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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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2 Comments

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

 

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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.

 
6 Comments

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.

 

 

 
5 Comments

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

 

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