CDRE 25 | Ronin In Real Estate

 

Today’s guest is a samurai without a master. He is an enigma that attracts and inspires growth. Rich Tomasini, a Ronin in Real Estate, shares his trajectory into entrepreneurship and how he builds his path into his career today. He shows his skill in talking to clients to close a deal. On the other hand, Jeramie explains the value EXP brings to real estate agents. Rich provides so many insights in this episode and how he deals with people in the industry. So tune in to this episode and be inspired to become a ronin in real estate.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

A Ronin In Real Estate

How does a man without favor or privilege and a mindset of scarcity become one of the most successful real estate agents on the planet? Rich Tomasini will disagree with you often, not because he doesn’t care but because he does. He engages in verbal battle and without pulling punches, leaves you feeling strangely uplifted and inspired to do more than you ever thought you could.

He understands that success is fleeting. It’s rented. It’s never owned, and the bill comes due every day. I caught him at a convention in Orlando, Florida. He shared with me some of his seldom published opinions on human behavior, and how to overcome the limiting patterns that we put in our own way. The most personable owner you’ll ever love to meet, please welcome Rich Tomasini, a Ronin in real estate.

 

CDRE 25 | Ronin In Real Estate

 

You gave a speech at a big real estate convention at eXp Shareholder Summit, in which you’ve earned the right to be on the stage and talk to people about your accomplishments and mindset challenges. Also, the obstacle course that you have to be able to do with ease in order to stand on a stage and help people the way you have helped people, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about when I went to Charlotte to see you at that event that you held, it was the people in your marketplace that know you as the man who does business in your hometown. Those people came up to you and they respect you. There’s a difference between some of the show horses in a company and some of the workhorses in a company. I would say you’re a little bit both, but half of that job is unfortunate for you.

I need purpose. I’m no different than most men. It’s a lot easier to fix other people’s problems than it is to fix your own. If you’re trying to tackle fixing your own problems and you have some measured success, it’s like, “It’s not that hard. You can do it. Let me help you and see where we go from there.” It’s like Michelangelo. It is a big stone. You’re chipping away the little pieces and sometimes, it’s not going to piece off yourself.

I was reading a book about Michelangelo. It was this book 10X Is Easier Than 2X. It was about people asking Michelangelo how he carved the statue of David. It was about, “I didn’t carve the statue of David. I just removed everything that wasn’t supposed to be there.” Is that what it is for you? Here’s what I noticed when I coach people. When I first met you, I could tell you were a kindred spirit. You’re good at helping other people because you’ve solved this stuff in your own life. Because you’ve solved this stuff in your own life and you’ve helped yourself go through an arc, it’s almost irritating to you that somebody else hasn’t done it.

It’s that they’re not willing to try.

That’s the irritating part for you.

I get frustrated with fatalists.

What is that? Talk to me about a fatalist.

It’s like, “I am going to be this way. This kind of life isn’t for me.” Something I referenced earlier today was you can build a life around your philosophy or build a philosophy around your life. I feel like a lot of people are doing the latter. I grew up in a blue-collar town and it’s like people with money are sellouts. They sold out their families. They’re greedy. They’re distrustful. It’s us versus them. It’s all about the simple things, driving a pickup truck, and eating dinner at your house.

You can build a life around your philosophy or build a philosophy around your life. Click To Tweet

The fact of the matter is I agree with them. I’m a blue-collar guy, but I don’t think it’s an or. I have a pretty good relationship with the concept that I don’t have to spend money. To be able to help other people generate money and do something productive that has value however it’s quantified, I find that to be interesting. The guy who fixes your truck on the side of the road is more important than your heart surgeon if you’re in the desert. I have a bit of a different take on it. I don’t belong in the blue-collar world because I feel very stagnant in that environment sometimes.

Why do you think that is?

I feel comfortable in the personalities and the grounded earthiness of it. I feel under-stimulated in some topics. I can’t talk about sports. I don’t care. I don’t know what the weather is going to be like three days from now because it doesn’t matter unless I have plans outside. I struggle with the idiosyncrasies of, “Right now, let’s chat about these basic things.” I feel way more drawn into what kind of psychological obstacles we’re all trying to labyrinth our way through things. I like people that are competitors. I’m a competitor. What I sometimes see in the neighborhood that I grew up in was everybody was doing fine. That frightened me.

What neighborhood was that?

I grew up in South Florida in a small town that butts up to the Everglades called Sunrise.

What was the mentality of the town? Talk to me about what people did there.

They did all the things that people were doing in this hotel, like cleaning the rooms and setting up the tables. Everybody was in a trade. Your cops, your post office people, teachers, pastors, and priests, everyone lived in these little shoe boxes and this nice little witness protection plan-type of look track housing. It was fine.

No one would choose to relocate there, maybe.

It’s not a name. It’s a place where you live. You could have a lot of pride in where you live and love the community and the people so you can learn to love that place if you grow up in the environment.

Would you say the teenagers grew up and wanted to move away or did they want to go and stay? Was that what they learned and what they knew?

It depends on what their parents told them.

It was a small town. Would you call it rural?

Yeah. South Florida is hard to call rural because it’s such a chaotic place but it was a small-town vibe. You had one C-store and everybody knew each other. We had one Catholic Church. That’s where you went.

It sounds like my hometown where I’m from.

They are not different. That feels comforting. I like that. I’m comfortable there and I’m not comfortable in neighborhoods that I can live in now, but I don’t know. I’ve always never identified with either side as a perfect fit. I could live in a flat Manhattan or have 500 acres in the middle of nowhere, but living in the suburbs feels like I’m lost. I’m an extreme person that way on the spectrum.

