Truth Telling From The Trenches With Luxury Real Estate Broker Patricia Wangsness
Patricia Wangsness is an award winning real estate broker, specializing in luxury real estate.
Originally from the east coast, Patricia moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2002, with her husband and business partner, David, and their two Labradors to start on a grand adventure. Patricia didn’t know any one and David was returning after 16 years, so they started from scratch to build a new network and a new business.
Merging her past experience in high-tech telecommunication sales with owning a food service franchise owner, Patricia and David started buying, fixing and selling houses in Bellevue, WA.
Wanting to do more with real estate, Patricia got her license in 2004 and it didn’t take long for the referrals to come to help others with buying and selling homes. When they renovated their 1957 home in 2014, it became their next grand adventure.
The 7 month renovation resulted in a wonderful home, incredible learning opportunities and the creation of RedecorateRemodelOrMove.com, a resource center of expert advice on the question: “Should I redecorate, remodel or move?"
Patricia is known for her hard work, creative solutions, sense of humor and a truth teller, because "sometimes she just can't help herself."
Where is your business located?
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I got into selling real estate because when David and I moved back here, we started buying, fixing and selling houses. When an investor looks for a project, they may need to look at 20 to 50 homes to find the right project home.
In 2002, the market was just starting to heat up and by 2004, real estate professionals had so much business that they were too busy for an investor, so I got my license so I'd have better access to homes. We got our two most profitable deals with in the first 3 months of getting my license.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Get the dog fed and go for my walk.
What does your work day look like and how do you maximize your productivity?
One of the things I love most about the real estate business is that no day looks the same. I look at my business as my business, so I work every day to bring the business forward. I can't be touring 10 houses with a relocating executive and their family or meeting with a client that needs to downsize or networking to increase my referral base of needed professionals. I might start on the phone at 8 am scheduling an appointment and still be on the phone at 8 pm negotiating a sale.
How do you bring your great business ideas to the world to serve your clients?
Networking is the most useful tool that I use to get the word out and also help my clients. If I only spent time talking to people that were actively buying and selling real estate, I wouldn't have too many folks to talk to.
When I'm not actively working with clients, I spend my time gathering resources of professionals and service providers so that I can become a resource for everyone and when the time comes to buy or sell real estate, I will be top of mind.
What is one trend in business that excites you?
Technology has made getting information easier and faster. In my business, it helps me bring clients up to speed faster and makes my expertise more valuable to interpret and apply the information for the best outcome of the client.
What is one strategy that helped you grow your business?
I make myself available to be supportive to family, friends, business professionals and organizations that I believe in. I've been a member of a number of organizations from the Overlake Hospital Auxiliaries, to the Seattle Symphony Auxiliaries and the Washington Women's Foundation. People know that I give of myself in both my personal and business life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it? We opened our retail food franchise just before Thanksgiving. We thought that if we followed the franchise guidelines, everything would work well, that's why we bought a franchise, as our first entrepreneurial experience. We opened up a whole new region of the country and we struggled, because there was no name recognition.
We fought long and hard to make the business thrive because we had invested our own money, we didn't use an SBA loan. I realized that running a business with unskilled labor was much harder than I thought and that an imperfect job of mopping the floor every night by an employee was better than a perfect job by my standards.
We ran with a staff of between 8 and 10 employees. At the end of the year (6 weeks after we had opened) I sent out 45 W2's and learned quickly that hiring the right people was better than hiring anyone who said they'd do the job.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to this community?
Keep going! No matter what, keep going forward. There will always be setbacks and struggles but if you keep going, no matter what, you'll be successful.
What is the best $100 you have recently spent? on What? Why?
Happy Hour with a couple of friends/clients. We talked about what is going on in everyone's life and at the end I got a great referral.
What is one piece of software or app that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
There is a new real estate app called Homesnap that has been super helpful for me when showing property and sharing property information with clients. I can pull up property details faster than ever and have plat maps and aerial photos on my phone instantly. It even allows me to share what rooms are on each floor of a house. Having a "bedroom" on the main floor when it only has a half bath makes it less than a bedroom.
What is the best business book you have read? Why?
That's a hard one. I love business books and I always come back to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I read it at a very stressful time in my business and personal life and it helped me get through that time and come out the other side a better person.
What is your favorite quote?
"Don't go away mad, just go away" was a sign my father had above his workbench in our basement. For most of my life I thought it was telling people to go away.
It wasn't until later in life that I realized that it was saying that if a situation/relationship/ obligation is not right, it's ok to walk away, even if you've invested in it heavily.
Who inspires you in business and why?
I love the challenge of the unknown problems to be solved and get great satisfaction in working through to a solution.
What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
Balancing a good life with good income is a goal. My mother was very sick from the time I was 14 until she died when I was 28.
My father was a very successful self-made entrepreneur. He had many talents, interests and enjoyed the challenges also.
My mother asked him to retire at 55 to spend more time with her as she was so very ill.
He did retire and they spent time together until my mother passed. It was hard on my father to give up a great business and all that came with it, but his relationship with my mother always came first.
Money is important, but you can't take it with you and when you are alone, it only give so much comfort.
What are the 3 business lessons you’ve learned so far?
Work hard, keep going, and be ready for the next great opportunity to appear. If you are too afraid or too busy, you're going to miss the good fortune that is right around the corner.
What is your workspace like?
I have a home work space and an desk at the real estate office. It is more disorganized than it should be and I can find what I need when I need it.
Last thing you do at the end of your work day?
I check for last minute emails, review my task list to see what else needs to be done, and make a list for the next day.
What is the one thing you can't leave home without?
My phone of course! I answer my phone from 7 am until 9:30 pm. I want to be accessible for calls and monitor emails when I'm out and about. I don't sit at a desk for long periods of time so I need to stay in touch.
What superpower would you love to have to use for good?
Teleportation. Traffic has doubled in the last five years and showing homes in different areas gets more and more challenging.
Number of unread emails right now?
Anything else you want to add?
Thanks for the opportunity. This is such a fun idea.
How can other entrepreneurs connect with you?