Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What I have learned in real estate so far...

My first listing!

What I have learned in real estate so far.....

Don't wear dry-clean only clothes. Yes, I believe in dressing nice to look the part of a successful, professional Realtor, but I had no idea how dirty I was going to get at these houses!

When doing an open house or caravan, always bring your iPad.

Successful Realtors work way more hours than I realized. I thought the big names I see around town just had business given to them and they were on easy street. The truth is the successful Realtors are often at the office at 9-10pm and every weekend trying to get it all done.

It was said to me by other Realtors when I first entered the business that any dummy can become a Realtor, but what I have learned is that you had better be smart if you want to succeed in this market.

Don't take it personal when someone in the neighborhood takes down your directional signs with your pretty name on it. There are a lot of hostile, self-appointed neighborhood police who feel it is their duty to take down signs regardless of whether you are violating the law or not. Apparently, it is just part of the business.

There is a lot of work in real estate that doesn't yield any income. It is important to try to minimize that type of work.  I am learning every day how to be smarter about the work I do.

Finding a rental property for someone in today's market can be more difficult than buying a house. Rent prices are sky high and most properties are snapped up immediately.

Though it is true that real estate will typically allow me to have a flexible schedule so I can attend my kids' events, there is an endless amount of work that needs to be done to make my business successful. One of my favorite things about real estate is that the better I get at my job, the more it correlates to my financial success. As a former social worker and nonprofit manager, that was not the case.

To be successful in real estate, it is not about the number of hours you put in, but how well you master the game. If you master the game, you will be putting in a lot of hours.

Technology is a very interesting topic in real estate. As you might imagine, there are lots and lots of options for Realtors to use technology. However, there is a lot of resistance by old-school Realtors to take advantage of the technology available. I embrace the technology available because it certainly can give you an edge in the business. Though, this business is still very much about people and relationships.

New Realtors are told that cold-calling people is the key to success. From what I have observed, some people are naturals and will succeed down that path, while others will never succeed on that path no matter how many calls they make. I am not sure which path is for me yet.

The biggest challenge I see is that consumers have no sense that real estate agents are not created equal. Often times they have no idea how a Realtor will market their home other than the sign in the yard, and they may or may not hear from the Realtor again once it is listed. I can market your home on over 550 websites as a Coldwell Banker agent, but someone from one of the small mom-and-pop firms certainly can't say the same.  Why is this important? Almost 90% of consumers begin their home search on the Internet, plus, it is the best way to reach an international audience.

My competition for listings will tell people their home is worth more than it is just to get the listing. I am committed to telling my clients the truth, even if it means I don't get the job. This will probably be a point of frustration for me, but I hope my clients appreciate my honesty.

So many people think this is a terrible time to sell your home. Truthfully, there are many buyers out there if your home looks good and is priced correctly. In fact, when a home is priced properly and move-in ready, many are seeing multiple offers and are selling for more than the list price. There truly is not a lot of inventory of homes priced appropriately and are move-in ready.

No one seems to be able to tell I am a new Realtor. Even very seasoned agents think I have been around a while. This makes me realize that I don't need to worry about being new getting in the way of my success. I just need to keep learning each day what works and doesn't work.

One of the hardest lessons I have learned is to try not to take it personal when friends use other Realtors instead of me. This will likely be an ongoing struggle for me because I take such pride in my work and it means a lot to me. I will need to keep figuring out how to earn everyone's business.

Facebook has been a blessing and a curse. It has been a blessing in that I have received many leads and even a listing from it, but it is a curse when I see people post about their real estate transactions without me(back to trying not to take it personally).

I learn new stuff everyday. The learning curve is huge, but actually enjoyable. I have wasted many hours learning, but I realize it is all part of it.

I never would have thought a career change at this point in my life would have been fun, or even possible. I am so glad I did it because one of the biggest surprises to me is how much I enjoy working in real estate!

Most people have said to me why would I go into real estate in this challenging market? I have always enjoyed a challenge, and for some weird reason, it inspires me to work even harder to prove that I can succeed. I do like to prove the naysayers wrong :-)

At this point, more money is going out the door than coming in with this career change. I am very hopeful this will soon change because with each day that goes by I am learning how to master the real estate game just a little more.  I am also hopeful that my sincerity and hard work will pay off in the end.

Until next time!