Crazy Sh*t In Real Estate with Leigh Brown

Crazy Sh*t in Real Estate!—a podcast that will shatter the HGTV-induced veneer of real estate, and celebrate the challenges of working in this wild, wacky business.
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Crazy Sh*t In Real Estate with Leigh Brown





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Dec 5, 2017

NAR President Bill Brown has been through the ringer for the last few months, but it hasn’t put a damper on this year’s Thanksgiving (except that he couldn’t wash down his turkey with a beer!). Tune in to learn why Bill was extra-thankful this Thanksgiving, and why it’s never too early to think about the future. Bill dives into the tax reform discussion and urges NAR members to participate and be a voice for the people – you DO make a difference and must ACT when called to do so!

Please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or in the Podcasts App on your phone. Never miss a beat from Leigh by visiting The Leigh Brown Experience.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:29 – NAR President Bill Brown from Oakland; this is his first post-presidential interview
  • 01:15 – Who he is, how he came into real estate, his story
  • 01:45 – Second generation realtor, father started in the business in the 60s
  • 02:24 – Both he and his brother were inspired and Bill knew what he wanted to do by sophomore/junior year of high school
  • 02:40 – What attracted Bill to real estate
  • 02:55 – The idea of working for himself, enjoys competition, was good with numbers rather than showing homes
  • 03:44 – Stuck with what he knew – the numbers game – and felt it was easy if he had the grasp of the numbers
  • 04:15 – Believes anyone can learn commercial or apartment brokerage with devotion
  • 04:30 – Before, people could do a little of everything, now you need to be a specialist
  • 04:45 – Concentrate on the product type you do best
  • 04:50 – Bill says he’s impatient but it has gotten a lot better in the past 3-4 months
  • 05:20 – Broker told him a story about patience 10 years ago
  • 05:40 – A new broker had just graduated from Stanford, but was told it could take 6-9 months to get his first deal
  • 05:53 – On his 8th or 9th day, he picked up the phone, got a listing, and made $125,000
  • 06:13 – Guy got BMW, rented new apartment in San Francisco, but didn’t get another deal for another year and a half
  • 06:28 – You must be smart, especially when just starting out
  • 06:40 – Realtor retirement and investment planning
  • 07:01 – Many realtors make good money and don’t have anything to show for it at 50-55
  • 07:45 – Bill wants realtors to be thinking about retirement early
  • 07:57 – He knew a realtor, Tracy Saizan who put away 10-20% of every deal and has saved a good deal that way
  • 08:18 – Kudos to Sharon Millett who chaired the PAC; members will be able to take advantage of the partnership with Merrill Lynch/ Bank of America
  • 08:37 – His legacy will be this basis for financial planning
  • 09:15 – Not all members are making a living: His friend runs an MLS with 17,000 members
  • 09:25 – Half of the members have not made a deal in a year and 30% haven’t even turned the MLS on
  • 09:36 – The business is getting more competitive and people think it’s easy and don’t have the required commitment
  • 10:04 – It’s time for young people to start thinking 10-20 years’ out
  • 10:39 – He’s been a president through some monumental changes in politics
  • 11:08 – His thoughts on political changes and how it’ll affect the real estate industry
  • 11:20 – Looks back at 1986 Tax Reform for context: Property values went down and interest rates up, it’s a very similar situation
  • 11:45 – He likes the action in legislative changes and was glad he was president during this time
  • 11:51 – Had a meeting in D.C. with Chairman of Ways and Means Kevin Brady
  • 12:02 – Brought up what happened to real estate after the 1986 tax reform, and Brady said that the decline in property values will only last 3-4 years
  • 12:15 – Said that they are looking 10 years’ out
  • 12:23 – They want 80-90% of Americans to fill out their own simplified tax returns
  • 12:45 – In CA, if you eliminate state/local tax deductions, mortgage interest rate deductions, home values decrease 21-24%, it’s hard to find a home
  • 13:05 - $1 million buys you nothing in the area where he lives
  • 13:14 - $500,000 deduction is useless there, it’s a big deal to not be able to write off your taxes
  • 13:33 – 35% of Bay area home buyers will rethink buying a home if the tax reform passes
  • 13:50 – Ramifications of this tax reform are unbelievable, especially in high-cost states
  • 14:00 – NAR core value is to protect private property rights
  • 14:16 – Back in 1986 they promised to never lower the mortgage interest deduction
  • 14:35 – If you are a congressman or senator that has gotten NAR support and you vote for this bill, NAR will be very active on the other side of the election in 2018
  • 14:55 – CA has 9 Republican congressmen, and 3 voted against the bill: the other 6 voted against their constituents
  • 15:40 – Tax reform provisions that bother Bill that aren’t related to property taxes and mortgage interest deduction
  • 16:26 – Tax reform takes away the incentive to buy a home
  • 16:36 – Other side will say that the itemized deduction has doubled, but the mortgage interest deduction pushes the buyer over the threshold
  • 17:25 – If a couple gets married, saves, and tax reform hits, they’ve lost their down payment and years of saving
  • 18:00 – Car wash manager makes $85,000 a year, but didn’t want to buy a house because of what his friends experienced in the recession
