Angie Tonini-Rogers – Get up, Dress up, Show up

Show Notes

Welcome to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast where you’ll hear the good, the bad and the ugly of how real estate agents overcame challenges and grew their business. Here’s your host, Lindsay Favazza.

Lindsay Favazza: Welcome back to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate Podcast. I’m your host Lindsay Favazza. Our guest today is Angie Tonini-Rogers. She hails from Louisville, Kentucky, and has made quite the career transition from a seasoned nurse leader to a trailblazing force in real estate. After taking a leap of faith from her position as Chief Nursing Officer, she channeled that nurturing spirit into her real estate business at the end of 2021. Applying her values of compassion, honesty, and integrity to every transaction.

In fact, she calls herself the nurse in reality and her tagline is lead with love. She crushed it in her first year with 27 sales, 4.4 million in sales volume, earning the title of rookie of the year at her brokerage, and continued growth in her second year was just as impressive. Angie specializes in helping clients with everything from getting the highest offer for their homes to building family wealth through real estate investments and aiding seniors with their transition to assisted living. I’m excited to dive into her journey, very excited. I think we will all learn so much. Without further ado, welcome to the podcast today, Angie.

Angie Tonini-Rogers: Thank you so much, Lindsay. I’m so honored to be here as part of this. Thank you so much for having me on.

Lindsay: After hearing your stats, it was a shoo-in to have you here because that’s the first year. Take me back to when you got licensed in 2021. You haven’t been at this that long. Take me back to when you got licensed. I’m sure that at that time being a nurse was very much a challenge and you were dealing with all the craziness of the pandemic. That probably aided in that decision, but take me back to those thoughts and why you thought that this would be the best time to do that.

Angie: I was a chief nursing officer, as you said. I was a registered nurse for 18 years. I had been in the industry, the healthcare industry for 23 years working with mostly adolescents and adults with psych and behavioral health, and a lot of special needs like neonatal intensive care.

Lindsay: Wow.

Angie: When I was a chief nursing officer, of course, COVID came. It was a real leap of faith. Honestly, there was a multitude of things that got me into this space. It was I dropped my oldest off to college in Arizona, which is 26 hours away. I thought, “Man, I have missed his entire life because my career has been number one for my entire life.” I was on call 24/7. At that point, during COVID I was working no less than 100 hours a week plus being on call every second that I was home.

Lindsay: Unreal. First of all, thank you for everything that you did back then because I can’t even imagine being in that position. We were all like, “Whoo, we’re going to be home and we’re going to have some drinks and just chill on the couch.” Here you were on the front line so really appreciated that.

Angie: Thank you. It was a lot. A lot of things were revealed during that time. I dropped my kid off. My middle son ended up getting COVID and so I was offered that working from home, and then I got it. When I got it, everything got cut off as far as like I had to isolate myself, they cut off all my access to work. That whole time I was like, “Why am I even doing this for? I’ve missed my kids’ life. There’s no end in sight for that. For what? They’re running the hospital without me. They’ll do it–“

It was just a lot of these things that were happening. Administration is hard. There’s a lot of decisions that were being made, especially during the COVID time that sometimes it’s not always in the patient’s and staff’s best interest. I really try to act with high integrity. There were just a lot of things that were happening during that season. It was a multitude of things. Essentially, I took a faith step to just resign. I did not know what was going to be next. I had a very good title, a very good salary and I have a family to take care of.

Lindsay: Had you dabbled in real estate at all? No, because you didn’t get your license until ’21. Why real estate?

Angie: When I was 16 I read Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Lindsay: You’re the third person in the last four episodes to mention that book. Listeners if you have not read it, go read it.

Angie: Read it. It just changes your mindset. It gives you a different way of thinking. I always wanted to invest in real estate and so when I resigned, I started taking– Let me back up. When I was 16 I read that and then from 18 on, I took course after course, seminar after seminar of all kinds of things, but a lot of them related to real estate. Carleton Sheets and Larry Goins and all these people won the infomercials when those were still a thing.

I ordered all those things, and I would just consume information. Then about 12 years ago, I took the course to be licensed and I never tested because I ended up getting a promotion for Director of Nursing. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in, I’ve always wanted to create wealth that way for my family. When I left, I decided to do investing. I started taking some courses on different ways to invest, ended up helping to manage some short-term rentals, and got into helping people place travel nurses for people that come to serve our community.

