What’s up everyone and welcome to another episode of Become A Local Leader! In today’s episode, we have Dottie Comet, Realtor with Burke Real Estate Consultants.
Meet Dottie Comet – Our Featured Local Leader!
Dottie has been actively involved in her community for over 30 years, starting out with her eldest son’s tiny talk class. Her first endeavor was as a PTA president at Grapevine Elementary in Vista, California. Starting off she felt clueless as to what she was supposed to do! However, Dottie and the rest of the board ended up raising more money that year than any year in the history of the elementary school. Dottie Comet later became involved in Oceanside Pop Warner, Oceanside Christmas Bureau, helping the needy, the performing arts theatre for the handicap, and more.
When COVID first hit, she was part of the Grab and Go Gang founded by Donna Wolf in Oceanside, California. The gang handed out home-cooked meals made and funded by Donna to thousands of people over a 13-week period. Also, on Channel 10 News on KNBC, they were featured in May 2020. You can actually find that footage on Dottie’s Facebook page.
Dottie is also a real go-getter. She’s a self-starter and a true people person. Dottie is currently with Burke Real Estate Consultants Incorporated. Her mission is to put smiles on people’s faces. Making money is secondary to helping people find their dream house, finding rental properties, and anything that’s real estate related. If that’s not enough, she’s also a volunteer for the California Association of Realtors.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Washington DC. But I was moved down here by the Federal Highway Administration in 1981. I worked on the most controversial freeway project in the history of the Federal Highway Administration. When that office shut down, I was retrained as a medical assistant phlebotomist and I am currently still a certified phlebotomist. I love the medical field but I had an injury at work and I had to have a lot of back surgery. So, I thought, “What can I do with my mind, my voice and my legs?” And I thought, “Oh, well, I could be a realtor.” So, I went to college for that.
I got my license in July of last year. I got serious in January so I’m excited but it’s been challenging because of COVID-19. Everything kind of did a complete turntable on me and I had to really learn how to get back out there and how to market. That was one of the really good things about being involved in Grab and Go Gang is I could network with people that came to get the food, and there were a lot. I mean, we stayed busy every Monday from three to five passing out thousands and thousands of meals. That is so rewarding.
How did you even get involved in that? Where did that start?
Well, there is an app called NextDoor and I saw that she was handing out soup and I thought, “I think I’m going to go try her soup.” And so, I went over there to get soup. We connected like kindred spirits immediately. The next week, I was there helping. At that point, she named it the “Grab and Go Gang”. It was Donna Wolf, her boyfriend Fred Rush and myself. What she gave to the community just blew my mind. When they featured it on Channel 10 News, they really gave it good coverage. It was kind of sad that they couldn’t do it live but the interview was really good.
I had a son that was killed a little over three years ago. I started to journal. Right now, I’m writing a journal about grief. My plan is to publish it. So, I’m really close to done because I have such an amazing spiritual connection with my son. And the way he comes to me would blow most people’s socks off. I mean, some of the stories are really crazy and unique. Maybe not crazy, but, but they are unique. And so, I just started journaling about it. People started telling me, “We want to read your journal.” So, it inspired me to move forward with publishing. I’m almost there. I’m close.
Would you say the death of your son and the grief you went through is part of the reason why you got into real estate? Did his influence impact that decision at all?
Actually, when Shane was in sales and he was really good at sales. He would pass books down to me about sales because people always told me, “You would be so good in sales.” Like, “No, I hate sales. I don’t want to be in sales.” But then when I kind of got backed up against the wall with my back issues, I thought, “Well, I guess I’m going to get into sales.” And that’s fine because I’m really enjoying it so far. The networking, the people.
I did my first rental a couple of weeks ago. It was an emergency situation and I was able to get the people into their townhome within the weekend. That was really good progress. I was really blessed with an awesome listing agent. My broker, Kevin Burke, really backed me up, and Linda Dryly. The questions that I had were answered just like that so it got him in really quickly. And now, they told me that they want to buy a house in a year and they want me to be their realtor. So, it’s starting. They’re coming, I feel it. So, I’m excited.
What would you say that you’ve noticed you’re good at so far?
Networking, keep talking to people. I used to drive my boys nuts. I have three boys. They say, “We don’t want to go anywhere with you. You’re going to run into somebody that you know.” And when we went out and I didn’t run into anybody, I said, “See guys? We didn’t run into anybody.” And I spoke too soon. Right about then, we ran into somebody that I knew and my kids are like, “Mom, we told you. You’re going to talk forever.” I like networking with people.
