Hoda Hajirnia is as hardworking as they come, as a broadcast journalist she had been committed to long, late hours and as a real estate agent, she is fierce and passionate. Before real estate, Hoda worked in the newsroom for the Los Angeles television station, ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Although she gained a wealth of knowledge and was encouraged by many to pursue an on-screen anchor position, Hoda knew her real passion was real estate, and that is the path that she chose to pursue.
Currently, Hoda can be seen on Bravo’s latest reality series, “Real Estate Wars.” In this new series, you will be on the front lines of a turf war unlike any other. Rival real estate agencies The McMonigle Team and The Relegance Group will face off in a battle for O.C. supremacy on Real Estate Wars. Hoda Hajirnia joins The McMonigle Team led by the formerly number one real estate agent in the country, John McMonigle.
As the only female member of the McMonigle team not only does she bring elegance and poise, but is a key player with her reputation and her sales record of millions of dollars in real estate over the past several months.
Before we kick off with #GIRLTALK about your career we have to know...
What are you must have beauty products? Your skin is flawless.
I have my two favorite products, I do not need to reapply them because they are so good. People always think it is what you are using on your face, which it is, but I think prepping and setting your skin are two significant things many people overlook because they think it is the makeup that makes a difference. The first product that I would say I use to prep my skin is, my primer (POREFESSIONAL-Benefit):
it minimizes the appearance of pores, and it makes the application of your foundation look smooth and has a matte texture to it. The second product I cannot live without is a translucent setting powder (Laura Mercier). You know the filters you see on Snapchat? How it smooths out your skin? I kid you not; these two products do just that--especially the setting powder.
Also, there’s a specific way of using it. You cannot just take a brush and put it on your face. You need to set it with a sponge. The key is, to use a beauty blender or sponge and it can be dry or damp. Dip the sponge into the loose powder and put it under your eye and let it sit there. I finish my eye makeup, and then I go back after five or ten minutes and blend that powder out with a brush. I swear to you, those two products make your skin look so good and it keeps your makeup on all day, and it mattifies it.
You are in GREAT shape! Tell us some of your fitness tips:
I would say, for the last five years, I have been putting effort into changing my body and my lifestyle. Initially, I was going to the gym in the evening because of work. Then I realized that was not working out because clients would be calling and texting after work-sometimes until midnight or past midnight. I have to get the gym out of the way first thing in the morning, while my clients are asleep. I wake up at 5 am every day and do 6 am workouts. At least two or three times a week I will go back at the end of the day. I will not do an intense exercise, but I will go just so I can unwind, especially if I had a stressful day, and at night, I will do some cardio because it helps me sleep.
I do a variety of workouts. I do strength and conditioning in the morning, I lift quite a bit, and in the evening, I will do HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), which involves cardio, but it is lighter.
If you could have cocktails with anyone, who would it be? What would you drink? Also, what would be your first topic of conversation?
I honestly think I would have a cocktail with Kim Kardashian. A lot of my glam inspiration comes from her and how she is always changing her makeup. She has been more on the natural side lately. I take tips, and I look at their makeup and hair, the Kardashian brand, but specifically Kim especially when it comes to style. I would talk about beauty, and I would keep it classy and drink a glass of champagne. (laughs)
Share a little bit about how you got started in the industry.
I went to school to be a journalist, and I majored in communications. Initially, I wanted to become a reporter and eventually worked my way from behind the scenes to on camera. I started off interning at ABC in Los Angeles for a few years and ended up getting a full-time position. I was there for nearly three and half years, and I was not happy due to my crazy hours. I worked the morning shift, which means, I would go in at midnight and do the morning news. I would be there until 8:00 or 9:00 am. I did not have a social life, I was in a relationship, and it was rough at the time because of my work hours.
