Viewing by month: November 2009

The big but

Usually when people talk of big buts, you would possibly think of the most dreaded question women ask – “does my bum look big in this?” however that’s not the but I’m talking about. There’s a big but that gets in the way of a lot of people’s aspirations – and it’s simple that – but! How many times have you said “I’d do that…but” or other similar phrases? It could be that there’s a big but holding you back from your true potential.


In real estate, there are a lot of things that crop up that a lot of us would rather not have to do. I’ve mentioned some of these before. Things like calling a vendor with no news, or bad news. Like most jobs, real estate agents have to do things they’d rather not. Procrastination is rife regardless of industry, and it’s those people who get the buts out of the way that become real success stories.


As we approach the end of the year, the number of times I hear “but” seems to escalate. There seems to be no better excuse than a new year to put things off and convince yourself that you have a legitimate reason for not achieving things. If you are going to make a success of yourself as a realtor, you need to leave your buts behind and concentrate on getting things done. Real estate waits for no-one!

Making the decision to venture into real estate is a big one, and it requires creative thinking and a can-do attitude. There’s little, if any, room for procrastination and second guessing. Your customers want you to act with conviction, and most importantly, they want you to act. Letting your ifs and buts get in the way isn’t something a real estate client will look kindly upon, so neither should you!


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 30/11/2009 at 1:27 PM | Categories:

Stay home if you're sick!

If your workplace is anything like mine, there seems to be a lot of sick people about. All the time. Granted in Sydney I can understand that when the weather shifts so dramatically from day to day as it has recently, people can catch colds and flus easier than normal. But what I can’t understand is those people who stagger to work practically on their deathbed to prove a point about what a committed worker they are. Stay home! I don’t want what you have!


In real estate, like most businesses, you need your staff in tip-top shape to perform properly. Real estate is a people game and real estate agents need to be people persons. This rarely involves coughing and spluttering over prospective clients or requesting that your customers raise their voices to be heard over your nose blowing activity. I understand that if you’re committed to your job that you don’t want to let a little cold get in the way of you achieving your goals or keeping your commitments, but if you’re unwell enough that other people notice, chances are you’re doing more damage than good.


Professional realtors don’t need to make their commitment known by showing up when they’re really not well enough to do the job at hand. Real estate requires a hands on approach, and no-one wants the hands of a contagious person on them! People may think they’re being a bit of a hero showing up to work when they’re too sick to be there, but usually the rest of the people you work with are silently cursing you for potentially spreading your germs around.

Although I am not one for scaremongering or panicking unnecessarily (unless I’m out of wine of course) I have to admit that recently the types of outbreaks we’re dealing with internationally means that people should be even more careful before diagnosing themselves with being well enough to work. We only just recovered from the swine flu episode and bird flu also isn’t too distant a memory, which means that you trying to be a super trooper and show up to work regardless of how unwell you’re feeling could actually be  a lot more detrimental than you think.   

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 25/11/2009 at 10:58 AM | Categories:

Don't burn your bridges

I have to admit that I’ve burned some bridges in my past. Some have been related to my career in real estate, and others have been completely unrelated. There are others that I’ve left intact that I really, really wanted to see go up in smoke but the sensible side of me prevailed and I didn’t tell people what I really thought of them because a glimmer of crossing paths or needing assistance in the future remained. But I think all of us have at one time or another thought about burning bridges with little regard for what repercussions that may have in the future.

As a real estate agent, you encounter a very diverse range of people and it goes without saying that some you get along with, and some you don’t as much. But being a professional in this little game we call property, a good real estate agent realizes that you can’t afford to leave anyone with a negative impression of you or your business – hence, don’t burn your bridges.  

While I am the first to admit that telling someone what you really think of them, or where precisely they can put their opinion, feels fantastic, it often means the end of the relationship and any future business or potential. And as difficult as it is to bite your tongue when you’ve been wronged or have just had enough, sometimes you need to remind yourself not to burn your bridges.

