By Sammer Mudawar
Let’s face it, in the eyes of the consumer, especially the internet shopper, all real estate agents are the same. In fact, they don’t even know why you get paid since they find properties on the internet themselves. Does this sound familiar?
Regardless of experience level, 6 months in the business or 16 years, most agents are insecure when discussing income with clients, especially on the buying side. Why? We work nights, weekends, and holidays to earn their income, but if you cannot demonstrate value in yourself, the consumer will not see value in your service.
First, let’s separate seller representation from buyer representation.
Most agents have less difficulty discussing compensation when dealing with sellers. I’m sure many of you are thinking the opposite; the buyer side is easier because there is no discussion, you just accept MLS offered compensation and the subject is never brought up. So let me explain, this industry has trained sellers to understand two things: 1.) A listing agreement will be required; 2.) A percentage of the sale price will be paid as compensation. In a listing presentation, the expectation of payment is already there, half the battle is already won, now it’s a discussion of how much.
However in buyer agency, the consumer doesn’t expect to pay or they don’t even know how compensation works. Continue reading »
By Jennifer Klein and Derek Sandoval
Is your market changing like ours? Increases in home prices and home values here in Sacramento, Calif., is good news for homeowners who once thought they’d have to do a short sale. In our latest video, we discuss what the latest market conditions mean for our business and our clients.
Jennifer Klein is a REALTOR® in Northern California who is experienced in short sales, investments, and property management. Connect with Jen at RosevilleAndRocklin.com, JenKlein.com, and @JenKleinSac.
Derek Sandoval has worked for Keller Williams Realty in Roseville, Calif., since 2009, and specializes in residential, REO, and short sales. Find Derek at www.dereksellshomes.com and dereksellshomes.featuredblog.com.
By Jason O’Neil
Sit tight. Last week mortgage interest rates jumped drastically. Some say without warning, but then again, most have been preaching for months, if not years, that rates can’t stay this low. Can they?
Why did they rise? Is Wall Street fed up? Was the Federal Reserve testing the market’s tolerance with some well thought out comments? “The downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market have diminished,” said Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on June 19. Will the Fed begin to unwind its efforts? Time will tell the answer to all of these questions. But I do assure you that the ride is not over. As we’ve seen in years past, there is always a secondary action to the immediate (usually over-reaction) reaction.
Rates will likely dip again and level off in a somewhat upward trajectory. We have likely seen the record low rates come and go.
This happens. It is the cycle. It is not doom and gloom. Rates are still low and people are still interested in buying houses. In fact, I typically see an uptick in home sales immediately after an interest rate rise as homebuyers fear further increases.
As real estate professionals, we don’t have all the answers when it comes to the future of interest rates, but we owe it to our clients to partner with mortgage professionals who are pro-active and knowledgeable about their industry. Rates will be what they will be, and while they have an impact, they certainly are not the largest reason that someone should or should not buy a home.
Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.
By Dave Robison
My brokerage had one crazy month a few months ago. We had five buyers who failed to perform on a contract and lost their earnest money. Now in Utah, getting the buyer’s earnest money is supposed to be as easy as the buyer’s broker writing a check in about 24-48 hours. But in all five cases it was a fight, with hours of discussions and arguments. In the end, our sellers received their checks — although, in some of the cases the buyers and their agents were very bitter about turning the money over to the seller.
In the midst of the stress, there was one agent in particular who shined through. I believe this person will always be more successful than others (and he is, actually). His attitude reminds me of the attitude held by one of the most successful people I have ever met: Bill Child.
Bill Child sold his furniture store called RC Willey to Warren Buffett. Bill met with me and several friends and told us his story. I also read the book written about him: How to Build a Business Warren Buffett Would Buy. The great thing about Bill is that his attitude toward working with others never changed from the time he took over RC Willey to when he sold it.
Bill took over the business when his father-in-law died. He didn’t realize it at the time, but the company was laden with customer service problems, debt, and tax burdens. Bill turned all that around. For example, the company had sold an appliance that later became known to have a defect. There wasn’t a manufacturer warranty or guarantee on the product, but Bill wasn’t about to let his customers down. He took on the responsibility himself to do the repairs on all the units, even though he knew it would make his company go in the red. Most companies would just blame the manufacturer and keep their money in their pockets, but Bill’s customers were his No. 1 priority and he took the responsibility himself when legally he didn’t have to. He cared more about his relationships and his customers than he cared about profits.
Now, I don’t know the details about all the conversations the agents had with their clients regarding deadlines and earnest money, Continue reading »
By Jay O’Brien
Now that I (maybe) caught your attention with such a money-hungry, eye-grabbing, cliché of a title, allow me to attempt to pave a thought process in your mind on how to achieve such an ambitious monetary goal without being too Robert Kiyosaki about it.
First, focus on connecting the dots more than selling houses. Learn how to spot opportunities.
Forget about the postcards, lose the expired listings scripts, and think. For example, is your neighbor having a garage sale? What’s their story? Maybe they’re gearing up for a move. What do you do? You have their address…now look up tax records, find out information, and send a personalized letter to help figure it out.
