Join us as CINC sits down with Dean Aguilar of the Dean Aguilar Group and hear his journey of growing a booming real estate business in California. He shares his story of traveling across the United States to start his brokerage, the lessons he learned building a top-performing team, and how he eventually sold his brokerage to California's fastest-growing brokerage, Big Block Realty.
How long have you been in real estate?
Dean: I've been in real estate for 19 years. I started in 2001 in the Washington DC market as a buyer's agent and did well. In 2005, I started and grew my first team until the market crashed. Right after that happened, we lost everything, trying to keep the business afloat. It was a rough time. But my wife and I decided to rebuild in California after a two-year hiatus.
When we moved to California, I started my real estate business back up, with no sphere at all. I was always great at sales, and without a sphere, I knew I had to get in front of people and fast, so I started going to open houses, probably about 4 or 5 a week, and that started generating enough revenue and business to need and support a team.
What was the catalyst for building your team in California?
Dean: When I started building my team, I was in San Diego. I started with a virtual ISA, who is still with me after eight years. That role was first because I was so full of leads that I had too many leads and couldn't keep up, a terrific problem to have!
Once my ISA and other team members were hired and hit the ground running, I started investing in Zillow when they were really cheap, and we were closing about eight deals a year in California.
It exploded my business, which then funded additional technology services, including CINC! With the CINC leads and platform, my team and I were able to stay organized, and my business continued to snowball.
What was your biggest challenge with growing a team?
Dean: You need something for the person to graduate into to continue their career. Always have a next step for them to grow their career. If you don't, they will leave, and in 2017, I lost four big producers. That equated to about 200-300 deals a year, which changes your perspective, especially when you have spent an entire year training them.
That was a problem I needed to fix! I decided to open my brokerage so I could have solo agents, and they could grow their team. I ended up deciding to go with a virtual brokerage, and it was the right choice for my team and me.
You talk a lot about morphing obstacles into learning experiences. Looking back at your experience, what advice do you have for someone looking to grow a team?
Dean: Leverage your time and resources through three pieces of advice:
- Keep a diligent routine. And I get it - it's not for everyone, but there are routines that you have to have in your business to be consistent and successful. For example, I blocked hours each day dedicated to only calling.
- Tools, like CINC's AutoTracks, kept me organized and consistent. I dedicated time to being in the platform and personalizing drip campaigns that align my brand and communication so that I can stay in touch with leads.
- Don't be afraid of growing your team. Growth happens through people helping you. I always refer to the quote: If you don't have an assistant, you are the assistant.
Yahoo Finance recently released an article that reported Big Block Realty has officially acquired your brokerages, Xavier Aguilar Realty and Dean Aguilar Realty. Can you share more about what led you to this decision?
Dean: They were our clients in the brokerage, so Sam from Big Block approached me about the acquisition, and I realized it would bring a whole new level of resources to our agents. I knew we were putting our agents in a position to change the financial bloodline of their families. If the model had been perfect, then I would have never sold, but I always focused on being able to allow my team to continue growing.