Don’t Let Small Things Turn into Big Ones in Real Estate with Tondra Devarel

By not majoring in the small things you can focus on the tasks that truly matter, reduce stress, and maintain a positive attitude. This will not only help you be more successful in your real estate career, but it will also help you enjoy your work and the people you work with.

Tondra Devarel joins The Entrepreneurial Agent to discuss dealing with risks in real estate by educating and protecting clients, cycles in the real estate market and working with millennial first time home buyers.

In the real estate business, it can be easy to get caught up in the small details and lose sight of the bigger picture. But it’s important to remember that not everything is worth sweating over. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to not sweat the small things in the real estate business:

  • Wasting time and energy on minor details can prevent you from focusing on more important tasks. In the fast-paced world of real estate, every minute counts. By letting go of the small things, you can focus on the tasks that will have a bigger impact on your success.
  • Sweating the small things can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Real estate can be a stressful business, and worrying about every little detail can only add to that stress. By letting go of the small things, you can reduce your stress levels and focus on the tasks that truly matter.
  • Not sweating the small things can help you maintain a positive attitude. A positive attitude is essential in the real estate business, as it can help you build relationships with clients and overcome challenges. By letting go of the small things, you can maintain a positive attitude and approach each day with a fresh perspective.

By not majoring in the small things you can focus on the tasks that truly matter, reduce stress, and maintain a positive attitude. This will not only help you be more successful in your real estate career, but it will also help you enjoy your work and the people you work with.

Tondra Devarel joins The Entrepreneurial Agent to discuss dealing with risks in real estate by educating and protecting clients, cycles in the real estate market and working with millennial first time home buyers.

00:00 Introducing Tondra Devarel

1:40 How Tondra got into real estate

4:14 Dealing with risks in real estate by educating and protecting clients

9:28 Advice for people behind on their mortgages: reach out to realtors and don’t avoid the creditors

14:48 Discussing cycles in the real estate market

16:04 Working with millennial first time home buyers: what can a realtor offer to the.

22:22 What Tondra has been doing today that will help her in 2023

Connect with Paul Neal

Website: https://vantagepointresidential.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-neal-47b8478/

Connect with Tondra Devarel

Website: https://www.homesnap.com/Tondra-Devarel/gmb2

Phone: 804-307-1018

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TondraSellsRealEstate/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tondradevarel/

Full Transcript

Paul Neal: [00:00:00] Welcome the entrepreneurial agent, listeners. Today I have the special distinct honor to have Tundra Devarel, a top producing real estate agent out of the Richmond, Virginia area with E X P Realty. Has been in the business, the real estate business for over 15 years, and we’re just excited to have Ron today and learn about her perspective, what she’s seen in the market, and how she got to be where she is.

Tora, welcome to the show. 

Tondra Devarel: Thank you Paul, and thank you guest listeners for having me. It’s certainly a joy to be here in a place such as the time as this. 

Paul Neal: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, we’re excited to have you on. We’re, I know we’re certainly in interesting times right now, sort of finishing up the year of 2022, which has been, gosh, the last couple years have been quite the interesting ride in real estate.

Absolutely , particularly looking back over 15 years, it’s it’s been quite the ride and I wanna get into all that with you and your experience. But tell us a little tundra about how you got into real estate. What, what kind of led you [00:01:00] into this career? 

Tondra Devarel: Wow. Interesting that you would ask that, Paul.

But I’ll be honest and I’ll be brief. I’ll summarize it as much as I can, but basically back in 2000, What year was it? 2007. Eight. 2008 I believe. I was basically sold a bad loan. Mm. And. I was actually didn’t know I was sold the bed loan until a year later. I was just coming out a divorce and I moved into a home.

