Curt’s journey into real estate is nothing short of a miracle. Starting from a heart-wrenching personal crisis, he found his way into real estate and has since led his team to generate over $1 billion in sales. His incredible story of resilience, adaptability, and his undying passion for helping others sets him apart in this industry. Learn more about Curt here.
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.
Lindsay Favazza: Welcome back to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast. I am your host, Lindsay Favazza. Today’s episode promises to be incredibly insightful and truly inspiring. I’m sitting down with none other than Curt Shewell, Vice President of MARK Z Real Estate Experts with eXp Realty in Novi, Michigan. Did I say Novi, Michigan correct?
Curt Shewell: No-vee, no-vai, whatever.
Lindsay: No-vai, whatever. [laughs] Curt’s journey into real estate is nothing short of a miracle. Starting from a heart-wrenching personal crisis, he found his way into real estate and has since led his team to generate over $1 billion in sales. His incredible story of resilience, adaptability, and his undying passion for helping others sets him apart in this industry. Whether you’re a new agent or a seasoned vet, you’re going to want to hear how Curt has masterfully scaled his operations, crafted a high-energy team culture, and consistently stays ahead in an ever-changing market. Without further ado, grab your notebooks, unless you’re driving, and let’s turn our attention to Curt.
Welcome to the podcast today, Curt.
Curt: Lindsay, thanks so much. I am super excited to be here. Crush It In Real Estate is one of my favorite pieces of real estate. When we’re looking for people that we follow, people that we really learn from, you guys have been just such a huge resource. Anthony, what he’s built and done is second to none. It’s great stuff. It’s neat when you start to realize how small this real estate world is the higher up the food chain you get. It’s neat.
I’m in Puerto Rico at a mastermind. What happens? I ran into all you guys who were in Puerto Rico at the exact same resort, on the exact same week, doing your retreat. What a neat thing to commingle with you guys and [crosstalk]
Lindsay: It’s a small world.
Curt: It was really neat. I get to hang out with a couple of you guys
Lindsay: I know that was so fun. I remember hearing about that. I don’t think I was in the room when they ran into you. Afterwards, I was like, “Oh, man,” because I knew that– We’ve had chats ever since. All right. Why don’t you take us back to the beginning, share that inspiring story, how you got into real estate, what inspired you to get into real estate, and then also how you ended up with Mark Z and his team?
Curt: Okay. Not to really make this a long story, make it really short as possible. I was in corporate America. I worked for Honeywell. I have five kids. I’m good at some things, right?
Curt: Parenting. Some might say I’m not, but we go with it. Boy, boy, girl, girl, girl. My oldest daughter got sick. She had cancer. It changes things. We go into crisis mode, we go into try to figure that out mode, and it takes you to a whole different path. It changes your perception of life. It changes your perception of reality because it’s never your kid who gets sick. That happens on TV, doesn’t happen for real, right? When that happens you look inward, and you really find a lot about yourself. I always thought I was a pretty good person, but I found that I needed a lot of help, and I needed to really understand people better than I ever did.
We went through that journey. What happened was that I had a leave of absence from my job, and then eventually had to resign because we really were in a worse situation. We had to try to find some miracle cure. When you go down that path, you really put things in perspective of what’s important to you. It wasn’t hard for me to figure out what was important, so I was focused there. The problem is you no longer have an income, and when you don’t have an income, you’re in a bad spot.
Lindsay: How do you focus if you don’t have money?
Curt: Yes. I wasn’t really looking for freedom, I was looking for flexibility, and I needed the ability to work but not do that. I actually asked, and I prayed on it, I need a miracle job. What ends up happening is this guy shows up in my house. He was from a charity, he was trying to help us out, and I’m like, “I appreciate it. What I really need, I don’t need you to pay a bill. I need a job, and I need a miracle job.” I said I need something I could sell. I could always sell. I know how to sell. I need it to be a big-ticket item with a big commission. I really needed to be something like that.
