Lessons Learned: Agents Who Took an Unconventional Path to Real Estate Share Their Advice

By Coldwell Banker Global Luxury By Coldwell Banker Global Luxury | July 21, 2023 | Home & Real Estate, Sponsored Post, CB Trends,

From practice-filled days to winning plays, these four Coldwell Banker agents share unique real estate advice based on the skills they gained in their former careers.

Real estate agents come from all walks of life, and sometimes, the best agents start out doing something completely different. While competing in professional sports or playing a golfer on the big screen seems like it would have nothing to do with real estate, the lessons these four Coldwell Banker agents learned from their time in the spotlight influence their work more than you might think. We talked to them to find out how their skills translated to real estate, and what advice they have for buyers based on their previous careers.

The Advice: Act fast

The Agent: Erik Schlopy, Olympic Skier

Image_1.pngColdwell Banker Global Luxury Agent Erik Schlopy was inducted into the US Ski Hall of Fame in 2014.

Raised in Buffalo and Vermont with two ski instructors for parents, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Agent Erik Schlopy learned how to ski at the ripe age of two. His passion and dedication to the sport carried him to the national US Ski Team right after high school, where he had a 19-year career in ski racing and competed in three Olympic games.

Being an athlete, Schlopy says, is similar to being a real estate agent in the sense that there are no guarantees, and you have to work hard to see the payoff. “Real estate is a ‘No Deposit, No Return’ scenario just like sports,” Schlopy says. “You have to put the time and effort in for the rewards, and at the end of the day, it’s up to you!”

image_2.JPGSchlopy competed in three Olympic games before retiring in 2009.

Now, with a bronze medal from the 2003 World Championships and an induction into the US Ski Hall of Fame under his belt, Schlopy brings the same dedication he did to skiing to his clients on Team Schlopy—his family’s Coldwell Banker agency in Park City, Utah.

“If I’m working with a client, they are my responsibility and my priority, just like skiing was to me when I was competing,” he says. “I wake up and go to sleep thinking about what is best for them and how best to serve them. It’s just a mindset of focusing on what’s in front of me and anticipating any challenges—similar to ski racing.”

Schlopy found success in his skiing career by starting early and running with every opportunity that arose, and he suggests that buyers take on the same mentality. “The sooner you buy, the better,” he says. “You can’t time the market, and real estate equity growth over time is powerful. Buy for the long haul and buy early!”

Schlopy’s Golden Eagle development holds over 328 single-family homes.

Team Schlopy’s Golden Eagle development is almost an acre of vacant lots overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir. With views of the backside of Deer Valley and Timpanogos Mountain, the lots are conveniently located 10 minutes from Park City Mountain Resort and ready to be your next slopeside home base.

The Advice: Have a game plan

The Agent: Blair Walsh, Former Professional Football Player

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury agent Blair Walsh played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons in his NFL career.

As a former professional football player in the National Football League, Coldwell Banker agent Blair Walsh knows a thing or two about hard work. After getting into football late in high school, Walsh signed on as a placekicker at the University of Georgia. He fell in love with the game, and upon graduating, Walsh was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.

“Being a former professional athlete, I am uniquely adept at performing in pressure-packed situations,” he says. “Real estate transactions require the agent to maintain a consistent and measured approach in order to achieve the best possible results for their clients. When external factors begin to make the deal challenging, it’s imperative that I trust the plan I’ve put together for my buyer or seller while maintaining the flexibility to adapt as circumstances warrant. This helps me provide my clients with the most sound advice in order to help them achieve their desired result in the transaction.”

Along with knowing how to perform in high-stakes situations, Walsh’s unique experience as a professional athlete taught him several lessons that he carries on to his clients. The most important piece of advice he offers mirrors what he learned in professional football: Always have a game plan.

“I went into every game I played in the NFL with a clear objective and plan for how I was going to achieve it,” he says. “That’s no different in the world of real estate. The best advice I can offer to a client is to go into each real estate transaction with a clear objective of what you are hoping to achieve, and, with your agent’s help, develop a plan for how you are going to achieve it.”

Now, Walsh has brought his skills and expertise to Newport Beach, where he feels that the support and level of Coldwell Banker is comparable to that he felt in the NFL. “I try to be surrounded by like-minded individuals in this business, and I felt that Coldwell Banker was the closest thing to the NFL, where you’re surrounded by the type of people you want to compare yourself with, work with and achieve with.”

image_5.jpgLocated in Shady Canyon, 20 Grey Owl boasts a 28,924-foot corner lot.

