By Jason O’Neil
Referrals, referrals, referrals. We all get them and we all want more. We want referrals from our lenders, our title reps, our barbers, our past clients, and we especially want them from other agents. We love referrals because they are easy leads. They are not faceless Internet leads or the sometimes abrupt sign calls; they are real people who are friends of someone.
Referrals are easy to talk to for two primary reasons: One, they are less guarded because you were referred by someone they trust. Two, you have something or someone in common.
Over the past 12 months, 85 percent of my business has come from referrals. I, too, love referrals.
We track our business sources, but do we track our referrals? When I say track our referrals, I mean the why. Why does someone refer you? What is your referability? High, low, middle? Do you have any idea? Why will some clients run to the top of a mountain and scream your name? And why do others, who have worked with you dozens of times, not feel comfortable referring you to their closest friends or relatives?
Sometimes we aren’t referred because referrals are risky. They really are. If I speak up and say you should work with my accountant because he does great work and you end up not liking him, I look bad. If you love my accountant, well, that was to be expected. If I say nothing or don’t refer an accountant, I likely stay unchanged in your mind’s eye. So there really is a downside risk to referrals. But referring people is fulfilling — it makes people feel good to help other people and to give their opinions.
So, why should people refer you? How do you become more referable?
I think it’s simple: Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
With the market picking up steam, buyers are out there scooping up homes and they’re counting on you as their agent to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their transaction. When they are buying a condo, that path can be filled with even more landmines, and you have a whole new realm of elements to account for when advising your buyer clients. I’ve outlined some best practices for agents below who are representing buyers purchasing a condo.
Understand the Financials
Nothing will make you look more foolish than advising your client to make an offer, having it accepted, and then finding out there is something wrong with the building that prohibits financing. Review condo documents and know what’s going on with the overall health of the building your client is interested in — this is not just your attorney’s job post contract execution — it’s your job before your client ever puts pen to paper! Request a 22.1 disclosure, call the management company, speak to the listing agent — do whatever you need to do to ensure that the building your client wants to buy in qualifies for the type of loan your client is applying for.
Know Your Client
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a listing that gets put under contract, only to have the deal fall apart for ridiculous reasons that could have been brought to light long before an offer was made. Again, as the buyer’s agent, your job is to stay on top of these situations to ensure that you come across as a professional and that your client isn’t wasting their time. The only way to do this is to ask the right questions!
Do your clients have a dog or are they planning to buy one during their residency in the building? Are they planning to smoke inside their unit? Do they like to host company during very late hours? These can all be potential issues for a client as the rules in condo buildings can vary wildly, so it’s never safe to assume anything!
All of the above are examples of questions you should be asking to ensure that your client isn’t wasting their time. Get the right information ahead of time and call the HOA or listing agent personally to ensure that your client’s unique needs will be met by the building.
Do Your Homework
The time to find out whether or not the building has a pool or how nice the gym is should not be when you show up to the property with your client. Continue reading »
By Melissa Krchnak
I obviously am not an expert in what anyone else’s listing presentations are like, I only know mine. Yet I heard someone talking about the Olympics recently, and with my market’s emphasis on the need for more inventory, it got me thinking. Is your listing presentation like watching cycling or gymnastics?
I can dig both, and yet I watch them with a different level of interest. See, I can put cycling on and read a book or cook my breakfast or check Twitter. I know I probably won’t miss anything major and I’ll look up every now and then to see who’s ahead. With gymnastics though, it goes from one event to the next so fast. I’m so engrossed with how competitive it is, that I have to keep my eye on the TV or I’ll miss something great. So, is your listing presentation creating lots of interest with a fast-paced and quick finish? Or is it uneventful and lasting for hours?
My suggestion if it’s dragging on? Hit the high points, move through each piece effortlessly, and put a bow on it in 45 minutes or so. Any longer and you’re losing them. Remember what your mom used to say about visiting friends’ houses? “Don’t overstay your welcome!” Just get your agency and listing agreement and get out. You can get disclosures signed, pictures taken, etc., another time. This is strictly presentation time.
So, are your clients watching cycling or gymnastics when you’re presenting?
Melissa Krchnak is the assistant team leader for Keller Williams Realty in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Connect with her at kwrancho.com.
By Lynn Minnick
This post follows along the same idea as Cory Brewer’s last post about relationships. My office has a new office leader/manager and she recently put together an event that I thought was pretty genius AND helped build relationships.
She asked each of us to provide her with a list of the different real estate service-related vendors we use and would recommend (home inspectors, exterminators, electricians, septic installers, radon guys, landscapers, mold specialists, handymen, home stagers, etc. — all the professionals we turn to on a regular basis in my market.) Then, for a small donation to our company charity, The Sunshine Kids, she offered each of them a table at a vendor fair we hosted. She invited all of the REALTORS® in our town and surrounding towns, and served refreshments.
The event itself was only about two hours long, but it allowed us to meet face-to-face with these professionals, make introductions, and network. I suppose it was kind of like speed dating. Some of the businesses were more experienced with vendor fairs and came prepared with lots of handouts, giveaways, and raffles, while others greeted us with simple business cards and conversations, relying solely on their long-standing reputations.
The event was easy to organize and very well-received. A win-win-win, really, for us, the vendors, and our favorite charity!
By Trisha Ocona Francis
Being a real estate professional is more than just helping people sell, buy, or rent property, but rather assisting them in achieving their real estate goals. One of the best ways in doing so is by narrowing down your practice of real estate to an area you know extremely well, enjoy doing, and are committed to furthering your knowledge on the topic. It allows you to focus, and shows your clients your commitment and dedication as an expert towards their particular issue.
