Megan is originally from a No-stoplight town in West Virginia yes its that small and she left there to pursue her passion for Real Estate in the prestigious communities of Broward and Palm Beach county, Florida.
If you are thinking that name sounds familiar but can’t quite place it, maybe you will recognize the title “The Mermaid Realtor” This creative Marketing title she has displays her passion for the South Florida lifestyle and the ocean that has shaped her brand. Due to this branding she commonly attracts waterfront clients who share her love for fishing, diving, and boating. With over 12 years of industry experience, Megan and her team offer an elevated real estate experience and customized programs for each client, emphasizing marketing innovation.
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. Today I have the honor of introducing you all to Megan Romine, Executive Director of Luxury Sales of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. She’s originally from a no stoplight town in West Virginia. Yes, it’s that small. And she left there to pursue her passion for real estate in the prestigious communities of Broward and Palm Beach County, Florida.
If you’re sitting here right now thinking to yourself, that name sounds familiar, but I can’t quite place it, maybe you will recognize the title, The Mermaid Realtor. This creative marketing title she has displays her passion for the South Florida lifestyle and the ocean that has shaped her brand. Due to this branding, she commonly attracts waterfront clients who share her love for fishing, diving and boating. With over 13 years of industry experience, Megan and her team offer an elevated real estate experience and customized programs for each client, emphasizing marketing and innovation. I’m so excited to introduce you all to Megan Romine. Welcome to the podcast today, Megan.
Megan Romine: Thanks, Lindsay. I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Lindsay: Well, it’s super awesome to have you here. I’m so glad you reached out and we were able to make a connection and make this work. I’m super pumped. You’re one of our first ones that we’re going to have on the YouTube channel too, so hi to all of our YouTube watchers. It’s so exciting to be doing this on YouTube as well now in addition to the podcast. Super excited about that. So let’s dive in. Everyone wants to know, how did you start and what brought you from that small town in West Virginia out to Florida and into real estate?
Megan: Yes. I have quite a unique background. I went to college for Health Science and Nutrition shortly after graduating college. I grew up in West Virginia, a small town. I grew up on a dirt road. There’s not a stoplight in the entire county. I loved growing up in that community. It gave me this sense where your neighbors and your friends, everyone’s family, so it was so nice to be raised within such a community like that. After I graduated college, I ended up working in property management. As soon as I got into property management and real estate, I got the bug. I loved it.
I was in property management and then I moved up to managing a couple of different properties, representing owners in court cases, and I absolutely loved it. I always had this dream that I wanted to go into high-end real estate, even though at the time, West Virginia, you’d never even really seen high-end real estate. I had reached out. I applied to jobs in Utah and Colorado because I love the mountains and then South Florida as well.
I ended up getting a call with a developer and they were like, great, you’re hired. Be here in two weeks. Well, the thing was is that I’d never actually been to Florida before. I didn’t have a place to live. I’d never been here before. I packed up all of my belongings and I had a little Kia at the time and my dog, Daisy, and I drove down to Florida. It was such a change for me. To give you an example, when I was driving down the interstate, I’d called my family and I was like, “Wait, where do I pay the toll?” Because in West Virginia you actually pay the toll. That was how, what a different world that I came from.
I acclimated quickly. I was in property management and I just really worked my way up. Then I found the name Mermaid Realtor. I left property management. I went out on my own. I had owned a brokerage for a while. Over the course of the years I just kept building on to what I know, and each day I just worked to get better and better.That’s, in a nutshell, a little bit about my background and my story.
Lindsay: I love it. It’s so inspiring to pack up the dog and put them in the Kia, just take off down the street. Here you are with no stoplights in the entire county, and now you’re worried about where you’re paying your toll. It’s so funny to add that shock to the system.
Megan: I didn’t have anything. I had less than $1,000 to my name. I didn’t know anyone. I had an aunt that had a place here and they would go back and forth, but I didn’t actually know anyone here. It was starting over, but I was excited and I was hungry. The thing about South Florida is that there’s so much opportunity, so I just felt so grateful and so thankful every day to wake up and have so much opportunity here. I still feel that way today.