Then I finally just was like, one day dawned on me, I’m like, “What am I going to do? I’ve got to earn an income.” I was making a six-figure salary, and at this point, that was one of the hardest years ever, it did teach me a lot and how to prepare for being a commission’s only [unintelligible 00:06:15], how to stretch money, which we did, but it was also a time where it was confirmed that God is going to provide for us. There were lots of things that came through that it was like, “That’s crazy. That’s a crazy gift that we got out of the blue to help stretch us.” It was a very hard year, but great time. I lost my train of thought, as far as the–

Lindsay: Tell me about your family because it’s one thing if you were by yourself, and you’re living the life, and you’re like, “I’m going to make this transition,” but they must have had some apprehension about you making a change. What was your husband’s job at that point? What was it that made it so that they feel comfortable and what were their concerns with it too?

Angie: When I say it was a phase step, it was definitely a phase step.

Lindsay: For everybody?

Angie: It was almost like an official giving because it was like, “I’m going to give up everything I know, everything I’ve worked hard for, and earn a great income for we’ve got three boys. They’re all going to turn this summer 20, 16, and 13. They’re all in either now college or private school. Private high school, private grade school. I was making a six-figure salary, but we were not living a lavish life. We were paying all the bills, we were paying all the student loans that I get to all the degrees that I have throughout my life. My husband does work full-time. He is a city bus driver here. He works for Tark here, but he doesn’t make enough salary to live the life that we have lived.

Lindsay: During the pandemic, he probably didn’t have a job.

Angie: Well, they actually did. They were considered [unintelligible 00:08:01]

Lindsay: Oh, wow, that’s great.

Angie: He was working. They did a lot of the COVID, the glass in between the driver and everything. He was working. I think everyone was very nervous. You say I’m a chief nursing officer of a hospital and I’m going to just walk away and I don’t know what I’m going to do next. It was obviously very scary, but I was just in a place where I knew by faith that this is exactly what I was supposed to do. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to do. It just felt like that’s what I had to do to be obedient.

Lindsay: You’ve always kind of had it in you.

Angie: Yes, I think so.

Lindsay: Now’s the time to scratch that itch.

Angie: Yes. It was like, “Well, if I can do all the things that I’ve done so far, I can trust that I will make it happen.” It was really hard. My husband was– It was hard. He was very supportive. Obviously, he knows that when I feel like I’m on the right track, I know what I’m doing. He’s trusting me. We’ve been together 26 years so he trusts me enough to know I’m not going to do something that’s going to be detrimental. I also could have gone and gotten another nursing job had I needed to do it so it’s not like [crosstalk]

Lindsay: You had a little bit of a backup. Tell me about that first year now. You go from zero to 27. That’s insane. He must have been like, “Oh, I’m liking these tricks now and they’re coming in, right?”

Angie: Well, yes. My whole faced them, I said “Okay, if I’m going to walk away and then it was revealed to me that I was like, just be an agent. Make your job an agent. Stop trying to get part-time little nursing jobs that you’re called out of that. Be an agent.” Like, “Okay, if I do this full-time, then I’ve got to replace my salary.” It was really funny. I had this big, scary audacious goal of 5.5 million, 5 million because that’s what I needed to do to replace my salary as far as commissions go. People were like, “Oh, that’s cute. I did that in five years.” I was like, “Yes, well, I don’t have a choice so I’ve got to do this.” The first three months, it was October 21st, it was my very first day that I was approved to actually go on our MLS and list something if I needed to.

October 21st through February, I think it was March 31st when we went under contract, or February 2nd, one of the two. I had nothing under contract. It’s the most horrific thing to get started and not be able to see immediate results because you don’t know what you’re doing, what’s going to result, what’s going to hit, and when it’s going to hit. For me, the biggest transition was me realizing how much I counted on my team in the hospitals to drive me and how much I counted on those items that I could see results for immediately. Those aren’t there in real estate.

Lindsay: There’s no instant gratification in real estate at all. Especially during those months. You started at the end of the year, which is usually– I’m assuming for your market too, that’s the slower season. Then after the new year, things slowly, slowly start to pick up. In that year, it probably didn’t pick up as quickly either because of the pandemic still was affecting inventory and all of that kind of stuff.

Angie: Yes, it was hard. Then I remember, the first two things I got under contract were on the very same day. I got two in one day, and then from February 28th, which was my first closing till December 31st, I had 27, and it was about 4.4. That wasn’t even a year. When I got through the next October, it was a little bit more. I hit 5.2 or something like that. It’s just a domino effect. As soon as it started hitting, it just was like I was in the right place at the right time, and all these connections came and things just started working out.

