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Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Brutal Truth

I feel it’s only fair to write about some of the stumbling blocks that must be overcome to have any type of success as a Real Estate Agent.  I know there are many readers who are just beginning a career in Real Estate and many more contemplating it.  Below I have written some of the stumbling blocks that every new Realtor must get over in order to have some success and make enough money to pay the bills (notice I didn’t say get rich).

1.  Fear will stand in your way.

There is the fear of feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing.  There is the fear of messing up by filling out the paperwork wrong,  For some, there is even the fear of talking with a potential new client.  My recent fear has been in regards to safety.  I am all for meeting someone for the first time at the office.  It’s a safe place to meet up and an opportunity to gauge your own feeling of safety with the customer.  Invariably, no matter how hard you try to make all first appointments at the office, because of schedules, there will always be the people you meet for the first time at their home or at the home that has been listed.  Meeting people this way is far from my comfort zone and against the way I have always handled myself.  Unfortunately, it is part of the business.

2.  Lack of money.

Since I began working at the Real Estate office, I have seen many people come in and many people leave.  The reason seems to for the most part be a lack of funds.  There are so many expenses up front and then continuing expenses, that some people get loaded down in debt before they can see any type of return.  Think about it, there are desk fees, business cards, signs (yes, you buy these too), phone charges, office supplies (all supplied by you) and fees for advertisement.  There are agents who will pick up a job to supplement their income, only to get out of Real Estate because they don’t have the time needed to commit to the process of building your list of clients.

3.  You will feel like your emotions are all over the map.

You will have high moments and low moments.  You won’t know if you are coming or going.  As one Realtor put it, you will be having a bad day and feel like maybe Real Estate isn’t for you after all.  Wait five minutes and something will happen to make you feel like Real Estate is the greatest career and that you are having the best day ever.  People get grumpy, deals fall through, banks can be unreasonable and you will feel fed up.  Then someone will find the home of their dreams, a client tells you how much they appreciate you or you get a great commission.  Real Estate can be an adrenaline rush, an ego trip and the most exhausting job you will ever have.

4.  If you are serious about a career in Real Estate, you will be living, breathing and thinking Real Estate every waking hour and sometimes in your dreams too.

Look, it’s just not in the beginning that you need to work crazy hours and make Real Estate your life.  All of those Real Estate Agents out there that are highly successful and still in the business 20 years down the road are still successful because they never stopped going full speed at their career.  This is why you must love the sales field, working with people, and problem solving.  It’s not just about viewing some pretty homes.

5.  You will feel as though you are spinning your wheels.

Part of getting off the ground and keeping the momentum going is by cold-calling and advertising.  You will find what works for you.  You might hand out flyers, send post cards, make calls and flood the web with your name and profile.  I spent a week going through my neighborhood and the neighborhood adjacent to mine walking up and down streets handing out flyers.  My neighborhood is exactly one square mile.  Guess how many calls I received after I plastered the neighborhood?  Zero.  Not a total loss when you figure that I mentioned I lived in the neighborhood myself and understood what it would take to sell a home there.  My name got out and a square mile worth of people are now familiar with me.

If you are passionate about a career in Real Estate, nothing will hold you back.  If you are having doubts, I hope this information is helpful in helping you decide if working in Real Estate is a good fit for you.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in advice, career, job, opinion, people, thoughts

 

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My Busy Schedule Begins

When I started working at the office, more experienced agents would often say to enjoy the slow days because they wouldn’t last long.  I always thought this was a crazy thing to say.  I mean, I was ready to be busy.  I wanted to have a schedule full of clients and days where I needed to hustle to get everything done.

After being at the office for two months, I can proudly say that the tide is turning.  I have a home that is listed, a family looking to buy a home, a listing appointment set up and another appointment to view a home with a new family.  It feels great to see that things are picking up.  It didn’t take long to get a few significant leads and start doing the work I was trained for.

Going on a listing appointment means that I need to get paperwork together that explains our company, what I can offer as an agent and comparable homes in the neighborhood (important to figure out how much to list a home for).  Getting together with a potential buyer means getting a list of homes to view that a potential buyer might be interested in seeing.  Setting up appointments at these homes and putting together a folder with a disclosure, contract, lead paint info and information on the company are also part of a successful appointment.

There is a lot of behind the scenes work involved in getting ready to meet a potential client.  My experience has been complete enjoyment in planning the appointments and putting together presentations.  This is what I trained for, and I really love what I’m doing.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in career, job, life, opinion, personal, thoughts

 

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I’ve Listed My First Home

Well, I did it.  I listed my first home.  I have gotten to know another agent in the office fairly well.  We both started working at the real estate office on the same day.  We have shared the same cubicle and have compared notes often.  It’s been great to know someone who is going through the same experiences to be able to lean on.

The other day, a call came in while the agent I know was doing floor calls.  A couple wanted to list their home.  The agent was as anxious as I have been about going on a listing appointment.  She asked me if I would like to go on the appointment with her and share the potential commission.  The idea of having another agent to lean on for a first listing appointment was an incredible opportunity for me.  When I said sure, she was as happy and relieved as I was.

