Before I became a writer I sold real estate in Southern California. I worked with my father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly I learned a few things along the way.
Here are my four favorite real estate tips to success:
Listings are the key
My father taught me the old real estate saw, “realtors don’t retire, they grow listless.” It’s a cliché precisely because it’s true. It’s so easy to get caught up in a sale or two, and figure you don’t have time to chase listings.
That’s a mistake! In many ways, listings are more important than sales. They are your stock and trade and you don’t want your ‘shelves’ to get empty.
Develop a plan to get listings and stick with it; you’ll be glad you did.
Farming works if you work it
You know about real estate farming. It’s taking a specific neighborhood and establishing yourself as the go-to realtor. You do this by developing a plan to contact the residents there often enough so when they decide to sell they contact you.
Part of your plan should include walking the neighborhood – even if it’s a vertical high rise. There’s no better way to get an accurate feel for what’s going on real estate wise than walking, looking, and when appropriate, stopping and talking with folks.
The National Association of Realtors® has a great Field Guide to Farming and Prospecting. You’ll want to book mark the page because there’s so much on it. Use it to plan and manage your farm.
Clients often don’t really know what they want
It’s amazing how often a couple will tell you they want a 3 bedroom house with a large back yard, yet end up buying a high-rise condo with a tiny balcony. Your job is not to show them anything and everything, but to listen deeply so you can discover what they really want.
Deep listening is an art that’s fairly easy to learn. Just be sure you’re actually listening and not planning what you want to say. Listening this way will let you ask truly intelligent questions about the client’s wants, needs, and dreams. Dreams are often the most important when it comes to home buying.
Show them one property at a time. If they don’t like it, take them to coffee and find out exactly what they didn’t like and what they wished had been different. Chances are you’ll be able to show them the home they will buy with only three or four showings.
You really can’t tell a client by their dress
The richest client I ever had always came to meetings and the office dressed in semi-scruffy clothes, his pants held up by suspenders. I don’t think I ever saw him wear a jacket. And I knew one con who wore a handmade Italian suit.
In other words, as best as you can, drop your automatic reactions and qualify the potential client. It only makes sense to ask buyers their budget, and even to prequalify for a mortgage. Asking how soon they expect to buy or sell and probing a bit into their reasoning can give you a good indication of urgency. Having a sense of their urgency will help you budget your time more effectively.
Once in a while you’ll run into a potential client who, for whatever reason, bothers you. Explore the feeling a bit and if it prevails, consider letting the client go. That gut feeling is worth listening to – it will often keep you out of trouble.
Actually, most of this is common sense. Practice these tips and you’ll have uncommon success.
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