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Qualities of a Top Real Estate Broker

Friday, September 8th, 2017

The real estate business sees different people playing different roles. These include mortgage brokers, bankers, home inspectors, contractors, appraisers, property managers, and several others. That’s not even counting the seller and potential buyers, for any property listed. The various contributions they make are too numerous to list, but are all very important. One thing that remains constant: it is the Real Estate Broker who ties it all together. That’s right, he or she calls all of these different people out where needed, to get the client’s needs met. They facilitate communication between all of the people involved, and keep track of the progress. So the question begs asking: what are the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker?

Many people can become a Realtor of one sort or another and start a real estate career. Only a rare select few rise to the top. One of the qualities they require from Day 1? The ability to wear several “hats” at once. At various stages in the process, a great Broker alternates between consultant, buyer’s advocate, salesperson, analyst, and negotiator… to name a few. Naturally, not everyone is born with the ability to juggle all these tasks at once. Some skills are instinctual, some are taught, and some we copy from other successful people. Similar to other fields, however, certain characteristics keep coming back when top Real Estate Brokers are studied.

PASSION

It’s extremely difficult to make it in this business without a genuine heartfelt passion. Many long hours, hard work, persistence, and a commitment to long-term goals lead the list. You don’t accept so many rejections and keep working that darn hard, without passion. Enough said.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT

This isn’t just about becoming wealthy, it’s the intangibles: self-starter, endless motivation, strong drive, free thinker, patience, and good instincts. Staying open to new ideas -because you’re not convinced you know everything- allows for learning. Being cooperative with other Brokers around town allows for joint efforts down the line. Putting their motivation to grow the business ahead of their ego.

Being your own boss is a lot easier than it sounds, but it’s not for everyone. Only those with the desire to control their own professional destiny. To be successful in real estate requires large amounts of “guts” and a risk-taker attitude. Lastly, being persistent and tenacious, without being annoying to the other side. These are the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker.

GREAT COMMUNICATOR

This not only means the ability to speak freely, sound educated, or knowing how to pick up a phone or compose an email. This also refers to passing along important details to the right people, and leaving out unnecessary stuff to others. It’s a regular flow of info via phone, text, e-mail, or whatever medium the client prefers; while expressing yourself effectively on each. Saying more while using less words is also among the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker.

BE POLISHED

Punctual, well-dressed, well-groomed, using proper language skills, chewing with your mouth closed, and always maintaining class and sophistication. Most of this category is superficial, indeed, but the exterior is what makes the first impression. This also includes not taking 7 other phone calls or texts while meeting your new client for coffee. Remain confident but never arrogant.

PART-TIME PSYCHOLOGIST

There’s so much emotion involved in Real Estate transactions -especially residential- that removing the human element is almost impossible. This means that reading people, both in what they do and do not say, is crucial. Interpreting your customer’s non-verbal signals and behaviours allows you to better understand their needs.

There is so much they will not tell you outwardly, but from the small cues you need to get a feel for:

A client’s time frame. Are they in a hurry?

The real motivation to buy or sell, which affects their decisions.

Are they more price-sensitive than willing to admit?

Who’s the opinion leader in a married couple?

How much information becomes too much?

Knowing when to use humour to lighten the mood.

LARGE NETWORK

Another of the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker. They start with a small network of people (family, friends, etc.) but have the ability to grow it very quickly. This is done in many ways, and the most important are:

1- Being a people-person, not shy to introduce themselves.

2- Surrounding themselves with top professionals in complementary businesses.

3- Staying true to their word as they ask clients for referrals.

MOVING QUICKLY

A top Real Estate Broker returns calls and e-mails at crazy fast speed, recognizing that every lead for a new client or scoop on a property is invaluable. They make immediate contact and always follow up, since time is of the essence in keeping that lead “warm”. They are the champions of quick communication and use technology all day long. IE. Not falling asleep at the switch, so their new client doesn’t think they forgot about them.

PATIENCE

Everyone in this business eventually learns that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Many seeds are planted, months and even years, before the crops can be harvested. Most of the cold calls for soliciting new clientele are met with a “No”, and the majority of viewings don’t end with a sale. A top Real Estate Broker also needs to deal with many interesting characters along the way: some unreliable, some dishonest, some anxious, some indecisive, and the list goes on. The most patience is needed with the clients who ask as many questions as humanly possible, then pause to think of some more. This is normal, and part of human nature. Another of the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker is the patience to answer every question and stay on the phone with nervous clients as long as necessary.

ALWAYS PROSPECTING

This absolutely has to be one of the top qualities of a top real estate broker. This refers to finding new leads, or prospective clientele, on a regular basis. How it is done could fill an entire book (or at least another article) all on its own. For the time being, let’s recognize that one can never have too many potential customers in their pipeline. The well can “run dry” for anyone at any time, and there are no shortage of ways to prospect in our times.

Technology has added so many mediums to the traditional TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, and billboards. The number of web-based available tools are almost uncountable, but sufficed to say that a real estate website and strong social media presence are absolutely essential. There are also specialized lead generating platforms which could make life a lot easier. A top Broker uses all of them.

