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Monthly Archives: October 2012

An Independent Contractor

Being a real estate agent means being an independent contractor.  What that means is that you work for yourself.  You rent a space at an office and sometimes pay an additional fee to have some perks like advertising  and paperwork done for you by a secretary.

To be a real estate agent, you have to work for a broker who is essentially in charge of you.  Lines have an ability to get blurred rather easily.

Here is where the confusion comes into play.  You work for your self and state that on your taxes.  Even if you don’t work out of the office, there is usually a desk fee for renting space.  Meetings are offered at the offices of real estate agents.  It is preferrable (read mandatory) for you to attend these meetings.  If you do choose to work out of your home, there is a possibility that you will be labelled as someone who isn’t working hard (unless you have been in the business for many years and have already proven yourself time and time again).

Why am I bringing this up?  I have seen some people where I work stumble from taking their status as an independent contractor for granted.  They seem to think that everyone is on the same page and that they have control over how they run their business.

I have some advice for you if you are just starting out in this business.  Go to work.  I know you got into the business partially to have a flexible schedule and to compliment your family life.  Even so, the way you present yourself the first year in is crucial to the way you will end up working as well as how others will see you.

You might be working on your own, but it still is important to have a good rapport with your colleagues. Making sure to be at the office often will help you get acclimated to your new career.  You will pick up advice from others and feel your way through the process at a quicker clip.

As you begin to fall into a routine and business picks up, you will be too busy to think about how often you might be in and out of the office.  You will just have too much going on.  That’s when your life as an independent contractor will truly begin.  In the meantime, make sure that you are available to gather all the knowledge you can.  Give yourself the opportunity to be available at work. Take some floor calls when another agent is suddenly too busy to take the call.  Be around so that other agents will offer a referral when they are slammed with clients and can’t possibly find room for another at the moment.  Believe me, these moments will occur and you will want to be there to take advantage of them.

So instead of focusing on the “independent contractor” designation you have been assigned, give in to the office until you are up on your feet and well on your way.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in advice, career

 

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Overview of Renting a Home

I received a call yesterday from a person interested in looking at a home.  I began asking all the typical questions needed to understand what their needs were.  Some of the questions I asked were:

1.  What cities are you interested in?
2.  How many bedrooms, bathrooms etc…
3.  How soon are you looking to move?
4.  Why are you moving?
5.  What will happen to the place you are currently living?
6.  Have you run your credit report?

This gave me enough information and I was able to ascertain that this person was nowhere near ready to look at homes.  She would not be out of a lease until December and she had just begun looking.

What do you do in a situation where the person wants to look but can’t get a home if she finds what she wants?

This is what I did.  I scheduled the appointment for the home she just had to see.  This will give me an opportunity to meet her and decide if we will work well together.

When I meet with this customer, I will give her all the paperwork she will need to start the process of getting ready to lease a new place.  I have set her up with our First to Know program in the meantime.  This program will give her daily updates on the homes available according to her criteria.

So after we view this home later this week, she will need to get all of her paperwork together and make sure she has enough money put aside.  This way if she finds a home she likes, she can put in an application right away.

As I have explained to her, rental homes are going fast these days if priced right and in good condition.  There is no point in looking at homes until she is prepared to actually put in an offer and is ready to move.

So, I will take her to view one home.  After that, it will be up to her to get the necessary paperwork together before we will go looking again.

If you are looking to rent, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.  There will be an application to fill out
2.  You will need to run a credit report with a credit score included in the report.
3.  A letter of proof of employment is generally needed.
4.  Bank records and pay stubs are generally needed to prove you have the financial capability to rent a home.
5.  Expect to have at least a month and a half months rent.  There are also cleaning fees and pet fees of up to $500 necessary for some of these rentals.

Every rental is different.  Based completely on that owner’s preferences.  Some rentals are pretty basic and easy to qualify for.  Other rentals will want certain credit scores and salary amounts for the person who moves in.  It is a very individual situation.

