Heart & Sold: How to Survive and Thrive in Real Estate

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9781416542926: Heart & Sold: How to Survive and Thrive in Real Estate
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Heart and Sold is an insightful journey through the emotional and tangible challenges of regaining one's personal power while building and maintaining a successful business -- regardless of the country's economic situation. Valerie Fitzgerald, one of the country's leading real estate agents, candidly recounts her personal journey from unemployed single parent to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and renowned corporate executive.

From beginners just getting started in residential real estate to seasoned agents -- or anyone in business looking to take their game to the next level -- this step-by-step guide teaches readers the art of selling. With her personal touch, Fitzgerald shows readers how to manage clients with style, choose the right company and the best mentor, establish a stellar reputation in their field, develop a daily schedule for running a home office, and maintain a successful attitude every day. With all of her tools at their fingertips, readers will also soon be shooting for the stars. Heart and Sold shares the mind-set of a respected businesswoman who gracefully balances the demands of an empire with the intimacy of her family, and is a model for working and living that can be applied to any desire or discipline.

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About the Author:

Before Valerie Fitzgerald began her real estate career, she was an unemployed single parent. Yet over the last fifteen years, Valerie Fitzgerald has single-handedly managed to build a multi-million dollar real estate business, establish her own charity foundation, speak around the country at numerous business conventions, appear on television shows like "Entertainment Tonight" and MTV's "Cribs," rank among Coldwell Banker's Top 10 agents nationwide, and earn the attention of the Los Angeles Business Journal for the highest sales volume in L.A. County for residential real estate in 2000 (she was also recently nominated for the publication's 13th annual "Women Making a Difference").

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

My Story: The Will to Survive

The room was plain and sparsely furnished. A borrowed couch, a small bed, and a crib sat forlornly on the bland beige carpet. A blond woman sat quietly, her thin back poised against the borrowed couch while her three-month-old daughter kicked and squirmed on the floor beside her. This woman had fled New York to start a new life in California. Her apartment in New York City had been sublet for two years. She had left behind a violent ex-husband, her luxurious belongings, and her former life as a model. On the floor of her closet behind a box of diapers was a wrinkled leather bag containing all the money she had in the world, raised by selling the jewelry she had acquired during her modeling days. She had no skills outside modeling, no higher education, no backup plan. She was a woman of a certain age and wasn't a valuable commodity in the fashion business anymore, and the prince on the white horse who was going to save her had ridden off long ago. She was alone. She was poor. She was afraid. She picked up her daughter and held her close to her heart. She closed her eyes and inhaled the wonderful scent of baby powder, baby clothes, and the delicious baby smell every mother recognizes instantly. It calmed the woman's fears. She looked down into her baby's clear, wide blue eyes. "I'm not going to fail you," she said. "I don't know how, I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'll figure something out. I'll make a good life for us. I promise."

Today that same woman is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a corporate executive. This was not by chance or coincidence. It was because of determination, the drive to overcome, and just plain hard work. I know a lot about that woman, because that woman who made the promise to her tiny daughter is me, Valerie Fitzgerald.

In the beginning of this journey, it never occurred to me that my life would be inspirational to anyone else. It really wasn't so much that I had the desire to be successful -- I had to be successful. There was no other choice for me. But back then, I was consumed with thoughts about how I was going to pay my bills and make a great life for my daughter. So you can only imagine that when I hear the words "entrepreneur," "philanthropist," and "corporate executive," there is still a part of me that says, "Who? Where?"

I look around the room and am surprised that they are talking about me. When I was approached about writing a book about my life, I was a little nervous. I think I made every mistake it was possible that a woman could make with men, with money, and with friends. If there was a bad choice to be made, I made it. If there was a bad investment, I put money into it. If there was a bad guy lurking in the shadows, I ran up and introduced myself.

It's just the way I am, or at least it was the way I was. It's not that I was dumb, but I was young and naive. I was also inexperienced. I was a little girl born in South Dakota whose parents left for the bright lights of Hollywood. When I was fifteen, I got my first modeling job. I had taken Polaroids of myself and wearing my Sunday best dropped them off at Teen magazine. That first experience in modeling ended up with me being on the cover three times. I was so excited to have a career! When I was in my late teens, one of the friends I met modeling told me all about New York, her boyfriend, and the fantastic people she'd met there. To the ears of a nineteen-year-old it sounded like heaven. So off I went to New York and my friend's studio apartment on the Upper East Side.

Imagine a young girl with forty dollars in her pocket, a few modeling pictures, and some clothes landing in New York amidst skyscrapers and taxis blaring their horns in the constant noise that can only be described as the music of New York City. When I arrived at Maggie's place, my new home, I was in for a shock. The room could barely be called an apartment. It had no closets or kitchen, just a hotplate and a small refrigerator next to the bathtub. Glamorous? Exciting? More like horrifying! I walked around the place, which took about fifteen seconds, and I realized there was no bed. Where was I to sleep? Was this a joke? It took me about twenty minutes to realize the room came with a Murphy bed -- the kind that pulls out of the wall. Well here I was in the glamorous city of New York in my own "place."

It's not that I was ungrateful. I was so thankful to my friend for subletting her apartment, but the whole experience was foreign to me. No matter what, I was happy to have a place to stay, but the rent was steep -- I had to pay Maggie six hundred dollars each month. Since I only had forty dollars in my pocket, somehow I needed to figure out right away how I was going to come up with the money for living expenses and another five hundred and sixty dollars. Mind you, this was New York in the 1970s, and six hundred dollars was a fortune to me -- especially when I didn't have a job. I took my portfolio and pounded the streets.