What I love about, especially entrepreneurs is the amount of courage that these people had to exercise to get through all of the constant failures, struggles, and lack of information. What I love about blue-collar people is that they put their pants on one leg at a time. They’re quick to bring you a meal if your spouse is sick. In those two places, neither one of them fully satiates me.

When you started out your career, what were the first couple of jobs that you did?

Outside of basic teenage jobs, because I started working at fourteen, I dropped out of college in my second year. I didn’t have the study habits, maturity, focus, and frankly, any clarity on what I would do. When I dropped out of college, I was in Gainesville, which was four and a half hours away from my hometown. My dad, who was an English Lit major from Queens College in New York was super disappointed. He was the first generation of college graduates who graduated with unbelievable marks and the second generation of our immigrant families.

It gave him success not just from a generational perspective.

It was a personal achievement.

He was so proud of it. He wanted that for you.

He should have been proud of it because he wasn’t supported in that. It was a milestone. That was a basic character-building experience from my dad. If I wasn’t going to have that, then what else was going to build that part of my character? He was not thrilled if I was going to stay in Gainesville and work in the restaurant business.

He said, “Come on down here,” but you become a real estate appraiser because I’m severely worried about your trajectory. For him to even offer that and be an olive branch for us to talk again because he was pretty disappointed was an easy price to pay. I was like, “Sure. I’ll take the job just so we’re good.” I did that for about six and a half years.

Did you want to be an appraiser?

No.

You did it because you thought it would honor your dad.

I had no skillset. Yeah, I guess I did. I never have had a love for real estate. I like people and I like anything that you can measure. That was it for us. What worked on the appraisal side is that it gave me fundamental book knowledge on how real estate valuations act. If you know how to price property, that’s a major advantage. I was in that world and I always had the crappiest vehicle in the driveway. I’m in a Toyota pickup truck and everybody else is in black Mercedes. I’m on the wrong pay side of this transaction.

You’re working for a fee, but these people are working for a percentage.

Once I understood that, which I know doesn’t take a very long time, and it kept proving to me that the least knowledgeable people in the transaction were the ones that had the most to make, I couldn’t unsee on here. I had to make the swap over.

That was the moment where you went because the appraiser was an entrepreneurial gig though, wasn’t it?

It was my dad’s company.

Were you a paid employee?

No, I was a subcontractor.

The work was there and you showed up for work and somebody gave you the work.

My dad was helping me out, and that was another thing. For me, when you’re dealing with young men, we got to stand out of our father’s shadows. There are certain guys that are okay with being in that space. I’m not one of them. I felt such a loss of dignity that I was this person he was taking care of even though I was earning my keep there in a position where he was making the rain happen and I was collecting it. I was very antsy to try my hand out on my own.

 

 

Let’s talk about standing in our father’s shadows. Why did you arrive at that realization? Talk about that a little bit more.

I’ve never been one of those guys. My dad and I are very different people. We’re a bit of a long-distance phone call on personalities. We’re close. We love each other, but we’re very different guys. My parents live five houses down from me. We’re close but we’re not synergistic all the time. What my dad was doing was he was trying to take care of me. The way that my dad raised me was for me to be independent and to figure it out.

It was a juxtaposition of how I was operating, how he was operating as a father, how I feel, and how he built me to feel. It felt like it was out of alignment. I always felt like he had to worry about another mouth to feed and that’s ridiculous. I was a twenty-something-year-old guy. I was very quick to emancipate myself from that situation as soon as I had enough buffer to hold my breath and take a chance.

Is that to prove that you could do it on your own?

Not prove to him, but to be self-reliant.

That’s important to you.

It should be important to everybody. I love when my wife spoils me but she’s not codependent. My wife is an independent woman that could get through life without me. By the grace of God, she chose to do it with me. It’s not because she needs me. It’s because it’s better to do life together. I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship as a male on anything.

I’ve never had a job. I’ve always been self-employed because I don’t like when people tell me what to do and I hate rules. It was naturally going to have to happen. Under my dad’s firm, I respected the way he did things and it’s not just out of respect. I thought it was all logical, but it wasn’t my company. When I got my real estate license in 2006, I was like, “This is my business. It’s sink or swim. I’m going to do it my way.”

It’s not to prove to my dad that he built somebody that’s able to launch. It’s to be in something where my work was correlated to a limitless opportunity. If I wanted to get very compulsive and go down a rabbit hole, narrow my focus, and learn how to sell real estate, learn how to communicate, learn how to deal with people, learn marketing, learn how to lead generate, learn how to manage teams and learn how to do all the different obstacles that you learn along the growth pattern, I wanted to make sure that I was making the decisions, I was paying the price for the mistakes that I could figure out, and it would be mine. Good or bad, it would still be mine.

Let’s talk about rules. Especially in the appraisal world and the real estate world, which are both licensed professions, it sounds like there are a lot of rules. Those rules are okay.

I’m good with laws, philosophy, and theories. I’m not good with, “It’s done this way because we said so,” or, “You need to do this way because this is the way that it’s always been done,” or, “If you don’t do it this way, we’re at an impasse.” I’m not a box-checker. I don’t like people telling me what to do. I like to be able to do what feels right and what my logic arrives at.

In the appraisal field back then, I’m going back to 1999 and 2000, the way the system was structured before they got it organized was mortgage brokers chose the appraiser. They would choose appraisers that would make any number because they would close more loans. If you weren’t making numbers, you were at a disadvantage unless you found an honest mortgage broker. There was that dynamic.

