06 Oct Ep. 21: Janet Judd S.L.A.R. President
In this episode, Adam interviews Janet Judd, the president of the St. Louis Association of Realtors, the largest realtor association in Missouri. Janet shares what it was like being the first female Clayton police officer, why realtors have the advantage over licencees, and why her family is more important than any house showing.
Email questions to Podcast@HermannLondon.com
0:58-RPAC-toberfest is October 22nd from 4:30-6:30 at Schlafly in Maplewood
1:57-Adam welcomes Janet Judd to the show
2:38-How did Janet transition from being a police officer to a realtor
6:26-Has Janet always been into volunteering and getting involved
8:46-Why should someone be a realtor and not just a real estate agent
11:18-If she could do it all over again, what would Janet do differently
13:20-What should today’s new realtors be doing
14:29-Does Janet use an assistant
14:37-Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market
16:15-What is so addictive about real estate
17:47-Who is the new C.E.O. of S.L.A.R.
18:52-Who lives under Janet’s roof
19:44-Where is Janet at her best
20:02-How did Janet figure out how to have a balanced life 22:16-What changed Janet’s life when it comes to cancelling appointments
23:39-Why agents need to educate clients about what they are doing for them
25:40-What podcasts and books does Janet enjoy
26:16-What is Janet’s guilty pleasure
27:00-Who is Janet’s mentor and how has she thanked them
28:18-How has The Leadership Academy helped Janet
Adam-Welcome to The Hermann London Group’s St. Louis Realtor Podcast live from the rooftop of beautiful downtown Maplewood, Missouri. We are excited to get the podcast going. I think this is episode number 21 and we are very excited for today because we have an extremely special guest. We have the president of the St. Louis Association of Realtors, Janet Judd, in the studio. She’s been a realtor and a mentor. She has been very involved and we have a lot of great questions ready to ask her. The only announcement I want to make is for the realtors listening. Please join the St. Louis Association of Realtors on October 22nd from 4:30-6:30 at Schlafly in beautiful downtown Maplewood, Missouri, just a block away from our office. It is for RPAC-toberfest. We are all big supporters of RPAC (Realtors Political Action Committee) and it’s a great time for you to come and learn a little bit about it, have a couple drinks, and network with your fellow realtors. I hope to see you there. I hope to meet you there and let me know that you are listening to the show. Don’t forget to check out our blog and our podcast because we’ve been posting all of the latest shows on there and we are looking for more questions from our listeners. If you do have questions, don’t forget to email them to PODCAST@HermannLondon.com. Please take a second to like and share us on whatever social media outlet you are listening to this on. I’m going to jump right in now and welcome our very special guest.
Adam-Welcome! we are very excited because today we have a very special person in the studio. We’ve got Janet Judd, realtor extraordinaire. She is also president to the St. Louis Association of Realtors. You probably have a lot of other letters and accolades behind your name, right?
Adam-I’m on the St. Louis Association of Realtors Board of Directors with Janet and that’s how I was able to coerce her to come in here today. Welcome to the studio!
Janet-Thank you! I’m honored to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Adam-I wanted to give you a chance to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Janet-I’ve been in real estate 30 years. I started when I was 26 so I don’t lie about my age anymore. I definitely have to die my hair more often. I used to be a police officer and I was the first female officer that Clayton ever hired. Back then they didn’t accept federal funds so they didn’t hire minorities. I was the first female with 52 guys.
Adam-You were a police officer before you were a realtor.
Janet-I met my husband there at the department and he had a house in Jefferson County and I didn’t want to move there. I said I was a West County girl. He sold his house and I was kind of involved. We always worked part time jobs as officers. You always had a gig at a bank, hotel, or construction site. My husband suggested that I get my real estate license and I did. My first year I did 1 million and I slept 4 hours a night. I thought I was a big shot. I had 5 deals in the running when I gave my notice to the police department 2 and a half years later. I was there just short of 5 years.
Adam-Did it help having a gun on your hip when you were negotiating deals?
