Real Estate Agent Podcast Episode 70: Real Estate Associations
I am successful because I surround myself with people that are smarter than myself.
About This Episode
Otto Catrina is a real estate veteran in California. As the President-Elect of the California Association of REALTORS®, he knows how important real estate associations are for new and experienced real estate professionals. They help with education and the changes in your market, but also help you to network and grow your business.
Find out more about Otto at his website. And if you have any questions or simply want to chat about real estate, email him at email@example.com.
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Ian: Hey, everyone, and welcome to Shop Talk: The Real Estate Show. I'm Ian St. Clair and joining me on this episode is Otto Catrina. Otto is a Broker with Catrina Real Estate and the President-Elect of the California Association of REALTORS®. He is also the past president of Bay, East Association of REALTORS®. On today's episode, Otto discusses why real estate professionals should get involved with an association. Otto, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today
Otto: Ian, thank you very much. It's a pleasure. Thank you.
Ian: What is a real estate association? Let's get that one right out of the way.
Otto: Well, I'll tell you what, let me break it down. We'll work from the bottom up. In California, we have approximately a 100 local associations that range anywhere from, I think the smallest association we have is around 34, up to our largest association, which I think is an excess of about 13,000 members. So each one of those associations would have either a CEO and or what we call an association executive on the staff side. And then on the volunteer side, they would have a president, president elect and generally a treasurer. And then we go up to the state level, the California association of realtors. We have over 200,000 members throughout the state, which consists of these hundred members or these hundred associations. And at the state level, we have officers, as you alluded to earlier, myself as president elect for 2021 Dave Walsh is our current 2021 precedent.
And then Jennifer Branch Cine is our treasure. And Jennifer is serving in her second year. So on the volunteer side we have a little over 800, maybe 850 state directors that are volunteers. And those are the individuals that serve on the committees as chairs, vice chairs and members. And then we go to the national level, the national association realtors, and we have, I think, between 1.4, 1.5 million members. So we are the largest trade association, United States, I think, in the world. And so those consist of state associations and local associations throughout the country.
Ian: Whole United States. That's incredible
Otto: We adhere to a set of standards to gold standards and we have metrics that we have to adhere by, as opposed to like in California, we have little over 200,000 members and I think like 450,000 total licensees, the other half are not members, our association, which would be considered real estate agents.
Ian: Why is it so important for real estate professionals to get involved with an association?
Otto: You know, I get that asked often. The biggest thing is just the education that you learn. I mean, I'm a single proprietor. So you have to self-educate yourself, you know, some larger Brokerages have meetings, weekly meetings and educational, but getting informed on legislation. We're one of the strongest advocacy groups for private property rights in California. So we do a lot of lobbying with our local communities, with our local city councils and mayors and county supervisors. And at the state level, we're very, very influential and very much involved. So when I'm meeting with my clients and the clients, you know, you, not that I make that the topic of our discussion. I mean, my, my ultimate goal is to get the listing and, and try to reach, meet my client's objectives and, and make them happy which we, we've got a great, excellent track record, but also just letting them know what we do and, and fighting on behalf of home ownership in trying to protect the homeowners from excessive taxes and, and from private property rights to taking a property.
So that's one area that it's evolved. The education component of the forms are constantly changing. You know, what started, you know, back in the seventies, eighties with one or two pages is now, I don't even know how many pages we have now. We gotta be approaching. If you have local adenda with the local associations, it could be close to a hundred pages. Those are the disclosures that we have to sit on with our client and go over everything. Does your stove work? Does your heater work? If you had a water problem, too, do you have wildlife? Do you have a dog living on a property? You have noise in the neighborhood. So we have a whole, but just better educated and getting a big thing, getting involved with the local associations that I wouldn't be where I am today.
