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  • Writer's pictureChris Muellenbach

Turning Rentals into Million-Dollar Relationships: My Real Estate Journey

Updated: Jun 6

$274,500.


That is the total gross commission income I’ve earned from one client I met because of a residential rental I had listed.


Since they rented that $3,500/month condo, they have purchased and sold almost $13,000,000 in real estate with me.


I would have never met them had I not listed that condo for rent.


My real estate career began in residential rentals. In 2005, I founded Wisconsin’s first residential rental brokerage, which I successfully ran until selling the business in 2015. Reflecting on my experience, I could write an entire blog about the pros and cons of rentals. However, the two main advantages stand out clearly: quick turnaround and the opportunity to fill your pipeline with future buyers and sellers.


Rentals offer a fast-paced environment. Properties move quickly, leading to rapid commissions. This quick turnaround is one of the most appealing aspects of the rental market. Additionally, working in rentals allows you to build relationships with potential future clients. Many renters eventually become buyers, and establishing a connection early on can lead to substantial sales down the line.


However, the rental market comes with its challenges. It often feels like a hamster wheel, involving a lot of running around. Prospective tenants tend to ghost, not respond, or set up and confirm appointments only to not show up. This happens much more frequently than with buyers, making the process sometimes frustrating and unpredictable.


More importantly, fair housing concerns are always at the forefront of my mind. Ensuring that owners and landlords comply with fair housing laws and do not unjustly turn down well-qualified tenants is critical. This adds another layer of responsibility and vigilance to the rental process.


Despite these challenges, what I truly enjoy about real estate is the diversity of niches available. The industry offers the flexibility to focus on areas that resonate most with you. For me, rentals have been a great way to earn money quickly and build a network of future buyers and sellers.


Every successful relationship I have built started somewhere, and often that beginning was with a simple rental listing. The story of my $274,500 commission client underscores the potential long-term value of working in rentals. Each rental transaction is an opportunity to forge new connections and lay the groundwork for future success.


So, if you’re just starting in real estate or looking to diversify your focus, consider the rental market. It’s fast-paced, often rewarding, and a fantastic way to meet clients who might one day lead you to million-dollar sales.

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