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RISMEDIA, Jan. 31, 2007-Prudential agent, Jose Garcia-Yanez shares advice on building a career in real estate; from airline pilot to sales driver.

Jose Garcia-Yanez
Prudential 24 Hour Real Estate
Downey, California

Years in real estate: 3.5
Number of offices: 1
Average home listing: $800,000
Flight to real estate: After moving to the United States from Spain, Garcia-Yanez went from pre-9/11 commercial airline pilot to real estate sales pilot, selling three homes in his first month, becoming a top producing agent in Downey. He since has won the Chairman's Circle Award and the Ultimate Service Award, all the while maintaining a position in the top 10 of Downey County.
Weekend highlights: Jose and his wife, Erika, have been coaching their son's soccer team for the past four years. He and his family also enjoy vacationing with friends in addition to attending other activities their two children participate in.
Who's your role model? "My parents. I'm very proud of my parents. My father was in the military and my mother was a teacher who raised 5 children and helped us all get set up in life. I wouldn't be able to say anyone else."

What was your transition like from being a pilot in Spain to a real estate agent in the United States? What was it about real estate that interested you?

My original career was going to be an architect and so I started building and designing houses. When I first came to the US, I figured I'd invest in real estate and learn it through my brother-in-law who is in commercial real estate. I started out learning the process, understanding the market, and it helped me to be able to make good investments. Everything was going so well that I kept going and became an agent myself.

Living here is completely differently. People move a lot faster. In Madrid people move fast, but here people make fast decisions. Real estate-wise, with flying I was trained to do a good job. My previous training helped me a lot because I absorbed the information quickly, just as I had done when I learned real estate.

What is your career philosophy?

Take care of your clients. In aviation you get into the plane and fly your customers; in real estate you have to take care of your customers to guide and help them. You have to manage problems and give solutions. If a client wants to buy a house, show properties and offer your opinion. I'm accustomed to customer service; you have to be just as organized and keep transactions going correctly. Life itself changes, but not necessarily your work.

How do you build trust and maintain loyal relationships?

My clients trust me. I'm very clear, so when I say things, I say it in a way so that they know I'm not lying. If they don't agree with me, I tell them it's my job to tell you what's best for you and to help you. I say that the best way to help is for you to follow my advice, if you want my help. Sixty-five percent are based on referrals from past clients. When I follow-up with others, I ask what I did wrong, just to learn, and they tell me. I don't really have any problem with that, I'm open to everyone and like to listen.

How do you keep learning and growing professionally?

We have a lot of training in the office. When I first started interviewing for offices, I was asking about training because I didn't mind sitting and learning and doing what it takes. I was afraid of the language barrier, especially about contracts, so I wanted good training. Our office does have great training and that's how we keep up. We have weekly meetings with speakers, like builders and how-to's, and also attend seminars. A lot of people in the brokerage share Buffini's philosophy.

What are some words of wisdom to those starting out in their real estate career?

It is important for everybody to choose the right office and this is the right one in this market. I probably couldn't have achieved as half as I have, without their guidance and care for us. It's important to get training and personal training as an agent.