Lindsay: You’ve got in, you started to do these sales, things are finally starting to click. You’re starting to reap the benefits of your hard work over those months that you were starting. What were some of the things that you were now doing to steadily keep that pipeline going? How were you marketing yourself? How were you getting your name out there? Especially being brand new to the industry, what kind of steps were you taking that you were doing for marketing?

Angie: The first thing I was doing, and this is my number one, is I was getting up, dressing up, and showing up. Every single day, I went to the office like it was my job, 40 hours a week minimally. I would go drop off my kids at eight o’clock in the morning and go sit in the office from 8:30 till 5:30 or 6:00. I would listen to every conversation. I would do everything that people told me to do.

I tried everything, cold calls, text campaigns, email campaigns, direct mailers, open houses, going to all the networking and meetup groups. For me, it was just showing up consistently. Actually, what I can say is, and this is maybe encouraging and maybe not, but I spent a lot of money my first year just throwing money at different coaching programs and different campaigns.

The only thing I didn’t do was buy buyer leads like Zillow, Realtor. I didn’t buy buyer leads but I did pretty much everything else you can think of. Not one of my closings is a result of anything I spent. 100% of my closings were sphere, referrals from my sphere or people I’ve closed, and open house conversions.

Lindsay: A lot of that is that you did training to help you learn how to do things that would get those people to want to work with you. It’s not a direct cost but it’s definitely an indirect cost and helped you to ramp up quicker and learn the business quicker, so some of that can be attributed.

Angie: That’s for sure because what I will say is that I hustled and I worked a lot of hours, 80 hours a week minimally, I was working. Every time I was awake, I had a podcast on, or a YouTube video, or something where I was listening, how do you get listings, how do you do a [unintelligible 00:14:45] call, how do you do expired call? When I did come into contact with people, number one, I had the language.

I studied the market. I studied the data. Number two, I was creative. I think that from my nursing skillset in solving problems and reading how to make win-win situations between people, that really allowed me to be really creative and connect the dots for people and make it a win-win situation. I think that’s probably the biggest takeaway is that I just– The first year was a whirlwind and it taught me a lot about where my skill sets lie and where to put more effort in.

Lindsay: I read something on your bio or your website, wherever it was, something about the fact, and now, you work with a bunch of different clients. As I mentioned in the opener, elderly people moving over to assisted living, all the investors, all that. You had wrote in there that first-time home buyers was your favorite clientele to work with. Is that still true today from when you wrote the bio?

Is that still the truth or has that changed now that we’re in this lower inventory market? Two, are you finding in a real challenge working with first-time home buyers, or maybe you love the challenge? Knowing what I know about you already, you’re probably like, “I love a good challenge.” Tell me a little bit about those clients and how working with them is important to you.

Angie: I think emotionally and fulfilling-wise for me, first-time home buyers are emotionally the best to work with. I feel the most fulfilled because it has such a component of education, such a component of loving and serving them in a way that some others wouldn’t. Related to the demographic or the income level or maybe some credit issues, that’s kind of the demographic that I’ve worked with.

To me, it’s just very fulfilling to be the one person that really fought for them and educated them so that they can make the best decision that they could, for not only them but for their family down the road. Their first investment, which is their first home, is a way for them to start creating that generational wealth if they understand how to leverage that. I think emotionally because of all the components that goes into it, that’s definitely one of my favorites for sure.

Lindsay: I love it, and I hear that a lot from a lot of agents that it is a more satisfying type. They’re a lot more grateful too because they’re just excited. You’re helping them actually reach a goal, whereas people who have bought and sold before, they have already been through that. Definitely, I’ve heard that and I think that that makes a lot of sense. You’re a working mom, you’re an entrepreneur.

You are a wife. You’re doing all these things. You have all these hats that you’re wearing. How do you balance it all, especially working, maybe it’s not 80 hours anymore but probably 70? How do you balance it all? How do you time manage? Do you time block? I know you said you go into the office, which is probably that timeframe that you work on work, but how do you do it?

Angie: I’ve always been a person that has not rested well and it’s a skill set that I need to work on. I just feel like I always need to be productive and not busy so much, but being productive. I think also balance. Balance is something that’s relative to the season that you’re in. I think when sometimes people think of balance, it needs to be even, but really it’s about balancing the piece of your life that makes sense to balance for now, to get the goals in.

