Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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I’m Debt-FREEEEEEE!

I’m often asked how I got into the “real estate training” business – usually by people who’d like to do it too. People who feel they have a message and are passionate about sharing it.

So, Jennifer, how did you make the transition from being a reasonably successful real estate agent to being a Debtreasonably successful real estate trainer and what advice would you give me if I wanted to do it, too?”

Well, truth be told (and I DO tell these people the truth that you’re about to read), I would never advise anyone to do it the way I did. Oh, I can’t say I know of a better way, although I have learned a thing or two along the journey, but unless you want to go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt (yes, you read that right), find ANOTHER way to make your dream come true other than the path I took!

On that fateful day in April of 2006 when my business partner abruptly called it quits, leaving me high and dry with a real estate company I didn't want to manage by myself, I had $90,000 in the bank, $132,000 in my IRA and no credit card debt. That was the day I took my first step toward becoming a real estate writer and trainer.

Two and a half years later, once the dust had settled and I peered up from the bottom of the hole I’d dug for myself, my bank account was empty, my IRA was worth less than $20,000 and I had (are you sitting down?) well over $100,000 in credit card debt. For the more mathematically-inclined, yes, that means I burned through more than $300,000.

Oops.

I started digging out. I’d like to say I cut up my credit cards, lived on rice and beans and became gazelle-intense (all Dave Ramsey’isms), but that would be a lie. Even after two and a half years away from the monopoly-money paychecks of a successful real estate career, I must confess I still had trouble telling myself no, especially when it came to investing in my business.

But things started to turn around; I made more good choices than bad, and as the Sell with Soul message spread, I gratefully started to enjoy the fruits of my labors.

Last month, I paid off my last debt; a $10,000 personal loan I had to take out when the basement flooded in the house I was trying to sell. That last $10,000 came from the inheritance I received from my mother who died last year (a year ago today, actually; miss you, Mom), and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I wish I could have used her money toward something a little more meaningful than paying for a flooded basement, but oh well.

Anyway, I’m probably not going to call Dave Ramsey’s radio show and scream “I’M DEBT-FREEEEEEE,” so I’ll do it here for my friends. And yeah, it feels goooooood.

 

It's Here!

 

The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment balloon 30 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • August 15 2011 08:12AM

Comments

Congratulations on getting rid of your debt!

I will be in debt for sometime to come.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 7 years ago

Congratulations on becoming debt fre in America - your hard work and determination is a witness to us all - thanks for sharing 

Posted by Broker Nick, Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service (South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jennifer - You have every right to spread your debt-free news--especially in this economy.  Nice work!

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 7 years ago

Jennifer, WOW!  You are a true example of what Dave Ramsey teaches all of us.  I'm so proud of you for not only digging out of your hole, but so openly sharing with all of us.  I respect you for being so transparent at all times and I'm so PROUD of you :)  Are you a Dave ELP?  (I am...yay!).  If not, you need to be girl.  Keep sharing yourself and your knowledge and even more good things will come your way.  I believe in Karma.  Congrats!

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) over 7 years ago

Jennifer that is awesome, congratulations! Being debt free is my dream!

Posted by Joanne over 7 years ago

Jennifer, congratulations on being debt free.  I'm looking forward to the day that I can scream that from the rooftops too.

Sorry to hear about your mom.  Maybe you can work towards saving $10,000 in honor of her  :)

Posted by Nancy Pav, Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor (Century 21 Redwood Realty) over 7 years ago

Congrats, girlfriend!  So happy for you.  What a huge relief that must be.  Now, what exotic vacation are you  planning now?

Posted by Becky Griffin over 7 years ago

Woohoo!  It takes guts and a certain amount of recklessness to shoot for what we really want in life.  Congratulations on doing it, on digging yourself out, and on being grateful for where you are.

Posted by Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager (RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca) over 7 years ago

As another soul who has given it all (and then some) to get ACRE® off the ground, congrats my friend! What a wonderful accomplishment!

Posted by Mollie Wasserman (Your Move Made Simple) over 7 years ago

Congratulations.  It is the best way to live.  Just spend the money you have and figure out how to make a boatload more.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 7 years ago

That is fabulous news.  Congratulations my friend.  I also read your blog again when your Mom passed away and it made me cry again.  

Posted by Lois Kubota over 7 years ago

Way to watch those pennies. They need to put you in charge paying of our national debt. 

