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Real Estate is a Numbers Game

So it’s January and I am starting to see some movement again.  People are looking towards the future and planning moves for the spring (once it gets a little warmer).  Mixed in with clients who are serious about looking at buying a new home are the dreamers.  These are the people who wish to move, but because of any number of personal issues, now is just not the right time for them.

Being a real estate agent, it is important to know who is serious and who will just spin your wheels.  I have had some back to back situations recently where I began working with some people who were in no way able to seriously consider moving.

How do you know when a person is not a good client to take on?  Below is a quick list of signs that might give you pause in deciding to work with someone.

1.  The customer is unwilling or continuously puts off getting their pre-approval or credit report.

Serious buyers will make sure everything is in place before they begin to look.  They know that if they find their dream home, they will want to put in an offer right away.  The market is moving quickly.  Homes won’t last until you have been pre-approved.

2.  You only get an email or a phone number, but not both.  

I have found that these are people who really just want some quick information, but aren’t serious about looking for a home.

3.  The customer’s list of expectations in a home isn’t reasonable.

I have spoken with people who want a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home in an upscale neighborhood for less than half the price of what any home in that neighborhood would go for.  I have also dealt with the people who think they can pick up a foreclosure at a rock bottom price in perfect move in condition.

4.  There is no time line and they are incredibly vague,

They don’t know what they will do with their current residence, how much they are able/willing to spend and what area they are interested in looking at.

5.  They are working with a realtor, their family is full of realtors or their friend is a realtor.

I have been surprised when during the course of a conversation, I am able to find out they already have a realtor.  I will hear the excuses that the realtor is dragging their feet or they just want to look at this one property.  If you have a realtor, I will not be able to help you.

I also get the customers who let me know how many realtors they know.  They won’t say why they won’t work with them, but they tend to challenge what information you give them and after finding out about a specific question (how much their home is worth, or just wanting to check one property) they end up with the realtor they already know.

I was talking with one of the agents at work about the cycle of real estate.  It seems that I will have a dry spell, then get a bunch of potential clients that fall into the above range and then finally get a group of serious buyers. The agent I spoke with put it this way, real estate is a numbers game.  Expect to go through 12 customers before you hit on the serious buyer.

As someone who is used to traditional sales where each person lost is money lost, I have had to change my perspective.  I can’t look at each interaction that falls through as money lost, but instead I must look at it as each lost person brings me closer to the serious client.

For anyone out there who is just starting out in real estate, I hope this information is not only helpful, but will help to take some of the pressure off of you.  I would also like to mention that for every example above, there are clients that will pan out.  The important thing is to be able to ask valuable questions and really pay attention to not only the words, but also the actions of the potential client.  It doesn’t matter if they are serious or not, people will reveal themselves.  The tips above just might move the process along faster for you.

Here’s another great article you might like:

http://www.trulia.com/email/anews/pro.truliablog.com/sellers/7-psychological-red-flags-to-sellers-that-will-cost-you-money

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in advice, business, career planning

 

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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

I got a phone call last night.  The person on the other end of the phone offered me an opportunity to sign up to get names and numbers of potential buyers/sellers for a small fee for each lead.  Although as I type this, it sounds ridiculous, the person on the other end of the phone was quite convincing.

The deal was that each time someone called this company interested in buying/selling a home, I would receive an email with all of the contact information and what the buyer/seller was looking to do.  I would pick my territory ahead of time and would only get leads for the area I was working in.  I would then have a certain amount of days to decide if this lead was legitimate.  If it wasn’t, I could call and replace the lead with a new one.  Each lead would cost me $25.00 and I would keep 100% of the commission.  The person on the other end of the phone spoke quite a bit about how important it was to get agents who would call the contact right away and were serious about making more money and handling themselves professionally.

After I had spoken with this person for a few moments, I asked them how they got my name.  They said they had pulled it from Realtor.com (which I do have a profile on).

The person calling me then tried to close the deal.  I said that I would like to see a website to read over all of the information before committing.  This was the smartest thing I could have done.  I needed to read over information and absorb what they were offering.  I also wanted to check them out for consumer complaints.  Basically, I needed to pull myself away from the sales tactics and look at everything rationally. I decided I would talk with my manager before signing up if I was convinced the program sounded good.  I knew my manager would be able to give me some good advice about what I should do.

I received a website address and was told that to finish signing up I would need to call them back.  I got off the phone and began to look over all of the information on the website.  The website mentioned that those leads could be handed out to up to 4 different agents.  I was never told that.  Right there, it was a deal breaker.  I read on and realized that much of what I read made little sense to me.

After reading the website, I looked for customer complaints.  I found pages of complaints.  Every person said the same thing, that the program was a scam and that they had lost hundreds of dollars.  Apparently you must give a credit card number for them to charge when you receive a lead.  People were complaining that they signed up for a couple of days and then quit.  They were still charged enormous fees.  Someone wrote that one of their supposed contacts was for someone who had been dead for 8 years (they found this out when a relative answered the phone).  Other people complained that when they contacted someone, the person said they had never heard of the company and weren’t looking to buy/sell a home.

The bottom line here is that as a newer realtor, I am still learning how to gain additional leads (it’s what the business is all about).  Being a newer agent makes me a prime target to get solicited from some not so honest companies.

I am writing this as a warning for any other new agent.  Please be cautious before you sign up for anything.  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I don’t think there is a perfect system out there to generate endless leads (who knows I could be wrong, but I don’t think so).  Make sure you pull yourself out of the conversation.  Say you’ll call back if you are interested, but do your homework and research the company.  Above all else, if there is someone at work who has been in the business for a long time, ask them for advice.  They are sure to have had the same experiences and can tell a good deal from a bad one.