Lindsay: There’s so many people that migrate to Florida that it almost makes you feel not alone because there’s so many other people who’ve been in that boat to go to Florida not knowing anybody, being from outside of the area. They just have so many people that migrate there.
Megan: Yes. Usually when you meet someone and they’re like, “Oh, well, I’m actually from Florida,” I’m like, “Wow.”
Lindsay: Wow. That’s so funny. Tell me about how you got started as a team leader and building your brokerage and building your team.
Megan: I will go back to when I first started out going to full-time real estate agent on my own. It was a very challenging transition because I was going from, I had a great job in property management, I was in a manager position and I lived in this beautiful apartment. Then I left and I had no idea if I was going to get paid again. I actually downsized. I had moved in with a roommate. I made a lot of sacrifices because this is what I truly wanted to do.
I didn’t have a client base. I didn’t really know that many people here at that point in time, and I started doing rentals. I knew rentals from being in property management and I would hustle. I would do like 10 a month. I just had the mindset, do whatever it takes. Then over the years, I always wanted to get in high-end real estate. I’ll jump into a quick story, kind of like what helped like propel me.
I was doing well and I was starting to do the mid-range. Work was never an issue because I always loved work, so I was always working. I was doing pretty well. There was someone that was very, very close to me that I had been looking for houses for a couple years for and it was in the high-end space. I get a call one day and they’re like, “listen, we ended up selling our house to someone else and buying another one.” I think it was probably roughly, I don’t know, 6 million or something like that. “But it’s okay. We’ll take care of you.”
It was someone that was like the closest to me in my life. It was just so upsetting because I was like, “Oh, I felt like maybe that was going to help me.” I’d been working with them for a while. I wrote it down on a piece of paper. I still have it in my office somewhere. It was the day that my real estate career changed. It really even pushed me more. I knew that I was capable and that I would be able to assist my clients and do record-breaking sales in the high-end.
I had actually met a builder that had a high-end listing in his name and I had convinced him that I was the one that was going to get the job done. He had it listed. He had it listed for over a year. I’m very thankful. He actually has a place in West Virginia, so it’s weird how all of this- [crosstalk]
Lindsay: Oh, that’s so cool.
Megan: He ended up, and I didn’t know this until I had known him for a while, he loved West Virginia. We had a connection. He gave me a chance. After the house had been on the market for a year, I got the listing. I sold it in roughly 30 days. That price point was around 5.5 million.
Lindsay: I’m assuming this wasn’t in a market where things sold in 30 days and obviously that would have been sitting for a long period of time. You know what I mean?
Megan: It was before everything really took off. Interestingly enough, the people that ended up buying the house, I’m still great friends with them. They’re amazing. But the person that was close to me that had happened when– they were car dealers and I sold the house to a car dealer, but I’m so grateful for that. I’m so grateful that that happened because if it wasn’t for that, it’s not the good times that really make you as an agent, it’s the times where you’re really going out of your comfort zone, really pushing. I always say, everything must be earned, nothing is given.
Megan: That was the best thing for my career. Then after that it was just a snowball effect because you also get this inclination too, you don’t want to just sell one high-end house and that’s it. For me, I was proving a point, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to keep doing it. I’m going to keep doing it repetitively.”
Lindsay: This wasn’t a fluke. This is actually going to be my future.
Megan: Yes. That was really the start of things.
Lindsay: I love it. You’re doing your own sales now. You’re starting to pick up steam where you want to in this luxury market. Then what transitioned you into wanting to have a team and building your team? Because now you probably are getting more than you can handle, right?
Megan: It was interesting because a couple of stories that I’ll go into with this and it also goes to show just life puts in front of you what you need to see. I am a little bit of an A-type personality and I like to do things, I like to do them myself, make sure that they get done. Once I started doing some marketing in this really high-end realm of real estate and I would host different events and do more parties, I just started to naturally attract. When I started to naturally attract, that’s how I really found my team.
