Viewing by month: December 2009

Another year of real estate ends

We are fast approaching the end of another year, and for many of us it’s a time for reflection, to take stock and decide what we’re going to do differently in the coming year. In the world of real estate, this last year has certainly been an interesting one as I am sure most real estate agents will tell you. For many of us realtors, 2009 was a time to reassess how we did business as we tried to roll with the punches that the property industry definitely dealt us. I think everyone in real estate should now be in a position to look forward and move forward in 2010.

 

I have posted often this year about how to make your business a success, and what makes a successful real estate agent, and a successful business isn’t only measured by how many clients you have. That’s why the end of a year gives people the perfect opportunity to take stock of where they are and decide where they want to be. Taking stock of your current position and business will allow you to move into the coming year armed with the plan you need to make next year an even greater success.

 A great way to assess what you should be doing in the new year is to ask yourself what you’ve done in this one. For example, have you taken advantage of professional associations and networking opportunities? Have you got a good website and are you keeping up with new media trends like facebook and twitter?

What about how you relate to your customers? How long is it since you bought or sold a property? Are you actually aware, firsthand, of what your customers are living through in their real estate transactions? Are you communicating with your customers, past, present and prospective? If not, why not?

 

Looking at where you’re at and where you want to be is a great way to get your business plan together for the coming year. Real estate success isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter, you need to put some effort into making 2010 your best year ever. Remember that the family at Century 21 pride themselves on being local experts, so if now is the time for you to buy or sell property, don’t hesitate to pop in to your nearest Century 21 office. And if 2010 is the right time for you to consider starting your own real estate business, or joining the world’s most recognized name in real estate, you also shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch.

I look forward to another successful year of real estate in 2010, and although I am about to depart for the holiday season, I’ll be back blogging in the New Year so will catch up with you then! Happy holidays! 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 22/12/2009 at 10:49 AM | Categories:

Selling Property at Christmas time

For many of us the festive season has begun. According to David Jones it began back in September I believe, but the rest of us have finally caught up. When it comes to real estate, Christmas is an interesting time, and by all accounts this year it looks like a very busy time for the property market. It seems that many do consider a new home for the new year and our Century 21 real estate agents are still as busy as ever – things definitely aren’t winding down for us!

As much as we real estate professionals love a busy festive season, Christmas also introduces an interesting scenario for sellers. Even if you are selling your home, you still want to enjoy a decorated house and a Christmas tree, and basically everything fun that denotes Christmas in a home. But if your house is on the market during the holidays, people tend to wonder if they should minimize the decorations, or go all out to really bring home the festive atmosphere and the warmth of the home.

Your real estate agent should be able to advise you but I am pretty sure their advice will be this – and it’s the same as the advice you should be getting regardless of when you’re selling – your home should look tasteful and uncluttered. If that means culling a few of the decorations for this one year, that’s what you need to do. You may need to keep the decorations to a minimum, because as much as you may live them, prospective buyers are entering your home to look at the house, not your attempt at Santa’s grotto.

If the festive season is totally your thing, and reducing the Christmas trimmings in your home is a bitter pill to swallow, at least be reassured by the fact that it’s likely to be worth it. Buyers that are out in December and early January tend to be serious about buying. Those people committed to purchasing property over the festive season rather than taking holidays away or time to do nothing usually mean business, and if you are a buyer, you’ll be pleased to know that some sellers are keen to get their house sold before the end o the year which means the process can often be an easier and more beneficial process for all parties involved.  

Regardless of whether you are buying or selling property this festive season, don’t forget to make the time to have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! 
1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 21/12/2009 at 8:34 AM | Categories:

Real estate selling style

We all know that I have blogged on occasion about the thoughts people have about real estate agents. Which makes a lot of sense really when you consider that I not only work for a real estate group, but that this blog is about real estate. One thing I haven’t touched on is the dilemma we real estate agents often face in regards to how aggressive you need to be in the sales process without becoming pushy. As a real estate professional, you need to be able to negotiate, and as a customer of a real estate agent, you want to know that your realtor is going to go in hard for you, but it’s a fine line between assertive and negotiating and just becoming an aggressive twat.

I think we’ve all had experiences when shopping, and I don’t necessarily mean for property here, when a salesperson has just come on way too strong and it’s totally off putting. Sometimes enough to make you leave and try to find what you want elsewhere. Similarly, if you encounter a salesperson who doesn’t try hard enough, the same reaction can result. If someone can’t be bothered trying to sell to you, often it’s annoying because it means a lack of service.

Real estate agents need to be able to play hardball in order to get the best result for their customers, which means as a realtor you must pay attention to if you’re not being strong enough to be a convincing salesperson. I wonder what your customer would find worse – you being a little too aggressive or being a pushover. I believe that at Century 21 our real estate agents have found the middle ground and don’t tend towards either but are a happy balance of the two. Which is why we can claim to be your local real estate expert.