I need to be able to come and go as I please. I need to get a phone call that says, “Hey, you’re heading down to St. Jude or you’re flying all over the country trying to find whatever,” I need to be able to do that and be gone for weeks on end and have my job waiting for me. I said, “You find me that job. I’m your guy.” I need a miracle job. The next day, I got a phone call from his son, who was the vice president of sales at Pulte Homes. That’s what got me into real estate. I started the next day.
It was amazing, and it was great. We lived in a Pulte Home. We had that Pulte experience scenario. It was really a great fit. I never had real estate on my radar at all. It was never a path for myself that I saw. I think the greatest parts in life are the things that you just have to keep your eyes open and see when they come to you. I think most of us get complacent in where we’re at, we get routine, so we take things for granted that they just are. I did the same. I was no different than anybody else. What happens is you start to see things, and when you get clarity and vision, a lot of things open up to you.
I think that was the thing that changed everything for me and for my family. I was able to get into real estate at that point because I needed that flexibility, which turned out to be the greatest move career-wise of my life. I’ve sold everything from shoes to garbage cans, to machine safeguarding, to electronics and all kinds
Lindsay: You could sell a ketchup popsicle to an Eskimo, isn’t that the phrase?
Curt: I learned back in the appliance days when I was selling appliances. It was probably the best learning experience of my life back in those days. It became pretty natural to me, real estate came easy. I know that sounds bad to say, but it came really easy. I had a necessity too. I needed a solution. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and I invented myself again as a real estate guy. Then I became pretty good at it. Then the market crashed, and I went through that period, which changed everything. That’s when I learned the bigger the problem you solve, the more money you’ll make, and you’ve got to start solving people’s problems.
It really helped me, not that I didn’t put people first, but I think some people that know me would argue, you put yourself first always. There’s books on that. The king’s got to eat first in order to have a kingdom. You’ve got to be able to do that for people. What it did was it really got me to really understand how I could help more people that were really in need. The more I could help people, I became very driven by that. I attribute all of it to my daughter and to our situation. It made me a lot better person than I’d ever been. Here we are all these years later, and I’ve been in real estate almost 20 years, it’s like, “Wow, that’s just the craziest thing.”
It’s been such a great fit for me because if you really stay focused on people, everything follows. The money follows. Don’t do the money thing. I did. I chased money. I always chased money. I chased the job that paid me the most money. That’s why I sold so many different things because whatever paid me more, I’m there. This was where the most money is, but the money is the secondary piece. It comes. The money’s already there. Focus on the people, focus on helping. Stop selling, start helping. Once you can really get that digested, it will change who you are. It’ll change how you present. It’ll change how you show up. I show up differently today than I ever did before.
Lindsay: Amazing. Talk to me about marketing tactics. You train your team, you discuss with them what things that they should be doing day-to-day with buyers and sellers. What kind of tactics do you teach them to market themselves? Because I think one of the things that agents are really struggling with right now is getting their name out there and making sure that they are heard, having top-of-mind awareness. What is it that you teach your agents to do?
Curt: Okay. First things first, don’t lie. Don’t lie. I know it sounds harsh when you say that, people are, “Well, I don’t lie.” We all do to a point. What I mean is, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Let me give you an example. I do this in classes of agents, and I’ll say, “Raise your hand as high as you can,” Put it up there as high as you can, and they’re up there reaching, reaching, and reaching. I’ll say, “Okay, everybody, go just a little higher,” and everyone in the room goes a little higher.
I’m like, “Why did you tell me you went as high as you could when you lied because you didn’t? When I said go higher, you did.” Were you lying, though? You not what I’m saying? You didn’t tell the truth, but it wasn’t a lie. You tell your clients, “I’m going to give you all of this,” but then you don’t.
Lindsay: Then you give them this.
Curt: Because you can’t give them the more. Promise them what you can deliver on. Be strategic in what you say because it’s important. Mean what you say, say what you mean. If you don’t mean what you say when you say it, your client is going to sniff through that quickly. I get agents to tell me all the time, “Curt, my client is ghosting me.” I beg to differ. They’re not ghosting you, you’re ghosting them. Your follow-up game sucks. You’re not doing what you told them you would do because if you were, you set that verbal contract with them upfront that, “I will do this. I will do this. I will do this. Here’s what I expect from you.”