Also, during COVID, I ended up getting very, very sick and it was the same week that I had opened up my business to the point where I was on bedrest, I couldn’t get out of bed, it was affecting my everyday life. I’ve had health issues for two years because of that, but that was such an adversity for me to overcome. Another thing that made me overcome, that year I believe I almost doubled my business and created my team. I carry a team of around eight sales agents and about three or four admins. I was forced to let up a little bit and then I was just very grateful that the universe and God was watching out for me and had these amazing people that actually just gravitated towards my life.
Lindsay: I wish you nothing but the best. I want to make sure I make that very clear. It also sounds like when you’re handed a bunch of lemons, you are freaking making lemonade. I feel like you’re given this awful thing that happens to you but then all of a sudden you’ve turned it into something so positive and you’ve built this team and they’ve been able to help you. I think you’re really lucky in that way. I love that you keep saying grateful but at the same time, it’s hard work that you put into it.
Megan: Yes, and thank you for that. I think that with being a real estate agent, one of the most important things is really adjusting your mindset, keeping that mindset and working very, very hard. For me, with the different team members, I found that my bigger purpose in life is helping other people, so I love to, when I get a new agent, a newer agent on the team, I really like to work to see what their strengths are. Then I plug and play them. I help them to really play on their strengths because there’s not like this one-size-fits-all for agents. It’s really figuring out what are the strengths, where can you best apply those to, to get the best results.
Lindsay: That brings me to my next question, which is, how do you find people to be on your team? What are the qualities and skills that you look for in someone that you’re like, yes, I have to have them on my team. What are some of those factors for you?
Megan: Well, they definitely changed over the years and the team has evolved over the years. I don’t like to have any more than eight agents max, so I need to be very careful about what agents are brought on. Also, I have to keep in mind the team dynamic because you have this team and we’re very tight-knit. You have to make sure that not only is the agent a good fit for the business, but also that the agent is a good fit for the team as well. I prefer agents that have experience, but they have to have a lot of initiative, be ready to work, be ready to do whatever it takes.
Sometimes I see agents in the industry and they have this expectation that maybe things should be handed to them or something of that nature. It takes me time to really trust and build that trust. Also, our clients are the most important thing in this business, so if I have an agent that’s helping me with a client, I have to have full comfort, a full comfort level of knowing their abilities and also confidentiality for clients and that they’re going to be able to handle all of those different aspects. I look for a few things, but really, I have a pretty good, you can call it women’s intuition. [chuckles] I do go with my gut feeling, but someone that is ready to work and has closed deals and ready to really give that extra level of service to our clientele.
Lindsay: I love it. What are some creative marketing strategies that you and your team have implemented? What are some of the things that work really well for you? I know you came up with the Mermaid Realtor title to kind of help you stand out, which is obviously an awesome thing. I’ve been walking around the office today going, “I’m doing a podcast today with a mermaid,” and everyone’s like, “What are you talking about?” It definitely generates interest and stands out amongst the crowd, but what are some of the things that you and your team do to stand out?
Megan: Great question. With the Mermaid Realtor, the backstory on that is that when I moved down to South Florida I’d never even really swam in the ocean before. I grew up hunting and fishing in West Virginia and then I fell in love with the ocean here, so I really wanted to share that with other people. I found that Mermaid Realtor, I would be able to share my love of South Florida and the water and it would, once again, naturally attract the clientele, so the marketing.
Marketing is one of the most important pieces and you have to make sure that your marketing is really being focused on whatever your target audience is. If your target audience is waterfront, single family houses, you might not want to be doing marketing for condos that are out West. I know that it can be difficult in the beginning of your real estate career because you’re trying to figure out maybe what your niche is, what direction you’re going, but for me, my marketing, I like it to be clear. I like it to be concise. I like to make sure that I am reaching my preferred clientele and I try to do the best of the best, so the best video quality, the best picture quality.
