Don’t give up on a lead or a potential client. Constantly make phone calls and don’t be scared of rejection.
Niles Malvasia is a realtor in Hackensack, New Jersey, and a former Detective Sergeant. Niles made the decision to retire a few years back after a long, eventful, and satisfying career in law enforcement. During his career at the Hackensack Police Department, Niles learned a number of valuable skills that have helped to make him more successful in the field of real estate. He is an all-around people-person and is particularly adept at communicating with people and getting to know them on a deeper level.
Niles Malvasia was awarded numerous commendations and accolades during his time in law enforcement and was even featured on several cop shows, including Drugs Inc. by National Geographic. Although an exciting and rewarding career, Niles ultimately made the decision to retire to pursue a safer and less strenuous career as a realtor for the sake of his family. So far, Niles has had great levels of success in Hackensack as a realtor and is looking forward to many years of success to come. Above all, Niles is a family man with a big heart and a desire to help others whenever he can.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I had retired from law-enforcement and obtained a couple of security certifications. I was looking for something in the security field to help make that transition from the public to the private sector. I quickly found that the profession was very saturated with retired law-enforcement from all different levels: municipal, county, state, and federal. I had spoken to a friend of mine that I had worked with on the job in Hackensack who was currently a real estate broker and had his own firm. He told me he felt that I would be good at it. I had a lot of connections and I knew how to connect with people and create that bond and make them trust me. I thought I’d be good at making people feel comfortable with me representing them for probably the largest purchase they’ll make in their lives.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Being a realtor, you’re basically an independent contractor in the state of New Jersey. I organize my day as if I’m going to the office. I follow up on phone calls and emails and I read up on available properties. I look for distressed properties because most of my clients prefer to purchase, rebuild, and then sell. I’ve created friendships and connections with many banks, so I receive constant lists of bank-owned property short sales foreclosures.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to write things down and imagine how they would affect a buyer or seller. What are the pros and the cons to what I’m thinking about doing. In this business when you’re representing the buyer, your train of thought is to get them as much money as possible. When you’re representing the seller, you’re trying to save them money and still find exactly what they’re looking for. So, when I have ideas about how to approach both scenarios, I get excited to see how it works out what angles can I take.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me the most is social media. In the past you made your cold calls, you knock on people’s doors. Now, with the help of social media, I can reach out to buyers all over the world. I’m currently working on an international deal where a family member is looking to purchase a condo for another family member that is attending college here in New Jersey. This all came about because of social media and the ability to reach far beyond your normal means.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think one habit of mine that makes me productive is being persistent. I constantly follow up with phone calls, text messages, and emails with potential clients. I go until they tell me that they are no longer interested in looking or they’ve chosen to go with another agent or they found something on their own. I will not stop until I hear one of the three. I also make it my business to return all phone calls or emails. Every phone call and every email is a potential lead to a potential client to a potential sale to potential commission. Follow up on everything.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give to my younger self is to have gotten involved in real estate much sooner. I still could’ve been involved in law-enforcement full-time and done real estate on the side. That way I would’ve created a much stronger base through the years so that now, as retired law-enforcement doing real estate full-time, I would have a much stronger base. Although I’m doing very well for myself, I had to start from scratch. The one thing that helped me was knowing how to advertise myself and how to separate myself from the other realtors in the field.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That’s a tough question. I would say to pursue off-topic learning. Go with the curveball to opposite field instead of trying to pull it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one thing that I recommend everyone do over and over again is be persistent. Don’t give up on a lead or a potential client. Constantly make phone calls and don’t be scared of rejection. Don’t stop because someone hangs up on you or yells at you like you’re a telemarketer. Whatever you do, don’t become discouraged. Remember, the squeakiest wheel gets the most oil.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me tremendously was to hook up with Zillow. Zillow has been a tremendous help in creating leads for me as well as providing a concierge service to assist me with phone calls, emails, and follow ups. I have a very strong connection with my team in Manhattan. They care dearly about how I do because it obviously reflects on them and their ability to help realtors. So, you can say self-advertising has been a very useful strategy of mine.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had one failure as a realtor that was completely my fault. I had forgotten the name of the client that was looking at a property and received a phone call from another agent asking me why I was working with that couple. I told the other agent that the couple had contacted me and when she asked me which one, I had completely forgotten how to say the wife’s name and the agent called me on that. So, although I felt that the other agent was browbeating me and acting unprofessional, I did learn a valuable lesson that day. So anytime I am out and receive a lead, I write down first name, last name, best number to reach them at and current address. I also make a note of whether they prequalified and, most importantly, are they working with any other agents.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea that I’m willing to give away to your readers is the fact that all commissions are negotiable. Remember that. You don’t want to beat down your realtor to make them feel like they’re making nothing because you still want them to work hard for you. There’s a happy medium to meet them at where everyone is getting paid and someone is walking away from the table with the home and everyone is happy.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Well, the best $100 that I ever spent in my life was on January 5, 2018. However, the reason why should be left for a whole other interview.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
One web service is obviously Zillow. I use that regularly and have spoken about it already. It has become a tremendous asset to me. As far as software is concerned, the future is VR. Utilizing VR will give me the opportunity to show properties first hand to potential buyers and investors that are overseas. I can give an individual a tour of the home in New Jersey without them leaving their office in Tokyo. VR is, without a doubt, going to be a tremendous tool to use in the near future in the field of real estate and land development.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book that I recently read and truly enjoyed was The Operator by Robert O’Neill. It’s not a business book but it does tell the story of a truly unforgettable time in the history of our country. I would also recommend The Sell by Fredrik Eklund.
What is your favorite quote?
Funnily enough, my favorite quote is now: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Very relevant to my career as a realtor!
• Knowledge: Know the business, know your numbers, know your markets, know your clients. Know what interests them and what they’re looking for and what they want to spend their money on.
• Honesty: There’s no need to lie to your client to get their business. It’s known that agents will come in, over-price the home just to get the listing, and eventually have to cut thousands off of the asking price. They knew they were going to do this in the first place just to land the listing. Be honest with the homeowner from the get-go. Everyone feels that their home is worth $1 million with all the work they’ve done to it but give them a fair market value, look at the competition in the area and just be honest. If they’re looking for $450,000 but you think the home should be priced at $320,000, meet them halfway. Be realistic and honest with them.
• Hustle: You get nowhere in this business by just sitting on your rear end and hoping someone’s going to call you and ask you to sell their home. Be aggressive. Advertise, go to open houses, go door-to-door and talk to people. Have flyers made up, get business cards, and get out there and sell your ability to homeowners. Sell your ability to investors and make them want to invest their money into you knowing that you will make them money in return.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.