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Name: Todd Cutter
Title: Managing broker
Experience: 20 years
Location: Costa Rica
Brokerage full name: 2Costa Rica Real Estate
Team size: 34
- Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, Board of Regents Member
- One of 10 global members named to the executive committee of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate
- Founding member, REALM
How did you get your start in real estate?
I ran an inbound travel agency in Costa Rica for many years right out of college. It was a very customer service-oriented boutique firm that customized everything from hotels to cars to tours, but it also went to great lengths to provide valuable intel to our clients such as where to eat, where to watch the sunset and so on.
The ability to listen to what clients were truly looking for was a great bridge into real estate and understanding goals and expectations. The start was really by request of our clients as they would come to the country, fall in love, and look to purchase investment or retirement properties.
More often than not, they would walk into a franchise or branded real estate office that they knew from home, and, in expecting the same service, process and knowledge, were oftentimes disappointed. They would come back to me due to the trust and confidence built in our relationship and ask for help.
I wanted to help bridge the gap and provide those clients with insight, knowledge and market intelligence to help them to make smart investment decisions, and that is how I got started.
How did you choose your brokerage?
This is the first. The brokerage was born out of a necessity, in a country with a lack of an MLS, licensing and clear rules of engagement, to deliver an unparalleled experience to our clients, both buyers and sellers. We understand expectations, and before getting into the business, we witnessed how so many luxury clients were expecting an apples-to-apples real estate experience in Costa Rica, and were disappointed with so many aspects of the process.
We thrive on educating our clients about the market, the process, and every aspect of their transaction to ensure setting clear expectations and offer a handheld service from start to finish.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Knowing how to say “No” to clients. A lot of new agents who get started want to please everyone, even if the property or needs are out of their scope of expertise. Learning how to focus on an area, a niche market or property type is a skill that takes time and maturity, but is one of the keys to longevity.
Being a successful agent also requires life balance, and learning to work smarter, not harder, is critical to achieve that.
What are 3 things you’d like readers to know about you and your brokerage?
- We believe real estate is all about relationships and those are based on trust and confidence that we must earn from you.
- Our agents bring tremendous diversity both culturally and professionally, that adds value to our clients, including agents who have worked in a number of other industries including finance, construction, legal, escrow, photography, engineering and our team takes great pride in educating our clients.
- Costa Rica is small, yet diverse in size, and our team covers almost all major markets in Costa Rica.
What was a high point in your brokerage career?
How did you get there? For me, the high point was less about a financial barrier that was broken, and more about when I realized that my greatest asset was being there for our agents as a broker, guiding them, and our clients through the most challenging moments in each transaction or negotiation.
It was an “ah hah” moment for me, as I slowly detached myself from managing my own transactions to assisting our team of agents to manage, and close, more of their own. I take great pride in being a leader and mentor to our team members, and that has been the high point of my career.
What makes a good leader?
A true willingness to follow. Ironically, while leadership takes audacity, drive, vision, clarity and a clear understanding of what is ahead, it also takes surrounding yourself with professionals who complement your skills and allow you to follow their lead, delegating opportunities to them. That allows you to work on the business, and not in the business.
Listening is another critical component of leadership. Being able to understand the challenges that each client, or agent faces, and propose viable and practical solutions to those problems allows you to lead agents as they strive to build their individual businesses and garner market share.