Realtor Spotlight: Michelle Goetzinger

      How I got started inmichelle goetzinger headshot

             Real Estate

When Michelle Goetzinger lost her family business in a fire, she knew everything was about to change. Out of options, she decided to take the leap and pursue real estate. While her family had always been entrepreneurial, Michelle was scared and wondered if she had the personality to make it in the highly competitive Pittsburgh market. 

From the get go, she realized she wanted to do things differently. For Michelle, real estate wasn’t about creating more transactions, it was about helping people. It’s her mission to help home-buyers and sellers make smarter, more informed decisions about one of life’s largest investments. 

She believes it’s that very goal that’s helped her to get where she is now. In the last 6 years, she has become a top realtor in her company and in Pittsburgh. Michelle has also been able to start growing her own team. 

We recently caught up with her to learn how she launched her career and what advice she has for others who are considering making the move into real estate.

 

Why did you get into real estate? 

business fireMy husband and I were real estate investors first – we had purchased a few homes, renovated and were renting them out.  We were always on the lookout for our next property and constantly calling these poor realtors to homes we would find at the last minute.  So I initially got my license to be able to open my own doors.  

Unfortunately, around the same time my family’s 25 year old granite fabrication business (Blume’s in Freeport, PA) had a catastrophic fire where we lost all of our inventory, machines and over 50,000 square foot factory.  We were blessed that no one was injured and we were properly insured which made transitioning to real estate full time easier.  

 

What was your first year in real estate like?

I won’t lie, it was tough.  At the same time I was helping spin down my family’s granite countertop business I was trying to spin up this new career in real estate and trying to find the spot where I could be as passionate about a home as I was about buying granite from a query in Greece.  

My biggest fear was having to cold call someone – it’s in all of the books and training Brokers throw at you when you first get your license.  I nearly threw up as they talked about door knocking and cold calling prospects.  That was not going to work for me, so I went a different direction.  

My husband has been in marketing and brand building for years, so I decided to become an expert at marketing a home and building out my own brand called ‘Living Pittsburgh‘.  It allows me to promote people and businesses around the Greater Pittsburgh area as well as promote myself as a local expert.  It has been a huge help and I am proud to say that I have never cold called anyone! 

 

How has your lifestyle/schedule changed? 

The realtor’s life is terrific – if you can manage your time!  

I am always available to my clients no matter the time of day or where I am physically located in the world.  This is really a side effect of my first client, my husband, who is hypersensitive to delays in communication and is an always-on, technology first type of guy.  As such, I have the latest technology and have worked on my client’s deals anywhere from the jungles of Belize, a Paris nightclub, or just sitting in my home office.  

However, I make sure to carve out time for myself.  I love horseback riding and do that at least once a week and during the winter months we downhill ski almost every weekend.  I think the thing that I appreciate most is the flexible schedule and I don’t mind taking a late phone call, text, or email in exchange for it.

 

What advice do you have for those considering a career in real estate? 

This is not a get rich scheme – in fact, 87% of agents fail in the first 5 years. 

The industry is incredibly competitive, there are any number of expenses that will come up that are not related to your broker fees.  Things like marketing brochures for a home, digital ads, a custom website and more are all on the individual agent.  Not to mention, you are going to be in your car a lot – so budget more for things like gas and quick stops into a convenience store for a water or snack.  

You need to have a cash cushion before coming into real estate and need to be good with your money.  Put money aside every month because eventually we will have a recession and you will need that money set aside to float you through.

 

What steps did you take to overcome any challenges/setbacks in your real estate career? 

I would say that I had two pretty large hurdles to overcome – I loved my family’s business and the fire was like suddenly losing someone you love dearly.  It took months to spin it down and even longer to come to peace with that chapter of my life closing.  As I started getting more into real estate, and as I mentioned earlier, I was not about to pick up the phone and call someone.  

So as we started developing a marketing plan the next big obstacle came up – I would have to be in front of a camera talking about real estate, providing home tours, and sharing my experiences of Pittsburgh.  I almost thought about actually starting to cold call people.  

Until you have been in front of a camera, you don’t realize the pressure that brings on you.  Everything is captured and scrutinized and I am not a public speaker.  I am typically the quiet one in the room, listening and watching.  Being the face of Living Pittsburgh meant that I would be out there for everyone to see.  It took me weeks to get my first video out the door and each time I did it, it got a little better.  

Now I do 1-4 videos a week, some of them live on Facebook and YouTube.  Each of our videos now garner a few thousand views on Facebook and we were even able to support a local town’s entry into an HGTV series right before Covid.  While it didn’t win the HGTV contest, it really drew the town together and I have made new friends for life.