Disclaimer: *These are (some of) MY confessions and don't necessarily apply to all real estate agents. **In my attempt to write more frequent and individual entries, I may sometimes blog about personal realizations rather than market stats, buyer/seller tips, etc.
Back story: My son told me right after graduating high school that he planned on being a real estate agent. He still wanted the college experience and worked hard to graduate a full semester early with 2 degrees. He immediately signed up for his real estate class, but has spent several hours each day learning some of the many things he will need to know for his future career. He had soaked up more knowledge than either of us realized just by learning from osmosis from the time he was 10 years old. I will try to stay on track, since this is supposed to be about my confessions as a real estate agent. These are things I learned about myself while teaching him:
"It's important to communicate well. Not only with your current clients, but also with future and past clients."
This is some solid advice I gave Ian last week. I explained how it's a delicate balance to stay in touch without coming off as pushy. I shared my method of discussing real estate needs, expectations, and time frame upfront. Then, respecting whatever the potential client tells me. A 'just looking ' or 'curious about what my house is worth' person needs to know I won't be blowing up their phone every day, though they can always reach out if they need my assistance. A 'ready to buy or sell yesterday' person needs to know that their needs are understood and prioritized. I told him the importance of touching base with past clients at least every couple months to see how they are doing.
As I'm telling him all this, I start thinking about how much better I could do at keeping in touch. I have the best intentions but end up in a constant cycle of having new homes to find, new contracts or repairs to negotiate, new fires to put out, new closings to go to and I don't follow up as often as I should with my previous clients. Keeping in touch after closing is not even something that feels like obligation. When you work with someone on something as important as the sale or purchase of their home, you establish a relationship and want to know how they are doing. Did their son got the part in the play? Did they have a chance to try the restaurant I recommended? I vow to do better on keeping in touch!
"It's important to establish hours and work smarter, not longer. You must be flexible and available, but also make sure you set aside time for yourself and loved ones."
This is great advice to give a new real estate agent. I don't even know where to start with this confession. I work smart and long and still don't get everything on my list done each day. But I've come to realize that I never will nor do I want to complete my list. My lofty goals and long lists keep me motivated. I've learned to prioritize so I get the important things done. It's not uncommon for me to work 12-14 hour days during the week, but that allows me to work 'reasonable hours' on Saturday, and more often than not have much of Sunday free. Example of how plans go awry: Last night I got caught up on paperwork so I could deep clean my own house and have some 'me time' today. I came into my office to answer 'time sensitive' emails and 6 hours later find myself severely sidetracked with things that could have waited until Monday. House isn't clean. 🙁
"It's very important to keep track of time spent, transactions done, and to keep written goals, so you know what you've done and what you are capable of doing."
As I'm saying this, I'm recalling a conversation I had with my new CPA at our initial consult recently. CPA: ' Mary, how many transactions did you do in 2018? ' Me: '2 boxes full?' I definitely need to do better with the written goals.
"It's important to build your business attire wardrobe. Even if you work from home, you should dress like a professional each and every day."
Sometimes a buyer client will want to see a house on short notice and I will make the appointment and show up in jeans and a concert t-shirt. That's not my norm, but it's part of the 'flexible' part I was talking about earlier. I can and do present myself in professional attire, but not every single day.
You've all seen the headshots we agents put on our websites and cards. Some appear to be 1990 Glamour Shots. Some are recent with a generous amount of photo editing. I will just tell you that when you speak to me on the phone, I am not standing in from of a for sale sign with my arms crossed. I probably don't have on a belted business suit or one button blazer. I am most likely in my car, walking into an appointment, or preparing a CMA in my home office while stuffing a Cliff Bar in my face and asking Alexa how much time it's going to take to get to my next appointment. I have negotiated a purchase price from a highropes course. I've resolvled inspection issues from the mountains of Japan. I have set up showing appointments from a hospital bed, and talked to clients from every room in my house to include the bathroom. (sorry for the visual.)
It's nice to dress well and present yourself in a professional way and I need to relay this to my son. But... he has seen me on many days where I'm so busy that I'm lucky if I have on matching shoes. He will develop his own style to go along with a strong work ethic, a genuine desire to help people, and a gift for problem solving. I can't wait to see what else I learn about myself during his journey.
If you ever need help with real estate needs or just have a general question, and you are ok working with all I mentioned above, don't heistate to call or message me!