Here are two other ways to seize a business opportunity:
1. Have you ever received a phone call on one of your listings that was already in escrow? Think about EXACTLY how that conversation went. Most I have heard sound a little something like, “Nope, nope. Sorry. That property is pending and will be closing soon. Yep. Yeah. Thanks for calling,” in an annoyed and disturbed voice.
When a sign call comes in, prospective clients are calling your buyer’s hotline. It’s our job to capture this call, convert this lead, and represent this individual on a different transaction. I personally like to ask questions such as: Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
We can’t help it.
As real estate professionals we sometimes are trapped within an industry bubble. We attend conferences, meetings, seminars, mastermind groups all related to the real estate industry. We spend most of our time with fellow real estate professionals (our whole business is based on cooperating with our competition). The topic of many of our conversations inevitably revolves around buying and selling real property. It’s easy to get stuck doing and thinking the same…day in and day out.
Because of this, it’s no surprise that a majority of the disruption and innovation happening in the real estate industry today is coming from individuals and companies outside the field. Why? They provide a fresh perspective as an “outsider” peering into a profession that, in their eyes, appears broken. Many of those taking on the challenge personally went through a real estate transaction and realized a need that wasn’t being met.
There is no reason why more solutions can’t come from within the real estate industry.
Imagine the innovation that can take place if more professionals within the industry adapted a broad-minded perspective to challenge our everyday thinking. It doesn’t have to be a major disruption to change the whole industry – it can be something as small as going paperless in our offices, changing how we communicate MLS listings with our buyers, or perhaps considering unconventional marketing techniques.
Here are some ways to help start thinking “outside the house”: Continue reading »
By Lynn Minnick
As a certified international property specialist (or CIPS), I was able to participate in a really fantastic webinar session offered by the National Association of REALTORS®’ Global division. The webinar was presented by NAR Director of Digital Engagement Nobu Hata, who offered very helpful ideas for developing marketing with a global customer base in mind. As a result, here are the items that I am considering implementing to attain a more global reach:
- Photos - They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case it pronounces them in all languages. Go strong with well-composed, well-lit, well-staged photos. Use a professional photographer if the situation requires it. International buyers are visual buyers, too.
- Responsive Design – Does your Web site work well on all platforms? Because it has to. With so many buyers using their mobile devices to search for homes, especially those visiting from abroad, you need to be sure your site works on phones and tablets. Take the time to check. Continue reading »
By Wade Corbett
How much time do you spend time researching and creating comparables for properties that you aspire to list? You then sit down with the homeowners and they have decided—in their infinite wisdom—that you should list it at a higher price than you suggested. What do you do?
Many agents will say, “Sure! Let’s list it at your price and we’ll see if it sells!” After all, we’re just happy to just add another listing to our portfolio, right? Many months later, the home is still on the market and the same sellers are questioning your ability to do your job. How many of us have shot ourselves in the foot this way?
Thankfully, there are some easy ways to avoid this situation: Continue reading »
By Jay O’Brien
Are you new to the industry? Have you been in the real estate business for 25 years? Well, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice, professional, or anything in between because I have a little gem of advice that is applicable to everyone.
Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer for a moment. Think about the house you are about to buy or the last house you did buy. Who represented you? Would you choose him or her to represent you again? What characteristics make up a truly great agent? If you had to boil it down to one word, what would the most essential characteristic be?
I am going to venture a guess and say that most people would have completely different answers on this topic. However, in my experience, I have found one significant common denominator that unites all descriptions of a successful agent and amplifies the possibility of future business:
No, not being the “local expert” or the agent with the most listings. The most important quality to possess is communication. You must always be someone who routinely explains contracts with thoroughness until a client fully understands; someone who reviews the market with them one-on-one; someone who answers and returns phone calls around the clock. You must never be the agent who leaves his or her client in the dark. A client would rather work with a REALTOR® who finds answers quickly than with one who knows the answer but doesn’t communicate them properly.
I used to work in the retail sector. Actually, that’s just a fancy way of saying I was a sales associate at Best Buy. Anyway, while immersed in the retail environment, I acquired an abundance of skills and learned many lessons that can be applied to any field, especially real estate.
A lesson that always resonated with my business compass was based around engagement. Studies continually show that customers who are not acknowledged by an employee when first entering a store will wait on average only a few minutes before leaving. Why don’t most of these neglected customers stay? Because people want to know you care. That’s all they need to know and the rest will work itself out. What’s worse than the professional you’ve trusted with the largest transaction of your life not being there for you?
In 2012, 48 percent of my business came from clients who were displeased with their current agent. My suggestion: Don’t be an agent who runs a sales prevention desk. As a REALTOR®, it’s your job to be the concierge to the guests of your personal business.
Jay O’Brien is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Prestige in Anaheim Hills, Calif. Aside from real estate, he regularly supports the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and is the co-founder of Mico York, a nonprofit organization that helps kids worldwide through their own personal artwork. Visit Jay on the web www.jayobrienrealestate.com or contact him at: Jay.email@example.com.