For Agent Philip Mason, Real Estate Is Not Like Television — and That’s OK

February 6, 2019

Philip Mason says he left his career as a public-sector accountant to become a real estate agent six years ago because he was moved to help more people purchase their first home.

Today the Port Allen native is a buyer-focused agent working in the Baton Rouge area with a heavy emphasis on first-time homebuyers. Mason also helps educate new real estate professionals while seeking to dispel popular but inaccurate notions about the industry.

“I’m a specialist in helping people achieve the American dream,” he says.

Rising From Humble Beginnings

A graduate of Southern University, Mason worked for a decade as an accountant and financial adviser for government agencies, including the city of Port Allen and the Louisiana State Police. But by 2013 he had decided it was time for a career change.

“I had a dream and I just wanted to help people,” he says. “I up and left my job, started doing real estate full time and never looked back.”

Mason says he pulls motivation and inspiration from his background. He grew up in a single-parent household with three siblings in an underprivileged community where most people couldn’t obtain their own home. It’s a past that he says drives him to help people realize their dream of homeownership.

“I’ve just seen a lot of people who thought it wasn’t possible to own a home,” he says. “I thought I could make an impact being a real estate agent. I strive to help families get in homes.”

Relying on Professionalism and Integrity

Mason says his first year in real estate was often difficult as he learned the ropes, which he found less glamorous than the portrayals on television programs. “Being a real estate agent is not what [cable TV] shows you,” he says.

Now that his business is thriving, Mason is producing a YouTube channel to highlight common mistakes, including failing to keep up with new technologies, that he says many new real estate professionals make. He also stresses client retention by putting professionalism and customer service over merely earning a commission.

“A lot of people don’t progress and don’t grow because they want immediate returns and success — and it doesn’t come like that,” he says. “It’s about consistency, constantly being a person with professionalism and integrity, and showing people that you're there for them.”

Being a good real estate agent, he says, also involves having a sympathetic and patient ear. “A lot of people fear the unknown, so you have to be their psychiatrist at the same time as being their real estate agent,” he says. “You have to be able to listen to them and not just push them.”

Focusing on First-Time Homebuyers

As he has helped first-time buyers, Mason has often relied on down-payment assistance programs from Louisiana Housing Corporation that help people qualify to purchase a new home.

LHC offers access to low-interest loans, along with up to 4 percent assistance for a down payment and closing costs, to qualifying Louisiana residents looking to purchase their first home. Homebuyers must have a credit score of at least 640 and must meet income requirements based on their location. Assistance is available statewide for home purchases of up to $435,000.

“A lot of people around my community couldn’t afford a home, so I knew the importance of programs like this to help people and give them the hope they’re looking for,” he says. “Some people feel like it’s not something they can obtain, but it’s right there in their grasp.”

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