The Agent Podcast - Episode 79 - Trina Foster - Starting Over, Rebuilding and Creating The New
[00:00:00] Trina Foster: It's, a huge difference. But if I can, if I can be frank, I'd rather bust my butt to build my own business than bust my butt to build somebody else's business. Yeah. A hundred percent. So if I, if I'm gonna do that, and if I'm gonna hustle anyway, I'd rather do it to benefit myself and my family.
[00:00:19] Trina Foster: I love it. I think it's, it's a beautiful thing, you know, being in business for yourself. I'm grateful for this country that we live in that enables us to do that. Yes. And through the use of technology and how that's evolved and how this pandemic that we're either going through in at the end of like, nobody really knows, has forced a lot of us to do things differently than we ever would have Yes. In the past. And I think that's really helped move the business forward in a different way and, you know, bring it closer faster, if that makes sense. Yes, it does. It's a lot of things have changed. And, and doing business today is definitely different than it was even two years ago. Yeah. When, you know, before the pandemic started.
[00:01:22] Ray Sjolseth: hello and welcome back to another episode of The Agent Podcast.Today I'm here with my friend Trina in Arizona. Hey Trina.
Hi. How are you Doing great. Thanks for being here. Thank you for having me. So why real estate?
[00:01:37] Trina Foster: I've, I have always loved helping people. I actually started my career path in the healthcare field and I worked in healthcare for 30 years. So since I was two, no, I'm just kidding,. But 20 of those years were in administration and about three and a half years ago, I decided to get my real estate license.
[00:02:04] Trina Foster: I have several friends that are realtors as well as my broker. I was friends with my broker and my team lead prior to joining real estate. And it got to a point in healthcare that I realized that administration was no longer about helping people. Unfortunately. It, it was all about the almighty dollar.
[00:02:30] Trina Foster: And I started having health issues and stress issues and my husband said, You know what, Maybe it's time for you to go full time real estate. And I said, Well, we don't, you know, we don't have a year of my salary saved up. And he told me that he didn't care if we had to live in our rv, that my health was more important.
[00:02:57] Trina Foster: And real estate, I feel, gives me an opportunity to help people in another way because, as you know, of the investment of a home, whether you're buying or selling, is one of the biggest investments of your life. And I, I love being able to help people achieve their dreams. So here I am. So can we dive into the your stress and health for a moment?
[00:03:28] Trina Foster: Sure. Stress is a killer, right? It is. The biggest investment, investment that you can really make in your life is in you and. , it's in your health. And we're not taught that. We're not taught that growing up. We're not taught that in school. We're not taught that by our parents. And by the time we figure it out, we're usually well into our thirties, forties, fifties, sometimes sixties.
[00:03:51] Trina Foster: And for me, like that is something that I learn the hard way and I tend to learn things the hard way in general. You know, like I don't always learn the first time I do as well. And it's a really difficult decision to, A, have the courage. B, have the faith and C like take that leap on deciding that, Hey, I'm gonna put myself first because if I don't, I'm not gonna be here to put first.
[00:04:17] Trina Foster: So for you, here comes one of my dogs. Hey buddy. What? Come on. How did you decide, like what pushed you over that edge? Your husband was amazingly supportive, but what pushed you over the edge to be like, Hey, I need to do this because my health is at serious risk? Well in, at the beginning of May of last year, I ended up in the hospital because I was vomiting blood.
[00:04:49] Trina Foster: I didn't know that that's what it was because it looked like coffee grounds. But I talked with my, I've always had some, a certain amount of GI issues and I talked with my GI physician and said, Hey, I'm throwing up what looks to be like coffee grounds. And she said, You need to go to the emergency room now.
[00:05:11] Trina Foster: Well, I ended up with a, I, I think I was in the hospital about three days. Ended up I had a severe GI bleed. My blood pressure was through the roof. I was having irregular heartbeats, had to see a cardiologist, and after I got out of the hospital I was still having some, a few heart issues. And my cardiologist said, I, I know who your boss is, I know what company you work for, and the stress is not go gonna ever let up.
[00:05:48] Trina Foster: So you need to figure out whether you wanna continue to do this or if you can take your stress level down. And couple of months later I gave my notice, and after that it's, my health improved greatly. So it was kind of a. I guess a slap in the face that, hey, you're, you're not dealing well with this stress and you need to do something or you're not gonna be around.
[00:06:22] Trina Foster: So I, I turned 50 this year in January, and happy birthday, probably not the best time to make a career change, especially from something that I'd been doing, but I decided that my family and my life is, is more important. Well, first, congratulations on getting your health back. That's a big accomplishment.
