Important PRINCIPLES Of Real Estate Representation

Although, who a homeowner selects, as his real estate agent, and representative, often makes a significant difference, in the ability to fully achieve his goals and objectives, far too often, we pay an insufficient amount of time, to select the best individual, for our personal needs, and best interests! Doesn’t it make sense, since our house, generally represents our single – biggest, financial asset, to focus on achieving the best possible results, and, hiring, an agent, who will serve and represent our personal needs, in a professional, effective way? What basic PRINCIPLES should we emphasize? With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, examine, review, consider, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, why this matters, etc.

1. Priorities: Have a thorough discussion, up – front, before you hire your agent! Ensure you are on the same – page, and your priorities, will be the primary emphasis, and focus.

2. Realistic; responsive; relevant: Does your agent know what the current market indicates, and have the ability, to proceed, in a relevant manner? Is he realistic, and articulate his message, openly, etc? How responsive one is, and how quickly and effectively, one responds, often differentiates, the best agents, from the rest – of – the – pack!

3. Integrity; issues: Unless he possesses absolute integrity, even when a short – cut, might be the easier path, you shouldn’t hire any specific individual! It’s important to know, understand, and recognize the relevant issues, and concerns, facing potential home sellers!

4. Needs; nuances: Great representatives understands his client’s needs, as well as those of potential, qualified buyers! There’s no room, for one – size – fits – all, and we are generally best – served, when one has the ability to recognize the nuances of a specific market!

5. Character: Use the hiring interview, to ensure, you are comfortable with the quality of character, of a potential agent! One can be trained, etc, but character indicates, many other significant characteristics, and behaviors!

6. Imagination; ideas: How will someone differentiate your house, from others (competition)? Will an individual have the relevant, well – honed, imagination, to introduce and offer, the finest ideas, for your best interests?

7. Planning: Often, what differentiates the best agents, from the rest – of – the – pack, is the quality of their planning!

8. Listen; learn; leading: You should hire someone, who is ready, and capable of leading you, professionally, and effectively. Pay attention to, whether someone, is ready, willing and able, to effectively listen, and learn, from every conversation, and experience!

9. Effectiveness; energize; emphasis: Wouldn’t you, be best served, by someone, with the effectiveness, to place his emphasis, where it might, do the best good? There are always stressful times, during the real estate transaction process, and, therefore, you need, to hire someone, who is capable of energizing you, in a positive way!

10. Service; strengths; solutions: Great agents provide meaningful service to their clients. They articulate, clearly, both the house’s true strengths, and weaknesses, and introduce quality solutions, to achieve your objectives!

You deserve to hire someone with the PRINCIPLES, which will best serve and benefit you! Take the time, and effort, from the beginning, to choose wisely!

Why Your Real Estate Agent, Must Be A Master Negotiator?

Although, there are many things, a homeowner, needs, from the real estate agent, he selects, and hires, perhaps, the most important, might be, hiring a quality, effective negotiator, who best represents the needs, goals, priorities, and personal situation, of his client! While, most people, seem to believe, they know how to negotiate, there is a significant difference between, merely, negotiating, and being a quality, professional negotiator! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly consider, examine, review and discuss, how a homeowner, might be able to differentiate between, the ones who claim to be, versus the real negotiators, and some of the key necessities, of effective, quality, professional negotiating.

1. How a homeowner might know, who knows how to negotiate?: Prepared homeowners, seeking to sell their homes, should take the time, and make a concerted effort, to thoroughly interview, potential real estate agents, in order to determine, who might be best, for them! Since, for most of us, our house represents our single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t it make sense, to hire the person, who might make this often – stressful period, the best possible experience, and obtain the best terms, and prices, available? Since everyone you interview, will probably claim to be a great negotiator, it’s important, to consider many things, to observe, and notice, during the process. Does the individual, tell you how great he is, and what he does, or does he provide an understanding of the benefits, rather than merely, reciting some facts? Will he effectively listen, and learn, what you seek, and want to achieve/ accomplish, or merely, proceed, with the same – old, same – old? Does the agent, explain, how he might customize his planning for you, or, merely, how he usually proceeds? However, one of the clearest indications, comes, when, you discuss, the agent’s commission/ fee! Examine, how comfortable, and self – confident, he is, and whether, he is ready, willing and able, to defend his fee, or, if, he immediately agrees, to adjusting it, when you question it! If someone can’t defend, effectively, their personal value, etc, how can he possibly, be expected, to negotiate, well, for you?

2. The keys to real estate negotiating: The process should begin, by clearly, identify, the strengths and weaknesses, of a particular house, and, having the local knowledge and expertise, to inform a client, how it compares, to other properties, on the real estate market. Hire someone, who will articulate, clearly, his reasoning and rationale, in terms of, suggested listing pricing, and, strategies, including marketing, price adjustments, etc! Win – win negotiators, are usually, most effective, because, they require prioritizing understanding, and proceeding, on the same – page. A homeowner must be, on the same – page, as his agent, so they might proceed, with effective teamwork, and the best, possible, strategy!

Hire an agent, who puts you, first, and positions your property, in a way, which will enhance the potential results, and minimize hassle, and/ or, stress! Protect your investment, by hiring the best person, for you!

The 90-10 Rule Applies To Real Estate Agents As Well

This isn’t a news flash by any means but just in case you didn’t know the housing market is taking a dip in the toilet and threatening to fall right in. Along side of that we have mortgage companies doing some major reconfiguring of their lending guild lines and even going out of business. On the other hand we have the dollar taking a big hit as we are almost 2 to 1 with the Euro (not even a year ago we were almost 1 to 1) and the fed doing what they can to help the country from entering into a full blow recession. What can the average real estate agent do in the face of such challenges? How can they survive when they are now fighting over a small number of buyers who are nervous about buying because there is a real possibility that they could end up losing money?

History shows that those that triumph in the face of change are those that are willing to change and adapt. Perhaps the old ways of doing business need to be shelved and new radical ideas need to be implemented. One of the first things that you need to do is study and learn about the market and what it is doing. Those of you that scoff and are saying to yourselves that you have been in the business for such a long time and this little down turn is the same as ones in the past are going to get left behind, by the way you can stop reading now.

What sectors of the real estate industry are growing and even thriving in the current market place? A few that are starting to come into the public eye are the rent to own and lease options. The question then is how can I as a professional real estate agent/broker capitalize on this growing trend? Maybe we need to look at why it is growing, and in fact it is because of the restructuring of the mortgage companies guild lines. Now it is next to impossible for anyone that has a credit score of 680 or less to get a loan without having to give up their first born child to get it (not really but with the higher interest rates and loan fee it can feel like having another child). So unless all of your clients have excellent credit or can pay cash for their next house you as an agent are going to have to change and adapt to the new reality that we call real estate.

There are a few things that will never change and you have to be willing to work on these things to be the best of the best if you plan on surviving over the next few years. One of my personal favorites is going the extra mile. All of you should know what this means if you don’t then shame on you, you need to repent and change. Keep in mind that it is often times the little things that make the biggest difference to your clients and can often times lead to referrals and future work with the same client. Some suggestions are (by no means is this a complete list):

1. Constant feed back so that your client knows what is going on. You should be in contact with your client 3-4 times a week even when you have nothing to report. That way they feel like you are doing something.

2. When you give feed back try to always have something positive or encouraging to say, but be honest. Tell them about the next strategy that you will implement or the extra effort you have put forth to sell their home.

3. Send them hand written notes thanking them for their business.

4. Listen, really listen to their needs and wants so that you know how best to serve them.

5. Take time to educate them on how the process works and give them realistic and honest advice to their home buying and/or selling expectations. Many times you will find that people don’t understand the market and they have unrealistic ideas as to what the market is doing. It would be better to be honest and lose a client then to take the listing and not be able to perform for you client because they have unreal expectations.

6. Always be courteous and professional the golden rule does apply. Treat your clients like gold and that will come back to you.

Now is the time to be creative. Think outside the box and think creatively. I know that you have been taught that there is one way of doing business and if you step outside of the line the you will be violating the code of ethics or worse the state laws which can lead to fines and jail time. If you don’t know what you don’t know then yes this is a problem, but if you take the time to learn the rules and laws then you will quickly see that there is a lot of room to be creative. The more creative and innovative that you are the more likely that you will survive through the challenging times ahead. Learn the market trends see what others are doing and get creative.

Get to the top of your game. Are you playing with real estate or are you a true professional? If you have been a mediocre agent up until this point in your career, now is the time to decide if you are all in or all out. That may mean that you need to change some habits, improve your knowledge and skills, get more designations, improve your marketing and maybe get some help from a mentor or coach. It is times like now that separates the true professionals from the hobby agents and if you are willing to take to the challenge and get to the top of your game then you will have a good chance to making a great living for yourself.