I read something recently which made me laugh, and was actually very apt. It was in reference to retail stores, but I think this most certainly applies to real estate offices, or even your website in this day of technology and ecommerce: if someone is in your shop (or real estate office) it’s going to be for one of 3 reasons – to use your phone, to use your toilet, or to buy something. So if there’s someone in your real estate office who isnt using your phone or your loo, you better be selling them something! Oh how I laughed. Hopefully you did too… 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 18/12/2009 at 9:09 AM | Categories:

Moving house with pets

There are a few situations in life that most of us agree are pretty stressful, and moving house is one of them. As a real estate agent, it’s our job to assist people with what can be such a difficult and emotional time and try to make the process a little bit easier. If you have pets, moving house can be even more stressful and the wellbeing of your furry (or feathered or scaled) friend should be paramount, along with your own safety and happiness and a smooth transition. Sheesh just writing about moving is stressing me out.

So being the helpful guy that I am, and you can expect this level of helpfulness from any of our real estate professionals at Century 21, I thought I’d give you some tips on how to make moving with pets a smidge less stressful. One of the most important things to do is to source a new vet in your new suburb. You don’t want to be faced with driving back to your old hood if something suddenly goes wrong with your little friend. Also before you move in, prepare your new house for pets. Animals can get frightened in new surroundings and you should get all of your pets familiar things out and in place as soon as you can so they know they are at home. It’s also wise to give the new owners of the home you left your number and a photo of your pet in case he or she finds their way back there. Unless you’re moving continents of course, and then that’s a rather unlikely scenario.

 When you’re about to do the actual move, and if you’re moving in a car, use a well ventilated carrier and give your buddy a few of his favourite toys. And of course have plenty of plastic baggies and paper towels on hand for any travel mishaps. If you know that travel is stressful for your pet have a chat to your vet about what they can do to mellow the little fella out while in transit. Just make sure you don’t steal those doggie valiums for your own moving-shattered nerves, as tempting as that may be… 
3 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 17/12/2009 at 9:54 AM | Categories:

Tricks to real estate success

For most of us, being deceived by someone isn’t a positive thing. Unless we’re talking about Santa, the Tooth Fairy etc, because of course that kind of trickery doesn’t count. What I’m talking about is deception when it comes to business, and although this may sound like a bad thing, sometimes it’s not.

What I mean is that sometimes in real estate, like other businesses, you need to lie to yourself a little. Of course when you tell yourself little fibs, you already know full well that you’re telling porkies, but amazingly it has actually been proven that lying to yourself can promote, more efficient work habits and practices. And that ultimately makes a better real estate agent. 

White lies such as falsifying deadlines can have a great impact on the amount you get done and your timeliness. Change the dates or times for your key activities, such as returning calls, to well ahead of time, or how about promising yourself a half day if you get through more than you usually would in a day? We real estate agents know that of course we’re unlikely to ever get an extra day off really, especially considering most real estate professionals work 6 days every week, but if you can convince yourself of your own little lie, you are likely to find yourself cramming more into your day than you would have otherwise.  

Although the short term effectiveness of fibbing to yourself may get you out of a pinch, and make you even more of a star real estate agent than you already are, in the long run, it’s not really a substitute for hard work and building smart work routines. But when you’re in a tight spot, a little bit of self-deception can be a handy little pick-me-up. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 16/12/2009 at 7:51 AM | Categories:

Raising the bar in real estate

There’s a little saying that pops up on our internal system sporadically and it’s “there is little, if any, traffic on the extra mile.” I think that’s very true. Most people appear to be quite content with status quo, and not many strive to raise the bar for themselves once they have hit a comfortable plateau.

 

In sports (I am lead to believe) coaches often demand more of their teams than some people seem to think is reasonable. Sportspeople are pushed to raise the bar and act like they’re performing in the real thing throughout training. When it comes to real estate, we are always operating in the real thing! But instead of having a coach, we real estate agents need to be pushing ourselves to raise the bar. Some of us are lucky enough to have an outstanding real estate professional as a mentor, guiding us through the ups and downs of the real estate process, but most of us are the driving forces behind our own success.

 

I have been blogging recently about the difficulties real estate agents face in a volatile market, and being able to raise the bar for yourself is one way you are more likely to succeed. Expect more from yourself and your business, and your customers will see that you are truly a real estate professional. I have said before that not everyone is cut out for the real estate game, and continually raising your own bar is one way to prove that you are.  

 

Real estate agents who succeed are the ones who push themselves to deliver more to their customers. Are you returning phone calls and emails? It sounds simple, but nonresponsive real estate agents is one of the most common gripes buyers and sellers have. If you’re not giving 100% to your business all the time, you need to raise the bar.

If you’re not going the extra mile, your business is less likely to grow and you are less likely to succeed. Challenge yourself, raise the bar, and reap the rewards.  


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 15/12/2009 at 10:36 AM | Categories:

Real Estate Regularities

I think I’ve said before that when you work in real estate, you encounter similar situations and questions often. Don’t get me wrong, at Century 21, as I imagine it would be for any real estate agent, every day is different, but there are aspects that crop up time and time again. In regards to the questions a realtor is often asked, one of the most common I have to admit I think is one of the most silly. Basically, we as real estate agents are constantly asked how much we think a seller will take for their property.