And it was never my goal, you know, in 2008, somebody asked me, or 2002, somebody asked me, said, why don't you come to a marketing BD and marketing meetings where they're shoveling, you know flyers and people, Hey, I got a listing coming up over in, in in Castro valley and I got a townhouse coming up. So it was kind of a networking, you know, free breakfast coffee, and everybody's willing and dealing. And it's a great opportunity to create relationships and relationships in this business is just paramount. My ultimate goal is to get the best (deal for clients). I have a fiduciary obligation to my seller to get the highest and best offer. But when it's an agent that, you know, it is so much sweeter, it is so much sweeter. The reputation is there. And you know, that they're going to get to the finish line
Ian: In terms of the networking and the education, if someone's listening to this podcast that hasn't joined an association, that's the biggest reason why they should do it.
Otto: Yeah. We've got lunches, we've got marketing meetings. We used to have, and now with COVID, we're just right now into the transition, going back into open houses and back into brokers, open where we, some, some cities or some associations do it on Monday or Tuesday in our area it's Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, where the brokers go out and tour the properties, and it gives you another opportunity to meet people and again, create those relationships and grab a free sandwich too.
Ian: You mentioned COVID and how has that impacted what you do as a realtor in California, but how has it changed the industry over the last year?
Otto: A great, great question. You know, I spent a year campaigning for this office in 2019 into 2020. And that's when we had just come back from our president's circle. Yeah. Convention that we held in Miami. And then we had taken a few couples of us, took a trip over to Turks and Caicos for a couple of days, came back and I saw this paperwork, you know, have you been exposed? And this is when it was just starting. And I, I say to myself, I said, this, this looks like it's something seriously, that's that that's happening? And I came back and that's when it was probably like two weeks later, I think it was March 16th or 17th. That's when California kind of shut down and the real estate market just literally shut down. We couldn't show houses, we could do open houses.
Everything had to go virtual, which was one benefit cause we had been doing virtual videos. So those that were behind the eight ball had to catch up to that. But we were doing virtual staging instead of actually staging the protocol to get into a house. We had to go to what we call the CVS code, which is a secondary code for the lockbox. We had to make sure that the residence was sanitized each time somebody left the house, we had gloves. We had to have sanitizers, soap registry time appointments and everything. So the door knocking the flyers open houses, all that stuff went out the window. But the market literally stopped for about six weeks. And I, and, and those of us that have been doing this for some time thought, wow, this maybe this is time for the checkout, you know?
And then after that, because now we're seeing our year over year sales from March and April of last year, which were dead. And the increase year over year is just phenomenal. I mean, with the tight inventory, but the market just picked up and it's just been gangbusters, just very, very fluid since May of last year. So yeah, COVID it they're, they're saying that COVID brought about five years of technology into about two months where we really had to take a look, look at what we're doing right now, instead of doing an audio podcast, we're doing a video podcast. I just came off of two weeks of state zoom meetings where we started at seven, eight o'clock in the morning and went until six. And if you're one of those fortunate ones that you're on the last zoom meeting of the day, and someone says 80.
And do you mind you staying on for a little bit after this meeting? And then there goes another meeting for another half hour, 45 minutes. So now you're in the seven o'clock at night. So we have two weeks of zoom meetings with our state meetings. And we found the engagement with, with zoom. I don't, I don't want to get off track too much, but, but with COVID is, is, is really forced us to communicate. It's helped us with our communication level and efficiency as far as the associations go because a lot of associations are still closed right now. Our state association is still on lockdown. A lot of local associations are still locked down in summer, gradually starting to open up and there's different protocol with OSHA and opening up and how many people can be in the office and how close they can be and things of that nature. So it's really, it changed. I know you hear people say, well, when are we going to get back to the new normal or what's the we'll get back to normal? It's interesting. I mean, it, it, it really is interesting what we've been able to accomplish in this little bit over a year to where we are today.
Ian: You mentioned education and networking. What do associations do for real estate professionals? Who's joined them aside from the networking and the education, which is very important because anytime that I've talked with people from the industry, they say one of the most important things for people to do when they start out is find a mentor. So what do associations do for people aside from the networking and the education, which is, as you said, so important.