BEING A “NEIGHBOURHOOD EXPERT”

Local knowledge is extremely important among the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker. Not only will it save time when searching listings and answers to specific questions, it also provides immediate selling points. Nearby schools, daycares, sports arenas, churches, local shopping malls, and public transportation are great seasoning on the dish a Broker is serving up to buyers in his/her neighborhood. Knowing what developments are coming down the road is even more impressive. Future plans for a region are helpful, and so is knowing the history. Don’t get caught off guard with a question about an old burial ground or water contamination issue from last year, from a buyer who did their homework.

A broker who shows they’ve never done business in that part of town looks like a beginner (even with years of experience elsewhere), and that doesn’t inspire confidence in anyone.

ORGANIZED AND DETAIL-ORIENTED

This is absolutely essential to managing a busy schedule. If a Broker can’t keep their commitments straight on an hourly basis, they’ve lost already. If electronic tools don’t work for him or her, they should keep an old-school planner book in their pocket. The more appointments they keep and phone calls they return, the more impressed their clients and contacts will remain.

Attention to detail can mean all the difference in closing a sale. A top Real Estate Broker knows that the smallest changes can make a property far more attractive. They are creative with their beautiful real estate listings and take the best photographs of every home. Spotting the key details in homes they deal with can give a Broker the upper-hand in negotiations.

Some of this can be taught, some just comes naturally, but all of these are the qualities of a top Real Estate Broker. Dealing with a credible and established Real Estate Agency definitely helps the odds of becoming one, or finding one as a client in your town.

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How to Get More Listings

Friday, September 8th, 2017

As a real estate agent, acquiring listings may be one of the hardest things to master from the start as well as where your contacts should come from. Every Agent should want to focus on property listings. As a newer agent, you’re still trying to make a name for yourself, and unfortunately might not have the referrals or repeat clients that a longer-term agent would have. What you probably don’t realize is that cold-calling and referrals are not the only ways to get new clients. There is a myriad of different pathways that new clients can come from, and some of them are probably right in front of you! You can use a variety of information and contacts that you already have available to you to find another whole group of potential clients (and consequently, their referrals as well).

Here are some ways you can get more listings:

* Look for expired and withdrawn listings – By exploring the MLS for listings that were on the market in the past but that were never sold, you can find listings that may have been handled inappropriately before you, or were pulled off the market for whatever reason. The homes may have been overpriced, or the market may have been off at that time for what the seller was looking for. By reconnecting with these listings, you may have a second chance at selling them. Make sure you indicate to the seller (if it’s true) that the home is in a better position to sell in this growing market, and be perfectly clear what they need to do for the best chance to sell within their window of time if they suggest one. They are often much more prone to respond if they know that there is a chance you can sell it for them.

  • Interact with your already existing network – Are you already in a PTA group? Soccer leagues? A neighborhood association? Use the groups that you are a member of to advertise that you’re a real estate agent. You’ll gain more contacts from people that are like you with similar interests, and the people in your club, who needed services anyway, will be happy to use someone they already know and trust. In my opinion, this is the absolute best thing that you can do for yourself, because successful real estate agents do not form client lists, they form tribes of like-minded like-interested individuals. The more you have in common with your clients, the easier it is to work with them, get referrals, and build a better tribe.
  • Decide the kind of business you want to have, and act accordingly – If you’ve decided that you’d like to sell mostly mansion listings in upper class neighborhoods near your home, then you should hang out at the local country club or golf course, or business networking meetings. It would be fruitless to try to find these types of clients at places like the local discount market or the public-school parking lot because although it’s possible, it’s not extremely likely to meet a large majority of your clientele there. Think about the lifestyle of the clients you want and the neighborhood you want to target and act accordingly. You may really enjoy being an agent for renters, and if that’s the case- maybe you should hang out at the local college or health club. It’s all relative to what you want and what you want your niche to be. Just make sure you focus on acquiring listings.
  • Along these lines, your niche should be based on your already existing talents.

I’ve talked about interacting with your already existing network and acting according to the type of business you want to have- these two things should go together. Don’t try to pretend to be something you aren’t, or avoid the kind of people you already know to try to build your business a certain way. If you play golf, it makes sense to try to find clients at the golf course. But if you don’t, you’re only going to sound like a fraud by faking an interest in hobbies that aren’t yours. Use what you’re already good at and the skills you bring to the table through past experiences to find clients who can benefit from those skills and talents.

* Search social media hashtags and posts. – An out-of-the-box way to find potential sellers is to get on Twitter or Facebook and search the posts of people who might be looking for a real estate agent but not realize that fact yet. By putting in and searching for hashtags (a group of words or phrases starting with a # sign), you’re able to find a variety of posts that meet certain conditions, with hashtags that people may have used when they were considering selling their home or buying or renting somewhere new. Try #needtomove #ineedtomove #sellmyhome #iwanttomove #wanttomove and #lookingtobuy as your first hashtag search suggestions, but you can always add your own ideas.

  • Remember that everyone you meet is a prospective client – If you’re going to the post office, pass out your business cards. If you’re at the supermarket, start up a conversation with the checkout clerk. Ask to leave your postcards or business cards on every bulletin board at every business in your target area.

