For Mary Ann Cadorna, real estate is the last bastion of true entrepreneurship.
“You have to be willing to stand on your feet and get knocked down,” she said. “You have to pull from your own resources emotionally, physically, and financially to fight this battle.”
Mary Ann got into the San Francisco Bay area real estate market just over 14 years ago. Today she’s a residential agent with RE/MAX 108, but has also worked in with Sotheby’s and Coldwell Banker, as well as in commercial real estate.
Her own early days left a mark on her. She truly was out of the frying pan and into the fire. “I had to teach myself everything. It was so painful. It was as though they wanted me to fail.”
After three months on the job, Mary Ann finally got the chance to field the incoming leads. Within two weeks, she had three clients and was able to close two deals that quarter. “When I had my first escrow, I had no idea what I was doing!”
Three months later, Mary Ann sold the single highest transaction for anyone in her office.
Today, she wants to prevent other new agents from feeling as isolated as she did. She makes it a point to be a resource to all agents she meets, both new and veteran. “It does you no good to hold on to what you know. It only does good if you share it,” she said.
The Russian physicist and the “thug” agent
We often feature stories from agents where they went above and beyond, delivering service that makes the role of an agent integral to the transaction. We call these #BeTheSherpa stories, after a speech our CEO delivered last year.
One of Mary Ann’s Sherpa stories reads like a movie of the week. In this case, the other agent is the villain and the Russian client is the innocent victim. And Mary Ann plays the tireless hero coming to her client’s rescue.
“They wanted either my client or me to cough up an extra $2500 for the transaction, outside of the agreement,” Mary Ann described. “It was not in writing. The agent arbitrarily changed the terms of the agreement.”
But she held fast.
She prepared the legal framework of her email complaint, after discovering this agent was ‘in cahoots’ with a financial advisor.
“I got the phone and fax number of the CEO of the financial advisor’s bank. I told them I was prepared to send documentation to them if they didn’t honor the original contract, right here and right now.”
Success! The agent backed off and Mary Ann’s physicist got his home — and $11,000 in seller credit.
“You can’t fool dogs and kids.”
Much of what we talk about here at Adwerx revolves around branding. And for personal branding to be effective, it has to be authentic.
That authenticity landed Mary Ann her own real estate-related radio talk show on The QUAKE in San Francisco. And it all started because she wanted to do a commercial.
“I cut my 30-second spot in one take,” she laughed. And her ease in front of the microphone convinced the Clear Channel folks that she was a natural. And it’s no wonder — Mary Ann’s voice is a gift that she freely shares. In addition to work in radio, she is also a singer, who donates performances to care homes and posts song lyrics as Facebook updates.
Mary Ann’s philosophy is that while our time is finite, our deeds are infinite. And that shapes her outlook on real estate and life.
“This is an industry driven by money, power and status,” she said. “But I maneuver in a way to plant a flag on Mt Everest for the people I represent.”
A fitting metaphor for an agent who truly embodies the sherpa!