Most agents never give the client what you expect from them. You only tell them what they’re going to expect from you. Then you deliver on some of it, part of it, most of it, because the top agents do exactly what they said they would do. Doesn’t mean it fits for everybody, and you have to be okay to say no. No is your friend. I teach a class on no. No is your friend. You’ve got to set parameters, but I believe if you really are telling the truth, you’re going to tell your client, “Here’s what you can expect from me. Here’s what I’ll expect from you, and I promise to deliver on these things.”
If you set a schedule that way and you tell your client, “I’m not 24/7,” you’ll be surprised at how much your client will respect it because they’re not 24/7 either.
Lindsay: No. They don’t want to be 24/7.
Curt: Agents say it all the time. I go, “Why are you lying to your clients when I say don’t lie?” “I’m 24/7.” “No, you’re not. You are sleeping at some point.” “Well, Curt, if they call, I’ll wake up and answer the phone.”
Lindsay: That’s not smart.
Curt: If you do, you’re failing your client. What are you doing? They don’t need you at 4:00 AM. They’re not calling you to get them out of jail. You’re their agent, right? You’re not their attorney or their friend.
Lindsay: I hope not.
Curt: That’s another thing I tell agents constantly too. Stop trying to be a friend to your client. You’re not their friend. Even if you know them. Even if you’re friends with them, you’re not their friend. You’re their agent. Act like it. They respect you more. Your value goes up. They’ll work with you as their agent. Friends dump friends constantly and do this all the time. “Well, my friend, you said I was going to sell your house.” “Yes, but this other agent showed up and they had this buyer and I just said okay. Then they listed it and they sold it. Oh my God, I thought you’d be happy for me.” They actually expect you to be happy that they [crosstalk] you.
Lindsay: Because you’re only their friend
Curt: Right. You’re my friend. Why would you be upset? I see relationships, family members, every family is got two, three, four, five realtors or people with real estate licenses in their family. “Well, I can’t use you because Aunt Susie is going to be pissed off.” “Really? Aunt Susie’s sold 4 homes in the last 20 years. I don’t think Aunt Susie really sells homes. She has a license and says it. She hasn’t sold a house in three years. I can help you. This is what I do for a living.” “Well, yes, but if I do that, she’s going to be mad. Then I can’t go to Thanksgiving dinner.” This stuff happens.
You have to be upfront with people. Don’t lie.
Lindsay: Yes. I love that.
Curt: Tell them the truth. “Hey, I think I can help you. Here’s why.” Here’s my value prop to you, basically. Don’t say those words, but give them what your value is and you’ll find people who are resonating to you. I want to help the people that are looking for me so I can look for them. I want to find my avatar. I attract who I am.
Lindsay: I love that.
Curt: I don’t attract people who aren’t like me because they’re not going to fit with me very well.
Lindsay: In that realm, because you mentioned that before, and now you just mentioned that again, you like to have this group of people surrounding you that are similar interests, similar drive, all of that. How do you find those people for your team and how do you cultivate that relationship of collaboration and making sure that that culture stays healthy?
Curt: I think it’s really important. Two things, one, you have to understand what your values are. People can argue this, “Well, my values are here.” Okay. Maybe they are, but what you show up as is this. You don’t show up as this. You show up as this, it’s different than this. Understand two things. We talk DISC profiles and things like that, people get hung up on that stuff. Some people love them, some people hate it [unintelligible 00:13:03] that’s hocus-pocus. Well, you don’t need it for everybody. What you need it for is for yourself. Who you think you are versus who you show up as are two different people. You need to recognize that.
I’m a huge proponent of self-analytics. I have to analyze myself constantly. My wife tells me constantly, “Accountability is the biggest form of love you can give somebody because you care about them.” One of my sons used to say to me all the time, he goes, “How come you tell me stuff that I do wrong every day?” I said, “Because I’m the only one telling you the truth. Because if I don’t tell you what you’re doing wrong, other people aren’t going to, and you’re going to fail and you’re not going to know why. I’m here to tell you what you’re doing wrong. I’ll pat you on the head and tell you you’re doing right, but you have to make sure you’re doing more right things every day than wrong things.”