I go to caravan meetings and I listen to other realtors and different affiliates. I’m a member of the San Diego Association of Realtors. I volunteer for them when I can but we haven’t really had anything live so it’s been kind of hard to volunteer. I really want to get into the education end of that and volunteer which had to be a real shirt for two years. So, in another year, I’ll be able to do that.
Would you say that there’s anything you found so far, like in terms of networking and building relationships, that hasn’t really worked for you?
I have a lot to learn. I try to observe what other people are doing. That’s why I like pitch meetings because the other realtors share sometimes what they’re doing that’s making it work for them. I have a lot of admiration and respect for the ones that have been around for 10, 20, 30 years. Even though I’m a talker, I try to sit back and listen so that I can learn from those kinds of people. And that was another reason I wanted to get involved with the California Association of Realtors because it’s a great way to learn. It’s a great way to network. It’s just a great way to have fun in an environment that all your peers are involved with too.
Is there anything in particular that you’ve seen some of the other realtors doing that you would like to try out?
I’m really admiring some of the ways that they’ve come up with. Strategies for open houses online. I feel like I have a lot to learn there. So, I’m trying to watch videos and take advantage of what they’ve put out there to learn. I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve had affiliate type people, not real estate people, but photography people reaching out and mentor me. That’s a blessing. I’m just really grateful for the circle of people around me that I was able to develop before COVID. So, thank God, I didn’t get my license then and boom COVID hit. I have my license for a little while so it was able to open up some doors for me with people.
Would you say that the connections that you’ve built, and even the clients that you work with are within a specific area or specific areas of San Diego? Or would you say that you have a large database from all over the place?
I believe it’s going to end up being a large database from all over the place. I have a gentleman that has income property in Hemet, and he’d like to sell that and get into income property in North San Diego County. He has some specifics to work inside Escondido. But somewhere in that between Oceanside and Escondido.
The couple that I helped get into the townhouse for the rental, they will probably be looking to buy in university heights, La Jolla area. And so, it doesn’t matter to me. I’ll learn about the area if I don’t know. I have a pain management doctor and he has a doctor friend that wants to move down here from I believe the Bay Area. He wants beach property. So, I drove last night to Encinitas to look at the area and see what I thought was a good area and try to come up with some ideas for him. So, I’ll go anywhere. I’ll learn.
There really are a lot of opportunities here. I’m just very grateful that I’m receptive to learning. My broker, Kevin Burt teaches contracts college for the San Diego Association of Realtors. He is an attorney but he doesn’t practice law. Sometimes I’ve gotten really frustrated because every “i” has to be dotted and every “t” has to be crossed. By the book by the law. And when I do get frustrated, I just think that look at it, you’re not going to get sued in court. You won’t have to represent you.
With COVID, they’ve come out with probably eight different forms for people to have to fill out and sign just to check the buyers, the sellers. Even in an open house, they have to sign a form. It’s very unusual what’s going on not just in everybody’s everyday life but when you get industry-specific, the changes that are having to come about are interesting.
How would you say COVID affected your business, especially starting out in the real estate world?
It slowed down my ability to network because more people are staying at home. I’m a real music lover. I go out to hear live music. One of my best friends is a music reporter and has a music magazine. I do a lot of my networking that way but because we don’t have live music, I’m not able to do that. I’ve had to come up with other ideas for networking.
I don’t care if I go to the gas station. If I have the opportunity to talk to somebody and hand out my card, it’s just a business card. Right now, I’m trying to come up with an idea of something that I can do. A little something to get my name out there more that people will look at it and they’ll say, “Oh, Dottie is a realtor.” because people forget. Even your good friends forget!
I went to a party for a birthday and I have my name tag. Somebody said, “You have that on so you remember who you are?” And I’m like, “No, I have that on because people like you might forget, I’m a realtor.” It’s true. We tend to forget what other people do for a living.
I’ve also been in notary for about four years almost. That’s just kind of a service that I bring to the table. I don’t make a lot of money at it, I don’t push it. I don’t do loan docs or anything like that but I would if somebody asks me too.
When you go to some of these different events, or even when you’re at the gas station and you approach somebody, what does that conversation look like?
It depends. They might have a nice car or they might have nice hair. It could be that I might like the outfit they have on! I can draw the conversation with probably anybody, it’s just a gift I’ve had since I was a little girl. I was about three and was at the Rose Croft Raceway, (it’s the hardest race track) with my Mom and Dad. My mom said I was just a little tiny girl but I said to this big guy, “What’s your name?” And he told me his name and as it turned out, he was a Washington Redskin, and he gave me an autographed picture. I still have that to this day. They retired that Redskin name. That picture is probably going to be worth five times as much now. It’s just a natural part of me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
What are some tips you would give somebody who isn’t naturally as outgoing as you are, has a little bit more difficulty connecting or reaching out to people?
