By Robert Farrell, Franchisee, EXIT Realty Homeward Bound.

As a parent, do you ever fear this call? “Mr. Farrell, your son has been in an accident. You’d better get down to Philadelphia.” The day was November 7, 2001, and I was working at a book distribution company while attending the University of Valley Forge. That fateful night as I put my hand down, the grip of a conveyor belt pinched my ring finger. The belt grabbed hold of my flesh, degloving my entire hand and trapping me against the big metal roller. It happened so fast and my mangled hand was stuck for forty-five minutes until first responders could free me. I was airlifted to UPenn where my parents and younger sister raced from Upstate New York to join me. Doctors performed emergency surgery and worked on putting my hand back together. And we waited.

In the quiet of the night, to take my mind off things, my Dad started telling me about a meeting he’d had. You may have heard of my Dad; John Farrell is an EXIT Realty superstar. He has earned just about every award EXIT has–including the Iron Man of Real Estate, the Tri-Real-A-Thon–no fewer than three times. He’s my mentor, my best buddy, my business partner, and we have a lot of fun selling real estate and running EXIT Realty Homeward Bound in Vestal and Oneonta, New York.

The average sales price in our market when my Dad started selling was $65,000. Clearly, with commissions based on those prices, he had to sell a lot of volume to make ends meet and raise a family. And family means everything to the Farrells! You may wonder what it was like growing up with a father who sold over 150 ends a year. I’m not going to complain that my Dad was never around or that he wasn’t my little league coach. Mine isn’t a sob story. It’s so important for real estate agents to not be afraid of success because of the huge time commitment this business demands. My sisters and I knew every day of our lives that although Dad wasn’t there at some conventional times, our upbringing was perfect. My Dad taught me how to play the guitar. He taught me how to catch a fish. He taught me that chicks dig beards, even before beards were popular. He taught me how to be a cool Dad by being a cool Dad.

Dad made a point of carving out special quality time with each of his kids. He may not have been home for dinner every night, but he would wake me up at six in the morning to go fishing before school. When I was eight years old my Dad brought me along to an open house. I don’t think a single buyer came by, but we spent the time talking, just the two of us. Those and many other occasions are the times I remember. If my Dad had his way, he would scratch his name off every award he has received and carve my mother’s name, Patti Farrell, instead. And if I could, I would scratch my name off every award I’ve received and write that of my wife, Jessica, because spouses are the true heroes in a real estate family. I remember my Dad’s phone ringing while we were on a family vacation as it quite often did. My Mom would say, “Kids, your Dad will only be a minute. This phone call is important. It’s the reason we get to go on vacation and do fun things.” Never once did she behave negatively towards my Dad’s dedication to his career; not in a comment or even in jest. Parents should watch what they say about their spouse’s real estate career around their children; the formative years are vital and children are always listening! Don’t be afraid to succeed because of the time that it takes. Just love your kids every day.

So back to that hospital bed in Philadelphia. Earlier that day, my Dad met with EXIT Realty’s CEO, Tami Bonnell, at a 60 Minutes with EXIT presentation in Boston, Massachusetts. At the time, Dad was the number nine agent in the nation for CENTURY21. He sold more than 150 houses a year. He was successful and money was good. It all started one day when he came across an ad that said he could make more than 100% and pay no desk fees. Curious, he called Tami and they met at a diner where he and my Mom were introduced to EXIT Realty. They were captivated by the whole idea. Dad didn’t let too much time pass before he was driving to Boston to see Tami speak and it was on his way back when he received the call from the hospital. At the time, pretty much all I knew about the real estate industry was that it involved long hours, paid commission only, and that every commission had a split.

To distract me from my pain, Dad started telling me about Tami, EXIT’s unique business model, and the 70/30 and 90/10 commission splits. He told me about the 10% single-level sponsorship residuals, the 7% residuals, and 5% beneficiary benefits. After about 10 minutes he paused and asked, “Well Bob, what do you think?” I was lying there with my hand elevated, my worried parents and sister by my bedside, and I replied, “So, it sounds like this system is not only better for the agent, but for their family too.” In that moment, it became clear to my Dad that yes, the EXIT Formula and the company behind it are indeed better for the agent and his or her family, so much so that he joined the company and went to work on becoming the EXIT legend he is today.

As my hand healed and I finished college, I joined him in the brokerage and eventually we became business partners. In the last five years, between us, we’ve closed over 1,000 sides. People say to me, “Well that’s fine for you, Bob, you’re part of a family business.” I have something to tell you: As an EXIT Realty associate, you’re part of a family business, too. EXIT Realty is a family. When I was 11 years old, I had a friend whose parents moved around a lot and who gave him all the latest toys and gadgets. One summer night, I watched him crying on his front porch because his father was packing to leave the home. You see, for all the “stuff” they had, there was no foundation.

You may be wooed by other companies that boast the latest real estate shiny object, a private office, or a teaser split, but the difference is we have the foundation at EXIT Realty. Founder and Chairman, Steve Morris, built the foundation of EXIT’s strong real estate family in the same way my sisters and I were raised by our parents. That’s the foundation I’m building now for my wife and son. That’s why the EXIT Formula exists–for the families of our agents. At EXIT Realty, you’re not alone. Together, we’re absolutely in the right place, time, and market to be unstoppable.

Rob’s story originally appeared in the EXIT Achiever.


Tags: , , , , , ,