Bret Calltharp is Director of Talent Attraction with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. And that’s not a pickup line.
He sat down with Bill Risser for an episode The Real Estate Sessions to talk about his career, his experience and what’s next for real estate.
Crossing a continent
Bret is a native Kansan and lived in the midwest until he was 21. Then his trajectory took him to South Florida to be a rockstar.
“My parents are reformed hippies,” he joked when Bill asked if music was something forced on him by his parents or adopted in spite of them. Bret played piano from age five and his dad had about a four- chord repertoire on guitar. Bret was almost always in a band growing up. And in South Florida, he got very close to music success.
“We never got signed, but I had two bands that landed production deals. Which means a successful producer signs on to help build your band and shop it around.”
Bret got to play with Journey, Night Ranger and Foreigner, Alien Ant Farm…it was a great period of time. But he was also running a real estate business. And both careers suffered a downturn.
Then through a series of conversations and opportunities and more life changes, Bret turned his sights to Vancouver.
“I ran a marathon in Las Vegas and heard about Vancouver. So I Googled RE/MAX in Vancouver and picked a company and emailed them,” Bret said. “The owner called me and we talked for over an hour. Then they created a role for me.
So from December to March, Bret moved across a continent. “I was a big leap for me,” he said.
Joining the Inman crowd
Bret became involved with Inman just over two years ago. He’d seen a post by Laura Munroe about the lack of need for real estate agents… and the call for comment. “I commented on the post and then they invited me to contribute to a full piece about it.”
Bret was reminded of a quote from the singer Drake, “You work until your idols become your rivals.”
From there, Bret was named as an Ambassador. And that’s when he started to get to know the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand.
At the helm, of course, is Sherry Chris, who has that presence that everyone talks about. Her passion for people is palpable and she brings amazing information and energy to every stage.
Then Karlton Utter reached out. Both Bret and Karlton are musicians and star wars geeks. But despite their instant connection, there wasn’t a role for Bret. At first. “Then I got a call from Karlton who said, in his Jersey accept, “There’s this position and you need to apply for it. Don’t read it about first, just do it. We’ll talk about it later.””
It turned out to be exactly the opportunity Bret was looking for. The timing was right, too, since his Canadian work visa was up, his sister was in Boston, and his dad was diagnosed with cancer (he’s doing great now). It all added up.
“I remember it was supposed to be a 15-minute interview with Sherry, but it was 40 minutes. Sherri offered me the position, and I said ‘yes’ right away. It’s the only time I’ve accepted a job the moment it was offered.”
Attracting and keeping real estate talent
Despite the teasing, Bret and team really do what the title says. Bret feels that the term ‘recruiting’ is a misnomer in real estate. It’s not about what someone earn somewhere else and then offering to pay more. Breat has to say something completely different.
He has to say, “I know you’re happy where you’re at. I want you to stop paying that broker money, and come over here and pay us money. And oh, by the way, you’re going to have to rebrand everything.”
That is a very different conversation. And Bret works on all aspects of the business.
“I am involved in the more operational bits of the business, including franchise launches. We aren’t a startup, but we are lean. There’s no such thing as saying this isn’t my job.”
One of the core values of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is passion. And Bret embodies that everyday.
Listen to the whole podcast for even more.