February Real Producers: Greg Brown
This content originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Real Producers Fort Wayne
Doing A Good Job Is Not Enough
Defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experience is the newer emphasis of the re-branding at the agency where Greg Brown calls home. He embraces the philosophy, since he has been trying to create raving fans from his work all along. Greg’s team sold over $45 million last year, so they know a little about selling real estate! In the current climate, however, Brown knows that the standard keeps raising, and he is ready to climb.
Brown graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He attended college on a co-op program which allowed him to alternate semesters of on-the-job-training and work at General Electric in Fort Wayne. He graduated in five years but with two and a half years of incredible work experience and practical training. He took a job in North Carolina with a large fiber-optic cable manufacturer. Later, the market changed, of course, and the plant closed.
Greg took his father’s advice and began a career path toward real estate. His dad had left corporate America when he was younger to do the same, and Greg admired him and his boldness. “It was not an easy sell,” remembers Brown. “I did not perceive myself as a salesman, and I did not want to be a glorified taxi driver.”
After attending a real estate conference and meeting/talking with agents, Greg thought that he should do it. For months, he worked as an engineer during the day and then drove from Ohio to Indiana to study real estate. In 2002, he accomplished his goal, and the rest is history—as they say.
Brown loves his work. He likes the people and the idea of helping them with their largest purchase. His attention to detail and appreciation for large quantities of information are perfect matches for his work. He notes that he loves every facet of being an agent—from pre-approvals and negations to inspections and closings, Greg finds every part fascinating. He even enjoys working with families when they consider new flooring or countertops.
Greg vividly remembers the challenges upon entering the business. He had no experience and did not sell a home the first six months. He was living in a tiny apartment with a wife who was expecting, and he felt sure the ship was sinking. He knew that he really did not know how to close deals.
Over time, he mastered the art of listening and the consistency of following up on clients. He teamed with a builder for a while too, and as he progressed, he learned how to take care of clients the right way and how to give them what they needed and wanted.
Brown notes that joining his father in the early days of the business was crucial. He learned much from him and calls him a great mentor. He tried to commit to constant training and sought to become quite proficient at communication.
By nature, he was consumed with data, but he did not know how to translate it for the client. He learned to accumulate data as a means of answering questions and making the client feel confident in their knowledge. Greg became an expert in lots, existing homes, sub-divisions, new construction and many other topics that helped the clients to make good decisions.
Greg has been married to Darlene for 15 years. They have three children: Jacqline (17), Adora (15), and Josh (12). The family enjoys hiking and zip-lining together in places like West Virginia, French Lick, Tennessee, and Florida. They also like to go canoeing and to the sand dunes in Michigan. “Darlene is the backbone of the team,” says Brown. “She plans great client events (movie day, zoo day, baseball day, and a Christmas party), and she creates some fantastic systems that we implement to make us more successful.”
For newer agents, Greg challenges them to be willing to always adjust to the changing market. Agents should make it a habit to learn the changing markets and to educate themselves in all things industry related. They should desire to be property experts.
Someday, Brown hopes that people will see whims an agent who took great care of his clients and who was a good friend to others in the industry. He wants to lead by example in operating with integrity, honesty, professionalism, and fairness. Helping others to get what they ant will help him achieve what he wants. That is why just doing a good job is no longer enough. Greg Brown works mainly from referrals, and it is probably because the extra mile to him is the norm.
— By Brian Ramsey
RISING STAR: Evan Riecke
Years in real estate (licensed in): Two and a half years.
Awards/Accomplishments: Multi-million-dollar club each year.
2018 Volume: 8.5 million.
What awards have you received from being on the Indiana Home Experts team?
Any agent on our team that sells six million in a year gets their name and face on our team’s moving truck, which clients can use for free when they buy, build, or sell with us. So you will be seeing me on that truck around town coming early 2019!
How early did you know that you wanted to be a real estate agent?
I’ve always loved helping people, and I enjoy negotiating, which has always naturally drawn me to real estate. I love that although some homes and floor plans can be similar, there is no duplicate piece of land.
What people influenced you the most?
Adam Springer was a big influence on me when I first got in the industry. He does things the right way and is a great agent. Greg Brown has been with me every step of the way since I have been on his team. He is always with me trying to figure out different ways to negotiate deals or navigate different scenarios to benefit our clients.
What college did you attend, and what did you study (degree)? Why?
IPFW—Elementary Education. I was a third-grade teacher for three years prior to getting in real estate. I studied this because another one of my passions has always been trying to get the most out of each child/student. I believe every child can contribute to society in a positive way. A lot of students aren’t sure how or where they can fit in. I always took pride in trying to understand each kid on a different level. I wanted to know where they came from, what their day to day is like, what things do they enjoy doing, what things they’re interested in doing. The more information you can gather about a child, the more tools you become equipped with to impact them when an opportunity arises. Now I invest time in my own children and volunteer with JA to get back in the classroom from time to time.
