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NLR Stories

Embracing Change: How My Brokerage Switch Paid Off

September 15, 2023

In the year 2000, I was working as a police officer in Northern California. I am an Idaho native, but life circumstances took me to California. I had been in law enforcement for nine years and I loved my job, however, my wife and I knew that we were not going to get ahead by cashing a civil servant paycheck. We had managed to save some money and were ready to buy a rental house as our first real investment. On my own, I searched all kinds of real estate listings and tracked what was on the market. I had a spreadsheet showing what houses had listed for and then sold for. I was ready with two listings that were going to a silent bid auction, and I wanted to bid on them. 

The only thing I knew about real estate agents was I did not think the one who represented us when we bought our first house did a good job. A week after we moved into our new house, we had to replace the carpet because of all the cat urine in it. I did not know we had options during escrow and those options were not explained by our agent. I did not call that agent back. I called a different company, and an agent showed me the two houses that were coming up for auction. I won one of the auctions and that house became our first rental property. Our agent was a big help and started learning there are good agents and not-so-good agents. 

During the escrow process, my agent suggested I get my real estate license. He thought I really liked real estate and offered to let me hang my license with his brokerage. I told him I couldn’t leave my law enforcement job and he suggested I practice real estate part-time. I thought a lot about that offer and eventually got my real estate license before I started working with that brokerage. 

I soon found that working part-time had disadvantages. The brokerage I was with gave raises at set levels of production. As a part-time agent, I had the same level of production requirements as full-time agents. I was closing deals and producing as a part-time agent, but I wasn’t climbing up the pay scale as fast as the full-time agents. I moved to one of those name-brand brokerages that were in town but soon found this new brokerage was about the same. Their fees and pay scale made it impossible for me to compete with the full-time agents.

Then I noticed a brokerage that showed up in town with an elk in their logo. I found this unique for California and as an Idaho native and big game hunter, I had to check this company out. This was the first time I had seen or heard of a real estate company that focused on land. This included houses on plots of land, farms, ranches, and recreational properties. I went in and introduced myself and was excited when they called me back and offered to let me hang my real estate license with them. It was with this brokerage that I sold my first ranch and got started in the land industry. I stayed with this brokerage for about 12 years (which means I liked this brokerage) until I retired from my law enforcement job. 

When I retired from law enforcement, my family quickly moved to Idaho where I would start my post-retirement life. I knew I needed something to do. I also knew that in order to meet the financial goals I had for my family, I needed to keep working. I thought of several options but staying in real estate seemed to make the most sense. However, coming back to a new area in a state I had moved away from 36 years earlier was going to be like starting fresh for the first time. 

I wanted to stay in the land industry, and luckily the company I had been with had a national marketing partner which I knew was a huge plus. In Idaho, I started with a brokerage that had the same national marketing partner as the brokerage I spent over a decade with in California. I liked this brokerage and the broker I was working for. Unfortunately, this national marketing partner involved brokers from several different brokerages across the country, and with different opinions, things started to change. This led to a lot of feelings of uncertainty about the future. It was around this time that I learned about National Land Realty (NLR).

The first thing that caught my eye about NLR was the ability to market land nationally without the differing opinions from different brokerages. This was because everyone at NLR was under the same plan and had the same purpose. The organization wanted to grow and they were doing so by helping agents become successful in different states across the country. So, I started my research on NLR. 

I specifically targeted NLR agents who had been with a different brokerage before joining NLR. I called agents from several different states. My main question was, “Are you doing more business now than you were doing before?” Every agent I spoke with told me they were doing more business with NLR than they were before they joined NLR. In January 2021 after some careful research, I left a brokerage I really liked but had concerns about, and I joined NLR. At that time NLR had only been in Idaho for one month. I was bringing a new brokerage to my area. 

It is now the summer of 2023 and the market in Idaho and the rest of the country has changed over the last year. I know of several real estate agents who focus on single-family homes in town, and are now spending all their time in “lead generation.” While they’ve spent time on lead generation, I have taken on many new listings, written several offers, and prepared escrows for closing. 

National Land Realty has boosted my career to new heights, with more than 50% of my closings every year coming from being an NLR agent. NLR’s marketing plan, branding, and support have led to not only more leads but actual closings as well. My business is growing every year. This year I have matched last year’s income, and I still have six months of the year left with several deals in escrow already.

I hesitantly left a brokerage I loved but was extremely concerned about and joined NLR with the hope it would be good for me. It has been good for me, not just in sales but in my learning and in new experiences. I am doing more deals, bigger deals, and different types of deals than I ever have before. 2023 will be my highest-producing year in real estate since I started in 2001, and I owe this growth to National Land Realty.

About the Author
Todd grew up working beside his grandfather on a small dairy farm in Bingham County, Idaho, hunting birds in the mornings before school and big game on the weekends. Eventually, Todd followed family, left Idaho, and landed in California. He served a mission for his church and then attended Brigham Young University for a year. He then transferred to California State University at Sacramento and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in “Deviant Behavior.” Todd spent 27 years in law enforcement with the Vacaville Police Department before retiring in June 2018. Todd is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Reserves, activated in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spent time teaching high school in police, fire, and emergency services orientation classes. With a keen interest in real estate, Todd obtained his real estate license in 2001. In 2009, Todd left the traditional real estate firms and joined California Outdoor Properties where he was able to focus his real estate efforts on farms, ranches, and recreational properties. In January 2021, Todd joined National Land Realty’s team of Land Professionals and is now the managing broker of the Idaho Office. In addition to being a managing broker, Todd is also a Certified Land Consultant and a Certified Real Estate Negotiator.