Tuesday, October 23, 2018 / by Eric Jurmo
I started with the Detroit Fire Department in Jan 1999. I had been working for myself in the home improvement industry doing residential roofs on people’s houses. I loved being a firefighter. Its not a job you do for the money at least in Detroit as it was the lowest paying major city fire department in the country at the time. Also, it was the world series of firefighting every single day. No other city in the world had more dwelling fires than the city of Detroit and the Detroit Fire Department. I earned multiple citations for rescuing citizens form fires as I always worked at busy Engine companies and Squad companies. In 2005 while recuperating from a torn labrum in my shoulder from a fire on the job I decided to take a real estate course and get my real estate license. I loved doing real estate along with the fire department and hustled hard to replace my construction company income with the real estate income. I started by becoming really good at listing FSBO homes. There were a lot of them but as the economy went down in 2006 and 2007 I eventually couldn’t even sell them because everyone was under water on their homes. I started working with a lot of investors as the Metro Detroit real estate market crashed. I worked with investors from all over the country and the world looking to take advantage of the low home prices. I was always one of the top agents at my offices I worked at even though I was a part time agent.
On August 13th, 2010, (Friday the 13th ), I decided to work an overtime day at the fire department. We were going to be taking my 6 year old daughter to Disney World the next week and real estate was slow in August so I decided to work overtime to earn some extra spending money for Disney. I showed up to work and found out I was being detailed to E-32. On my way into work that morning I could see the huge plume of smoke off the expressway. I knew there was a multiple alarm fire going on somewhere on the East side of Detroit. Well that was where I was being detailed to for the day. As I was driving to Engine 32’s quarters I could see the fire just down the street from the Engine house and I decided to drive directly to the fire scene. It was a two story brick commercial building, very old and already in poor shape from having been burning since the middle of the night. I pulled up and put on my bunker gear and started walking towards the fire scene. As I was walking up I could see the guys from Engine 32 working and I headed in that direction. Suddenly I felt extremely sick to my stomach and had a terrible feeling something bad was going to happen. At this point in my career I had been in over 1500 dwelling fires and never had this feeling before. I disregarded the feeling and moved into the hot zone of the fire scene. Within seconds of me getting close to the building I heard a rumble and I felt like I was in a dream. I turned to run and made it about 1 step before being crushed by a pile of brick. I was immediately knocked out but regained consciousness within seconds. My fellow firefighters dug me out from under the 4 ft of brick and burning debris. I remember once they pulled me out, I was laying there as one of my friends was holding bandages to soak up the blood from my lacerations on my scalp and looking down and moving my legs and being thankful I wasn’t paralyzed. An EMS guy came up and asked me how I was. I told him my arm was broken, my leg was broken and I was pretty sure my back was broken. Little did I know how bad it was. The next thing I remember was speeding down Jefferson Ave to Detroit Receiving hospital with another firefighter in the ambulance. Every time we hit a bump I would pass out from the pain. I remember waking up at the hospital and I asked for pain medication because I was in such pain. They struggled to cut off my bunker gear and prepare me for surgery. While this was all happening my wife was notified that I was injured in a fire and to please get to the hospital asap. I remember talking to her for about 10 seconds before they wheeled me into surgery and I told her I would be ok. That was the last thing I remembered as I was placed in a medically induced coma for 17 days.
My injuries were severe. I broke my neck, cracked every vertebrae in my back, broke every rib in my back, I had a burst fracture in the L5 vertebrae in my back where it literally exploded. Shattered my femur, tibia, elbow arm and hand. My wife had to sign off with the surgeons to give permission to cut off my left leg if needed because my circulation was so compromised. Luckily for me they didn’t need to do that. By the time I woke up I had already had over 10 surgeries on my way to 26 so far. While going through 30 days of intensive care and another 30 days in a rehab hospital I truly believed I would make it back to the fire department. Later I found out that was never going to happen, but I drove my self in physical therapy to get better to make it back. Finally, in January I started getting back into real estate because I was going stir crazy sitting around home other than just going to PT. My wife thought I was crazy and insisted I was going to hurt myself showing homes in the deep snow of January. I started really working hard in real estate and finally hired an assistant in April of 2011 and my business exploded. When my one year of being injured at the fire department expired in August 2011 they told me that I could not come back to the DFD. At that point I realized that I needed to make real estate my number one business priority.