Some underwriter who is living in a different state that doesn’t know anything necessarily about appraisals would underwrite the loan based on parameters for their lender, and then they would kick back certain things. For example, evaluating a property, if something is a mile away and it exceeds a guideline, it has nothing to do with if it’s not a good comp. It’s the same school district, same tax district, or design.

I was always in a box where I had to do the circumstance and make sure that it was perfectly acceptable to be less accurate because that was the structure of the deal. What I liked about real estate sales is I could only work with the clients that I wanted. I could do it my way. I could be a listing agent because I knew evaluations. I could be covered in tattoos, not polished, do not wear suits, and do not bake apple pies. That would all work fine for my clientele. I like that autonomy.

 

 

I was working in the restaurant business and I was a bartender and somebody told me I had to shave or go home. I’m like, “This relationship isn’t going to last very long.” I get the idea of being clean-shaven and having me wearing a nice shirt because a lot of dudes would come up but they didn’t care. They wouldn’t shower. They picked up their shirt that had never been ironed, but they wanted a crease right down the middle.

It was this military precision that I knew I would never be able to maintain those rules because those rules never mattered to me. What mattered to me was getting the work done in time and quality matter. Making sure all the servers had their drinks. Making sure the customers felt loved and taken care of. That’s the stuff that mattered to me.

When we didn’t get supported by the management because of the rules, “Jeramie, you didn’t sell enough entrees tonight,” I gave people an awesome experience. For some reason, that’s not measurable to you. That’s the thing that bothered me about rules for the same reason I never wanted to participate in that world.

You’re exactly right because if you gave me an awesome experience and I was a customer at your restaurant, then I would be there more often and you would hit your numbers by proxy of caring about the customer and not caring about the specifics. How do you track it?

It’s so hard to track this.

However, nobody cares to track it.

What I like about you is that you’re like a samurai with no master. You are a Ronin and you named your kid Ronin.

My oldest son’s name is Ronin.

It’s cool because that thing is important to you. Having autonomy but also having your own dojo, your own set of rules that let other people break them. Let people break your rules. You don’t care and I can tell that about you, and I love it. It’s hard to find a person that can break your rules because they’ve worked for you. I want to talk a little bit about your career right now because it’s super inspiring to people. Can we talk about some of your numbers and income a little bit?

I’ll talk about anything you want.

I think you’ve reached a level of income through your own hard work and your own rules that I think would inspire people. That’s why I want to share it. You were a real estate appraiser? You became a real estate agent. Did you find that that skillset was an unfair advantage? Did it work for you?

It was an advantage. You have a very sharp tool in your shed, and to get in front of somebody that’s going to sell their house and be exposed to you was a new skill. It was a blackhole.

How did you do in the beginning?

I didn’t have any money to invest. I was like most real estate agents where you go in there under-prepared financially. I was at RE/MAX in 2006. Believe it or not, the internet was not very sophisticated back then. I went through the White Pages and I started calling at the As in my local Mooresville White Page. I would call them up and say, “My name is Rich Tomasini. I’m with RE/MAX down the street across from the Chick-fil-A.” I try to keep it nice and casual. “The tax record shows that you’ve owned your house for 7 or 8 years. If you have any intention of moving, I’d be happy to let you know what it’s worth because I used to be a real estate appraiser. I could give you a benchmark on what the house is worth, which might help you make one decision or another.”

What a great script. It’s so genuine, perfect, and factual. It’s like, “I’m taking your time to tell you who I am and do you need the service?”

When people would be rude, I would say, “I’ll never bother you again, but you can bother me anytime. Call me when you’re ready and I’ll give you good service and we’ll move forward.”

How did that go?

My reaction to people being rude to me has always been a shocker. This probably makes me dysfunctional and we can iron this out in therapy if I ever go but I don’t need people to like me for me to like them. What does it matter? If I think you’re the coolest dude in the world and you think I’m a total knucklehead, does that make you not the coolest guy in the world? It’s irrelevant. I just don’t impress you, but maybe you’re right.

It doesn’t bother you.

It might bother me in a sense of reflection and wanting to improve myself, but it doesn’t change the way that I feel about you. I could be like unilaterally.

Here’s what’s awesome about that. You can move forward from an act of rejection and continue to be inspired by that person even though they don’t like you. For some reason, you take that internally and you reflect on that as a way to improve yourself even. Here’s the thing. I wouldn’t think that a guy like you would give a crap about what that person would think, but you certainly meditate on it though.

I care about what everybody thinks about me because I’m honest. There are very few Jack Nicholsons in the world. I do have an aura in that and I’m not very reactive because that’s what I can control. If you put me in a bad head space and I let that happen, then it’s my fault. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect me. I’m affected. I can respond or I can react. I would rather process and then I’ll go to somebody I care about.

I’ll be like, “Jeramie said that he thinks I’m disingenuous about this or I was not forthcoming in this matter. Do you see that showing up in our relationship? If you do, give me some examples and then I got to think about why am I doing that. What is the root of that? Am I trying to impress Jeremy and he sees through it? Do I not care about it? Am I a sociopath?”

I’ve thought so many times. I’ve said to my wife, “Am I a sociopath?” It’s because there are certain things that don’t affect me emotionally, but there are certain odd things that just wreck me. I don’t understand it.

It’s like a turtle. I could pop your shell and it’s okay, but if I hit you in that soft neck it may hurt bad. That’s how our psyche is.

What’s interesting is this is the skillset that you entered the real estate world. Did you start at a franchise?

At RE/MAX.

You started at RE/MAX.

You’re not supposed to start at RE/MAX.

That’s a 95% split, but you’re paying $1,500 a month.

$21,000 a year in ancillary expenses.

Whether you close a deal or not, you’re paying money.