I think you just have to do it and shake in your boots the first couple of times to get used to it. My son that’s in heaven actually was very shy and very quiet. When he got into sales, something just clicked within him to where he started getting very outgoing. He was a lot like me with music. I think music opens people up to a lot of different realms that they might not necessarily find within themselves. It’s because they’re going and having a good time and then they find everybody’s dancing on to do that.
It brings out a part of their personality. I kind of think that might be a little bit of what happened with my son. He just went from being a shy boy to being one of the top salesmen at Apple. Everywhere he went, he was a top salesperson. I just ran across a book that he gave me just yesterday, as a matter of fact. I thought “I need to read this.” If this helped him, then it will probably help me.
Is there anything you would like to share about Shane and what people could learn from his life and his legacy?
Oh, boy, that’s tough. We were so close. I’m close with all three of my boys. Something about Shane’s legacy. He had gone to work for a company. I’m not going to bad mouth the company on a live stream but he read into their contract further. He came over after he delved into that contract. And he said, “Mom, I can’t work for this company anymore.” And I said, “Why? And he said, “They’re asking things of their customers in really tiny print that I don’t agree with.” And I said, “If you don’t agree with their ethics, then you need to move on.” And so, he did.
He was very ethical. He took his job very seriously. I’m trying to think of the name of the military project that he worked on when he was with Apple that he was really proud of. He was “happy-go-lucky”. He enjoyed the life that he had while he was here. I don’t know that he was ready to leave. It was pretty tragic. I don’t know if I’m holding back because I still have more grieving to do.
Are there any goals you’re currently pursuing? Can share those with us?
My future goals are just to be successful and be that number one agent. It’s not all about money. Yes, I want to make a good living. I don’t want to rely on a disability check. I want to rely on me because I know I have the ability. But I want to put those smiles on people’s faces. I remember what it was like when I bought my first and only house. The feeling that I got when I came into the home on the first day and there was no furniture in here or anything. It was just a feeling that’s so hard to describe. And I want to give that feeling to other people. I want to help them find happiness. That just gives me chills inside just the thought of it.
Would you say there’s anything that you need to start doing in order to make those goals a reality?
I think that I need to get with somebody and make a marketing plan. I know marketing has totally changed because of COVID. And I thought maybe we would see at least a break in it for this summer and then come back in the fall, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I just think that to define more of my goals, I need to see a plan. I never really stopped to think, “What are my goals? What are my long-term goals?” But my long-term goals are to be independent and not rely on anybody else.
I’m very independent as it is but I want to be comfortably independent. I want to be able to help people that are less fortunate than me. And I want to be able to donate money to causes that I believe in. So, I’m going to get in that position. I feel it in my gut. I’m pretty intuitive. I’m not a psychic by any means but intuitive, yes. And so, that’s a good goal is to help others. That puts a smile on my face.
Would you say that there’s anything you need to stop doing in order to bring your goals to reality?
I need to stop reading some of the emails that I receive. My mind likes to learn more about the things that I’m doing now, the things that I could do and the things that I used to do. I need to put more focus on my career as it is! Focusing on my pathway and not let myself go off on the side roads. I need to get that journal done. I’ve got two goals – to be successful in real estate and to publish that journal so that I can help even one person through their grief.
I think that both of them, both roads will put smiles on a lot of people’s faces. I know along the way, especially on the real estate one, I’m going to deal with people that are not happy. Or people that have not been able to get past the forbearance that’s getting ready to end that have to sell their home. That’s going to be a little difficult for me because I truly feel bad for people that have lost their jobs. For the people that have been hanging on by a thread, who are possibly going to lose their home.
Would you say that there’s anything in particular you’d like to keep doing that you believe will really help you to accomplish your goals?
I want to keep volunteering in the community for people like Donna Wolf. She was saying the other day, “I don’t know if I’m going to start the cooking thing back again. I might.” If she does, I’ll jump right in on that. If she doesn’t, I’ll find something to get involved in that’s extracurricular that will help other people because my pattern with my whole life has been getting involved in an organization that will help other people. If my mission isn’t accomplished through Donna Wolf, I’ll find a mission that will get accomplished.
I’ve looked at Zillow and plan on potentially using it in the future. No to Realtor.com or homes.com
How about Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, and Google ads?
I haven’t used them, not yet.
Are you paying somebody to do your digital marketing services?
