WR Properties31 October 2016 Written by By Wes Olsen, with Monica Malcuit
Published in November 2016 Articles
Monica Malcuit and I are partners in Brentwood’s WR Properties.
The two of us form a dynamic duo. We both are driven. Monica is blunt with me; she has an amazing gift for reading people and speaking their language. We have great accountability with each other. We learned from our past association with Keller Williams the advantage of building a team. We love our business and enjoy pouring ourselves into our agents.
WR Properties is a boutique firm, which means we can be flexible and tailor our support for each agent to maximize the results. We have a dozen agents, which are the heart and soul of our company. We look for key values including character, compassion, high ethical standards, and integrity. We focus on the needs of each individual agent. Agents set their own goals and then we coach them towards success. We provide excellent levels of service for them and model for them the behaviors that we expect. We have assembled a remarkable team. Lisa Reinsmith, for example, has been the backbone of my business. I wouldn’t have had the level of success I’ve enjoyed without her continual support. Carey Harris, who runs our Discovery Bay Office, has been with us since Day One. I mentored Carey and she was effective “right out the gate.” She was licensed in 2005 and was rookie of the year in 2006. Melanie Akey started as my assistant in 2005 at Keller Williams. She got her license six years ago and has always done an amazing job of finding balance in her life — being there for her kids while making a substantial contribution to the family bottom line. Joy Pulos began as a Loan Agent and has been a Real Estate Agent for eight years. One of the great things about Joy is that she will go anywhere and do anything for her clients.
Jeff Carter, who has been licensed for two decades, is a solid, consistent producer. Jeff has a generous spirit; he will do anything for anyone and will even help agents from other companies. One of them told me that he calls Jeff with questions when he can’t get hold of his own broker. I love that; that’s what we are about.
Those names are just a sample. I wish we had time to discuss the value that each of the other agents brings to our business. Any of them could have been featured.
I was raised in the little town of Santa Venetia, Marin County. Even though I was the oldest of four boys, I passed through childhood and adolescence with a full-blown inferiority complex. I was small with no aptitude for sports. Bullies seemed to gravitate towards me as their victim. However, I was always industrious and eager to make money.
Our folks set a good work-ethic example for us. They both worked multiple jobs but were never able to do much more than cover household expenses. If we wanted spending money, we had to get it on our own, so I got a weekly paper route when I was only eight years old. That failed to generate as much income as I desired, so I soon moved up to a daily route and, by the time I was 12, I had added two more paper routes. I didn’t mind the work because I enjoyed having enough money so that if I wanted a new BMX, for example, I could just waltz into a store, plunk down the money, and ride home on my new bike.
When I became a teenager, my passions shifted from BMXs to pick-up trucks so, when I was 14 years old I landed a job as a busboy and table server at Denny’s in Petaluma. I saved my money and when I was 15-and-a-half bought a ’72 Chevy Stepside, which was one of the most beautiful pick-ups ever made and is still popular with collectors. I loved that truck! It had a V-8 engine and could go 100 miles an hour up a steep hill. The nine-year-old vehicle needed a lot of wrench time, but I was a good enough mechanic that I might have followed vehicle repair as a profession if I could have found some way to make a lot of money working out of a tool chest.
Once I had wheels, I got a job at Albertsons. After graduating from Casa Grande High in the Class of ’84, I started on an upward track with Albertsons and eventually became the regional fix-it guy for under-performing stores. I became proficient at identifying weaknesses in a store’s processes and figuring out what it would take to fix a below-performing P&L. I learned how to fix shortages, patch holes and cracks in delivery systems, and improve inventory management.
I was really busy and eventually realized that I didn’t want to be living like this for the remainder of my life, so I got a job doing outside sales for Sunshine Keebler and discovered that I really loved the art of selling. I became good at moving those crackers and soon rose to the position of district sales manager. The job gave me the flexibility I had been missing with Albertsons, though I chaffed at the unending stream of sales meetings I was forced to attend. The final deal-breaker was that management never permitted a sales person to earn to the maximum of his/her ability. Once income increased too much, they would make adjustments, and would take territories away in order to be “fair” to the other sales people. In particular, there was an unwritten requirement that earnings could never exceed what the manager was taking home.