This first couple of years for maybe three to four years when I’m building this business, the balance is going to have to be a little bit more like this because I’m building. Then once you hit that three to five years, hopefully, sooner for me, I always pray for it, that it will start to get a little bit easier where you don’t have to hustle for that next person to try to help. It’s about trying to be intentional about the time you do have where you choose to have it with your family, with your husband. I serve at church.

I help administrate a women’s conference. It’s about really being intentional about how you block your time and make sure that– The other thing is that I definitely use my calendar and I need four things including my family things to be on my calendar so that I understand how to schedule my time. When it’s on my calendar, I’m intentional about that’s the time that I need to spend doing that thing.

Lindsay: I love that you said you’re not trying to be busy, you’re trying to be productive. I think that that’s a really good indicator of how you’ve managed to do this is because you’re not spending your time doing things that are not necessary and just saying like, “Oh, yes, I was working,” but you were just doing little things here and there. You’re really being intentional with your time and I think that that makes it– You get so much out of it. I think that that’s awesome. You’ve only been in the business for a couple of years, although you’ve made huge strides in something that everyone that’s listening will learn from for sure. We’re starting to see this change in the market. What things are you doing and putting in place to help pivot? Are you already into that market? I don’t know how your market is specifically in Louisville, but where are you as far as trying to figure out this next phase of how the market’s going?

Angie: I think you have to be consistently willing to change and pivot and just deal with what we’re getting, so you asked the question about has it become more difficult to work with buyers. It’s just that you have to be more creative. I have to have a stronger relationship with the lenders that I work with as something that I do in the way that I’ve been able to get people under contract that are really hard buyers.

Maybe they’re really tight on income or they don’t have a lot of cash, whatever. It’s just being creative and what’s out there. Also being creative on trying to go find stuff that’s not on the market. Then also working with the lender to understand you don’t have to be the expert in lending, you just need to understand the products and the different ways we can be creative to negotiate on their behalf.

If I understand what they’re approved for max, what their max payment’s going to be, what products they qualify for, then I can then go use that information to negotiate for them to get them what they want. It’s not always about the preapproval number or the monthly payment. It’s about how can you get them what they want in creative offers. The other huge thing, which I will march all day long is relationship.

There’s so many times I got offers accepted that I was not the highest offer. I was not the best offer. I was FHA over conventional because I developed relationship and I understood what was important to the seller so that I could make it a win-win. I can make it where I negotiated where my buyer wins and the seller wins. I think you cannot underestimate really taking the time to learn who you’re working with and learn what’s important to that agent and that seller or on the other side, the agent and the buyer. It’s super, super important to really try to listen to what’s important and try to give them something.

Lindsay: For sure. This has been awesome. We’re getting close to the end. I’m going to ask you my last question that I always ask everybody, but I like to point it in the direction of someone who’s going to be really learning the most from you specifically. Give us advice for that female realtor that’s balancing life. Maybe they did have a world before real estate or maybe they’re choosing to get into real estate after starting their family or whatever the case is, but they’re trying to navigate this business.

They want to get up and running quick. They want to make sure that they’re contributing to their household just like you were where you were like, “I can’t lose this income, I got to roll right into this next opportunity.” Tell me what kind of advice you would give to that woman that’s listening today.

Angie: I think number one, knowing what you’re going to get into. Understanding this is a job. You have to treat it as a job. You have to get up, dress up, and show up. If that’s 10 hours a week, then it’s 10 hours a week. If it’s 20 hours a week, 40 hours a week, whatever that is, be intentional and show up and be willing to learn and take feedback. There are people that are in your brokerage or around you that have done what you want to do.

Go follow them, go shadow them. Be willing to go and be willing to sacrifice if this is what you want. If this is what you want to build a business, you’ve got to be willing to readjust that balance for a little while until you’re able to start seeing some of the results. Then the other piece is don’t underestimate the activity of income-producing activity. Do that income-producing activity which is going to get you in front of buyers or sellers, people that want to buy, build, sell, or invest, get in front of them and do it consistently and do it even if you don’t get immediate results.

Lindsay: Explain that a little bit. What are those things that they can do to get in front of those people?

Angie: For example, one of the hugest things that I did was open houses. I did open houses every Saturday and Sunday because I would be in front of somebody who wants to buy. I think the statistic of the last statistic I read was 75% of people that go to open houses will buy in the next year. That was on one of the podcasts I recently listened to. They’re buyers, you’re going to– The more that you do– It’s a numbers game. The more that you do to get in front of them, you’re going to get in front of a buyer that wants to buy and need your help.