Janet-It did along with choke-holds and all that good stuff. I locked the windows so they can’t get out. It took off and I started full time. I had 5 deals in the funnel and every single one fell apart over a furnace, septic, and termites. Every basic thing.
Adam-And you were nervous.
Janet-I was nervous.
Adam-Were you able to use that nervous energy to fight harder for more business or did you collapse?
Janet-I knew I couldn’t go back. The police department didn’t want me to leave. I told them I felt it was the right thing to do.
Adam-And you didn’t want to go back with your tail between your legs.
Janet-I was meant to succeed. I wasn’t going to go back and have them say I told you so. I just put my head down, kept working, did the basics, knocked on doors, and took the front desk. I had a mentor and it went from there.
Adam-Can I ask what company you started with?
Janet-I was an Ira Berry girl. I was with them and then they got purchased by Coldwell Banker 6 years later. I started in ’85 so somewhere down the road they bought them. In ’91 I went to Gundaker. In ’91 I had my daughter, and I told everyone that I think it was hormones, but I decided that I’ll go ahead and go with Gundaker now. They had been trying to recruit me. I was there until 2001.
Adam-So recruiting was big back then too.
Janet-It was huge. I was there maybe 10 years and in 2001 Coldwell Banker bought Gundaker. I said that’s kind of like an ex-husband. I’m not going back. That’s when I went to Re-Max and I’ve been with them since.
Adam-Have you always been really involved with S.L.A.R. or charities?
Janet-I was very involved in St. John’s Lutheran Church. I worked my way up to committees there. I started cleaning the pews, Altar Guild, and helping them in school. Eventually Dave Fook, the past president of S.L.A.R. asked me. I applied to be on the grievance committee and took me 4 or 5 years to get on it. It took off from there. It took about 15 years to when I started on a committee. I was on education, grievance, professional standards, and elections.
Adam-You mentioned you had a mentor. Did they encourage you to get involved? A lot of realtors don’t want to do it. I’m trying to encourage them to do it. What drove you?
Janet-I like to hear and learn things first hand and ask a lot of questions. I’m inquisitive and very direct and I like to hear and see it. Being involved at the board was like osmosis. I could learn things, take it in, and make myself a better realtor. I made friends along the way too. It’s not always about that. Some realtors are short sided and don’t want to hang with realtors. They just want to make money.
Adam-They think they are the enemy.
Janet-The pie is big enough for everyone. Everyone has something they can give. That’s what I try to encourage people to do.
Adam-Why do you think someone should be a realtor and not just a real-estate agent? What are the benefits of being a member of S.L.A.R.?
Janet-Chris Polychron, the president of The National Association 2014, was invited to come to S.L.A.R. for a summit and the takeaway I had from talking with him is he would ask people if they were using a licensee or a realtor and I thought that was such a great way to ask people about that. Licensees take the exam, get licensed with the state of Missouri, and they can sell homes. They are not a member of S.L.A.R. but once they join that they join the Missouri Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. All of us apply and agree to uphold the code of ethics. The code of ethics is the golden rule for us. They pay membership fees so that they have access to the MLS, our super keys, the legal hotlines, and our contracts and forms which are the best in the country. They also have access to the events that we hold; forums, output groups, everything that we have. If someone is just a licensee, I really feel like they are missing the boat and the public is not benefiting with being with a true professional, in my eyes, who agrees to uphold the code of ethics that they will be held accountable for.
Adam-A non-realtor, in my opinion, has to jerry-rig everything. It’s like, “Ahhhh, let me get a contract from someone else. Let me have someone else let us get in the property.” They don’t have to follow the code of ethics and they probably aren’t as educated on real estate deals today.
Janet-From my understanding, many of the complaints that are filed with the M.R.E.C. (Missouri Real Estate Commission) are from non-realtors.
Adam-Knowing what you know today, what would you have done differently in the beginning?