Have you discovered anything from that time that helps you in real estate?
Obviously I’m dealing with adults making potentially the biggest purchase of their life instead of 8- and 9-year-olds, but teaching has taught me many things that are beneficial in real estate. Listening is incredibly important. Each client has a different set of needs, wants, and things they don’t want. Once I’m able to understand their needs fully, I always keep this back of my mind in case I see or hear something that could be exactly what you’re looking for but it may not jump up right in front of us on a search we’ve set up.
Communication is huge — Keeping my clients in the loop is what is going on at all times and what to expect in the future with any transaction.
Multi-tasking and managing time — When you have 10-plus transactions going on at the same time all with different timelines and circumstances, it can be a lot to manage.
Patience — Some clients need to see 20 and 30 homes before they’re comfortable putting an offer in. It’s a big purchase, so I always encourage them to take as much time as they need to make such a huge decision. It can be tricky in this market when they have to decide at the showing whether or not they can see themselves in the house due to multiple offer situations.
Flexibility — Schedules are always changing, and houses pop up at different times. You’ve got to be able to rearrange and adapt to all of this seamlessly to put your clients in the best position to purchase a home.
What are the positives/rewards of what you do?
The most rewarding part of real estate is getting to the closing table with your clients. Buying and/or selling a home is not an easy thing to do. People put a ton of work into selling their home, especially if they’re following my checklist, haha. They have to get the home ready for each showing, they get notified on short notice, they may have to leave the home for hours at a time with kids, animals, etc. On the buying side, checking email constantly for new homes popping up, dropping what they’re doing to go check out a house, following all the timelines with their lender, inspections, appraisals. After all of this work is done, to set at the closing table and get a set of keys or give a set of keys is very rewarding for all parties involved.
What are the negatives/challenges of what you do?
I truly love my job and this career, and I don’t look at negatives. Anything is possible with the right mindset. Of course, many parts of any job are challenging, but I enjoy a good challenge and figuring out how to navigate it best as possible to make the most sense for everyone involved.
What has contributed to your quicker success?
Living in Fort Wayne my entire life. I’ve been lucky to have so many family, and friends trust me with the purchase and sale of their homes. Creating connections and doing my best for each client, regardless of the scenario, has resulted in getting lots of referrals from past clients, which is a great compliment and something I will never take for granted.
How do you define success?
To me, success is having others talk positively about you when you’re not around. Sure, money can make life a little easier, but my focus has always been on being a good person and treating everyone the right way. Open doors for people, offer help when hands are full, say please and thank you, treat everyone with respect, be open-minded and inclusive, etc. If I’m leading by example by doing the “little” things, I’m leading a successful life.
What about your family life today?
My family is the best. I could go on and on. My mom is a cancer survivor, one of the strongest people I know, and my biggest fan. My dad was at every sporting event of mine, has an incredible work ethic, and does everything with a sense of humor. My wife, Mallory, is a jack of all trades. Everything I do is for her. She’s given me two amazing children, is an unbelievable boss, co-worker, mom, and wife. My kids, Warren and Vivienne—I could not be more thankful that they’re healthy and happy. They’re my world.
What other interests do you have?
I enjoy playing golf and watching many sports. I’m a huge Colts and IU basketball fan. I enjoy a good puzzle or game, traveling, and trying new activities. However I can live life to the fullest, I’m there.
What makes your business different from others?
I think excellent communication is key. When there is a problem or a question, I’m on it. I try to be as responsive as possible no matter where I’m at or what time it is. I think if you ask my clients, they would tell you the same thing.
If you could change one thing in your industry right now, what would it be?
I would probably attempt to streamline the appraisal and inspection process a little better. It’s very difficult to understand for a lot of clients. Agents find themselves negotiating each thing over and over. Sometimes they way things are worded or conveyed are enough to ruin an entire deal.
What advice would you give to those considering real estate?
Be patient. Find someone willing to invest their time in you in the business. It’s a large and complex industry and can be overwhelming. Try to learn something new each day. Be honest and communicate effectively.
Anything else you want to say with this platform?
I would like to thank everyone in the industry for being so welcoming to me over my first few years. There are so many moving parts in real estate. The support staff at the Century 21 office is incredible. I’ve met tons of new friends and acquaintances in the title, inspection, and mortgage world as well. So many people work so hard behind the scenes to bring a deal to closing. It’s always a joint effort, and I’m just glad to play a part in making so many people’s dreams come true.
Photos by Tony Frantz
More photos from Greg and Darlene’s photo shoot, right here.