You’re going to attract the people who are like you. This is how you do this. When I’m building my teams, building that culture, you’re building it based on two things, one, on your values. What do I actually value? How do I show up? Do I show those values? Because that’s what people are going to see. Am I true to that? Again, you’ve got to be true to that. Probably younger years in sales, I wasn’t true to that. My values are one thing, but I would compromise those to make a sale. I would do what I had to do to get a client. Well, you’re not being true to yourself, so you’re certainly not being true to them.
It took me a long time to learn that. I’ll be honest, I was very salesy young on in my salesman career and I became much better at it as I grew and got experience and also had the right people telling me I was doing it wrong. I watched the people having the most success. When I started emulating them and surrounding myself with them, I put off that. Guess what I attracted? More people like that. Therefore, there were more people like me.
I surround myself with a lot of people that are a lot like me. I also surround myself with the opposites. Opposites attract. My wife is the best to critique me because she’s the opposite of me. She’s a wonderful person. Me, I have to work at it. She’s naturally wonderful. I get her to critique me, and she’s my biggest critic, but my biggest fan.
Lindsay: It’s coming from a place of love, not a place of anger.
Curt: Always. You always accountable to me. You said this, mean what you say. She says it to me all the time, “Did you mean what you said?” You’re like, “Oh shit. Yes.”
Lindsay: Called out.
Curt: [inaudible 00:15:15] “Did you say, oh no?” When you say, oh no, you’re in trouble, like, “Oh, shoot. Okay.” That’s probably one of the best attributes I have, is I have a great, great other half, right?
Curt: My wife holds me accountable so it makes me very honest. Sometimes we fall into these traps. Well, what are your core values? Are you living them? Are you actually living and are you portraying yourself the same way as who you say you are? Are you actually that person? The better I became at that, the easier it was to attract all those right people. The people you have to be able to say no. The people who are not that, that are trying to get into that and you’re like, “We’re just not a fit.” It’s okay to say “No, we’re not a fit.” Not everybody is a fit for you.
I think that’s where most agents mess up. They think every client is a great fit. They’re not. They’re going to make your life miserable. You’re going to hate your job, you’re going to hate your client, you’re going to hate working, you’re going to hate doing it, and it’s going to be a bad experience. Make sure if you generate, you don’t have to tolerate, so generate more business by putting yourself out there more, attracting the people like you so you can help them, and it’ll be an easy transition and the experience will be great on both sides.
Lindsay: I love that. Sheri is your wife, correct?
Lindsay: Sheri and you love to travel.
Curt: We love it.
Lindsay: How are you able to balance travel, balance life, balance the kids, five kids, crazy, and on top of that still keep your sales? What advice do you have to be able to enjoy life but also have money and work hard and be successful? How do you strike that work-life balance, or what advice do you have to strike that work-life balance?
Curt: A couple of things there. Just like you make an upfront contract with your client, I made an upfront contract with my wife. We had a conversation and we were laying it out, “Okay, if this is who we’re going to be and we’re going to be this,” and this is at the beginning of our relationship, it was, “Okay, give me three things that are the deal breakers for you. Tell me what you need and tell me what breaks the deal and I’ll tell you my three.”
We did this. Today, 20 some years later, we still hold to those. We remind each other of that. I said, “Okay, I won’t do that, that and that. These are the three things you need.” “You’ve got it, I’ll do those without doing that. No problem.” Then I said, “Here’s mine.” She said, “No problem. I’ll take care of those, no problem, and we won’t have any problems.” It doesn’t mean we don’t fight. It doesn’t mean we don’t argue. It doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements on a ton of stuff. Especially when you have kids, you’re going to have a ton of disagreements.
Lindsay: Oh, yes.
