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Welcome to Foundation and Family, The Erica Diaz Show, where real estate wisdom meets family life. I’m Erica Diaz, here to share stories, insights, and inspiration for building homes and nurturing hearts. Be sure to follow our podcast and subscribe to our YouTube to hear the full episode! But for now, let’s dive in.
I’m Erica Diaz with the Erica Diaz real estate team, and I attribute getting into real estate to my very first mentor when I was 16. I needed a summer job, and I went to Main Street Realty down in Windermere. Judy Black was the broker, and they knocked on her door and asked, “Hey, do you have a job that I can do for the summer?”
She said, “Yeah, sure, you can come in. I’ll pay ten bucks an hour,” and literally, I had to do anything and everything she asked. Sometimes it wasn’t real estate-related. Sometimes it was getting my nails done by her niece, a funny and painful story, or going to clean out a fridge or putting in a sign.
But I absolutely loved the culture and vibe in that office, and I knew that I wanted to get into real estate. So when I turned 18, I went and got my license. The hard thing about real estate is nobody pays you to show up, and nobody’s holding your hand and holding you accountable. I wasn’t successful at it that go around, and I did lose my license because I didn’t keep up with it.
Later, I got it again after having three kids, and my kids held me accountable. So that’s the beginning of where my real estate journey actually started—with four kids and a bustling household.
How do you balance your family life with your professional ambitions? Yeah, that can be hard. We have four kids ranging from 13 to 2. The two-year-old is definitely a wrench in the system because he is so full of energy. When we had the first three, I was just building the business, and I would throw them in the car, and they would just sit in the car for hours. They hated real estate. I doubt any of them will end up in real estate because they have been raised in what it really is to be a real estate kid.
But that two-year-old now, because he’s the baby and he’s spoiled rotten, he doesn’t flex as well as those three did for whatever reason. But, you know, we do leverage help at home and we leverage help here because I would be lying if I told you I could do it all by myself. There’s too much with four kids, activities, and a team that’s producing over 100 million a year. It’s too much.
How has your faith impacted your career?
My faith has impacted my journey through business tremendously. When I first got licensed again after having the three oldest kids and became so busy, I was working a full-time job and in real estate. My husband came to me one night and said, “I don’t want to be a single parent. This is way too hard.”
I thought, “Well, I’m going to have to give up one thing, whether it be the full-time job that I was currently doing or real estate or my kids,” which obviously it wasn’t going to be them. So I began to pray, and God made it so clear to me that I was going to start a team.
That was kind of before the team concept really blew up. I remember thinking, “God, I don’t know if I can be on a team.” I remember very clearly Him saying, “You’re not going to be on a team; you are going to be the team.” And thus became the birth of the team. I started with three agents. I still to this day don’t understand why they chose or agreed to follow me. I think it’s crazy. The only reason has to be God.
So through this journey, it has been hard growing and expanding in a market that’s pivoting and changing. Really leaning into my faith and trusting in the Lord has been tremendous for my success, especially in this year. But that’s a topic for another day.
What do you love and hate most about real estate?
What I love most about real estate is working for some of my clients that maybe don’t realize that they can purchase a home or are in a very tough spot in life—maybe the loss of a loved one or even in a divorce situation.I absolutely love coming into those spaces and being the calm force, which isn’t what I’m most known for. But in this capacity, I can be very calming in a transaction, and I love being able to take someone from point A to point B and seeing them be put at ease.
Now, some of the things that I dislike most are the chaos that can ensue behind the scenes of a transaction. Honestly, some of the agents that exist in our world are poorly trained or maybe are with a cloud-based broker who has no accountability for their behaviors and actions, and they just operate the legal document as if it were a piece of paper, like a napkin that you wrote up at a bar.
So that can be very challenging when we’re on the other side and we’re following the contract that is legally binding to a tee, and the other agent thinks it’s a suggestion instead of an actual contract.
Why is being on a team more advantageous to agents than trying to do it alone? Being on a team, from my perspective, is more advantageous because you have the availability and the opportunity to leverage so many other humans to help move the needle. When I was a single agent, I was my marketing coordinator, posting on Facebook, on YouTube, learning what Twitter was. I still don’t even understand LinkedIn, YouTube, websites, SEO.
And then after you got that marketing component down, you had to go into maybe advertising, and that’s through Zillow or pushing stuff out through mailers or advertising in magazines. And then you had to get into your transactional side, making sure that everything was compliant and going through QC. After that, you had to procure the client, and then after that, you had to, gosh, the sky’s the limit.
Oh, don’t forget, you’re your own photographer too. So you’re out a listing shooting photos that are subpar with your cell phone, which is terrible. Being on a team, the ability to bring all these people on and be able to leverage what they do well, being really good at what they do, allows you to be a lot more proficient and proficient in what you do. It allows you to serve your client at a much higher level.