Otto: One thing that I'm I'm happy to say, is it because of COVID, you know, we're going to identify to COVID is that I started a group last year in May of what we call our YPN is our young professional networks, 30, 40 year old brokers and agents that have been in the, so I have about 12 agents that we meet on a weekly basis. And it's a group of diverse individuals from all over California and we talk and, and, and within this group are potential future car presidents, which I'm real, real happy there. They're committed. They're not afraid to poke the bear to say, you know, they're not yes, people. And, and that's what we need. [inaudible] Changing time. So we meet on a weekly basis and we talk about everything from the transaction to the new forms that are coming out to the political scene, to the internal workings of car or the local associations.
I hate to say it, but some of the unprofessionalism that exists within our association, and we're trying to clean that up, especially now with COVID some people that have been breaking and not adhering to a protocol, which jeopardize us all as a, as far as our reputation goes, when we said no, but houses that met no open houses, but we had some individuals that were getting creative as far as what they were doing to go ahead and expose the house. I mean, you didn't need to do an open house to sell a house. You're getting 10 to 15 offers, 20 offers on a house that are, you know, going anywhere from five to 50% over asking price open house, didn't help you in any, in, in that. But the education in this business, and I've been doing this for, for quite a few years, I'm constantly learning.
You're constantly learning. Especially now we've got new forms on a state that's coming out at the end of the year. We're going to start training statewide at the end of July. But we have a special committee that's all they do is a standard form that takes a look at what our forms are in updates. So community involvement, you know, is a big thing. The associations I applaud when I was campaigning for this office, I would travel around the state and with the homeless situation that we do have in California listen to some of our members, what they're doing at their local church. My church in Livermore California has just built 28 tiny homes, a small community where they are taking individuals, single women with kids and families that fall on tough times and have certain rules that you have to adhere to by helping them get shelter and counseling and provide food and, and things of that nature.
A beautiful lady realtor down in, in Santa Paula, California, outside of Ventura and Santa Barbara. She feeds like 600 homeless people. Every other week. She was able to get an investor to buy a defunct disco club down, or a bar restaurant, and converted had the carpenter's union come in, donated their labor to the city county, came in with money and refurbished this building and like a warming center. And if you were a homeless person, people wanted to come in and get counseling. They wanted to come in and get food to give some like a target card for groceries or whatever it is. So those are the kinds of things that I, that I applaud our realtors and it's, and we're involved in the schools we're involved in bicycle giveaways. The stuff that we do, boys and girls clubs throughout the United States, but the stuff that the realtors do philanthropy is just, it just, I, I love that. I mean, I really, and to see our members that have a servant heart that really, that they're doing it to give back to the realtors and give back to the community is something that I'm really proud to say that the realtors are, they, we, we stand at the forefront of that.
Ian: What can you get with your association membership?
Otto: What can you get? Well you know, you get usage of the forums is probably one of our number one. If we go to the state level now, if we go to the state level, you get free use of the forms and the forms are widely used in California with our realtor associations and our Eno insurance backs us up on those. So if you use those forms, that's a huge thing. We have a legal department at the state level. So if I have a question, if I'm taking your contract, and you're asking me a question on something and I'm kind of uncertain about this as realtors, even though we have to go through the contracts, we're not supposed to be practicing law or giving tax advice. So it's kind of a, a little oxymoron there, but if I have a question with you and you ask me you know, instead of me going out and hiring an attorney and spending, you know, four or 500 bucks on getting the answer one 800 car, I call up and I talked to, we have a staff of a phenomenal attorneys at our state level, and it's a no cost for that.
So just that alone, a couple phone calls a year, and I bet you, I call with the amount of transactions we do and whatever, probably once a month to talk to an attorney on, on a certain issue. Because the last thing I want to do is say something, and I'm not, you know, not being accurate, I'd rather have it, it's all documented. They document the address of the property that they document if there's another agent involved. But those are probably two, two of the biggest pluses that we get as far as membership. And the big thing is, is political advocacy. We spent a lot of money contributing. You see the sign back here, realtor party. We are the party of purple. We're a membership that consists of independents and Republicans. And we love politicians.