I think through the brokerage you could probably get free photos, and I think that’s amazing, but I will spend four or five times the amount of what regular photos might cost because I want my photos to stick out. I want everything to be custom. I’m not big on just average templates. I really think about when I get a property, I really sit in the property and I sit there and I think about who’s going to be my buyer for this, who’s going to buy this and how am I going to attract them to the property? I make sure that my marketing is being directed to that clientele.
We also love to do events, love to get involved in the community. Like this coming week we’re having our annual summer event at Salt7 in Fort Lauderdale. We always have a large turnout. It’s great. I also do sound healing sessions for clients and friends. I try to do different activities that is really going to help bring the community together.
Lindsay: I love that. I did see that you were very active with specific nonprofits in the area too, and obviously, community is so important for all of us. That’s awesome that you guys do that and keep involved in the community like that. I want to bring up international buyers because this is something I was really interested in. I know Douglas Elliman has a very strong international presence, so why is it important, especially in luxury and especially in Florida, to have a international pool of buyers to kind of pull from? Why is that important to you guys?
Megan: Yes, absolutely. It’s very advantageous, especially to our sellers. If you’re representing a seller, you want to have international reach and you want to have true international reach. Some people might be like, oh, well that’s on the internet or it’s on Zillow, but Douglas Elliman, they have their partner, Knight Frank, which is international and they have offices international and they have the true connections to international. That’s going to be able to get your sellers exposure and then also connect you with other agents that are international and with buyers. It’s so important in the high end space.
Also for me, personally, I absolutely love the Bahamas. I don’t know if you would be able to guess that from my branding, but like for me, I want to be able to bring this South Florida experience for my clients to be able to also experience that in the Bahamas. With Douglas Elliman, being able to have that international connection in my mind is really, really important.
Lindsay: I love it. That’s so cool. It probably opens up a whole new world for you too, and it’s going to be fun to work with buyers from all over. Just meeting all these new people, it’s just fun to meet new people in general, but now you’ve got this whole other pool of people to meet from all over the world. It must be really exciting.
Megan: Yes, and I think for me, it’s the experience. Even whenever I created the brand with Mermaid Realtor, it’s really being able to watch my clients experience the South Florida lifestyle. I’ll give you an example. I sold a waterfront house last year and I became great friends with the people that bought it and then I sold it. Then the new people, the clients that had bought it, became great friends with them too. Last weekend, we went to the Bahamas, they brought their boat over. After they bought the house they got boats. It’s really having that experience and that connection with my clients and watching them truly enjoy life and enjoy their lives and experience the lifestyle that they want. That’s something that is so special to me.
Lindsay: Yes, and you were able to make that dream come to life for them. That’s so cool. Talk to me about sharing some tips, there’s probably a lot of realtors listening right now that are not in the luxury market but aspire to be, so share some tips as to how someone can go about diving into that. Now obviously I say dive, that’s a funny joke with your Mermaid thing, so I’m going to just keep saying dive in. Share some tips as to how someone can overcome that. As you said, you had that moment where you were like, “I can do this.” How do people get to that point? What things can they do? Where can they position themselves or what things could they be doing to change the markets that they’re working in?
Megan: Honestly, it’s taking a little bit of a leap of faith, and you got to go really far out of your comfort zone. One of the higher-end listings that I had talked about, I had went to a party that they were having at that house and I found the builder’s information and I just kept following up and kept following up. That one took a year and a half. I offered to do free marketing for him as well. I’m like, “I’ll do video, I’ll do photos. I’m your girl and I’m going to help you regardless if you sell it without me or not.” I think that’s one thing that sometimes agents can miss the mark on. It’s like if they meet someone and they’re not ready to buy or sell right away, they’re like, “Oh, move on to the next.”
