Real Estate Agent Magazine sat down with Roman Balandin the founder of Roman Balandin Realty to discuss his shift from a hedge fund to real estate. With a background in computer science, Roman integrates technology into his real estate approach and credits his team-centric model for his success.
REAM: Can you share some insights into your journey as a real estate advisor, and what initially drew you to the real estate industry 12 years ago?
RB: I’ve always been drawn to innovation and entrepreneurship, and while working in a hedge fund, I felt constrained by the corporate environment, limiting my ability to explore creative ideas for financial growth. To break free from these constraints, I decided to obtain my real estate license, focusing on the luxury market.My choice of real estate was driven by the desire to connect with like-minded individuals—business owners, entrepreneurs, and innovators—outside the corporate world. The prospect of passive income, often referred to as “Make Money While You Sleep,” was also a compelling factor, aligning with my goal of building a diverse portfolio of properties for long-term financial independence.
REAM: You have a background in computer science, having earned a Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University in 2002. How do you think your education and knowledge in this field have influenced your real estate career?
RB: I consider that everything you do in life is a stepping stone to set you up for the next big thing. Understanding technology and creating streamlining processes helped me tremendously in creating back office, flow of processes for transactions, picking out systems such as CRMs, accountability software and tie them into back-office systems and accounting software. As a technology & business processes enthusiast, I know that it’s important that all systems talk to each other and there is a flow between the processes.
REAM: Being recognized as a Top 1% Realtor in New Jersey and a Top Producing Team by RealTrends in The Wall Street Journal is a significant achievement. Can you tell us about some of the strategies and approaches that have contributed to your success in the industry?
RB: My team’s success comes from a smart setup and having the right people in the right places. Being a real estate agent can be overwhelming—you have to work with buyers and sellers, promote yourself, handle transactions, and find new clients. So, I’ve built a team centric brokerage.
The key is our shared culture. Everyone on the team wants to do well and grow their business. I teach agents how to be proactive and take charge of their work and clients, rather than just reacting to things that come up or wait for the business to come. I also make sure I supply clients/prospects for the agents this way their pipeline is never dry.
I’ve organized the team into different roles, like agents for buyers and sellers, an inside sales team, marketing team, and operations team, which manages transactions and the behind-the-scenes stuff. This way, each agent can focus on what they do best, creating relationships and working with clients. With this setup, along with more training and business for the agents, they can triple or quadruple their business.
REAM: What is your biggest challenge running a business? How do you overcome it?
RB: There are continual challenges that come up within the industry and the business of Real Estate. But just like in any other business, to succeed you need to think outside of the box, adapt quickly to the environment and fulfill the needs of your clients. A perfect example of this is when Covid struck in 2019/2020, we survived by doing virtual listing presentations for the sellers and virtual showings for our prospective buyers. Even now as we are entering the phase of higher mortgage rates, we are providing our clients with mortgage options and solutions such as various ARM mortgages, 2-1 buydowns and partnering up with lenders that offer grants or any other creative financing to offset high rates so buyers can still purchase their dream home by locking in at a lower rate and affordable rate with the potential to refinance when rates take a dip again. It’s all about being creative and delivering to the needs of our clients.
REAM: Who are your real estate mentors? How do you seek to emulate them?
RB: That question is quite complex. I have many. I feel like any person that is willing to share information that I wasn’t previously exposed to is a mentor. Doesn’t matter how long they have been in business as long as they are showing results. I am always reading books, listening to podcasts, all the knowledge, strategies, techniques that I think will grow my business I try to implement. Real estate is a constantly changing business and in the past 14 years, I have seen tremendous changes. I have seen brokerages/teams that were successful 5 years ago, who are no longer on the map. Therefore, you have to stay current on market trends and strategies, that’s why I am always seeking knowledge.
REAM: How are you involved in the local community?
RB: We actively engage with our community, demonstrating our strong support for causes close to our hearts. One notable cause is The Frances Foundation, dedicated to assisting children battling cancer. Our commitment extends beyond financial contributions, as we actively volunteer our time, organize toy drives, and facilitate clothing donations. During the festive season, we collect food for donation to the Freehold Open Door Food Pantry. In addition, we proudly sponsor the Marlboro Cheerleading team and contribute annually to the World Cup Cheerleading Senior Fund. These endeavors exemplify our ongoing dedication to community involvement.These initiatives are just a snapshot of our community engagement. We are continually exploring new avenues to make a positive impact and support those in need within our community.
REAM: How do you balance your professional and personal life, and how does this balance impact your work as a real estate professional?
RB: Being candid, managing the schedules of my three daughters, aged 12, 11, and 6, amidst their various activities, school commitments, and social lives can be quite demanding. It often feels like a full-time job in itself. To break away from the routine and truly cherish quality time together, we prioritize taking vacations every 3 to 4 months—an essential escape from the daily hustle and bustle.I introduced my daughters to skiing at a young age, making it our go-to winter activity. Spring calls for warm destinations, and in the summer, our shared delight is our home pool. With life being so fast-paced, I seize every opportunity to create lasting memories with my entire family.
REAM: What is something your colleagues would be surprised to learn about you?
RB: I often find myself in social settings, effortlessly engaging with people, sharing common interests, and being outspoken. However, my natural inclination is towards introversion, and my true comfort zone lies in one-on-one interactions or behind the computer screen. It surprises many when I share this, as my outgoing demeanor in larger groups tends to overshadow my inherent introverted nature.
REAM: Can you share any upcoming projects or goals for Roman Balandin Realty that you’re particularly excited about in the near future?
RB: I’m currently focused on expanding and cultivating my team as I venture into opening my own school for realtors. My goal is to instill a proactive mindset, demonstrating alternative and innovative approaches to real estate business beyond the traditional methods. Simultaneously, I am working towards establishing a new office in New Jersey and planning the launch of two additional offices in different states. It’s an exciting journey of growth and transformation in the real estate industry.