Long before making a name for herself as a Realtor® in South Florida, Crystal Beatty Gargiulo was a residential and commercial real estate appraiser who never considered sales to be anything she would entertain. However, by all accounts becoming a Realtor® was a natural progression into her life.
Since becoming a Realtor® in 2019, she has proven to be an expert at creating solutions behind the scenes and making sure it’s a win-win on both sides of the transaction. Crystal’s experience as a former appraiser has taught her how to read the data, analyze and discover the trends on a macro and micro level.
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. Check out the Episode Notes at CrushItinRE.com/podcast. Here’s your host, Lindsay Favazza.
As a real estate agent, you know that the industry can be tough to navigate, with constant challenges and obstacles to overcome. That’s why we created the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast, where top-performing agents share their insights and strategies for success. Join us as we dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of growing a thriving real estate business. Your host, Lindsay Favazza, will be your guide on this journey. Sit back, relax, and get ready to learn from the best in the business.
Lindsay Favazza: Welcome back to another episode of the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast, where I deep dive into the secrets, strategies, and insights of the most successful real estate professionals. I’m your host, Lindsay Favazza. Today, I have a special treat for you. My guest is none other than Crystal Beatty Gargiulo. She is of RE/MAX Preferred Office in the beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She’s a local expert. Crystal’s real estate knowledge runs deep and wide.
She started in commercial and residential real estate appraising, worked for Cushman & Wakefield, specializing in everything from apartment complexes and self-storage to shopping plazas and hotels. Before her journey with Cushman & Wakefield, she was immersed in a high-volume residential appraisal firm dealing with single-family homes, condominiums, and duplexes. You name the top property type and Crystal has had experience with it.
As a relatively new agent with four years in the industry, she knows firsthand that the path to success isn’t always a smooth one. What she has learned and what she hopes to impart to our audience today is that anyone can make their mark in this business if they’re equipped with the right tools and a tenacious spirit. Without further ado, welcome to the podcast today, Crystal.
Crystal: Hi, everybody.
Lindsay: Crystal, let’s first start with how you got into real estate, maybe how you got into appraising, and then how that transferred into becoming a residential realtor four years ago.
Crystal: Real estate has been in my blood forever. My grandfather was a real estate appraiser. My grandmother was an agent. My uncle is still a mortgage broker up in Georgia, so the topics of conversation around our dinner table always surrounded real estate, whether it was rates or measuring houses, you name it. It was just a common theme in our house. I went to college and I was like, “I’m never going to do anything in real estate because that’s a family business.”
I wanted to push away from it, but I had a friend who happened to be a real estate appraiser here for a local really busy firm. I ran into him one day and he said, “You know, I know that your family’s in this business. Would you have any interest in becoming an appraiser?” I was out of school, kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do, what direction I wanted. I was like, “You know what, let’s try it, see what happens.” It turns out I absolutely loved it. It was very natural to me because I was just so familiar with it.
Then I did many years of that and it was wonderful. I worked hard. I was in my 20s, so I worked like a million hours a week. I had no responsibilities and it was a great experience, but then I was ready for a little more challenge. I decided to see if I could switch into the commercials. I started applying and Cushman & Wakefield gave me a call and gave me the opportunity to really deep dive into it. We were the top real estate group in the world for Cushman & Wakefield.
It was one of those things where it was a sink-or-swim kind of situation, and I just luckily was able to swim. Then I started having babies and I was like, “Oh, you know what, I don’t know if this is really the thing for me.” It was very corporate. It was very 7:00 to 7:00, not 9:00 to 5:00, it was just all in. I started thinking about it and my partner Rachel was in the business and she had always said, “I really think you’re going to be good at this. You really are. You would be good at this.”
I was like, “Not a chance. I don’t want to do it. I’m not a salesperson.” Finally, we would go to lunch or dinner once every few months and she’d say, “No, no, really, you should do this.” I was like, “All right.” One day I just said, “All right, let’s go. Let’s see what happens.” I took the course and got my license and just hit the ground running. I’d have to say, a lot of my connections that I’ve made over the years really helped me forge the path to where I am today.
Lindsay: What did your family say when you did start to get into real estate? Were they like, “I told you so?” Did they have that, “We knew that this would happen,” kind of attitude?
Crystal: I don’t know. I think I might have taken them by storm. They’ve never really been able to predict what my decisions are going to be. I’ve always just been the wild card. I think that initially, they were probably concerned because they know how hard the business is, but then once I started getting some success pretty quickly, I think they settled into the idea and knew I had what it took to actually be successful and make a living in this business.
Lindsay: They were like, “She’s going to be just fine.”