Curt: It happens all the time. What she said to me was, “Here is my deal. You take care of me, I’ll take care of everything else.” I said, “Okay, then let’s define what taking care of you means. I need to provide, I need to give you a sense of security. I have to be honest and true to you. You have to be able to never question what I do.” It doesn’t mean she doesn’t question it. She never has to question my integrity to it. The trust has to be there. You have to see it.
You come from other places, so when you get together, you’re trying to show each other your best sides, but they need to see your worst side too. That was where we really were good at, exposing to each other there, so the foundation was set, “I won’t do that and you won’t do this and we’re going to get along great.” By doing that, we’re going to have a lot more success, so we can work through anything. I always said, “If we disagree on something, would I divorce you for that?” As silly as that sounds, because you were making that face like, “That’s stupid.”
Lindsay: Yes. No, of course not.
Curt: It should be. It really should be stupid. My screen is dying on me.
Lindsay: For the three things that you told her are your things, then that’s where we get a little shaky.
Curt: Yes. Right. Exactly. When I said I’ll take care of you, that means I have to work hard. “I promise to provide for you and give you these three senses of securities that you really need. I’ll do that.” Because I know I can do that, so I focused on that. She said, “I’ll take care of everything else.” I said, “Okay, then if you take these things off my plate where I really don’t have to worry about these things,” these things are the time-consuming things for me, but become natural to her, “God, is it a great fit.” We stay out of each other’s lanes. I tramp into hers all the time and she pushes me right back out.
Lindsay: I’m sure.
Curt: “Hey, hey, hey, this is my–” “You know what, you’re right.” It has been the most beautiful, wonderful thing I could have asked for. She reminds me to stay in my damn lane, but what she says is, “Hey, you said you’d work, you said you’d provide, you’ve done this. All right, we have this. Why are you doing this?” It’s like, “Okay, my goal was here, I’ve hit this one. What happens is when you hit your goals, I’m pushing, the goal pushes out with it.” Because this comes with that. I don’t know that I’ve ever really hit the goal. I hit the steps of the goal that I wanted because as you grow, more things happen and your goal actually starts to look different. It doesn’t change, it just looks different.
You start doing other things. Financially, you become very secure. Emotionally, you become more secure. The relationship becomes more solid because you’re counting, relying on that other person. My wife, she handles a lot of my business because she needed to be part of it to understand it. We call it living with a monster. I have this just undying energy and I have to keep pushing and keep going and pushing it higher.
You work with Anthony and I work with Mark and these are people– and I worked with a lot of great people that have this way of thinking. I have it too. They just taught me how to really, really accentuate within it and how to really push that envelope and really explode. My wife’s, “Oh, that’s scary to me. What are you doing?” I’m like, “Oh, we can’t have scary. That was my promise, right? Okay. Then let me explain it to you.” Bringing her more involved into certain pieces gave her clarity. Even though she doesn’t know how to do what I do nor does she ever want to do what I do and I don’t want her to, and I tell her all the time, “I don’t want to be married to me. I want to be married to you.”
Lindsay: Yes, exactly.
Curt: Please don’t become me. Stay you. I want to be married to you. It gives us a really great balance because she understands when it is taking too much, but she’s quick to tell me, “Uh-uh, uh-uh, you’re going too far.” “Hey, work? Put it on the shelf. Come on.”
Lindsay: She really is the one that helps you to strike that balance because you’ll push the envelope, but she’ll be like, “Hey, I’m not getting enough from you or you’re taking it too far,” and then you are able to rein it back in.
Curt: Yes. She looks at my schedule. My home computer is always open and always on. My calendar, my schedule for the day is in it. One of the best things I ever did to balance things was look at, okay, if we got to the level you’re at, and maybe this is a question you may have as we go, at some point, how do you get that balance better? I had to take the busy work off my plate.
My busy work in my business means I had to hire somebody to do it. You can do it or you hire somebody to do it. A really smart person once told me, “Divide by 2,080, if you work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year and you divide it out, you’ve got 180 hours of 2,080 hours a year that you’re actually working.” How much did you make divided by 2,080, that’s what you made per hour. Are you putting out lock boxes, Curt? That’s $10 an hour work. That is not you if you’re supposed to be making [unintelligible 00:22:34]
Lindsay: You’re lowering that hourly.
