Don’t Feel Sorry For Me… I Just Closed My Biggest Sale

“You are in real estate. I feel sorry for you these days.”

I’ve lost count of how many times someone has said something along these lines to me in the past few weeks and months. Have you heard the same thing lately?

What with the daily news of the economy, devastating media reports about the real estate market, foreclosures, prices taking nosedives, etc. — what should people be thinking?

“You must have a lot of time on your hands these days.”

“Have you thought about a back-up plan or a part-time job?”

Is the real estate market really that bad? The market presents challenges, for sure, but there are also opportunities. It is not a bad market, but a changed one here in Northern Virginia and D.C.

After my $970,000 settlement on a luxury townhouse in Arlington on November 7th, I’ve had a new answer to this barrage of questioning for the last 10 days:

“Actually I just closed my biggest sale about a week ago — almost $1 million.”

Jaws drop. Bewilderment ensues. Misperceptions are shattered. Maybe the market really ain’t that bad.

Or maybe this guy Brian Block is doing something right.

While some other REALTORS spend their last days hanging on in the business complaining about the market around the water cooler waiting for their phone to ring, the strong agents and brokers are surviving, even thriving.

Action and attitude win out every day over media hype and complaining whining.

And while I continue to enjoy the afterglow of a big sale, I’m not bragging about it around a water cooler… I’m too busy this week with 3 new buyers.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I never got that part-time job…

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10 Responses to Don’t Feel Sorry For Me… I Just Closed My Biggest Sale

  1. I totally hear you on this one. This is a time to grow and get stronger and keep on trying. I was in total shock as I was talking with my dad this evening. He is back in Minnesota and we normally don’t talk business, but he told me about his best friend in real estate who has been in business for 30 years. This guy used to be the top agent in that whole county, but this year he has only done about 400K in business total.

  2. Frank says:

    Maybe someone can explain to me what a strong agent is? What makes an agent strong so strong the the market slowing down and not hurt his or her business. or is it truly just a waiting game and those who have business are the ones who have been in the real estate game so long that nothing has any effect on them? I would really like the answers.


  3. Julie Emery says:


    First of all, congratulations! I’m glad you’re having a terrific year.

    But this post strikes me as insensitive and overly simplistic.

    First of all, real estate is local. While the Northern VA market may be terrific, do you really think that every agent struggling, say in Florida, is struggling because they’re whining? Let’s face it, there are way too many agents chasing way too few transactions in almost every market. That’s especially true in those areas hit hardest by the downturn.

    And, I think while those of us who survive might like to pat ourselves on the back and say that it’s simply because we worked harder and smarter, it’s unlikely that it’s that simple. Yes, working harder and having a good attitude are bound to help. But having a large stash of cash or a spouse with another job to help get you through tough times might also be a significant factor in who survives and who doesn’t. I wish that it was true that the agents who survive are always the best agents. I’ve not necessarily seen evidence to support that. It seems to be a mixed bag at best.

    And, lastly, on a Thanksgiving when so many are hurting economically, this seems a tad insensitive. Yes, it’s good to be thankful for what you’ve got. But a touch of humility wouldn’t be out of place. “There but for the grace of God…” There are plenty of agents losing homes to foreclosure themselves, taking second jobs to survive and wondering what happened to their retirement savings. Let’s try not to rub salt in their wounds.

  4. I agree with Julie – your post strikes me as insensitive and overly simplistic – in fact, I find it offputting. A positive attitude is essential but a lack of empathy is inexcusable. Rather than patting yourself on the back, you might want to downplay your successes and reach out to those less fortunate – offer practical advice. Times have changed. If you want to stand out above the crowd, you may want to try some humility.

  5. Are times truly rough right now for realtors? I think now! Realtors are able to succeed in economic downturns because people are buying foreclosed homes left and right. Maybe it is a waiting game in the fact that a majority of buyers are pushing for the lowest cost but it doesn’t hurt to stick around. It’s important to stay on top everything to do with your prospective bid offerings. Be wise and don’t look for dollar signs with potential buyers. Rather, try to honestly help them out for once. We all need help these days.

  6. Brian Block says:

    Julie & Peg,

    Thanks for your comments. I am sorry if you find that this post is insensitive or overly simplistic. That certainly was not my intention. My heart does go out to many of those agents who have been trying hard and have indeed been suffering due to difficult markets.

    However, the reality that I have seen is that there are agents in all types of markets who are thriving. I know agents who are having their best years ever, whether it’s because they’ve shifted their focus to working on short sales and REOS or just buckled down and gotten back to basics. For some long time listing agents, this means working with buyers again. There are new challenges in the market for sure, but except for some specific areas of the country, I don’t believe that it is a BAD market — it is a changed one.

    While there are factors that are out of our control, I truly believe that a positive attitude does make all the difference. Part of our job as REALTORS is to educate the public about the realities of the market. There is a lot of media hype out there that does not discuss the truth. When I continually here gripes from a media-hyped public, I find it important to tell them about the realities of my business to dispel some of the myths — not as a pat on my own back.

  7. I can totally relate with you. I was also a real estate agent and many people were telling me to look for other jobs, too. But I had closed my biggest sale before I decided to stop being an agent.

  8. Congratulations. It is a great feeling, isn’t it especially in a lousy market. Between November and December I will close almost $2 million, which is pretty shocking considering the condition of the market. I think this should give other agents hope. There really is business out there.

  9. In the novel “Gone With The Wind” Ashley Wilkes said to Scarlett that there were those Southern men who could recover and those who would be “winnowed out.” I don’t think other realtors are necessarily weak I agree with those who say you’re a bit insensitive cause there are only so many buyers who can get morgages right now. You may be good but also had a bit of luck.

  10. Finally, I found a positive post, YES!! I am totally agree with you, we all have to take it easy, people still want their own homes. Please keep the positive posting and everything will get better faster.
    Greetings from Spain,

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