* Marketing Materials Are Not to Be Underestimated – A lot of agents feel that postcards, for example, won’t do them a lick of good. Often times these are newer agents who frankly do not want to spend the required amount of money on their business. You’d be surprised at how powerful marketing materials can be, and it takes money sometimes to make money. Consider investing in a magnet for your car with your name and number on it, a website with your contact information, and pens, corkscrews, or anything that you think your target market may keep and use often. Not only does this prove that you’re serious about your business, but it constantly puts your name in the back of people’s minds. When they’re ready to buy or sell, you will be the first person that they think of.

  • For Sale by Owner Signs – Looking for “For Sale by Owner” signs will help you identify homeowners that are looking to sell that definitely do not have a real estate agent. They may not want one, but it couldn’t hurt to ask- or at least to have a conversation about why it is that they want to sell. Worst case scenario, perhaps you can bring them a buyer and get a piece of the commission. When approaching “for sale by owner” owners, the best thing to do is word your pitch not as a sales pitch, but as an offer to help. “Do you need assistance making the flyers?” “Are you prepared for your open house?” “Has anyone given you comparables?” – These questions will show that you’re a professional, that you know your stuff, but most importantly that there is a lot to selling a home that maybe the homeowner hadn’t thought about.
  • Look Out for Garage & Moving Sales - Sometimes people have garage sales just because they want to spring clean, but in many cases, they have them because they’re selling their home and moving. Specifically search Craigslist and your local newspaper for “estate” or “moving” sales because those almost always indicate some kind of transfer of property. In many cases, people will clear out the homes before they even think about getting it on the market so you may be getting a head start versus competing with other real estate agents in your area. You can also try scanning Estatesale.com or Estatesales.com, or even advertising on those sites as well.

* Befriend Estate Sale Companies – Similarly, people who have estate sales almost always use an estate sale company to help them process and sell the goods. Link up with an estate sales company and you’ll get each of their referrals. You can return the favor by referring your clients who need someone to help liquidate assets before you list and stage the property. This can be a very beneficial relationship for both of you.

* Watch Out for Rentals in Your Area – Properties are often for rent as a last resort if a sale was unsuccessful. By keeping an eye on the rentals in your area may produce an owner that wants to try to sell again under better circumstances in the future.

  • Meet Clients at Open Houses – A lot of agents assume that Open Houses are only to find buyers for that property, but that can’t be farther from the truth. Sometimes you find people who want to buy or are not being represented by an agent. Other times, you meet sellers who are scanning open houses for ideas of what to list their own home for or to get a feel for what the open house process is all about. Of course, you should verify that they don’t already have an agent, but if they don’t- open houses can be an amazing way to meet new people that might need your services.
  • Hold Educational Events-Libraries, HOA club houses, churches, schools, etc. they are all fabulous locations to host an event with experts you already know. The home warranty specialist always has a wonderful short educational program. I have found that most homeowners want home warranty but through it had to be obtained at a closing. How about a Mold, Radon, or Lead Paint specialist to educate them on what they need to know? Since an educated consumer is your best customer, they will have you at the top of your list when they want a solid real estate agent.

* Find the Empty Nesters – Using the MLS or whatever listing search method you feel most comfortable with, search for homes that are larger than 3 bedrooms in your target market and neighborhood. Filter them to include only houses that were purchased over 20 years ago. Potentially, you can find some retirees who are looking to downsize, and you’ll be able to help them both with listing their current home as well as finding a smaller option that works better for their current needs. If they are moving out of the area, you can earn a referral opportunity.

  • Go the Extra Mile at Your Office – Volunteer for phone duty, if that is available, more than the average agent in your office. This will allow you to pick up more referrals or general calls than anyone else. You can also seek out the agents in your office who are vacationing or retiring from your brokerage and offer to take on their clients.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help - Don’t be afraid to reach out to more experienced agents to ask them if they have any advice or guidelines for you to follow. You may meet a retiring agent this way who hadn’t yet publicized that they were leaving your firm. You might also meet someone who’s simply overloaded with clients and needs someone to refer a few of them to, or someone who’s looking for a new member on their team.

Once you meet people or establish contacts, the key is putting them in your database and following up with them. Anyone can say they are involved in real estate, but we all know that there are some agents out there that do this as a hobby. You want your potential clients to know that you’re serious about your business, and follow up with them often.

Don’t spread yourself too thin, either. It’s tempting to take every new client you can get your hands on, but you don’t want to do this if you can’t legitimately help all of them. It’s better to focus on one small group or niche that you can perfect, and become an expert in that field, demographic, or area. Refer the rest to capable referral fee producing agents who can close deals and are assets for you.

Also nurture your existing clients. Send them a monthly educational newsletter as well as sporadic special drop offs or mailings like “Happy Anniversary” cards on the 5th, 10th, and 20th anniversary in their new home. By continuing this relationship, they’ll reach out to you when they’re ready to upgrade, and you can help them with this transition.

It’s not easy prospecting for clients if you’re not used to the methods, but if you follow this simple guide you’ll have more clients than you know what to do with in no time at all!