Real estate is not just grinding content for your online marketing strategies and waiting for people to come knocking on your door. In reality, you have to put in a lot of work and effort to produce engaging materials that resonate with your target market. Joining Bill Risser is Katie Day, Team Lead of MoveMeToTexas, powered by Real Broker, LLC. She looks back on her ups and downs as a college management major who jumped from one business to another until she achieved residential real estate success. Katie talks about how she builds a large following through her YouTube videos, the challenges of marketing in Instagram, and the needed mindset to win now that the real estate competition transcends to digital platforms.
Katie Day, Team Lead, MoveMeToTexas Team, Powered by Real Broker, LLC
Welcome to Episode 304. As always, thank you so much for tuning in and telling a friend. We’re going to talk to Katie Day. Katie is the Team Lead of the MOVEMETOTX Team Powered by Real Broker, LLC. We’re going to talk to another real operation. I’m excited to chat with Katie. She’s doing some great things in the world of technology to help our customers with their marketing and other things. Let’s get this thing started. Katie, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
Katie, thanks for being on the show. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll start at the beginning like I always do. I did some digging, and somehow, I think there’s a Florida tie with you. Is it possible that you’re a Florida native, or do I have that part of it a little bit wrong?
I am not a Florida native. I grew up in Maryland, so I lived there for the first portion of my life through high school. My parents were retiring to Florida when I graduated from high school, so they wanted me down there. When I went to the University of Tampa, toured it, I saw the campus and everything there, I was like, “How could I not go here?” That’s where I ended up for college.
I live in St. Petersburg, just across The Bay from Tampa, and that University of Tampa campus is spectacular. I think it originally 100 years ago was a hotel. Would you mind sharing your thoughts about that campus and your experience there?
The University of Tampa was right on the Hillsborough River. It’s an absolutely gorgeous campus and the hotel is now administration buildings, classrooms and stuff like that, but they have these big minarets. It’s like the Russian-style architecture minarets. It’s a stunning campus. They have Wi-Fi at the pool. It’s 30 to 40 minutes from the beach. As an eighteen-year-old that’s being told that they are no longer living at home and can do whatever they want, why wouldn’t you go live near the beach and have Wi-Fi at the pool?
I said it was to study. I never took a computer to the pool, but it was an amazing time. I loved living there. I lived in St. Pete for a little while as well, Orlando, Naples, but as my time in Tampa, especially as a young adult getting out of my parent’s home, was an absolute blast. I loved my time in that area of Florida.
It probably was the perfect distance away from mom and dad, right?
Yeah. They live in Naples. That’s where they moved to. I was looking at Florida Gulf Coast, which was like 30 minutes away. I’m like, “That’s an unexpected pop-in.” Two and a half hours, you’ve got to put some time and thought into coming to visit. I also looked at the University of Florida and things like that, but that was further away. It was a good happy medium between the two. Being close enough to drive home for the weekend or a meal or two, but far enough away that they weren’t popping and I was popping on them on a regular basis.
What area of study was your degree in?
I got a degree in Management. I didn’t know what direction I wanted my life to go in. I knew that business seemed the smart route as far as college went. I was like, “I’ll get a Business degree.” Getting a degree in Management, I’d like to manage people or things. That was my route and I got the General Business degree, figuring it would bode well in any circumstance.
Part of my research showed that you worked for Carrabba’s. It’s part of Bloomin’ Brands, a big company based here in Tampa. Is that right?
Bloomin’ Brands, that’s not what it was when I worked there. I worked for Carrabba’s. It was my favorite restaurant. Fun fact, I worked there in high school. In my town in Maryland, the city that I lived in, they opened up a restaurant and I saw it driving. I was 16, maybe even 15, but I saw it and was like, “I’m going to get a job there.” I got a job as a hostess. I worked there throughout the rest of my high school timeframe. Once I was eighteen, I became a server.
When I moved to Florida, they obviously had them all over in Tampa and Naples, where my parents live. I worked in both locations there, whether I was home for the summer or at school. I loved it. It’s also great being a poor college student is getting money paid in tips. You come home with a couple of $100 cash at the end of the night. I was rich compared to my friends at that time. If there’s food that’s leftover or things that were cooked that were mistakes or that the chef or cook throw away for a couple of extra bucks, you’re getting good food to eat. I was eating very well through college.