And so one of the things they tell you do not do is make major purchases when you have a lost one or are going through a. A loss in a relationship because you’re thinking is cap is just not all there. And I definitely would say that that is so, and that I, I am experienced of that, but it led me to deeper, deeper information and seeking knowledge and, and, and, and getting into a pa, getting into a situation where I wanted to be able to be of help [00:02:00] to others and be able to share and spread that knowledge because knowledge is power and

So some sub prime loans that caused the market to drop. Were not good loans for everyone. And it definitely wasn’t a good loan for me. And at the time I didn’t even know the person that I went to to seek help to come out of that loan. They mentioned to me that I was fortunate that most people was not gonna make it.

and then I started seeing all these foreclosures and I was like, this is what they were talking about. Wow, this is scary. So I was able to refinance because I wasn’t in a situation where I couldn’t. Unlike a lot of others, and people will say, well, people should have known what they were purchasing and blah, blah, blah.

But there is a lot of paperwork, there’s a lot of material. For me specifically, I had a notary, and if you have a notary that’s not able to really share a bunch, a lot of the details that just saying point here, sign there, sign assigned. They assigned here and it’s done in. [00:03:00] Less than an hour when, which really you’re signing paperwork, that really would take four hours if you really read it correctly or and maybe less if somebody on the other side who’s educated enough could explain it correctly.

So, right. That’s how I learned it here. I landed here because I didn’t want people to suffer the way I did, and I wanted to be of help. 

Paul Neal: Wow. That is interesting. So you’ve, you’ve decided and you’ve since executed to make lemonade out of a lemon, huh? Life deals you, lemon you. Yeah. Well I tipped my hat to you.

That’s awesome. You’re right there. And there were a lot of bad transactions that went on in that period. I think my first transaction, the finance side was in 1998. So I’ve seen a lot. And that period was a really crazy period and, you know, it does underscore. The importance of trust in the, in the transaction.

I mean, absolutely. You mentioned it, it’s like, you know, you’re signing, signing all these documents. So, and even today, in a sense, it’s a little bit worse. Not that the loans are worse, but [00:04:00] everything now is digital. Right. And so, you know, people get their documents a lot of times digitally, and they just click the button and they don’t even, I mean, they’re even harder to read.

For me, I’m a little older. It’s harder to read on the screen. I’m used to paper and it’s like, okay, I hope I didn’t sign anything, you know? You know, gives away, you know, my future rights and not, but but it, it does require trust in, in, in this space. And, you know, and that’s one thing I think that separates.

You know, oh, it makes a great realtor, right? Because you’re, you’re people, they, they don’t know what questions to ask you, right? I mean, they wanna, you wanna find a home for them or whatnot. But I mean, talk about that a little bit. I’m sure you’ve had some experiences with people that, you know, based on you and your bad experience, how have you been able to bring, you know, bring value to people that didn’t even know maybe they were getting it because they didn’t know sort of the dark side of what can.

Tondra Devarel: Absolutely. So education piece, providing them with documents, giving them a whole guide. So I do provide a buyers [00:05:00] guide to my buyers and I go over the guide. I try to have one-on-one sessions just to get a feel of where they are, especially if this is their first time to home ownership. And I go over their rights and because there are some cases where The lender may be wanting to order the appraisal, and we haven’t even finished the negotiation with the home inspection.

So if we’re gonna. Move forward for whatever reason. Then the appraisal would just been money wasted on a home, you know, that, that, that the buyer would never own. So there’s been cases where people have paid twice. On a home that they didn’t own, never owned, and they paid for a home inspection and an appraisal.

So my job is to be the middle man in between that gap and stop things like that from happening because there is a process and we should all wanna follow that process and make sure that we are protecting our clients’ investment because it is that money is an investment. Mm-hmm. . And to treat it as such not only that, but.

[00:06:00] During this market, tough market where it was hard to get buyers in who wanted a home inspection. There were so many people that were waiving their rights and giving up their rights to home inspections and waiving appraisal gaps. And I, I refuse to operate. In those circumstances, especially with my first time home buyers, knowing that the, the possibility of what this could cause them later down the road.

And I’ve heard some horror stories and things that failed floodings and all kind of things that. That took place. Had they had the home inspection, these things would’ve been at least on the radar. So you may not could have asked the seller to repair these things, but you would’ve known that this is a priority for you.

When you enter this home, make this your number one priority to get this fixed. Because small things turn into big things. . 

