Veronica Figueroa is the leader of the award-winning Figueroa Team (now a part of eXp Realty), as well as a sought-after speaker and coach. After becoming a top-producing agent and broker, she was an early innovator in working with instant offers.
Today on Stay Paid, Veronica Figueroa shares her amazing journey through real estate, and discusses how agents can learn to work with iBuyers to benefit both themselves and their customers.
- When you are intentional about the transactions you take on, you’ll get far better results.
- While many agents view iBuyers as competition, they can be a great source for future seller leads.
- Agents who embrace changes that serve their clients are the ones who will survive automation.
Q: Introduce yourself to our audience.
I fell into real estate by necessity. At 25 years old, I was a divorced, newly-single mother. I’d worked in hospitality and human resources, but those jobs weren’t going to pay the bills. I also had a real estate license I’d gotten right out of college that I’d put on a shelf.
When I looked at my kids, I had a fire in me—my divorce wasn’t going to change the life I wanted for them. Timeshares are big in Orlando, and I decided I was going to become a timeshare rock star. It didn’t work, but I learned a lot from the experience. Now that I look back, selling timeshares taught me about the art of communication, persuasion, and being intentional.
After that, a friend suggested I move into residential sales. I knew nothing about residential sales, but I realized I’d have to bite the bullet. I put my MLS dues on a credit card and found the cheapest place to hang my license.
My first six months started off slow. I was taking calls underneath my desk at my full-time job. One day, I realized I could get really good if I got intentional. Within three months, I had made $11,000. I was at every event, and people were getting to know and like me.
I told my mom I was going to quit my full-time job. My mom is super conservative when it comes to me and her grandchildren. She thought I needed to play it safe. I said, “Think about it: if I made this much money part-time, think about how much I could make if I did this full-time.”
In my first year, I made $60,000. In my second year, I cracked $100,000. I was hungry and determined. I had kids. I knew I didn’t want to fail.
I have a drill sergeant father who inspired me to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. I hired my first assistant in 2006—the month I got married to my current husband of 13 years. I had three closings on my wedding day. When I commit, I am all in. You will see me in your sleep.
Just when we were rocking and rolling, the market crashed. I had no idea what a short sale was, but I learned. I became the short sale queen in my market. I knew I could either be a statistic, or I could find a way to thrive.
I wanted to be number one in my market. I took our last $5,000 and bought a ticket to the Five Star Conference in Texas. I started knocking on the doors of asset managers. I prospected sellers who I knew could get me multiple accounts.
I stretched that $5,000 like I’ve never stretched money before. I booked bowling alleys, I booked the Capital Grille, and I got bottle service for clients—because I knew it was all or nothing.
I trusted my intuition. I trusted my gut. When we came home on Monday, we had 37 assets in our inbox. They were all over the state of Florida, so I built teams all over Florida in less than a week.
We became one of the top REO markets in the area. But I had a feeling it was going to start slowing down, so I started farming heavily in the area. That was when I built the Figueroa Team. We were associating ourselves with local business owners and community events. We were a boutique brokerage that wanted to offer a competitive split.
Then one day, I decided I wanted to open a RE/MAX franchise. We opened in 2012. I just sold the franchise two weeks ago to one of our former top-producing agents.
We chose to move over to eXp because we need to be aligned with a company that’s forward-thinking—one that will allow us to expand into multiple markets.
Q: What’s the difference between you doing your own residential sales and what you’re provided through Zillow Offers?
I look at my business as being made up of different silos. I have my mothership team that likes to work with referrals and past buyers. We believe 100 percent in our traditional business. We love it and think it’s important.
But we couldn’t just leave other opportunities on the table. Someone is going to work with the iBuyers, so why shouldn’t it be us? We would just crank out CMAs for them every day, and we would get seller leads. That was just another opportunity for us to create additional relationships with buyers and sellers.
I went in with an open mind. I didn’t know what it would turn out to be. But I knew I could be a part of real estate history.
I didn’t know I’d be called a sell-out or a lazy agent. I’m a business owner. I’m an entrepreneur. I need to create wealth for my agents.
When they left, we were kind of disappointed. But we realized these were sellers we could still prospect. These were free leads.
Q: What do you think the future of real estate is?
After Zillow left, OpenDoor came here. Now, Zillow is back. We just launched the new Zillow Offers in Orlando. We had to interview, and we got it. I know it’s not what everybody would want, but it’s another opportunity for us to help more sellers.
What we’ve found is that sellers want options. They want choices and transparency. Do I believe iBuyers are going to impact our business? Yes. I think they’re going to change the game. I believe there will still be space for the very good agents who stay in front of their consumers.
Agents are still going to get paid. Stop thinking about your best interests. Think about your customers. You need to do what is best for your clients. The rest will follow.
I hope that I can inspire some people to embrace some of these changes and see how they can be a part of this.
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Q: Are you still doing your coaching?
It’s hard to scale myself at the level that we were getting requests. At veronicainspires.com, you’ll learn more about what one-on-one coaching will look like, as well as how you can partner with us.
In less than 10 days, we already have more than 200 agents who have partnered with us. I want to help you reach your dreams. Sometimes we need to feed off each other’s inspiration—it’s okay to fail or to fall.
Now, through our new relationship with eXp, I get to do this in a way where I am focused on growing people’s businesses.
Q: Which routines have driven success for you?
I don’t think there’s any secret sauce or magic wand. I think we each find our own way. We start off all our meetings by expressing gratitude for something. If you’re visiting my office during the meeting, you have to say something—I don’t care if you’re an executive from Zillow. Some people probably roll their eyes at this, but it really has helped us.
Other than that, I read about all things real estate. I have way too many books. I want to know who’s the next rock star agent out there.
I’ve visited a lot of the best teams all over the country and picked their brains. I know that’s not practical for everybody. Part of my prospecting wasn’t just prospecting buyers and sellers, but also prospecting mentors. By meeting with top agents, I was inspired to be a better version of myself.
Earlier in my career, I took top producers from my area out to lunch and talked to them.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you go back and tell your younger self?
I would be a better leader by releasing people who were no longer aligned with our vision. It was stressful for them and for our operations. There comes a point where, if there isn’t alignment, it hurts friendships and hurts the team. When you know someone is no longer happy, have those difficult conversations a little sooner. Do what’s best for them so that they can do what they were meant to do.
- Make the list of people you’d like to learn from. Take a top producer in your area to lunch and learn from them.
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