Ishmael Omondi Fort Worth Dallas Realtor at Century 21 Mike Bowman talks about first-time home buyers, their problems when they are out there looking for a house to buy, and how he helps them to get the right deal by being the right real estate agent for them.
SBT: Today my guest is Ishmael Omondi who is a real estate agent at Century 21 Mike Bowman. Tell us about yourself, your background, and how you got started in the real estate industry.
ISHMAEL: I was born in Kenya and I came to the United States when I was 14 years old. When I came here, I played basketball and I got a scholarship. So I played for Dallas Baptist University, where I graduated from later. After graduation, I went to play basketball in China and Dubai. In Dubai, I played professional basketball for a while. And it was there I met one of my friends who has been my mentor even until today. His name is Fabio, and he introduced me to real estate. Once I got started in real estate, I fell in love with it because Dubai has a big real estate industry there.
I was doing a lot of buying and assisting my clients to buy and sell real estate, learning and getting better at it. It was amazing. When I came back to the Dallas Fort Worth area, I took my test and passed it. I went on to do real estate here at Century 21 Mike Bowman. It’s a really good company which allows me to help people which I really enjoy.
You know, I was an orphan, and I had to work really hard, each and every day. I was motivated to do real estate because I wanted to help more people, and I wanted people not to go through the stuff I went through when I was an orphan. My professor in Baptist University always said, “If you do not attempt to shoot the ball, you won’t make the shot”.
So I do attempt to shoot that ball and make sure I help people as much as possible because if I don’t take care of my people, people won’t take care of me. That’s the passion I have for real estate, just to help other people, to give them an opportunity to live in homes that they love and where they would continue to live for their whole lives.
SBT: Tell us more about the customers that you have.
ISHMAEL: They are private home buyers, investors from different backgrounds and different cultures. I’m there to help all customers actually. But let’s focus on first-time home buyers.
SBT: Great! Are there any misconceptions first-time home buyers have?
ISHMAEL: There are actually a lot of misconceptions because they are buying their first home and spending a lot of money, looking to put up a big down payment and trying to make sure they get the right house. There’s also a lot of skepticism towards us, real estate agents, because people want to make sure they find the right real estate agent that they can work with. Another thing is to find a professional real estate agent. For example, our company, Century 21 Mike Bowman, has been there since 1971, and we have clients in over 71 countries.
SBT: What qualities should the right real estate agent possess?
ISHMAEL: The right real estate agent is an agent who is loyal and obedient. An agent who is confidential and also good at dealing with people. Real estate agents are supposed to follow a certain protocol. What if you find a real estate agent who doesn’t follow those protocols? As professional real estate agents, working at Century 21 Mike Bowman, we help all our clients, and we make sure that we put them first no matter what. It’s very important for us to give them a chance.
What I do as a real estate agent, I sit down with my clients, and I give them all the protocols and everything they need to have. By talking to the first-time home buyers, I go through all the steps to find a home and get pre-qualifications, to make sure they are one the right track.
SBT: Is there anything else you do while working with your clients?
ISHMAEL: I use good advertising. I have a Facebook page where I post about the real estate market and trends. I give my business cards and portfolio to every client. I give them more information about what it entails to be a home buyer. What my professor told me when I was in Dallas Baptist University is, “If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you”. Actually that’s what I’m trying to do as a real estate agent. It’s not about me getting the commission, it’s first and foremost about making sure my clients are satisfied with the property they get.
SBT: Do you get good results?
ISHMAEL: This approach is great because when they sit down with me and go through my portfolio, they see what I do; they see how I work because my work is excellent. They go through my social network and see my posts where I keep all of my buyers and sellers updated on the market trends and whatever is going on.
This is very crucial and very important for me because I’m representing Mike Bowman Century 21; we have to be professional and we keep each other accountable. This is very important to let buyers, first-time home buyers, know or any investor know that what we do, we do it to the best of our ability.
SBT: At the beginning you mentioned that the first-time home buyers are worried about the down payment and finding the right house. How do you deal with those issues?
ISHMAEL: First of all, what we do is to get them pre qualified. The most important thing that I like about my company is that we have everything in one building. We refer our clients to CNN Mortgage at Mike Bowman.
