About 20 years ago, Maria and Scott Wurtzbacher were property investors making a decent living flipping homes. One day, they received a call from a client who wanted to sell them a house. At the time, the couple wasn’t in a position to buy, so Scott pitched an alternative business solution.
“On a whim, I said, ‘We can help you sell it,’” Scott remembers. “I was shocked when he said, ‘Okay.’ What did we do now? We didn’t even have a real estate company.”
Maria did, however, have a real estate license, and, at the time, was permitted by state law to declare herself “broker in charge.” Next, they needed a “for sale sign,” which they quickly purchased and emblazoned with a giant “W,” short for Wurtzbacher. Just like that, W Realty Group was born. Eager to embrace the world of residential real estate and tackle the challenge of starting a business head on, Scott later quit his steady consulting job and joined Maria full time.
“To take a concept, start from scratch, open our own business and do it all from the ground up was challenging and exciting,” Maria says.
The first couple of years at W Realty Group were steady. Then, around 2005, a booming market made business really take off. Transactions were plentiful, and the duo was making solid money. From the outside, their small boutique brokerage seemed picture perfect. On the inside, however, Maria and Scott felt lost.
“We were turkeys flying in a hurricane,” Scott says. “We didn’t really know what was happening or why we were doing it.”
It was around this time we started to hear about Buffini & Company. Maria was honored by the National Association of REALTORS® as one of the top 30 agents under 30, and because of the recognition, she and Scott were invited to a few networking events. Agents at each one raved about the training and coaching of Buffini & Company. Shortly after, Scott heard Brian Buffini speak at a NAR conference and was hooked. Scott later attended a Buffini & Company event and signed up for coaching to find the system he and Maria felt they were missing.
“We definitely saw the writing on the wall and knew we needed help,” Scott says.
Things were finally starting to make sense for the W Realty Group. Then, in 2008, the market crashed. Instead of quitting coaching, the pair leaned in to stay afloat during the hardest years of their career.
“In the first few years of coaching, our business didn’t double or triple, but we made it through the Great Recession,” Scott says.
Together, Maria and Scott were always growing toward their next big win; but the recession years hit more than just their finances — it hit their spirits. It was crushing to know because of the economy, their business goals were nearly impossible to achieve. So, in the most difficult year of the recession, Scott and Maria decided to train for a marathon, just so they could have something to work toward.
“To us, a full marathon was a big deal and a huge accomplishment,” Scott says. “To be able to train for and successfully do that race — it put a lot of wind in our sails.”
After 2011, the Wurtzbacher team hit an upswing. With the help of their coach, Laura Sanano-Hawkins, they made it out of the recession years and started rebuilding their business.
“All that hardship we experienced, Coach Laura was right there,” Scott recalls. “She was empathetic and compassionate, but she kept us on track and helped us see the light.”
Despite the tough times, Maria and Scott never lost their hunger for growth. Today, they continue to apply the advice of their coach and the strategies taught by Brian Buffini to continually learn new skills in their work and personal lives.
Take public speaking, for example. Maria used to be terrified to address a room full of people. To get out of her comfort zone, she joined her local chapter of Toastmasters, an international public speaking organization. Today, she is the chapter president, helping people overcome their fears of public speaking, boost their confidence and develop as leaders.
“People come in and they’re really scared, and I tell them that I was, too,” Maria explains. “I can see both sides, and I can see opportunity for growth.”
The learning hasn’t stopped there. Inspired by their daughters, Maria and Scott jumped into the pool, got a coach and trained for an adult swim meet.
“We dragged our kids out,” Maria laughs. “Normally, we’re watching them for hours at practice.”
Scott, a former runner, wanted to try swimming because it was easier on the joints. For Maria, diving was both an activity she had never been able to do and a fear she desired to conquer. They both decided to raise the stakes by entering a competition. Once again, the couple went after an experience intended to push them outside their comfort zones and teach them new skills.
“I’m constantly seeking out how to be a better version of myself,” Maria says. “I determine what habits are holding me back, and what I can do to break through to the next level.”
The Wurtzbachers’ passion for learning and personal development has also caught on with their two daughters, Leilan, 13, and Meryl, 7. Their oldest has attended two Buffini & Company MasterMind Summit events and uses the content frequently. The event doubles as an annual vacation for the Wurtzbacher family. This year, Maria and Scott organized an ice cream social for all the other attendees who had kids at the event — it was a huge hit.
“We had seven or eight different families come with kids around the same age,” Scott says. “Leilan now has Buffini friends, which is the coolest thing.”
As they crush their personal goals, Maria and Scott are also crushing it professionally, with a productive team of nine agents and a healthy real estate business. With the help of Coach Laura, they have doubled their commission while working the Buffini & Company system. They now have a strategy, a plan and a system for running their business and empowering their whole team.
“We figure out the roles that match our strengths and figure out how to delegate what’s not in our strengths,” Maria says.
As parents, spouses and business partners, Maria and Scott are constantly learning how to improve in all Five Circles — spiritual, family, business, financial and personal. It isn’t easy, but they are excited to constantly take it to the next level and tackle new challenges with Coach Laura and Buffini & Company by their side.
“From reading books to journaling to meditation — every year we seem to add something new to the morning routine,” Scott says. “I think Buffini & Company has played a huge part in fostering that. We’re chipping away and getting rid of bad habits while adding in good ones, and things get better and better.”