Leverage Agent Spotlight: Lee W Miller, Avenue 8
As part of our ongoing series, Leverage sat down with Napa, California agent Lee W Miller. With vast experience in business and real estate, Lee is deeply rooted in his community and enjoys nothing more than helping his clients attain their real estate dreams.
How did you get into real estate?
If not for the late '70's recession with interest rates in the high teens, I may very well be celebrating 41 years as a Realtor. Upon acquiring my B.S. degree in business with concentrations in Marketing and Real Estate in '81, those two factors directed me to the corporate world. My thought was to postpone my real estate career for 2-3 years until the market improved. I often joke that it was my dyslexia that resulted in a 32 year corporate career instead of '2-3' years.
I enjoyed sales and marketing success in the dynamic telecom industry. I advanced from sales rep to VP Sales with powerhouse companies such as Toshiba, Siemens, & Samsung and a few startups bringing every bleeding edge telecom technology to market, i.e. fax, voice mail, speech recognition, PBX's, unified messaging and more...until eventually, all the technology was shifted from a phone closet on site to the 'cloud'. That shift, while initially spelling doom, provided a perfect segue into real estate. At least other than the fact it coincided with a recent relocation to Napa. I have achieved success in real estate despite having moved to a new city, not knowing anyone...and THEN, getting licensed. Not a recommended path to follow. It's a tough enough business to build from scratch. My path was much more difficult. Fully immersing myself into the local community was done through joining nonprofit boards, volunteering at charity events and throwing my hat in the ring to become the President of the Napa Chapter of North Bay Association of Realtors.
Another agent and I did a local TV show for about a year, then switched to a local radio show that I eventually continued for 2.5 years on my own. The format of my radio show was to invite local business owners to come promote their businesses via me interviewing them.
Now, I am on first name basis with many business leaders in the community government leaders such as every city council member, the DA, mayor, chief of police and county supervisors.
Tell us about one of your most interesting deals.
One of my favorite sales was the day I had 5 properties to show a client. After walking through the third property, the client said they were done. No need to see the last 2. Write the offer for the third one. All combined, doing the property search, setting the appointments and doing the showings, I had about 90 minutes invested. I wish they all could be so simple.
The opposite of such an experience was the client that took 14 months, looked at dozens of properties, had me write 8 offers, only to wake up the next morning and cancel for fear that the properties were not just right, twice after having our offer accepted. Eventually, my efforts and patience were rewarded with a nice sale.
What are your daily “must-do(s)”?
Exercise, read up on the market, and make at least one phone call to someone I have not spoken with for more than 6 months.
How do you like to spend your free time?
My wife and I are very social and enjoy dining out with friends, listening to live music performances, and hiking. She does not play but I also enjoy a weekly round of golf.
Share one thing on your bucket list.
Hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon...though at 64, I may need to forego this one. Having skydived and finished a full marathon at younger ages may have to suffice in the rather extreme or exotic bucket list items. That would leave extensive international travel, mostly Europe
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your business?
My long slow climb to success was made much more difficult based on the relocation to Napa while still in the corporate world and then suddenly laid off. Facing very obvious age discrimination (age 56) from corporations plainly confirmed it was time to get my license. While still not right, I am now grateful this occurred. Otherwise, I would likely still be getting on an airplane almost every Monday and returning home on Thursdays...which is what I did for 30 years, pre real estate.
Now, I so immensely enjoy the involvement and connection I have with my community and a degree of gratification from helping buyers and sellers that far exceeds the multitude of accolades in the corporate world.
To connect with Lee, please email him at [email protected].
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If you would like to be interviewed for a Leverage Agent Spotlight, please contact the Leverage team at [email protected].