They called it the no-stress plan 70/30. What they would do is allow you a draw for more or less, and then they would fire you if you don’t produce. I knew I had to move fast. I’d have to write a check or I was going to get fired. It’s interesting because if I’m not willing to bet on myself, I don’t know how I can expect them to bet on me. I was fine taking the challenge. The only reason why I went to RE/MAX was I tried to go to a company called Allen Tate, which is a big company out here in the South but the lady hated my accent. She was like, “There’s no way you’re going to sell real estate out here.”

You’re not from around here.

I hit RE/MAX on the way back to my house and I dropped in there. They were like, “Do you have a checkbook?” I’m like, “Yeah.” “Do you want this?” I’m like, “Yeah.” They signed me up and I went to work that day. I stayed for six hours after my interview and started calling.

Did you get training or did you figure out as you go?

They don’t want you to ask questions in RE/MAX. Nobody has an incentive to answer them. It’s probably why I’m where I’m at now. It was like, “Go into your office space and produce.”

I had a very similar experience. I started at Realty Executives. The agent that I used to sell my properties and in my twenties, I started flipping a couple of properties. I wish I’d have continued with that in some respects because people ask me all the time, “Why didn’t you continue flipping properties?” I flipped enough properties to move to Los Angeles and pursue the career that I wanted to pursue. I then came back with $0 and real estate was the only thing I ever had a knack for. I got a family to feed now, so let’s get to work. The market crashed and it was a lot harder to get to work.

We’re roughly the same age so we’ve been through these same times.

It was interesting to have to work in an environment where you had to make things ridiculously machine-driven. We had to show up for work every day when people were questioning why are you showing up for work. The market had completely crashed.

I think that’s the symptoms of entrepreneurship to be like, “I am going to go to a place that I’m going to tell everybody that I’m working at. I’ll probably leave with no money. I’m going to do this consecutively and hopefully, I will be able to find an opportunity. Sixty days from that point, if everything goes right, I’ll get paid.

I had this philosophy in my head early. I’m like, “I’m either going to get grossly overpaid or work for free much of the time.” That’s where my martial arts background comes in. I just have to practice. What I did is I practiced calling people and I was awful. As I said to you, you were much kinder to me than I was being received.

I started to realize, “When I say this, I seem to lose them or I can’t even get to this point.” I started to practice how to keep somebody on the phone for eight seconds. Once I got to that point, “How do I get the appointment from second to eight to whatever? If I’m on the phone for 30 minutes, I have a new friend but I don’t have a listing.

I was the same. I realized that very quickly early in my real estate career. I was like, “If I stick a sign in the yard, somebody’s going to call. They want the price and they want to get off the phone as fast as they can.” It becomes a game of how do I build rapport as quickly as possible and identify them. “I just moved back here from California. I know you’re calling from California. I recognize the prefix. I know how hard it is and I know you’re calling eight real estate agents. Let me do you a favor. Let me send you some listings and try to serve you.” You then earn the right to become their agent to try to sell them something.

I was a listing agent. When I had people call my signs, my answer, at least, when I was new was, “I have five listings right now and I’m sitting at my office prospecting. I would love to take a break and show you the house right now. I could be there in eight minutes. Are you interested?” People didn’t know what to do with that because it was not what they expect.

You’re available. I thought that too. That was a huge a-ha for me early on. If I could have an arm growing out of my head or if I’m the guy who’s available, it doesn’t matter. They don’t care about the agent. They just want someone who is available right now.

“Get me in. You got my number because you’re parked in front of the house. All I’m saying is turn your air on, hang out for seven minutes, and you’ll see me pull into the driveway.”

That’s when I realized that the level of standard of professionals in the real estate industry was so low. I was going to succeed no matter what. You can build on that level of confidence.

I think it’s encouraging because you don’t have a lot of comfort and safety. You’re like, “Nobody else here seems to be as reactive, responsive, service-oriented, interested, and hustling as I am so I’m probably going to make it because all of these other people in my office are driving nicer cars. Also, they seem to be doing all right. I’m in the right place. I just got to get my mojo.”

It’s one of those things. You take that blue-collar upbringing and you put your head down and work, and the money shows up. Oftentimes, people focus on the money and not the work they want, but what they want now. We live in a now society and we’re used to that. Do you want a movie? Whatever movie you want to watch now. Guys like you and I had to wait until it came on television and then we had to stop everything and watch it. If you had to pee, go during the commercial. We’re different from the way things are now. I think we have an unfair advantage.

We’re living in the old world and the new world at the same time. Everybody else is in the new world or the old world. This Generation X has got one foot in the water and one foot on land. You can lean.

It’s the most underappreciated generation. My wife and I were talking about this. It’s like if you watch a movie, you had to watch 95 names go on the screen before you even got to the movie. Don’t mess with a Gen X-er because I can be as bored as you want me to be. I’m very comfortable being bored. I want to be bored. I can’t wait for the day that I’m bored again.

The other thing too that’s interesting is that as you age, hopefully, wisdom is starting to come in because you’re divorcing some agility and metabolism. Your cells are getting older. You’re forgetting why you’re in that room occasionally. Hopefully, there’s a trade-off and I always felt like I don’t want to be in agreement with time to where it’s only taking and not giving me any deposits, so I better stay open.

The way I have reframed that is I say to myself and as many people as I possibly can. Don’t think of yourself as an older version of your younger self but think of yourself as a younger version of your older self because it’s good right now. There’s lubrication in your joints that exists, so go ahead, get up, and use it.

We’re in the sweet spot.

