By Morris Dean
Driving in and out of our residential development, I virtually always see two or three front yards with a “For Sale” or a “Sold” sign that lists the name of Rachel Zamorski as the agent. The other day my wife commented that houses listed with Rachel seem to sell a lot sooner than ones listed with anyone else. My wife is very observant, so I accepted that that was likely true.
I said, “I’m going to have to see whether Rachel would submit to an interview.” I’m delighted that indeed she would!
Rachel Zamorski had been one of the agents in our neighborhood when we first visited the Centex development in the spring of 2008, looking to down-size to a smaller, flatter lot and a one-story house. I think that the other agent had seniority at the time and mostly handled our sale, but Rachel was just as helpful and always glad to help. You just wanted to talk with Rachel, she was so outgoing.
[Our questions are in italics.]
How long have you been in the real estate business? You hadn’t just started when we met, had you?
I have been involved in real estate since 2003. My first job after college was selling stone and granite for kitchens and baths to area builders. Through that job I met a lot of key people in the industry and later was hired at KB Home (a company similar to Centex; a home builder) as an interior designer and sales person.
How did you get your start? Was someone your role model? A chance meeting with an agent? Grow out of your major in college?
I earned a BS in Mass Communications. I studied journalism and marketing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (after my dad suggested I earn a degree in something more lucrative then art history!), and I had a few ideas of what I thought I wanted to do, but I was actually given my first sales job because I had been the social/recruitment chair of my sorority! I was told if I could talk college kids into paying ridiculous amounts of money to attend mixers I could probably sell anything. So the owner of Hard Rock Marble and Tile gave me a shot! I also have three cousins who are busy agents in Chapel Hill and I’ve listened closely to what they say they do.
Speaking of family, in the last few years we have learned, through researching our geneaology, that our great, great, great, GREAT grandfather, John A. Waddell, was a home builder! He and his descendants built and sold (very notable) homes in Virginia and North Carolina, so maybe this was in our blood all along.
Characterize your job when you were Centex’s agent on site with your job now. What IS your job now?
When I was onsite at Collington Farms I was a salesperson and I worked only within Collington Farms and sold only the homes that Centex built. Now, I practice general brokerage and am a full service real estate agent, so I am far more involved in the process of buying and selling.
Do you have a territory? How big is it?
I live in Mebane so I work mostly in Alamance and Orange Counties. I grew up in Durham, though, and have strong ties to Raleigh and Cary too, so I have clients that span both the Triad and the Triangle! I recently sold a home in Holly Springs.
Do you have two or three or more typical categories of client? What are they?
I have clients from all walks of life. That’s what makes this job interesting. Some folks are downsizing as they are near retirement, while others are buying their first home. Each person is different but just as important as the last. I’ve sold homes that were listed for $80,000 and for $500,000, and have learned something with each experience.
Do you approach different types of clients differently?
I don’t change who I am but I do research options for them specifically and tailor my plans and methods and advertising to suit their needs.
And why do you think it is that houses in our community that you are listed as the agent for do seem to sell more quickly than houses that are listed by another agent? Do you even think that’s true? How closely do you “keep watch” to know?
I have sold homes faster than any other agent—that is correct and that is the case for my listings all over Mebane and the surrounding area, not just in Collington Farms. I was able to move homes when the market was particularly slow and I feel that my experience working for a builder helped me learn to price and market homes effectively.
Does your background as a former agent in Collington Farms give you an advantage there?
I believe it does. I think any experience you gain can help you make good decisions in the present. I also feel I understand how to sell against a builder; it’s hard. A builder has more money than an individual, obviously, so they can undercut and sell a newer home for less. Staging an existing home helps; people are visual, they like seeing the actual home they could have as opposed to an unrealistic model home. I also stress that the home is move-in ready, and not adjacent to existing construction. I do a lot of marketing and online advertising. These things get results. I don’t believe in simply popping a sign up and adding a home to the (realtor-accessible) multiple listing services. That isn’t enough.
If it’s not some “inside” thing like that, then to what do you attribute your success? Do you have a secret? What is it?
I attribute hard work and having a genuine interest in what I am doing, and as mentioned before I believe a strong marketing plan is a MUST. A good agent also needs to understand his or her market.
Do you think of yourself as a success? I just realized that that was my own word, and you may not think in that term.
I think I am doing a good job for people who hire me and trust me. I want to do a good job for them, and that drives me.
Do you LIKE what you do? You and your husband have a child now. Is it a good profession for being a young mother?
We have TWO children now, and yes I do like what I do, but it is time-consuming and one has to be able to manage one’s time well. I can’t say that I would recommend it to someone with young children, as it often takes me away from them, but yes I do enjoy this profession. People interest me.
If you were looking for an assistant (I don’t know whether that’s realistic), what qualities or skills would you be looking for in a person?
Organization, you MUST be organized. You have to be considerate and sensitive to people and their needs. A real estate transaction can be hard for people. Large amounts of money can be involved. People are often emotionally tied to property. There are many reasons people may have to buy or sell; a loss a job, a foreclosure, a move, a death—it can be very emotional and you cannot, as an agent or an assistant, take things personally, you have to be patient and sometimes you have to have difficult conversations with people.
You also have to have no qualms about talking to people you don’t know; I was once in Raleigh and overheard someone talking about Mebane and walked right up to the person, introduced myself, and told them about the home I had listed. They were very receptive to hearing about it too! I think to do this you have to have a general interest in people and how you can help them. I once heard someone say our job is service-based, not commission-based, and that is very true.
Do you think that men and women are about equally likely to be effective as real estate agents? If not, which tend to be more effective, and why?
I have seen statistics and informal polls that list which sex is more successful, but in my experience I really feel it’s the individual.
If any of our readers happen to have been thinking about becoming a real estate agent, what advice would you give them?
Know the contracts and know the laws, do everything by the book, and do what is honest and right and in your clients’ best interest.
What’s the difference between a “real estate agent” and a “realtor”?
All Realtors are real estate agents but not all real estate agents are Realtors. It’s a designation you must earn.
What percentage of people you’ve heard say “realtor” pronounce it incorrectly? How have they pronounced it?
Some say it correctly, real-tor. Others say it real-a-tor. I hear it both ways.
George W. Bush pronounced “nuclear” “nukular” (or something like that). How do you think he would pronounce “realtor”?
George Bush once referred to himself as The Decider, didn’t he? [Rachel smiles] So he can call it whatever he wants. I wouldn’t give him a hard time.
What two or three or more other questions would be good to ask to make sure we cover this topic adequately for our readers?
Things to know when hiring an agent?
You are hiring someone to WORK for you, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and tell them what you want and expect of them. At the same time, when an agent comes to your home and tells you what must be done to prep and sell the home (or what to do to prepare to buy a home), follow their advice! They’re the professional and this will enable them to perform their job successfully!
Copyright © 2013 by Morris Dean