And if I want to rephrase that we are attracted to those legislators that advocate on our behalf, once we can call and say, the proposal that is going on, or that is being formulated right now is something that could either have a positive or could have an adverse effect on home ownership. And what we've been doing now is myself in a leadership team, along with our advocacy group, we just came off about two and a half months of meeting with our congressional members. Usually we go back to DC, we fly back and meet with our congressional members. And the big things that we're talking about right now are, are some tax changes that potentially could come up. Some 10 31 exchanges, capital gain stepped up basis. So we are giving actual stories. We're not doing rhetoric. What we're doing is when we meet with our congressional members, we give them stories on how this benefits the economy, or how this could have an adverse effect on the local economy. So those are things that the average membership is not aware of. The average homeowner is not aware of what we're doing, but that's a big part of what we're doing at our local end. Our state association,
Ian: Absolutely. Once a listener does join an association, how can they get involved with one, whether it's serving on committees or even taking a leadership position, how would they go about doing that?
Otto: The question generally there's an orientation class and I've, I've strongly advocated for the associations that that's a great breeding ground to get people that are interested, generally, people that are getting involved in real estate, it's going to take them a few years to get, and I've really cautioned them. It's going to take you a few years to figure it out. I mean, it's not about putting a for sale sign and going, and, you know, you only have so many aunts and you only have so many family members that you can go to for listening to some buyers. So you're going to have to get out of your comfort zone and go out there and grow them and get a reputation. But part of this networking will help you out. Also, referrals are a big business of ours. I just closed on an escrow last week in Livermore and my client is moving to Colorado. That's the third person to go to Colorado this year. So I get on the phone and I call my contact in excuse me, not Colorado in, in Idaho, in Eagle, Idaho. So I contacted her and now she's getting my client taken care of in Idaho. So the referral business that we do is is a big, big
Ian: Speaking of leadership positions, you have firsthand experience with this. How can that help with a real estate career?
Otto: Well, let me go back at it because I really didn't finish the first part, how people did get involved, if good leadership we'll, we'll, we'll find you. And I, I used to do a leadership with coffee, where we would do every quarter we would invite. And I told people when you're on the lookout, when you are at meetings and you hear people talking either complaining or complimenting or whatever, you know, try to find those people that are involved in PTA involved with the chamber of commerce and try to get them involved with the association. And one thing that I tell people, or I suggest to people is don't put people into a position that is like, some positions are dry oatmeal. They're, they're not going for you, what your passion is. I mean, if I'm going to take you to a Buffalo Bills game, and I know you're a Denver Broncos fan, you know, you're going to have a good time, but you'd have a hell of a better time. If you were going to a Broncos game right here.
Ian: Oh, bills. Mafia is pretty fun.
Otto: Yes. We have fun with the Raiders over, well, we used to have fun with Raiders now they're gone in Vegas, but I, I try to find out what the passion is. The people complaining about the politics in California. That's the ones I want to get on our policy committees and get them involved on a legislative basis, on the federal level, on home ownership on land use fire insurance is a big thing in California. So when I, when I see those members, like my colleagues (in northern California) in our, what we call our region seven, we're having significant issues up there with fire insurance. So getting those people engaged with the insurance commissioner and our local and state policy makers is rewarding. So you've, you've got people don't just come knock on the door and I want to be a member. And I want to volunteer. People are kind of reserved about Welland cheering, and you want to make sure you don't bury people, but if you get somebody involved in something for a, you know, an hour a month, you know it can turn into something like what I'm doing right now, which is, I don't know how many hours a week or hours a day that I, that I put in, but it's, but it's rewarding. I do, I do it in a heartbeat again.
Ian: Now to go back to that, how, how has being in a leadership position helped your career and how does it help with a career in real estate?