Especially with the high-end, relationships are everything. You have to build trust and you have to build rapport. I would say, keep in mind that on the bigger listings and even the bigger sales, it could take some time. Like I said, mine took about a year and a half. You stay consistent and you always stay in touch. You want to stay top of mind and just make sure that your marketing is really being directed to that type of clientele. I think that’s something that I’ve learned over the years is really, who is my audience? How am I getting in front of them?
Also things like if you’re more of an extrovert and you’re great with people, you should be going to events. You should be connecting with people and you should– If you go to an event, I have a great business. I would call her a mentor that I met in Miami, Melissa. She’s great. She really taught me, “You’re going to an event. You should be meeting 10 people. You should be getting the cards of 10 people, connecting with them.” Then the follow-up. It’s one thing meeting people, but the next day you better be reaching out to them, keeping them in your database, keeping them in your CRM. Not just for sales, because I feel like sales is going to happen naturally, you have to build the relationship first.
Lindsay: It’s just a, hey, it was so great to meet you, continuing the conversation that we had, I love to go to do this or that, or whatever. Just continuing the conversation and opening the door to extend that friendship past that event.
Megan: One thing that I have learned as well is with networking is that when I’m walking into a networking situation, transparently, I’m not looking for new clients. I’m really looking for better connections. Also, two, connections that are going to help my clients. Whether it’s a professional organizer, a private chef, private flight services, whatever the case may be, I want to make sure that I am going to be building the best book of business so I can assist my clients with everything. It’s not just real estate. You want to be able to help them with all aspects of the lifestyle and what their needs are.
Lindsay: So smart. That actually leads really well into my next question about how you maintain relationships within the industry too. We very often have conversations on this podcast even specifically where it’s a lot of agents will say that they have joined their local boards and they’re active in the realtor community and a lot of that goes back to them wanting to build those relationships. Is that something that’s important to you and why is that important to you? How do you do that?
Megan: Oh, my goodness, I’m glad that you brought up that question because that is one of the most important aspects that I’ve learned is agent-to-agent relationships. I feel like so many agents miss the mark on that be because–
Lindsay: They’re like, “I don’t want to be friends with them, they’re my competition.” It’s like, “No, you’re totally looking at it the wrong way.” [chuckles]
Megan: At the end of the day, it’s agent-to-agent relationships that are really getting deals done and makes it a lot smoother. Also, you’re more apt to find better opportunities for your clients if you have those agent-to-agent relationships. For me, that’s always been very important. I’m really transparent. When I meet new agents I’m like, “Let’s do business together. Let’s stay in touch.”
What I absolutely love is not everyone might have a similar mindset that I do, but then when I find the agents that have the similar mindset, the sky’s the limit. We get together, we have masterminds, we talk about what we’re doing, how we can help each other. We’re talking about high-end agents that are in the same market together. Aside from the fact, obviously knowing agents from other areas and referrals, that’s huge. I think that just agent-to-agent relationships is so important and we can add value to each other from helping our clients with opportunities and also helping our own business. I think it’s so important.
Lindsay: Absolutely. It’s very important. I’m glad that you said all of that. Sometimes I feel like they don’t listen to me, so maybe they’ll listen to you and that’s great. One of the other things that I wanted you to share is a memorable success story that you’ve had in the luxury space or as an agent in general. What is a success story that you think, “Oh, this is a great one”?
Megan: I think one of my favorite stories is there is a listing that had– It’s my target market area. It was around 30,000 square feet.
Megan: It was just this massive house. No one had lived there for a long time and it had been on the market for about five years and it hadn’t sold. I just remember when I first walked in there, it looked like a hotel. I felt like I was in a dream.
Megan: It was so interesting. I got the listing and we actually increased the price by 99,000. I was so determined to sell that house and I said, “I want to sell it in 30 days. I’m going to sell it in 30 days.”
Lindsay: Do it.
Megan: We did a couple small press release items and then hosted this– I was very fortunate that the seller was very lenient in the fact of like, “Hey, do whatever you need to to sell the house.”
