How my two decades as a realtor inspired AgentLoop

Jay Thompson Of AgentLoop On Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry

Everyone talks about customer service. That’s important, but what really matters is customer experience. Service is just one component of creating a great experience.

Asa part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay Thompson.

Jay is a real estate veteran with over 20 years of experience in property and prop-tech. The former agent, brokerage owner and industry liaison specialist now serves as director on multiple MLS boards and as co-founder and head of industry relations at AgentLoop, the world’s first nationwide interactive networking, listing, and communication platform built to connect agents. A longtime agent advocate, he believes that agents should remain at the forefront of the property-buying experience.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

Iwas a human resources manager in “Corporate America” where, after laying off over 3,000 people, I was subjected to a layoff of my own. I had two good friends that were successful real estate agents, so my wife and I decided to give it a try. The fact that in real estate sales your success is governed by your effort was very appealing.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

It was probably the time I was showing homes to a buyer, when the owner/seller answered the door–not wearing a stitch of clothing. She motioned us into her home, and said, “I’ll stay out of your way. I’ll just hang out in the backyard. Shout if you have any questions!” We quickly toured the home (but not the backyard), and left. Lessons learned: anything can happen in real estate, and seller’s should never be present during showings (or wear clothes if they are).

Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” by H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You (usually incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain)

I left a well-paying, secure job at Zillow to “selectively retire” and do some freelance writing and consulting. It was terrifying to leave that security behind. But it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Another example was getting my broker’s license and opening my own independent brokerage–that’s a lot of responsibility and I honestly had no idea what I was doing! But I figured it out.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

AgentLoop! With 20 years of experience in real estate and technology, I know agents are the backbone of the industry and understand the grind, resilience and ambition it takes to make it. It drove me mad that getting listing insights cost a fortune, and blanket emails, texts, or social blasts were the only way to get leads. So, the team and I built AgentLoop. When an agent or broker’s listing is on our app, it’s theirs. We make getting leads and real time insights easy, instantly connecting the user with over 1,100,000 agents. It’s fully integrated with MLSs and complies with all listing laws and regulations, so agents can focus on what they do best, selling homes.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I’ve never seen a company so focused on making sure the product fits the needs of real estate agents. The agent is why we exist, and without their success, we cannot be successful. We go to great lengths to not just get agent feedback, but to incorporate that feedback into the product.

Also, I used to think the smartest people on the planet work for Zillow. But the small but mighty team at AgentLoop are incredibly bright, innovative, and are some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. They’re good humans, too.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I can’t pin it down to one person, because the people that helped me most when it comes to success in real estate were the agents in my brokerage. They stuck with us when we first started and were working through how to run a successful brokerage. They were all amazing agents that taught me what it takes to be amazing in this business. I owe them everything.

I also have to give a nod to the leadership team at Zillow for taking a chance on hiring me into a (at that time) not well-defined role: Spencer Rascoff, Sara Bonert, Mitch Robinson, Greg Schwartz, Amy Bohutinsky and more. Most are no longer with the company, but all are still friends and mentors.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.

  1. Owning a home is still a big part of the “American Dream.” Agents have, by far, the lead role in helping people live that dream. Despite evolving technology (see below), real estate is ultimately a relationship business. And agents are (or should be) building the relationships that matter. For the consumer, real estate transactions are complex, infrequent, expensive, and emotional. They need a trusted advisor to guide them through the process, and they always will.
  2. Evolving technology. Many agents fear that technology will make them obsolete, that the purchase and sale of real estate will become fully digitized–as easy as hailing an Uber. The technology is evolving, but this should excite agents. Leveraging tech allows agents to be more efficient and efficiency allows agents to serve more clients. Even if tech results in reduced commissions, that can be more than offset by efficiency gains.
  3. Constant change. This scares a lot of people, but I feel it’s exciting. Real estate is never boring. Agents constantly need to stay on top of their game in this exciting and dynamic business.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.

  1. The barrier to entry is too low. It takes less time, effort, and experience to get a real estate license than it does to get a license to cut hair or give pedicures. Buying or selling a home is usually the most expensive financial transaction a person will make. It’s well past time to “raise the bar” in real estate. More education, more training, maybe even an apprenticeship should be done before letting an agent loose.
  2. General ignorance of the potential impact of pending legal actions. Agents must stay on track with the legal environment surrounding their business.
  3. General ignorance of the purpose of “organized real estate” from Realtor Associations to MLSs.
    Associations and MLSs tend to do a poor job communicating what they provide, and why they are crucial to the industry.

What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?

Servant leadership is sorely lacking in the real estate industry. Power and greed, or at least a focus on making money, tend to rule. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

If you had to advise someone about 5 non-intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. It’s not about you, it’s about your clients.
  2. Success in real estate sales depends on prospecting and lead generation.
  3. Everyone talks about customer service. That’s important, but what really matters is customer experience. Service is just one component of creating a great experience.
  4. Understand that every day you wake up unemployed.
  5. Pay your quarterly estimated taxes on time.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

World peace? Ending hunger? Affordable housing? Those are lofty and ambitious things, and probably impossible to address completely, ever. I’ve pondered this question a long time and, sadly, can’t seem to come up with anything.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Almost everything I’ve written online can be viewed on my Authory profile.

You can follow me on Facebook, and LinkedIn. AgentLoop’s website is accessible here, and the LinkedIn page is here.

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!

About The Interviewer: Jason Hartman is the Founder and CEO of Empowered Investor. Jason has been involved in several thousand real estate transactions and has owned income properties in 11 states and 17 cities. Empowered Investor helps people achieve The American Dream of financial freedom by purchasing income property in prudent markets nationwide. Jason’s Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™ is a comprehensive system providing real estate investors with education, research, resources and technology to deal with all areas of their income property investment needs. Through Jason’s podcasts, educational events, referrals, mentoring and software to track your investments, investors can easily locate, finance and purchase properties in these exceptional markets with confidence and peace of mind.

Starting with very little, Jason, while still in college at the age of 19, embarked on a career in real estate. While brokering properties for clients, he was investing in his own portfolio along the way. Through creativity, persistence and hard work, he earned a number of prestigious industry awards and became a young multi-millionaire. Jason purchased a California real estate brokerage firm that was later acquired by Coldwell Banker. He combined his dedication and business talents to become a successful entrepreneur, public speaker, author, and media personality. Over the years he developed his Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™ where his innovative firm educates and assists investors in acquiring prudent investments nationwide for their portfolio. Jason’s sought after educational events, speaking engagements, and his popular “Creating Wealth Podcast” inspire and empower hundreds of thousands of people in 189 countries worldwide.

While running his successful real estate and media businesses, Jason also believes that giving back to the community plays an important role in building strong personal relationships. He established The Jason Hartman Foundation in 2005 to provide financial literacy education to young adults providing the all-important real world skills not taught in school which are the key to the financial stability and success of future generations. We’re in a global monetary crisis caused by decades of misguided policies and the cycle of financial dependence has to be broken, literacy and self-reliance are a good start. Visit for free materials and resources.

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