I didn’t intend to get into real estate. I took my first course because a friend didn’t want to go to the intro class alone, so I agreed to go with her for moral support. I knew I wanted to buy a home as soon as I was financially sound and I wanted to learn about the process so I could be an informed consumer.
At the time ambitious Latiesha still needed 32 classroom hours to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get my CPA, but I wanted to have the necessary requirements in the event that I decided to. I did some research and found out I could take real estate courses at Houston Community College to get the hours. This information made the decision to complete the courses a no brainer because I would have my CPA qualifications plus a side hustle with substantial income potential.
I finished my courses and passed the exam in June 2000. I started with Keller Williams Realty and received some great training. Then I moved to a 100% agency because my lead generation had nothing to do with the brokerage I was associated with so I didn’t feel I needed to be paying a broker 30% of my commissions. After completing the requirement to work under a broker for three years I took the brokers exam and started my agency LDJ Properties in 2003.
My initial passion in real estate was helping people get into homes that thought they couldn’t so I focused on buyers. When I purchased my home I was only making $40,000 a year. I had student loans, an auto loan, credit card debt and a barely good enough middle credit score of 625 because of my debt to income ratios. I had to make some sacrifices to become a homeowner, but it was the best feeling in the world when I closed on my house at 25 years old. I wanted my peers to experience the joys of home ownership just like me so I educated and encouraged others on how to become a homeowner every chance I could.
In 2020 I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone and start recruiting real estate agents as independent contractors with LDJ Properties. I avoided this growth strategy for many years because I was afraid of recruiting an agent that would cost me my license. When I had my mortgage company in 2005 I took this risk and one of the loan originators that I allowed to have a voice in the business setup decided to start charging their own fees. I caught this in a final review of a closing file right around the time that loan originators were being scrutinized for predatory lending. I quickly released them from the company and decided not to sponsor anyone else. Now it’s time for me to release this fear and grow!