My dad told me like, “Your 40s is probably the best time in your life because you’ve got more money than you had ever before in your life. You’re still young enough to enjoy it. It’s a sweet spot in your life.” I’ve been trying to enjoy the journey as much as possible. You mastered a real estate model at eXp and a lot of people have not. I know that this show is about discovering recipes for success. For you, it’s a mindset. It’s not a company. You would’ve succeeded at any company.

For whatever reason, the model is revolutionary, young, new, and not for Gen X-ers even. eXp is a very difficult company to understand. Once you understand it, it can set financial algorithms in place that don’t exist in any other company. In sixteen years in the business, eXp was a difficult company for me to even understand because I thought I, as an independent broker, was providing something for people that no other real estate company offered, and that was a retirement plan.

It was like, “If you are a real estate agent and you haven’t invested in the property yourself, you’ve missed it. You’ve left a lot of money on the table. It’s the one thing that nobody knows how to do. They don’t know their local market. You have more control over your investment because if you know your local market better than anybody else on the planet, why would you buy every deal as many as you possibly could?

You get off-market deals first.

You might as well. You can only do so many deals, so then start telling people and friends. Start bringing in clients. Start finding investor clients. That’s how I help real estate agents get three and a half times the national average. It’s by teaching them not to miss that. I thought I had done beautifully with that. Here’s the thing. Not everybody pulls that lever. Not everybody can, but eXp provided some additional exit strategies that I couldn’t, such as giving ownership of my company to a person. I can run the biggest and best company in the world, but there are only so many shares that I can offer to somebody. Just having kids, how do you be fair to everybody?

When you give them the shares, you’re not getting a business partner. You’re just preventing losing a very talented agent.

It’s the golden handcuffs almost.

Yeah, but also no value in the business. You’re giving away shares to people that are not entrepreneurially going to add to your company. You’re giving shares away to not lose producing agents.

That’s true. It’s a bad reason to give away shares. It’s a double hit because you want to be sure that whoever you give away shares to, cares as much about the journey you’re on to rescue people and not so much about building their own individual team because most agents are. You can’t be an agent and a broker at the same time.

You can’t do both well.

You have to be a broker team because there are decisions you have to make as a brokerage that the agent may not like or vice versa. That’s the situation I ended up in. I eventually came to eXp to be able to provide those legendary benefits, revenue share, and stock. When I came over and brought my team over, I had the unique privilege of being able to train real estate agents from being a waiter to doing $1 million in volume. It’s a beautiful place to be along somebody’s side to help them.

You get them from $1 million to $3 million and then you realize they’re going to need a full-time admin, but they don’t have the courage to go out and hire somebody. You go out and hire somebody and you provide the full-time admin. You let them rent that admin from you, and you get them to the next level.

Also, discipleship or helping somebody get from point A to point B is what life is all about, but too often, we just want to hold people. We want to somehow possess our accomplishments in them, but that’s such a difficult thing to let go of. It’s like letting go of children because you put your time, energy, sweat, blood, and late nights into them. You are watching them grow up into something that you may not even like anymore.

Some of them are so beautiful and some of them, you’re like, “I taught you to be wealthy so you could be a douchebag.” That was difficult for me. Right now, that’s what’s preventing me from being legendary wealthy. Why would I want to train anybody else to be wealthy when they could grow up and be a jackass?

You were an anomaly because we’ve looked at a lot of independent brokerages. I’ve looked at thousands. I normally get called in when we’re at that point where we’re like, “They understand the cost of eXp. They probably understand the value but they’re vacillating. It’s crazy. With your company, it was so odd. I’d never seen so many agents with high volume. I knew at that point, you’re a father like very few other fathers.

I suffer from fatherhood too. I relate to it because they’re like your children. They were a waiter and now, they’re a $20-million producer and investor because of your influence, education, and mentorship. What happens though is that if you’re constantly solving their future problems because you had already pioneered that trail, they’re not experiencing any of the things that build character.

They’re just constantly diminishing the problem ahead because they never had to suffer from it. You’ve solved it preemptively. You gave them guidance. “Take a hard left here. That curve is going to be tricky.” Once they get to a certain point without the adversity, they’re less thankful than you would imagine they would be because of all of the insights and everything.

Most of it is lost on them. It’s not because they don’t want to see it because they didn’t understand the pain of it. It gets tricky just like parenting. All you want to do is keep your kids home and safe and protect them. Yet currently, you’re trying to make them independent and able to live without you. You’re trying to push them away from you that way. It’s a crazy experience. Where I think it’s super interesting how we both approach things in our learning constantly is that you can’t prevent people from dealing with pain.

What you can do is prepare them on how to react to anything and support them and be there for them, but you have to expose them to the pain so we can see what is there. For me, this whole model was a concept where I can’t preach to you about the pains you’re going to have. I’ve been through all of them. You can have white hair or you can listen to me. You’re probably going to get the white hair.

 

 

Once you go through those types of pains, then I can tell you the solutions from here. You worked on the agent’s front half of the career and then I focused on the back half. “You’re doing $20 million of business. Everything is great, but now your lifestyle is expensive and now you have to do $12 million of business.”

Now, you can’t go to any other job because the money is so good in this thing. It’s easy to get into prison, not very easy, but how do we get you out? That was a conversation that nobody wanted to have because why would a brokerage owner sit down with $20-million producers, which is how I remember your numbers and say, “I’m worried about you working too hard, too long. I got to figure out an exit process.”

What made you a standout for me, this is not meant to be a mutual edification thing for your audience because that’s annoying for all three of us. The fact is that bothered you that you didn’t have that solution. The very idea that you were trying to teach them as a consultant on how to deal with wealth and how to invest it and have a tangible asset that you know a lot about that you can touch, feel, depreciate, or whatever, to me is a sliver of hope that you would understand eXp is a benefit.

