Many tennis skills do not carry over to a successful career in real estate. No amount of agile footwork can increase a listing’s market value. A flawless forehand groundstroke may impress desirable clients when it is executed at certain country clubs, although it cannot simplify the home selling or buying process in any appreciable way.
But mental fortitude – that refusal to surrender which compels all successful athletes – is just as essential to any professional. This is the optimistic outlook which Brace Helgeson, who played number one for the Minnesota Gophers and won the Big Ten Conference twice, had to adopt when injuries ended his hopes of joining the pro tour. As a Realtor and managing partner of Helgeson Platzke Real Estate Group, Brace now applies the same fierce determination which once drove him on the court toward creating the greatest possible value for his clients.
“When it came to transitioning into another career, the idea of becoming a corporate guy never resonated with me. My father started a chicken company that became pretty successful, and he always impressed an entrepreneurial mindset on me and my siblings: If you can build it, you can control the outcome.
“As a self-starter, I was naturally drawn toward real estate – an industry which offers virtually limitless opportunities so long as you give it your everything. I made it my main focus when it paid me more in one day than I could earn in two months teaching private tennis lessons. (During that time I did proudly coach several future state champions, including my sister Ginger who many consider the greatest female player ever to come out of Minnesota. She was once ranked 29th in the world!)
“Real estate also meshed perfectly with my competitive nature. If you win a tennis match by only a couple of points, that almost certainly means you lost a lot of points as well. You have to overcome losses on the tennis court constantly.
“Building my brand while I was first starting out was the same way. For everyone who chose to work with me, dozens more worked with someone else. I remember someone I knew through tennis who had just sold his $1 million house, telling me I could have been his Realtor had he only known I was in the business. I won’t lie. That one stung! But I funneled that disappointment into working even harder at growing my presence in the Twin Cities.
“Developing a great reputation is critical, especially in a market as small as our own. Good news travels fast wherever everybody knows everybody – but bad news travels even faster. As I look forward to celebrating my fourth decade in real estate next year, the best advice I can give someone just starting out is this: Treat every relationship like your career depends on it. Poor service will see you right out of this business.
“Failing to adapt to an ever-changing market will end your career just as surely. During the past 18 months, we’ve barely found a reason for our clients to do anything to their properties before listing them. Now that balance is returning to the market, we’re able to once again implement our Smart Money Formula. It determines exactly which home improvements would represent a 50 to 100 percent return on investment at the closing table. With over 500 sales annually, we know what the market responds to best, and our team coordinates all that work for our clients at no added cost.
“I believe we’ve evolved and innovated better than our competition when it comes to lead generation. We spend about $100,000 a month creating leads across social media platforms and real estate websites like Zillow. We now have 36 agents, with five or six dedicated to answering and following up with our leads 24/7.
“All that effort has earned us more qualified buyers than any other group in the Twin Cities. During the past two hectic years, we sold over one-third of our client's properties without even having to list them. I could only have dreamed of such an effective system during the ‘80s when lead generation meant knocking on doors and cold-calling.
“The real estate market may be in the process of correcting itself, but that doesn’t make now an inopportune time to sell. Interest rates are still lower than the 7.5% historic average, and much lower than 13.5% when I started my career in 1983. Alongside continual healthy demand for housing and relatively low inventory, that means you won’t lose money if you list today. And when you factor in the money our Smart Money Formula creates out of thin air – and how quickly we produce a great buyer – you’re only assured a better outcome when you choose to work with us.”
Helgeson Platzke Real Estate Group is the foremost authority on the Eden Prairie real estate market, although their focus is not exclusive to our city. The group sold 548 homes throughout the Twin Cities last year alone. Whether you’re buying or selling, hprealestategroup.com is the first site you want to visit.