Crystal: Yes. Nos, it’s great. My grandfather, he’s 96 and we text every day and he’s like, “I’m so proud of you. You’re doing so good.” That just means like the world to me. I could have zero other accolades and just having him say, “Wow you’re doing such a great job.” That right there is it for me.
Lindsay: I’m sure. And he’s probably wowed by the way the market has changed, everything that’s changed in real estate, too so he probably is kind of living vicariously through you at this point.
Crystal: Yes, but his stories are always so good because when I first got started, he talked to me about letter writing because he did that because he sold real estate before he was an appraiser. We’re talking 60 years ago where he had a town that he couldn’t get a job. I can’t remember exactly the story, but it goes something like he got a job as an agent because he couldn’t get a job as an appraiser.
His brokerage actually told him to stop taking listings because he had more than the whole entire company combined. I think it was something– he had 40-something listings in this town. He said it was all for writing letters and door-knocking.
Lindsay: Wow. Yes. Still works today.
Crystal: It really does. It’s something that I do.
Lindsay: Yes. That’s so cool. How did your experience with commercial and residential appraising, how did that translate and help you? What kind of advice can you give to people from the appraisal world that maybe the average realtor that hasn’t had that background maybe doesn’t know?
Crystal: It’s all about the data.It’s black and white. When you understand how to read the data and differentiate the different numbers, it is going to help you so much in real estate. If you have a comparable market analysis course to take, do it because being able to pull comps and look at them in a way that an appraiser is going to, is going to set you apart from another agent that might not know how to do that. Right now at this point, an agent could just be like, “A client says they want to list their house for 650.”
Okay, great. List it for 650, but they don’t know that properties are only selling for 550 in that community. With the knowledge and the data, you can say, “Hey, look at this. This is what the data is saying. It has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with you. It’s what the market is saying.” I think it really helps position me as an expert that I am not going to steer you wrong. I’m going to tell you what buyers are doing right now because I want to make sure you get the best money in the shortest amount of time.
Lindsay: Yes. I think your clients can go online and find properties, but they don’t know all the data and all the ins and outs, and that’s what they need you for. I think that’s so important to know those numbers because that’s when they really go, “Oh, this person actually knows what they’re talking about”
Crystal: [unintelligible 00:08:42] just getting good at, sorry, at just explaining the data in a way that’s going to be understandable to just the average Joe.
Lindsay: Absolutely. Yes. Because some will get it and some will care and some won’t, but at least they know that you know. That’s what they really need to know.
Crystal: Exactly, I’m going to pay somebody else to know stuff. When I’m doing something, I just want the expert in that field and that’s it.
Lindsay: Yes, exactly. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what marketing things have worked for you? You mentioned door knocking and letters that your grandfather used to do and that maybe you still do some of those things, but what are some of the marketing strategies that have worked for you and how has social media played a role in your business and marketing as well?
Crystal: I still do a lot of the old standards. I do letter writing. I write handwritten notes. I go door-knocking. I actually do a lot of door hangers and I usually– and they’re typically a little funny and a little like I would say edgy, but just to get somebody’s attention. I’m just not going to put my information on, let me sell your house. No. For example, like at Halloween, I put like a a haunted house on there and says, do you hate your neighbors or do you not like, do you not like your neighborhood?
Lindsay: Are you out of your, yes.
Crystal: Yes, something. I got several calls, even people that didn’t want to sell and they said, “Oh my God, that was hilarious.”
Lindsay: Yes it is.
Crystal: That got my attention. I think toying the line with like sarcasm and a little bit like out of the box, it’s going to get you more recognized and remembered than just your typical flyer. I get so many of them and I just throw them out. It doesn’t even– it goes in one ear and out the other. The door hangers have been a huge success for me. I have really been able to track my income from that. It’s been quite significant for the minimum amount of work that really needs to be done.
Handwritten letters really work. I target specific communities that I have buyers interested in and try to play matchmaker and put them together. Sometimes it leads to listing, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it just leads to another connection that you have. Also with social media, I love social media, I think it’s the best thing ever. If you use it correctly, it can really enhance your life and your business so much. I’m really big on– I post my just sold, just listed, just all of that stuff, but I also post like how-to videos and things that are important to the real estate world.
Crystal: Yes, educational explaining the process, that kind of stuff. Even if I’m not feeling like the best and I do something I’m like, “I just don’t know if I want that.” I post it anyway because you know what, who cares? At the end of the day, I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to say um, I’m going to say and, I’m going to say all of these like filler things, but you’re still going to see me. Exactly. I think that’s a really big deal for me.