Janet-The big deal for me would be education up front. I would probably go after my G.R.I. (Graduate from the Realtor Institute) sooner vs. later. I think I did it my 5th year and back then it was a different process to get it. We had to go out of town and it was more testing. Once I had that under my belt, my business just went to town because it made me more comfortable with clients and contracts. I had something that other agents didn’t.
Adam-The change was within you. The public doesn’t necessarily know what a G.R.I. is.
Janet-It made me better. After that I went after the C.R.S. (Certified Residential Specialist).
Adam-You do have a lot of letters behind your name.
Janet. I’ve got the C.R.S., G.R.I, A.B.R. (Accredited Buyer’s Representative), SRE (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist), SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification)…
Adam-Do you have to have extra long business cards to fit that all on there?
Janet-Exactly. I just went after the education factor because it’s been proven that when you do have the designation you make more money. That’s a statistical fact.
Adam-Do you have a database of all your past clients?
Janet-I do but I weed it out. It has 400 people and I know them. They get mailings from me. If I hug you or feel a rapport with you those are the ones I keep in my database.
Adam-If you are not getting a letter from Janet, she needs a hug. Back then you said you were doing door knocking. Would you say that’s still what a new realtor today should do?
Janet-They need to send out the handwritten cards. They need to not focus on their family. If you count on your family to send you referrals you are very lucky. You need to hold open houses and do work for other agents like an internship but not quite. If you sit next to them you learn. I kept a notebook and wrote down everything. I didn’t know what contingent contracts were and understand them but I heard different agents explaining them and I was writing it down. I’d go home, read it, and say it out loud so I could explain it well. I was a little nerdy.
Adam-Do you use assistants?
Janet-I’ve had assistants but I don’t have one right now. I’ve had 3.
Adam-Let’s talk about the market. In your position at S.L.A.R. you have to give interviews to the news about whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market. Can you give me your quick news spiel?
Janet-From the details that I have from August, it was the slowest closing month nationally that N.A.R. has seen in the past 6-8 months. Here in St. Louis I haven’t seen the stats for that yet. My own business feels a little slower. There’s just not as many listings out there and the seller’s are afraid to put their houses on the market because there isn’t another home that they want to go to. They are going to sell their house but the house they want may not be available right now.
Adam-So it’s a seller’s market?
Janet-It still is.
Adam-I was at a golf tournament a few weeks ago and I was asked how business was going. I said that things are great and I’m busy. Sometimes I ask realtors how their business is going and they say listings are up 10% and buyers are down 4% and they knew all their percentages. It sounds like you are not a big percentage person like me.
Janet-I’m not. Just get it done. I know what kind of income I need and would like to make and that’s what it’s all about. If God is good, I get to make that. If it doesn’t work out then that’s okay.
Adam-I noticed while being on the board that there are people who have been in the business a long time. What is it about real estate that makes people stay in it so long? I say that it gets in your blood.
Janet-It’s the entrepreneurial part of it and the fact that you are in control. You don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time. If I had to be somewhere everyday at 9 am, I would get fired. For me, it is about being in charge of my livelihood. I don’t take a lot of vacations but I can if I have to. Last year I had to have 2 knee surgeries when I fell off my motorcycle and then I tore a tendon from my bicep while moving a table in a hotel room. I could have lost my job over something like that. For me it is a great vocation. The harder you work the more you make. My mentor, Mary Ellen McWilliams, she used to say, “The more you play, the less you make.” That’s a given. It sounds obvious but when you start to play hooky you realize you are going to make less.
Adam-Thirty days from now I’m going to be mad at myself for not having a deal today.
Janet-It is just holding yourself accountable, being disciplined, making the phone calls you need, and giving people the best service you can give them. Right now I’m working with the kids of the parents I sold the home to. The kids are now in their 20’s, want to buy a home, and are calling me.
Adam-Tell me a little bit about what’s going on at S.L.A.R. We have a new C.E.O. How did that search go and can you tell me a little bit about him?
