What’s It like to be a Realtor? – Troy Garcia

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At Alvarado Real Estate Group, each member of our team uses their diverse knowledge and individual skill sets to serve our clients and support our community. With backgrounds in everything from social work to horticulture to construction, each of our team members has their own unique expertise and perspective. And, in this series, we take a moment to introduce you to each one of them. Today, let’s get to know Troy Garcia and learn what it’s really like to be a realtor.


What drew you to your job? 

When my family bought our 1st home, we knew very little about the home buying process. We had very little cash reserves and we were, honestly, intimidated by the whole process of buying a home. But, we took a home buying class in Portland, Oregon, and we learned two things. We learned that we could indeed buy a home and that buying a home wasn’t all that scary after all. 

After we became homeowners, we learned another thing. We learned that a home is more than just a roof over your head. A home is an asset that increases over time and is a major building block of family and generational wealth. 

Homeownership was such a game changer for my family that I wanted to share my experiences with my friends who were thinking about buying their first home; and I encouraged my friends to meet with lenders, find a realtor, take a home buying class, and buy a home. I would also send my friends listing of homes, so I figured I should get a license. 

For me, empowering people so they can buy that 1st home and start building enduring wealth and financial security is why I got into this business.”


What did you do before real estate? 

Before I got into real estate, I was a stay at home parent and was active in my sons’ school’s parent teacher organization. Being a stay at home parent taught me how to be more present and more patient. Being in the school PTO showed me how much I enjoyed community building. Being able to volunteer in my community and to help make things better for my kids’ school brought a lot of satisfaction. 

And before I had kids, I did picture framing for a while. What I enjoyed about that work was taking something that meant so much to someone, like a photograph, a painting, a piece of memorabilia, or any other sort of ephemera, and transform it into a show piece so that they could share with others in their home. Picture framing design work helped me learn how to listen to clients and make their vision a reality. Building frames is a lot of fun too. There are a surprising amount of interesting problems to work through on certain projects, like shadow boxes, that is rewarding.


What’s something you wish you knew when you started in real estate? 

I wish when I first started that I had done a better job of being more professional when working with friends. As a realtor, it takes a long time to build a sustainable referral base, and when you’re just starting out, working with friends and family is often how you begin to build that base. When I would work with friends and family I would naturally be more familiar with them than was really appropriate considering the stress and stakes involved in a real estate transaction.

I’m glad I had people around me who supported me and helped me, but –  again just being honest – during those first couple of years, I probably had too many laughs with my clients and friends. And, looking back, I can see how the approach I use now would have helped my friends and clients a lot more than the approach I used back then. 

Today, I apply a measured approach when helping my clients. Buying a home is an emotional journey with a  lot of worry, anxiety, and anticipation. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster. I always think back to how I felt when I was buying my 1st home (and the 2nd and 3rd), and it was definitely an emotional journey for me and my wife. 

So, today, I work closely with each client to understand their specific goals and to really understand where they’re at emotionally with buying or selling their home. This helps me provide each client with clear and useful information, and it helps me help them feel calm and confident throughout the entire home buying and selling process.


What’s something you wish more people knew about real estate? 

I wish more people knew that there is no such thing as the “right time” to buy or sell a house. I know a lot of people were really shaken and hurt by the 2008 housing crash, and I think a lot of people came away from that thinking, “If only I did this,” or “If only knew that then.” They feel that if they can somehow anticipate or predict the  “best time” to sell or buy a home then they won’t get hurt like that again. 

But, unfortunately, there just isn’t one universal “best time” to buy or sell. The sad fact is that the best time to buy is usually 5 years in the past, and the best time to sell is usually 5 years in the future. So, unless you have a time machine, the actual “best time” to buy or sell a home is really whenever it’s the best time for you and your family and that depends on your circumstances.

Obviously, each family and person is unique, so to find the best time to buy or sell, you have to look at all of the unique things going on in your life and your family’s life and weigh the pro’s and con’s of your individual situation. And I know that is easier said than done. Again, buying my 1st home was an emotional journey for me; and, when you’re doing it on your own, I know how hard it can be to accurately evaluate all of your options and make the best, most fully-informed and sound decision for you and your family. 

That’s why I’m always happy to talk with folks about their specific situation, and I center my work around understanding each client and their goals. Then I can give them the very best resources to help them decide what’s the best choice to make for them.


How do you stay updated on real estate market trends? 

One of the things I do is to look at our local picture. To do that, I go straight to the source and take time to actually talk with people in the community. I talk with the other agents in my office and with the lenders I work with and ask them what they’re really seeing right now. For example, right now because of home inventory being as tight as it is, I’ve found that lenders and buyers/sellers are adjusting how they write their contract terms. Knowing this helps me keep my clients informed and helps me give my clients the best advantage when they’re negotiating and writing their own contracts.  

Another thing  I do is I read and listen to the news so that I can stay informed with what’s going on in the wider, bigger world. I’ve found that even news stories that seem to have nothing to do with real estate still often directly impacts real estate. Most of us don’t realize how much news stories and narratives influence our own perceptions about the world,  the economy, the housing market, and the future. I know I didn’t realize this or really let it sink-in for a long time. But now I stay up to date and keep a critical eye so that I can sort through how much of any particular news story’s narrative is shaping public perception.


What’s one of the hardest problems in real estate today? 

I’d say right now one of the hardest things is emotions. For instance, with inventory as thin as it is right now, when working with my buyer clients, helping them stay positive can be a challenge. For example, there’s been some very intense bidding recently because of low housing inventory. And when it feels like it’s taken so long to find the right house, to find “the one ” and you finally put in that bid and you’re waiting and excited and nervous and you finally get that call back just to find out that you got outbid, it’s a whole lot more than just a little disappointing. The experience can be heartbreaking.

So, though we go through a lot of material, resources, and information together, my clients and I go through a lot of emotions together too. And I work hard to support my clients when things get difficult. It’s also important to celebrate and be excited for my clients when everything comes together. 

Something I tell my clients when an offer isn’t accepted or when something falls through is that even though they didn’t get this house or that house when they do get their offer accepted and they close and have those keys in hand, they will barely remember those other houses – because those were never home.


What gets you out of bed everyday to be a realtor? 

Well, the first thing that helps me get out of bed everyday is coffee, haha. 

But what really gets me up and motivated and moving is helping people. Helping people find their dream home and helping them work through any obstacles that stand in the way. Sometimes a real estate transaction can be quick and smooth and everything is wonderful. However, for a lot of people, buying or selling a home is a journey, a journey that usually has a few bumps along the way and has some obstacles along the path. But, that’s why I get up everyday. I get up to help folks and support them along that journey and to overcome whatever obstacles stand in their way.

(By the way, that coffee I mentioned. I drink it out of a mug with the image of Ganesh, The Remover of Obstacles, haha)

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