Also just engaging in social media, like really authentically responding to other people. If you hear something or you see something or you have a picture, I always will call people or text them. If somebody graduated, rather than commenting, I’ll say, “Oh my gosh [unintelligible 00:12:34]. I can’t believe that Jackie graduated. That’s amazing. I can’t believe.”
Just those little connection things, I guess you could put it into marketing is that I do reach out to my sphere a lot about things that have nothing to do with real estate because if I see a dress that I think, “Oh my gosh, so-and-so would love that.” I screenshot it. I say, “I was just thinking about you. I look at this dress, it just looks just like you,” and that’s it. Then when you do get on the phone with somebody or you get in front of somebody, inevitably it always comes to real estate.
Lindsay: Yes. Of course. What’s the market doing? They know that you know that stuff and that’s what they’re going to ask you, and then you go right into it. It’s funny, a lot of people mentioned this and it’s so basic yet so many people don’t do it. Just be a human being, just be a caring, genuine human being. You don’t have to– People always get nervous about like, “Well, I don’t know how to ask for the sale or what do I say?” It’s like just say, “Hi, how are you?” You’re overcomplicating it.
Crystal: Yes, exactly. I think that going along with the marketing, I also am just very low pressure. I’m never really going to come out and say, “Hey, are you ready to list your house with me?” I’m going to go about it on a much more laid-back, relaxed very conversational thing. I don’t want any of my clients to ever feel pressured to do anything. I want them to just be– for me to be able to be with the journey and the [unintelligible 00:14:16] with that.
Lindsay: Yes. [crosstalk] forever and that’s how you get long-term clients. Yes, as far as your social media goes, obviously we have the links. Oh look, I pointed in the right direction, but we have your links right there. Definitely go on and follow Crystal so that you can see what she does on social. I think that would be super great. You started in real estate in a funky time because you started, you had told me in August of 2019, which we all know was like six months before doomsday, where we all got locked down and the whole world was in like flux.
I don’t think any of us realized how long that part of it would last, but at the same time, I don’t think we realized that real estate would rebound the way it did so quickly, but it was very much a crazy time. How did you during that time being new, being very new to real estate, how did you make it through that? What were some of the experiences that you had?
Crystal: I think I was really fortunate with having Rachel on my side because she has really been one of my mentors and guided me through this whole process. I have this really– I say tenacity, but I am this thing where I don’t ever look at the bad side. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be able to crush it to do whatever I want to do. I’m never like, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Even during this time where I was going, I was like, “Oh, this is weird.” I was like, “How are we going to do shit?”
So I just really started marketing myself heavy on virtual tours. I did all of my deals, many of my deals completely virtual where I was doing the walkthroughs. They really relied on me for my expertise and that took a lot of really getting to know what the clients wanted so I could help them and say, “Okay, you know what? They love this. This is what they want,” and be fully confident with it. It was a very strange period for both personal and professional and personal because I had a baby in July of 2020.
Lindsay: What a crazy time to have a baby.
Crystal: Yes. It was chaos and bonkers, but it was from my personal experience, and I know everyone had a much different experience. I took it as COVID was kind of a blessing in a way because it slowed my family down. We were at dinner every night together. I was able to do all of my work with a newborn baby in front of the computer.
No one could ever predict what’s going to happen, and that was a perfect example of it. Really just being able to roll with things and being flexible and change with whatever the demand is, is I think really one of the secrets of being successful long-term in this business because the things that worked five years ago are not going to work today.
Lindsay: No, no, you have to be able to change unless it’s door-knocking and letter writing.
Crystal: Of course. Yes, but just in general, clients are going to have different expectations. I think that really just– I wasn’t scared. I was like, “Okay, well, this is a new adventure. Let’s see what happens.” I called Rachel and said, “Okay, so what are we going to do here? How are we handling this?”
Lindsay: Rachel’s been in the business for a while, so she’s seen some of those ups and downs.
Crystal: Yes. Yes. She’s a rock star.
Lindsay: Yes, she is and such a sweetheart. Hi, Rachel. You have a new baby, you’re dealing with a pretty much a new career and you’re coming at it with such a great attitude, how now, four years later, and now that things have settled as far as COVID goes and the market’s getting into a little bit of a change, but what are some of the things that you do to kind of manage your time?
You obviously have a home life that you need to manage. I saw your adorable puppy too, so you have the pets, the husband, all the things that you need to do, and then on top of that, real estate. What are some of the things that you do to time block, time manage, keep yourself sane?
