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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 Typical Day Looks Like

Enough time has passed since I began my career in real estate that I can say I’m cruising along.  My calendar has begun to fill up for the following week before I’m halfway there.  It’s good to see the progress.  Below is a basic example of a typical day.  For those of you who are thinking of a career in real estate, you might find this information rather interesting.

6:00am  At this point there is a definite routine emerging.  Each day begins with a check of my emails.  Next I am going over and planning my day.  Many mornings I will spend this time writing a post for my blog as well.

7:30 am  Drive the kids to school.  Once back home, I have some breakfast, take a shower and pack a lunch.

8:30am  Go to the office.  Check email and voicemail.

9:00am  Morning meeting.  Meetings are a time to learn about several subjects.  We have had meetings on how to make the most of your week, short-sales and how to fill out some of the more complicated paperwork.

10:30am  Check email and voicemail.  One on one meeting with my supervisor.  We will go over what transpired during the previous week.  This is my opportunity to ask questions and get guidance on how to handle particular situations.

11:30am  Check email and voicemail.   Printing any paperwork I need to gather for appointments or for passing out flyers for the day.

12:00pm  Lunch.

12:30pm   Check email and voicemail.  Appointments, passing out flyers, or prospecting by phone, email or in person.

3:00pm  Pick up kids from school.

3:30pm  Check email and voicemail.

4:00pm  Make dinner.

5:00pm  Have dinner with the family.

6:00pm  Check email and voicemail.  Appointments or prospecting by phone or email.

8:00pm  Last check of email and voicemail.  Schedule appointments for showings.  Plan out next day.

I have to admit my day is possibly more extended because I work around the kids schedule.  Each realtor will have a schedule fairly different from each other.  That is probably the best part of being a realtor though.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in career, job, life, lifestyle, personal, real estate

 

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A Key Ingredient For Success

When looking into a possible career in real estate, there is one thing that needs to be understood.  To be a real estate agent is to have a sales job.  I have met several people over the last few months who heard what I did and said that they were thinking of quitting their job and becoming an agent.  These were people who were social or liked to look at pretty homes or were just burnt out and looking for something different.

Real estate is all about sales.  How you present yourself to a potential client.  What tools you use to successfully sell a home.  Being able to negotiate any offers that come in.  It’s all presentation.  Sales is one of those areas where you have it or you don’t.  To be successful, you need drive and ambition.  You also need confidence in your own abilities and an understanding of what style works well for you.  Cultivate that style and you have an excellent chance of doing well in a sales career.

So what do you do when there are well-meaning people surrounding you who go beyond giving advice?  Have you experienced working with someone who insisted that you forget your own methods and concentrate on their way of doing things?  I have had many jobs unrelated to real estate where there was a supervisor, manager, team leader or co-worker who insisted that the only way to accomplish something was to do it their way.

I find this to be short-sighted and rather unnerving.  It’s one thing to have an open mind and try out a variety of ways to get from point A to point B.  Sure someone else may know best.  When someone else dictates your form though, especially in sales, problems will inevitably occur.

Everyone has their own style.  The way to achieve greatness is to take the tried and true ways to gain business and approach it from your own personal style.  Without mixing in a persons personal form, you will come across as robotic, unpolished and inadequate.

Look I have tried some methods that have been completely against what is comfortable for me.  What I truly understand is some methods of going after business I balk at because they aren’t within my ethical code.  I will not promise people things I can’t deliver.  I won’t call people and then, call them again and again when they have told me they aren’t interested.  I won’t abuse my friends and family by constantly harping on them to find me business or overload them with a bunch of real estate information they aren’t interested in.  Basically, anything that screams of being like a used car salesman is not something I am willing to do.

So the key to success in a career in sales is to find your own voice and be proud of it.  Listen to the advice of others, sure.  Take what works and discard the rest.  Most importantly, no matter how much someone is in your ear trying to make you handle yourself in a manner that isn’t what you are about, stay true to yourself.  Block out their voice and concentrate on your own.  In the long run it is you that you have to count on.  Others won’t be supporting you so trusting in yourself is imperative in reaching the success you are after.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in advice, career, life, lifestyle, opinion, personal

 

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All Your Dreams and Wishes Won’t Come True

I think it’s time to clarify something about real estate agents.  Although we go to school and learn about the law, contracts, ethics and such, we don’t take a class in magic.  I wish we did, it would be beyond helpful and fascinating all at the same time.

Unfortunately, more times than I thought possible, people will get in touch with a realtor and expect to find the impossible.  I am all for tracking down a person’s dream house.  It would make my day as much as the customer I would be working with.  That said, sometimes the criteria that people come up with is just not going to help them find a place to live.