My whole shtick is getting a greater return on your time. That’s what the short-term rental of business was. That’s what it was about. Quit working a job. Become an entrepreneur. It’s so hard for a real estate agent to work with investors. You have the market less time, plus you’re going to learn a lot. Plus, everything you learn you can apply over here for yourself and execute it.

It’s all logical.

It’s beautiful. With eXp, the stock and the revenue share was a super attractive thing for me because I knew that nobody else does that. You have executed that part of the model so brilliantly, the revenue share part of the model. The thing that gives eXp a bad name or the thing that repels most people from eXp is the fact that the revenue share is so generous. Many people wanted to get out of production so fast because it was a hard gig. To be a real estate agent to work for free until you get paid, to have all the perceptions that all real estate agents have, and also to bust your butt to try to be a great real estate agent, it wears on you. You get a ten-year maximum window.

It’s a burnout business.

Naturally, your effort and your work as a real estate agent are going to inspire people because everyone below you that’s still working that job trading time for money is looking at you saying, “They’re posting about the vacation. He seems happy. He is home now. He’s been home all week with his kids.” Those things inspire people. Those freedoms that you earn inspire people. You’re naturally going to bring people into the world, “I want to be a real estate investor or I want to be a real estate agent.” That starts to happen and eXp gives us a way. They honor us for bringing good real estate agents into the company.

They depend on us. We don’t grow unless you personally think it’s a good fit for someone that you might know.

Let’s talk about that. Some people might personally think it’s a good fit for somebody they might know and some people might try to convince them to the model because they want the revenue share.

Both are always happening. The problem is that convincing somebody to come to the model is such a non-lucrative experience. You don’t make a lot of money. You only make a lot of money if that person succeeds long-term. That short-term one-night stand approach doesn’t keep a marriage alive. Those people are perpetuating the reputation that we have as we’re a recruiting company. That’s unfortunate but that’s life.

You only make a lot of money if the other person succeeds long-term. A one-night-stand approach doesn't keep a marriage. Click To Tweet

This is not a perfect company. Those people are here and they’re everywhere. It stinks. It’s how to build revenue share long term. This is why I don’t have a master at it. This is why I like it. If you get to where you want to go, if I can’t personally help you, I can introduce someone else that can help you. I can get you the resources that you’re asking me for and keep pushing you along where you need it, and leaving you alone where you have mastery.

If you do well, I’m going to probably do all right. If we have enough people doing well, I’ll be just fine. That’s why I work so easily in this thing. It is because I’ve never had someone come up and ask me a question and said, “I’m not telling you. I’m worried about you competing with me.” We answer questions. Here, we get paid for doing it. If we give them good advice, they integrate it.

That is why you’re still in the business. You make over $100,000 a month at revenue share because you’ve brought in 50-some odd people that brought in over 2,400 or 2,500 people now. It’s providing enough small pieces of revenue diversified over those 2,500 people all across America that now your family earns the benefit of that revenue share that this company honors you with, and you don’t have to be transactional anymore.

You also don’t have to work anymore. You’re retired as far as most people are concerned. $100,000 a month is a legendary income for a lot of people. It’s a life-changing income but you’re still in the business. You’re still working every day, and that says a lot about you. It says a lot about the way you care about people. What’s interesting to me is that you care about people only so much. You deeply care about some people but I don’t give a crap attitude that comes off of you that is refreshing. I think that’s what attracts a lot of people to you. I haven’t figured it out yet. How do you both care and not care for people at the same time?

I think a default mentality on that is to give the squeaky wheel all the oil. I give the quiet wheel all the oil.

Talk about that.

For the people that are wanting to do something and they’re pushing hard, I give those people all my time. For the people that are dreamers, I love dreamers. I’m a dreamer. For the people that are talkers and want things and positioning themselves and posturing, I don’t give them any love. It’s not because I don’t love them. I just don’t believe in them.

I have a pretty quick visceral read. If I believe in you, I’ll give you everything I have. If you go through this planet and you take the entire population, most of us in this audience will agree that the majority of people don’t want it that bad. It’s not that I don’t care about them, it’s just that I’m aware of it. I’m aware that my dog can bite me. I just know he never does because I never put him in a situation where he’d want to and he is sane.

I try to spend all my time on 10% to 15% of the population that wants more. They can have a beard or be clean shaven or they can have an accent. They can do whatever they want. A competitive and indomitable spirit is what I’m looking for. With those people, we’re good. My favorite of all those people are people like me who are depressed. I’m not a depressed person in the psychological term. I’m a pretty happy person, but I have fallen from grace many times. Face in the dirt and lost everything in the downturn. I’m used to failure

I’d rather work with somebody who has seen the view of a higher place and won’t be happy until they see it again than somebody who has never had the courage to even go up the mountain and see the view. I have a bit of a niche. If you’re down on your luck and you’re trying hard and you believe in yourself, you’re exactly the kind of person I want to work with. The world is filled with people like that. My work will never be done. I’ll never get to the whole line. We’ll work on the person who’s in front of us.

I guess I don’t care because I’m so impatient. It probably conveys, “Rich is not afraid to not have the whole audience in the room,” but the fact of the matter is that I’m not good at giving everybody a little bit of myself. I’m only okay at giving a few people everything I got. I know that about myself. I also know that’s one of the things in my personality that I can change. I can be patient. I can be more thoughtful. I can be calmer. I can be less reactive. What I can’t be is I can never change the way my mind works. I can only modify my behavior and reaction to it, so I’ve accepted that.

