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Category Archives: opinion

Weekly Meeting

Last week I went to one of my weekly meetings.  Recently we have had some guest speakers.  The people who have come in to speak with us have been realtors who have been in the business for on average 20 years.  These are the realtors who are top producers and have really seen it all.

I have felt incredibly lucky to have been able to get in front of these people and hear what their experiences have been like.  The wealth of knowledge I have attained from these individuals has been priceless.

This last meeting really stuck out for me.  We had a woman who came in and discussed her views on how she runs her business.  The part of her discussion that really hit home for me was when she talked about her attitude towards her clients.

I had just come off of a week where I had put in some serious time with a renter.  They had finally found a home they loved.  After submitting their application to the owner, they were accepted as the renter for that property.  The client spent a few days dragging their feet while this owner had pulled her listing from the market.  In the end, I received an email stating that they had decided to go with a different home.

I have no idea if there was really a different home.  I don’t know if they had another realtor they were working with on the side or if they had worked with someone renting out their own home.  The hardest part of the experience was not knowing the true circumstances behind the change of heart.  I just had to accept what had happened, wish them luck and move on.

At the meeting, the realtor had spoken of some highlights she had with clients and some of the rough moments.  What had happened with my client was far from unique.  It has happened to every realtor at one point or another.

The realtor who addressed the group was a mild-mannered person.  She reminded me in many ways of the way I look at things and how I choose to handle them.  She is resigned to the fact that things will happen that won’t be of benefit to you.  It is the nature of the business.  It brings up the question of are you happy enough in the business that you are ok helping someone out even if it doesn’t result in a sale?

The realtor made an excellent point that really brought the whole discussion full circle.  Realtors (for the most part) really aren’t sales people.  Realtors are consultants.  People are making huge financial and emotional decisions.  It is not up to us to decide what works for them.  It is are job to show them options and support their decisions.

I look at it like this.  If you go to the department store for a new outfit, you might have a salesperson assisting you.  They are there to show you options.  They give you a selection of wardrobe pieces to try on.  The salesperson can go on and on raving about an outfit and how you must get that particular item.  If the price is too high, you don’t like the color, you can’t imagine where you would wear such an outfit or you feel the garment isn’t a good fit, you most likely will look elsewhere.  It doesn’t matter how hard the salesperson tries to convince you to buy it.  Their job is to consult and give options.  If a sale is made, great!  The salesperson, to be good at their job and be able to enjoy their job long-term needs to be happy as a consultant no matter what the outcome.  If not, they will burn out.  They will no longer enjoy their job.

I got into this business because I like assisting others.  I like getting to know different people and feeling as though I have helped them in a very personal decision in their life.  As far as I am concerned, money is the bonus you receive on occasion when everything falls into place.  It’s the only way to look at this business if you are in it for the long haul.  If money is something you feel desperate to get every time you meet a new client, the deals are just going to fall apart.

People are savvy.  There are a million realtors out there.  When a decision is this big, a customer needs to feel a sense of trust and loyalty.  Your intentions must be pure.  You want to help them find what’s best for them.  The moment your needs come before theirs, you are no longer servicing them as you should.

This in my opinion is the way this business must be looked at.  You are a consultant and are in this business to assist others in what is important to them, period.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in advice, career, opinion

 

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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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The Psychology of the Client

Not too long ago I was working with a family who was looking for a home to rent.  I understand making sure you have the perfect home to buy.  Possibly going round and round comparing different homes to make triple sure that the home will make you happy for years to come.  I never realized that people might get this wrapped up in a rental that they could walk away from in as little as 6 months.

Look, for those of you who are looking to make real estate your career, rentals are time-consuming and will not make you any money.  The way a rental works for your commission is one months rent is divided between you and the other realtor.  On top of that, it is divided again between you and the company you work for.  When all is said and done, you might walk away with $200.  When you figure the amount of time it took to look at homes and the miles on your car and the gas, it really is a losing proposition.

The way I choose to look at rentals is that there are many people in bad situations who need to get back on their feet.  Helping them out makes me feel good.  Another thing to keep in mind is that some day they might want to buy a home.  If you clicked with your client, the possibility that they will call you again is good.  All in all, it’s about looking at yourself and deciding how you want to promote yourself.  Do you want to be seen as someone who puts people before the money?  Or, do you want to be seen as a person who is all about the money and the people don’t matter?

Back to my story.  So this family has looked at 12 properties at least in a three week time span.  The third home they saw they liked enough to put in their paperwork and see if they would get approved.  Not only did they get approved, but the owner of the property was willing to make some major adjustments for their comfort.  Example, they were willing to paint the rooms colors that the family would find to their liking (currently the walls in the entire home are white).

Well, for some reason after getting everything that they had asked for, it was almost like they couldn’t believe their luck and had to test it.  They became determined to see ever property possible before the day we had scheduled for the owner and renter to finalize the paperwork.  It got so out of hand that they wanted to see properties that didn’t even slightly meet the criteria of what they had been looking for.  The home would be much smaller than what they were willing to live in or there wasn’t as many bathrooms and bedrooms as they needed.

Towards the end, a desperateness overcame them.  I began receiving emails before 8:00am.  Within 15 minutes, I would get another email asking why I hadn’t replied to the original email.  The emails went on past 11:00pm in the evening.  I had maintained a good repore with the family.  Even so, I had trouble keeping their emotions in check.

The paperwork for the rental originally chosen hasn’t been finalized yet.  The last conversation I had with the family was in regards to driving the 30 minutes to the home they might rent just to look at it from the outside to make sure they still liked the way it looked from the street.  At this point, I was working with another client and had to mention to the family that the home was vacant and there would be no problem if they chose to look at the front of the property on their own.

I am hoping that the family realizes that this really was the best home they had seen.  That they are lucky to be dealing with a landlord who is so willing to accommodate them.  Only time will tell how the situation will unfold, but it is a new lesson for me in learning how to deal with the psychology of people in all sorts of situations.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in advice, career, opinion, people, personal

 

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Once You Find the Home, Give Yourself a Moment to Relax

This scenario has played out time and time again.  I will show a client several homes. They will find a home that makes them happy.  An offer will be submitted.  If it takes more than a few hours to hear from the sellers, the buyer gets antsy and wants to look at some more homes.

I’m not sure why this occurs, other than to think that the adrenaline is running and they just need to keep moving.  Each time this has occurred, a desperateness seems to take over.  People will ask to see homes that are not at all what they are looking for.  They will view the home and walk out disappointed.  There is just this need to confirm that the home they picked is the right one and all other homes are awful in comparison.

I have not seen this scenario ever work out well for my clients.  It’s not like the additional homes they view thrill them and make them doubt their decision.  I guess that in the mind of a buyer, they need to prove to themselves that what they chose is definitely the best choice.

If I could relay a piece of advice to buyers who get antsy, it would be to relax.  Look, you’ve done a lot of research, and spent many days running around checking out multiple homes.  In the end you will drive yourself crazy with self-doubt.  Take a moment to stop and feel the excitement of the home you fell in lpve with.  Remember what it was about that home that thrilled you.  If by some chance the deal falls through, there are many more homes just waiting to be snatched up.

Buying a home is an expensive proposition.  It’s a life changing event.  Give yourself a break when you decide on a home.  There is a reason why the home you chose was right for you.  If you have second thoughts, it’s better to face it head on and figure out why the home might not be the one.  By knowing what you don’t want and what will work for you makes going out and looking for a different home more successful.  If you just aimlessly continue to run around and view homes while you are waiting for an answer, it won’t serve any  purpose other than to frustrate you.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in life, opinion, people, thoughts

 

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Advice for New Real Estate Agents

I know it might be strange to read the title of this post because I am a new real estate agent myself.  What I’d like to pass along is advice I have received from some very knowledgeable realtors who have been in the business longer than I have been out of high school.

I have been asking these realtors how long it’s taken them to see a decent income.  I have also wondered what they did to get their business off the ground.  Below is what I’ve learned.  I hope that if you are just beginning a career in real estate, or even contemplating a move to real estate as a career that this advice will be helpful.

1.  How long did it take for you to see business start to take off?

The agents I spoke with said that it took 3-6 months to start generating business.  After 1 year, they were moving along at a decent pace.  Within 3 years, they were making a very good living.

2.  How did you promote yourself when you first started out?

Some agents were extremely social and had a well established group of contacts through clubs, religious groups, business groups and volunteer organizations.  Other agents had lived in the same city for most of their life.  Their family had stayed in close proximity and their family seemed to be well known around town.  Promoting themselves was not really an issue.

3.  Where did business come from in the beginning if you weren’t well connected and hadn’t lived in the same place most of your life?

These were the agents who really hustled.  Any chance they could work an open house or take a floor shift, they would grab it.  Flyers were another popular tool that was used.  Honestly, cold-calls and knocking on doors were not favored, and not techniques used by the realtors I spoke with.

4.  Besides the costs that all realtors must deal with (classes, use of the MLS, association fees…) how much did you shell out to further your business?

No one that I spoke with put any money into advertisement of any sort until they were making a good wage.  Free advertisement such as flyers and emails were the way that these realtors connected to others.

5.  How did you continue to promote yourself once you were really busy working with clients?

Once you have really taken off and are busy, there is no time to promote yourself.  Without advertising, you would end up with crazy busy months and slow months of no action.  To minimize this, once your really busy, these realtors would put some money into things like just listed postcards.  It reaches many people and their name gets out there even though they have no time to personally promote themselves.

6.  How do you feel about a career in real estate after all of these years?

The realtors I spoke with love what they do.  They are extremely satisfied and happy they got into the business to begin with.

 

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in advice, career, life, opinion, real estate, thoughts

 

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The Best Part of This Job

I have been fairly busy recently trying to find some good housing for a few different clients to rent.  I have one client who is looking to get out of an apartment and into a first home ever for her and her family.  This client knows what city she would like to live in and how much she can afford to pay in rent.  Her only requirements is a yard for the kids to play in and some space inside the home so the family can have people over to visit.

Another one of my clients is going through a personal life experience requiring them to start over in a new home.  Although the situation is not ideal, they are excited to start over fresh in a new home that they can be excited to call home.

Both of these clients are renting a home.  The vast majority of people who have been contacting the real estate office recently are looking to rent.  Most homes are going for $1,000 to $1,200.  This seems to be the average amount that people can afford to pay per month.  Homes are being rented out in this price range as soon as they hit the market because of the demand.  Finding a good home as it hits the market is challenging, but rewarding when you find the home that thrills the clients you are working with.

The best part of my job is to hear what is going on in someone’s life and to help them find a place to live that they can love and call home.  I love that I can help a family settle into a home so that their kids can have a yard to play in.  It makes me feel good to see someone go through a tough time in their life, yet become excited over the possibilities laid out in front of them.  To be able to see these people make a move that will change their life in such a positive way makes my job the greatest most satisfying job I could ever ask for.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in career, housing, job, life, opinion, people, spiritual

 

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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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