I’ve heard so many stories about real estate professionals who have put in the hard yards for a buying client only to find out they’ve eventually bought through another realtor. These agents are rightfully miffed and a few I know have fought an internal battle not to burn those bridges, and it’s paid off. The clients actually returned to the real estate agent in question when they wanted to sell their property, and not that long after they’d bought it.  When you’re a real estate agent, building relationships, or bridges, is part of the deal, so burning them shouldn’t be.
0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 24/11/2009 at 8:29 AM | Categories:

The people you work with

I think regardless of where you work, there are colleagues that you adore, and colleagues that you can’t stand. And unfortunately, often the ones you can’t stand have a much greater impact on your day to day life in the office. As part of a national network, and looking at how diverse the members of the Century 21 family are, it’s almost a given that not everyone is going to get along famously. The problem at work arises when those people who irk you do so to such an extent they make you want to stay away.


Working in real estate, like other service based roles, offers this problem up twofold because you have the people in your real estate agency to work with on a daily basis, but also your customers, and whilst the ideal customer/real estate agent relationship is a harmonious one, sometimes you are still possibly going to tread on each other’s toes. On the flip side, a great colleague or a great client can make life a breeze and make your job a pleasure.


I recently read about a large survey that was conducted in the USA about what their biggest annoyances were in the office, and amazingly (or maybe not so much) they all involved co-workers. Apparently most colleagues can be defined into major groups, and the most annoying one was the office gossip. I thought this was interesting because often the person in the office with the dirt on everyone else is the go-to person for others’ entertainment, but it seems the sensible amongst employees also see that too much tale telling can result in a bad working environment. All hail the committed workers!  The other problem was people also thought the gossip was likely to turn to them at some point…


Other key gripes were the person who refuses to clean up after themselves and is responsible for (but will never admit to it) that awful growth and odd smell in the communal fridge. I’ve seen very expensive sets of Tupperware be thrown away because firstly no-one was game enough to empty the contents out to save the container, but secondly because no-one was prepared to own up to such hideous kitchen behaviour. Also incredibly annoying is the colleague who drowns themselves in fragrance and sets off everyone else’s allergies. God knows in Sydney we’ve got enough to contend with, with the insane pollen count let alone worrying about choking in the cloying scent of the person in the next cubicle.


Despite there apparently being a group of annoying co-workers that transcends international boundaries, at the end of the day if you love your job enough, these things become trivial. I like to think the majority of our real estate franchisees are in this boat. I also like to think that as a bunch, we’re not that annoying generally. In fact, I suggest you pop into your local Century 21 office to meet your local real estate expert and find out just how un-annoying we really are.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/11/2009 at 8:23 AM | Categories:

Working with your significant other

In the real estate industry, there are a lot of husband and wife teams around. Many real estate offices contain a partnership within a partnership if that makes sense, and it’s certainly true around the country for Century 21. Many of our franchisees run family businesses and so it makes sense that many of our franchise owners go to work with their significant other. This is a work concept that I find quite fascinating. Working and living with one person seems to be a bit of a big ask, but so many of our real estate professionals do it, and do it well, that maybe it’s actually a good way to live.


On the flip side, I can also understand why so many people shy away from the idea. If you have problems at home, can you ever really leave them there and work together like things are fine? Be honest! I think the answer is no. And when you work together all day, it must be easier to get into the trap of only ever talking work to each other – is there any down time, or do you ever actually get to switch off? I am sure people in these relationships have methods for dealing with these things, but it seems a difficult task. Plus there’s the concern you’d just plain get sick of each other.


But I can also see how these partnerships happen, and why they are maintained. Many hard workers, and definitely those in the real estate industry, know that the hours can be long, and 6 day weeks are often a given, meaning the opportunity to meet a significant other is actually restricted to the workplace. When you’re constantly working, free time can become a rare luxury and the chances of meeting someone outside of work is slim.