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) over 7 years ago

Congrats to you Jennifer. I am dealing with a couple from Florida who own clear there home and are debt free. It is great. I hope to be there to some day

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros (AllMountainRealty.com) over 7 years ago

Good for you Jennifer. It takes a lot sticktoittiveness to be successful at any endeavor. TLW started Tutas Towne Realty on less than $100. We did take about 50 listings from the company I was with and had quite a few pendings. We actually used a commisison advance company to get money to order signs!!

It took us about 30 days to have our first closing. It took 12 years to go a month without one!! Now we are 15 years in and going strong.

I'm not debt free. But I do owe almost $1,000,000 less than I did in 2005.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 7 years ago

YOU GO GIRL!!!  WHOO HOO!!!  WTG!!!  What an accomplishment!  I dream of the day that I can say I'm debt free.  Mark my words, it will come but it is going to be a bit of a journey.  One step at a time though - right?

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 7 years ago

Thank you all!!!! I tell ya, it was quite a shock when I took out the calculator in 2008 and added up the damage. YOWSA! It was not a smooth journey getting to debt-free and I took several steps backwards, but I can honestly say I'm a changed woman. Not saying I won't do stupid things with my money in the future, but I'm a whole lot more fiscally aware than I was -- and (un)fortunately (?) a whole lot more suspicious and cynical when it comes to hiring people to do stuff for me.

BB - $1M? Now that's some serious monopoly money! Although now that I think about it - I did liquidate some of my real estate, so maybe I could say something similar... back to the calculator.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 7 years ago

Wow!!  That has got to feel like such a BURDEN lifted Jennifer!  How absolutely wonderful!  Well...guess I can't be too much of a crybaby with the debt I have.  I just keep paying it down...and one day I pray to say the same thing :)!

Congrats!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 7 years ago

I am going on a short 5 day vacation to Colorado on the 17th for a vacation/wedding (not mine), the two books already packed to read are Prospect with Soul and The Total Money Makover, coincidence, I think not! Congratulations!

Posted by Steven Pahl, Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423 (Keller Williams Tampa Properties) over 7 years ago

Jennifer - It's amazing that you did this given that you started your business at the beginning of the recession.  That must feel so good!!!  Now start building up your retirement account again. 

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Gail - I've thought of that - like many newer agents who began when the market was plummeting - Imagine how much fun this will be when we're stable again! I did pay off big chunks of the debt with sales of rental properties that actually still had reasonable equity - whew!!

Steven - Wow - that is a coincidence???!!! Have a great trip to Colorado!

Brenda - You'll get there!!!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 7 years ago

I am passionite about debt reduction. Never saw results until I started paying myself first " Congrats.

Posted by carl stars over 7 years ago

That is the best news Jennifer!  Congratulations.  We, too, are trying to get there...not always easy, but attainable!  Thanks for sharing that and inspiring us!

PS...I read your magnet on my refrigerator this morning...had to smile! 

Posted by Teresa Fiveash, ABR (MidSouth Residential, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jennifer, I've been an avid fan of yours for a while now and now I am even more of one. In Dave Ramsey's words "you are so weird!".  Congrats on being debt free (my wife and I also accomplished this in the past year) and my condolences on your mom, I lost my dad last year and know the pain. Keep up the great work!

Posted by Ron Fowler (Fowler Copywriting) over 7 years ago

Jennifer- I am so Proud of you! You should tell Dave Ramsey your story! It is so liberating to be debt free! We are on our way there. Interestingly, an inheritance may also be what helps us all the way there. But last year, even though we do very well in our businesses, I decided to learn how to do couponing. I cut our food bill down from $1200 a month to less than $400 per month by using coupons. Then what I did was pretend that the food bill was still $1200 a month and took that excess and put it towards Nestor's car payments and paid off his car last year. Now I am doing the same thing with my mercedes. It is almost paid off now. Then we will pay off the credit line, and so one just like Dave says to do. I will tell you, it feels great! 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 7 years ago

Katerina - that's great! I'd love to learn more about this couponing... we never go out to eat, so our grocery bills are crazy, so tell me moooooore!!!!!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 7 years ago

I've been working that DR plan for the last year, Jennifer, and we have reduced our debt by about 25% since then.  Still a ways to go before I can join in your debt free scream but I just had to stop and say how happy I am for you!!!!

Posted by Lisa Heindel, New Orleans Real Estate Broker (Crescent City Living LLC) over 7 years ago

Jennifer, I am a new subscriber to your blog so I just came across this post.   First, congratulations!  Second, do you feel better than you deserve?   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 over 7 years ago

Indeed I do, Michael... in SO many ways ;-]

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 7 years ago

Jennifer, I am late to this post. It is a great feeling to live freely. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 3 years ago

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn 
One strong woman who is an amazing role model!
All the best - Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 2 years ago

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