[00:06:45] Trina Foster: Yeah. Second, congratulations on taking a leap of faith in yourself, because a lot of people won't do that, ever. It's, I, I have to tell you, it's very, very scary. I was the breadwinner actually for
[00:07:01] Trina Foster: probably the last. 17, 18 years and to have that triple figure income no longer being relied on, it's, it, it's very, very scary. But I'm not gonna give up.
[00:07:18] Trina Foster: Well, thank you for sharing that. Let's let's talk about what you're doing in real estate. Well, I I, so I went full time in October Okay. Of last year. So you've been in about six months? Yes, yes. So previously I was doing about three or four deals a year. Mm-hmm. Part-time on top of working 60 to 70 hours a week.
[00:07:39] Trina Foster: And it's, it's a very, very challenging market right now. I do, I, I have a few clients that I'm working with. Unfortunately they're in lower price points. And I say unfortunately because not only the market, but well, it's mostly just because of the market because three years ago client with a $350,000 budget, we'd be able to find them a great house, no problem.
[00:08:07] Trina Foster: Here in here in Maricopa County where I am, the median home price for a single family home is over $500,000. So trying to get them into a decent home at their price point is extremely challenging. But I'm, I'm determined to help them and just spending a lot of time every single day trying to grow my business and help as many families as I.
[00:08:37] Trina Foster: I also do, I, I started a program I had done. I, I, I'd spoken to several companies that you pay a monthly fee to and they offered I guess a give back to heroes, whether it be first responders, veterans healthcare, where I give them a portion of my commission back on top of paying the monthly fee even if I had the client.
[00:09:08] Trina Foster: So I spoke with my broker and said, You know, I'd really like to do something to give back as a thank you to these people because I know what healthcare people go through every day. I certainly very much appreciate first responders. I have several veterans in my family and friends, and. These people risk their lives for us.
[00:09:32] Trina Foster: So I wanted to be able to give them something back as a thank you. And so I started my own program for those folks. If they're, if, if I'm not paying, I have to be honest. If I'm paying a referral fee to somebody, I, I can't give that discount or I'm gonna go broke. But if I generate organic clients or meet someone, I will give them back up to 10% of my commission towards their closing costs, just as a sincere thank you for what they've done.
[00:10:07] Trina Foster: It's, it's still not enough of a thanks, but it's a little bit that I can help with and tell them thank you for what you've done. And how's the response been with that for you So far? Not as, not as good as I would've thought. What do you think that is? I, you know, I'm really not sure I've met with you know, I still have a couple of, well, quite a few contacts in the healthcare arena, and I've met with some organizations you know, with their HR department to try to offer this to their employees.
[00:10:42] Trina Foster: It's, it's free for the employer. And you know, I do, I do pop buys to physician offices the sheriff's office, police stations, fire stations vfw and just, you know, give them a handwritten thank you card and some cookies or donuts or things like that. But a lot of people are just really, really afraid of the current market.
[00:11:07] Trina Foster: And I don't,
[00:11:09] Trina Foster: it's, like I said, I thought it would've been better, but. Mostly what I'm hearing is that people are saying, you know, I'm afraid to sell my house because I may not climb one.
[00:11:19] Trina Foster: So what do you say to somebody when they tell you that? Well, now I can tell them that my brokerage offers a couple of different programs that will allow them to take a bridge loan on their equity and buy the new house before they list their old house. And if it, their old house doesn't sell in 90 days, my brokerage will buy it.
[00:11:42] Trina Foster: And if it's somebody that has 20% down and seven 40 credit score, we can also provide them with a letter that is essentially a cash guarantee offer. That lets us go in as a cash offer when we're making an offer on a house. So I just found out about that yesterday from my brokerage, so I'm really hoping that that will free up some inventory and let people make a move if they're inclined to do so.
[00:12:17] Trina Foster: Yeah. So that's interesting. Is this something that your brokerage has recently come up with in order to Yes. It actually starts Friday. Okay. So I did the, I did the, the class on it yesterday and I'm pretty excited about it because there's, there's just not enough homes here in our market for, to meet the demand.
[00:12:42] Trina Foster: Not even, not even close. I think there were, last time I looked, there were I think 4,200 single family homes active or coming soon in this county that is almost 5 million people.
[00:12:57] Trina Foster: And how's the growth rate been within your area in general? Have you had an influx of people coming into Arizona from other states? Yes. Yeah, primarily California . Yes. We've had a lot of people from California as well as Nevada that I've, that I've had as clients. But the influx of people here, probably a combination of the weather, the taxes, the unfortunately the politics.