Everybody I knew had a regular schedule, so he or she were just heading out to work when I was getting off from work. My life completely reversed. I was not in a great place because I went to school to pursue this career and it was not what I thought it would be. Therefore, because of my background with my father and uncle being brokers and investors, I gave sales a shot while I was still working at ABC. I surprised myself with how well I did. I was also making more money working in sales. So, I worked two jobs full-time for about eight months before I decided to leave ABC. That is how my whole transition came. I did not ever think that I would be a successful realtor, especially in today’s market. It is entirely different than what I was used to when I was watching my father.
I realized that I was good at sales, so I went from making phone sales to getting my license. I worked with my uncle for some time to understand how things work. I was under their wings until they retired.
The real estate industry is quite competitive. What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in real estate?
Many people have the misconception that if you join a prominent brokerage, they are going to hand you deals and deals are just going to fall in your lap. It does not work that way. Going into it, I would say the best advice I can give any new agent, or anyone pursuing to get their license is to put a budget aside and market yourself. Remember, you are building your brand. Although you are working for a broker, you are an independent contractor, you are your CEO, you are your boss, and you set your schedule. Many people go in with the thought, “I am just going to meet people, socialize, and pass out flyers.” Which is good, but you need to start somewhere, and without the boost of your marketing, branding, and putting a couple hundred or a couple of thousand dollars, or whatever your budget is aside a month towards building your brand, it can end up being an avalanche type of business. Once you have one deal, the next one comes and then another one and so on. The first year is the hardest year--for anybody. You have to build your book of business, and it does take some time, but it is gratifying once you get that going.
You need to target your potential clients. You need to drop mail monthly, or even twice a month. You need to go out there and knock on doors. Something that worked for me was joining a few online sites (Zillow and Trulia). I put a budget aside even though I hated doing it. For a long time, I did not see a return. I knew that you have to spend money to make money. Based on my experience with my family, who was self-employed and entrepreneurs, I knew that you had to spend money to make money. I was always the most conservative one, so I was still scared to take that risk, but you have to do it, and it ended up working for me. I was able to speed up my success. It is not always easy, but it is rewarding.
Everyone has a path, which includes facing challenges and challenging times. With that said, those lessons are something to be grateful. What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned throughout your career and life?
- Never judge a book by its cover. You may come across somebody whom you think wouldn’t want to purchase a significant property because, in your mind, he or she may not look like somebody who has a ton of money. That has happened to me before, and it was a mistake that I learned from, (laughs), but luckily, I was able to turn it around, and I did help the client in the end. I was not sure if they were legit because it was a male and they contacted me online. I have so many people who reach out to me because I look a certain way and I am a female, so I have guys messaging me and inquiring about me through my website, but it ended up being a real client.
- Another lesson that I learned is that being consistent and persistent are the two most valuable qualities. Being consistent and persistent in this industry goes a long way. A client may not be ready for four, five, six or eight months but keep in touch, and let them know you are still there. Without that, I probably wouldn’t have as many deals as I do now. Doing that has paid off, and it is a valuable lesson.
Tell us three things on your bucket list:
- Travel to as many places as I can. I want to go to Italy. I know that is coming up within the next year so I will check it off my bucket list. It is so hard to travel in my line of work because there’s no downtime. It is never the right time to leave. I am such a hard worker that I do not believe in vacations until I have “wowed” myself-- I am a perfectionist. Someone has to force me to go on vacation. It is sad but true. (laughs)
- I would like to own a gym one day. I think health is wealth, and without the gym, I would not be where I am both mentally and physically. It is my therapy.
- Help my parents pay off their home so they can live debt free. They have done so much for me that I would love to give back to them. I want to make sure they are taken care of and don’t have to worry about mortgage payments.
If you could deliver one message to the world, what would it be?
A couple of years ago I was lost. I was depressed, not happy, struggling, barely had enough money to budget and market myself. Now, I am successful. If I can do it, anyone can do it as long as he or she put their sweat, heart, tears, blood (laughs) and everything into it. You have to give your absolute all, and you can achieve your dreams. You have to believe in yourself and have faith, and eventually, the stars will align.
Images courtesy of Bravo TV and Fran Boloni / Illustration by Nicola Styles