To get ready for the appointment, we looked at other comparable homes in the area so that we knew what a good price would be to market the home at.  A folder was put together with information on the company, where we would advertise the listing, the costs of listing the home and so on.

We went to the listing appointment, walked through the home to gauge what condition the home was in and then took a seat to go over the information we had brought.  The couple was as nice as could be and we felt at ease right away.  Going with another agent turned out to be a great idea.  The couple was happy to get more than one opinion.  They liked the fact that they would be getting two agents working on their home for the commission of one agent.  We connected with the couple quite well and they were happy to sign a contract for us to list the home.

We spent about two hours on the appointment and took our time to go over all of the information.  We put a plan together regarding when we would start showing the home, the possibility of having an open house and scheduled a time to come back and take pictures and get measurements.

When we got back in the car, we were elated.  The couple really liked us and we really liked them.  Working as a team worked out to our advantage and the couple was thrilled.  I felt so lucky to have met another agent that I work so well with.

We have decided that we will continue to work as a team for a while until we are more comfortable striking out on our own.  The great thing about the two of us working together is that we are looking to sell real estate in different areas.  I am at the southern end of Oakland County.  It’s where I live and the area I am most familiar with.  The other agent lives at the northern end of Oakland County.  Because we will ultimately be working in different areas, we will be able to help each other with referrals of people looking in the area we will be servicing.

If you are just starting out as a realtor, I highly recommend getting to know someone in the office that is like-minded.  To be able to ask advice, get support and possibly even share listings having another agent to lean on is truly invaluable.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in advice, career, job, opinion, personal, thoughts

 

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What a Difference a Generation Makes

Yesterday I went to a class that I was required to take as a new Real Estate Agent.  I had just signed up to be a member of the National Realtors Association a month ago and this was the orientation class.

The class was completely filled up and there were three other people I knew from the office who were also in the orientation class with me.  In the class we discussed ethics and navigation of some different websites.  The class was long and rather dull, until the teacher started discussing the difference buying habits of different generations of people.

What she mentioned was not only interesting, but so relatable, I thought I would share it with you.

Different Generations:

People in their 60’s:  These are the people who grew up learning how to cut coupons, sew clothing and in general pinch pennies.  You can expect to see a drawer of saved bread bags, used cool whip containers for storing food and a freezer packed with meals that are labelled and ready to cook for a meal.  Homes were comfortable with the emphasis on having a dining room, the untouchable living room for company only, and the family room.

People in their 50’s:  These are the people who had to buy and buy big.  They bought the mcmansions, took the vacations, ran up the credit cards and competed to keep up with the neighbors.  17% interest rates didn’t matter.  They wanted all the things they never had growing up.

People in their 40’s:  These are the people who tried to have it all and then the economy tanked.  Going back to school became a popular option as people had to go out and reinvent themselves.  These were the people who had quite a bit and then lost almost all of it when the economy nose-dived.

People in their 30’s:  These are the kids who grew up having everything.  The parents made sure that their children were spoiled and living well.  These kids are the generation that are still ok buying the big homes.  Having a two-story foyer that sucks up a lot of the utility costs trying to heat or cool it doesn’t concern them.  A $400.00 utility bill is par for the course.

People in their 20’s:  These are the cautious kids.  They watched their parents go from everything to nothing.  These kids are very environmentally savvy and want their homes to have tech items like solar panels that can save them money.  These kids are taking their time moving out of their parents homes.  When they do move out, they are cautious with their money and aren’t looking for a big place.  These kids will not be house poor.  A small home with a smaller house payment is what suits them.

Hope this post was relatable and fun to compare to your own experiences. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in life, lifestyle, opinion, people, personal, real estate, thoughts

 

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Everyone Hits the Wall

One of the things that I find is invaluable about where I work is the support of other realtors.  I find that I have been freezing up since my first experience showing a home.  There is so much to learn and I feel ill prepared to answer many of the questions that a client might bring up.  I am also feeling insecure about filling out the paperwork with a client without a more experienced realtor standing by ready to help me out. Like many of the moments I have gone through since beginning my career, what I am experiencing is not only normal, but happens to every new realtor I’m finding out.

I was talking with one of the realtors in the office this morning and was reassured that I would get through this glitch.  When I was eighteen years old, I decided to waitress part-time while going to school.  I knew a few friends who loved waitressing because the hours were flexible and you left work each day with money in your pocket.  Waitressing seemed like a perfect choice for a kid in school.  There was just one problem, I was painfully shy.  It took everything I had to push myself to get over the shyness and try out a job as a waitress.

I remember my first waitressing job.  I worked at a local Coney Island Restaurant.  Another waitress trained me for a few days.  When she felt I had learned everything I needed to know she set me out onto the floor to take an order.  I panicked.  I remember stalling having to go over and asked the waitress what I should say when I approached the table full of customers. She very nicely said, “just say, can I take your order.”  I was completely embarrassed.  Of course that is what I should say, but in that moment, my nerves got the best of me.  It took pure determination not to bolt for the door and instead face my fears.

