Prepared for Opportunity

During her first sale, Colorado broker-owner Wendi Roudybush learned the importance of being in the right place at the right time.

April 1, 2010

When she offered to host another practitioner’s open house in a condominium complex near the University of Arizona in Tucson to gain experience in 1990, Wendi Roudybush, now broker-owner of Jamboree Homes LLC in Rye, Colo., never imagined her timing could be so good.

Prior to the open house, Roudybush sent fliers to all the condo owners in the building publicizing the event. During the event, Roudybush got a call from an absentee owner of another unit in the same building desperate for help.

“He lived in California and had listed his unit with another agent but said he could not get the agent to return his calls. He said he had a bad feeling that his tenant had bailed and asked if I would check on his unit and call him back,” Roudybush recalls.

Later that day, Roudybush used the key safe to enter the caller’s home. A cursory glance provided no good news. She knew her next call would be a tough one.

“The place was totally trashed. The tenant had gone but left garbage everywhere and damaged the walls. There was oil in the carpets; it looked like he had fixed his motorcycle in the living room and washed the parts in the dishwasher,” she recalls.

Upset but appreciative of the new real estate sales rep’s efforts, the absentee seller asked if Roudybush would be willing to find someone to clean the unit and get it back on the market.

“Having been in the business for several months without a paycheck, I was pretty broke, so I suggested my husband and I do the work to get the place into a saleable condition. The owner agreed to pay us several thousand dollars to ready the home or sale, and I got the listing as well,” she adds.

Staging the home was no easy task. The 1,700-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo had a loft that overlooked a living room with two-story ceilings that required Roudybush to rent a 16-foot-ladder. And it took several days to clean the oil stains out of carpet.

With the trash gone, the couple started to paint the walls. “Since we were spending so much time there, my husband suggested we put up open house signs and get some exposure. Forty-five minutes after we put up the sign, a couple knocked at the door. They looked around, made an offer that afternoon, and I made my first sale. I got both sides of the commission, plus several thousand dollars for doing the work. So my first real estate paycheck was over $10,000 dollars. I was still in my 20s and had never seen so much money. I remember thinking, ‘I love this business!’ It has never been that easy since, but I was hooked,” she adds.

How did you start building your client list as a new sales associate?

ROUDYBUSH: I started by contacting everyone I knew. I targeted neighborhoods I thought were profitable as far as turnover. I did not pick high-dollar areas. I picked areas where the market was really moving.

How did you get started in real estate?

ROUDYBUSH: I went to see an open house and was very impressed by listing agent. In fact, she ended up becoming a friend and a mentor, and I eventually worked for her company. I spent a few years working for a new home builder and have lived in three cities since that first sale. In addition to Jamboree Homes, I am the broker-owner of Jamboree Realty & Development LLC in Prescott, Ariz., where I lived until 2006 and am still licensed.

How long did this first transaction take?

ROUDYBUSH: I got the listing in August 1990. The property sold for about $150,000 and closed in November. That was my only sale that year. The following year, I closed a little over $2 million.

What were some of your biggest fears about your first real estate transaction?

ROUDYBUSH: I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it. I went into the business because I was mad at the company I was working for. I worked for a company that sold printing paper to printers. They had given a job I wanted and felt qualified for to someone else. That is how I got into the real estate business. I wanted to work in a career that provided me with more individual opportunities.

What did this transaction do for your professional career?

ROUDYBUSH: It gave me the money to get started and the confidence to believe in myself and my decision to enter real estate. I bought a nice car and some nice clothes and used the extra funds to market myself.

Did you have a specialty or niche when you started? 

ROUDYBUSH: They called me the condo queen for a while because I ended up selling about four other condos in that one complex. Shortly thereafter, I went to work for a home builder and sold custom homes for a few years.

What did this transaction teach you?

ROUDYBUSH: It taught me to have hope and never assume that things won’t just fall into place. If you do the footwork and lay the foundation for opportunity to knock, it might just come knocking. It did in my case. Preparation often results in opportunity.