Curt: Why are you doing this work? You’re hurting yourself. Pay somebody to do that and then pay somebody to manage your schedule. I get somewhere around 280 emails a day. If you’re getting that many in a day, you need somebody to sift through all the junk that’s in it and then put the rest of them in a folder so you can see them. It makes me so much more efficient. It saves me so much time. I can focus on the things that I need to and my assistant literally schedules in my calendar and blocks it.
She’ll put right in there “Sheri time,” and it’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to spend time with my wife.” She’ll put in there my kids, Sydney or Jamie or whatever, she’ll put my kids’ names in there. Boom, you’re supposed to be here, you’re supposed to be there. You’ve got to take care of, call your kid this, call that one, call this one for that, make sure you’re doing that, and literally schedules it out to where it forces me to stop doing the work-work because I’m working but I’m working on my family, I’m working on my kids, I’m working on my relationships, I’m working on my friendships, I’m working on all of that stuff, but it’s scheduled out so I stop doing it.
That’s when my wife says, “You never stop.” I don’t. I don’t know how to stop. I just shifted where my attention goes and I can be more present.
Lindsay: Yes. Absolutely.
Curt: Being present is the key to the whole thing. You go through the stages, I was there, but I wasn’t present. My wife let me know how I was feeling in that and then I became better at it.
Lindsay: That’s sounds awesome.
Curt: Now I show up a lot better and more present.
Lindsay: I love it. That’s amazing. Why don’t you share with us a moment in your career that you are particularly proud of? Something that you accomplished either with your sales early on when it was just you or with your team and growing your team or bringing people onto the team. What is the most rewarding of all the things that you’ve accomplished?
Curt: Okay. It’s probably two things.
Lindsay: That’s okay.
Curt: Because they were both really important one at the time and then one now. I’ll give you the two. When the market crashed, I had worked at Pulte back then, and there was a huge problem. You had builders going out of business because they couldn’t sell anybody’s houses because nobody could sell their house. The values were down, people owed more than their house was worth. Even if you were paying on time and your credit was good, you were great, the problem is your value went down.
Last time that happened was 100 years ago. It happened in the 1920s. If you really look at that and you’re like, “Okay, this is a 100-year cyclical thing that seems to take place.” What happened was you had to come up with a solution for that. Builders were going out of business. It wasn’t my problem except I worked for a builder, so it became my problem. Now you’ve got people who are stuck, who have growing families, they’re still having kids, people are getting divorced. They can’t sell their house. What do they do? Can’t cohabitate anymore and there’s all these different things happening.
There was a lot of reasons for people needing to move. You got a two-bedroom condo when got married and you had your first kid and that’s really cute and it’s beautiful and wonderful and now we’re pregnant and having a second kid, but yet, uh-oh, guess what? We can’t sell our condo. Now what do we do? You got a boy and a girl. What do you do? Share a room? You’ve got a two-bedroom condo, what are you going to do? You need to move.
You’re stuck. You start realizing, “Oh my God, these people.” Then you’ve got this huge contingent of people who still have jobs, still doing well, the problem was they maxed out. They had a $1,500-a-month payment, let’s say, and now their payment’s $2,400, but they can’t afford it. Now they’re losing their house. You had this huge problem back when the crisis happened, the housing market, the banking crash, and all this.
One of my most proud moments, there was a guy that I worked with, he was younger, I was 40, he was 20 something. He said what if we rented these people’s houses and then let them move and we sold houses with the builders. Would that help the builders and that would help these people that are stuck? I thought about it. We really played with that idea. We came up with this company called Marketplace Homes. We started this, me and another guy. We hired a girl who was our girl to answer the phone. We called her our assistant. She was everything. She answered the phones and she did everything for us.