Crystal: This is one of my biggest challenges to date and I do struggle with it, but I have found that I make myself available from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. That sounds like a long time, but for me, it’s important to be able to have that availability and accessibility to my clients. However, there are certain times during the day where I shut it off. I put my do not disturb on for dinner time between 6:00 and 8:00 so I can have dinner, put the kids to bed. Really, I go to my office every day so then that’s work time, so then I am much more apt to say, “Okay, from 9:00 to 11:00, this is what I am. I’m catching up on my computer work. I’m doing this. I make my appointments through the afternoons.” I also have been kind of testing out scheduling appointments only on certain days. Having Monday and Wednesdays as my appointment days, and then Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m in the office, and then the weekend is a mixed bag of whatever my clients need, but then it is definitely a point of contention in my house sometimes because I am fully accessible.
I also think that, especially as a new agent, I know what competition is, and I know that if I don’t answer the phone, somebody else is going to. Thankfully, my husband and my entire family understands that this business is your all in and I can shut it off when I go on vacation and when I have dinner time, and when we have date nights, I can shut it off but in the event, my phone does ring during dinner and it’s an important negotiation call, my family understands I have to go get it.
Time blocking, time management, it’s definitely something I struggle with and I think that a lot of agents do, especially when they have so many different demands, and also just being able to take time for myself. I’ll go get my massages and go get my facials and just have days where, especially after it’s been a really heavy busy time, you just take a morning or an afternoon and just go and do some self-care.
Lindsay: Yes, it’s so important to keep you sane. It’s important for your clients and it’s important for your family.
Lindsay: You get the best version of you. that I asked you this question or I told you about my questions in the very beginning and I said this question, I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t need to ask it,” but then you’re like, “I got some stories.” We’re going to get into it. What was one of the most challenging experiences that you’ve had in the real estate industry so far and how did you get through it and overcome it and get past it? I’m getting the popcorn ready.
Crystal: Yes, let’s go. I’ve had a couple of them. Of those of us know in real estate how emotional the process is. Our clients can be completely normal, and then they go crazy during the process. Then they’re normal after the process is done too. It’s temporary.
Lindsay: It’s so stressful. Yes, usually.
Crystal: I used to expect this. With all of my clients, I just expect the crazy to come out at some point, and that’s fine but recently, I had these two men. They were buyer and seller, and they were both alphas, the head of their company, both of them on opposing sides. It was a for sale by owner so I was literally just doing all of the work. We went through a negotiation process. It was six weeks. I’ve never seen something so crazy, where this process took so much of my time and energy. It’s because both of these alpha men needed to feel like they were in control.
It was a huge thing for me. I was like, “Okay, I have to really think about the energy that I’m bringing into this.” Because I needed to make sure they both felt like they were winning. Usually, I have a partner on the other side on the transaction that we can commiserate and learn to figure out how to make it work, but it was really literally on the phone here, on the phone here. This deal almost was blown up 17,000 times. The last day that it was literally scheduled to close and they were arguing over $3,000.
I mean, fighting over it. What they did not want to sell. Finally, the seller, he called me. He’s like, “It sounds like the buyer is going to walk away from this deal over $3,000.” I was like, “Yes, you are, too.” Literally, he hangs up five minutes later, he called me back. He’s like, “Okay, we’re good. I’m going to take it.” It was just such [crosstalk]
Lindsay: Did you torture me?
Crystal: I got tortured in ways that I never expected. As a newer agent, going up against these big, powerful people, it was very mentally challenging. I had to be extremely conscientious of what I was bringing to the table because I had to match their energy, but not in a threatening way. That was a very psychologically challenging deal but in general, I would say that buyers and sellers, they just go crazy and you can’t take it personally at all. You just got to say, “Hey, you know what? I understand. I get it.”
Lindsay: I was just having a conversation with someone about this yesterday. I was like, “Being a realtor is very much being a therapist.” I feel like that’s a lot of your job is to keep people calm, to walk them through, to guide them to what the decision is that’s best for them and not what’s best for the realtor, obviously. Just keeping them sane and calm in this crazy situation. This is not something that they do every day, but you do. Just keeping them calm is a job. [laughs]
Crystal: Totally, and that’s one of the things. We just, all right, what are we going to do? How are we going to navigate this insane market and what’s going on, and people are so on edge?
Lindsay: Do you ever feel like that energy rubs off on you, or do you feel like you can keep it pretty disconnected in a way where you can help them and you can commiserate with them and be empathetic, but at the same time shut your phone off and not feel like you’re going crazy?
Crystal: I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better. A lot of it is my husband’s amazing. He’s like, “Crystal, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to get the deal done. You’re doing as good as you can. You’re doing everything in your power. You have to let it go.” Then I have Rachel on the other side saying the exact same thing. It’s hard because I am a very compassionate and empathetic person. I do take on the energy of my clients a lot of the time, but I just have to realize there is a line that I can serve you, but I do not have to feel all of the crazy.