Janet-The new C.E.O. at S.L.A.R. is named John Gourley. He is a senior V.P. and we got him from the Texas Association of Realtors so we call them TAR He is in charge of communications and marketing. He has all of the designations that C.E.O.’s could possibly have. The budget that he managed over there was $2.5 million and he had 18 employees which is a lateral move to S.L.A.R. and a good fit. This week is his 3rd week. We just had our first strategic planning session with him all day yesterday and it went very very well so I’m looking forward to his leadership at S.L.A.R. for a long time.
Adam-I’m excited and I haven’t met him yet. I guess I will meet him at our meeting tomorrow. I’m going to jump into my 5 questions.Who lives under your roof?
Janet-My husband. we are empty nesters. My daughter has my dog so my dog, Daisy is gone. I still wake up thinking that I have to let her out. I’ve also got a 75 gallon saltwater tank full of fish. That’s it.
Adam-You have a son too. Well, we don’t have to mention everyone.
Janet-My daughter is 24 and my son is 34.
Adam-I went to school with him.
Janet-I know. Chaminade! Yay!
Adam-Mizzou. I was a DeSmet guy. I’m not a Chaminade guy.
Janet-Oh, I forgot! It was college!
Adam-That’s right. Where are you your best?
Janet-I’m my best when I’m with my family and happy and relaxed and my family is all together. That’s when I feel blessed.
Adam-That reminded me of a question I was going to ask you earlier. I think that a lot of realtors need to learn how to balance work and play. How did you figure it out?
Janet-I did Platinum club with Re-Max 3 years in a row and when I was with Gundaker I was in their top 50 all of those years, so I’m not going to say that I’ve always had a balanced life. My goal was to take care of my family because I was the primary income. My husband ended up retiring from the police department when he hurt his back while off-duty so we couldn’t collect on that. I became the primary income while he went back to school and took care of Nikki. He took her to school and a horseback riding lessons. We had horses so there was a lot of money going out when that happened so I had to make it. Was there a lot of balance then? No, but we always had dinner together. That was our thing. Even I came home at 8:30 at night that’s when we had dinner together. The kids know that I love them, I was there, and I didn’t have a housekeeping service. I still cooked, cleaned, and did all that stuff for them but we ate late. That was our balance.
Adam-It’s not that you figured out the balance thing, it is now you are able.
Janet-Now we have more balance. The kids are grown and things are a little slower. I don’t have to make that money. We are okay and God is good. Real estate was good to me. That’s the major point of difference. The balance was telling people that I’m busy right now and can we do it then. I would tell my clients that I haven’t been to a soccer game in two weeks so I have to go and they would understand.
Adam-Some realtors will cancel birthdays or Thanksgiving to show properties.
Janet-Nope, not going to happen. This is what changed my world for me as far as cancelling appointments for me. I had a client that was a local pastor of a church I didn’t go to. He was a referral and I sold their house quickly so we had to find them a house. He was in the front seat and his wife was in the backseat. We were talking about finding them a house and I was out showing them properties on Mother’s Day. I’ll never forget this, but she came up right in between the seats in my ear and said, “You must really need the money if you are showing us property on Mother’s Day.”
Adam-Oh my gosh.
Janet-I said, “You really need a house. That is why I’m showing you property.” That really changed my life because if the pastor’s wife couldn’t appreciate me showing them properties on Mother’s Day, who else would? I never did that again.
Adam-She thought you were just there for the money.
Janet-I tell agents to toot their own horns when they are doing something for a seller or a buyer. You need to tell them. The good agents make it look easy and they don’t appreciate it so you need to tell them, “I just sent the inspection notice to the other agent. I’m waiting on a response back for this.” Let them know what you are doing, otherwise, it is like a surgeon. We don’t appreciate how good they are. All we see is a scar and that we are recovering. You need to tell them what you are doing.
Adam-I agree with you. When I work with a client I always tell them that at the end they will be a real estate expert because education is really important to me and I like to include them in on everything and let them know why we are doing stuff. It is more for them to have the knowledge and comfort.
Janet-It is friendship, trust, and consulting.