I wanted a career in an industry where there was no cap on potential earnings, so I began looking at real estate sales. Nobody would ever tell me I couldn’t sell anymore, or give my listing to someone else. I really could make as much as I wanted. Part of the incentive came from the fact that I had moved around, purchased property on several occasions, and realized that my agents were making money even though they were not particularly competent.
After getting my Real Estate license in November 1998, I walked into my manager’s office, and gave him my two-weeks notice. I had never sold a house and had no backup plan; I was just going to do this. Failure was no option.
My ex-wife and I both got our licenses and began working with the Discovery Bay branch of a large real estate company. Each year would begin with a kick-off meeting at which we were instructed to write our sales goal for the year on a 3”x 5” card. Some agents would put down six transactions; others eight. The more ambitious would put down 12, I guess imagining they could sell at least one property every month. I wrote down 40 sales and when we shared our goals everyone laughed at me, scoffing at my ridiculous ambition. Nobody was impressed with my zeal or showed the slightest inclination to support me. By the time the next year’s meeting rolled around, I had made 42 sales and set my new goal for 80. Everyone laughed again. They told me I had been lucky; they doubted I could sell 40 again. Finally, one of the managers asked me, “What are you doing to sell?” and I responded, “I’m being honest with people. I’m telling them that a wrong listing doesn’t equal profits; a wrong listing is a liability; it is a problem. I let properties go if owners won’t list at the right price.”
I told the manager that I would be glad to share with other agents, but my attitude and perspective frightened him.
In 2004 I encountered a Keller Williams investor and learned of their plans to move into the area. I was attracted by their learning based philosophy and by the fact that they conducted business as an open book. They focused on training and freely sharing information. They promoted the revolutionary concept that agents should not be secretive about what they were doing and what they knew, but should work together for mutual benefit. We put together a partnership, opened the Antioch franchise in 2006, and got to work.
Monica Malcuit, another Keller Williams agent, turned out to share my passions. She had grown up in San Ramon and, like me, had always been a hustler. She worked her way through high school, mowing lawns, babysitting, and making fancy hair ties that she would sell at school. Like me, she was only 14 years old when she moved into corporate America landing her first job at a 7-11. That was followed by a succession of jobs, most memorably at The Golden Skate in San Ramon.
Monica always had good relationships with her folks, but she was ambitious, wanted to make it on her own in the world, and moved out of her parents house the week after turning 18. She worked as a receptionist in a title company, moving through the ranks to escrow assistant. While processing commission demands and cutting checks for the realtors, Monica realized that her income had a ceiling, but there were no limits on how much a realtor could make. Also, nobody told the agents when to come to work, go home, or how much time they could take for vacation. She quit her job, launched a staging company, and ran it until the market tanked in 2007. She eventually got her brokers license, landed a position with Keller Williams, and (most importantly) met me.
Monica shares my passion for sales. She closed 36 properties her first year in the business, which in 2008 earned her Rookie of the Year honors for Northern California and Nevada. She became a member of the Agent Leadership Council, conducted training classes at the office, and taught productivity coaching. She impressed upon others her personal philosophy that failure was not an option.
From that point our lives followed parallel tracks. I opened my own company; two years later she opened hers. We both got divorced (not from each other). After separating from my ex, I spent a couple years figuring out where my WR Properties was going. Things began to come together when Monica and I met for lunch to get caught up with each other. She was missing the coaching and comradery of an office setting. We “business-dated” for six months and realized the potential dynamics that would result if the two of us would come together. We went into partnership last January. It has been wonderful since then.
WR Properties is at two locations: Brentwood and Discovery Bay Marina. We intend to add an Antioch location but are going to be careful to never outgrow our ability to preserve the excellence that we are currently enjoying.