Now, I think if most people put themselves in the shoes of the vendor, they’d actually realize there’s no need to ask this question. The seller will most probably accept the list price, thank you very much. However, this question is often followed by a statement along the lines of how a buyer is interested but doesn’t want to waste the real estate agent’s time with an offer.

Now, as a real estate agent myself there are two lines of thought that come up here. One is if you honestly believe your offer is a waste of time, are you really a serious buyer? The other is, as a realtor acting for a client, it’s never a waste of time to take an offer back to a customer and review it. It may be embarrassingly low, but our job as a real estate agent is to take offers back to our clients.  Experienced real estate agents know if a buyer is serious or just a tire kicker, but the best real estate agents never consider an offer a waste of time. And if your agent does, maybe it’s time you spoke to your local expert at Century 21.  
0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 14/12/2009 at 10:12 AM | Categories:

Working for real estate success

There’s an old chestnut that people like to throw at each other when it comes to discussions about work – namely “are you working to live, or living to work?” Now, if you really, really love your job like a lot of the Century 21 real estate agents, living to work may actually be the answer and that’s not a bad thing. I think a better question is are you working to achieve success, or are you working to survive?

This acknowledges that like many real estate agents, working is actually an enjoyable part of life and separating the two isn’t an option. What work then comes down to is how badly you want to succeed, or if your job really is just a way to pay the bills.

 

I’ve blogged before about the notion that you need to focus on success in order to achieve it, and that’s what I’m getting at again today. So many people trudge to work every day and go through the motions to be able to pay their mortgage, put their kids through school etc. that they forget to look at the big picture and ask if this style of working is really what they want. Don’t get me wrong, if it is and you’re happy, then that’s fabulous. But for many people, and I know this is the case for many real estate agents, especially those of us at Century 21, we work for success.

 

The best way to work for success is to plan for success. It doesn’t happen by accident (as I have so profoundly stated before) and it’s often not easy. Having a strategy in place to achieve the type and level of success you want is a great first step to achieving your goals.

As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And so I say, if you succeed to succeed, you’ve….um…succeeded!  


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 11/12/2009 at 11:06 AM | Categories:

More real estate advice for tough times

Ah well since I’m on a bit of a roll with this whole advice to agents in a tough market theme, I thought I’d wrap it up with part 3 today. I am sure you have been itching to get to my blog every morning as a result, so here are the goods I know you’ve been waiting for.

  

We all know that the real estate market can be a cruel mistress and when things are tough, even the toughest real estate professionals can find it difficult to stay positive, and stay afloat! Those real estate professionals who succeed know which elements of their business will help sustain their work in these times know that the following are imperative.

  

Don’t go on conference junkets – make sure whenever you are attending something you are doing so with clear goals and intentions. The trip to the Gold Coast may sound fabulous, but make sure you’re not just lying to yourself about having a holiday. Get the most out of conventions by researching the attendees before you attend and setting yourself goals related to who you want to make contact with, then actually do it. Make sure your attendance results in new business!

  

Promote yourself! I mentioned yesterday that real estate agents not making use of testimonials are not making the most of their publicity opportunities. Let people know that you are an expert in your field! Not only should you be obtaining glowing referrals from your clients, you should also be speaking at events and promoting your stories to your local media.

  

Add value for your real estate customers. Consider offering free seminars in your office or a local venue or pinpoint those people you know would be great customers and invite them to a free session or take them to a real estate focused lunch.

True real estate professionals know that you can never give up and that when times are tough, the real estate game is when you really need to be at your peak. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 09/12/2009 at 9:03 AM | Categories:

More advice for real estate agents facing tough times

Yesterday I touched on the mindset real estate agents need to maintain success through tough times. As I mentioned, realtors tend to be the type of people who are committed and passionate anyway, but these qualities are even more important when the market isn’t exactly your friend. As well as a positive attitude and making sure you stay on top of your pipeline, there are a few other things that savvy real estate agents do when things are a bit tougher than usual.

  

One of them is network. In a tough real estate market, people are unlikely to be knocking on your door. So to get business, you’re going to have to network. Some people hate networking, but unfortunately it’s a critical part of business so real estate agents should learn how to be good at it. Pinpoint relevant events and go to them with the mindset of how can you help the people there, and sow the seeds of what a great realtor you are, and when the time comes, your new contacts are more likely to want to help you in return.

  

Another underutilised tool, and this is underutilised generally, not just in tough times, is the referral or testimonial. Similarly to networking, some real estate agents don’t like to ask customers for referrals, but similarly to networking, it’s one of those things you need to do anyway. Testimonials are a great way to let other prospects hear about what a great job you do – and it’s a lot more believable than you tooting your own horn all the time.

Good real estate agents also know their lag time and so can better manage this through quieter periods. Sales take time, and closing a sale happens quite a long time after your first meeting with a prospective customer. Those real estate agents most likely to succeed know the lag time between these two events, and they know that awareness of this is essential to achieving real estate goals. 


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 08/12/2009 at 9:31 AM | Categories: