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 Scott Newman
So you’ve made it through the worst of the real estate bubble, you’ve developed a nice client base, and you’re taking over the entire industry – great! If that’s the case, then this blog isn’t for you.
Instead, this blog focuses on what we as veterans of the industry can share with the newbies to shorten the learning curve and help create another reputable professional who gives our industry a good name.
The following are my top three “I wish I knew that when I first started” tips to make your transition into a real estate career as painless as possible.
1. Simple Math
So many real estate agents come into this business thinking of the riches they’ll make selling homes for a living. Many even come up with lofty goals for themselves, “I’m going to make $200,000 my first year in the business.” Does that sound familiar?
Well, the problem is that most agents don’t stop and break down the math behind creating that kind of volume. They end up focusing on the big picture when it’s the attention to the little details that will create the success they desire.
For example, let’s say you’re new to the business and don’t know a lot of people, and that the average home price in your area is $200,000. Simple math tells us that you will make $3,500 per transaction at that price, assuming you have a 70/30 split. At $3,500 per deal, you’d need to complete 58 transactions a year to make your $200,000 – that’s more than one house a week, which is a large volume even for a veteran real estate pro. Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
The market is recovering—in some areas it’s even a seller’s market—and that means sellers can once again be a little more demanding…and a little more unrealistic.
So your client is turning into a “sellerzilla.” What do you do when your relationship with the client is on the line, but you need to get your point across? Read on…
Show Them, Don’t Tell Them
If my seller client isn’t willing to listen to my pricing advice and they think they know better me, I prove to them that I’m right. But I don’t do this through arguing, CMAs, or anything of that nature. Instead, I utilize their own two eyes.
If your client wants to list for $275,000 and you know the house won’t sell for more than $240,000, schedule 45-60 minutes with your seller prior to listing their home and take them to see homes for $275,000. When your client sees that the homes in his or her intended price point are bigger, nicer, and overall more appealing, then you significantly strengthen your argument without having to risk isolating your client.
They say it takes 21 days of doing something everyday to make it a habit. The same concept comes into play with unrealistic sellers. Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
Many agents forget that barriers to getting deals to the closing table exist in both good and bad markets. We are seeing a lot of appraisal issues in the Chicagoland area as over-regulation and timidness on the part of appraisers to push values — despite undeniable appreciation — has resulted in many deals dying at the financing stage.
How do you avoid becoming one of the statistics? Follow my 3 practical tips below…
Know Thy Appraiser
The biggest mistake an agent can make is not meeting the appraiser at the property.
To assume that your appraiser is a true expert on that particular neighborhood, city, property type, etc. is foolish. You know what they say about people who assume!!
You need to be there — both agents should be present, in fact, to show solidarity. Make sure you walk that entire property with the appraiser and give him or her the comparables you feel best reflect the true value of the home. Also, follow up with them afterwards to make sure things are going smoothly.
Remember, lenders are no longer allowed to speak to the appraiser on their file, so you are the first and last line of defense in making sure someone who’s under-qualified doesn’t blow up your deal .
Know Thy Lender 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 Scott Newman
Real estate is back in 2012 in a big way. Many markets are seeing price increases in response to dwindling inventories as more and more buyers are getting off the fence every day. With that in mind — especially since it’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity to use the phrase “multiple offer” — I felt it would be pertinent and relevant to go through some best practices for handling multiple offer situations to make sure you’re in line with ethical and fair business practices.
Don’t Forget Your Loyalties: This is a big one, and it’s obvious, but many agents forget that you can’t disclose information that your client doesn’t authorize. No where is it written that you must disclose whether or not you have other offers on the table. Unless your seller has specifically directed you to do so, you should not automatically answer that question if asked by a buyer’s agent or buyer.
I have seen situations where a buyer will pull out of a deal because they think there is too much competition, and you can be legally liable for any negative consequence that results from your disclosing information you shouldn’t have.
To summarize, don’t ever forget that your ultimate loyalties lie with your seller, and just because you’re asked a question doesn’t mean you have to answer.
Treat Everyone the Same: This is another obvious one, but it’s important and bears repeating. To avoid accusations, legal action, and overall negative impact to your reputation as a professional, it’s imperative that you treat everyone the same way.
If you’re sending out a request for highest and best, send the exact same e-mail, forms, etc., to all interested parties who have seen the property so there is absolutely no doubt that everyone was informed of the status and had a chance to make an offer if they wanted. It’s better to e-mail an agent that showed the place six months ago along with everyone else, than it is to have your deal blown up by a lawsuit from a buyer who feels they were unfairly kept from knowing the latest update and opportunity to place an offer.
Keep Unbelievably Good Records: Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
I recently had the privilege to do some work for high-profile clients. While I did enjoy working with them, I was reminded of just how different their expectations can be. As such, I thought it would be pertinent to review some simple tips and strategies so that should you ever have the opportunity to work with such a client, you’ll be prepared and ready to do a great job.
Respect their privacy: This is the first and most important rule when working with high profile clients. Nothing will get you blackballed in the VIP community faster than blabbing to the press, or anyone, really, about where they’re living or how much they spent, etc. Keep in mind that while people finding out where you live wouldn’t be too much of a hassle for you, it can become a huge problem — and even a safety issue — for high profile people.
Understanding how important privacy is to VIP clients can not only make or break your reputation, but it can also be used as a selling point. Make sure you let them know right up front that you are trustworthy and will keep their information confidential…and make sure you don’t go back on your word for any reason.
Be flexible with your schedule and plan accordingly: Many VIP clients do not do well with schedules because they often have many people pulling them in many directions, and getting them places on time can be difficult. I have had several clients in the past who routinely showed up 30-45 minutes late and that was just something I had to learn to work around. I quickly figured out that I should give the agents we are meeting a time-window and explain the likelihood of my client being late.
Another simple strategy is to schedule more than enough time between showings. Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
I often encounter other REALTORS® who see little to no value in developing relationships with their fellow agents, and it just baffles me every time! We are in one of the most challenging real estate markets in U.S. history, not to mention we’re in an environment where rules and regulations change daily, which is only adding barriers to establishing a successful business. I think we need the support of one another now more than ever.
But how do you develop those bonds? Read on, as today I’m presenting a few great tips for building your agent network as a way to grow your business in 2012.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can possibly share with you. Put down the phone, computer, tablet, and anything else with a power cord if you really want to network with your fellow agents properly.
I love social media, and I owe a great deal of my success to our ability to market effectively on that platform. But when it comes to connecting with other REALTORS®, you simply can’t replace face-to-face interaction with any technology that currently exists. Make it a point to attend one live networking event a week related to our industry, giving you have a chance to meet other agents in person. Bring plenty of business cards and come ready to mingle.
Here’s another great tip: Take some time to figure out what distinguishes you from your fellow agents so you stand out. Whenever I’m around other agents, I make it a point to nail home just how successful and interested I am in working with short sale listings. More often than not, another agent in the room is all too happy to take a referral fee for the few short sale listings he gets each year, which is a win-win for everyone.
Maybe you do leasing, or you’re a luxury specialist — whatever it is, emphasize your specialty and talents to distinguish yourself from the crowd and elevate yourself as the top expert in the room. It will go a long way towards cementing relationships and help you create pipelines through which new business and referrals can flow.
Join Up Continue reading »