By Scott Newman
So you just found out your buddy got a big promotion and is now ready to buy a sexy luxury condo in downtown Chicago. He’s your boy–you’ve known him since grade school–of course he’s going to give you first crack at the business, and you’ve already started spending the commission check. But before you blindly agree to be his agent, stop and think of the potential consequences of working with close friends and how you can make sure it’s a positive experience for both of you.
Treat Them Like Any Other Client
Many real estate pros go one of two ways when they work with friends – and both are bad. The first is when all their professional experience and training goes out the window and they act super lax and unprofessional thinking it will be OK because they know the client.
The other is the agent who takes things so seriously that they literally suck all the fun out of the entire process for the client, who then ends up never wanting to work with–or refer anyone to them–again.
What’s the lesson here? Forget about the personal relationship you have with this particular client and give them the same high level of service and overall experience you provide to all your other clients. If you follow that golden rule, you virtually eliminate the risk of damaging the personal or professional relationship with the client.
Expect To Go Above and Beyond
I have literally seen agents arguing with close friends they are representing while in the hallway outside the closing office. The expectations the client had vs. the expectations the agent had might as well have existed in two separate universes. Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
In the midst of the government shutdown, we are still working with our clients to get their deals closed. Yes, the FHA is still committed to getting loans processed, but other government entities are closed, including the IRS. Lenders require a 4506-T form, but the IRS is now unable to fulfill requests. So what does this mean? If your lender requires this, the loan won’t close until the IRS reopens, thus putting your deal at risk. Some lenders are waiving the 4506-T requirement, with income verification to follow later. But you can be proactive and help your clients. Here are some tips:
1. Contact any buyers you currently have under contract and talk to their lender about this. Evaluate your buyer’s current situation and determine if they have the ability to close or not.
2. If the lender needs the 4506-T and doesn’t have it from the IRS, then your buyer’s earnest money may be at risk. Check your due diligence deadlines and possibly extend them.
3. Talk to your sellers and warn them of the potential issue of delayed closings. Be proactive right now so your sellers don’t pack up and then their home doesn’t close. Show them you are a professional and proactive in helping alleviate stress.
4. Renegotiate with sellers on closing dates, if possible. The odds are in your favor, as the only way a seller can close with a different buyer is if they find a cash buyer.
6. Stay up-to-date with the government shutdown and its impact on real estate here: www.realtor.org/articles/government-shutdown-updates
If you are seeing any workarounds regarding this issue, please post a comment. Also, if you are experiencing other issues related to the shutdown, let us know!
Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is broker/owner of UtahDave.com Neighborhood Experts.
By Sammer Mudawar
Buying and selling residential real estate is one of the most emotional transactions consumers conduct. Understanding client psychology, managing expectations, and using effective communication are the three most valuable skills that a real estate professional needs to develop for a successful career with less stress.
Understand the psyche of your client and your chances of a smooth transaction increase dramatically.
Is the client a standard seller who has lived and raised their family in the home for the past 25 years, but has not done many upgrades? Perhaps prepping this client for the possibility of offensive offers from cash investors will be important to making sure they don’t take things personally, or worse, become unreasonable sellers.
Understanding client psychology is important, however, equally important is they understand your psychology. It is vital to the client relationship that they understand your goals are in-line with theirs, and as a fiduciary you will only represent their best interests. Breaking down the walls in the beginning is one of the best ways to get on the same page as your client.
Here are two examples of how to manage expectations with buyers and sellers. Continue reading »
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 Scott Newman
Every real estate professional has experienced it: those slow times, the off-months, the hot streaks that suddenly go cold… call them what you will but when things turn sluggish at the office, it can not only be a confidence and momentum-killer but also a disaster for your business plan. So how do you avoid the roller coaster of income fluctuations typical of our industry? For me, that question can be answered with one word: networking.
But merely handing out business cards or posting flyers to community bulletin boards won’t put money in the bank. To really make networking your solution to spotty earnings, I propose thinking outside the box. With a little creativity, you can truly use the practice to generate a more consistent flow of business.