Otto: Well, one thing it forces you to be, not that I'm unprofessional, but I mean, you're under the microscope at all times, you know? So I've got to watch what comes out of here. People watch my actions. I do adhere to our code of ethics, which is really stringent. When I, and I, 95% of my businesses, all listings, I don't double in deals, which is legal in California, but I represent, generally represent a seller and I generally represent probate and a trust family. So my conscious is real clear. I work for one person. Yeah. I think the professionalism that we've, that I've gained in this business is, is just second to none. And I know a lot of professions have the good and they have bad. We do have a couple of bad apples and, and we are working on trying to get those individuals either to the department of real estate or within our own association, as far as you know, enforcing the code of ethics with that.
You know, like I said, that the meetings that we go to, the, what I've learned from other people, and I I'd like to see I'm a smart guy, but I, I am always learning. I am always learning if it's not technology, I'm learning. I'm not a script guy. I mean, if I was to meet you and you call me up and you want me to come over, you're interviewing for brokers to sell your house. I'm not going to put you in a corner. I'm not, I don't have a script written out. It's about relationships. I want you to trust me. And I want to trust you. And our, ultimately our goal is to sell your house and to get you onto your next onto your next vision. And, and that's, that's what I do. But yeah,
Ian: What are some of the bad things in real estate? You mentioned some of the bad apples. What are some of the bad things in real estate?
Otto: I think we've got some greed, there is some greed out there, like in any business that they have to have it all. I think integrity is a big deal where you call someone up and where they put a property on a market. And again, it's, it's legal to, to do both sides of the transaction, but in some cases people do do that, but they're, they're not being accurate in their description in the MLS. You know, when they say that there won't be any preemptive offers and they take a preemptive offer and a preemptive offer is, is their offer. Ultimately the seller makes the final decision on it. My goal is to get the highest and the best price, the best terms for my client. Back in the day in the, in, in 5, 6, 7, and eight, when we had the great recession, there was a lot of mortgage fraud that was going on, that pretty well is gone away.
I mean, if it's cleaned up, I think the biggest thing is, I don't have a problem with an agent when I get into a transaction with a new agent. And matter of fact, I was entertaining an offer from an agent last month. And she's a newer agent, two years in the business. She's a buyer's agent, which is really tough in this market right now. And she's, and she started crying and I just felt so bad for, and I wanted to help her get the deal. I mean, I really wanted to help her get the deal, but I had another offer that came in that was, had better terms and stronger. And I tried to guide her on how to write the offer up, but her clients could only go to you know, a certain, a certain price point. But
Ian: Let's take a quick, and after the break, we'll discuss how associations give back to the community, which you touched on with the homelessness.
Ian: Welcome back. How has being in an association helps your real estate career Otto? Because you've talked about networking and you've talked about the things that you've learned. You're constantly learning as someone who has been in newspapers myself and the way that it's gone completely digital. I think real estate may be heading in that direction slowly, but you're constantly learning. How has it helped your career and what would have happened? Had you not joined an association?
Otto: I can be clear that I would not be successful as I am today in this business. And I always say that I am successful because I surround myself with people that are smarter than myself. I have no problem at all. I have a team of people, my, our escrow people, I have a business partner that owns his own company, Craig rag, and Craig and I partner up together. There is no ego with us. We take on him and he's strong and the paperwork, and I'm strong on making sure the inspections in the first greet and the meat and all that. Again, the education component is just when I'm meeting with my clients. I'm not gonna slam another agent. I mean, I could go up against somebody that I know well, and I'm going to compliment it.
Otto: It's going to be about relationships. We are going to have a relationship for about 60 to 90 days, and you have to feel comfortable. You have to feel trust and I have to feel comfortable and trust with you also. You know, I've been able to acquire real estate and that's helped out a lot too. You know, I've been able to partner up with people in different areas. I would have never been able to do that where I could go out to the central valley, or I could go up to the Sierras and partner up with some of my transactions. I'd probably do, you know, maybe 20, 25% of my business outside the area. So there's another opportunity if I had never met these people, I wouldn't not be able to collaborate with them outside of the area.
So you know, the bottom line is it's more you know, more dollars, you know, the pay, my taxes and everything. But it, it, I've been able to learn about different markets and, and, and, and that's why one reason why I ran, I was encouraged to run for president elect or, you know, for the, for the state association, I didn't do it for the badge. I didn't do it because I want to be present. I did it because I really want to make a change. And I feel that over the years, what I've learned and what I continue to keep on learning is an asset toward our membership and toward our association to be more functional, to be more proficient.
