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Life and Work with Nikki Rincon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Rincon.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Being a Realtor, one question I often get asked besides “How’s the market? is “How did you get into real estate?” So, let me try and summarize how it all happened and how my home staging company came about through being a realtor.

My Grandma, Dad, and Mom had all been Realtors at one point, but that didn’t really have anything to do with how and why I got into the business myself. It kind of just happened organically on its own. And once I had gotten licensed, I always knew it was just a matter of time before my interior design ventures would cross paths with the real estate world.

The backstory…

I had just graduated from college with my Bachelor’s in Interior Design and felt so accomplished. I thought I was sooooo fancy because I officially held a college degree. But unfortunately, all that fanciness was short-lived.

The year this all went down was 2008, the year the real estate market crashed. You know, right in the middle of the whole housing crisis when everyone was in over their heads losing their homes, losing their minds, and had no need for design services nor had the funds to hire a designer. Yeah… so as proud as I was of this “fancy” degree of mine, I quickly learned it just didn’t hold as much value as I thought it would.

I must’ve reached out to a dozen architectural firms asking if there was anything I could do to get an interview and if they would just give me a chance. I was convinced that if I could just get a little face-to-face time with them, they would recognize my hustle and then, of course… hire me. But considering they could barely keep afloat themselves (recap: because of the rapidly tanking economy), the last thing they had on their minds was to hire and pay money they didn’t have to an intern… a desperate college grad intern at that. So, just like that, out went that idea, and my dreams of becoming a rising star designer were crushed.

With no luck scoring a design gig, I continued to work at the local bar I had been working at all throughout college. Time flew by, a couple years had passed, and it was actually at that very establishment where the opportunity to work in real estate presented itself.

During my lengthy employment at that bar, I acquired a long list of regulars, some of which had happened to be well-known and respected realtors in the area.

They’d walk into the bar always put together (so nicely dressed), pull up a seat, and our conversations would always start out as usual, “Hey, good to see you. How was your day? Good. How ’bout yours? Great. What can I get-chu to drink?”… and so on. And after numerous visits, the conversation eventually evolved into… “You know Nikki, you should really consider getting into real estate.” And as I poured their drinks, I thought to myself… “Hmmm… Why not? My heart is already in architecture and design. Makes sense if I were to.”

Well, the same time that real estate offer was being put on the table, was also around the same time my bags were packed, and I was ready to move to Las Vegas. Yes, Vegas. I practically lived there my entire 20’s but that’s a whole other story.

You see, I never had any luck landing a design job within that two year time period after I graduated college. And during that hiatus, I applied to numerous venues all over Sin City and had already been hired at one of the nightclubs to work bottle service. It took me months of training in the gym and discipline myself not to go to the taco truck to get my body “Vegas Ready.” It was a brutal time for me mentally lol. Much respect to all the ladies in the bottle service industry.

I already completed the food & beverage test and acquired all the certificates, cards, and shots required by the state of Nevada to work in the hospitality industry over there. I even found the perfect two bedroom apartment for my English Bulldog and me to live, in the quaint little community of Southern Highlands. I was suited and booted and ready to say “Sayonara LA. It’s been real.” But the real estate opportunity kept lingering in the back of my head introducing doubt into my Vegas plans. I was starting to have second thoughts, which ultimately made decision time that much harder.

I have always believed if you’re not 100% sure about something, then most likely you should 100% not do it. Not in every case, but in this case. So, I prayed about the move and had a long talk with God. And after going back and forth in my head about the pros and cons of staying versus going, I decided to stay.

I knew that if I had moved, I would’ve been making ca$$$h money and fast, but at a price. That price being late hours, sleep deprivation, a scantily clad uniform, my health declining most likely from alcohol being regularly present in my bloodstream, and the worst price of all… dealing with large groups of intoxicated people, most of them acting “the-opposite” of a gentleman. I also knew the harsh reality of only having so much shelf-life in the “looks department” before I would eventually be replaced by a younger and more attractive female. But since I decided to stay, a different reality set in. That real estate reality.

I knew there would be a high chance I would have to endure years of struggle before seeing any real profit because all I was hearing from friends who dabbled in real estate was how hard it was and that they didn’t make it passed the six month mark, some three months, and a couple of them didn’t even last ONE MONTH… LMAO. Eventually, I brushed aside all my negative thoughts and proceeded to move forward with my decision, and let me tell you… I am SO happy I did.

Five years later… here I am. I stayed. It’s been hard. The struggle has been real, but I don’t regret my decision for a second because I met my match in real estate.

My interior design side found its Ying to its Yang, and through real estate, I founded my home staging company N X T L V L Staging. And we are gaining recognition for taking the standard of home staging to… well, the next level.

With Los Angeles becoming more and more of a competitive place to sell real estate, with the rising number of new licensees and colleges now offering degrees in real estate, I wanted to set myself apart from the herd and be able to offer a one-stop shop service for all my clients. Being a realtor and home stager, I get to help my seller’s stage their homes when they list with me, and I get to help my buyer’s design their dream home when they purchase a property with me. It’s a win-win.

In real estate, there is no ceiling and there is no limit. What you put in is what you get out and I can’t think of any other industry that lets you make the amount of money needed to fund all your other passions. And I am a person that has MANY passions. Real estate is just one of them.

The last two years, I have been investing all my time in my home staging company, but now that it has set sail and is running like a machine, I am ready to jump back in the real estate game full force with N X T L V L Staging as a huge leveraging tool for clients. You can look forward to hearing about both NIKKI SELLS L.A. and N X T L V L Staging in the real estate world. The game plan is that they become household names in the real estate industry.

Has it been a smooth road?
Real estate and home staging definitely have not been an easy road. With so much unexpected craziness that occurs daily, and more ups and downs than any rollercoaster ride I’ve ever been on, I still love it… all the good AND the bad. I feel beyond blessed and grateful that I get to work in what I believe has to be one of the greatest industries out there.

I think the biggest struggle with real estate is the unpredictable things that happen during a transaction that you have no control of. Sometimes, who you think is your dream client, turns out being your worst nightmare. In regards to staging, sometimes you think that you knocked it out of the ballpark, but then the homeowner hates what you did to their home not realizing that you’re trying to please the future homebuyer trying to buy the place.

You just have to remind yourself that as long as you’re doing the right thing for your client and putting their best interest as the top priority at all times, there really isn’t anything you need to worry about no matter what happens that’s out of your control.

My advice to women starting out in real estate is to partner up with a successful team. Work for them, listen, learn and absorb everything until you’re ready to spread your wings

As for home staging, the first couple of years are going to be rough because all the money you make goes straight into your inventory and warehouse to store it. Be patient… and just focus on your craft and creativity. The profit will eventually come.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m a realtor/interior designer/home stager. So, I sell homes, help buyers purchase homes, I design homes, and I stage homes to get them ready to put on the market.

I would say I’m known mostly for my design and home staging, but there is going to be a switch this year in the balance, with my real estate team and business becoming just as known as my design/staging.

I am most proud that I am a small percent of realtors that owns a home staging/design company, therefore I can better serve my clients. And it’s not just any home staging company, it’s a full-service real estate and design company that provides so much more than home staging. We are known to pull off the impossible and for having “out there” transformations. Also, with L.A. having such an eclectic mix or architectural homes ranging from ultra-modern to traditional, my staging company prides itself on the skill that we can acclimate our staging to any architectural style. Our track record is proof that we are doing something right, so I am super proud of that.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Focus on your strengths. Then… Patience. Patience. Patience.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Eric Mas

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