With the housing market growing in demand each day, careers in real estate are becoming more appealing for today’s college students. This appeal was directly addressed by Christendom alumni Jim Clark (’97) and Ben Ferri (’09) at the first Life on Tap alumni mentoring session of 2022 on February 2, as they spoke to students about how their liberal arts education helped them find success in the field of real estate.
Speaking with Career and Professional Development Director Kristin Stephens, both alumni started the night by giving students an overview of real estate in general.
“On a professional level, it is the process where we unite the sellers with buyers,” said Clark. “The job of the real estate agent is mainly to connect buyers with sellers.”
Clark is the owner of Mint Enterprises, LLC. After leaving Christendom, Clark worked several positions, including with Seton Home Study School, before moving into the construction arena. From 2004 to 2009, he was the owner of Icon Construction. Following the 2008 market crash, he decided to go into real estate, eventually earning his broker’s license and starting Exit Premier Realty in 2015. In July of 2020, he started his own firm called Mint Realty. Since then, he has also launched Mint Mortgage, Mint Property Management, and Mint Men Handyman Service.
Similar to Clark, Ferri also discerned his real estate career later after graduation. Following serving with the Canadian Army as an Intelligence Operator, he moved back to Front Royal, Virginia, to be closer to family. Once he was back in Front Royal, Ferri was faced with the question, “What am I going to do now?”
“You could say I accidently fell into real estate,” said Ferri. “It was only a few years ago that I realized I actually wanted to continue real estate and now I love it and want to do it for the rest of my life.”
Today, Ferri is a real estate broker and owner of Inform Real Estate Group, serving buyers and sellers in Virginia since 2015.
Both Clark and Ferri gave insights into getting into their field.
“There is a sixty-hour course you have to take and then there is a national exam and a state specific exam,” said Clark. “From here, generally you work for a brokerage where you are an agent on behalf of the broker.”
Ferri mentioned the benefits of going into real estate immediately out of college.
“Starting immediately out of college could be beneficial because you can afford to make less when you are starting out on your own.” he explained, “You can earn less and grow from there.”
Clark explained to his audience the importance of thinking about their future careers while in college.
“Right now, the best thing you can do is build relationships and learn how to listen,” said Clark. “Further, you should begin reading business books — these are books that everyone should read if you want to be successful in real estate.”
In conclusion, Clark passed along to the attentive students two quotes that he has always hung onto in his career journey: “If you find something you love to do you will never work a day in your life” and “All my time is free.” He encouraged the students to keep these two quotes in mind as they begin to discern about the future.
Ferri concluded by giving a cautionary note on career exploration.
“A lot of people have the expectation to do something that they love passionately in every aspect of the job,” said Ferri. “However, the reality is you might not love your job at first. Don’t expect to love your work completely or immediately. When you start your new position, it might take hard work and time to grow accustomed to it.
Christendom’s Life on Tap series provides students with the chance to learn from and speak to successful alumni about their careers. While discerning a career can be daunting, the Life on Tap series gives students opportunities to learn more about potential paths towards finding their vocation.
Contributed by Ashlianna Kreiner (’22).