Paul Neal: Yeah, that’s, you could underscore that one. Small things can turn into big things and what you don’t know literally can [00:07:00] hurt you. Right. Ignorance is absolutely, absolutely. Ignorance is not bliss and it’s not an excuse unfortunately.

And, and people. You know, that’s the thing. I, I, I agree. I mean, we get into a crazy frenzied market. People sort of throw out common sense, and, and, and some people get lucky. They do. But a lot of people don’t get lucky and they find out, like you found out later, right? It might be six months, a year, two, three years down the road, and oh, you have a foundation issue or you have, you know, mold or something, you know, something that, you know, you see it, right?

And, and, and nobody wants to deal with that. Wow. So so you refused to to go that route with your, your buyers, huh? You’re like, no, we’re not gonna play that 

Tondra Devarel: game. We’re not gonna play that game. I even had a. A realtor tell me do you not know the language that everyone’s using? Cause you know, you, you should know the reason why your offer isn’t being accepted with my seller.

You know, everybody else is willing to do X, Y, and Z and you’re not willing to strike these things out on the [00:08:00] contract for your client. Do you realize that this is preventing your client from winning the offer? But my client has offered well enough. List price that if the seller has any repair issues that pop up, this money will cover that.

Why would the seller not want to have some skin in the game, even though it’s the seller’s market and if there’s a defect? Cuz that’s the only thing we can ask for. They change the contract. So where you can only ask for a true defect. So a defect means that it, it’s malfunctioning, it, it, it’s not working to its original state, which means that it does need to be correct.

Paul Neal: Yeah. Wow. Well, good for you. I mean, I think, I think your, your borrowers, some of them may not have understood that up front, but I think looking back in hindsight, they’re like, okay, Tundra was protecting me and putting me in a position to win. And particularly as, as more and more horror stories, we’ll, perle up, you know, percolate up, we’ll hear ’em, we’ll see ’em, and I’m sure you see ’em all the time in your.

[00:09:00] Yes, I do. Oh my gosh. So you talk about you’d mentioned you know, what you went through and how you’re able to avoid foreclosure. And then you and I were talking a little bit before we got on the hit the record button about, you know, what you’re seeing in the market. And do you think there’s a sector of people right now that may sort of gotta pass during Covid and maybe be in a position now where they should probably act to sell their home because they could be in a foreclosure situation?

Can you talk a little about. 

Tondra Devarel: Absolutely Paul. So people are usually going to be reactive versus proactive, especially when it comes to a situation where Covid has allowed them to stay in their home, not pay, make mortgage payments. And some of these people are behind on their mortgage and some of them are even afraid to pick up the phone to talk with their bank.

The bank says, we don’t know your situation unless you pick up the phone and you tell. Not only that, but a professional realtor. I’ve seen so many people, they will [00:10:00] pick up the phone and speak with a wholesaler, for example, who has limited professional knowledge that can help them make the best decision.

Yes, there’s decisions that can be made, but the best decision is always gonna be the one that’s going to give you the. Outcome. So what I’ve found is, It’s just like, you know, people don’t wanna talk to the professional because they’re embarrassed and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. To be honest with you, we all have had situations that have kept us from being able to do certain things and, and, and, and to not.

Feel like this shouldn’t be happening to me. Why is this happening to me? I’m a failure. There’s no such thing. I mean, the thing is, is let’s dive in, see what the situation is, come up with solutions and let’s fix it. Because the truth is, is that having someone. Fore clothes on is much, much worse than going through a short sale or being able to sell your home on your own [00:11:00] and find you somewhere to go while you figure it out for the next, what, four to six months, having some type of money, making something off of it versus the bank coming and take it and you don’t make nothing and you ruin your credit and you just don’t have any options.

So while you are in a place to be able to figure it, And get some options going. You don’t know what you don’t know, like you said, Paul. So that’s why seeking a professional is always helpful because there are things that you may not know that’s out there for you and you just had no clue about it, but you wouldn’t pick up the phone to find out about it either.

So I do recommend that people do. Especially if you are behind on your mortgage and your bank is calling, you have some conversations they may even recommend that you reach out to a realtor. I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know until you actually pick up the phone and listen and write down the different things that you would be, that you’re hearing, and then choose from those things which one makes better [00:12:00] sense for you.

