After becoming frustrated by the lack of growth opportunities at his accounting position, a job he obtained a master’s degree for, Quintavius Burdette, known as “Q” by his friends and colleagues, decided to look for a new career. This search ultimately led the former Ole Miss defensive back and wide receiver to embark on a journey into real estate, an industry he, at the time, knew nothing about.
Just three years into his career and Burdette has already become the No. 1 individual by transaction sides in his native Mississippi according the 2022 RealTrends + Tom Ferry America’s Best agent and team rankings, closing 307.5 transactions in 2021.
“I describe myself as an athlete in the real estate world,” said Burdette. “I understand how to work hard and what it takes to be the best.”
RealTrends recently caught up with the RE/MAX Experts agent to discuss his career in real estate and how he managed to find success so early on.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Brooklee Han: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into real estate.
Quintavius Burdette: One day I was sitting at my desk at a big four accounting firm in Atlanta and I was building a report of some of the work I was doing. I realized that I wasn’t being paid enough to do all of this. So, I googled what professions give you the opportunity to make more money and the first one that popped up was real estate. The very next day, I put in my two-week notice, then I moved home to Mississippi and got my real estate license. I knew absolutely nothing about real estate then and that was three years ago.
BH: What made real estate stand out to you on the list you found on Google?
Burdette: It was the first thing on the list and there was this video about how to make $100,000 your first year. I was making $75,000 out of college and I figured if I could get a $25,000 increase in pay, then why not.
But I had a vision of what I wanted. If one person can do $100,000 in their first year, then I wanted to do $500,000 in mine. So, I set a goal for myself of $500,000 for my first year. That year, I sold 106 houses and I made over $500,000. I just put that goal out there and it was a dream come true. Now fast forward to this past year, and I did over 300 transactions. It is truly a blessing.
BH: It takes a certain type of character to set and successfully achieve a goal that big. How would you describe yourself?
Burdette: As an athlete I understand how to get up each day and work hard. If I were to describe my personality, I would say I am outgoing and that is what drives a lot of my business. I do a lot of cold calling and door knocking. I have my smile and a positive attitude regardless of what is going on. No negativity. No days are alike in this business, so every day I wake up and I’m trying to score four points. You might close 10 homes one day and none the next, but you still have to work. So, I just get up and get after it.
BH: Can you tell me about this point system you created for yourself?
Burdette: My system helps me pace myself and it gives me clear objectives for each day. Filing a contract is worth four points, a listing is two points, a showing with a buyer is one point and a meeting with potential clients who are looking to do business within the next 90 days is half of a point. So, every single day I try to do enough to earn four points.
BH: How has being an athlete helped you as you have transitioned into real estate?
Burdette: It has been a tremendous help. I have this never-quit attitude, and I understand the schedule of waking up early, going to bed late, and knowing how to juggle multiple things throughout my day in order to be successful.
Plus, just like in D1 football, there is someone looking to take my spot. So, for me, football helped me to have discipline to show up every day as if my job can be taken. Also, playing in front of 100,000 people at a time in some of the arenas I played in, it kind of made my comfortable in the spotlight, so if I have to talk on a stage in front of 100 clients or 600 agents, it is not a big deal. Football helped me overcome that fear and opened my eyes to all the opportunities that could be right in front of me.
BH: During your first year in the business, you achieved the goal you set out for yourself. Were there any challenges you faced that first year and how did you overcome them?
Burdette: So, for me, the biggest challenge was trying to learn the lingo, the contracts and just understand the business aspect of it because I didn’t come from that background. But once you do it enough and practice, it becomes comfortable.
I also tried to do everything myself at first and I didn’t want to hire anyone. Now, having an assistant I trust dearly, has been huge. Learning how to let go of some of that control to see more of what is possible was big.
My first two years, I closed over 100 transactions each year and this year I did over 300, so I don’t think I can say that I have had any struggles just yet, but I’m also the person who doesn’t go looking for problems. If you look for problems, that is what you’ll find, but if you go looking for solutions, you’ll find solutions. So, I’m not going to make excuses, if something isn’t working, I’ll find a different way of doing it.