Benefits of being on a team
So I think being on a team gives you the advantage of not having to learn every single aspect of real estate, and you get to hyper-focus on your one or two things that you do well. For instance, for me, it’s my people skills. It’s my ability to be a problem solver, my ability to be a negotiator.
That’s what I love doing, and I get to do that every day with my clients. But if I had to try to figure out what to post on Facebook today and how to increase my reach on YouTube and how to increase my followers on Instagram and how to work on my website, I would never be able to serve my clients at the level that I do.
It is very hard to have a healthy work-life balance in real estate. But I will say, it is doable. It just depends on the person. It really depends on the person and the mindset.
What I mean by that is if you are someone who is going to give your absolute all to your clients, then yes, it will be very hard for you to turn it off because the mind doesn’t really turn off. Your body can be here and you can be physically here, but your mind is still thinking about all the things that you have to do.
So, we’ve got to change that mindset. I’ve said this for years, and I live by it because I was once told by my husband that I am an all-or-nothing kind of person. I am black or white, and there is no gray. And he’s right. That’s very true about me. So when I am with my clients, I’m all in. I’m giving them 110%. I am answering my phone when they call. I am servicing them at the highest level possible.
But when I am with my family, when I’m home, I am 110% all in with my family. I am putting my phone away. I am turning it off, or I’m putting it on vibrate. I am putting it out of my sight. I’m not doing work emails. I’m not sending out emails, unless it’s something that has to do with family or a task for the home. And the same goes for church.
So when I’m at church, I’m not thinking about work. I’m not answering my phone. I’m not texting back. I am 110% all in, because if we’re always constantly thinking about what we have to do tomorrow, what we have to do later, what we have to do next week, what we have to do next month, we are going to miss out on those moments that we could have had with our kids, with our spouse, with our family, with our friends.
So, I think the biggest thing is to change your mindset and realize that when you’re with a client, you’re with them. And when you’re with your family, you’re with them. When you’re with your friends, you’re with them. When you’re at church, you’re with them. And that will help you have a healthier work-life balance. But it takes a conscious effort every single day.
Building Relationships with Clients
Building relationships with clients, in my opinion, starts with being genuine. People can see right through you. They know if you’re being fake, if you’re just trying to sell them something, if you’re just trying to get the deal done.And that’s the last thing that I want my clients to feel. I want them to know that I am genuinely here for them, that I care about their needs, that I am here to serve them. And I really mean it when I say it’s not about the commission check for me. It’s not about the money.
If I wanted to be in it just for the money, I could go out and find another job that would pay me way more for the time that I put in than real estate does. Real estate is hard. It’s time-consuming, and it’s challenging. It’s rewarding in its own way, but it’s not the most financially rewarding job if you’re looking at it just for the paycheck.
So for me, it’s genuinely caring about the person and getting to know them, understanding their needs, what they’re looking for, what their goals are, what their desires are, what their fears are, what their hesitations are. You have to get to know them on a personal level.
So many agents just jump right into business, and they forget about the person. They forget about the human aspect. I’ve always said that real estate is a people business, and it’s not about the houses. The houses are just the product. The people are the business. So getting to know your clients on a personal level is so important.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend. It doesn’t mean you have to know every single detail about their life. But it does mean that you need to care about them genuinely and get to know them at a level that most agents don’t. Most agents are just transactional.
And that’s why I believe the team concept is so important because you have agents on the team who do the transactional side. They can focus on that while I focus on the relationship side. So it’s a good balance, but you have to genuinely care about your clients, and that starts with being genuine yourself.
Setbacks and Challenges
Challenging situations and setbacks are a part of life, and they are definitely a part of the real estate business. And I will be the first to admit that I have had many, many setbacks and many challenges in my real estate career.I think the key to handling those situations is having a positive mindset. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity and the drama and the stress and the chaos that can come with this business. But if you can learn to stay positive, if you can learn to see the silver lining in every situation, if you can learn to find the good in the bad, it will change your entire perspective.
I’ve always said that the real estate business is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So when something bad happens, when you have a setback, when you lose a deal, when a client is upset, when something goes wrong, instead of dwelling on the negative, instead of getting caught up in the stress and the drama, take a step back, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? How can I grow from this? How can I turn this negative into a positive?”
And if you can learn to do that, if you can learn to stay positive in the face of adversity, if you can learn to see the good in every situation, it will not only help you in your business but in your personal life as well.
So, mindset is key. Positivity is key. And always looking for the silver lining in every situation is key. And if you can do that, if you can master that, you will succeed.