Category Archives: Real Estate Career

Following Through on Appointments

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is getting more and more difficult to get in touch with listing agents? Over the past few months I have noticed a growing trend in real estate. There have been numerous occasions when I have wanted to set up showings of active properties and been unable to confirm appointments with the listing agent. We are all familiar with the need to follow the instructions given by listing agents in order to show buyers listings.

By following the showing instructions we assume that we will have the ability to schedule appointments for buyers who are in full on home search mode. On at least five occasions this month, I have made attempts to set appointments by following the detailed instructions provided by the listing agent or office and been unsuccessful in showing the home. Typically, these are appointment only showings and require at least 24 hours notice.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow through and confirm showing appointments quickly to other real estate agents. I am not complaining about a lack of immediate contact, but rather no contact at all, even after leaving messages on voice mail, text or email. Working with buyers can be challenging. Scheduling appointments and finding properties that fit their budget and criteria is often nothing short of a three ring circus. the stars cannot align if they cannot view the property that they have their heart set on.

Granted, it can often take time to reach a seller to set up an appointment. I understand that rarely do things happen quickly in our line of work. Our business is a wait and wait some more type of business. Seller’s depend on their agents bringing through as many potential buyers as possible to reach the goal of selling their home. Appointment only showings are an important part of the the life of a real estate agent.

When I have a new listing on the market, I can expect that my phone will be ringing and that there will be eager agents on the other end of the line requesting appointments. This is a good thing. Each one of them can expect to get a timely confirmation. It is how I do my part to make the real estate world run a little more smoothly.

I personally follow up with every showing request. Our ultimate goal is to get a contract as quickly as possible and close the deal. Real estate professionals are one of the few professions where we must work with our competitors on a daily basis to achieve the goal of closing transactions.

Agents should realize the immediate impact of failing to confirm appointments results in missing out on potential buyers. This is an obvious consequence. The more damaging consequence is the message that is conveyed to their peers. I admit that I am slightly obsessive about how I communicate with other agents.

I am a big fan of good communication and believe that it is key in helping to create smooth transactions and building relationships with our buyers, sellers, lenders and other real estate professionals. Our opinion of one another and success relies on how well we do our jobs, including confirming showings.

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Choosing a Brokerage

Which Brokerage is Best?

When I became a full time Realtor, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about whether or not I would choose a larger, national real estate brokerage over a smaller, independent one. While their overall function is similar, I found that the business models varied significantly from one another.

As a real estate agent, I am in a constant state of evaluating the state of my business. Do I need more listings? Am I spending wisely on effective marketing?  Could I be doing more to improve my bottom line? Of course the answer is always yes to each of these questions.

My suspicion is that each of us who have made real estate our line of work are also ruminate on these questions as well quite frequently. These line items can take up quite a bit of mind space, especially in the slow times.

During those slow times, that we all experience from time to time, I have to admit that on a few occasions I wondered if I had made the right decision. It was then that I would reach out to fellow agents who hung their licenses with the larger brokerages to check in to see if they were slow as well.

Without fail, I would be encouraged by the fact that my fellow agents would validate my belief that a lull in the market or inventory was the cause and not a result of being with a small brokerage.

Among the things I considered in my choice of broker were initial cost, commission structure, flexibility, training opportunities and overall feel of the office. I interviewed quite a few brokers before I ultimately made the decision to go with a smaller, locally based broker who was well known in the area. A few years have since passed and I have realized that this decision was the best for me.

The first day that I went into the office I was offered the opportunity to take over seven short sales that he had on his plate. He literally handed me the files, gave me background, told me what stage they were at and what needed to be done. It was my introduction to real estate agency or as we later joked trial by lenders.

Some may have said no way, but I accepted the challenge after many, many moons had passed I closed all but one of them in the end. Looking back, I am grateful for this opportunity. This could have easily resulted in the shortest career in the history of real estate. These were by no means fun to handle, at all. I learned more by doing these than I could have learned sitting for hours in training seminars.

I have found equal evidence on both sides when it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of working with an independent broker. Personally, my decision to sign with a smaller “outfit”, as one of my charming elderly customers once called us, has been perfect for me. It has been an education and forced me to seek out training not only from my broker, but from other avenues that I may not have had access to had I gone with a big brokerage. It has also pushed me to become very resourceful and creative in marketing my business.

I have had numerous opportunities to spend one on one time with my broker and have enjoyed very quick response times when I have needed guidance when one of the many possible odd issues have popped up with contracts, inspections or closings. Our entire office has a team mentality, which means we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and competitors. It is a great environment given our individual personalities and interests and it works.

 

Figuring out the kind of brokerage that best fits an agent can be a daunting task. If agents are able to spend time understanding the environments that they naturally feel most comfortable in they will certainly be set up for success. I was lucky, I discovered which was best suited to me on the first shot out of the barrel. I know that as I prepare to take the broker’s exam in a few months that my experiences will definitely be valuable when I create my own brokerage in the future.

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The Business of Real Estate

This past week, I found myself imagining what the future will look like when I obtain a broker’s license. For the past few months I have been studying for the brokers test. I have always been told by my mentors that one of the most sure fire ways to success is to use positive mental imagery to help create the future you envision for yourself.

I know, it is very “The Secret”, only not really. It has been proven, time and again, that those who approach new endeavors with confidence and resolve are more likely to see those goals reached, in whatever the field may be. Being resolute with intention is definitely a good practice even if you just need the motivation to go to the grocery store.

In my experience, resolve and determination paired with tenacity and the ability to never give up are keys to success in life, especially if you have chosen a life in real estate.  My mini mental vacation took place in between the highly exciting legal descriptions chapter and the always informational taxing real estate investment chapter.

I imagined my modern and minimalist industrial office space that overlooked the bustling city. I envisioned the line of agents lining up at my door step to be a part of the hip and exciting brokerage that I created. You get the idea. The silliness of this is not lost on me, but it works.

As a result, I found myself researching domain names for my future company. I came up with a few that have real potential and of course I am keeping those under my hat for now. In researching my options I came across many “helpful” sites. One of which was more like a message board than an informational site. What I found here stopped me cold in my tracks and is the motivation behind writing this blog post.

Right before my eyes was an entire board filled with real estate professionals who were asking others to help them come up with a name for their real estate business. Yes. You read that correctly. Do people really do this? According to some, namely my wife, I am a bit of a control freak.

The notion that there are some who seek out counsel from strangers online about naming a business is shocking to me. This concept would never even float across my consciousness. In fact, this would be found underneath the four millionth thing on my list of things to do in life.

Once I shook off the shock of it, I realized that if I were a customer looking for a broker that knowing they were unable to name their own business would probably send me running in the opposite direction. Customers want confidence and creativity in the professionals that they choose to work with. I would have serious questions about their effectiveness and drive. I may be simplistic and a little too wavy gravy in my approach, but to each their own.

Obtaining a broker’s license is something that any licensed agent can decide to do. Some will pass the test, others will not. For those who do pass the test, the road to success will be dependent upon their ability to run an office, recruit quality agents and a million other things on any given day.

I venture to guess those whose pleas for help in naming their brokerage may not be the ones who blaze trails in this industry. In my humble opinion, whether you are in real estate or selling bananas at the local farmers market, your brand is something that only you can truly decide on.

I tend to be more philosophical than most and I believe that an important part of the beginning stages of creating something new is being able get inspired and that the right name will present itself when the time is right.

The real estate business brings just as many rewards as it does challenges. My hope is that we all remember that approaching any challenge is worth every bit of time and energy that it requires and that the potential for reward is infinite. When we are allow ourselves to imagine our futures we will find all of the answers we need. Oh, and closings, many many closings.

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Realtors Survey Says…and the number one answer is trust.

If you are like me, the start of a new year is a great time to take stock of the things that worked the previous year and to make adjustments for the coming year. Evaluating the annual budget for our businesses is a large part of what we do on a daily basis. Allocating dollars for marketing and advertising is one of the most critical activities that needs to happen in order to chart a path to success. It is true that 20% of the agents do perform 80% of the work in our industry. Of course, the business end of the spectrum is what many often focus on. Expanding our network and contact list is key to guaranteeing ongoing success in this line of work.

As Realtors, the importance of how we manage our business is one part of the whole puzzle. Recently I created an informal survey that asked what qualities buyers and sellers found to be the most important in choosing their agent. Surprisingly enough, not one response had to do how they marketed, budgeted or long term planned their business.

 

Dawn Waters Debary Realtor

I found overall that the most important thing that buyers and sellers considered in choosing their agent was trustworthiness. This is not something that appear in any business plan that I know of. As agents, we are not only selling properties, we are selling ourselves. The ability to convey trustworthiness is directly related to how we deal with not only buyers and sellers, but with the other professionals that we interact with. I believe that our customers, regardless of which side of the transaction they may be on, are like children. They are sponges that get a sense of how we do business by watching and listening to how we speak and the amount of confidence that we show in our ability to get the deal closed.

Having an honesty first policy is something that has been key to my success as an agent. This approach is often overlooked when evaluating what should be first on an agent’s to do list. There is much to be said for implementing this practice in all things. I was surprised that things such as knowledge of the area, negotiating skills and the ability to accurately reach a listing price were mentioned after honesty in my informal survey. I believe that being found to be trustworthy and honest played a role in whether or not customers expressed confidence in the other areas.

When we pause and reflect on the things that make past clients more prone to refer their family and friends to us, we are reminded of the intangible qualities that our customers are most likely focused on. Remembering the simple things and occasionally looking at things from the customer’s vantage point is an activity that I highly recommend. When Realtors practice the art of trustworthiness we benefit on all levels. On a business level, aa Realtors ability to be honest with their own marketing plan is just as vital to our success and presenting that honesty in our dealings with the public. Staying focused on these things keeps us honest and reminds us that our success is based on more than a marketing plan or our advertising budgets.

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