Ian: You've mentioned real relationships a couple of times now. And I, I totally get how important that is. This is an important transaction in people's lives, whether it's buying or selling, why are relationships so important and how especially coming out of COVID? How can that help feed get that sense of normal back? And especially with a crazy market across the country where people are basically buying houses unseen, because there's just the market's not there. How do relationships help with that?
Otto: Ian, if I knew you and you were a fellow realtor in our, in our demographic and you were coming, I don't, I don't bend people over the chopping block when I'm negotiating. I'm stern in what my negotiating skills are. My ultimate goal, like I said before, is to get the highest and the best terms for my client. But if I know somebody's coming in, that it's either their way or the highway. I don't, I don't want to deal with them. I don't want to deal with them. I want to deal with somebody that my client has given me parameters to work around. And if you're willing to do that fine, if you're going to be a pain in the neck, or I'd say a pain in the upfront, I don't want to have 60 or 30 to 60 days with you.
So that reputation consists of integrity, consistent character. If I know that person is honest, if I know that person is competent, and even in times, I've got him in, in transaction with newer agents that might, and this is not a derogatory statement, but might not be proficient or, or the level of competency might be lacking a little bit because maybe cause a lack of training or they're, cause they're new, I'll work with you I'll work with you through the transaction. It's the one that's hard-headed that comes into thinking that they know everything and they never return your phone calls. And then they turn everything over. I don't want to deal with that. That's just one thing that I get a little upset about that I would rather work with somebody that doesn't have the experience and kind of guide them through the transaction as opposed to somebody, like I said before, that knows everything
Ian: How do associations get back to their communities? And what are some of the ways that they do that, aside from the things that you mentioned earlier in this podcast? Yeah.
Otto: Well, I mean, we could, we could look at first-time home buyer programs, education programs that various local municipalities throughout the state do have assistance programs where they might have a silent second or maybe, you know, contribute $15,000 toward closing costs. So we just did one at the state level where we gave a, what did we have a mill of half, a million dollars? And I think we blew it out in less than a week. So if you bought, if you bought a new home and you sent your closing statement and you're a first time home buyer, you could get $500 a credit toward a washer and dryer or toward an appliance. I think it was. So you got a gift card card. We gave you a gift card for $500. We blew through a half a million dollars in less than a week.
So those are the kinds of things at the state level that we did at the local level, like I said, with the homelessness situation you know, there's so many different programs that are out there. Everything from socks to blankets to tiny homes is a big deal right now. That's kind of the new thing that is happening throughout taking a look at at property in how big a property our state I'll tell you what our, what our state, we have, what we call a pathway project at our corporate headquarters down on, on, I think it's five to five Virgil right in the midst of Korea town in LA. So we have an acre property, 56,000 square foot building that needs to be retrofitted or demolished. We just received final approval to construct 130 apartments and condos on a property with a 26,000 square foot office complex.
So those are things that we are putting our money where our mouth is. And we voted on it at the last board meeting to go ahead and take a final vote in October to move forward, either to do a JV with it, to sell it. We want to minimize our risk. So we don't want to take the project on ourselves or do we sell the project off and go buy another building someplace else. So those are the kinds of things that we're involved in when we have a lot of grants from the national association realtor that, you know, I think they're 2,500 to $5,000. If you're doing a park and you need signage, you can apply for a grant from the national association of realtors and the state association. So we do have different programs like that, that we help contribute.
But I, I can't emphasize enough our members on, on how the philanthropy that they do is we're involved in, in litigation. If we, if we get our members to donate financial resources to help us when we're fighting a local municipality that doesn't want to build housing, you know, the nimbyism that exists out in in society today is pretty strong, you know, Mrs. Brown you know, she's frustrated that her son comes home from college. Can't find a house to buy, but will not allow 40 unit new housing down the street, you know, wants it built someplace else. So now her son's got to move to Arizona or move to Texas.