As REALTORS®, we all love to schmooze. It’s basically written into the job description. It’s also one of the best ways to meet new people and generate leads. Who’s to say you’ve got to wait for the next Facebook invite to come through before you have an opportunity to stretch your schmoozing skills? Imagine for a moment that you were the one organizing the party instead of just being an attendee. In fact, why wait for an event when you can plan one of your own at the very time your business needs a little boost?
Along with some referral partners, I’ve been hosting a quarterly networking event for the past year that’s gotten rave reviews. Setting up the event is relatively painless; I partner with a local bar or restaurant and bring in sponsors to cover the bulk of the costs. Then, I invite a wonderful mix of local prospects, business connections, and past clients. Everyone has a few drinks and a bite to eat and it’s a great way to stay top-of-mind when it comes time for people to recommend your services. In fact, I have closed several deals with people I’ve met at my networking events already! Continue reading »
By Paul Everett
The first indication from many home owners that they are seriously considering selling their home is often through a free listing on Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, StreetEasy, or other regional and national For Sale By Owner sites.
With the expansion of FSBO advice companies as well as online listing tools—particularly Zillow and Trulia—an increasing number of home owners are feeling empowered to take a spin at selling their homes on their own, in order to cut out the potential fees associated with agent sales. As we all know, FSBOs most often learn after a few weeks that selling a home is hard work, and best left to professionals! Placing yourself and your real estate services in front of the home owner during this moment of realization is the key to securing listings from online FSBOs.
When the home owner starts feeling the frustration of selling on his or her own, this is the seed of your opportunity. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who knows the time is ripe. Rest assured that many like-minded and hardworking agents in your area will all be thinking the same thing at the exact same time. Therefore, timing and approach will mean everything if you want to be the one who gets the listing. Here are five tips for putting yourself ahead of the pack: Continue reading »
By Jason O’Neil
Last week, I received an unusual call from a seller. As a REALTOR®, getting a call from a seller is not out of the ordinary. However, when this particular seller explains that he has developed a list of questions to use for a “prescreening” of potential REALTORS®, I really perk up. Despite what some may think, the approach did not come across as arrogant or stodgy, and as he asked his questions, I could only think how professional, thorough, and very interesting they were, and how crucial it was for me as his prospective employee to answer them.
After I hung up the phone, the experience prompted me to develop my own set of questions that are not only important for sellers to ask, but are also equally as important for REALTORS® to answer:
1. In what areas or neighborhoods do you predominately sell homes?
2. On average, how many days do your properties spend on the market?
3. What is your sale price to list price ratio?
4. More important, what is your sale price to original list price ratio?
5. What is your marketing strategy?
6. What is your communication strategy? How do you reach out to potential clients?
7. What is your team or company composition?
8. What three attributes set you apart from other agents?
9. What is your process for determining a listing price?
10. How do you make your listings stand out in the market?
I know most real estate professionals have been asked these questions countless times before. We could talk for hours about just one of them, explaining our marketing strategy or relating all the ways we are unique when compared with other REALTORS® in our market. But have you ever really taken the time to craft written answers to these questions? Continue reading »
By Michelle Flaherty Philbrook
A while back, I got a call on a condo listing of mine. The potential buyers were a retirement-age couple looking for a new place just large enough for their kids to stop by for a visit, but just small enough that their fledglings couldn’t fully return to the nest.
I showed the condo, and when it wasn’t a fit, I brought them on as buyer clients. After we became more comfortable with each other, this couple confided in me that they initially thought I looked “way too young to be [their] agent,” but that in the context of having met other agents both recently and over the years, they felt I was uniquely equipped help them meet their goals. I think the reasons we were so compatible can be applied rather universally, so if you don’t mind entertaining the occasional demographic stereotype, read on for how Gen Y traits can uniquely serve some common Baby Boomer needs.
