Q&A with Top Performing Bean Group Agent Sarah O’Brien

We’ve asked Sarah O’Brien, a top performing Bean Group agent, a few questions about her extensive experience in the real estate sales business.

How long have you been in the real estate industry?:
14 years.

What did you do before becoming an agent?:
Lots! I was a wedding consultant at a bridal store, worked for a group home, and also made wedding cakes.

Why did you choose a career in real estate?:
I was a young married mom looking for a career. My father found an ad for the classes and was supposed to take them with me. He bowed out and never attended classes with me. I continued and lined up a brokerage before I even attended my first class.

What is your favorite thing about the industry?:
Meeting new people and having a flexible schedule. Creating lasting friendships with clients and peers. I also love helping new agents -t I like teaching and seeing how others can grow their business. I’m definitely a cheerleader in that way.

What attracted you to Bean Group?:
So much! My first meeting with Adam was literally a breath of fresh air. He was so laid back and made the whole meeting comfortable, which was a huge change from where I came from. The pay structure is one of the best around. I really like the uniformity in signs and marketing materials. I was looking to get away from the “up-time” business model and I felt the company was very much targeted toward seasoned agents allowing the independence for agents to run their business from home. I also like AMP for the ease of built-in CRM, CMA, and e-cards and flyers; it gives us the ability to quickly put out beautiful marketing materials at no additional cost or effort.

What areas do you service, and how do you know the region?:
York County, Maine and Strafford County, New Hampshire, mostly. I relocated to the Rochester area in 2007, and I had to learn the area pretty quickly. I spent a ton of time driving around and getting lost! These were the days of printed MapQuest directions, so it was pretty entertaining, to say the least. Just kidding! I cried a lot! I hated every part of that – but I survived!

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment (personal or professional)?:
My biggest accomplishment was mentoring Nicole Daigle as a new agent 5 years ago. We met at my previous brokerage, which lacked support. I offered to mentor her. In the process, we also became the best of friends. It’s been great to watch her grow and become a very successful agent. She’s very dedicated and hardworking and I am grateful I was able to meet her.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies and/or what do you do for fun?:
When I am not working I absolutely love spending time by my pool. I am also a HUGE fan of Florida, so I go there as often as I can. I also enjoy home decorating, baking and cooking, refinishing wood furniture, and I love going to comedy shows!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen during your career in real estate?:
This is a loaded question! I’ve seen several unusual things, but I think this takes the cake. When I lived back home, I would list foreclosure homes. I was listing an old 1800s Victorian and the occupants had no intention of leaving. The Sheriff’s office had to accompany the locksmith while rekeying the property as the occupants were locking themselves inside. The homeowner refused to leave because “the tree was talking to her”. This was a super old, large oak tree in her front lawn. She was very upset and crying. It was a very sad situation, and something that was super uncomfortable to be part of.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the business?:
When I first started in the business I was a 21-year-old newlywed with a 9-month-old baby. Juggling being a new mother, wife, and starting a new career I knew nothing about was scary. Coupled with the fact that I didn’t have a mentor and the office I worked at was not a very helpful one. I literally spent countless hours pulling files and pretending to list and sell the properties in order to learn the paperwork. My Broker was also a NH Senator and was not available most of the time for assistance.

What’s the latest strategy that you’ve added to your business?:
I am currently contracted with a company to create Facebook ads for me which actually works since they have studied Facebook algorithms and know what they are doing!

How many hours a day do you work?:
24… I’m always working. Even when I am not supposed to be, or on vacation.

What’s a challenge that you’ve faced in real estate that you didn’t expect?:
I would have to say the market crash of 2008. I was still in the process of rebuilding my business from my relocation a year previous. It was a hard hit and I was lucky enough to have met a woman named Sandi who allowed me to work front desk at a local hotel second shift (3pm-11pm) while allowing me to bring my computer and work real estate while there. 

Looking back, is there anything you could have done differently to attain success in real estate sooner?:
I wish I had a mentor when I started.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in real estate?:
GET A MENTOR! I can not stress this enough!