The reason why I like to go back in time when I talk to my guests is for stories like that. I’ve been doing this show for a few years. It seems so many realtors have come out of either servers or bartenders, right behind that would-be teachers and nurses. Why do you think it’s so for the real estate industry people to have that level of service?
Online Marketing: Many realtors originally came from hospitality jobs, with teachers and nurses following closely behind them.
I definitely see a lot of the bartenders and servers. I think that hospitality is a hard industry as well. Not that real estate is easy, but I think that a lot of people see similar parallels of the harder I work, the more money I can make. I think it’s the customer service and taking care of people aspect of things. People always need food and housing. I think both are high-stress environments. There are a lot of parallels. I do think that people in hospitality do well in real estate. I see a lot of that bartenders, servers, hospitality hotels, and stuff like that coming into real estate.
You had a training role during your time with Carrabba’s. Can we talk about that a little bit?
I was a trainer with them throughout college, but when I was graduating from college, it was like, “Am I going to stay in hospitality and go into management? Am I going to go find a job? What am I going to do?” For me, in doing what my parents wanted me to do, I looked for jobs with law firms or business-type jobs. I did end up leaving the service industry. I guess that would have been 2008 throughout probably ’06, ’07 and ’08. I did train and do stuff like that for Carrabba’s.
Somehow, we now have to get you into the wonderful world of multifamily real estate. How did that happen?
I got into multifamily directly out of college. I interviewed for jobs for insurance agencies, law firms and legal assistance. I got a Management degree. It’s not like I had this super-specific degree that I had a specific career path. I was like, “What business jobs can I get that I make decent enough money to be able to pay some bills now that I’m out of college?”
I found a property management company that was hiring what they deemed a manager in training or a manager in a training program. Basically, their thing was they brought people on at leasing agents. Looking back on it, they bring people on as leasing agents and people that showed promise, they would show them different aspects of the business like the maintenance, management, budgeting, finance and paying bills.
If we went through that program, they would potentially move us to another apartment community where we would become the property manager. It’s a great program for them. Looking back on it now, I was twenty years old when I got my first property. I’m like, “What were they thinking?” It gave me so much business knowledge on how to manage.
I don’t think that I would be where I am now if I didn’t have that. I totally now think that was too soon. I had too much responsibility and made so many mistakes. I don’t think there’s any other job or industry that I would’ve gotten that much knowledge, high-level management and business knowledge anywhere other than the path that I took and what happened there.
Initially, you worked in the St. Petersburg, Tampa area, but I think this company took you around the country. Is that right?
Yeah. Initially, I worked in South St. Petersburg, Orlando, Naples, Birmingham, Alabama and Houston, Texas. Looking back on it, hiring young kids right out of college, you normally don’t have kids, spouses, pets and stuff like that. You’re young and have nothing going for you. You have no ties. It’s great for them to call and be like, “Do you want to move to Orlando next week for $5,000 more a year?” “Yes.” “Do you want to move to Birmingham, Alabama for $10,000 more a year?” “Sure.” “Do you want to move to Houston, Texas?” You always say, “Yes.”
Looking back on it, a lot of them were lateral moves, but it’s a new city and it’s a challenge. They find people with that drive or personality that want to fix and do everything. It was definitely a great move on their part. Looking back on it now, my negotiation skills clearly were terrible. I’m like, “I’ll move across the country.” I was all over Florida and Alabama, very briefly for about four months and then to Houston in 2011.
How does residential real estate enter the picture?
I was in multifamily here in Houston. I ended up working that and going into single-family property management for a while. All of the experiences I had, I learned a ton about business, management and how to be and not to be a leader and all of that. It got to the point that I was working hard until 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 PM, and getting paid the same amount of money every two weeks. I was working hard. For some of the companies I worked at, there are a lot of red tapes of like, “I’m in charge of everything,” but one of my departments is headed up by someone else.