One of Walsh’s listings, 20 Grey Owl, is located in the prestigious community of Shady Canyon, which offers luxurious amenities like a resort-style salt-water pool, spa, private tennis courts and hiking/biking trails. Featuring a spacious backyard, subterranean cellar and a home theater, the fully gated, 5-bed, 6.5-bath custom estate is the epitome of privacy.

The Advice: Find the right teammate

The Agent: Manuela Manetta, Former Professional Squash Player

Image_3.pngSeattle-based Coldwell Banker Global Luxury agent Manuela Manetta represented Italy in professional squash for 16 years.

Born and raised in Italy, Coldwell Banker agent Manuela Manetta gravitated to squash at a young age. By 18, she was playing squash professionally, where she represented Italy and competed around the globe for 16 years, ranking as high as 25th in the world. This kind of success takes serious discipline and grit—something that Manetta has in excess.

“In both squash and real estate, you have to be pretty strong, mentally, and determined because you get burnt sometimes,” Manetta says. “The rewards are very high, but the downsides are also very hard. So you have to be able to make a comeback without losing too much time crying about it.”

Similar to the fast pace of squash, the dynamic nature of Seattle real estate excited Manetta. Coming from Italy, where people tend to live in one home their entire lives, Manetta found it exhilarating that Seattle homeowners see real estate as an investment and opportunity for growth. “There’s no ending point in Seattle real estate,” she says. “It just keeps coming at you, and the growth just doesn’t end.”

With a market as high energy as Seattle, Manetta advises buyers to prioritize finding an agent who’s committed, hard working and knows how to win, much like an athlete. “One of my main pieces of advice to consumers is to work with someone who can strategize with you a winning offer and understands the market really well,” she says. “It's a competitive market here in Seattle, which means strategy and the willingness to take risks is crucial in order to get the home you love.”

Featuring modern touches and an open layout, this condo is soaked in natural light.

One of Manetta’s recent sales, 583 Battery St #1507, offers impeccable views of Seattle and the waterfront through huge oversized windows. Complete with a balcony and a contemporary chef’s kitchen, this condo awards access to a plethora of amenities, including a hot tub, lap pool, sauna, car wash and 41st-floor Sky Lounge.

The Advice: Use your instincts

The Agent: John Barmon, Actor in Caddyshack

Coldwell Banker agent John Barmon played Spaulding Smails, the grandson of the country club president, in Caddyshack.

Also known as Spaulding Smails from the 1980 golf cult classic Caddyshack, John Barmon lived many lives before coming into his own at Coldwell Banker. He was cast for the Spaulding role in 1979 during his sophomore year of college and spent half of his junior year filming it (a college kid’s dream). Now, Spaulding’s legacy lives on in the houses of frat boys and golf fans everywhere.

While Caddyshack was his only film to hit theaters, the lessons Barmon learned in his time as an actor have benefited him and his clients throughout his real estate career. His biggest piece of advice for people looking to buy a home is to trust their gut.

“Use your instincts,” Barmon says. “An actor relies greatly on their instincts when creating a role or character, and when a consumer is choosing a real estate agent, they need to listen to that voice inside that says either this is a person I can work with, or this is someone who is not going to be a good fit. Remember, you're going to have to work with this agent through some potentially very stressful times.”

Now working out of Coldwell Banker in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Barmon has seen how important the skills he gained as an actor are to real estate success. Specifically, the takeaway that treating people well and being easy to work with always pays off.

“I learned early on in acting that old adage, ‘You get more with honey than with vinegar,’” he says. “I've seen cases where buyers actually walked away from a deal after dealing with some disagreeable sellers during a negotiation. If the sellers had been just a little bit nicer during the whole process, the buyers might have hung in there.”

Barmon’s team has a listing at 64 Bow Street that features gorgeous bay windows and historic details.

Situated in the heart of Somerville’s Union Square, one of Barmon’s listings, 64 Bow Street, is a sun-filled corner condo in the historic Gerrior Square Condominiums. The two-bedroom home, featuring huge bay windows, hardwood floors and original wood trim, is perfect for a growing family.

Find your next star-worthy home here: coldwellbankerluxury.com.

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