
Lance Kirshner 47:52
clients, they found me online and I love them to death. They, they they’re, you know, definitely have some very unique. It just appealed the properties. And so, you know, we started looking at some houses, and they were just like, nothing clicked, you know. And I ended up working with them for quite some time. And the three properties that they really thought about, deeply about buying where one was in old speakeasy in in Wicker Park that had been converted to two flats. The second one was on the border of, we’ll call it like river West west loop. And it was an old manufacturing building that someone had illegally converted to a single family. That was like, just incredible. And the third one, the one that they actually bought was in 1860s, Ukrainian church over in Humboldt Park. And the building itself was absolutely incredible. And when I say it was a church house that I’m saying that, you know, very liberally, because what had happened was a professor from the Art Institute, purchased the church from, you know, as an actual church, and her and her husband at the time, went through the city and had it rezone as a single family home. Subsequently, during that process, unfortunately, she went through a divorce, and so became a single income. So at that juncture, she now had this church, which she really didn’t necessarily have the funds to renovate anymore. So she took this church and basically made it into a zero bedroom, one bathroom church that she just lived in for the next 17 to 18 years and she lived there and when we bought it, she had she had a partner who she had met and he had been living there for five to seven years or something. And they decided that they that she was retiring, she was retiring from the Art Institute. And so she wanted a farm. So she was selling the church and buying a farm up in Wisconsin. So that’s where my clients came in. And I mean, this thing was very much just a straight up church. I mean, 45 foot ceilings from the middle, you know, from the floor to the ceiling, you know, had had the only thing with that you could tell that wasn’t church was they pulled the pews. So I mean, still had the balcony, everything else like that. Oh, yeah, just a really incredible place. My clients, you know, they broke it down into like, three phases, since we closed on it, which, gosh, was probably about eight years ago. Now. They’ve built a garage with the roof deck. They actually built out two bedrooms, so actual actual bedrooms. And she was the professor was actually heating the church with wood pellet fireplaces, when when we purchased the property, so they my clients have gone in and actually outfitted it with with furnaces and ACS. So it is function a little bit more like a single fam. But I mean to this day, I mean, my clients have said they’ve gotten a couple of knocks on the door because people think it’s still a church. You know, and I won’t give out the exact address. But for those people who know Humboldt Park, if they go over, down, down rock, well, they will see this church on the northeast corner will say it’s on rock Well, on the northeast corner, if you can find it. And you it very much still looks like an 1860s church. And it is just, I mean, I love it. I love it.
D.J. Paris 51:50
That is so cool. So the previous owner, and her partner, they were they were like the like the world’s largest studio, basically.
Lance Kirshner 51:58
Yes, yep. They just, I mean, they had a bed set up in the corner. And it was it was unreal. It but you know, one of the coolest properties. My clients have done some amazing things. You know, my clients are fortunate enough to they have a house down in Key West, they have another property out in Arizona. So hopefully one day, when they do sell it, I will get to listed again. And they’ve just done some incredible stuff. But I mean, you know, my ultimate goal is one day to convert a firehouse into single family. So you know, you know, I have aspirations, just like them.
D.J. Paris 52:37
That’s great. Oh, what a cool story. Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up. As you know, Lance’s is in his team and have done incredible things. And we should also remember when we met we mentioned at the very beginning, but it was easy to lose his lance was was named and we have again 44,000 brokers in Chicago. That’s a huge number. And he was literally the MVP by Chicago agent magazine, which is the premier publication to give out those kinds of awards in Chicago. And so he was literally the guy last year so we’re super honored to lanced have had you on the show? Well, we should also mention that for anyone who’s listening, who’s a buyer or a seller, a renter, an investor, who might be looking to work with somebody who’s an MVP, and also has a great, a great group, a great team who knows their stuff, and obviously cares. What’s the best way that someone who wants to work with you or your team should be reaching out.
Lance Kirshner 53:33
Probably the easiest way, they can just go to my website, which is Lance k.com. You know, and they can find all my contact information. Also, if you just Google my name, I will pop up on almost every real estate website you can find. So feel free to reach out and you know, we’d love to work with some of your listeners.
D.J. Paris 53:52
Yeah, so everyone again, visit Lance at his website, Lance that and then the letter K Lance k.com. And also please follow Lance in his group at on Instagram, which is at broker Lance. Well, Lance, on behalf of the listeners, we thank you for taking the time to be on our show, we really couldn’t appreciate it more. Like I said, you were somebody on our we made a list of this is true, we made a list of, of the people we wanted the most. And you You are right at the top of that list. And so it took some time, which which we understand and we’re so appreciative that you were able to find the time to do this. And also on behalf of Lance and myself. We want to thank the listeners for also continuing to support the show we ask before we go for everyone who’s listening to do just two quick things. One is telephone. You’ve obviously listened to this great interview with Lance, he’s given a tremendous amount of value to help you in your own business. Please share this was somebody that could hear that could benefit from having heard this so you can send anyone that you can think of a real estate professional right over to our website, which is keeping it real pod.com We have every episode we’ve ever done. We even just rebuilt the website, and we have everything organized into shows. So if you’re a fan of some of our other features, you can actually go straight to those and listen to all those particular episodes. The second thing we’d like you to do is to follow us on Facebook, please find us facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod, or just search for keeping it real podcast, we should pop right up. Because we do two things on there everyday we find an article online that’s written by someone that that’s designed specifically to help you grow your business as a real estate professional. The second thing is we post all all of our episodes there too. And we even post live recording. So if you’re listening to this right now, we actually already broadcast that on our Facebook page in real time, so you don’t have to wait for us to produce these are the these episodes. So please follow us again on Facebook. And we would appreciate it Lance. Thank you so much. We’re excited to continue to see your the trajectory of your group and how you guys have have really taken over Chicago and are going to continue to do so. So thank you. Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.