What Does it Take to Succeed in Real Estate?

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The number one question new real estate agents ask is, “What does it take to succeed in real estate?” Use the following 8-point list as your personal guide to real estate success. No longer a newbie? You can still benefit from revisiting these “back to the basics” reminders.
1. Your six-word job description
Your job in real estate boils down to six words: Generate leads; convert leads; close transactions. Many new agents expect their broker to provide leads for them. The truth is you have to generate your own leads.
“Your job isn’t selling houses — it’s finding clients,” said Craig Schiller, a new agent with Baird and Warner in Fox Valley.
Once you generate a lead, the next step is lead conversion. This means obtaining a signature on a listing agreement, a buyer’s representation agreement, or a purchase contract.
The final step is to manage the transaction from contract to close. A common misconception is that agents earn big sums for marketing a listing, locating property for the buyer, and then writing the offer. But up to 90 percent of the work occurs after the property enters escrow.
2. Training matters
Lynn Madison, the owner of Lynn Madison seminars and a real estate instructor, emphasizes the importance of training. “Find a brokerage that offers good training. Be an education sponge. Many agents choose the wrong managing broker and have to start over with a brokerage that has strong training,” she said.
A Texas Association of REALTORS® study of over 500 new agents supported the same conclusion: new agents who earned their GRI and had a learning mindset were the most likely to succeed.
3. Three fundamentals to master now
Contract mastery is essential. Practice filling out at least one contract daily until you can easily complete all transaction-related contracts. You must also be able to explain agency relationships, the types of buyer representation, how earnest money deposits are handled, disclosures, etc.
Second, master the inventory. Most top producers can price a property without checking the MLS. To master the inventory, see as many houses as possible. Visit different subdivisions, learn the different builders, the various styles of houses, the prices, and community characteristics. Use Realtor.com or other online resources to quickly identify values on your mobile device.
Third, master the market statistics. When you can quote whether the inventory is increasing or decreasing and how much property values have appreciated or declined, you have instant credibility.
Tracking the amount of inventory on the market is important because it is the best predictor of market shifts. Six months of inventory or less indicates a seller’s market; there is too little inventory and prices increase. So, prospect for sellers. Seven or eight months of inventory indicates a flat or transitioning market with stable prices and steady sales. When there is over eight months of inventory and prices are declining, prospect for buyers. Keep in mind mixed markets are common, depending upon price and location.
4. Make setting up your Client Relationship Management system a top priority
Rebecca Thomson, the Vice President of Agent Development for @Properties and one of NAR’s “Top 30 under 30,” began her career when she was 21. She attributes her early success to attending as much training as possible, having strong systems, consistently prospecting and engaging with other agents.
Setting up your CRM is the first system to develop. You already have an address book in your phone and/or computer. Top agents normally use a system that also tracks when they contacted their clients, the type of contact they made, as well as providing automated follow up reminders. Commonly used systems include Top Producer, Salesforce and Infusionsoft.
To build your database, ask yourself who you know from your past schooling, jobs, place of worship, recreational activities, service providers, as well as your friends and family. Include your Facebook and other social media contacts as well. Start gathering these names now!
5. Prospecting secrets from agents earning $250,000 per year
REDX conducted a survey comparing agents who earn $250,000 per year vs. those earning $70,000 per year. Agents earning $250,000 annually prospected at least seven hours per week vs. $70,000 earners who prospected 3.4 hours per week. Places they prospected include their chamber of commerce and place of worship. They also volunteered, knocked on doors, held open houses and engaged in other face-to-face lead generation activities. Set your goal to add five new people daily and prospect until you do.
6. Learn from your peers
Schiller and Thomson encourage new agents to learn from more experienced agents. “Learn as much as possible by talking to your peers. Accompany them on showings. Learn from what they say on appointments. Also, practice your listing presentation before meeting with a seller. When you build trust, provide value, and you know what you’re talking about, they will hire you, even if you’re young,” Thomson said.
7. Face-to-face is the name of the game
Agents lacking face-to-face skills and the ability to confront others when needed, often leave the business because it is too stressful. To be more effective with your clients, ask “how” and “what” questions that uncover what matters to them. Second, always remember, “it’s their house and it’s their decision.” Your role is to provide them with the best information and service possible so that they can make the best decision possible.
8. The technology you need
Start with the basics; you must be mobile. This means having a CRM, using a paperless transaction platform, digital signatures, and a note-taking system such as Evernote. Use Facebook and LinkedIn to build community and share reviews. Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are excellent free places to market your listings.
Be patient, take it one day at a time, and remember that nothing happens until you generate a lead.

By: Bernice Ross, www.illinoisrealtor.org

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