A luminary in south Florida’s real estate market, Seth Kaufman has ridden the waves of market fluctuations, financial crises, and an ever-changing clientele. His story embodies resilience and transformation through difficult chapters.
Amidst the 2008 financial crisis, many agents grappled with a tough decision: to stay where they were or to pivot. As Kaufman recollects, the pause of selling condos or family homes was profound, urging him to question his next move. He poignantly states, “…what am I going to tell these buyers and these brokers who won’t get paid?”
In those quiet moments of contemplation, Seth made a choice that would shape the trajectory of his career, using the wisdom of “life’s not about what happens to you. It’s about how you respond.” One of my favorite quotes.
Not one to succumb to the pitfalls of adversity, he leveraged this as an opportunity to grow and reinvent himself by diving into general real estate, which was something he knew nothing about.
Before we dive in to today’s guide, catch our full interview with Seth here:
The Human Connection
The real estate market is more than just brick and mortar; it’s deeply rooted in emotions, dreams, and personal narratives. Kaufman’s philosophy goes beyond merely closing deals. He emphasizes the indispensable role of genuine human connection.
For the budding agents seeking guidance, Kaufman’s advice is illuminating. Before diving into property listings and market values, he encourages new agents to build rapport with clients. Paying attention, showing genuine care, asking poignant questions, and sending follow-up notes—these are the keystones to building relationships in the world of real estate.
Imagine a conversation where a client discusses their child’s love for hockey. A good follow-up to that conversation would be to surprise them with tickets to a game, Kaufman shares. Such gestures echo louder than any sales pitch. It resonates deeply, establishing trust and proving that as an agent, you’re not just invested in a transaction, but in the life stories of your clients.
“Showing them that you genuinely care first is going to bridge that gap to start you building a connection.”
Image Credit: Voyage MIA Magazine
The American Dream Revisited
Ownership and the aspiration for one’s own space have been a cornerstone of the American dream. Kaufman’s perspective on this is that even in a changing world where the dynamics of ownership are evolving, this dream persists. Whether it’s about owning a primary residence, a vacation home, or viewing property as an investment opportunity, the essence remains intact.
Understanding the evolving nature of this dream, while grounding oneself in its perennial core, is paramount. Real estate isn’t merely about property—it’s about people, their dreams, and their ever-changing needs.
Turning Vision into Reality
A common story for aspiring agents is to quickly make millions off of working with friends and family who want to buy or sell. Yet Kaufman is unequivocal—to succeed, you need to treat real estate as a business. It’s not a mere pastime where acquaintances and family lead to guaranteed sales. It’s a profession demanding diligence, knowledge, and work.
To truly provide value:
Know your turf. Understand the areas you’re working in, be it the intricacies of local properties or the larger market trends.
Forge relationships. Engage with builders, developers, and other stakeholders. Garner a reputation not merely as an agent, but as a dependable partner.
Educate and evolve. Continual learning ensures you stay ahead of the curve, and to have the ability to offer your clients the best insights and advice.
An underlying theme Kaufman emphasizes is the importance of having gratitude. Recognizing our blessings, understanding our privileges, and using them to bring value to every interaction is vital. He beautifully summarizes, “I’m looking outside and it’s 72 degrees and sunny. I’m getting an hour to spend with [his friend and podcast host Len Dugow]. How bad can life be?”
The Real Value of Agents
To truly be an agent of value in the world of real estate, one must delve deep into the fabric of human stories, dreams, and aspirations. As Seth Kaufman has exemplified, by intertwining business acumen with genuine care and connection, one can become a successful real estate agent. For the emerging agents seeking their path, remember that this is not just about properties. It’s about people. And that’s where the true value lies.