[00:13:27] Trina Foster: But it's, it's, it's absolutely bons. It's, it's ridiculous. I mean, even for people that are renting I saw, I saw yesterday an ad for. One bedroom, one bathroom apartment for $2,000 a month, and it, it's just ridiculous. I don't pay that for my mortgage and I live in an almost 3000 square foot home, but thankfully we bought it before the prices went through the roof.
[00:14:02] Trina Foster: So I, I really feel sorry for people because now, now also interest rates are going up, so they're not gonna be able to afford as much home if they Yeah. And we're not in the same market as 2008, 2009. This is a totally different No scenario. Yeah, it's completely different. Yeah. What's going on with new home construction in your area in general?
[00:14:23] Trina Foster: Are, are there builders building, are there supply chain issues? What, what's happening there? Yeah, so there, there are builders that are building. A ton of builders that are building, but they're also running into supply chain issues. You know, they can't get windows or they can't get this or they can't get that.
[00:14:41] Trina Foster: But one thing that has popped up that hasn't really been huge here is builders are building communities of rental properties. So they're trying to make some more affordable solutions for those folks that are renting. And for some of the people that may not have super high credit, I also started working with a company that is rent to own so they can find the home that they love, rent it.
[00:15:13] Trina Foster: If two years down the road they decide they don't like the neighborhood or something, they can walk away from it. Or anytime between one and five years they can purchase the home. So it gives them a chance to build their credit and actually achieve home ownership. Is that a national lender that you're working with or is that somebody that your brokerage has a relationship with that they've been able to bring to the table?
[00:15:36] Trina Foster: Well, the brokerage does have a relationship with them, but it's, it's a company called Home Partners of America. I had never heard of them before. So I don't know exactly what areas they're in, but I know that my brokerage is, it endorses them and it, it seems like a pretty good program for, for those folks that may not qualify for a traditional MO mortgage currently.
[00:16:01] Trina Foster: Yeah. You guys have some unique stuff going on, at least compared to traditional things. It's it seems like you're at a pretty progressive brokerage. What brokerage are you. I'm with, with Hunt Real estate era. Okay. So we are an international company. They're fairly new to Arizona and most people in the past have, have known them just as era Yeah.
[00:16:26] Trina Foster: E's been around a long time. 110 years. Yeah. We just, we had our awards bank with the other night, so that's, I was like, Wow. 110 years. And Peter Hunt, who is the president, it's, it's been in his family for, I mean, the, the entire time I believe that it was his grandfather that started it back way back in the day.
[00:16:50] Trina Foster: So they're fairly new to Arizona. And our, the brokerage that I was with previously merged with Hunt. So we essentially doubled the, the amount of agents in Arizona, and I believe that we now have about 250 sales professionals in the state. So we're not, you know, we're not as big yet here as like, I don't know, Keller Williams, E X P but we're, we're growing and they are a very innovative company and they're ama, they're truly amazing.
[00:17:28] Trina Foster: They provide so many resources for us. That's great. Yeah. Good to hear that. Yeah. So have you been able to maintain your health through all of this transition? What does that look like for you? It. My, my mental health is much better, even though I do, you know, stress a little bit about money, but I was able to go off of my blood pressure medications I eat, I've always tried to eat pretty well try to exercise and just generally take care of myself, but the stress that I had prior to this is it, it's not even comparable to how I am now.
[00:18:11] Trina Foster: And how's your husband feel about the transition? He's, he feels good. He's, he's still extremely supportive. I, I am ex, I'm very thankful that I have him. You know, we've had to sell a couple of things to get some extra money. But he, he knows how tenacious I am and how stubborn I am, and he also understands that this market is not normal.
[00:18:43] Trina Foster: And he sees how hard I work and he appreciates that, and he, he's very encouraging. He encourages me every day. That's great. So it's good. Yeah, it's good to have that support system. It's important. I, I wouldn't be able to do it without it. How have you acclimated being a business owner compared to being an employee for 30 plus years?
[00:19:03] Trina Foster: I, I think I've acclimated it pretty well because I, I previously was an operations director, so. And I, I I joke that I, I got my, oh, sorry. My dog bar. I joke that I got my master's degree to become a realtor and , I just think that having that business education and experience only helps me more.
[00:19:30] Trina Foster: It's, a huge difference. But if I can, if I can be frank, I'd rather bust my butt to build my own business than bust my butt to build somebody else's business. Yeah. A hundred percent. So if I, if I'm gonna do that, and if I'm gonna hustle anyway, I'd rather do it to benefit myself and my family.