They may mess things up, but I’m responsible for what they’re doing. I have no authority over the type of things. It was frustrating to me to get beat up on calls with our executive team or earnings calls or things like that because other companies I worked for were publicly traded. It’s like, “I’m getting beat up for things that I have no control over.” I have to take these licks. It was frustrating to me to be putting in all of this time and energy to something that I didn’t have full ownership over.
When I left property management to go into residential, I basically had saved up money. I had a year-end bonus and stuff like that. I was like, “I’m putting six months of money away in the bank.” I gave it to my fiancé at the time and was like, “Here are six months’ worth of my bills and I’m going to try this real estate thing out and see what happens. If I’m going to work this hard, it is for myself and roll the dice on myself rather than work this hard to make the same amount every two weeks.” That was my moment.
Who was your first brokerage? Who did you hang your license with first?
This is a funny story, and something wasn’t that funny until 2021. I got my license and affiliated with Real back in 2015. I was with Real from 2015 to the end of 2016. Now, I’m back. This is why it’s a funny story. I saw an ad online that was high splits, low fees and no monthly fees and this and that. I don’t even remember now at the time if they had monthly fees then, but super-agent friendly brokerage and tech-focused, this that and the other. I was like, “This seems cool.” I like money, so I affiliated with Real to start my real estate career.
Many of the agents I’ve interviewed on this show started off their careers with what we’ll call the training brokerages, yet you didn’t. You decided to go with the one that had the technology and the cool compensation. What was the difference? What made you leave Real that first time?
The company was founded in 2014. It was in its infancy stages. They did have a lot of training, even for a very small brokerage that was tech-based with no local offices and all of that. It’s nothing like it is now, but I still got my training. There are people that were then that are still here now. It’s funny seeing names again that I saw years ago. For me, everything was fine and I think it was good. In Texas, that’s big as apartment and home locating for rentals. I was doing a lot of that. You don’t need a ton of training for that, especially since I came from multifamily and single-family management.
I understood the process. I knew how to work with apartment communities. I knew all of that, but one of my friends, who’s still a good friend to this day, was an agent with Coldwell Banker. That’s how I knew him from different circles. He ended up getting promoted to be the branch manager of an office. He called me and was like, “I want you to come in and meet with me. I just got promoted.” I was like, “I have no interest in leaving my brokerage. I’m good. I appreciate it. Congratulations to you, but I’m good.”
He kept wearing me down and was like, “Why don’t you come in and see the office?” I’m like, “It’s four walls and a roof. You’ve got maybe some cubicles and desks. I’m good.” He wore me down again and was like, “Come in. We’ll grab lunch, whatever.” I go in and I’m dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. That’s my casual wear. He greets me and walks me around a little bit. I think nothing of this. He’s like, “Let me introduce you to someone.” He opened up a door and was like, “This is my buddy, Chet. I’ve got to take this call. I’ll be right back.”
He closes the door. I realized at that moment, when he closed the door, I was like, “I’m in a job interview right now. I’m in here in jeans and a t-shirt, and this man is in a full suit.” Clearly, I can have a conversation, but I was not planning to have a conversation about my career or goals or what I’m doing in real estate. I was there for almost two hours. I totally hit it off with another manager, Chet. I ended up signing with Coldwell Banker on Monday because I had such a great conversation with them. My buddy was going to be managing the branch. I was with that branch for almost five years and it was great. They got me.
I love a good recruiting story. However, this one doesn’t last because even though you were at Coldwell Banker for five years, something brought you back to Real. What was the difference? Why did you go back?
A few years ago, Real started to change their compensation and agent model and things like that. They added in the stock program and the ability to cap. With that, depending on how much production you have, you can get shares of stock and things like that. I’d always kept an eye on them. I had my news alerts on as you do for a lot of different companies, businesses and names. I was seeing what they were doing. I stayed in touch with our CEO and founder. We would message back and forth over the past five years. He’d be like, “This is happening. You should come back.” I’m like, “I appreciate you. That’s nice. Thanks so much.”
I was all in with Coldwell Banker, but something happened in 2021 that we suddenly were shopping around for a new brokerage. We met with a lot of brokerages. We weren’t planning on leaving and thinking about it. We’re meeting with five different brokerages and seeing what it would look like if we made that move. At that time, Real wasn’t even in the conversation, but I was like, “If we’re considering making a move, we need to call my buddy, Tim Macy, out of San Antonio. He’s been at Real for a year, and I want to see what he thinks about the decisions we’re making and if Real would be a good fit for us, our business and team.”
