(Editors Note: At the time of this interview Dana was a real estate agent for the REMAX Results Addington Team. Dana now works as a real estate agent with EXp Realty and is no longer with REMAX.)
This is a Frederick Review interview with Dana Wilburn. Dana Wilburn is an agent on The Addington Team with REMAX Results. She has been a resident of Frederick for 26 years. She helps Frederick County buyers and sellers with all their real estate needs.
Please introduce yourself and tell me a bit about your business.
My name is Dana Wilburn and I am a REALTOR® with the Addington Team of Remax Results. Before I got my real estate license in 2015 I was the administrative assistant for the Addington team and I decided I wanted to get my real estate license again. So I got my license again in 2015. I have been a resident of Frederick County for 26 years and I am a single mom of two great kids who are now in college.
So what is the Addington Team?
We are a team of agents and an office manager. We all work together and support each other to run our businesses in the same way.
You said that you got your real estate license again? When did you first get in to real estate?
I initially obtained my real estate license in 1997. Before my son was born I wanted to have more of a flexible schedule so I could work around taking care of him. Then when my daughter was born she wasn’t quite as cooperative. When my son was born he would come with me on appointments and come to the office, where my daughter didn’t like that quite as much. So I put my license in inactive referral status until 2015 when I took the exam and everything again.
Was the process difficult re-obtaining your license?
It was pretty much the same, you take a class and then you take the exam.
If you could go back in time, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
With regards to that, I would not have let my license expire. I had put it in referral status but then I decided I probably wasn’t going to use it so I let it expire. Which, you know, I shouldn’t have done. I should have just kept going with the referral status and then I would have not had to take the test and class again. I could have just started off pretty much where I left off.
Let’s say you had stayed in referral status, what would that have looked like?
So referral status means that I don’t practice real estate. I don’t work with buyers and sellers, but if I know somebody who wants to buy or sell a home then I can refer them to another agent and I would get a referral fee. In order to keep referral status you also keep taking classes every couple years to stay informed for when you do re-activate your license.
What’s your favorite thing about being in real estate?
My favorite part about being in real estate is the people. I love working with people and helping them. whether it’s helping them find their first home, an investment property, or easing the pain of selling the family home that they had in their family for generations. My clients truly become my friends. My daughter babysits for some of my clients, my son dog sits for them. I really enjoy the people.
What’s the toughest thing you face being a business owner and how do you handle it?
The toughest thing is balancing the personal life and work. It is easy to become a workaholic as a REALTOR®. You want to be there whenever someone needs something but you want to find that happy middle ground. I personally try to schedule out my day or my week or my month ahead of time and put personal time on the calendar. You know, scheduling time to go to the gym or my kids activities and then I set the times that I want to work on the calendar. Now obviously the calendar can’t be filled with all personal items either or you won’t t have a business for very long, but you need to make time for yourself and your family. I find that if I am happy in life then I am better REALTOR®, so finding that balance is important.
What’s the number one way you currently bring in new customers?
Most of my new customers or clients come from referrals from past clients and friends and family. You know it’s nice that they trust me to help their friends and family and its greatly appreciated when they send me somebody. I do receive some business from the internet also, so I’m concentrating on increasing my exposure and staying in touch using social media. As that is a big part of everybody’s life today.
Were there any initial hurdles you encountered on the second way through getting your real estate business up and running?
Well whenever you start in the real estate business it is always a slow process of getting things going. Getting your name out there takes time and it takes awhile to build up business. Whether it’s when I started back in the 90s or in 2015 it’s just building up the business with most of it coming from referrals.
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
Most agents I think meet a customer and sell them a home or sell their home and that’s it. I meet a customer with the intention of getting to know them, their family, their place in life, and their goals, in order to best serve them. Once I help them buy or sell their home I always keep in touch afterwards. You know whether it’s letting them know what the market is doing in their neighborhood or giving them referrals to service providers. Any questions they might have related to their home I want to continue that relationship so that they never have to worry about finding another REALTOR® when they go to sell their home or make another purchase.
How has technology played a role in your business?
I was amazed when I got back into being a real estate agent of the changes. From basic forms that are now online that you can fill in, where in the past we had to print them out and fill them out. We would have to meet with the client and take time out of their busy day anytime we needed a signature or an initial, now we can do it all electronically at their convenience wherever they may be, that makes things so much easier and saves time.
Searching for homes is incredible, most buyers, many people might not know this, but most buyers actually find their homes themselves on the internet and then they contact an agent or have their agent help them through the process of the contract. Most people don’t know that, and of course technology has helped with the marketing our project too. In the past it was newspaper articles or ads and now we don’t even really use newspaper ads anymore. Now the consumers can see many photos online, they can see videos too and get a better idea of which properties they would like to see and it saves time for everybody.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to others thinking about becoming a REALTOR® or entrepreneur?
One piece of advice would be to plan. You have to be a good planner, you have to learn how to plan. Whether it’s at first doing your business plan and setting your goals, what goals you’re going to have, how you’re going to obtain them, planning out your calendar, how your schedule is gonna look like to obtain those goals. Then, for real estate agents especially, financial planning is big because we don’t have a set income coming in on a regular basis, so we have to make sure to plan out our finances, budget our money, and look at those things.
Anything you would like to add?
If you’re looking to buy or sell in Frederick county I would love to help you!
For more information about Dana Wilburn and the Addington Team please see the information below:
Addington Office: 301-698-5005