We just started that way. What we found was I could find a solution for all these people’s problems. I helped the people that were losing their homes keep their dignity, keep their self-respect. Yes, they lost their home, but they could afford a $1,500 payment. These people have a $1,500 payment who need a bigger house. The problem is they can’t move because they can’t sell it. I’ve solved the problem with these people who keep losing their dignity and saying, “Look, just move to this new house. It’s the same price you could afford to pay. You’re fine. I’ll move you in there.” Because these aren’t historical renters. These are homeowners.
Put them in there, that makes a solution for them because I put them in as a lease option so now it’s a house they’re buying. They’re treating it like their home. They’re not renters. These are homeowners. I’ve got a place for them to land and keep their families intact because these people can’t move three kids into an apartment. They need to be in a house. I was able to do that because their credit is in trouble so people aren’t even going to rent to them.
I put them in there and then in return took these people and they went ahead and moved into their new home without selling their other home because they were fine on their mortgage, they were fine on their incomes, they didn’t live beyond their means, so they were good with both. We paid them their rent by getting it from these other people. We just did a pass-through. They were taken care of. They didn’t have to manage it or be landlords. We took care of that. Then when they bought, we made them buy with our builders. We kept builders alive. They were literally going bankrupt. We kept them in the business.
We solved a lot of people’s problems, and yes, we did really well. We sold a ton of homes, 4,000 homes in less than four years during that time. Real proud of that. I think we built something that was really special because we did it the right way for the right reasons to help all the right people, and we did. We were compensated very well for that. We made a lot of money during that time. We did something that was really great and I felt really good. I went to bed at night going, “Man, I just helped one, two, three, four people in this, holy smokes.” They were loving you and they were thanking you. People were crying, thanking me.
Lindsay: That goes back to what you said in the beginning. It’s not about the money, it’s about helping.
Curt: Yes. We helped so many. Each transaction was helping so many people. The relationships you got from that were insane. It was so wonderful. Then what it did was it made me think a lot bigger than I’d ever thought before. It made me see things more. I knew how to scale, and then I realized, “Oh, I’m actually pretty good at the scaling thing. I know how to do that.” My wife used to say all the time, “You’ve helped so many people build their businesses. Why aren’t you building it for yourself?” That was the first time I got to build something really for myself and was like, “I’m helping others and yet I’m doing better for myself than I’ve ever done.”
That was a really proud moment time of my career. Then because of that, it allowed me to sift through to figure out my next phase. Meeting Mark Z during that period of time, Mark became my next business partner. I started a brokerage. I did that with a builder, one of the builders I was selling our homes for, and one of my best friends. We built a brokerage together and we did that. There’s just not a ton of money in that. It’s really difficult to do as you know. That is different. You have to do it differently today than you ever did it back then, which is why most of these boutiques they’re not making a lot of money.
These broker-owners, the franchisee, my God, that’s almost the worst proposition you can have. When you have these franchises, as you guys know, and you’ve morphed from that, is because there’s just not any money in that. It’s very difficult to have the traditional brick-and-mortar style. It’s just hard. You’ve got to give people the breadth to be able to do it in a bigger scale. What I realized, I could do that. I met Mark during those periods. It took us eight years to figure out how to work together.
The eXp thing, because it was a cloud-based platform, allowed us to work together. I didn’t have to work for him. He didn’t have to work for me because I tried to get him to buy a franchise from me. He tried to get me to, “Hey, come and I’ll pay you to run my team.” I’m like, “How do we do this together and figure it out?” That gave us the ability to do that. My second piece of proudness would be being able to do that because Mark had a 15-person team at Keller Williams, and I knew how to scale and I knew how to build it.
If you really pour into the people and you start creating the environment to get the people that you really want, they’ll come to you. You guys have done an amazing job of it too. This is what’s so cool. I can learn from other people already doing it so I know I’m doing it right. I can get better and tweak. It’s R&D. It’s not research and development because that takes forever. It’s painful and you lose money. It’s rip-off and duplicate.
Lindsay: I like that.
Curt: Rip it off, duplicate the same system because we can do it too. Not everybody can. The fear is people won’t show you what they’re doing because they’re fearful of, “Oh, everybody will steal my secrets.” There’s only a handful of people who can even do it like that.