We started the conversation. I linked back to Tamir, who I’d been talking to for the past five years. I was like, “I think I want to come back. We want to do this.” It escalated quickly from there. We moved our teams. It definitely wasn’t something that we were necessarily planning or looking to make a change. Somehow, we found ourselves interviewing with brokerages. I was like, “If we make a change, it would be one of those moments where I knew that was a mistake, not at least to have the conversation.” We decided to have the conversation and then ended up moving the business.
Now that we’ve got you back at Real, let’s talk about your team. What’s the makeup look like? Buyer’s agents, listing agents or admin, what’s the breakdown?
We are a team of nine agents. We have three admin and a videographer. We’ve got a combination of listing and buyers agents. Generally speaking, when we bring new agents onto the team, they come on as buyer’s agents to understand and ensure that they are good at our processes and how we do things. Especially if they’re experienced and know how to sell a home, but there are different things and processes that we do that differentiate us from other agents or teams in the marketplace.
Online Marketing: Real estate is a relationship business. It is about conversations with your clients and providing value to them.
It’s so that they understand how we do things and can potentially move into doing both listings and buyers if that’s something they want to do. Our admin, we’ve got a marketing coordinator and she helps with social media and getting things scheduled, client events, client mailers and stuff like that. We’ve got two transaction coordinators. We have a videographer who works with us probably about 15 to 20-ish hours a week or so on top of his other stuff.
Katie, let’s talk about your passion for marketing. It’s something you take very seriously, taking care of your clients to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to market their property well. I think many agents feel like they know to market a property. They may know the basics, but to do it well to make a difference for that consumer is not easy. Can you share your thoughts on marketing?
It’s something that I have difficulty with sometimes. I was at a video mastermind and this was something that we talked about a lot is like, “What can we do to continue to level up?” I haven’t been in real estate very long. I started in 2017 and was full-time when I joined Coldwell Banker. Even looking back a few years, the video wasn’t a thing. You’d be like, “I have this cutting-edge video property tour.” Now, if you go into a listing appointment, you say, “I’m going to do a video property tour.” They’re like, “Great.” It’s every other person that we interviewed.
The conversation that we had in that mastermind was around like, “If video and professional, not iPhone shot, gimbal shot with a professional camera is the standard, what are you going to do to level up from that?” That’s something that I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like for our team in 2022 and us. I think that it’s an ever-evolving and changing thing.
Video is a key component for you when it comes to marketing property or even marketing Houston or a niche area that you work in. All of that stuff makes sense, but let’s talk about YouTube videos. We’ll even get to Instagram eventually, but you’re working hard on that right now. I love some of the things that have come out of that YouTube channel. I think it’s going to be amazing and it’s already amazing. I’m curious about what your take is and how that’s going to work going forward working with video?
I appreciate you saying that because that’s not how I feel about the content and what we’re doing. That’s something that is high on my list. Prior to this, we were talking a little bit about coaches and things like that. My coach is Jason Pantana, who’s the guru of all things real estate but digital. He has been on me so much about me and my YouTube channel. He’s like, “You need to go harder and more on it.” I’ve got an entire 2022 plan that we’re going to implement. I do some research. I appreciate you saying that because I don’t feel that same way.
Let’s talk about one of your videos in particular. It was the pros and cons of moving to Houston or Houston real estate. You covered a lot of different things and that video blew up. Is that something that you’re trying to duplicate? Something that you’re going to be doing more of? I think that video was fantastic.
I was not expecting that to happen. What frustrates me about that video is it was shot on my phone with a front-facing camera. I think that it was like a little smudge because I look at it and I’m like, “This is blurry.” There are things that I would have done differently as far as B-roll and what I said. It’s one of those like, “Done is better than perfect.” I was like, “I need to put out content. Just post it. I’ll do a better one later and it’s fine.” Obviously, it didn’t have 50,000 views in a day, but it was 1,000 views in a day.