Even though the market is looking bleak and your dedication to the profession will be tested, now truly is a time of great opportunity. If you can capitalize on the gifts and talents that you have inside and commit to becoming a true professional you might see the next couple of years becoming the defining years of your life. If you can see this as an opportunity then you may be the one that brings the next idea that transforms the entire industry.

How to Interview a Real Estate Brokerage

As a real estate coach, I often answer all sorts of questions for agents on how they can become their best and what sorts of business practices will help improve their business. Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions from agents regarding which real estate brokerage is right for them. Here are some of my suggestions on the best ways that you can interview brokerages to make sure you find the best fit for yourself:

Ask a Ton of Questions & Be an Active Listener

This is basically like a job interview, but backwards. You’re interviewing potential brokerages the way businesses would be interviewing potential job candidates. This may feel a little weird at first, but asking the right questions will give you a much better chance of selecting the firm that has the right fit for you. Any good brokerage will welcome this professional approach and be impressed that you’re exercising due diligence.

You also want to be aware of the company’s position. They should be considering your value verses their cost, if any, to bring you into their company. An agent, on the other hand, needs to evaluate what they need from a brokerage to succeed.

Here are some questions that you should be prepared to ask potential brokerages:

Some Interview Points to Consider

* Ask them what they are looking for in an agent. This is an important question. Some “assembly-line” brokerages don’t really care who they acquire, and just want lots of numbers, with the thought that every single person they recruit will have at least one family member or friend who will use their services. Conversely, brokerages that look for agents with specialties, a minimum sales volume, a broker’s license, or other unique qualities and traits can be favorable for some agents. It’s best for you if they are a bit picky.

* Many managing brokers are out selling homes, and not necessarily in the office. If that is the case, you need to find out if there is an alternative person available to help the agents. A leader that sells may not be a good environment for you, if you are looking for guidance. Be sure to ask what the turnaround time is if an agent calls with a question or needs to submit something for review.

* Most offices have some kind of weekly or bi-weekly in-office trainings, regular sales meetings, and house tours of the new listings acquired by agents in that office. Find out how often these meetings, trainings, and house tours occur and if it is part of what they do. This is important to some agents while not for others.

* Find out if there is an organized mentorship program. If so, under what circumstances will an agent have to participate or volunteer? Will participation be based on time in the business or sales volume? In addition, find out what the financial arrangement for mentors and mentees is.

If there isn’t an organized mentorship program, find out if there is anyone available to help a new agent learn the real estate business.

* Find out what the commission schedule is, and ask for a copy of it. Make sure you understand it because you will be paid based on this schedule. Also find out if there are tiers in that commission schedule based on your sales performance. Find out how this office deals with sales bonuses.

* When considering costs for your business, it is important to find out what kinds of marketing materials are available from the brokerage for an agent to use. Some brokerages have marketing departments that will help you develop your brand, assist you in creating your own pieces, or at the very least personalize what the company already has, while other brokerages leave you completely on your own in terms of marketing. Asking about reimbursement for your marketing materials, including business cards, is also important.

* The number of agents isn’t as important as the support for them. It could also be a possible indication of the quality of the office based on how many agents are full-time or dual career. Find out how long agents have stayed in this office and why they leave or stay. If this brokerage is 20-years-old, but the average agent has only been here for 2 years and also has another full-time job, this may be a huge red flag that the office lacks the atmosphere of a productive office.

* E&O coverage stands for “Errors and Omissions”. This is insurance coverage that the agent has to pay for annually. This protects the agents against any unintentional errors or omissions they may make in working with a consumer. Some companies pay this insurance for the agent, but it’s rare. Find out what the policy is of the brokerage.

* If a brick-and-mortar office environment is important to you, find out if there is a space for you to go into the office and use as a work area. Depending on the firm, office space can be available for rent or for top producers only. The conference and meeting rooms should be available to everyone for meeting clients. Find out what office equipment is available for agent use in the office. Today with cloud based and internet systems, you can do your business from anywhere, but some agents prefer to work in an office environment rather than working from a home office. Essentially, it’s up to you. You will just need to consider where you’d prefer to meet your clients and what type of environment works best for you.

* If you prefer an office that is brick and mortar, the more professional it is the better. Check to see if there a receptionist, and if any phone duty (from you) is required. If it is, check to see if there are any statistics about results from the phone duty concept in that office or are you really just a replacement for a paid receptionist.