When I was talking with the realtor this morning, I told her this story and said that was how I felt now as a realtor.  She was so kind to me and said that she had gone through the same feelings when she worked with her first few clients.  She assured me that although she made her own mistakes, she had the support of others in the office and got through it.  The feelings I have been feeling are another common obstacle of life as a new realtor.  If you are just beginning your career as a real estate agent, I hope this story helps you out and eases your mind.  You will go through moments of trepidation, but you will get past it as long as you look fear in the face and plow through it.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in advice, career, job, life, personal, real estate

 

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What to Expect as a Real Estate Agent

I was in my last day of class and began talking with another classmate.  The class we were in the midst of was one of the training sessions our real estate office puts on to get new agents familiar with social media, how to navigate our real estate website and the proper way to fill out the mounds of paperwork.

The woman I spoke with had just gotten her license.  She was a month and a half behind me in her training.  We talked about how overwhelming it is to begin a career in real estate.  We have both been surprised at just how much there really is to learn.

The woman was anxious because she was lost and didn’t know what she should be doing in the office.  I explained to her that although the employees are fabulous and will go to great lengths to explain anything you might be struggling with, it is still up to you to create your business.

What she didn’t understand and honestly I didn’t either when I pursued this career is that it really is your own business.  You are an independent contractor.  You alone decide how hard you will work and how many days you show up to the office.  You have to be something of a go-getter.  If you aren’t the type of person that can plan each day and figure out how to reach out to people and drum up some business, this career won’t be a good fit.

This woman talked about how she needed someone to assign her tasks, watch over her moves and, oh yeah, they must have humor since that is how she communicates.  Tall order for this business, honestly.  My office is great in that we have a manager who explains things really well and has a terrific amount of patience.  There are programs set up to guide you along and help show you what your next move should be.  This is why I like the office I chose so much.  Sure I’m good at putting together my goals and going after them.  I do need some guidance on what my next move should be though.

I felt bad for this woman.  This is going to be a part-time job for her to supplement her income.  No one ever says this, but unless you have been in the business for 20 years and just want a hobby, real estate is not, by any means a part-time gig.  You have your own business.  This means you prospect, show homes, do paperwork and advertise.  It also means that you are in charge of all administrative tasks and are doing all of the responsibilities usually assigned to an assistant or a secretary.  Look, this is a full-time, 24hr, 7 day a week job if you want to make a decent income.

Real Estate has always been a bit of a mystery if you are interested in becoming a Realtor.  There is no book on the ins and outs to the profession.  There is definitely a misconception about how hard the work can be and what amount of effort goes into being an agent.

If you are thinking about a career in real estate, you need to be a people person, a therapist, a secretary, and a trusted advisor.  At the same time, you need to understand your limits.  You are not an attorney, contractor, assessor or banker.  If you can juggle the roles you are and make sure to let the client know to get professional assistance in areas you aren’t, then real estate might just be your niche’.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in advice, career, job, life, lifestyle, opinion, thoughts

 

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The Surprising Anxiety Faced By a New Realtor

I have been fortunate to work for a company that has a great training program.  Until I started working at the office, I really had no idea just how valuable it was to have this type of support and information available to me.  Over the last few weeks, I have been grateful to have picked the company I did.

I have spent the last few days in a training class to further the process along and gain even more knowledge.  I am surrounded by other new agent’s who like me feel the same excitement and anxiety over what we are truly embarking upon.  Each day of class has introduced us to another new manager with a completely different set of skills to help us better understand the components of the business.

The most surprising thing I have realized is that the biggest fear among the new agent’s is not how much business we will acquire.  Quite honestly the office has been buzzing with activity and even the agent’s who have only been working for a few months are beyond busy.  The biggest fear is that we will not have enough knowledge when working with a potential client.

The business is not just simply driving around, exchanging pleasantries and looking at pretty homes.  There is paperwork, a ton of it that needs to be explained, filled in and written up properly.  There is also the general information questions like, how much money will be needed between the deposit, commission, down payment and closing costs or how long will a short-sale take?

When I am in front of that potential client, I want to know all of the answers.  I want to be able to guide the people I am helping out by informing them of everything they will need to know.  This is a huge event in a person’s life and I aim to make the process as smooth and pleasant as possible.  Buying a home should be fun and exciting.  Even though there will be some stress from making such a big life change, I want to minimize the stress wherever possible.

While I have been in the class, I got to know two other new agent’s pretty well.  They are having the same anxiety as me.  Honestly, this was a relief.  We decided that every Monday we will get together for lunch and go over where we are at, what we need help with and what we can do to support each other.  I think that having this time to commiserate with each other will bring about some positive and confident change between all of us.  In the mean time, it’s back to my notes to brush up on all the information I have learned.

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in career, job, people, real estate, thoughts

 

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