An interview with the Barbics
Alan and Ben Barbic, the father and son duo behind the barbics letting agency tell us what it takes to run a real estate business within the family. What excites them? How do they find time to pursue their passion for motorbikes and music? And what would they do differently if they had to start all over again? We sit down and have a chat with Ben and Alan.
Alan, from road racer to realtor! That is quite a journey. Would you like to share your story with our readers?
At an early age I went from being a motorcycle shop mechanic and motorcycle racer to a multistore motorcycle shop owner and top national professional motorcycle road racer. After losing our home in a forest fire in 1985 it was time for a reassessment of life and career options.The home was slowly rebuilt and so was our lives.It was an easy choice to go into real estate inspired by both grandmothers who were real estate agents. All those years of experience gained as a business owner immensely helped with my then new career in real estate almost 30 years ago.
Ben what drew you towards a career in real estate? What is it that you most enjoy about working in this sector?
My whole life there were only two careers I saw myself in. Real estate and music. Growing up I was able to cultivate both! I would go into the office with my father as early as 12 and work with him and watch how to develop a real estate business at a high level. There is an excitement to real estate. Nothing is promised. If you don’t sell homes you don’t eat. Period. Furthermore every deal has many levels of sales and negotiation. You need to sell the client, then the buyer or seller of the home, then have a quality relationship with the other realtor. If you’re not on your game then the deal can fall through at anytime. There’s an appeal in the intensity for me. It actually has a parallel between being on stage or in the music studio. There is a ‘game time’ feel to it.
Ben, how do you find time to pursue your passion of music?
Well gratefully that is where our team comes into play. I’m blessed enough to travel and expose the world to my music. In order to do that I need to have a team to sustain the business. When Alan or I am gone we fill in for each other seamlessly keep a commitment to our clients. Without the team I wouldn’t be able to take my music to the level I do.
Alan a thing that both you and Ben seem to share is an inclination for hobbies outside of work. You are a motorist and Ben is musician. We were wondering if that is coincidental or have to actively encouraged Ben to have other interests in life? Are you happier for it?
Absolutely. Ben was encouraged from a very young age to pursue the passion wherever it takes you. One can never go wrong following the dream.
Alan what are the challenges faced by the real estate agent? Have things changed during the last couple of decades or so?
The biggest challenge the real estate agent faces is to differentiate and stand out from the many mediocre agents who have a real estate license and are not committed to their clients or to the profession. Thankfully the cream always rises and the best are appreciated and get referrals from satisfied clients.The single biggest thing that has changed is that the agent is no longer the keeper of information. At one time, to access all the property and listings information the consumer had to go through the agent because they exclusively possessed that information. The internet changed all of that so now everything and then some is now available to the consumer making them more educated than ever. The agent role has changed to more of a consultant and to guide the consumer through the transaction.
Ben and Alan you have enjoyed your journey as real estate professionals? If you could do it all over again what would you do differently?
I really enjoy my real estate career and love the fact that generations of our family have continued down a similar path. This old school value of carrying on the family business is very important to me and hope one day my children can do the same. The only thing I would do differently is to show who I really am from the beginning. When I first got I’m the business I was only 22 and I hid the fact that I also have a musical career. I thought it wasn’t appropriated in a professional environment to show that side of me. When I did this both suffered. I was conflicted. The minute I exposed my true self both careers thrived like never before.
Real estate has been very good to me and for me and my family. It has allowed me to have many incredible experiences and to work with a wide variety of great clients and professionals. It is also rewarding to work with Ben and be a part of his growth into a savvy and committed real estate professional that really puts the needs of our clients first. If I could start over I would have gotten involved in the local and statewide real estate associations sooner in my career. As past Chair of The Los GatosSaratoga region of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors and now a Director with the California Association of Realtors I have had direct input and can make a difference in the many things that affect the consumer and the real estate industry.Thank you for talking to us Alan and Ben
- On March 27, 2016