 But regardless of why you get into the working with your other half scenario, be mindful that work is still work, and as difficult as it may be not to let your little snipes, or your little pet names and smoochies enter into it, chances are there are others around you who are desperately hoping you won’t.  
1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 11/11/2009 at 8:43 AM | Categories:

Never assume anything in the real estate business

One rule of business I have learned, regardless of if you’re in real estate or another industry, is to always be careful in business dealings. That may seem like common sense, but it’s amazing how many people I’ve seen throw caution to the wind at times and suffer the consequences. Of course, risk taking is a big part of business success. People in the real estate industry takes risks all the time. People selling their property can take risks with how they advertise, real estate agents can take risks in starting their business or pitching for business, but there’s still a way to be careful about it.


For starters, never assume anything. I know this is the world’s oldest piece of advice...actually love thy neighbour could possibly win that title, but you get what I mean. When it comes to real estate and real estate transactions, assuming anything can be the death of your deal. It’s human nature when you understand something implicitly to expect that the next person will also, just like when you type an email you know exactly what you mean, but the person at the other end can confuse your tone or meaning and all types of drama can ensue. Hence, never assume anything.

I heard a very funny tale not that long ago, granted it wasn’t funny for the people involved, but as an innocent bystander I saw the humour in it, where assumptions resulted in a not particularly nice work scenario. Basically a new employee had started and turned out to be not the brightest of sparks. In the first week, the new employee left after another day of basically messing everything up, and the manager of this new person hit the direct dial on the work phone for the old colleague’s mobile number, assuming none of the systems had changed to include the new person’s number. After hearing a female voice pick up, the manager proceeded to rant about how stupid the replacement was until it became apparent she was actually talking to the new person. The receptionist was on the ball and had switched the contact details on the new employee’s first day. Oh dear. Never assume anything.    

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/11/2009 at 8:04 AM | Categories:

A great time to invest in property

 Despite last week’s rate rise, a lot of the real estate industry is saying that now still a great time to invest, and I agree. Whilst many of us were getting worked up about a horse race, others saw the news of an interest rate rise as a terrible event. As a real estate agent, and being close to the market, although a rate rise is rarely considered good for those with mortgages or who are considering a mortgage, there are still property bargains available for those who want to get into the property market.   

Often, people tend to forget that most property purchases should be looked at as a long term investment. On occasion, you will find opportunities to flip a purchase and make a quick profit in some instances, but in most cases, you need to take a long-term view of your property investments. While prices in many areas are still recovering and rates are still lower than they have been for a long time, it’s a great time to start thinking about property investments. 

Improving employment figures and the lifting share market is resulting in buyers expanding their horizons beyond cheaper properties, and previously stagnant homes for sale in the upper price brackets are now beginning to move. Reports are also beginning to show that mortgage enquiries from property investors are also on the increase. The market is reacting very positively to the recent changes, even if there has been doubt about the impact of rising rates. After such an unpredictable ride for most of 2009, it’s actually a welcome stabling for those of us in the industry, as well as for buyers and sellers. Activity has been consistently increasing and improving since the last September quarter. 

This market offers perfect investment timing and spring has brought with it an increase in activity in the market. We in the property industry are expecting increasing demand, strong yields and good future capital gains to continue to bring investors back to the real estate market. At CENTURY 21, we’re experiencing incredible demand for the properties we have listed. Our franchise offices are basically selling stock as soon as they have it on their books – and that’s a great sign!     

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 09/11/2009 at 3:52 PM | Categories:

Building yourself as a brand

In real estate, your reputation can make or break you. Actually, that’s the case for many types of employment but I have to admit that real estate agents are known for liking to see their faces in their marketing material – it’s another stereotype I know, but it’s one that can often be seen in real life. When it comes to promoting yourself, which is integral as a real estate agent, your personal brand is paramount. The first step in creating your own brand, or reputation, is being confident in yourself and your own abilities. people who have a positive attitude about themselves are more likely to succeed and that positive attitude transfers to everything they do.

Having confidence in yourself as a real estate agent means you are less likely to give up. In the real estate game, competition is fierce and if you give up, you let them win. As a real estate professional, you need to be passionate about what they’re doing, which I’ve discussed before, and that passion will drive you to insist on nothing but success.