Let me give you an example.  I spoke with someone recently that called about a home for sale.  The home was pending, so I offered to find them another place to look at.  I began to go down the list of information needed to find them a home.  When I asked about the price range, they said they could not say because they only knew what they would pay for a condo.  So I asked them what was the most they would consider paying for any place.  The answer was nothing more than $25,000 but only for a condo (strange answer. but true).  I then asked them if they had been pre-approved.  They said that they would not be getting pre-approved, they would be paying in cash.  So of course, that answered the question of how much they were willing to pay.

They gave me information on what cities, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and time frame.  Basically, they could buy at any time, but were in no rush and had a place to stay until they found something.  OK, so I asked for an email.  This way, I could put in their criteria and they would receive an email whenever something matching their description was listed.  If they liked what they saw, they could call me and I would set up an appointment for them to view the home.  This potential customer had no email because it didn’t work out well for them (whatever that means) and said they would call me if they saw anything they were interested in.  In the mean time, if I came across any condo’s for $25,000 or less in the area they were looking at, I could give them a call.  There was just one final detail.  They wanted a deal and only wanted to look at short-sales and foreclosures.  The place would have to be move in ready with very minimal amount of work needing to be done (painting for example).

I spoke with another person recently who had to have at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a minimum of 1600 sq ft, a basement, garage and if I could find a pool it would be preferable.  They didn’t want to pay more than $85,000 and had a list of only the most upscale neighborhoods to look at.  Nothing else was reasonable to them.  I couldn’t tweak the criteria for a one and a half bath or a home without a basement.  Neighboring cities were out of the question.  I put all of their information together and showed them that nothing was available.

This family had a deadline of sixty days before they would be without a home.  They also felt they should be able to get a deal on a short-sale or foreclosed home in move in condition.  I showed them that with a few tweaks to their criteria they could get a fabulous move in ready home in their price range with the square feet they wanted.  The response was that they knew that if they waited it out the right home would fall into their lap.

Look, I don’t want to see any family end up homeless.  I suggested they look into an apartment while they searched for the home of their dreams.  Maybe it is out there, somewhere.  Who am I to judge?  I can only go off of what our computer program pulls up for homes on the market.

In the end, if someone is looking for a home, they might want to consider a few things.  Foreclosures and short-sales are often not nearly the deals people think they are.  Months can go by after an offer is accepted and then the deal might fall through.  Having a short time line of when you need to be in a home pretty much cancels out trying to get one of these “supposed” bargains.  Another thing to consider is that most of these homes are truly wrecked and need professional help to restore them.

Housing prices in general are going up at a fairly good clip.  What you saw a few months back is not the price you will get on that same home today.  The last thing I would like to mention is that some concessions might need to be made.  Make a list of the most important traits a home should have.  Sure, reach for the sky and try to get everything you would like.  At the same time, be aware that everything is a pretty tough thing to find and that having a few items you are willing to give up can make the difference between getting a home or living without one.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in career, lifestyle, opinion, people, thoughts

 

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Embracing Your Personal Style

I feel like agents at my office are often times on similar wavelengths.  This last week I had some similar conversations with a few different agents.  What made the experience unusual was that the subjects were brought up to me in the course of the conversation by the other person.  You know that feeling where you say, “that’s so funny, I just had that same conversation with so and so.”  Yeah, that was me last week.

As some of the newer realtors are becoming more comfortable, me included, the subject of selling style has come up.  I love the different types of people who work at my office.  The personalities are fabulous.  There are boisterous, outgoing types of agents.  I know some laid back go with the flow never rattled types.  There are the magnetic personalities of the polished professional and so on.

I love that as a new agent there are opportunities to learn about different ways of going after business.  It’s always fortunate to be in a position to learn ways of doing business that have never occurred to you.  Unfortunately, I think that sometimes people can have a very narrow focus on what does and does not fit as a selling tool for each individual person.

Everyone is different.  I personally embrace this concept and I’m grateful to know this to be true.  If not, I would be dreadfully bored by the sameness in each person.  As different as each person is, so to is their style of approaching their career as a real estate agent.  Look there is no one size fits all method.  The wise person is aware of this.  They are the ones that are open-minded to different techniques, try them out, and then settle into the fit that is most comfortable and authentic to them.  You need to be true to yourself by maintaining your personal integrity and the way you are comfortable doing business.  You should want to be proud to announce that you are a real estate agent.  If you can’t find your rhythm and personal style, you will come across as artificial and cold.  People respond to truth, values and care.  When you are able to find a way to do business that maintains those abilities, you will find success.  Authenticity is everything.

So my advice is to find your personal style.  That style that says this is who I am and this is how I lead my life. I do believe that you will be happier for it.  I also believe that you will attract like-minded individuals who appreciate your style.  This is a win-win situation in that you will enjoy what you are doing, how you approach your career and will get enjoyment from the people who are attracted to your style.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in advice, career, lifestyle, opinion, people, style

 

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