If you are thinking about renting, make sure you have the above items taken care of.  The application you can get from the realtor.  It is also extremely important that you are in a position to put down money and move in fairly quickly.  Homes are going fast and you won’t be doing yourself or the realtor any favors by looking before you are capable of moving in.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in how to, life

 

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Increase Traffic to your Website

Here is a useful article for anyone that has a website or blog.  The article explains how to link to these sites to further advertise your website.  Great article for anyone looking to increase their traffic.

searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in benefit, career, career planning, how to

 

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Paperwork Overload

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of writing about this subject until now.  When you first get into the real estate business, one of the areas that will make you feel entirely overwhelmed is the paperwork.  Which papers should you use for different transactions and how do you fill them out?

When I started working, the paperwork overwhelmed me to the point that I wanted to bolt for the door.  There just seemed to be so much to know and so many papers to fill out at a time.

I am here to tell you to relax.  The fear goes away fairly quickly.  The best advice I can give you is to have a template of each type of basic transaction.

My manager is incredible.  Once a week she will gather the newer employees and teach us how to fill out a new form.  She walks us through the paper and tells us what each paragraph means and what should be filled in in that spot.  Because I got this training, I was able to put together some files with example forms already filled out.

If I have a listing appointment for example, I now have a folder with all the things I will need.  In the front of the folder is a checklist detailing the items I will use for the appointment.  I also have a list of things I will need later if the appointment goes well and the property is listed.

I have my templates that I look over to refresh myself on what each part of the paperwork means and what needs to be written in each spot.  I also do some preliminary filling in of items that aren’t as important but cut my time down at the appointment.

I like to feel relaxed and confident when I go on an appointment.  If items like our office address and the address of the home I’m visiting are already filled in, I don’t feel as overwhelmed by the amount of items that need to be filled in.  It may sound strange, but it’s a bit of a mind game that I play.  The more I am able to fill in ahead of time, the less I see that needs to be explained on the form.  My confidence is raised because it looks easier to explain 5 items than 10 (for example).

When it comes to going through the paperwork, for me it seems that once I go over it once, I am good to go the next time around.  What seemed so difficult all of a sudden seems like no big deal.  I promise this will happen with you too.  Just hang in there and know that you will be confident in no time.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in advice, career planning, job, lifestyle, opinion

 

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Now This is How to Network!

Yesterday was one of those days that I considered to be successful as far as networking goes.  I worked from home yesterday.  I didn’t have any appointments, so I used my day to tweak my social media sites, write a post on my blog and do some emailing with some October housing news.

I received an email from a client I had worked with for about a month.  This client was looking to rent a home and we saw each other almost daily.  In the end when a home was found and a lease was about to be signed, the client got cold feet and decided to look into renting an apartment instead.

Yes, it was a lot of work with no results.  From my point of view though, it was another person to get to know, helping me to get my name out there.  Well, my perspective turned out to be a good perspective.  The client and I had a good rapport and ended our working relationship on good terms.  The email I received thanked me and mentioned that she had had a great experience with me.  I was offered an opportunity to help a family with their relocation needs through a referral the client provided.  Not only was I flattered, but I was relieved to know that the client really did feel that we worked well together.  It wasn’t just my point of view.

I had another referral come in for an area of the state that I don’t work in.  I passed the referral onto another realtor who I know and who does a terrific job.  The realtor were thrilled and asked what area I worked in exclusively so that she could send some business my way.  Our areas don’t overlap, and she has been in the business for years.  This could be a great connection for my business.

Last night I went up to the local high school.  I am co-chair of a committee working on the senior all-night party. I met four new people who I would be working with exclusively.  Instead of writing my contact information on a piece of paper, I gave them my business card.

I think about what my career will look like in a year if I am able to connect that well on a daily basis.  Flyers, emails and phone calls are one thing.  Personally I feel the best way to expand your business is to get personal.  There’s nothing like connecting with people in person or reaching out to those you know on an acquaintance level and get to know them better.  Most importantly to me though, I want to build my relationships in an honest and authentic way.