Despite my saying you need confidence and the ability to fight for what it is you want, you do need to be aware of your weaknesses. You should know yourself better than anyone, so know what your strengths are, and know where you need to do some work. If you’re fully au fait with how fabulous your real estate skills are, you’ll be much better versed to relay that to the person who could possibly be your next client.


Use your personality – building your own brand based on you can only be about who you are. In marketing speak, your personality is your unique selling proposition. There’s only one of you, and if you’re a committed real estate professional, putting your personality out there is what’s going to start building your reputation and personal brand.

Another marketing rule that translates to building yourself as a brand is to be consistent. Brands are built on consistency – you don’t see McDonalds changing the colour of its arches on business cards or the website, so you shouldn’t either. If you’re consistently making your customers happy, word of mouth will get out there to help build your personal brand faster. If you want people to know who you are, you need to make sure what they know are the right things!  

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 06/11/2009 at 1:31 PM | Categories:

Finding the work life balance

Ah the elusive work/life balance. Does anyone actually have it? And when work is actually such a big part of your life, the phrase actually confuses me a little. Shouldn’t we just be looking for balance, period? Oh how I like to get philosophical in these posts! But truth be told the mantra work life balance has been drummed into us to the extent I feel a lot of us are more stressed trying to establish it than if we just got on with our lives. We’re expected to have great careers, fabulous love lives, clever children that we spend ample time with, a great circle of friends that we see regularly, and time for hobbies. Hmm. No wonder I drink. Just typing all that has left me worn out and realizing how inadequate I must be!


The key to balance is finding your own. Listening to the endless noise that surrounds the concept will only make you feel like you’re failing. I know from watching our hundreds of Century 21 franchisees that you need to set your own rules as far as how to best manage your time that everyone is different. You need to determine your own terms of success and failure and not worry about traditional views and expectations. That’s the best way to achieve the type of balance you’re looking for, and it’s the best way to avoid guilt. Find balance on your own terms.


Like running a successful business, to gain balance, you need to figure out what your priorities are, and actually treat them according to rank. How often do you push your family or friends down the ranking ladder because you think they’ll understand? That’s not how you get balance! That’s how you get old and lonely. Sometimes you can’t actually keep all the balls you’re trying to juggle in the air, so take control and you decide which one you allow to drop.

Finding balance is about knowing what matters most to you, and making sure that’s where your priorities lie. So many of us spend more time than we should on things that just don’t really matter at the end of the day – whether it’s physical or mental time. I’m not in any way saying the success of your business should become a secondary consideration.  You don’t make a success of yourself without time and effort, but if you’re not in it for love, then as the lovely Ms Shania Twain once sang to me through the speakers of my car, I’m outta here.

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 05/11/2009 at 10:40 AM | Categories:

Making it in the big time

I think it’s fairly safe to say that when you enter the real estate game, actually any business for that matter, you tend to want to be the best. A competitive nature and a desire to succeed is what drives small business owners, and every franchise owner within the CENTURY 21 network is running a small business within the greater network. They have the support and commitment of an international brand behind them, but at the end of the day they are still running their own real estate show. You see the passion when a new office comes on board – they want to be number one in their area, their state, their country even. Most people driven enough to run their own business are aiming for top dog status.


I may sound biased but I believe CENTURY 21 franchisees get a bit of a head start in regards to attaining top dog status purely based on the training they receive and the fact they’re taking on a brand that’s known worldwide. But if you don’t have that behind you, one of the best ways to make your own way to being a top dog is to spend time with those who you consider have already reached that status. If you are physically unable to spend time with them, spend time with them online – that’s the joy of the internet. If they’re contributing to websites, make sure you’re subscribed. The same goes if they have a blog. Make it your business to find out why their business is so successful.

Once you know how they’re doing what they’re doing, you’ll be able to work out which strategies are applicable and likely to work for you. They say that imitation is the finest form of flattery, so if you’re not top of the heap and you want to be, start acting like someone who is!  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 04/11/2009 at 9:36 AM | Categories: