If you were the spouse of someone serving active duty, what career might you choose? If you were preparing to retire from the military, how could you utilize your skills in a new, rewarding and lucrative career?
We sat down with Ben Williams, 1SG E-8, U.S. Army (retired), Owner of EXIT East Realty, in El Paso, Texas, to discuss the benefits of a career in real estate for both retiring military personnel and their spouses.
“I had been on someone else’s schedule for 21 years. I went where someone else told me to go. I did what someone else told me to do,” says Ben. “What drew me to real estate was the freedom. I can make my own schedule and I can go to work when I want; everything I had longed for for 21 years.”
A career in real estate sales or franchise ownership might tick all the boxes. To be self-employed requires tremendous discipline. Home buyers and sellers insist on accountability and a clear, concise line of communication. To build a successful brokerage operation requires proven leadership skills. However, traditional real estate falls short when it comes to work/life balance and building a secure financial future.
In traditional real estate, agents earn money by taking listings and making sales. They earn commission only when sales close and often there are gaps between closings causing a financial vacuum. Also, when the closings stop, the income stops, causing agents to work long hours with little reward. There is no opportunity to take a break from the business, retire with security or to build family wealth.
EXIT Realty solves these problems by providing a third income stream which allows its associates to help build the company through a process known as sponsoring. Whenever you, as an EXIT Associate, introduce an agent to management and they are hired, as a special thank you, EXIT’s head office pays you a bonus equivalent to 10% of their gross closed commission to a maximum of $10,000 per recruit per year. EXIT is not a multi-level company; this is single-level residual income. Use it to fill the gaps between closings, to pay for vacations, or invest to build wealth – any way you see fit. You’re not obligated to mentor the people you sponsor, but it’s in your best interest to help them succeed.
“As retired military, we’re helping people again which is fun and exciting and it’s what we used to do,” Ben says. “The byproduct is, with EXIT, we’re getting a check. In the military, when we trained, coached and mentored people we never got paid anything extra. EXIT says, you’re going to help these people and we’re going to pay you. Wow, I’m like, okay, sign me up for that gig.”
And what about the spouses of active duty personnel? Let’s say you’re a military spouse and work as a real estate agent for EXIT Realty in an office near Fort Hood. You introduce Mary to your broker, and she is recruited as a salesperson and EXIT Realty Corp. International pays you sponsoring bonuses based on Mary’s closed sales. Now let’s say your family is transferred to Fort Bliss, and you transfer to an EXIT office nearby. Mary continues to close transactions back at Fort Hood and your sponsoring bonuses follow you. Also, you can continue to sponsor agents into an EXIT office near there as well as into your new location – anywhere, in fact, where an EXIT office is located in North America.
“We’ve created Directors of Agent Development (DADs) in our office. I have six agents in this position, both men and women, whose sole responsibility is to be the first call for the new agents under their wing. Four of the six are retired military and the other two are military spouses. In the military we’d call this role something like a squad leader,” says Ben. Regardless of who introduced the agent to EXIT, in Ben’s office, the DADs ensure the most experienced people are helping. “It’s not just me as the owner. I have other people training, mentoring and coaching because that was something they did in the military – they don’t know how to do anything but that.”
Ben goes on to say, “In my office, we have several agents who are retired military. Our civilian counterparts see how we operate, and they like to be a part of it. We have a comradery that was part of being in the military and they feed off that. We’re a great family and the culture is close to what we had in the military. It’s about not leaving anybody behind; it’s about helping everybody.”
EXIT Realty was founded and built on human potential. We help people fulfill their “why” and real estate is our how.