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Life & Work with Erika Sheets

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Sheets.  

Hi Erika, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Grew up in a “real estate family”. My grandpa owned apartments and I would help paint, clean trash on the lawn, clean vacancies, etc. when I was a child. I have now moved over 15 times in my life (and I’m only 30). Grew up watching my parents go through the buying and selling process. Was always in awe of the realtors. I loved the “glamour” of their lifestyle – fancy shoes, nice clothes, and a car, got to go through homes. Graduated from Grand Valley State University and was a stay-at-home mom for several years after that. Went into insurance for a year and was not passionate about that. So, I took a new job as a transaction coordinator for a real estate team in Lansing, MI. I did that for a year and realized that I could be successful as an agent. Took my real estate exam and have been practicing ever since. I love my job and cannot imagine doing anything else! My husband and I now purchase flip homes and sell them. When it came time to pull permits, I realized it would be easier for me to pull my own. So, I just recently took my general contractor’s exam and passed! So now I am a licensed builder. Real estate is my passion. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Not all of it has been smooth. The decision to even become a realtor was a tough one. I was technically a single mom at the time (had been divorced and have 50/50 custody of the kids – I have three). I met my now-husband who inspired and encouraged me to follow my dream as a realtor. He was the one that told me that he would help watch my kiddos if I had showings or listing appointments and he would “float me” for the first 6 months while I was getting going. This is all I needed to hear to jump right in. And my first full year in real estate, I sold nearly $6 million!! The ups and downs of real estate can be stressful. Times where it’s all you have time for and other times where you have little to no business. It’s not a 9-5 M-F job at all. I love my flexibility but it can be a hard mental balance to go from working nonstop to hardly at all (really depending on the season). 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I help people to buy and sell homes. I specialize in residential homes (so not commercial). I am most proud of the way that I “get” clients. Most of my client base is from my sphere (friends, family, acquaintances that I know) and client referrals. Of course, I am more than willing to help people I do not know, but I love helping people that I do know and their friends and family that they send my way. I love to get involved in my community and meet new people. People love to talk about real estate. It’s always fun for me to think I’m “working” when I go to my kid’s sporting events or neighborhood get-togethers. But truly, I view my job as relationship building and helping those relationships make the most money out of their biggest investment! What sets me apart? –I am not a salesperson. I view myself as more of a therapist. I listen to people’s “home” problems and I help them solve them. I want people to find their dream home, I am not trying to sell them on the first home we go see. My builder’s license also sets me apart (especially as a female – there are not many licensed female builders!) I’ve learned so much from the class that it’s helped me to educate my clients on what is up to code and what is not up to code in homes that we see. 

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Just jump right in! Do it 100%. Don’t do real estate part-time. Meet as many people as you can and make genuine relationships. Join a team when starting out and find a mentor that you can shadow. Sitting in on listing appointments and showings with an agent that has been doing this for a while is the best way to learn. When I was starting out, I wish I would have known that it was normal for my confidence to not be super high. I was not 100% sure of what to say to people or how to help them. I had to call my team lead often to ask questions and relay those answers to my clients and potential clients. But it really did not take me long to gain confidence. You’re not going to know all the answers right away. Heck, every transaction I do has something different about it even still! 

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