That’s why I sent you that John Maxwell leadership Bible. It’s because the 12 people matter to you and not the 12,000. It’s the twelve people that you need to be in front of to do life that’s going to have a greater impact on people than going out and trying to be a famous person.

I wouldn’t be good at being famous because I’m very awkward about things that happen inside walls like this. My coach was a pastor. We worked on twelve relationships that I give everything I have to, and seven of them are retired. I had to add some more people. We got the five that are on deck.

You’re talking about you are coaching twelve people, in some cases, more because I know your group is a little bit bigger. You’re opening yourself up to coach people to go from being a transactional agent to having the freedom to just earn money through revenue share, but you’re doing it the right way. You are not telling them to go sell a company that will honor them for that, but by helping them provide value and nurture them.

You talk a lot about retention. I’ve studied under you for a year and you do talk a lot about retention. For me, this is your best sales pitch. Your best sales pitch is talking to somebody and being so ridiculously confused at the stupid stuff that they say to themselves about why they’re not living a life that you know can be legendary because you’re living it. That’s why I call you a samurai master. It’s because you’re talking to somebody that can’t even use a Swiss Army knife, and you’ve mastered the katana, and they’re trying to tell you about sword fighting.

You stand there in a way with the mastery that you have and the confidence of earning a certain benchmark. You’re able to easily shut people down and the stupid things that they say to themselves. It’s brilliant and it would piss me off except for the fact that I know your heart. That’s what makes you an enigma to me. People can’t figure you out so they’re attracted to you for that reason, and you are just a good guy.

You have a choice to make with somebody that you don’t know very well. You also have a choice to make with people that you know the best. “Do I care more about the person or the relationship? I’m willing to risk relationships for the person to grow, and I’m willing to forfeit relationships for that. If I pissed you off, you’re reflective because I know that. It’s worth not having me in your life or holding me in this regard if it helps transition you into another way of thinking that helps your family and gives you peace.

 

CDRE 25 | Ronin In Real Estate

 

That’s what we should be to people. I remember a guy once told me this, it’s funny because this guy is the president of Keller Williams. He wasn’t trying to be a jerk. I was leaving Keller Williams. It was my exit interview. There are a lot of horrible things that happened in that conversation, but I do respect the man for his accomplishment. He is a good dude but he looked at me at that meeting and he is like, “You’re going to be pretty successful once you figure out what you want to be when you grow up.”

It hurt. It was like a dagger. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It did make me focus. It was tough love. For a year, I wouldn’t whisper the guy’s name, but he was pretty insightful. You have a lot of skillsets. You do, except you tend to deeply care more about people. That’s what makes you different and that’s what made me decide to make a change and follow you. You had gone down a pathway that I wanted to go down because I had lost faith in my ability to lead people.

All leaders do. I second-guess mine all the time. I’m a leadership person. I believe in leadership. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten an A ever on anything. It’s like golf. I don’t know how to figure this thing out. All I know is that every time I mess it up, I go back and let everyone know, “This is what I should have done in hindsight and this is what I did.” We then move forward.

People have given me a lot of grace to learn on their clocks and I’m not unaware of that. The world needs average men too. I’m not a judge on that. That’s fine. If you want to be average, it’s great. Average height, average weight, average income, average car, and average savings account at 67. Also, an average father or husband. That to me sounds good. It’s a lot better than a lot of the other examples out there, but there are certain categories where I don’t want to be average.

I don’t want to have an average life experience. I don’t want to be an average husband or father. I don’t want to be an average son. I don’t want to be a person that’s in your corner when things hit the fan. I want you to be like, “Thank God, Rich is here. He’s the first one to jump in the fight or pick me up or whatever.” There are places I have to show up at a high level, and it’s places that based on my sensibilities, have to happen for me to have dignity. I try to build my character because I need work, and I try not to break the character that I build. That’s a full-time job.

The other thing is that when you’re a father, my kids don’t listen to anything I say. They copy what I do. If I want them to learn something, I have to walk the walk. I’m constantly in a state of thinking, “How am I standing? What are my body mechanics? Am I overcompensating here?” The whole idea is that I’m never going to get close enough to where perfection is a word that will ever be used associated with me.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to be aware, I’m going to be mindful, and I’m going to try hard. That is a redeeming quality because when you run across other people that are trying to do that, you’re like, “Where have you been, Jeramie? Are we the only two that know that we’re all screwed up? Why is everybody walking around this fog like they figured it all out?” Whatever your Instagram shows, you’re on vacation, but your phone is in your hand.

You have a Lamborghini, but you have a payment on it. You have a Lamborghini and you’re not even a car guy. I reverse engineer it, “What do I want?” I want mastery in anything that I’m willing to do 50,000 hours of practice in. I want to be able to impact somebody who needs some help when everybody else walks away. You and I have found some recent ways to do that, and that person will bail us out. There are multiple people, but that’s important. That’s a brotherhood. That’s comradery. That’s a military thing.

I also want to be with my family all the time. I want to live in a fish tank. My kids aren’t going to think I’m cool in 5 or 8 years, so I want to soak up these moments. Whenever I want at 55, that’s a whole another bucket of time. I want the ability to not have to do anything I don’t want to do. Money is an element of it, but that’s autonomy.

It’s not even what we’re promised. I have a very ecclesiastical approach to life, which is to go and eat dinner, eat food, drink wine with your wife or who you love, and find satisfaction in your work. It’s not riches beyond your belief. Find satisfaction in your work because there is no sorrow or complaining or anything else in the grave where you are going. We’re all going to get there. Why are we complaining?

