When Dana Rice, Senior Vice President of Compass Real Estate and Principal of the Dana Rice Group, began her real estate career five years ago, she didn’t pay much attention to her sales numbers, total volume, or standings because she was mostly focused on finding value for her clients.
“To be honest, at first I was a bit naive and didn’t understand why agents talked so much about their volume numbers. It wasn’t until my fourth year that I really got it. I finally realized that your figures are directly reflective of your experience and knowledge, which certainly benefits your clients. However, I don’t believe success should only be a measurement of your numbers. The most important thing to factor in should be the happiness and satisfaction of your clients,” Dana explains.
Focusing on her clients’ experience proved to be just the right equation for her rapid success. In 2017, the Dana Rice Group closed more than $60 million in sales — a 300 percent growth from the previous year. “We were number one in year-over-year growth out of all of Compass region-wide. Final figures for the 2018 year are easily on track for at least $80 million in total volume.”
Dana has been recognized as a Washingtonian Magazine Top 100 Agent in D.C., Best of Washington 2015-2018, Compass Number One Team in Year-Over-Year Growth, and Compass Top Ten Producer. She is frequently featured in the news media as an expert in the local real estate market.
Dana credits her team for being able to see the big picture and work cohesively to get things done. “Everyone on my team is a connector. The energy they bring to the table is infectious. I think I’ve selected just the right combination of people who offer our clients a wide spectrum of expertise in a variety of backgrounds, including architecture, staging, marketing, sales, and communications.”
She also feels her move to Compass gave her the freedom to pursue her vision. “When I transitioned to Compass, I told them I had this vision of how I saw my team and the direction I wanted to take it, even though I had no way to prove I could do it. They just said, ‘Sure!’ and handed me the reigns. Also, because they were relatively new in the marketplace, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to capitalize on building my own brand with them instead of having our identity tied to an already preconceived brand at an established company.”
Dana says the most important thing to remember when you’re starting out as a new agent is to be patient. “There’s a real barrier with entry into the real estate field because you often don’t make your first paycheck in that initial year, so you have to be okay with that. It’s hard, but I went in knowing that I wasn’t going to make anything substantial for a long time. However, if you just focus on your clients and nothing else, you can’t help but be successful. I mean that, sincerely. When you start thinking about the money, your clients sense it – they know. If you continue to keep your focus on the client experience, everything else takes care of itself.”
Dana comes from a publishing background having worked in advertising and media sales for Fortune 500 companies. She also brings skills sharpened from 14 years of leadership experience as a community volunteer and, as a mom of three boys, involvement in numerous educational, school and sports-related organizations.
Her decision to venture into real estate came about as she and her husband began restoring properties. She called the agent who sold them their house 20 years prior, Diana Keeling, of Coldwell Banker, and discussed the possibility with her. “I figured the best way to learn was to partner with someone already established. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn under someone who has been a leader in the industry for decades. I think many agents are so anxious to get going they hinder their progress by not learning from experienced mentors. Working under someone is like paying tuition for your education. Whatever I gave up in individual income, I feel like I got a real estate master’s class in return.”
Dana is glad she acted on her instincts and pursued her ambitions. She sees the difference her professional experience, varied background, and depth of knowledge brings to her clients. Dana knows that along with her team’s expertise, they provide value beyond the conventional real estate process.
“Most clients who are buying or selling their homes in today’s market are savvy consumers and want to be involved in the process, doing their own research for instance. We provide them with things they might not necessarily be able to obtain, like information about a house that’s off market coming up for sale, insight into a neighborhood they aren’t familiar with that meets their criteria, or professional design recommendations for improving their homes to ensure maximum return. That’s real value.”
Dana has a recommendation for anyone starting out in the real estate business: Don’t be afraid to step back first in order to take ten leaps forward. “Most of us come to this as a second career, and we’re used to being productive at a high level in that field. But this arena is different. When you’re just getting started in real estate, you don’t know the rules of engagement. So learn those first, learn everything you can, and let that education carry you through to the next level. Finally, never forget the basics: Focus on finding value for your clients.”