[00:19:50] Trina Foster: I love it. I think it's, it's a beautiful thing, you know, being in business for yourself. I'm grateful for this country that we live in that enables us to do that. Yes. And through the use of technology and how that's evolved and how this pandemic that we're either going through in at the end of like, nobody really knows, has forced a lot of us to do things differently than we ever would have Yes. In the past. And I think that's really helped move the business forward in a different way and, you know, bring it closer faster, if that makes sense. Yes, it does. It's a lot of things have changed. And, and doing business today is definitely different than it was even two years ago. Yeah. When, you know, before the pandemic started.
[00:20:42] Trina Foster: But we are fortunate that we, that we have the opportunities to do things like this. Yeah. What about you?
[00:20:48] Ray Sjolseth: Oh, you wanna talk about me now? Yeah, sure. So like I told you, we have five kids, three dogs. I'll be 48 this year. I've had 45 plus businesses. Wow. 40 have failed. Five have done well. Two have been sold.
[00:21:07] Ray Sjolseth: The public companies. I have been a real estate investor since I was 18 years old. Wow. So about 30 years. Congratulations. First house as a foreclosure in California where I'm born and raised. From there I graduated to multiple properties, rented some out, kept them, and I've built portfolios and lost portfolios when I leveraged them trying to build businesses.
[00:21:30] Ray Sjolseth: And then I've rebuilt portfolios. I've had properties in seven different states. Anything from single family homes to mixed use to multi-family properties. Hmm. C changed a lot for me. The, Oh, like that I went in with. So I'm, my businesses have primarily been product based businesses where I either find a product that's struggling and reevaluate it, make changes, and bring it to market successfully through distribution, whether it's through B2B or b2c or big box retailers or however it may happen.
[00:22:06] Ray Sjolseth: Or I start something from ground zero and design engineer and manufacture a product. All my successful companies have been product based businesses where I've been able to bring a product to market that fixes and addresses a, a big problem or an up and coming area of technology and being able to leverage that, catapult the business.
[00:22:25] Ray Sjolseth: And then those have been my exits with Covid that, that put two of my businesses out of business. So I had to pivot too and make adjustments and I had to ask myself a lot of hard questions. And having five kids at home and two of them being special needs with Covid, no special needs services, homeschooling just was a complete shit show, for lack of a better term.
[00:22:49] Ray Sjolseth: But where I've ended up is I started this podcast just because I was having incredible conversations with people, agents, specifically after doing some coaching with agents on a one to one basis, all business related. I had never been on the front side of real estate as far as being like a salesperson out there with a brokerage.
[00:23:10] Ray Sjolseth: And one thing led to another and I ended up like just meeting incredible people and having these conversations. And I met an organization that was exp based, which caused my wife and I to go get our licenses, which all that did was like validate everything I already knew that I had seen. Where you go to real estate school, you don't learn anything, but you learn how to get your license and you come out of it, you know, going, Okay, what's next?
[00:23:39] Ray Sjolseth: Yep. So that just happened this year in January and I'm getting my wife up and going, I'm running all the backend stuff and we are launching an exp based Chicago team here within our community. And having at it, you know, wonderful, pretty cool story, our teacher that taught us, you know, real estate stuff to get our licenses joined us at exp.
[00:24:05] Ray Sjolseth: So that was both flattering and exciting and kind of validated what we were trying to do and what we wanted to do and she was super excited to be part of our organization. Wonderful. So, yeah, we have lots of good stuff. You know, we chose three different methods to kind of generate leads and we're focusing on that, and that's working and we're having real conversations.
[00:24:24] Ray Sjolseth: We've surrounded ourself by incredible resources, you know, vendors, contractors, home inspectors, appraisers, and we're just really digging into our marketing and getting going on that. And I'm still focused on building the podcast and making an impact to help people. That's wonderful. Yeah. That's wonderful.
[00:24:42] Ray Sjolseth: So it's been a hell of a ride, to say the least. But for the first time in honestly, probably ever, like, I feel at home. Like I love this podcast and I love who I've been able to meet and what I've been able to do, and the messages that I get and the reviews that I get are gold. It makes me feel really good and like really fulfills me.
[00:25:04] Trina Foster: So I think combining that and like tripling down on everything, real estate is the right move for us right now. And I'm excited about that. Path's. Yeah, that's, I love that. One thing I love about the business is although you really always have to be connected in some way you know, if you, if you can't be connected, you need to have somebody that can, that can help your clients.
