The Orlando Business Journal recently named John Pinel, and his business partner, the Orlando Business Journal Realtor/Brokers of the Year for 2017. Hearing from someone who is a man of faith and excelling at the top of his field can provide valuable insight for all of us and our own understanding of work. For the first installment of our 6 Questions Blog, I had the privilege of interviewing John and asking him to give me a peek behind the curtain. Enjoy.
Case Thorp (CT): John, you and your business partner, Mick Night, were recently featured in the OBJ for having the largest residential closing in Winter Park’s history, and named the Realtor/Broker of the Year in the OBJ’s 2017 Residential Real Estate Awards. You must be doing something right! Give us a sense of your approach to work in general, and then real estate specifically.
John Pinel (JP): There are a lot of emotions involved in buying and selling a home. We treat our business as professional as possible. We do our best to add value to our customers, give sound advice, and be a voice of reason without emotions involved. There are a lot of moving parts in these transactions and it is not something our customers do on a regular basis so they need experienced professionals who have been through and know how to handle the issues that can come up during the process. There are a lot of gray areas in our business and we use the motto “always take the high road”.
(CT): Your career began in banking. You shifted mid-career into real estate. Tell us about that journey and what you’d advise others considering a mid-career move?
(JP): I made a huge career change at the age of 41. My wife, Barbara, and I prayed hard about it and our faith in God was a huge comfort in making the decision. In addition to prayer, I also consulted with wise Christian business people to devise a strategy for the transition to help be more prepared. When you have a wife and children, and the overhead of supporting a family, it is easy to say “God is in control”, but the human side of us, at least for me, tends to worry. Especially going from a weekly paycheck to 100% commission only.
(CT): John, you are very involved in your local church. What is it about your faith that guides your approach to work?
(JP): Faith is the #1 priority in every aspect of my life. I know that I am naturally self-centered, lazy, and a sinner. Having God with me from the time I wake up until I go to sleep allows me to realize that I am not what is important….He is. I try to serve in every area of my life: my marriage, as a parent, and to my customers. Knowing that I am serving God first makes it easy for me to make the right decisions.
(CT): At The Collaborative, we talk a lot about what our work and industries will look like in heaven, or the New Jerusalem. Take a guess…what will real estate brokerage look like in heaven? What aspects of your industry will NOT make it in this sinless realm, and what aspects will be retained?
(JP): This is a tough question. I heard once that trust in realtors is lower than trust in attorneys….LOL! I have seen egos get in the way during a transaction and that is not professional nor in the best interest of the customer.
I guess I would have to say that in heaven there will not be egos, and honesty and ethics will prevail.
(CT): If you could change any one thing about the real estate industry, what would it be? Wave your magic wand! Anything!
(JP): I would make the licensing process tougher. Taking a week long course and a test is not the ideal way to ensure you are qualified to handle a real estate transaction. More education and training need to be incorporated. A large portion of the education is focused on real estate law and I know this is important, but our customers want to know that we can ensure a smooth process, give sound advice, and most importantly…..maximize the bottom line to our sellers.
(CT): What’s next for Coldwell Banker / Night & Pinel after being at the top of the agent sales list?
(JP): My business partner, Mick Night, and I are focused on providing the best service. We feel Coldwell Banker provides us the ultimate platform locally, nationally, and internationally. Having the largest residential real estate company in the world behind the #1 agents in Central Florida is a powerful combination. I have been blessed in so many ways.
For me it is easy to focus on and depend on God in the hard times…that is when I am growing the most, but my biggest challenge is staying faithful and focused on what God wants from me in the good times. I have a wife, two wonderful boys, a great business partner, and two Christian accountability partners who I depend on to keep me focused on God.
Thank you, John Pinel!