 

CDRE 25 | Ronin In Real Estate

 

The thing that sets you apart is the fact that you realize that people observe you. You are a father to your sons and you realize that you cannot teach them without being present with them. That’s what makes you a good dad. It makes you a good leader and it makes you a successful business person. Thanks for showing up every day when you don’t have to. That’s pretty cool of you.

I very much appreciate that. I want to be with other people that I say that about. It makes sense that we’re having clumps of different types of people interact that wouldn’t geographically be able to work together in any capacity. That’s one of my favorite things.

Being a virtual company gives us the ability to interact.

You’re in Branson. I’m in Mooresville. We’d never met.

That’s true. That’s the one thing about eXp. I went to the eXp Con in Las Vegas. That was my first event. This is very overwhelming. I don’t even get this very well. This time that I’ve been in the company for a year, there are people I’m excited to see that I see on Zoom calls all the time or I see their Facebook stuff or Instagram. I’m like, “I get to hang out with this person because they’re ridiculously awesome and they care about people the way we do.” What is next for you? What’s the next thing that’s got you excited or that you’re thinking about? What’s driving you now?

I don’t know. I’m a little lost right now. There are a few people that I’m very much in the middle of their book and we have to see this through. In my book, I’m very lost right now. I need to do something. I think I’m a little shot out on real estate if I’m being honest. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I like talking about wealth management because it doesn’t matter if I make $100,000 a month. If I don’t save it, it goes back into the economy.

We have been heavy savers and we got to the point where we felt like if all else crashed, we could live a little life in a cabin, the two of us, and chase each other around the backyard all the way to death and be fine. As soon as I was able to secure that, because I work from scarcity, I don’t work from abundance. I’ve had all kinds of coaches telling me all this stuff, but I’m more scared of the cat behind me than the cheese in front of me.

Because of a scarcity mindset, I’m like, “Let me do my best to secure the worst-case scenario.” We’ve been saving money for a long time. We hit that to where money no longer is important to us unless we’re looking for an excess of what we have, and we’re not. Now, what do I want to do? The first thing I did is I got off social media because I am not dependent on social media to keep in front of people’s minds anymore. I could work on the back channels.

You don’t need it for your identity either at all.

I feel like social media was ruining my personality because I would take my camera out and film something to put on social media. Last month, my son scored fourteen points at a game. I don’t have one piece of footage because I was watching the game. That was the only gift that I had given myself was, “Let me divorce social media.” Last month, I had some clarity.

I think that I’m going to try to work on performance, which is a little bit more how you show up at work, entrepreneurial stuff that doesn’t have to be real estate, but fitness, mindset, impact, and overall well-being. It’s not just the secular, “This is how you make money. This is how you learn how to do this.” Where most people are messed up right now is that there are so many areas of life that are getting compromised for one area that is probably more than enough. Where I’m trying to work on myself is I want to be psychologically aware of what I want to be showing up well to where people think I can operate in most spaces.

A fitness mindset impacts overall well-being. Click To Tweet

I want to have my act together mentally. I want to work on my longevity. They call it the marginal decade. I want to be able to do things at 80 to 90, and because I’m such an old father, I want to hang out. I want to be able to talk to people about nutrition, working out, practices, time management, narrow focuses, mastery, and falling in love with the practice.

I want people to get into extreme ownership of things. I want people to be interested in pain. All of that stuff is performance coaching. The only problem is I don’t want to do performance coaching. I don’t want to trade time for money. I’m not interested in doing that. I’m very lost at the moment. I have no idea what I want to do. I have no clarity anywhere.

Such as any Ronin who has no master, who has no direction, and who doesn’t know what the next thing is going to be. You know that your instinct has served you from this point to now and it will serve you again. Wherever it takes you is going to be a wonderful place, and I want to be there with you’ll. Thank you for sharing some time with us here. Normally, we have a cocktail but we’re drinking it in the evening.

Jeramie, you saved me. I was in a big social room with a bunch of people listening to hip-hop music and talk work. I was like, “Is there a rope I can hang myself.”

I almost called this show By the Fire because I love to sit by a fire. It’s so grounding and meditative for me. We got to get by the fire sometime and hang out.

A big thank you for tuning in until the end of this episode. I know your time is valuable and I hope you got a few takeaways that are going to help you get a greater return on that time. I know you will. If you did enjoy it, I’d sure appreciate a share or a comment. Feel free to subscribe for instant access to new episodes and offer. There’s also a ton of free content and ways to learn more and engage more at WorleyRealEstateNetwork.com. Until then, we’ll continue to bring you recipes for success and real stories from real people who like you are living out your divine purpose. God loves you. No matter what happens, don’t give up.

 

Important Links

 

About Rich Tomasini

CDRE 25 | Ronin In Real EstateMy real estate career began in 1999 when I left college and joined my father’s appraisal business in southern Florida. I worked as an appraiser by day and flipped properties by night. From ages 22-28, I flipped over $23 million of real estate and gained extensive knowledge about construction, valuation, and negotiation.

We left Florida in 2005 and moved to the Lake Norman area. I was up for a new challenge in a new place and decided to utilize the real estate knowledge I had acquired and apply it to sales. I was hit fast and hard with not only a whole new real estate market to learn, but the beginning of an economic downturn that rocked our industry. Not the best time to be a new agent in a new town, but I persevered and became an uncertified short-sale expert, knocking out over 100 short sales from 2007-2010.

I have been a part of large, national-scale brokerages and small, locally-owned offices; from REMAX to LKN Realty, I grew my sales and client base year after year. It wasn’t until joining eXp Realty in late 2017, however, that I found a company that complimented my passion for teaching others how to build successful real estate careers without the limitations imposed by more traditional business models. My career has grown in ways I never anticipated and I haven’t looked back since.