Valerie is a really good person to work with over there. She talks to the clients about the process, they get prequalified, and that’s when I come in and say, “Ok you are qualified for…let’s say $200,000 to get a property”. And they have to find out what suits them. It might be something around $150,000 or more. It’s very important for me to sit down with my clients and really make sure they are on the right track.
SBT: Can you think of a time when your customer was really satisfied with your service?
ISHMAEL: Yes, there are plenty of stories. I’ll give you a quick one here. We had a problem trying to find a villa to one of my clients who was skeptical about the whole thing. Eventually, we found one for him which was almost $500,000, but there was a bidding war. We had to actually come with a good bid on that villa because that was the villa that we wanted. Coming in, thinking about it, I put an offer and then I just tried to talk to the seller’s agent and put a bid, making sure that our bid gets it. We got the villa and I was happy, my buyer was happy, and he still calls me today.
It’s about negotiating; being a real estate agent, you negotiate the right price. And it’s very important to be able to have people skills in real estate because there’s a lot of negotiating. If you don’t have good negotiation, it’s easy for you to lose your bid or put an offer. When you’re making a counteroffer to a seller’s agent, you need to make sure you are making the right one.
That’s the kind of negotiating because you are negotiating not only with the seller’s agent, but you’re negotiating with your own client, the buyer. First-time home buyers might be skeptical to put that much money, but you talk to them and tell them to put the right bid. That kind of negotiation can help them to acquire the kind of house they want.
SBT: What’s your unique magic?
ISHMAEL: I won’t put all my ingredients out there, but I know one thing, as a basketball player, I’m seven feet tall, and I learned one thing, “If you do not attempt to shoot the ball, you won’t make the shot”, so the thing is I attempt to shoot the ball all the time. I don’t really have a secret that I can give you, but it’s all about persistence and consistency. Me being persistent and consistent and making sure that everybody is satisfied with my work is the most important thing, and I as well represent Mike Bowman Century 21.
SBT: Can a first-time home buyer find a home on their own?
ISHMAEL: When you want to find a home by yourself, you can do it, but you’re going to have a lot of potholes here and there. There will be some things you don’t know, but things that have to be done, for example inspection of the house.
If the home buyer doesn’t know about this and doesn’t do the inspection, then buys the house and finds out the whole roof is leaking, or the foundation is chipping, or there’s something wrong with the foundation, but they have already bought the house and they lost a lot of money because of not using a professional.
To make sure you are getting the right deal, it’s very important to get a good property, and as professional real estate agents, that’s when we come in and help to make sure the clients walk through the right steps and get the right house, the right deal, at the right price.
SBT: What would be your best piece of advice for those who would still prefer to find their home on their own?
ISHMAEL: The best piece of advice, especially for the first-time home buyers, is to get a professional real estate agent. Here is the reason why – if you don’t get a professional real estate agent, you might get a $200,000-house sold to you for $350,000. That’s something we call comparative market analysis. Comparative market analysis gives you the right information on the prices in the area.
SBT: How can first-time home buyers get in touch with you?
ISHMAEL: First time home buyers can get in touch with me through the website on century21bowman.com. They can find me on the agents tab as Ishmael Omondi.
You can also email me, then also find me on my Facebook page, “Ishmael Omondi: Century 21 Mike Bowman”. The best way to get in touch with me is to call me or text me at 214-205-4169, and I will be happy to help you with all of your needs.
SBT: Is there anything else you would like to add to our conversation today?
ISHMAEL: I would like to add that real estate is not what people think, like it’s something simple. You have to work every day, be persistent. Some people think it’s an easy job, but it’s not, it’s something that you have to be on top of.
Being there for people, not just to make money, but being there for people to care about them; that’s the most important thing. I also have a big vision to help orphans in Kenya and other parts of the world. That’s the vision that I have, just to help other people and that’s why I got into real estate.
SBT: Excellent, thank you, Ishmael, for your time and for sharing these insights with us. It was very interesting to talk to you. This was Ishmael Omondi talking about the real estate industry and the importance of being persistent.
Ishmael Omondi is a successful, self-made real estate agent. His passion is to help people find a home that they will enjoy and his vision is to help orphans around the world. His biggest success tip is to shoot the ball even when the times are hard.
You can find out more about Ishmael Omondi and Century 21 Mike Bowman at:
4101 William D. Tate Avenue, Suite 100
Grapevine, TX 76051