There was no Wall Street look for me in those days. I was a California girl -- blond hair straight down to my waist, cork platform shoes, and a dress...well, a dress that could only be described today as a muumuu. There I was, calling modeling agencies straight out of the phone book. With every call I made, I knew I couldn't keep letting them hang up on me. I had to find something to say that would get their attention -- something that would get my foot in the door.

There was no way I was going to fail based on a phone call. So I dialed the next number and said, "Hi, I'm Valerie Fitzgerald, and I'm in New York only for a few days. I'm from California" -- which I knew might make them hang up on me. "I'm the Coppertone Girl and..." The names of other campaigns I had done flew out of my mouth.

I had to get an appointment, and not one three months later, from those phone calls. I charmed, laughed, joked with everyone on the phone. Since I didn't physically look like a New York model with my waist-length hair, I was slightly nervous about what they might think when they met me, but I didn't give up. By the end of the day I ended up with appointments to see three of the top modeling agencies in New York.

I remember vividly my first few days in the city. It was early September, and the heavy air stirred as a cool breeze with the hint of fall swept by. People poured around me as I strolled down the streets. The pungent smell of hot dogs and roasted nuts washed over me. I felt so small. The lights of the tall buildings glittered overhead like watchful guardians of my fate. I was hypnotized by how fast everyone and everything was moving.

After several days of taking subways and often-missed buses to meet modeling agents, one in particular made me feel as though she believed in me. It was Eileen Ford at the Ford Modeling Agency. I clearly recall going into their offices on Fifty-eighth Street and First Avenue. It was a small brownstone building. At the time, the Ford Agency was the most prestigious in the world, and Eileen Ford was to be feared.

I walked up the steps to the small reception area, where there were at least thirty girls waiting to meet their fate. I was scared but not deterred. To be there, we all had to believe we had "something" the Ford Agency would want -- and soon we would find out if we really did have it. Modeling agencies are very busy places. They have a million phones ringing at the same time, and when you meet the agents you are never quite sure if they will ever remember your name once you leave.

Well, I did end up signing with the Ford Modeling Agency and will forever be thankful to them for their guidance and the opportunities they presented to me. Unlike on the streets of New York, where people would stop and look at me, in the modeling world I was nothing exceptional. Everything from my head to my toes was scrutinized by the agents. One day after I signed the contract to be represented by Ford, one of their senior agents said to me that I was just one more girl from California with hair to my waist. So what made me so special? This person threw me off track so badly that she made me question my self-worth, and all I could do about it was go to my studio apartment, pull down my Murphy bed, and cry. It seemed like a long cry, but this girl from California wasn't going to let anyone get to her. So I got up -- my bed sprang to the wall like a salute -- and off I went for a walk down Second Avenue in my muumuu.

It was around this time that I met a guy named Joe. Joe is not his real name, but the story is true. I met him at a cocktail party, and I distinctly remember having an ache in my body when I looked at him. Not a good ache, mind you, but a visceral response that was alarming and a bit frightening.

Remember what I said earlier about the girl who held her hand out to the bad guy? That was me! The whole night was so surreal when I think back to it. Here was this man, clearly powerful and in control. I was curious about the small group of people who had gathered around him. I did not join the group. I felt more comfortable standing on the other side of the room, chatting and laughing with my friends, but all the time watching him. His energy was magnetizing.

The men listened attentively, eyebrows furrowed. Women swayed in anticipation of what he would say next. Eventually they all erupted in laughter at something he said. A friend of mine who knew the man offered to introduce him to me, but I declined. I was still feeling a bit weird about the whole thing.

"Oh you have to meet him!" she gushed. "He's great! He's charming and he would totally take care of you." She winked and I plastered a fake smile on my face. My body was wiser than her words. I felt uncomfortable, yet fascinated -- almost like the way you feel when you see a car accident. You know it is most likely a bad situation, but you look anyway.

I had such a strange response when I was introduced to him that I excused myself to go to the ladies room because the feeling was so odd, ...

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Book Description Atria Books, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Heart and Sold is an insightful journey through the emotional and tangible challenges of regaining one s personal power while building and maintaining a successful business -- regardless of the country s economic situation. Valerie Fitzgerald, one of the country s leading real estate agents, candidly recounts her personal journey from unemployed single parent to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and renowned corporate executive. From beginners just getting started in residential real estate to seasoned agents -- or anyone in business looking to take their game to the next level -- this step-by-step guide teaches readers the art of selling. With her personal touch, Fitzgerald shows readers how to manage clients with style, choose the right company and the best mentor, establish a stellar reputation in their field, develop a daily schedule for running a home office, and maintain a successful attitude every day. With all of her tools at their fingertips, readers will also soon be shooting for the stars. Heart and Sold shares the mind-set of a respected businesswoman who gracefully balances the demands of an empire with the intimacy of her family, and is a model for working and living that can be applied to any desire or discipline. Seller Inventory # FLT9781416542926

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Book Description Atria Books, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Heart and Sold is an insightful journey through the emotional and tangible challenges of regaining one s personal power while building and maintaining a successful business -- regardless of the country s economic situation. Valerie Fitzgerald, one of the country s leading real estate agents, candidly recounts her personal journey from unemployed single parent to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and renowned corporate executive. From beginners just getting started in residential real estate to seasoned agents -- or anyone in business looking to take their game to the next level -- this step-by-step guide teaches readers the art of selling. With her personal touch, Fitzgerald shows readers how to manage clients with style, choose the right company and the best mentor, establish a stellar reputation in their field, develop a daily schedule for running a home office, and maintain a successful attitude every day. With all of her tools at their fingertips, readers will also soon be shooting for the stars. Heart and Sold shares the mind-set of a respected businesswoman who gracefully balances the demands of an empire with the intimacy of her family, and is a model for working and living that can be applied to any desire or discipline. Seller Inventory # FLT9781416542926

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