When I contacted the realtor with the referral, it wasn’t to see what she could do for me.  I knew I couldn’t help this customer, but I still wanted them to have a good experience.  I also wanted to give someone else I knew and admired an opportunity to get more business.  If I couldn’t help, why not pass it to someone else who would be fantastic with this customer.

When I went to the meeting, I had no plan to hand out business cards.  If I had gone around just passing them out, I would have looked ridiculous and shallow anyway.  I had an opportunity to share contact information and handing out my card was just the most efficient and quickest way to pass on the information.  Being able to advertise my services was just a bonus.

So looking down the road, I am getting a better idea of how I want my business to flow.  For me and my style of handling my business, it means getting out into the community and participating.  It’s what feels best to me.  I feel lucky to have a job where promoting myself means to go out and have some fun while doing some good work for others.  It’s a feeling of satisfaction in a way I have never felt with the past jobs I have had over the years.

 

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Keeping the Momentum Going

Now that I am having several days that are jammed and truly busy, I am staying conscious to the fact that I still need to promote myself.  I also need to make sure I have some down time.  I don’t want to lose this momentum, and I definitely don’t want to burn out.

I went to bed last night with a horrible migraine.  I woke up after having a rough night sleep and the migraine was still there.

What I have begun to do is to pay close attention to my body and give myself a chance to recuperate when needed.  These are the perfect days to work on some self-promotion.

Today I stayed home.  I’m in my pj’s and I’m stretched out on the sofa.  I have a headache, but I still want to feel productive.  I have decided that I will work the social media end of my real estate career today on the laptop.  It’s really quite wonderful to feel under the weather, stay home and still be productive.  It’s really the best of all worlds.

Once I tweak all of my social media sites, I will work on updating my contact list and send out a bunch of emails.  I currently have the October marketing report that I have been passing out to friends and family.  It’s a great information piece regarding what the housing market is like for this month.

My best piece of advice for those working in this field is to find some balance.  If you need a slower day, by all means take it.  You can still be productive and end your day feeling a great sense of accomplishment..

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in advice, career, lifestyle, opinion, real estate

 

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What a Whirlwind Week!

For anyone keeping up on my progress, I’d like to give you a peek at my busy week.  I have been working as a real estate agent for a few months now.  All of the initial prep is starting to pay off.  Seriously, if you are getting into this field, take a good chunk of time to really get your name out there.  I have advertised myself to family and friends, the community I live in as well as a few communities surrounding my city.  I have passed out incredible numbers of flyers and have left stacks of flyers at the local community centers in the area.

I have spent an incredible amount of time spreading my name around through as many social websites as I can find.  My name and information is on Trulia, Zillow, Twitter, Facebook, 2 Blogs, The Oakland Press, Digg, Tumblr, Reddit, Pintrest, Quora and so forth.  if you google me, I have pages of links.

I am starting to get emails from people who have found me online or through advertisement I have handed out.  It does work, but it does take some time.  I would say that having been in the business for such a very short time, it has been great to see results as quickly as I have.

This week, I connected with 5 new potential clients.  I went on several appointments to view homes and it looks like I am about to close on a lease.  I also went on a listing appointment and have a couple that are having me sell their house..

The hours were long this week.  Most days I was on my computer by 6:30am and wasn’t done with work until around 8:00pm each night.  Saturday and Sunday I had a chunk of time working a floor shift, going on appointments and listing a home.

Busy has been a good thing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  It’s remarkable how quick you really do pick up on the information you need.  It’s hard to believe how much has changed in such a short time, but it is a very satisfying feeling.  Working in real estate is a lot of fun, rewarding and something I am happy to be doing.  if you are in the beginning stages of a real estate career, just keep plugging along.  Things change quickly and sooner than you know it, you are well on your way.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in advice, career, job, life, opinion

 

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