And then act upon that is 

Paul Neal: what I. Yeah. No, that’s, that’s really good. That’s really good sound device. I mean, I learned a long time ago that, I mean, I agree, you know, everybody has issues, financial challenges, things happen, life events, right? We don’t, nobody gets outta here, you know, without having some kind of issues in their life.

Absolutely. And what, what I was always taught, mostly from my peers, other business owners and whatnot, is. The worst thing you can do is when the creditors are calling, is to avoid them. Absolutely. The best thing you can do is have that honest dialogue and conversation, because I mean, at the end of the day, generally the bank doesn’t, they don’t wanna foreclose on your house.

Absolutely not. They don’t wanna do that. It, it’s, it’s time. It costs a lot of money. There’s just so much involved in it. But the plus side, like you mentioned, is one. Huge benefits if someone’s in that situation is, you know, we’ve had such, such great appreciation of properties in the last couple of years that so many of [00:13:00] these people that might be in trouble have a lot of equity in their house, correct.

And so they, they do have probably even more options today than they would’ve had, you know, even a few years ago where maybe they could negotiate something with a bank or your wholesaler or, you know, working with a professional real estate agent who can guide ’em and give ’em good, good insight and options.

Yeah. And then you just deal with it and move on and, and then, and then that way you, you’re, you could be in a position where you have a much better opportunities in the future when your situation improves, 

Tondra Devarel: right? Absolutely. And you have to let fear and let, what other people have to say, you have to remove that.

Cause a lot of it is, The things that go on in our own internal heads of how we going to be judged, what it’s gonna look like. Yeah. But taking action, doing the best thing for yourself. You feel so much better and you don’t need anybody’s opinion or approval to do what’s best for you. 

Paul Neal: Well, most people aren’t thinking about us anyway.

Are [00:14:00] they ? No, definitely 

Tondra Devarel: not. 

Paul Neal: After we put, after we post that thing on social media, they see it. They’re all into something else and you know, and they’ve forgotten all, all about us. And but that is a great paralyzer for people. I mean, I’ve dealt with it. I think everybody does a certain degree is what are people gonna think about me in this situation?

And I, that’s how I’ve dealt with it. I just kind of figure people don’t think a whole lot about me either way. So at the end of the day, We all have our own issues, right? We’re just trying to do our own thing. We’re 

Tondra Devarel: just trying it through. That’s it. Yeah. 

Paul Neal: Yeah. And so, but interesting you mentioned, you mentioned fear, and then you mentioned earlier too, we talked a little about cycle.

So there’s a lot of, we’ve seen a lot of change. Yeah. So there’s a lot of fear. There’s been a lot of fear in the last couple of months. So much of it gned up by. By some legitimate concerns with interest rates that have come up significantly. Some of it’s a lot a lot of hype, you know, media if it, if it bleeds, it leads, we wanna scare people.

But again, with your experience of being in and around this business for 15 years, I mean, you, you see, you see patterns kind of repeat themselves a little [00:15:00] bit. 

Tondra Devarel: Right. And then, and as we discussed Paul, it may come at a higher level or a lower level, but it’s still a cycle. Mm-hmm. . And so even with this cycle it still will be opportunities for people.

There will be needs for people to sell. There will be needs for people to purchase. So whether it be that someone is. Extended family. Got a new job relocating whatever the case may, downsizing. There is always going to be real estate transactions taking place. It’s just how many of them doing a certain cycle.

So there will be a reduction during a certain cycle, but then. Even to step out, pick back up, because the truth is, is that the one thing that we have to have is a place to call home. 

Paul Neal: That is for sure. And you know, the other thing that we very rarely talk about when we talk about cycles and real estate, you know, the basic simple economics of supply and demand.

There’s [00:16:00] only so much land out there. Right? That’s right. But yeah, population is continuing to grow. Yes. And in the, the millennial group, which is a, again, a few years younger than me, but. That represents the largest sort of buying sector that’s, you know, coming to the pipeline ever. Yeah. And they’re very at the front end of that piece.