I was like, “This is not something that normally happens. I’m at seven views in a day.” It’s me, my admin and my mom. I was like, “I can’t pull it down. We’ll let it ride,” and it continued to increase. In 2022, we are going to do high production quality YouTube videos. I’m going to have bullet points laid out and it’s going to be great. I was not expecting it to take off in the manner that it did, but it did. We’ve been very fortunate because that then spurs on other videos to be watched. If people watch that, then mine come up on their feed as far as suggested videos.
Katie, you’re being a little hard on yourself, or it could be that driver personality that you have that you want these things to be great. It will be fun to watch where that YouTube channel develops in 2022. You keep working on the content and what you’re doing there. Let’s switch over to Instagram for a little bit. I’ve had people telling me, “People are on Instagram, but it never sells a property. They can’t generate any business that way.” First of all, what do you say to them? Second, let’s talk about the strategy behind your Instagram channel. What are you trying to do there? What are some of the things that are important for you? What are some things you could share with people, so they’re doing the right things on theirs?
First of all, if anyone tells you, and I know you already told them this, but that you can’t get business from Instagram, they’re full of it. That would be my sidebar to this conversation or intro to this conversation. It’s difficult because a lot of times, people post content for other realtors and they’re not posting content for consumers.
That’s one of the biggest mistakes that people make is they’re posting what they think other people want to see, not what actual consumers want to see. My mistake and every agent’s mistake, honestly, in the beginning, if you go back to my thing, it’s like a highlight reel of, “Just listed, sold,” and there’s no actual value. 2017-ish was when I realized that I needed to have buckets of content and things that I included.
Everyone in real estate heard of Gary Vaynerchuk, and his entire digital mayor thing resonated with me. As we work with people in finding a home, they often want to know what that community and neighborhood are going to be like. We had a specific farm that we were working but I was like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we did videos of every single business that we frequent on our farm, the bars, the restaurants, the coffee shops and all that?” We started in a very small area of Houston and branched out from there. Community-based content was one.
It was like, “I’m selling real estate. I need people to know that I’m selling real estate and I am knowledgeable so I’m going to talk about the market. I’m going to talk about real estate things and be that knowledge broker.” That’s bucket two. I do need to have some just listed and sold, proof of success. I think that’s big. A lot of people focus on just listed and sold. I think that’s great, but you should also include the story of like, “This is difficult for the buyer. They put offers in on ten homes and we finally crafted the one that hit,” or whatever happened. “There’s an issue with the title and the title company came through.” “There was an issue with a lender, but the lender did this.”
If you tell people that it’s all rainbows and butterflies and they watch HGTV, they think that it is, but that proof of success, with a story, is bucket three, and then personal should be bucket four. That’s now how I organize it as far as the content of. If you look at my feed, for the most part, I try to make it visually appealing to when it’s all said and done, it has a little bit of a theme. We have brand fonts, colors and things like that we also implement there to make it look aesthetically pleasing, but from a content perspective, having those buckets is the most important.
For those reading, go check out Katie’s Instagram account for the highlights. I think those highlights rock. Well done.
You’re welcome. Let’s go back to Real. We talked about what brought you back over, but even in that short amount of time, some things have changed. If you’re talking to somebody about Real, what are you telling them? What’s the thing that people need to know about what Real is doing? I know Erinn Nobel, I interviewed her, has come back over. It’s an interesting company at this time.
It’s funny because I do have a lot of conversations with people. When I joined, we were at 2,000 agents. I was somewhere around 2,000. In December of 2021, we’re sitting closer to 4,000. It’s a significant increase in agent count. It comes up a lot because a lot of people either were opening in a new state or area or city or you rolled over on Facebook and saw someone joined Real. You start looking into it and seeing these things. For me, when I joined, being completely transparent, the numbers made sense for us from where we were to where we were going. My team members would all make more money.
It was something that I was like, “This is a great opportunity for them.” The main driver was like, “If you can make more money per transaction in the short-term, it potentially attract agents to the company.” It was something that we were already doing with Coldwell Banker and something that we would have done wherever we went because we’re growing our team. We want to grow a local culture. If you can financially benefit from that, then cool. There is some additional money that you wouldn’t have had potentially at other brokerages and with the stock.