BH: Generating leads is something a lot of new agents find challenging. How did you go about generating leads your first year?
Burdette: I used a phone book and cold called all day long. I went through tax assessor records to see how long people had been in their homes, and I called people who were at a point where they might consider selling. I went grocery stores and handed out business cards and neighborhoods. I did everything that I could for free.
I didn’t pay for leads; I just connected with people. It is a numbers game. The more people you talk to the more opportunities you have. So I decided that I was going to talk to more folks than every other agent in the area and then, through that, I would do more deals.
In my first 30 days in business, I talked to over 6,000 people, just cold calling, door knocking and talking to people around town. Most agents don’t talk to that many people in a year and I did it in 30 days.
BH: You are now three years in, what are some of the things you like best about working in the real estate industry?
Burdette: I like the freedom you have. It is different every single day. You get to watch people make the biggest purchase of their life. The ability an agent has to put a family in a position where they can own something and also educate them during the process, is huge for me. I have gained a lot of friends in the business, from lenders and agents to attorneys, and its fun working with them. But I see it like football — it is still a game, a sport where I can push myself, except I don’t have to risk my health to play it.
BH: What do you dislike about working in real estate?
Burdette: I don’t like the lazy real estate agents. From the outside looking in, this profession seems easy, so everyone is jumping into it. I really dislike that agents can’t play ball together but also compete, meaning that you don’t have to be cut throat to get business done. You don’t have to bad mouth other agents. It can and should be healthy and friendly competition. I think sometimes in this profession people can get territorial and possessive and I just don’t like part of it.
BH: Why do you think real estate is a good career option for someone?
Burdette: It is a good career for the right type of person. It certainly isn’t for everyone. It is one of the three or four professions that truly allows you to be your own boss and make as much as you want or take as many vacations as you want without you having to go in and request time off. You are truly an entrepreneur within a space where people will always need your service. So, you have pool of potential clients, you just have to go out and create the relationships.
BH: You have managed to achieve quite a bit of success very early on. To what do you attribute this success?
Burdette: Being likable. A lot of people focus on getting a deal, but I focus on being likable. My job isn’t to do business with everyone I meet. My job is to make them love me, so that they remember me and so that the ones I do business with recommend me to other people in their circle. Also, just being trustworthy, working hard and not being afraid on the grind.
BH: This is still just the start of your career. Where do you go from here?
Burdette: I want to continue building my real estate portfolio and hopefully retire by the time I am 30. I have a little over two years left and I think I can do that. Afterwards, I see myself coaching real estate agents. I do some of that already, but I want to do it long term. I think it will give me even more freedom and I’ll be there for my family and my kids when I start my own family.
I am one of 17 siblings, and my dad had to work a lot to support all of us, so we didn’t get a lot of dad time. I want to make sure I can be there for my family. My end goal is to sell a total of 1,000 homes, and I am on track to reach that by the end of next year. Once I reach that mark, I’ll start taking a back seat and coaching more agents and just enjoying my life here in Mississippi.
BH: Mentorship is a huge part of real estate. When you started out, did you work with a mentor?
Burdette: I did not have a mentor when I started, but there were a lot of people that I followed on social media and watched on reality shows. So, I didn’t have one person I could go to and ask all my questions, I just watched and learned a lot from afar. But at the same time, I probably had 80 people I could call mentors because every experienced agent I came in contact with I would talk to and ask questions and try to learn how they built their business and their success. Now I have agents reaching out to me asking how I did it and that’s fun.
BH: What is your best piece of advice for new agents starting out?
Burdette: Don’t be afraid to be told ‘No.’ You should be told no at least 200 times a day. Go out there and don’t listen to the naysayers. If it is a no, ask someone else or find a different way of doing it that works. If you don’t mind being turned down and you don’t get discouraged by that, you will have the right mentality to succeed.