There are many areas to choose from, such as the luxury market, commercial sales, office leasing, residential, investing, foreclosures, apartment rentals, government program housing placement, senior housing, relocation specialist, or you can always develop your own area of expertise.
You may decide to gear your real estate practice towards commercial real estate because you like analyzing the potential profits of a building, the adventure of negotiating, and helping your clients produce their desired results. Or you may work with seniors because you enjoyed helping your previous senior clients transition from homeownership of forty years to senior housing, loved their history stories, and learned a lot about senior housing programs in the process.
The road to becoming this “Specialized Real Estate Expert” is similar to a college student deciding on a major and ultimate career choice. Medical doctors and attorneys concentrate on a specific field to practice for the same reasons.
To begin, here are a few questions to ask yourself: Continue reading »
By Veronica Barragan
Some REALTORS® conceived 2012 as “The Year of Volume Transactions” because lower home prices created the need to increase transactions to keep up with personal career goals while maintaining life styles and income. In actuality, 2012 has quickly become “The Year of the Professional.”
We’re in an environment where REALTORS® celebrate authentic, professional standards, and embrace all markets as a visionaries. They can stand back and understand the big picture, while in turn, offering excellent client service with integrity.
For example, in states such as Arizona where I currently practice, many REALTORS® have shifted their business dramatically and quickly from the dwindling REO niche back to buyers and sellers. REALTORS® are going back to basics, which should have never been ignored if they planned on making real estate a long term career. “The basics” encompass key fundamental characteristics that never ever disappear and easily transcend time. The basics include the utmost professional attention to each and every client’s needs, appreciating every phone call as the gateway to referrals because of the agent’s attention to detail, and, more importantly, having the ability to be fully present and aware of the intentions, desires, and needs of every individual who comes to you, as an agent, for your real estate expertise.
Today’s market is diverse and includes first-time home buyers, the tech-savvy newest generation, the growing and underserved Hispanic community, investors, second home buyers, and sellers in a hardship situation. To be able to serve this new and diverse clientele effectively as a professional, you must be able to adapt the basics into your business plan and into your soul.
There is no more sitting back and waiting for the bank to assign you that distressed property, because you will not survive — Continue reading »
By Jared James
As many of you know, I make my living as a speaker/trainer and have had the opportunity to speak to tens of thousands of REALTORS® and entrepreneurs over the last 12 months. My job is not just to communicate effectively, but to entertain and make the audience feel something. As Maya Angelo put it, “People will not remember what you do or say, but they will remember how you made them feel.”
About six months ago, I had the opportunity to keynote a large event in Texas, and it was one of those times when you feel completely connected with the audience and everything was going well. At the end of the event I had a younger guy come up to me and tell me how he loved my speech so much that he was ready to run through a brick wall. (Not a practice I recommend or condone.) He said that he loved everything I had to say, but there was just no business in his area. He said it didn’t matter what he did, there just weren’t any transactions.
I don’t usually have the time to do this, but on this day I did, so asked him to grab his computer and pull up for me every transaction that had happened over the last 30 days in his area according to his MLS. He did this and it turned out that there were 337 transactions! So much for NO transactions…
I looked him dead in the eye and I said that it seems that the problem was not a lack of transactions, the problem was that his name is not on those transactions! *friendly smile*
I am not mentioning this agent by name because he is not the point of the story. I bring up this point because I think this mindset is running rampant among many REALTORS® today. Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
It’s interesting to read REALTORS®’ social media posts because I’ve been seeing a lot of the same thing lately. Here is a typical agent Facebook post (or comment in person): “This market is going crazy. I’m so busy right now. I’m busier than I have been in years!”
Wow…they must be having success, right? Let’s look up their stats in the MLS and see what their sales are like.
First “busy agent” stats: Sold six homes in the last year.
Second “busy agent” stats: Hasn’t sold a home for 3 months.
Let’s be blunt here. To all those who think they are busy: You are fooling yourself! Stop focusing on being so busy and start focusing on creating results! This goes for anyone, even if you are selling 30 homes a year.
Chet Holmes talks about these “busy people” in his book “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” He has some great tips on time management. Here are some tips to overcome this syndrome:
1. Stop talking about how busy you are. You are just attracting busyness while pushing away business.
2. Create a list of “Big Rocks” to accomplish every day. Continue reading »
By Alex Milshteyn
It seems that every year I learn the lesson of how important it is to follow-up.
I recently received a referral from a past client. My past client gave me a glowing review, hence their friends called me. I met with the lovely couple to talk about the sale of their home. I met with them twice, the first time to view the home and discuss their goals, and the second time to review my marketing program and the market analysis. At our second meeting, we had made the decision that it would be beneficial for them to redo the kitchen and the bathroom. They were not in a rush to move, but they preferred to move in early 2012. I left our last meeting with the idea that we would be in touch over the next few months to get the home listed.
I left the appointment feeling like the listing was mine and that it was a matter of time before they called me to list the home. I followed up 6 weeks after our second meeting and everything seemed to be on track with the remodel of the kitchen and the bathroom.
This is where I could kick myself!
My overconfidence of “having” the listing got the best of me and I put their file away as if it was a signed listing contract…well, it wasn’t. Last week, I was going through the MLS looking at the new listings and what do I find? This lovely couple listed their home with another agent. I felt like I got punched in the stomach. But what did I expect? I hadn’t talked to them in nine months.
As I do every time this occurs, I sat myself down and told myself that I have to be better, that I have to follow up, that I have to time-block these follow up calls, that I’m not the almighty real estate agent. My pride suffered but it was a lesson well learned. I must follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!
Alex Milshteyn, GRI, ABR, is a REALTOR® in Ann Arbor, Mich., who runs a real estate team of five professionals called Alex Milshteyn Real Estate Associates. Connect with him at www.alexmi.com.