Coffee Break with Greg Geller
Since Greg Geller, owner of Vision Real Estate, recently stepped down as Chair of DMAR Board of Directors, we wanted to discuss with him his experience over the past year as he’s juggled running his own company, volunteering his time at the Association, having a personal life, and still making time for Friday afternoon poker games.
We recently sat down with Greg at RiNo coffee shop, Huckleberry Roasters, to pick his brain and see what insights he has about the real estate industry, motivating others to get involved with DMAR, and what words of wisdom he has for Laura Ruch as he passes the torch to her as the new Chairwoman.
DMAR: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the real estate industry?
GREG: I am a fourth generation Denver native. My parents were both in real estate. I got my license in 1996 and I’ve been at it ever since. I learned renovation from my dad all growing up and it kind of stuck with me.
D: So renovation, is that a big part of your business?
G: We work almost exclusively with the remodeled housing product of Denver and that means buying them and moving them back out as remodeled, renovated products.
D: Walk us through a day in your life. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office and the last thing you do before you leave?
G: It kind of depends on which day, some days are different than others. I try to go and play poker once every couple weeks on Friday afternoons, so that’s a different day. But a typical day like today I’ll get up, I’ll get to the office around 9:30am or 10:00am, my assistant and I will have been talking since probably 7:30 am or 8 o’clock. I get in, I try to get through all the things that someone tells me I have to do. Then there’s lunch I guess. I’ll go on lead calls, I will meet with people from DMAR - that’s been a big part of my day. Then I typically get home around 5:30pm or 6:00pm and run errands in the afternoon. I am living a really nice life of someone who has been selling real estate for 20 years. It’s not as much hard work to go and find people as it once was. And now people I know go and find me.
D: In three words, how would you describe your year as DMAR’s Chair of the Board?
G: Exhausting, fulfilling, and exceeded expectations. It was a great year.
D: What was the best part about being the Chair of DMAR?
G: Really becoming close with my REALTOR® family, the other leaders across the state, and the people who are at DMAR. That was the best part, just gaining this whole group of people as friends that I didn’t have before. The leadership experience is very rewarding.
D: Did your being the Chair of DMAR change your definition of what a REALTOR® is?
G: For sure! It is a ton of work to be Chairman of an Association the size that we are. You just can't help but start to really drink the Kool Aid. Realizing all the jobs that depend on what we do... it gives you a lot of confidence. It makes you realize how deep the real estate industry affects everybody.
D: What lessons have you learned this year?
G: To think before you speak, to never hit “Reply All,” and, whenever possible, talk to people face-to-face rather than using the electronic communications that we’re so used to.
D: What were the biggest challenges as Chairman this year?
G: Reaching the member and striking the balance between my really fun volunteer DMAR life and my work life that generates an income. It’s easy to get caught up in it. You know when you’re a volunteer everyone is happy with you because you’re a volunteer and you can’t really do a bad job. I mean you can, but you’re a volunteer, they’re not going to fire you. You say, ‘I’m going to do this the best that I can,’ you’re best will usually be good enough for someone to say ‘good job.’ You don’t get that elsewhere in life. You just do your job and then you get a check so that’s your ‘good job.’ But it’s a little addicting to get so much encouragement and positive reinforcement.
D: How would you convince someone to volunteer their time, and be a part of the Association?
G: They are supposed to do it for themselves, for their own careers. When you do volunteer work, it’s a little bit misleading because you’re supposed to get something out of it. To be a volunteer means that you have a hand in your own destiny. It allows you to build relationships with people who sell real estate, to be in the flow of real estate, and will make your career invariably much better. And that’s why you should get involved and be a part of DMAR.
D: What would be your “words of wisdom” or advice for Laura Ruch as our incoming Chairwoman?
G: My advice for Laura is to take it with a grain of salt and to be real about it - it’s a volunteer leadership position. We're making sure that the ship stays on course. We’re not building a new ship and we’re not trying to change direction that has been established for basically over a century. It’s a volunteer organization - enjoy it and do what you can and don’t worry about stuff you can’t get done.
D: Lets switch gears, what would you say is the biggest challenge we face in the real estate industry today?
G: We have a lack of inventory, meaning that prices are artificially inflated. We’re selling into a bubble. We have too many people running around selling real estate without a lot of thought to the future crisis that we’re coming in to. That’s our challenge: the velocity of the market is not matching up with the demand.
D: It seems like some newer, younger agents have a misconception about the amount of work it takes to be successful in this industry. What would you say to these agents to make them realize how challenging this business is?
G: Selling real estate is work and because you have no one telling you what to do, the accountability of yourself is probably more than most other industries. But you need to have enough money for a year to live and you need to be willing to work 60, 80 hours a week for at least a year to get it going because it takes time. Very few people sell real estate right out the gate, or at least not enough to sustain a living, so you have to be real about it.
D: What is the most stressful part of your job?
G: The most stressful part is getting a bunch of people who have to do the same thing to do the same thing. Because you have two agents, you have a seller, a buyer, plus a title company, plus a lender, plus inspectors and appraisers… and everyone has to do all this work together to get one person into a house and one person out of a house.
D: You have a special message as your email signature. Can you tell us more about that?
G: I think it says, “email conveys a message, not a tone” because in this culture we’ve adopted texting and email, there’s no tone anymore. People don’t know how you feel and so when you send an email, people typically think that that person is mad, or upset about something, or endorsing. Whatever the emotion, they have to assume. And I always want my readers to know that it’s clearly for the purpose of delivering a message and not for evoking the way that I feel.
D: Since we’re here at Huckleberry Roasters, we have to ask: how would you describe your relationship with coffee?
G: Oh, I just drink one cup a day. That’s it in the mornings. I started when I was 13, which is really young. And I take it with a lot of cream and a lot of sugar… a lot.
►► Want to read more? Check out Coffee Break with Piper Bruner HERE.
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