Baby Boomer with a Sense of Urgency? Meet Gen Y with Fast Texting Fingers. As a general rule, most people don’t become more patient with age — a fact of life that works in favor of agents raised in the age of text messaging and real-time e-mail. When these buyers inquired via e-mail on my condo, I called them right away. And when the property didn’t work for them, I got their search set up the same day. They told me later that none of the other brokers came close to that level of responsiveness.
Baby Boomer with Intelligent Questions Based on Experience? Meet Gen Y with Fab Research Skills. The way that I was able to quickly aggregate property information from multiple (and at times obscure) sources beyond the MLS really impressed my boomer clients. The 2010 Census confirmed that the percentage of post-secondary graduates among the U.S. population is at an all-time high, so it follows that most YPNers can likely offer extensive research skills. And in an industry like ours with ever-changing guidelines, best practices, and technology, it is more valuable to be a quick study than a deep topic expert.
Baby Boomer with Very Specific Needs? Meet Gen Y Power Networking: Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
The Average Marketing Scenario
A couple years ago a loan officer asked me a brilliant question that they should have asked themselves before they spent $30,000 on a failed marketing campaign. “Dave, I have had a billboard for the past year on I-15 and I don’t get any calls off of it. What is going on?” I sat there for awhile trying to think of his billboard and I couldn’t remember it. Later that day it hit me. It took me all day to remember it. The loan officer had a prime location with his name and phone number and his company name on it. It said something like “your loan officer” or “call me for a mortgage.”
His marketing wasn’t working. He wasn’t getting any calls. I had that same marketing plan before. I had that same marketing on a moving van for three years. It was typical agent marketing that consists of: name, phone number, and how cool you are — it doesn’t work. I rarely got any calls, and nobody knew who I was. Then, I changed it and my business started to change.
There are two keys to smart marketing:
1. Can people remember you or your marketing?
Have you ever heard that famous statistic that the average home buyer/seller forgets their agent’s name within six months? I tested it out once. I met someone who said they just bought their home four months ago with the president of the Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®. I said, “Ohhh, awesome! What is their name?” Of course I knew their name, but I was wondering if the statistic really worked. They couldn’t remember. They said she is the president and surely I must know who they were talking about. Of course I knew, but how was this person going to recommend her to any of their friends and family?
Now lets talk about the loan officer’s billboard. After I drove by the sign, I couldn’t remember his phone number, name, or website. What a waste of money. His only chance of being remembered would have been if I wrote down his phone number the next time I saw the billboard, and kept it for when I had a need. Fat chance at that.
So what did I do to change my marketing after unsuccessfully advertising on a moving van for three years? it came down to branding. First, I created a scene of a desert in the background with my picture on it, and a Web address: UtahDave.com. Why in the world is there a desert when I’m trying to sell a home? Because every agent has a home on their marketing materials. I wanted it to be different, and the desert scene goes with Utah.
I don’t think the desert is key to your success, it just happened to work for mine. Maybe if I was “AlaskaDave” I might have an igloo instead of a desert. Geico has a Gecko, and the last time I checked they don’t sell geckos. The main thing is finding a special branding or memorable image…just don’t be like everyone else and have a home be your background.
The proof is in the pudding. I just got a listing appointment…and where did the listing come from? Continue reading »
By Melissa Krchnak
For everyone who laughs at a joke a comedian makes, there’s that one person that doesn’t get it. And yet the comedian doesn’t change his joke. For every person who appreciates you being on top of it with your follow-up, there’ll be that one person who thinks you’re too aggressive. Don’t stop your pursuit of success.
I heard someone on Oprah talking about how life can be tough if you take things personally. She used the analogy of someone not liking her to herself not liking pineapple. So, when she doesn’t like that one person or they didn’t like her, it is akin to her not liking pineapple. It’s not personal; it’s just that the two aren’t meant to work together.
So, to my YPN cohort: Don’t get hung up on that one person who thinks of you like pineapple. For so many others, you’re exactly who they want.
Melissa Krchnak is the assistant team leader for Keller Williams Realty in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Connect with her at kwrancho.com.