It seems like some people were just born to be a real estate professional. They might not know exactly how it will play out at first, but as their career takes flight under the right mentorship and training, they soon find that their innate business acumen, dedication, focus and servant leadership mindset align just right to position them for a lifelong successful career in real estate.
This certainly was the case for Alex McFadyen, 27, a REALTORⓇ with Fayetteville, North Carolina-based Coldwell Banker Advantage, who started his real estate career in 2020 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and ended his first full year in the industry in 2021 with an incredible 86 transactions and nearly $20 million in sales volume.
“I was graduating from and my last semester I took a real estate class,” McFadyen says. “I grew up in a home where real estate was a frequent topic of conversation…one of my uncles is a residential real estate broker and another is commercial so I figured it might be something I should try out to see how I Iiked it. I wanted to follow in those footsteps. I went in headfirst and I haven’t looked back since—nothing else compares to the feeling of helping others buy and sell homes.”
It’s that sort of passion, dedication and success that led to McFadyen’s recently being awarded RISMedia’s first annual “Real Estate Rookie of the Year” at the media firm’s 26th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner in Orlando this past November. The award, sponsored by Colibri Real Estate, was the culmination of a months-long search for the nation’s most successful industry newcomer, and following hundreds of nominations submitted throughout this past year, RISMedia narrowed the group down to an illustrious group of 10 incredibly accomplished finalists. Many of the finalists attended the event, some along with their brokers, and McFadyen was announced as the winner by Jennifer Hoff, president of Colibri Real Estate.
“The agent that will be the inaugural RISMedia Rookie of the Year gets most of their business from past referrals and word of mouth. They attribute much of their success to passion for the business, a successful lead-gen strategy and strong mentorship,” Hoff said. “As an anchor of their community, as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he guides parishioners both spiritually and in finding the perfect place to live, Alex had 86 transactions totaling $19.7 million his first year.”
“I always knew that real estate would be my career path and my passion—what I didn’t know is just how truly fulfilling it would become,” McFadyen said. “That continual feeling of helping others buy or sell homes, nothing else compares to that. I’m grateful to God for the ability to do what I love each and every day. I could not be more honored and excited for the future.”
Following the Power Broker festivities, RISMedia sat down with McFadyen, Hoff and Lisa Geddie, McFadyen’s broker at Coldwell Banker Advantage, to talk about McFadyen’s success and how other new and even experienced agents can take a page from this incredibly successful newcomer to the industry.
Beth McGuire: What was it like for you to be the winner of the RISMedia’s Real Estate Rookie of the Year award? Alex McFadyen: I feel honored to be Rookie of the Year. It meant a lot to me. This past year I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. The real estate business is very stressful at times. It meant a lot to me to get that recognition after all the hard work I’ve put in over the past year.
BM: You had 86 transactions totaling $19.7 million dollars your first year. That’s quite an accomplishment. AM: It’s a lot, but at the end of the day, it’s not about transactions; it’s based on the relationships that I build with my clients…so hopefully I’ll be able to get their business in the future.
BM: Would you say relationship-building is one of the key aspects of your success last year? AM: Definitely. Just making sure that I’m doing the best that I can possibly do for my clients’ transactions–making sure they’re making a good purchase and just putting their needs first before mine.
BM: When you were deciding to affiliate with a brokerage, what was it about Coldwell Banker Advantage that made it the best fit for you? AM: I knew that I wanted to join Coldwell Banker Advantage because the owner, Ralph Huff, inspired me to become the best real estate agent I could possibly be. I knew I wanted to affiliate under his firm.
BM: Looking ahead to 2023, what will you do to stay successful moving forward as you head into the new year? AM: When I first started, I did a lot of ‘For Sale By Owners’—I’ll probably go back to those basics and contact as many as I can find. And then just stay connected to all my past clients, because at the end of the day, that’s where I get most of my business from. So I just want to make sure I’m staying top-of-mind and being ready for the next person who’s ready to buy or sell.
BM: What are some tips you can share with prospective new agents on why it’s still a good time to get into the business, despite a market shift? AM: If you’re thinking about getting into the real estate business, I would do it. You only live once, you might as well get into it.
You have to dive in headfirst–you can’t just step one foot in; you need to really put your pedal to the metal if you want to do it. Stay focused. At the beginning, it’s going to be a lot harder; you’re not going to be making money right off the start, but if you just do the basics and keep on it every month, you’ll see the success eventually and it will be worth your time.
BM: What was it like to see all the Rookie finalists together and present Alex with the award as the winner at the event?
Caption: For more insights from our interview with Alex McFadyen, watch our video above from NAR NXT this past November.
BM: What was it like to see all the Rookie finalists together and present Alex with the award as the winner at the event? Jennifer Hoff: For me personally and professionally, I was a little bit awe-struck. What we really wanted to do is celebrate the success of these 10 people who were selected out of so many nominations, and I really feel we came away with the best of the best. They came from all over the United States, they had different backgrounds but there was this common theme of their investment in their communities, and having this passion for serving others and a passion for the industry and the market. In total, of the 10 they sold $128 million dollars in real estate and nearly 500 transactions, so totally incredible.
And , just hearing his stories about how he sees himself as a servant leader in his community and helping people find homes and find the thing that will make a big difference in their life—it was incredible to spend time with him and the others. I can’t wait to see how this idea of new talent having such a great impact in their brokerages and in their communities—to see how this grows and prospers over the years.
Caption: For more insights from our interview with Jennifer Hoff, watch our video above from NAR NXT this past November.
BM: What was it that made you think Alex was a great candidate for your brokerage? Lisa Geddie: Typically, when we add agents to our team, the most important thing that we look for is someone that is going to align with our company culture and our values and Alex certainly fit that mold. Our company culture is always doing the right thing, that’s what I tell everybody. There’s never a question as to whether we’ll do that or not and there’s never an option to do anything else but to do the right thing.
BM: Do you recruit a lot of new agents? LG: Yes, we’re always looking for new agents to add to our team. We require new agents to do training and to participate in all the training that we offer and that is not optional. Alex did that, but he also aligned himself with several of our top producers and they were more than willing to share with him, and he absorbed all that they could give him, and everything’s turned out well.
BM: How did you feel when you found out that Alex was the Rookie of the Year winner? LG: It was very overwhelming. In my heart of hearts, I just felt really good about Alex and it wasn’t necessarily his production, obviously that’s very important, but just the values that he lives his life by–giving back to his community and his church—and we’re counting on him to share his time and talents with other upcoming agents that we have–he’s already proven that to us, so for me it was more about the person that he is and him being deserving because he did work hard.
He came into the market at a time that was very challenging. It was something that we never had experienced in the real estate industry—ever, any of us, with Covid and all the things going on, so he just dug in and didn’t let anything get in his way. He pushed forward and that’s what we expect and that’s what we encourage all of our agents to do. He grasped that and ran with it.
BM: What do you see for Alex’s future in the business? LG: Alex is already a top-producer in our firm. I think he will continue to be a top-producer because he doesn’t let the chatter in the background get to him. He focuses on what he needs to do and does it. He’s always forming relationships. This is a relationship business—it’s not about the numbers—if you focus on the relationships that you foster, more relationships will come from that. I think he’ll continue to be a top-producer in our firm and make us very proud.