If we continue to grow this company the right way together, the stock continues to increase and you’re participating in the stock purchase program, you could have money now that increases in the future, and the company also matches. The easiest way I like to describe it is as it’s like a 401(k) that you’re never going to miss. You now have money in a publicly-traded company that if the stock goes from, when we joined, under $2 a share, now we’re sitting closer to $4. If it continues to do that in the future, that could be a game-changer for you and your family.
Those were the reasons why we came over. That was how I told the team once we made the decision like, “This is what we want to do, and this is what that looks like for you financially. I think this is the right financial move.” That was why I came over, but now that I’m here, it’s difficult to describe. That’s what’s frustrating because it’s not something that’s quantifiable. I’m not leaving because of the culture, the people and the energy that we have in building this brokerage together. I have good friends in Alberta, San Antonio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and across the country that we talk about on a daily basis.
The amount of energy and excitement that we’re all getting to do this together is indescribable. It’s frustrating because it’s difficult to quantify to someone. If they want to join Real, hear more about Real, I’m like, “We’re excited.” They’re like, “That’s great. Good for you.” I came for the money, I’m staying for the people, but I’m super thrilled to be here and excited to build something with people that I truly admire, respect and happy to be in business with.
Katie, do you mind sharing what’s next? What’s on the horizon for MOVEMETOTX? I’m always curious to see where these leaders in the industry are thinking about what they’re going to do next?
I’m an open book, so ask me anything. I’m always happy to share and give best practices or things that I did wrong or whatever. Looking into 2022, we basically want to double our transaction count. We’re going to put a lot of pressure on our systems and people, and continue to grow and add more people to the team. That’s one thing. We’re going to end the year with just over 200 closed. We’re aiming for 400 closed transactions. We are also getting into development. Building homes here in Houston is something that we’re starting to do but will be a larger portion of our business in 2022.
Outside of that from a more business type thing, we’re looking to do more YouTube and content. The Gary Vees and Tom Ferriss of the world that are putting out highly produced content plus not highly produced content, selfie-video type stuff on a daily basis, multiple times per day, I want to rival that. I have some ideas and things we’re already working on, but the goal for 2022 is how can we continue to level up? How can we continue to put out better quality and higher production quality videos? It’s better content, quality and continues to raise the bar as much as possible.
I see a whole lot more hours for your videographer. Is that probably going to happen?
We’ve had the conversation. He’s aware of my goals. There are many a day that we spend the entire day together.
Katie, I’ve got to ask you the same final question that I’ve asked every guest since the beginning of the show, and that is what one piece of advice would you give a new agent starting in the business?
The first thing that I would say would be to whatever you choose to do, be consistent in it. The sidebar to that would be that don’t let yourself get distracted by shiny objects. One of the biggest things in real estate is there’s always someone with the next best product that’s going to change your business or revolutionize the industry or whatever it may be. At the end of the day, real estate is a relationship business. Real estate is about having conversations with your clients. It’s about providing value and doing things consistently. For us, it’s doing a transaction and continuing that relationship with the client.
Online Marketing: Many people think that just after shooting one video and doing an open house, people would flock to their door. That’s not how real estate works.
Too many people think that they shoot one video, do one open house, go door knocking once and they think like, “Those clearly don’t work because I didn’t get a deal from it.” That’s not how real estate is. I would say be consistent in whatever you do. You need to give it time. The consistency is what’s going to take you far here.
Katie, if someone wants to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to do that?
The best place to reach me would probably be Instagram. I respond to all of my direct messages, DMs, on there. It’s @MoveMeToTx. I’m happy to chat or set up a call or whatever it may be.
Katie, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to have a chat here on the show. It’s a wonderful conversation. I love what you’re doing. I look forward to watching your continued success as you move forward into 2022.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m glad we’re connected.
About Katie Day
As Team Leader for the MOVEMETOTX Team, I work to recruit new Real Estate agents, marketing, and admin team members to better serve our clients.
As an agent on the MOVEMETOTX Team, my focus is to assist sellers in preparing their homes for sale so that they may obtain top dollar in a competitive market. We work hard to create a personalized and dynamic marketing strategy for each home that we sell. Your home is likely your most valuable asset, and you should work with an agent that treats it as such.