Ian: What does the future hold for real associations?
Otto: Oh, that's the thing that we're always trying to figure out. We have what we call our strategic planning and we've got some of the brightest minds. We've got a lot of young minds staff and I get the opportunity to, to listen in and and, and just listen to what, where we're going. We have a lot of disruption in our industry right now. There's a lot of technology that's coming in. The whole brokerage model is kind of evolving. You got, I buy our programs that are coming in. So there's a lot of disruption that is going on right now. I think what you will see on the local level which was pretty evident prior to COVID was consolidation, you know, taking a look and I've advocated to some associations where you have an association that it might have a couple of hundred and another one that's 150 and they're, they have brought up to each other.
So they've been around for a long time. You know, people have their identity, people have their you know, their name, you know, I don't want to change my name to Ian. I'm going to keep my name auto. But you know, the blending of associations is something that I, I foresee that you have core standards that the associations have to meet. They have to hit certain community involvement, certain financials auditing things of that nature. So I think we'll see that. So now we have a hundred associations. I don't know what the number is, but I do think that over the next couple of few years, we will see some consolidation going on, especially now with some of the associations that are, that have been pretty efficient without sending the employees to the office. So I think that whole dynamics, and even at the state level, we've taken a look at that to go on, you know, LA is really a bear to travel around traffic wise.
So maybe our staff down in LA, instead of going to work every day, they go to work two days a week and stay home and work the other three days. So those are the kinds of things that we're, that we're, we're talking about. We do a lot of research and reading on that. So we're, we're looking on that you know, just evaluated and a little bit deeper. But the associations will be around. We haven't raised our dues in years. We've, we're financially, we're very, very solid at the state level, and we intend to stay that way. But that's what I think. I feel good for the associations that existence will, we will be around, but we will have some challenges out there and we just need to be proactive on how we respond to them.
Ian: Last thing, if you could go back to the beginning of your career and change one thing, what would it be?
Otto: Wow. You know, I never went when I got back and I used to be in a restaurant. I came out of a family restaurant that was very successful. Then I did corporate for a while, and then I found out I just, I can't have a corporate and corporate can animal meat. So I I went to work for a broker friend of mine that had a small brokerage. She had two other brokers in himself. And over a period of years that my first few years of being very successful did a lot of transactions. And I was recruited a lot by different companies and either to sell or to manage. And when I was in a restaurant business, that's what I did. I mean, I was a director of operations, so I oversaw, you know, 30 restaurants with 800 plus employees and a hundred plus supervisors.
Restaurants are different. There's a lot more liability on the forms and everything, but I don't know. He and I love the Bay area. I wouldn't have, maybe I would have gone to a higher price point, you know, but now, the price points are off the chart. I, I, like I said, I, a predominant amount of my business now is either probate or state work. Maybe start that a little bit earlier, but I've been blessed. I don't have any regrets at all. I don't have any grips. I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by the alumni from the University of San Francisco where I graduated from because we're starting a new real estate program there and they've asked me to join it.
And they asked me the same question. What would you have done differently in school? You know? And I said, I would have paid attention a hell of a lot more than when I was going to school. As far as real estate goes, I have no regrets. I am grateful. I am grateful that I got involved on the volunteer level. And I continually, I'm grateful for the younger generation that I get to work with today because they're going to be, they're not going to be the future. They're the, they're the future right now. And we need to do a better job in training and educating them and giving them the range, giving them the range, giving them one of the reins and letting them start taking off and let them start making decisions. And if they make a bad decision, that's fine. Let's go back and let's learn from our decisions. But my generation needs to let loose of the range and do a better job of mentoring the younger generation.
Ian: That seems like a great place to end this episode. So Otto, I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and, and letting listeners know why it's so important to get involved in an association and serving as kind of the role model of why it's important and how it can help your career.
Otto: And if anybody has any questions or wants to chat, feel free to share my email address with them. I'd be more than happy to help them
Ian: You can email Otto at: firstname.lastname@example.org.