That’s it. Right? That’s true. Do you see that? Do you work with a lot of home first time home buyers younger? Oh, 

Tondra Devarel: absolutely. And it’s a joy because they’re so smart and savvy. They have done all their research, . They know what they want, they know what they don’t want, and it’s just find me what I. Their need.

There’s like, I have this need. Find me what I need. So they, they are definitely go-getters and I, I commend them for being that they, they are, they, they are very alert into what the market is doing. They are studying and they’re researching, they’re watching YouTube videos. They are savvy. [00:17:00] They’re your savvy buyer, and it’s a joy to work with them.

And it’s a joy to add to their add value to their buying experience because it is an experience and it’s, and for a first time home buyer, it should be an excellent experience. 

Paul Neal: Well, it should be. Well, so, and, and that’s, that’s really interesting because, you know my generation, when we bought homes, we didn’t have access to all that.

Right? Oh, so. When I walked in and bought my first home, my wife and I think we were 28, so we were older and we had never been through it. We didn’t know what experience and actually interesting to your story, a little bit similar. The reason I got in the lending business back in 1998 was the experience that we had through that whole process wasn’t of good one.

And for, for a number of reasons. And I, I always felt like, you know, I, I was pretty good at math and I, I liked math in numbers and I thought, man, I, I think I could give a better experience than what we went through and I think I could [00:18:00] connect better. And like, we ended up going to the closing table. We didn’t even know we had to bring certified funds or wired funds.

We thought we could write a check 

Tondra Devarel: before. Right. And then you rush into the bank that happens. 

Paul Neal: Yes. Well, and it was like, it was thousands of dollars more than we. . And you know, that’s when a thousand dollars meant something , right? Like, holy smokes, where are we gonna get this? You know? So it is interesting how you get in there, but the, but the, but the younger generation today that, that, that has access to all that in, as you said, they’re more savvy there’s still value though, that you as a professional can bring things that they can’t pick up on YouTube, right?

Or, or learn on their own. Absolutely. Talk about, talk about some of that. I mean, what, what is that value add that they just can’t get from, you know, Facebook? So that 

Tondra Devarel: personal experience as to what to look for. I mean, sometimes I blow the buyers, even on new construction. I blow their mind because they’re like, oh, I didn’t see that.

They’re looking at, so if it’s a home that has [00:19:00] furniture, they’re looking at the furniture and I’m focused on the ceiling, the walls, and they’re looking for cracks. I’m looking on the outside to see if there’s any foundation issues and. All about the home, the location, the square footage. So I’m protecting their investment because if there’s stuff that I see with the visible eye, then I know that this is something that we need to prepare for and we need to have a conversation piece.

How old is that unit? How you know, what does these windows look like? You know, how old is, does that roof appear to be, no, we can’t. Answer that answer to be exact, but we can tell if it’s something that’s been replaced recently. So just all the components of a home that is, that can be costly down the road that a first time home buyer that’s excited about making a purchase may not be looking for.

So those, that’s when those other set of eyes come in. If there’s a squeaky floor, you know what’s causing that squeak. If the floor is unleveled, you know, there’s just, especially if it’s an older home, I. There’s some things that we have [00:20:00] to educate because hey, it’s not that it’s not, it’s not that. It may, it may, what’s the issue for one person may not be a issue for another.

And so replacing a roof somebody else may have the budget for, whereas to somebody else don’t. But these are the things that we need to do up front to do an investigation instead of waiting till we get there and we put money out that we can’t get back. So that’s, that’s where I’m at. 

Paul Neal: That’s a good answer.

I mean, you know, and think about that. But you know, I, I typically think about the, the negotiation side and the fact that you’re a third party, you’re not emotionally involved and so you can represent them much better than they can represent themselves. 

Tondra Devarel: Oh, absolutely. That part too. And, and, and what to write up, what to say.

Mm-hmm. , you know, some of them go, well tell them this, tell ’em that, not. No, we don’t wanna do that cuz. That if you say this, that lets them know this and Oh, I didn’t think about that. You know, so. Right, right. You wanna, you wanna have some leverage, so you can’t go in throwing your whole hand out . 