Adam-I hope the realtors listening hear that because I think there are realtors that will go out on Mother’s Day to show property and they probably think their clients will get mad at them if they don’t. The only thing I can think about is what if you had a second client that wanted to see homes that day, what would you tell them? Would you say sorry you can’t? Why couldn’t you have said no to the first person? You answered where are you your best; at home playing with your fish.
Janet-With my family or riding my motorcycle. That is better than therapy.
Adam-You wear a helmet, right?
Janet-I’ve got a helmet and gear. That’s what saved me.
Adam-Were you at the lake for bikerfest?
Janet-I don’t do those. I’ve got a bimmer. We don’t hang with Harleys.
Adam-Oh, you’ve got a BMW motorcycle.
Janet-I do. It’s an off-road GS.
Adam-I’m a scooter guy but don’t make fun of me. When a motorcycle goes by I like to honk at them and act like I’m part of the club. Do you read blogs or listen to podcasts?
Janet-I’ve tuned into yours and I’ve listened to several of them. I haven’t really listened to podcasts before so you have expanded my horizons on that. I’ll listen to things on In The News and Boom Boom.
Adam-Was there a book that had an impact or helped you with your business?
Janet-What was that millionaire book?
Adam-The Millionaire Real Estate Book.
Janet-That’s the one. I had that highlighted and bent. I carried it around.
Adam-People love that book. What is your guilty pleasure?
Adam-I knew I should have had wine here for you to drink today.
Janet-If I don’t have an appointment on a Saturday morning then I can have wine on that Friday night or I can have wine with my son and my husband around Sunday dinner but I can only have 2 glasses if I have to get up early on Monday. That’s my guilty pleasure. I’m thinking about how many days until wine and chocolate.
Adam-Red or white?
Adam-That’s what my girlfriend likes. Do you like really good ones?
Janet-I can drink anything. That sounds horrible.
Adam-She buys Cul-De-Sac from the gas station for $3. She loves it more than more expensive ones. Lastly, who is your mentor and how have you thanked them?
Janet-She is passed away but her name was Mary Ellen McWilliams. She was the smartest person I ever met. She was a realtor. She smoked, had a raspy voice, and didn’t like fools very well and I feel very fortunate that she put up with me. To this day I take care of her husband in assisted living. I go see Jim. They are good people and I still love her. It has been about 2 years since she passed away but I could just run anything past her.
Adam-That’s nice of you to still take care of her husband and show respect to her family.
Janet-We go back 30 years. She was there with me from the beginning.
Adam-Anything else you want to say before we wrap it up? I know you are busy.
Janet-Thank you for letting me come here. Thank you for serving at S.L.A.R. It is a big responsibility. We make decisions for our membership and we have 7,500 members. We are the largest association in the state of Missouri. It is a big deal when St. Louis does something. I want to encourage people to get involved at S.L.A.R., apply for committees, go to our website to apply, and after that, go to the Missouri Association of Realtors. That is a wonderful way to increase your business. I get referrals from friends there. I joined the leadership academy. That is something you should consider joining at some point.
Adam-I have heard that.
Janet-At first it is so awkward because of team building exercises. It feels so hokey but by the end of the year you are friends and family. The leadership skills that you learn…you might learn that even though a person may not be very social, you will appreciate the other skills that they have instead of writing them off. It helped me and it helped my business because I’m now better with my sellers and buyers and I’m a better person.
Adam-I will second what you said about getting involved with S.L.A.R. because it is amazing for me. It gives me confidence if I have to talk to another broker. A lot of brokers or realtors will throw out stuff like that they were on the grievance committee and then I can say I was too.
Janet-Wear your nametag and wear your pins. Remember those pins that I gave you guys for the installation? That is your board of director pin. Wear that when you are in a suit because that is something you should wear with pride.
Janet-You can cut that out if you want.
Adam-No, that is great! Thank you very much for being here. I appreciate you.
Janet-Thank you, Adam.
Adam-That’s it. We will talk to you next time. I will see you tomorrow.