* Office listings and percentage of share in the marketplace will tell you how productive an office is. A busy office is a good one for phone duty, open houses, and synergy. Having top agents in the office with well-earned designations like Lifetime Top Producer, CRS or CRB, and others that took some time to earn and are respected in their field is a mark of a good office keeping top quality people. Ask what the average yearly income of an agent in the office. A top agent is traditionally defined as someone who produces a certain amount of money per year (Example: a minimum of $100,000 income or someone who has more than 15 listings in a calendar year). An office market share of over 70% is excellent. To be the best real estate agent, you need to be surrounded by quality. If your brokerage has 100 agents, only 30 listings, and ranks 10 out of 10 in brokerages in your area, this may be a place for part-time agents or people exploring real estate as a hobby.

* Every state mandates a certain amount of CE, or continuing education. Does the company provide that online, in-office, or not at all? Many brokerages now offer online training with free CE available to its agents.

* It is required that every brokerage and office have an office manual and that every agent has a copy of it, in either paper or electronic format. Make sure you know what the important policies are, such as the procedure for compensation split on transactions that haven’t closed yet, should you decide to leave.

* Most real estate agents are Independent Contracts and not Employees. What is the makeup of your brokerage?

* Does your brokerage give back to the community or support agents who are in need? Some brokerages will provide financial, emotional, and physical assistance to agents who are going through disaster, illness, or catastrophe. If something happens where you’re out of work for a few months is your brokerage going to step in and help you pick up the pieces? Will they assist your family? It might be important to you to find a company that has a good reputation among the community and one that has a high regard for their agents personally.

* Interview the office agents and find out the answers to some of your questions. This is where you may get the real picture of the office climate and what is going on there that may not or may fit you.

Make the Decision that Works Best for You

In addition to the suggestions provided, think about the working environment you thrive in. You should also consider your strengths and which brokerages will make use of your talents or just pigeon hole you into their protocol. For example, if cold calls are not your thing, it would not be the best use of your time to go to a “cold calling” pizza night in the office.

The most valuable piece of information I can leave you with is to make the decision that works best for you. Every agent is different and has unique requirements.

The Final Decision

Make a pro/con list for the top three agencies you’ve selected. Ask yourself these important questions… ” What company provides the support I need for me?” and “Which of the companies can I build a lasting relationship and why?” Talk to the important people in your life that can help you make a professional decision based on the facts. Family and friends are wonderful if you are going to a barbecue, but this is a decision that needs to be made based on what is best for your business. I use my CPA and business planner as well as a few professional relationships to help with vital decisions for my business.

This article was originally posted through the Cindy Bishop Worldwide blog site.

Do You Market, Or Sell Real Estate?: 3 Things To Consider

If you are a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, or Associate Broker, etc, it’s important to consider, whether, you are selling real estate, or, in – sales, and, whether, you market, or sell properties, etc! While many, seem to believe, these are the same, in reality, there are some significant differences, in how one proceeds, acts, behaves, functions, and serves, those who hire him! Do you market, or sell real estate, or both? While there are many things to consider, this article will focus on, three significant things, to emphasize, and focus on. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Market and promote, versus, selling proactively: What is the difference between selling and marketing real estate? It is the responsibility of an agent, to perform both these duties, and more! Marketing properties means promoting them, using a combination of personal and professional contacts, advertising, referrals, digital promotions, etc. However, unless one transforms these actions, proactively, into sales, not only, won’t the agent, get paid, but he does not fulfill his obligation to his client! The essential difference between selling, and sales, is, selling is the process, while sales, is the closing, of the deal!

2. Marketing using an Open House, versus the follow – through: All Open Houses are not created equal! While, for most properties, this process is helpful, at least, from an exposure perspective, some agents, proceed, merely as attendants, while the most successful ones, try to make an inspiring, motivating, compelling connection, with those, who attend! Since most sales, do not arrive, directly from an Open House, it’s important to use them, to develop a list of qualified, potential buyers, for other situations, which may present themselves! How one follows – through, makes all the difference, in the world!

3. Market via advertising, but selling, by converting the deal: Advertising is one form of professional marketing, when used effectively, in combination with other available promotional areas, often makes a significant difference, for the better! What differentiates the finest representatives, from the rest – of – the – pack, is proceeding forward, consistently, and constantly, in an effort to truly, convert the deal, and close a sale, which produces the most bang – for – the – buck!

Real estate professionals must provide the finest service for their clients, by, both, marketing, and selling properties, closing deals, and making sales! Why should homeowners hire you?