Paul Neal: Right, right.

And that comes with experience. And, [00:21:00] and yeah. And, and I think too, I know you also have relationships with other real estate professionals, so you. You know, a lot of the players in the market, right? So you have, you can have those conversations that they just couldn’t have and get some insights and whatnot to, you know, the specific market or house or whatever, you know, they’re doing.

So that’s, yeah, I mean, I, I, I think, you know, I, I, you know, people have said that, you know, At some distant point in the future, you know, real estate agents, you know, loan brokers, people aren’t gonna be necessary. Everything will be done in California and Silicon Valley and like that personal 

Tondra Devarel: touch. Yeah.

They want somebody that can, can say, do and perform the, on those things that they cannot and they don’t know what they don’t know. So that’s it. Right. The truth is, is that most people would prefer using a professional all day long over just going in blindsided, not knowing if they’re getting all the support.

So it is all about support, support, [00:22:00] education, knowledge, you know, all those things plays such important. This is a major transaction. This is not something that’s $10,000. This is something that’s gonna cost you in most mortgages of 30. 

Paul Neal: You just said it. Boy, that was the classic line. I think they don’t know what they don’t know.

Yes. They think they might, but they don’t . Right. So support and yeah, it’s the biggest debt they’re gonna have or have probably. And you know, one of the biggest assets for sure. So that’s awesome. So well tell me today, in today’s market heading into 2023, What is, what is Tundra Derell doing? What are two or three things you’re doing that make a difference for you and your business today and you think is gonna help you in 2023 going forward?

Tondra Devarel: That’s a good question Paul. So right now I’m going through, of course it’s end the year, fourth quarter, right? Mm-hmm. end the fourth quarter really. Right? So I’m just going through and I’m [00:23:00] just putting a freeze on a lot of things. I do have clients that I’m working with, but when I say freeze on a lot of marketing strategies, all those things, cuz I wanna see where is this market headed and.

Where, what expertise is more important for me today than what it was for 2022? Because 2023 is going to look a lot different. And so following in the news, keeping up to date following the market, I just got back from National Association of Realtors this year. We were the, we’re, we were actually in Florida Orlando, Florida, and so, It’s education piece for me all the way, because as the market change and shift, so should I with my business.

So strategizing, seeing where the needs are, seeing where the opportunities are, and also just telling the client, especially the first time home buyers who feel like the interest rates are too high. Believe it or not, the rates were never [00:24:00] too. For a long time, you know, before we saw this. So it’s kind of the norm, but it’s not the norm for people who don’t understand that the 2% wasn’t norm.

Wasn’t the norm. And so and understanding that you, you know, You marry the house and you date the rate. If they go down, you can always leave. There’s a refinance opportunity, but finding that home and securing their home based on the current rent or whatever it is that you’re currently paying, is gonna do you and your family and the community because it is said that people thrive better when they are 

Paul Neal: home.

Yeah. I, I don’t think it could be said any better than that. You plant your roots, your family, you’re part of the community. You’ve gotta, you got a vested interest, a stake in the game. And I think it makes all the difference in the world. I could, I couldn’t, I couldn’t agree more. So, tundra, it’s hard to believe we’re, we’re like [00:25:00] already out of time.

Can you imagine that? Isn’t that crazy? 

Tondra Devarel: Been a great opportunity, Paul. I really thank you for Having me and allowing me to share my personal experience in real estate. And I’m looking forward to 2023 and what it has to offer. 

Paul Neal: And well, tell us, tell us how everyone can get in contact with you.

Tondra Devarel: Sure. So I can be reached at. (804) 307-1018. That’s my cell phone number which is also my business line. And I can also be reached at Agent A G E N t Tundra, t o n d r a gmail.com. 

Paul Neal: Okay, awesome. I’m not gonna repeat those because they’re gonna be in the show notes, so it’ll be links and phone numbers and all that for you.

And awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on. It’s been a, it’s been a lot of fun. 

Tondra Devarel: Thank you, Paul. It was a pleasure and I, I enjoyed being with you today as well. Okay. Take care. All right, you 

Paul Neal: as well.