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in advice, business, career planning

 

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Failure is a Stepping-Stone Towards Success

I wrote this article for my other blog, Searching for the Happiness.  I am sharing it on this blog because the advice is really quite universal.  When you feel that you have pushed yourself as far as you can go, remember the advice below. 🙂

Have you ever had a moment where you feel like you are at a crossroad and somehow the right words fall into your lap?  I tend to be the type of person who works hard towards a goal, see progress, then see a lack of any more forward movement and take that opportunity to stop, regroup and reflect.  I have found that if I quiet my mind and pay attention to what is around me, the answers or at least the right motivational words tend to appear.

This last few months have been quite a whirlwind of activity.  My busy schedule has suddenly lifted and I am left with that feeling of what should I do next?  I have begun to cherish these moments since I have learned how to make the most of them.  Downtime is a time to refresh your mind and create some new ways to go after your goals.

I tend to take time to organize the house and organize my work files.  I will do some reading and research to center myself again towards what I want to achieve.  I find that if I can’t see clutter around me, and if my mind is clear and focused, I can get back on track and make some more progress towards what I am focused on.

I happened to read an article that talked about how to look at failure.  Personally, I found the idea of looking at failure as something not to dread, but instead to celebrate as fascinating.

Everyone has had goals they have faced where you worked hard, picked up steam and then just sort of hit a plateau.  You no longer saw any more movement towards your goal.  What you had been working so hard at became stagnant.  This is the moment where many people give up.  They don’t know what else they can do.  Since they seem to be suddenly at the peak of their abilities, they quit.  They are bored and no longer inspired to continue to work at something that seems to have gone as far as it could possibly go.  Sound familiar?

This is the moment that you should be feeling goosebumps of excitement not disappointment and failure.  When you reach that point where you feel like you have gone the distance, you are truly on the brink of a major event.  If you have patience and faith in yourself, the world will open up with some amazing possibilities.  You will eventually reach your goal if you just stick with it.

I have read so many stories of people on the brink of quitting and the amazing turnaround that happened to them.  They couldn’t see what was in store for them, but were so grateful that they stuck it out a bit longer.

The best story of this phenomenon that I read recently was of Gabby Douglas, the olympic gymnast.  She had been away from her family for a year training with a host family.  She was bored and homesick.  She called her mom asking to come home.  She figured she would get a job at the local fast food joint and train as a runner.  Her mom and the host family were able to convince her to stick with gymnastics.  They supported her and got her back on track.  She ended up with incredible success at the olympic games (to say the least).  Who would have guessed she almost blew such an incredible achievement?

So, here I am in the midst of pushing on towards my goals.  As I have taken a moment to reflect on where I have been and where I am heading, I keep finding these articles full of inspiring tales that have motivated me to stay focused and on track.  I hope that these tidbits of wisdom help you as well to accomplish all that you are aiming for in your own life.

*If you would like to read more posts full of inspiration, please follow the link below.

http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in advice, career planning, self-help

 

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The Highs and Lows of Being a Real Estate Agent

The last two days have been a whirlwind.  I have been juggling a few different clients and quite a lot has happened in such a small span of time.  To break it down, the last two days have been the greatest of moments and the worst of moments.

I have been working with a great couple.  They are wonderful to deal with and make my job really enjoyable.  They have trusted my opinions on what will help the house look its best and what price would be appropriate to list the home for.  We’ve had great communication with each other and the whole process has just been extremely pleasant.

I listed the home on Monday.  I had just finished the paperwork and put the information on the MLS to advertise it was for sale.  Within ten minutes of the home being placed online, a call came in from a realtor looking to schedule an appointment for later that day.  A few moments later, another call came in to view the property.  It felt good to hear that there was an immediate interest in the home.

Three hours after putting the listing online, an offer came in.  It was a cash offer and $5,000 over listing price.  It was the craziest experience I have had so far.  I called the owners and they were thrilled.  Needless to say, papers were signed, there is an inspection scheduled, and we should be closing in two weeks.  It was incredible.

During this same time frame, I had a client looking to rent a home.  They had submitted their information, and the owner agreed to lease to them.

To backtrack a moment, I have had an uneasy feeling about this client from the beginning.  They were 25 minutes late to their first appointment.  The second time I took them out, they were 15 minutes late to the first home.  We went to another home afterwards which was 5 minutes away, and it took them 20 minutes to get there.  Apparently they got lost.

When they found the home they wanted to lease, they dragged their feet getting all of the paperwork in.  I got 14 emails in an hour span dissecting the lease and making complaints such as that they had to pay a fee for a cashier’s check.  They were originally going to sign the lease within a day after they had someone look over the lease.  Then it was stalled with them stating they would sign at the end of the week (6 days later).

I explained that there wasn’t a contract in place yet and that the owner could go with another renter if they were slow to act.  I got an email back stating that the lease would be signed and handed in the next day.  Two hours later, I received an email stating they weren’t interested after all.

When you are in real estate, you will have the amazing moments and the annoying ones.  In the case of the lease, I felt horrible for the other realtor as though I had been the one jerking them around.  I felt even worse for the homeowner who had trusted the process and pulled the listing from the market.

This is what working as a real estate agent is really like.  Some moments will be really great, and some moments will make you want to pull your hair out.  You really do have to be a people person to enjoy this career.  You also have to have a thick skin.  This is the part I am still working on.  I’ll put my heart and soul into helping someone out, and if the deal goes bad, I take it personally.  I know it’s just business and that you never can tell what situations a person might be experiencing to react in the manner in which they do.

I truly believe that this is a great career for character building, patience and learning to roll with the punches.  I honestly am willing to endure a few bad moments, because the good moments tend to happen more often and it really is so worthwhile to invest in.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in business, career planning, personal

 

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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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