Success Through a Recession: A Conversation with Real Estate Veteran Jim Fite

Jim Fite is a broker and co-owner of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite in Dallas, Texas, which has 1,100 agents, 23 offices, and 120 employees. The firm also offers title, mortgage, insurance, and property management services, operates a real estate school, and maintains a vetted network of close to 200 vendors to recommend to clients. The company is consistently named Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal. 

Jim Fite C21 Judge Fite headshot 1

We recently sat down with Jim to talk about his new book “Success Through a Recession: Lessons Learned to Help YOU!”

Realty Biz News: What made you decide to write the book “Success Through a Recession?”

Jim Fite: “Success Through A Recession” was a long time coming. After “succeeding” through six (now on the 7th) recessions, I have learned a lot. There are business degrees, MBA courses, seminars, and books written about how to “build” a business. I have never seen one on what you do during the “Good Times” to prepare for the “Tough Times.”  I started the outline in 2009 during the Great Recession. Then during the summer of 2022, I realized that I had to write a book. Business owners just don’t know how to navigate the process when there are more expenses than income. 

 RBN: Tell me about the book. 

Jim: “Success Through A Recession” is a “How To” book! There are practical examples of what to do and what not to do, from developing core values to the establishment of long-range goals and how to hire the right people and take great care of them. I also talk about communication with all levels of the company, both internally and externally, and how to negotiate leases or purchase commercial properties to build a relationship with your banker. For when the “Tough Times” appear, I also make recommendations on how to make a plan and execute the plan in order to maximize results. And finally, the last chapter is about spiritual guidance.

RBN: What are the top takeaways that you would like real estate professionals and others to take away from the book?

Jim: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” The journey is for the benefit of your people, including clients, agents, staff, and leadership – everyone! There will be tough decisions that must be made, and the leader has to make them, then rally your valued people, and execute the well-thought-out plan. When mistakes are made, fix them quickly and communicate the improvements quickly.

RBN: As a long-time real estate professional, what are the things that you see as common threats to real estate brokers and agents during the downturn?

Jim:  The most common threat to brokers and agents is their ATTITUDE!  They watch the news, listen to the news, and then they listen to other agents who are negative about the market. My father used to say, “Never go to lunch with anyone until you have seen their 1099!” In other words, surround yourself with like-minded people. Take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. NEVER GIVE UP!

RBN: What do you tell less experienced REALTORS® to help keep them motivated during the downturn in the market?

Jim: Read my book! I’ve captured 51 years of wisdom and experience for their benefit. Dad also said, “Learn from smart people. Learn from others’ experiences. It’s a lot cheaper than having your own.”“Success Through a Recession” by Jim Fite can be found on in hardback, paperback, and Kindle. All proceeds will be donated to the Judge Fite Charitable Foundation.

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