Born and raised in the outskirts of Czech Republic, Raja Tayeb made it to the United States of America in 2003. From having dreams of owning a restaurant and getting into the hotel business, his transition to becoming one of the finest brokers and real estate agents is some story to be told. Raja shares his incredible journey with TINDS during an exclusive interview.
Tell us a little bit about your journey so far.
Raja: I graduated in 2001 studying hotel management and moved to the United States when the lucky call came in of my green card in 2003. My initial plan was to work for a couple of years, save up some money and go back home to open up a restaurant and eventually a hotel someday. When I first moved to the US, I started working in a restaurant as a kitchen runner and I hoped I would be able to pick up some English from the other employees as I had trouble speaking in English initially. It wasn’t until a year later when my father, a real estate investor, recommended I become a real estate agent. I couldn’t figure why and also didn’t have much hope initially but still got into the training course to obtain my license, which I got in September 2004. I sold 15 homes during my very first year in 2005. The following few years were incredible and I was hooked. I stuck to it and my determination to succeed has now led me to own a company operating in not just one but two locations serving our customers with utmost satisfaction.
Who or what inspired you to get into real estate?
Raja: It was my father who talked me into being interested in the real estate sector. After being licensed, during my first year, I was able to sell 15 homes and got the gist of it. Being in your 20s with minimum responsibility, no family to look after and earning healthy amounts of money is always a motivator. My father’s suggestion worked out for me and I figured I had the personality for the profession, also that I could work on my own terms and have my own time frame. Right before the market crash meltdown in 2008, I was already doing great and knew this industry was meant for me to conquer.
When did you start your own company?
Raja: I founded FIT Realty Services in 2017. Earlier, I was always with a great broker, I had great space and support, until I realized I needed more space and there wasn’t much available. The business model was changing and I knew the importance of training and adapting to new cultures and new technology. For me, it was always having the control, it’s always about having the flexibility of doing things the way you believe is going to benefit the agents, the clients and the company itself.
Tell us about your struggles you’ve had to face to get to this far.
Raja: Everything wasn’t always so nice like the initial years, like every industry the real estate had its ups and downs as well and it was no different. After the crash in 2009, everybody had a hard time coping up with it and so did I. I even got a hacks license to drive a yellow cab to keep up with family expenses. I drove cabs every Sunday for a year to make ends meet but did not give up on my real estate career and worked full time as dedicatedly as ever from Monday to Saturday. Me & my wife used to eat fries worth a Dollar from McDonalds and it was a humbling experience indeed. Eventually the market got back to normal and I founded FIT Realty Services in 2017 when I was sure I needed to move ahead on my own.
How did you cope with business when COVID hit?
Raja: About six months into COVID, we noticed people were more eager to move out of the city to the suburban areas. We saw the shift and figured we had to make a move right away which led us to open our second location in Garden City to cater to the needs of our customers.
What would your advice be to someone willing to get into the real estate industry?
Raja: Since there’s no salary or paychecks in real estate, it is important to figure that you are working with the right people and focusing on execution while learning from failures is the key to success. Also, committing to full-time and understanding the market you work in is an essential part of real estate. And finally, one has to give time and wait for at least a year to see the final outcomes.
What are your plans for the future?
Raja: Every year Fit Realty Services exceed their previous results, and we hope to help more than 150 families buy or sell properties in 2022! We are witnessing growth every year. The key to doing gbood business according to me is to always be there for the clients. With customer behavior patterns changing so rapidly, it is important to pivot and adapt to the changes. The mission is to help people change their lives so they can help change the ones of others as well.
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