I absolutely would because I think I said that my oldest son works for Apple and I’m an IT idiot. I can type 108 words a minute but I can’t put together a digital ad. I’m not going to say I can’t. I’m going to say it’s just not my cup of tea.
How about things like bus benches, door hangers, or any types of like other display advertising?
Absolutely, I want to do that. I’ve not done that yet.
What about direct mailers, door hangers, and any other types of print marketing?
That’s something that I need to do too.
What about creating video content?
You know what, there’s a gal named Marketing Melody, Melody Teo. She works with LinkedIn. She is absolutely amazing. I would like to work with her. That is one of my goals – to work with Melody to learn more about things like that because she’s the queen as far as I’m concerned.
Would you say you’re active on social media?
I’m semi-active but I’d like to get more active. I’ve taken a picture of my business card and put it on my Facebook page. I probably get more likes on things like that than anything else. I mean, I get a lot of likes on pictures of my kids and pictures of us going out dancing but I have to say that the business card was the top view on mine. So, I do need to learn more about that.
Even if I take a video of viewing a house and throw it on there to see what response I get, that would be a beginning. Definitely. When I said I have a lot to learn I wasn’t kidding.
What about email newsletters? Do you have one of those?
I don’t have one yet. Looping back to Melody Teo, I got one of her newsletters yesterday. I happen to find out through that newsletter that she’s pregnant with her second little girl. I know I need to do a newsletter so, I kept a copy of hers in my file so that I could have something to refer to as a format. So yeah, that’s something I need to do too.
Have you tried virtual open houses?
I have not done a virtual open house yet. I actually had just gotten comfortable doing an open house in person where I have all my signs. Prior to COVID hitting, I was really ready to do more open houses. They were fun because it’s interacting with other people. They’re even saying in the statistics that more people are viewing houses online and that that trend will probably continue even when COVID is gone. So, it’s important to get into digital marketing. I’m glad that we’re having this conversation.
What about working your database and following up? Do you do things like popping by?
I actually have a few people that have expressed interest in buying. And I have one 89-year-old retire realtor that is going to be putting her house on the market soon in the next couple of weeks. She asked me to come and see the house. I think she’s torn between whether to list with an agent or whether to do a for sale by owner. I maintain a relationship with her through text messaging and I happened to find out that she’s a choreographer and did a lot of things with Ed Sullivan. So, I’m going to send her a text saying, “Hey, I want to see your Ed Sullivan skit?”
And then there’s a young VA buyer that they want to buy. So, I’ve maintained contact with him. I happen to meet him in line at Trader Joe’s when I was waiting to pay. And so, I text right now or email with people to keep that connection.
How often would you say you text or email people?
I try to do it at least once a month. If I feel like they’re going to be moving towards a goal quicker than that, then I’ll do it every couple of weeks. But I don’t have a database yet because I am relatively new.
What about writing personal notes or gifts? Do you do either of those?
That’s what I’m working on. Donna was in marketing. I don’t know her exact title at Fountain Valley Hospital, Vice President of Marketing. She and I are going to come up with something that people will see and use on a regular. We’re going to come up with something but I don’t know what that something is yet. I want something unique.
What about cold calling?
I have not done cold calling but I might need to do that too because people don’t want you to knock on their door right now. Not everybody but most people don’t. Honestly, I don’t blame them. I’m not anti-mask but I’m not pro-mask either. I’m not going to go knock on somebody’s door with a mask on. I mean, to me, as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to throw this out here because nobody else does. But when we wear a mask, we’re breathing in our own co2, throwing off our body’s Ph. And nobody teaches us how to do personal breathing.
Why is this important? We need to rid our body of that co2 and that’s how you do it. So, why aren’t they telling us that? That’s kind of where I’m at the not so pro-mask, but I do wear it because I do believe that I don’t want to get COVID.
In terms of prospecting, do you do FSBOs and expired?
I haven’t really worked FSBOs, but the 89-year-old realtor is considering selling the property herself So, I need to figure out how to beat that book and reel one in. I’m working on that right now. I think we have to “walk the walk” and to “talk the talk”. So, I’m walking the walk with her. She might be a toughie but you never know.
What would you say to realtors out there who wants to become recognized as the local market expert or the go-to realtor in their community?
Networking is great for business. I think people like the old fashion, “I’m going to talk to you person to person, not as a recorded message.” “I’m going to reach out to you on a phone and not through a piece of paper.” I don’t know, I’m kind of old fashioned that way. For me, I like the personal bonus of one on one with people. That’s what sells me. I know everybody’s not like me, but a lot of people are. They like that one on one.
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