I worked very hard and moved to an office closer to my home. While I was there I made it my mission to be the number one agent in the office. And in 2013 I was number one at 12 million in sales. At this point I was 100% self taught in real estate. I researched information online and took courses online but never had one person share anything about what they did to generate business or the strategies they were using. Everything was a secret. Nobody would share at all. I remember having a discussion with my Broker and asking him how this Jeff Glover guy was selling so many houses? He was all over the west side and starting to move to the east side of metro Detroit. My broker said no one will ever be able to do that on our side of town. I just could not accept that as an answer. So I hired a real estate coach from Corcoran Consulting and it really helped my business in a transitioning market from heavy buy side to a sellers market. I was working 7 days a week and a million hours and I was always on the phone. Finally, my wife said either the phone goes or you go! I knew I needed to make a change and I couldn’t see a way out of where I was at. Who wants to turn down business? Not me. At the same time, I was invited to a KW event in Toledo for a class called Recruit Select. I was the only non-KW agent there. While listening to the instructor I had an epiphany that this was exactly what I was looking for. I realized all of my bad hires had caused me nothing but added stress for myself and my family. I also used to watch all of these older agents still dragging themselves into the office still needing to sell homes to survive and I did not want to be one of them. I made a decision at that time that I was moving to Keller Williams. My wife did not want me to move, she reminded me how I liked my brokers so much and how it was a big family but I knew that this was the only choice I could make to get myself to where I wanted to go. They did not have the classes or the training or the know how to help me realize my potential in my real estate career.
I moved to Keller Williams on December 1st 2014. I hired a Maps Coach right away and was very fortunate to get placed with Abe Shreeve. We completely reorganized and rebuilt my team and put organized systems in place that upped our production, took less time and allowed myself to have more free time for my family. I went to my 1st Keller Williams family reunion in 2015 and remember sitting in a seminar where Ben Kinney was demonstrating his listing presentation. I sat there looking at everyone saying “I can’t believe he is telling us this information!” Crazy, a place where agents actually tell you exactly how they have built their business and all the steps and tips they learned along the way. The culture of sharing that I learned from these big events and what was being shared in my office everyday was game changing for my business. My first year at KW my production increased from 12 million to 22.5 million. Then I moved to my current coach Craig Goodlife and my production increased to 38 million, then to 48 million and this year in 2018 we will do over 50 million in closed sales. I do not work weekends. I occasionally meet a client in an evening but hardly ever. I have built an awesome team that keeps selling more and more homes without me. We are building out our plan to close 600 transactions in 2019 and we will get there!
Due to my real estate success I was able to take advantage of an opportunity to become the team leader of our Chesterfield and Port Huron offices. It was my opportunity to give back for everything I had learned and all the people that invested time in me. I have made it my mission to help other people experience a better life like I have been able to live. I am truly dedicated to helping agents inside and outside of Keller Williams build their business like I have and live a life worth living! The saying goes in Keller Williams that you can be anywhere you want to be in 5 years. My 4 years is coming up and I would have never guessed I would be where I am at now. My life has changed dramatically. I really feel like I have been getting an MBA in business with the coaching I have been going through. It has opened my eyes to look at real estate as a business and that this business can run forever with great management. And with that, I can continue to earn an income even after I have stepped out of the business completely.
Thank you Keller Williams Realty, Julie Jurmo, Craig Goodlife and Phil Grosso and all the people that helped me along the way to the journey of fulfilling my potential! The story is not over!
If you are looking to break away from the corporate world and have the opportunity to have a career with an unlimited potential or are an agent stuck and not having the career or life you dreamed of contact me today!