[00:25:32] Trina Foster: But there's also so much flexibility and you, I find that even, even my branch director, you know, he, he can take off and go on a three week road trip with his family and as long as he. Available to answer questions or, you know, hand things off. You still have that, you still have more of that quality time.
[00:26:07] Trina Foster: And even, even though I, I usually work at least a little bit, probably seven days a week I can choose to do that or choose not to. And that's a different type of work, right? Because you want to do it and you like helping people and you like helping your clients achieve their goal. So it's, it's different.
[00:26:30] Trina Foster: It's not like, you know, you're going into this nine to five and you have to show up just to show up. Well, and even when I was having to go in, it wasn't just a nine to five. I mean, I was working. Yeah. You know, At, in the office probably at least 50 hours a week. And then, you know, nights and weekends, I'd still get calls, emails, things like that.
[00:26:55] Trina Foster: And I, it wasn't it, once I stopped, once I went into administration and stopped actually working with patients, it, it never was as fulfilling to me because I'm, I'm a people person and that's what I wanted to, that's why I went into healthcare was to help people. So I've, I found that real estate is much more fulfilling to me, even though I'm having to, you know, figure out how to generate leads and grow organically.
[00:27:34] Trina Foster: And even with the challenges of. Helping these people find homes. I, I still enjoy it. Heck up a lot more than I did when I, you know, I was having to go to finance meetings with the cfo who was like, We're not making money, okay. But we're helping people . And it's, it, it's just, it's completely different. But I absolutely love it.
[00:28:01] Trina Foster: Yeah. I love this business. I really do. It's not easy. It is not for everybody. No. There is no single roadmap on how to get there. Everyone can create their own roadmap. Everyone can create their own business. You can build a bunch of different models and figure out what works best for you. Right. But that's the beauty of it.
[00:28:23] Trina Foster: Right. But often a lot of people have trouble making decisions when there's too many choices. Right. And I think. That's one of the reasons agents often fail in this business. Mm-hmm. is, you know, one, they have shiny object syndrome. Right. Number two, there's too many choices and they don't make a plan. And Right.
[00:28:44] Trina Foster: You know, for me, the one thing I've learned from all my failures is to make a plan and stick to the plan with the end goal in mind. It doesn't mean it won't change, but showing up consistently at least gives you something to measure versus bouncing around from one thing to the next. Correct. It, it, it really does.
[00:29:04] Trina Foster: I, when I first went full time I, and I still do get approached by all these different companies and individuals that are like, Oh, here, this is the magic. This is magic pill. This is gonna make you successful. And I. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people out there that will waste their money and fall for that.
[00:29:30] Trina Foster: But they're, The truth is, and you know this, there is no magic bullet. It's just like you said, you, you have to make the plan and figure out what works for you. And you don't get from, from zero to 10 in an instant. You have to go through every single level. You have to count, right? You have to go 0, 1, 2, 3.
[00:29:55] Trina Foster: You, you do. And, and not every, as you know, as you've [00:30:00] had several businesses, not every, not every thinking that you do is gonna be successful. But you, you have to fail. You have to learn from that failure, and you have to get back up. Do it again. You may fail again. But you have to get, you still have to get back up.
[00:30:19] Trina Foster: And probably one of my favorite phrases is when life knocks you down, you have to get back up and say, you hit like a bitch. . I love that. That's a good t-shirt. But you, I mean, you really do. You have to, you have to be strong in any industry. But I'm finding that in real estate, you really have to be a strong person. You cannot have thin skin. Yeah. But you also have to care about people. Yeah. People first, then everything else will flow. Yes, it will. It will. You have to, I [00:31:00] find that you have to develop those relationships and not just, Look at it as transactional.
[00:31:07] Ray Sjolseth: Yeah. A hundred percent. So many people just wanna be transactional and it does not work ever unless you're buying Starbucks. I, I do have one particular person that I, that I know of pretty well in my brokerage that does look at it as transactional, and he spends, I don't know, eight or nine hours a day cold calling people and he doesn't get repeat business or referrals.
[00:31:38] Trina Foster: And for him that works. I, I find that I would prefer to do, develop those relationships and have people send their family members to me, their friends. Yeah. So it just, you have, like you said, you just have to find what works for you. Yeah, for sure. Trina, where can people find you if [00:32:00] they need a home or have a referral or wanna reach out to you in Arizona?
[00:32:04] Trina Foster: I have a, I have a business Facebook page. I also have my website that is Trina AZ real estate. And my phone number is (623) 533-2283. Trina, thanks for sharing with us. It's been great having you. Thank you for having me on. It's been an honor.