  • 18:50 – The timing is still fresh for a lot of people who were impacted by the recession
  • 19:30 – How Bill landed in voluntary leadership
  • 19:51 – He was an apartment broker in 1982 with brother and father when rent control came on the horizon
  • 20:15 – City council voted it down, but tenants got an initiative on the ballot and it was going to impact his ability to make a living
  • 20:45 – He went to the Board of Realtors and volunteered to help against rent control and became a chair
  • 21:20 – Realtors do help members make money and stay in business, he decided to get on local association committees, and became president in 1984
  • 21:57 – Started at committee level, has chaired at pretty much every public policy and PAC committee at CAR while involved there, and in 2008 was president of his state association
  • 22:20 – Members need to participate with time and money to help make initiatives successful
  • 22:40 – When he graduated college, he knew his dad would take him under his wing
  • 23:10 – Glad he was interested in real estate early-on
  • 23:39 – Why don’t more realtors get involved?
  • 23:50 – We haven’t found a way to get members to understand the importance of what they are doing
  • 24:08 – Call to Action: A few clicks to flood senator offices with letters for legislative change
  • 24:45 – Members need to understand importance of their participation
  • 24:58 – People that aren’t making a living doing it don’t care, or ones that do figure that others will do it; leadership needs to work on messaging and members need to know importance of participation
  • 26:22 – Individuals can get involved and make an impact
  • 26:46 – Only 21% of members sent letter to congressperson for a Call to Action for the tax reform, but average response for other trade associations is 3%
  • 27:40 – Coalition of Homeowners – 8 million members willing to participate
  • 28:30 – Realtors give clients a voice and tools to be heard
  • 29:04 – Realtors vote, have lobbyists in D.C., are active in their communities, and give voice to the people
  • 29:17 – Last act as president: A fly-in of 78 realtors to tell their side of story
  • 29:40 – Politicians know that realtors are a strong voice and know that if they don’t support them, they’ll go after them come election-time
  • 30:37 – You can’t undo the tax reform
  • 30:55 – Speculation, economic theory cannot promise anything
  • 31:14 – He supports paying lower taxes because ½ of what you send to D.C. will get wasted
  • 31:44 – If you give a tax break, you take away a tax break from someone else
  • 32:24 – Don’t make changes on the backs of home-owning Americans
  • 33:25 – Realtors that talk to officials can make sure they know what is written in the reform and understand it
  • 35:25 – Bill was sitting in a congressman office and his aid came in and said he had a vote in 10 minutes; he didn’t know what the vote was for, his aid told him
  • 36:19 - Jerry Giovaniello won lobbyist of the year, and seeing realtor faces in their office makes an impact on congressmen’s decisions
  • 37:13 – What happened to Bill this year
  • 37:35 – Never thought anything would happen to him medically
  • 37:48 – He has a finger operation 2-3 years ago and it got infected, they gave him vancomycin to take 2 times/day
  • 38:16 – After 3-4 days he felt horrible and it triggered lung problems
  • 38:52 – He had to go on supplemental oxygen and in and out of the emergency room
  • 39:15 – In August everything looked different and was turning white; he thought he was dying and his wife was overseas
  • 39:53 – UCSF got an ambulance to take him to their hospital
  • 40:20 – They found a lung transplant donor very quickly and he underwent surgery
  • 41:03 – He had a successful surgery but the lung donor had a MRSA infection in the lung and pneumonia, so they transplanted it then treated the MRSA and pneumonia
  • 41:41 – Had to be fed through feeding tubes, they were removed, then fluid was leaking into stomach, had to go into emergency surgery again
  • 44:05 – A typical lung transplant is in the hospital for 2-3 weeks, then they go to a hotel to be close by while healing; he was in the hospital for 7 weeks and then was in a hotel for another 6 weeks
  • 45:25 – It was a very trying time; it was exhausting and horrible, but got him well
  • 46:30 – He met a transplant patient who gave up after a week and wanted to go home with pain medication; she ultimately decided to finish the treatment
  • 47:35 – Nurses want you to get out “as fast as you can” and inspire patients to get better faster
  • 47:55 – Wants to write the donor family a thank you letter; hasn’t been able to take a deep breath in 1-2 years
  • 48:40 – Re/Max broker Kynse Leigh Lee has kidney and pancreas transplant and uses hashtag #dontburygoodorgans and got to meet donor family
  • 49:56 – Discussing organ-donating outreach for realtors
  • 50:24 – UCSF is #1 in the nation for lung transplants, but they don’t have enough organs; he was very lucky...(blessed!)
  • 52:50 – This is the first Thanksgiving where he has the ultimate gift to be grateful for
  • 53:55 – He put his health first; his wife Heather and his brother Kevin and his wife (RN) were his caregivers for the entire time he was at the hotel and he is grateful
  • 55:20 – Become an organ donor and take care of yourself and your loved ones
  • 56:16 – To learn how to get involved, send Leigh Brown a message on Twitter or any social network

3 Key Points

  1. One person can make an impact – Get involved and make your voice heard by politicians...their votes impact your life.
  2. You matter: Think about your future, your retirement plan, your family, and your health.
  3. Become an organ donor!


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