Seth Williams Team Leader, Owner, Reference Real Estate

What was your most interesting job before going into real estate? I used to be a director at Best Buy, running all of Boston, and then I moved to a regional sales manager role covering upstate/western New York, Hudson Valley and Connecticut — all while doing real estate every weekend.

Where did you grow up? Lynn, Massachusetts

Growing up, what did you want to be? I have always wanted to run my own business and was always finding ways to make some money on the side. I’ve been working since age 13!

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I’ve always gravitated to the water/ocean. My family and I used to boat a lot when I was a kid, so I grew up doing water sports and now I just like to get out on the ocean when I can, which isn’t enough! We live in Winthrop, Massachusetts right by the water. It’s so nice to relax and be close to the beach.

If you could meet any well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I think I’d like to sit down for an hour and chat with Tom Brady. Typical, I know. Between his never-ending, relentless pursuit of perfection, his business knowledge, ability to know and play the game. We all know he is obsessed with football, and I am obsessed with Real Estate.

What is Boston’s best-kept secret? I’d say Winthrop — East of East Boston. Not many people go there, or really know what it has to offer. It’s where I live, I invest there heavily, and a lot of my clients who are looking in the immediate areas of Boston have brought homes there. So even though it’s not the city of Boston, it’s one of its best-kept secrets. With city views in half the town, ocean on all sides, beaches, restaurants, it’s really gentrifying. It’s awesome to watch.

What do you love most about the industry? I jumped into real estate because I love it. I want to excel at it. I find most agents do not take it seriously or do it full time. When I wanted to buy in the area, I was mistreated, forgotten about, you name it. I love creating long-term relationships with clients and actually helping them make the largest (or one of the largest) financial decisions they will ever make. Our team is knowledgeable about homes and leads our clients to make the best decision for them. I can’t even tell you how many homes I’ve talked clients OUT of. I also like that every day is a new day in real estate, with a new challenge, a new success. Just when you think you’ve learned it all or seen it all, there is something new that happens that challenges you. It’s incredible to just constantly stay in a learning environment. I also love building a team and helping them be super successful. It’s fulfilling all around.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? We really want to be the General Contractor of all things home sale. Moving is SO stressful. The last thing a client needs is a more stressful experience due to the agent/team that is helping them. It doesn’t matter if they need paint touch-ups, new counters, a moving company, to borrow my truck, it just doesn’t matter. We will do anything to help them. I think a lot of agents also have trouble setting expectations with their clients. Since we have a full-time staff at our back, and we use a ton of technology, we are able to be in constant communication with them and simply be available. We use video as much as possible in order to display properties and tell the story of everything we sell. So between a unique blend of concierge level service and incredible marketing, I think that’s all what sets up apart.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? For me it’s staying ahead of the client experience. As you get busier and busier in real estate, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. If clients are calling us, it’s because we didn’t call them and give them an update. When that happens, which is rare, it drives me up a wall. I know we dropped the ball, even though it could be in a minor way. It’s so important to do everything we say we are going to do and make the experience as smooth and relaxed as possible. Another difficult thing is telling clients they didn’t get the house they really, really wanted. It’s heartbreaking to do.

What’s your best advice for generating new leads? Nothing comes easy! Do the work. Most new agents spend money online, or send cards, all things that take MONTHS to turn profit, sometimes 9-18 months! Most agents also will give up too fast before they see the reward. Stay focused on the “heavy lifting” things that will bring the most reward in a short period of time. This could be your immediate sphere of influencers, friends, family, etc. So many new agents are scared to say anything, but they have to! These people are your friends and family. If they won’t support you, how do you expect strangers to?

What has been your greatest accomplishment? Starting a team, and now our brokerage. My first year in the market (full-time), I took over the market share in my hometown. I didn’t even live there at the time (2014)! I’m really proud of that. To become a trusted advisor to a new community is no easy feat. Year two we kept our grasp and increased our market share while growing our business. Now it’s on to other communities that need our help, and deserve a better experience when buying and selling.

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately? I think my wife Jennifer and I have seen every show possible. We just watched “Mayor of Kingstown” which was fantastic. I’m always reading different business books, listening to podcasts, etc. No time is wasted on learning. Don’t ever stop trying to learn new things.

What’s your favorite meal in Boston? My wife and I love a great steak at Del Frisco’s in the Seaport. The view is great, the staff is wonderful, and when we go out, it’s usually there. We recently went to Contessa which was awesome as well. At Del Frisco’s, just splurge for the Wagyu, it’s insane!

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Boston? Wow, that is a hard one … I’ll stick to buildings I’ve sold in. I sold a unit in 21 Beacon, which is the old Bellevue Hotel. The roof deck is just incredible there and overlooks the State House. Other than that, the Converse building on Lovejoy Wharf is one of my favorites. It used to be such a run-down building and has completely been revamped. I’m a sucker for any old industrial building turned housing in a shipyard, too.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on the job? Recently I had to sell a house that I had never been in, and when I showed it for the first time, it was at a short open house, and the tenant stayed in the property with their giant dog. I’m always insanely surprised at how many people want to stay home while you are trying to sell their property. They always end up doing something weird. That is the most PG story I have.

What’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you? Growing up I was a competitive wakeboarder, that usually surprises people. I’m old now, but can probably still do a trick or two!

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? My wife and I love taking our daughter, Kennedy, to Florida for short trips in Sarasota/Siesta Key Beach. It’s one of the nicest beaches in North America, and a quick flight. Two to three days with the family can really be a re-charge. Any place where you can get an amazing breakfast, relax in good weather, hit the beach, or get an espresso martini to go at 9 a.m. is the place I want to hang out for a few days.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Show up, work hard and never stop prospecting for business.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? Slack or Calendly. Easy to stay in communication and easy for people to book appointments without the back and forth five times about people’s availability.

Who are your favorite people to follow on social media? Tim Grover. I love some of his points of view on winning, working hard, and being entrepreneurial. Tom Ferry, real estate coach, always has some great stuff as well. I also just like watching what other agents are doing out there. You always have to stay ahead.

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