Brooke Tanner had been in the corporate world for 20 years working in workforce management and deep down she wanted and needed a change. Ever since she could remember she wanted to be a real estate agent, the freedom of being her own boss and making her own decisions was what she needed. She decided to get serious and met with several local real estate brokers to discuss their companies’ mission and vision and why she should work for them. She asked questions about the exam and courses she should take to obtain her license.
After gathering details and making the correct decisions for herself and her family, she bit the bullet and put in notice at her corporate job. After all, this was her passion, this is what she was born to do right? She enrolled in an online course with Real Estate Express and committed to studying and passed the test on her first try! She was ecstatic and ready to hit the ground running; how hard could it be? Well, here are 5 things that she wished she had known before she started!
#1: Tell everyone you know that you are in real estate
Brooke thought that just because she shared on various social media platforms that she was changing her profession that people would remember when the time came for their next real estate transaction, they don’t. Friends and acquaintances would come into her office and ask what she was doing there. You must work that sphere of influence, get out and talk with people, make phone calls, and send mailings letting them know you are in the business. It may take you out of your comfort zone, but in the long run it is worthwhile. There will be times when people you know will use a competitor instead of you. Don’t sweat it, remain calm and offer yourself as a resource in a professional and courteous way and that will be remembered in the future!
#2: Build relationships with lenders in your area
Whether you’re working with buyers or sellers, you need to build relationships with lenders in your area. These relationships are valuable as they provide insight on changes in financing rules and give guidance on the proper type of loan terms to recommend to your seller. It’s important to find one that blends well with your work ethic and personality style along with the personality style of your client. Once you have a few you like to work with set expectations ahead of time for when you refer clients their way. Ask for credit approvals instead of pre-approvals. This is much more in-depth as the lender takes a deeper dive into the client’s financials so the deal is less likely to fall through during the underwriting stage. Spend that extra time as it may reduce the number of days to get to the closing table. If you’re a good fit for the lender as well, they may send referrals your way!
#3: Avoid the lookers and time wasters
When you’re new in real estate and begin receiving calls you will be so eager to get out there, show properties and utilize the knowledge learned. Hold your horses, don’t just run and meet anyone at any time that requests it for a few reasons. You will find that there are people that just want to “look” because they have always wanted to see that home, or they think it’s cute. Is this person even qualified to purchase a home and if so, what terms do they qualify for? Do they have a home to sell first before they can even make an offer on a new home? Is this home even in the area that they are looking to live or meet the needs of their family? These are things that you need to button up first, if you don’t they will take you from home to home, weekend after weekend and waste more time you are giving them for free. First, ask them to meet at your office for a consultation to get a feel for their personality and complete a needs analysis. If they’re serious they will gladly meet and appreciate your professionalism. Trust me, have them put some skin in the game with you, it’s worth it.
#4: Set your schedule ahead of time
Look at the week ahead of time and plan out your days. Whether you have phone time to call your sphere of influence, marketing time or volunteer at your child’s school, block off the time. Any open slots you have left during your working day is available for your clients. If someone calls and wants an appointment during your blocked-off time, propose additional time slots you have open, that may work for them. This shows them that you are organized, you commit to existing appointments you have made and that you are a true professional. Any other professional has appointments blocked off or days and hours they don’t work, and it shouldn’t be unexpected if real estate agents do also. Real estate agents are professional business owners and need to portray themselves as one.
#5: Don’t be afraid to end a client relationship
When Brooke first started in real estate, she had a client that took up so much of her time looking at houses that didn’t match what they initially told her they were looking for. They would put in low ball offers and they would always get rejected. Brooke expressed her concerns regarding this with her client and they told her “if you don’t want to write the offer for me, I will find someone that will.” Why didn’t she say that would be fine and politely end their relationship? She felt that the customer was always right, and she needed to do what they asked in order to make that commission. Now looking back, she had other clients she could have been working for, she could have been with her family and friends. Don’t waste your human resources, you are valuable and shouldn’t be taken advantage of. You will get more clients that you click with and it will make your new career much more fulfilling.