Lindsay: That’s the thing. There are so many people that won’t even be able to try. Never mind the fact that by the time you’ve perfected it, they now have to spend all that time to perfect it. They got to start from the beginning, really, even though they’re getting the secrets from you.
Curt: Yes. You’re spot on. We were able to do that. Then we had a way to work together. I said, “Let me build your team out for you. Let me do that.” I did. I took over running his team and I said, “Here, I’m going to run your team. I’m going to run this thing out.” I take him 15 agents to 128 agents, and we scaled it pretty good. Now his team is this giant machine. We do over 1,000 transactions a year. We’re the biggest team in town in Metro Detroit. We do that.
He’s a marketing freak. He’s a genius in marketing. It’s what he does. I’m like, “Market it like crazy.” That’s why him and Anthony get along, right?
Curt: They’re marketing-minded. That’s how they think. They bleed that. They need people like us to say, “Okay, now, here, I’ll build it underneath you and I’ll show you how to do it.” I’ve done that, and then I scaled it. Now we have 3,000 agents nationwide, which becomes huge. You can really do that. Anthony’s got in one market, he’s got 500 and some. That’s crazy. Almost 600 freaking agents. That’s insane. That’s amazing to do it in an area. I have to go across the country, but now I can scale it to 3,000. There’s different ways of doing it. The old, more ways than one way to skin a cat.
Curt: You can really learn from others doing it really well. Take a piece of that, make it work for you, and then build it out. I’m really super proud of that because doing that with these 3,000 agents, I’ve changed more lives doing that, of real estate agent’s lives. When I did the Marketplace Homes thing, I solved so many other people’s problems. It was amazing. Individual clients and then builders and such, it was amazing what I could do for them. Now, I’m actually changing the lives of real estate agents who really have a passion for helping people.
In our system the way we built it, if you help somebody first, then you’re compensated, but if you don’t help anybody, you’re not compensated either. How cool would that be? My wife got me on the– I end up on the episode of My Story on Amazon Prime. Shameless plug. Comes out in a few weeks here. Put us up for an award and I won something. I don’t know what I won yet. I’m going to Hollywood in a few weeks.
Lindsay: Very cool.
Curt: Pretty excited about that. What happened, again, it was because of the story and the journey that goes through. The thing I’m super proud of is that I’ve been able to help so many real estate agents change their lives, financially give them freedom, because that’s what they all get into it for. We never get freedom, we get flexibility. I’m able to actually scale people’s businesses to give them financial freedom of it. That’s a game-changer. So many people want it, so if you can have it, I can actually show them how to get it. If they want it, they can have it. They’ve just got to follow the path.
Lindsay: Curt, this has been awesome. You have so much knowledge, so much advice, so much experience. I really want to say thank you so much. There’s four questions I wish I could have gotten to, but we’re almost out of time. I just really appreciate it. Maybe we’ll have to do a part two with Curt, especially after you win your award and blah, blah, blah.
Curt: There you go. I’d love to. Maybe I’ll give you shorter answers a little quicker for you.
Lindsay: No, you’re totally fine. I like the fact that you really explain it because some people will just answer the question and you just don’t know what was behind it, but you really are able to form that whole picture. It was super awesome for our audience, and I know that they agree. Thank you so much for being a part of this today. I really appreciate it. If you want to follow Curt on social, we will have everything in the show notes. For you guys that are watching on YouTube, you can see it right there across the bottom of the screen or right here. Here. Right here. [laughs] I always don’t know where to point.
Definitely follow him, reach out to him. He’s an awesome resource of information, so he’d be happy to share his tricks and tips with you. Again, thank you so much, Curt. I really appreciate your time today.
Curt: I really enjoyed this. Thank you so much, Lindsay. Thanks for having me. Appreciate you having me on the show. You’re awesome.
Lindsay: I love it. All right. We’ll see you guys on the next episode of the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast.
Curt: Keep crushing it.
Announcer: 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 in to 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.
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.