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15 Years Ago Today: My First Real Estate Paycheck

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My very first real estate transaction began in March but closed in May of 2004.

At that time, agents would get “floor calls.” Before the internet was really popular, people had to call the number on the For Sale sign if they wanted to know more about the property. One morning I received a call about a property on Perkins Road in Kennewick. I arranged with the caller, Mr. O’Hair, to meet him and his family there that afternoon, at 5 p.m.

In the meantime, we also used to get clients called “walk-ins.” Walk-ins were people who, as the name implies, walked in to the brokerage and wanted to either buy or sell a house.

This particular day, I had a client walk in and he wanted to see some houses in south Richland. That would take some time to set up, so I sent him to a nearby restaurant for lunch while I worked through lunchtime without eating — arranging showings and making sure he was pre-approved.

He came back after about an hour and off we went. I remember he smelled strongly of onions after lunch and I asked him what he’d eaten. “Egg salad sandwich,” he said. To this day, I’ve never had onion in an egg salad sandwich.

We looked at houses for an hour or so, then I went back to the office, gathered up my stuff and went to donate blood. I regularly donate blood, and I liked how my new career in real estate enabled me to go do that whenever I felt like it.

Well, perhaps due to skipping lunch, I felt woozy and nauseated immediately after giving blood. When that happens, the Red Cross workers and volunteers make you sit for an extended period of time to make sure you’ve recovered fully. I didn’t have time for that! I was going to be late to show the buyer the house on Perkins!

I finally got up and said, “I’m fine!” and headed to my car. I DIDN’T feel fine, actually. I still felt lightheaded and nauseated. To complicate matters, it was raining, getting dark, and I had no idea where I was going! This is also in the days before GPS on your phone and in your car, or at least in my car! I remember praying desperately that I wouldn’t black out, while peering through sheets of rain, looking for street signs as I traveled to the eastern edge of Kennewick from central Richland — a forty minute drive I needed to make in thirty!

I arrived at the house, which had been repossessed by the bank and placed on the market after the bank sent someone out to evaluate the condition and make only critical repairs. This particular home had been used as a meth lab at one point, and when the bank inspector came out to look at the property, he’d fallen through a hole in the floor of the master bathroom.

I didn’t think there was any way these new clients would like this house. There was a board nailed over a hole in the floor! It had been a meth lab! It was in very sorry shape!

But they loved it! I wrote up an offer the next day, we anxiously awaited news from the bank, and finally, my very first sale closed.

The commission amount was $1,950. I was on a 60/40 split with my brokerage, so I would keep 60%, they would keep 40%. That brings us down to $1,170. Subtract further the costs of working in an office, errors and omission insurance and other assorted fees, and I was left with $457.53.

And that’s how it all started. Fifteen years ago today!

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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016. I am on the Budget and Finance Committee there, as well. I love serving the citizens of this community, and my fellow Realtors, too. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!

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