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  • Writer's pictureDon Stocker

Finding the Right Fit in Real Estate

Eight years ago, I had to make a choice. Should I stay in an industry that was slowly being taken over by new technology or move on? Starting a new career in my mid-forties wasn't an easy decision. Looking back, I'm so happy I did.

Real estate is hard work. You work all hours of the day and even give up a lot of your weekends. You are constantly networking and working on the next “deal”. Each home you list or buyer you help comes with its own set of emotional ups and downs. If you aren’t selling, you aren’t getting paid.

With all of that said, I still love what I do. Sure, the hours are long, but they are long because I choose to make them long. What you put into real estate is what you get out of it. I worked for several years for a distribution company. No matter how little or how hard I worked, the pay was always the same. Sure, it was a guaranteed paycheck, and the hours were set, but I still feel much freer now than I did then. I’m usually up and on my computer by 6 am checking out the market and reading up on the current state of real estate.

If you have been thinking about getting into real estate, I would love to talk to you. If you are a motivated, self-starter, you can build a great career. If you lack the discipline or motivation, you can still be successful. You just might need someone to help hold you accountable. That is where I come in.

I am a broker for a boutique brokerage in the Sacramento area. I learned early in my real estate career that this business can be very lonely. I teamed up with my business partner Randall Watts and we haven’t looked back. We built our business from the ground up. In the beginning, we hosted open houses every weekend and from those got several clients. We were so successful that we saw other agents in our company start to team up. Although it was a lot of hard work, I look back on those times fondly. We met clients who have become good friends. From hosting open houses and working with people we knew; we built a strong business. It’s hard to top the feeling of helping friends or family find the home of their dreams.

Two years ago, we opened our own brokerage, Stocker and Watts, with the hope that we could help other agents learn and grow their business like we have. Real estate has its peaks and valleys. Randall and I have learned to utilize each of our strengths to build what we have today. This past year has been difficult, but we are starting 2023 in a great position.

Real estate is not a one size fits all business, although many large brokerages will make you think that it is. The way I see it, there are 3 types of brokerages: large national or regional brokerages, boutique brokerages and online brokerages. There are pros and cons to each, but I want to show you why the boutique brokerage is the way to go.

Large brokerages will tout their brand and their technology. From what I see and have experienced, the bigger the company, the less effective the technology (remember the one size fits all – it doesn’t). A recent study shows that only 29% of agents utilize the technology these brokerages provide. Then they are left with the brand. I can tell you; no client has ever purchased a home from me because of who I worked for. They purchased from me because of who I am and the brand I have created.

Online brokerages sound great. Usually, you pay a low monthly fee but get to keep most if not all your commission. The catch, you get very little support. They might have decent technology but what good is that technology if you can’t call someone to ask for help? This model is ok for agents who have been in business for a while but doesn’t work for someone just starting out.

Now to the boutique model. Like anything else, they aren’t a one size fits all. Some are great at training new agents and most have the support you need to really thrive in this business. Because they are smaller, they can focus on helping each individual agent with their needs and help build a culture that is conducive to the success each agent is looking for.

The one area where most boutique brokerages get low marks is technology. They don’t have the budget to spend the money necessary to really offer cutting-edge systems to help their clients.

That is where Stocker and Watts is different. We have partnered with a talented programmer and are in the process of building a back-end system that will help smaller brokerages fill that technology gap. Our enterprise level technology is currently available for our agents and will soon be available for agents and brokerages throughout California. Early on, Randall and I realized that the technology available for agents was adequate at best and unusable at worst. We saw national brokers pay large sums of money for systems that just didn’t work. They weren’t user friendly and at the end of the day, agents didn’t use them. We wanted to build a system that would help simplify an agent’s day-to-day business, not make it more difficult.

Have I piqued your interest in real estate? Do you feel you are in a dead-end job and want more? Are you working for a large broker and feel unnoticed? Are you working for an agency that doesn’t give you support? If any of these questions hit home, I’d love to talk to you.

If you would like to know more about what we are creating, please check out

Real Estate Re-Invented


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