How do you choose a Realtor? Aren't they all pretty much the same?
As our business has grown through the years and I have gotten better at asking good questions, I have been shocked by some of the horror stories I hear from clients concerning past real estate transactions. I’m talking stories that keep me up at night. It is important to me to find out what our clients have experienced in the past, and what they would like to experience with our team. It is from this “needs analysis” process that we define what our team wants to be, and what it does not want to be.
I am very proud of my vocation — and very critical of it at the same time. Please hear me out. I love the Realtor organization. I love what they stand for. The challenge lies with the licensing process. It is quite easy to get your real estate license. Therefore, it is quite easy for anyone who has the desire to be a Realtor to be one. That said, it is one thing to be a Realtor. It is another thing to be a competent and successful Realtor. Understand, you don’t have to sell $50 million in real estate a year to be successful. My definition of successful is that you are full-time and you are good at your craft.
So how do you know if someone is good or not? A “good” Realtor is in the market every day, previewing active listings, negotiating contracts, showing properties to clients and studying the trends in MLS. Again, doing all of these things on a daily basis. In addition, they should stay very current with their education. I am not just talking about their continuing education for their license. I am talking about education on topics like negotiations, coaching and consulting (to communicate effectively with their clients and other agents), scripts and dialogues, to name a few. At the end of the day, it is all about being better at what you do, and never accepting where you are in your business. There is a reason that leaders in any industry are always looking to improve themselves as professionals.
I do take a little heat sometimes from part-time Realtors. And I tell them all the same thing. I was part-time when I got started. My goal was always to transition to full-time at my first opportunity, which I did after six months. It is very hard to stay current in real estate when you work more than one job. It is very hard to serve two masters. Again, history leaves clues. Generally, people who are masters of one particular skill are only masters of that one skill. For example, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he took them from 350 products to 10. I would say Apple has done a great job of serving only one master.
Our team is designed to allow us to focus on our strengths. I have mentioned before that my wife, Leah, is our Lead Buyer’s Specialist. Her primary focus is our active buying client list and their individual housing needs. I am the Lead Listing Specialist, therefore I focus specifically on getting our current listings sold and conditioning our upcoming listings to get them market ready. And because Leah and I need some glue to hold this all together, we have Kyla Cauthon (our Director of Operations) to take care of all the details in between.
Finally, let’s talk about deliverables. What can a Realtor truly deliver to his or her clients? Here are a few of our deliverables: a great client experience, an intimate knowledge of the market (locally and city-wide), a philosophy that no deal is worth our reputation and, most importantly, a passion for our business and our clients. As the listing specialist, I am proud of the fact that on average our selling clients are achieving 98.8 percent of their original list price in an average of 11 days. For me, the proof is in the pudding. And that is some sweet pudding!