Lindsay: You need to take on your stuff.
Crystal: Yes. Exactly.
Lindsay: Then you have another client who’s not doing that, so you have to be able to match their– It’s very much you have to very much be chameleon-like and just be able to go with the flow. All right. What are some apps, programs, things that either on your phone or in your computer that you’re like, “I could not do my job without this, I would never be able to survive”? What are some of those things?
Crystal: In Marketing Canva, we do a lot of our stuff through Canva. I feel like there’s really so many more growth opportunities within the app that you can figure out, which my team is still working on but I also love, looking it out, obviously, Instagram. I do Reels straight from Instagram and TikTok, of course, because that’s both [unintelligible 00:27:26] Exactly and for just mindless scrolling, and Follow Up Boss, which is my CRM and my calendar. That’s probably all the things. Oh, and WhatsApp because I have a lot of international clients.
Lindsay: Yes, being in South Florida, I’m sure you do.
Crystal: Yes. It’s [unintelligible 00:27:46] easier to communicate [unintelligible 00:27:47] files.
Lindsay: Yes. Other than Rachel, because we’ve talked about her a bunch, and I’m sure she’s top of that list but who inspires you? Who do you follow? Who is a role model for you in this business? What are some of those people that you’re like, “I watch everything that they do so I can improve my game?”
Crystal: There’s a lot of them because I follow a ton of Realtors online, both very local, and that I just really appreciate what they put out there, but I would say the owner of my brokerage, his name is Bradley Thrasher. He’s just a rock star. He has so many good bits of advice and I love that he’s so accessible. I can call him and text him anytime if I have a question. He’s somebody who I really admire. He just has this– I want to use the word tenacity again, just to get things done and to be accessible and figure out something outside of the box to get something done. I read a ton of books–
Lindsay: Like what?
Crystal: About sales and psychology and I’m reading the Chet Holmes book right now. That was actually in a training that we did at La Macchia a couple of weeks ago. I would probably say Anthony has been somebody that I love to watch because he has such good information. As soon as I copy it, I’m like, “Oh, you know what? I’m going to do a video on that because that’s awesome content.” I love how much he posts. I love how much he shares with the world. I feel like having people that are willing to share their secrets with you is so powerful because it makes things a lot more accessible. There’s a bunch of people on social media that I follow, a couple of them around California. I get my inspiration and my stuff
from a lot of different people, and yes.
Lindsay: What advice would you give– we’re pretty much done, so this is my last question usually. What is some advice that you would give to someone? Maybe they’ve either just started in the business or they’re just a couple of years in, what advice would you give them to help them get to that next level, whatever that next level is in the business for them, what advice would you give to that person?
Crystal: I would probably tell them to align yourself with a brokerage and or a team that is going to give you the support that you need. It’s hard because there’s so many out there that promise the world, but they can’t deliver, and just to align yourself. If you are a single agent, aligning yourself with that brokerage is wonderful, but also find people that are in the industry that you can talk to.
I find that creating relationships with different lenders, that they have an insight into the business that can really help you a lot. I think that just having the right expectations when you’re going into it. This is a hard business, you are going to lose and you are going to fail every single day, and so the quicker you can say, “Okay, next,” the faster you’re going to pick up speed and traction. Just don’t give up. It’s hard.
This business is not for the weak of heart, and you just can’t give up, and you just have to keep on going. If it’s a hard day, okay, you know what, that was yesterday, and keep on trying to make the connections with people to help you, and that is really going to help you on your path and your journey because you can’t do this business alone.
Lindsay: You have to have a thick skin, and you have to not take things personally like we were just talking about, and not take on that drama onto yourself, then you really just need to have a– it’s so cheesy, but that can do, don’t take no for an answer attitude. There’s the dog. He was like, “I’m not going to let you finish without making an appearance.”
Yes, I mean, that’s super important, and you obviously are someone that has all of those things, so I know the future is bright for you, my friend. This has been so much fun. I think our audience has learned so much from you. I’m not surprised at all, and I just really appreciate you being on the podcast today.
Crystal: Thank you so much.
Lindsay: For everyone that’s listening, again, we have all of her– oh, I did it right again, all of her links right here. We will also have in the show notes all the links to her social media, and just the transcript of this podcast today. Check us out on YouTube as well, because this video we put out on YouTube if you’re just listening to the podcast. Thank you again so much. We will be back in two weeks for the next episode of the Agents Who Crush It in Real Estate podcast. Thanks, everybody.
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