Lindsay: If they’re new to the real estate game, they’re probably sitting here thinking, “How do I get an open house?” Did you have to establish relationships with other agents in your office so that they would trust you to run those for them and then they would give you those leads? You have to even back it up a little bit from there so that they may how to even get those opportunities. You know what I mean?

Angie: Great question. First I’m in a brokerage that we are very, very collaborative in nature, it’s very different, so anyone that has a listing we are able to go and ask them to do their open house and they will willfully give you all of those leads. You have to have open houses to go to to get there. What I did in my brokerage, and you could do the same and I also did it with friends that are outside of my brokerage, we just had an agreement where I would go and I would look at every listing that is coming up.

I would usually start on Mondays and see if there’s anything new that week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I would look to see what listings there were coming up in the zip codes or the neighborhoods that I liked, and I would start reaching out to those listing agents and saying, “Hey, are you planning on doing an open house? Can I run it for you?” Whether they say, “Yes I am, you can come with me and anyone that is a buyer, you can represent them,” or “We work together and we split those leads 50/50,” or “Yes, you can run it and you can have any leads that you get from them.”

Nothing in this business is sit back and just wait for stuff to come to you. Everything for me is proactive. Instead of waiting to see who offers an open house, I went and found my open houses by texting or calling my girlfriends, “Who’s got houses coming up and let me sit in your house?” The other big tip, builders. If you have builders that have open houses that are not represented by a brokerage, if you develop relationship with your builders, there are some builders that will let you sit in their model homes.

If they don’t have licensed agents, they may not be able to represent buyers or sellers if they want to build. That’s another place if you just spend time going and visiting builders, getting to know them, building relationships, they’ll let you sit in their open houses. At least in my area, there are some that will do that, so it’s something to look into.

Lindsay: Just building those relationships, whether it be with other agents, whether it be with builders, whether it be just getting those at-bats to be in front of those buyers. You’ve really figured it out and you’ve figured it out fast, and it’s impressive.

Angie: Very fast.

[laughter]

I feel like this is my year of now I understand what I was really effective at and what skillset works for me to get a return. Now this year I’m figuring out how to hone in on that stuff and learn how to actually run the business because it was full fast and I bought three rental properties last year. Everything was so fast that I’m playing catch-up at this point.

Lindsay: You did not just a leap of faith but you leapt and then you ran.

Angie: Yes. I was just like, “I just do it fast and messy and I’ll clean up afterwards just because I’d rather just do it and mess up and learn from it than to just sit back and wait. I just need to be productive.

Lindsay: I love it. Thank you so much for doing this today. I think our audience definitely learned a ton from you. I know I did. I think that some of the builder discussion that you had at the end there, I think just hearing how you just dove in and your drive and the time that you spend in the office like all of those things were just such incredible feedback. Definitely listen to what Angie has to say because apparently she did it right and she did it fast and she is now just at that point where she can hone it in.

I really appreciate you taking the time today and sharing with our audience. We’ll make sure to put in the show notes any of these links that are here on the screen and any of Angie’s contact information. I know Angie, that you’re definitely a helper and a nurturer and that nurse comes out in you, so if anyone has questions for her, please feel free to reach out. She’d be happy to answer them. I really appreciate your time today, so thank you so much.

Angie: Thanks so much for having me, Lindsay. It was fun.

Lindsay: Awesome. Thanks, everybody for listening, and don’t forget to tune in to the next episode. If you listen to this on your podcast app, make sure to go and watch the video too because it’s always fun to see the person actually explaining everything. Now with Season 3, that’s something that we’re making a big push for and making sure that the video is public as well.

I think people were afraid before to be on video, so I was doing them more as just podcasts, but now I’m like, “Screw it. We’re doing it video, we’re doing it both ways.” Definitely go check out our YouTube channel so you can watch the video as well. We will have another great episode in two weeks, so tune in for that. Thanks so much for visiting us guys and have a great week. Continue to crush it in real estate.

Thanks for joining us on the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast. We hope you’ve learned some valuable takeaways. Be sure to take action and grow your business. You can check out the Episode Notes and more content from the show at CrushitinRE.com/podcast. And if you’d like this episode, and you’d like to hear more stories, please share with others, post on social media or leave a rating or review. To catch all the latest from Anthony you can follow him on Instagram at Crush It In Real Estate on Facebook and YouTube. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.