Lindsay: They were ready, they wanted to move on. [laughs]
Megan: It was an amazing event. I would go to that house in the evenings and I would sit in the house because it was such a large house. It took us a couple of weeks to get on the market and get some things fixed. I would sit there in the evenings and I would just be like, “Who is my buyer going to be? Who is going to buy this house? How am I going to get in front of them?” I just relentlessly was working on my marketing and the strategy of all of this. I figured out who my target audience was going to be. My seller didn’t agree with me, but I’m telling him, “This is who’s going to end up buying this house.”
I had this party. It was a great success. The whole team helped. We came together. We had well over 100 people there. Got the house under contract, but I had went to, I usually don’t tell this part of it, but I had went to a meditation/painting class. I’d never been to one before. I was like, “I’ll try something new.” I’m like, “You know what, I’m going to think about this house.” I got on my phone, the picture of the house and I painted this picture, and the picture, it says, today is the day. I put that picture up in my room and every morning I would wake up and say, “Today’s the day.”
Lindsay: Today’s the day.
Megan: “I’ll sell the house. Today is the day.” It gives me cold chills. I got it under contract on day 29.
Lindsay: Wow. That is so cool.
Megan: That was my favorite, and now it’s the power of mindset, and the power of really putting effort in. I think a lot of it, and most of it was the creative marketing strategy as well.
Lindsay: Of course.
Megan: I’m very grateful that the seller allowed me to have that flexibility.
Lindsay: That’s so cool. Do you still have the picture?
Megan: Yes, I do. [crosstalk]
Lindsay: That’s so cool. You should send us a picture of it and we’ll put it in the show notes just so people can see this picture. That’d be so cool.
Megan: I’ll send it, yes.
Lindsay: Last question I have in closing, because I can’t believe that we’ve already been talking for 30 minutes because this was so fun. What closing advice do you have for realtors that are in this uncertain time, what should they be focused on? What should they do to get through this?
Megan: I would say, especially after experiencing the last couple of years and for newer agents, if they experienced the market previously, just remembering that the market is going back to somewhat of a normalcy and that this is a good thing, this is a great thing. That this really helps position you as your area expert because you’re not giving up. You need to stay consistent and keep doing your marketing.
I got a call the other for my market area on a high-end listing and she was like, “I just want to say that I keep getting your mailers and I appreciate that because a lot of the other mailers that I used to get have dropped off.” I always talk about strategy and consistency. Right now is the time I’m like I double down. Now is the time that I’m, I feel like I’m always going all in, but now for sure I’m going all in and to do whatever it takes and also just remember to have the mindset of your real estate is a little bit of a rollercoaster. It’s highs and lows. If it was easy, everyone would be successful at it.
Have the mindset that you’re going to do whatever it takes and stay consistent. Whenever you feel like you’re having that fear like, I don’t really know what’s going to happen, what’s going to go up, go on, keep working, keep working. If you don’t have maybe necessarily the funds, I know some newer agents for like the direct mail, my marketing is very expensive, but if you don’t have that budget yet, there’s always things you could be doing. You could be writing letters, you could be making phone calls, you could be going to those events. There’s always things that you could be doing. You could be door knocking. You got to figure out what your strength is, stick to that, but anything that you do, stay consistent and just have the mindset that you’re going to do whatever it takes.
Lindsay: I love it. Thank you so much, Megan. This was absolutely awesome. I know I’m going to get– sometimes with some of these episodes I get phone calls like, that one was so good, and I know I’m going to get those with thi because this was so helpful and so great for the audience, so I really appreciate you taking the time today to sit with us.
Megan: Of course. I hope that I was able to share some value. If there’s any agents that would ever have any questions, feel free, reach out. I’m here to help.
Lindsay: There’s all of her stuff right there on the bottom of the screen.
Megan: Thank you for having me.
Lindsay: Absolutely, Megan. Thank you so much. Thank you to all of our listeners for coming and staying through for this episode of the Agents Who Crush It Real Estate Podcast. We will see you guys next time. Bye everybody.
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.