Viewing by month: September 2010

Good communication at open homes

Just like the Australian dream of many is to own one’s house, your dream as a real estate agent may be to sell plenty of houses.  In order to achieve this goal, communication is key when conducting an open inspection. 

When showing a property you should try to be enthusiastic, conversational and engaging, remain available to all visiting guests, assume all people are genuine buyers, don’t be sexist or inappropriately dressed and know the house you are selling.

Buyers often pick up on it when you are unenthusiastic.  Remember that open inspections can often act as walking advertisements.  People may not be inclined to choose you to sell their own house if you come across as being bored or distracted at an open house they attend. Try to make an effort to engage people passing through the house in conversation about the property, creating a rapport with them.

Creating a relationship with potential buyers during an open house inspection is a simple way to keep visitors interested in the property. There is often nothing worse than being curious about a property but the agent on site is unapproachable.  Some common frustrations are when agents stay stationed in one room of the house and chat away on their mobile phone, or agents who are too chatty and only talk with a few interested parties.

At an open inspection, a common mistake that some real estate agents can make is to look unprofessional.  Personal appearance can be central to the manner in which both you and the house are perceived.  It usually pays off if you take the time to put effort into looking neat and tidy.    

At the bottom of all interactions with prospective buyers at an open inspection is the need to qualify their needs and wants from a property.  Use your conversations to establish what buyers are looking for and to judge if the particular property is in fact appropriate.  If not, perhaps suggest one of your other listings that is a more suitable selection.  Potential buyers should appreciate the honesty evident in this approach.    

There is much leg work and time that can be saved if key communication tools are utilised at open house inspections. 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 30/09/2010 at 12:49 PM | Categories:

Handling the sale of a deceased estate

Arguably, one of the most emotionally challenging situations you can find yourself in as a real estate agent is when you are tasked with the sale of a deceased estate.  While each circumstance will differ, it is likely that a good deal of sensitivity will be required from you as an agent throughout the process, while you simultaneously maintain a sense of professionalism. 

For many people, the sale of a home and the moving process can be quite a stressful experience.  In the case of a deceased estate the grief of losing a loved one, and sometimes a fair amount of family politics, introduces extra anxiety.

It is important for real estate agents to recognize that the process of selling a deceased estate can be quite different to that of a normal property sale.  In some cases the sale progresses quite quickly, however agents must also be prepared for situations where the sale turns into a rather lengthy process. 

It is not uncommon for a real estate agent to be faced with a variety of stakeholders when it comes to managing the sale of a deceased estate.  In terms of the inheritors of the estate, you could encounter situations where, in the midst of their grief, families are in dispute as to whether the property should be sold. 

In situations where large amounts of debt have been involved, real estate agents may find themselves liaising with banks.  In circumstances where the person (or the property itself) is one of note, agents may even find that the media a party that must be responded to efficiently and tactfully. 

A real estate agent will be called into the deceased estate sale process as a professional whose opinions are valued and sought after.  Your thoughts around the value of the property, the best time to put it on the market, whether to sell through auction or private sale and the necessity of any work or repairs prior to selling, will be required by the main decision makers in the process. 

A great deal of sensitivity is usually required in the giving of such opinions and real estate agents should try not to rush the process.  While the time it may take to ensure all relevant parties are comfortable with the sale, and to then actually ready the property for the market may be quite awhile, in most cases the people involved will be grateful for your support and assistance in a situation that may otherwise have been a great deal more stressful and upsetting. 

In the end, your helpfulness, patience and honestly will do a great deal to support and build your reputation as a trusted and highly professional real estate agent among residents in your community. 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 20/09/2010 at 10:02 AM | Categories:

The importance of returning a phone call

It tends to be in the nature of the job that real estate agents spend a fair amount of time on the phone.  Whether it be interested buyers contacting you about one of your listings (which can be a great deal of calls if you have a number of properties on the go at one time) or someone from your office calling you with an update, it may sometimes feel that your phone never stops ringing.

As in any occupation, with such a great deal of business attached to your phone, missed calls and messages are extremely important to return.  In extreme situations the act of not returning a phone call could eventuate in a bad impression being left with a client or potential client and business lost. 

So, given the busy environment that real estate agents work in, how can you ensure that you return phone calls promptly? The best way is usually to get into a daily routine that allows you to ensure all calls are attended to. 

If you can, try to set aside a small pocket of time each morning and afternoon, in which you exclusively respond to the phone calls that you didn’t immediately call back.   Perhaps dedicate the afternoon to those calls missed during the day, and the morning to those from the previous evening.  You may be surprised by how effectively you work when focused on one task without distraction. 

When time is stretched, try to prioritise your missed phone calls.  Have an understanding of which phone calls require immediate call backs and target these first.  For example, a phone call in relation to the closing of sale would be high on the list of important calls to return. 

Sometimes people will ring your office as opposed to your direct mobile number.  In this case, if you are out, it will be up to the staff in the office to take a message and pass it along to you.  You should ensure that lines of communication between yourself and office staff allow all messages to flow through to you easily and are not lost.  Not responding to messages can reflect badly on both yourself and your agency, so when others are taking them it is important for them to be easily passed on to you. 

Finally, in cases where the time required to call a person back and conduct a conversation is simply not available, it could be worthwhile (in cases where the contact is known) for you, or your representative, to send a quick email or message acknowledging the call.  This assures the client that you have not neglected them, and that even though you are extremely busy you have taken the time to explain the situation.  

When it comes down to it, real estate is a people business.  No matter how effective your marketing campaigns are, finalizing the sale of a property will often involve a good deal of interpersonal communication.  Returning phone calls makes up a large part of this interaction - the way you deal with missed calls could allude to your professional performance in other areas of real estate. 


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 13/09/2010 at 12:37 PM | Categories:

Promoting Brand 'You' in Real Estate

The world of business is slowly changing, and the real estate industry seems to be going along with it.  While company brands are still king, the individual is rising.  In real estate, this can often mean that prospective sellers seek out a particular individual agent to sell their home, as opposed to walking into an agency they have seen and have heard good things about.

For individuals, the consequences of this shift mean that your employment with a well-known real estate brand may not be as sufficient as it has been in the past to gain you listings.  It will often be a combination of your company affiliation, along with your own personal attributes, that work effectively to increase your business and property sales. 

The time has come, therefore, to promote your own personal brand, alongside the real estate agency you work for.  The concept of an individual person as a brand is often misunderstood, usually due to the fact that most people associate the idea of a ‘brand’ with large companies, substantial marketing budgets, and the consistent use of the same colours and fonts on marketing collateral.

While these are important aspects of branding, the overarching concept of the exercise is to present a clear and consistent message to your market, allowing them easy brand identification and to understand that the quality offered through one company product will be same the company-wide. 

The same concept applies to individuals, with the idea being that your personal brand encompasses the high professional standards you consistently provide and for which you are known. 

In real estate, the idea that you can achieve and then leave your performance up to others to judge is no longer relevant.  If you can decide how you want to be seen, and then act that way yourself, others usually follow. 

How does this occur? It depends on the image you wish to portray.  In the case of a real estate agent, the notion of being an expert in residential property could be appropriate.  To this end, personal factors such as your promptness in replying to contact, your attentiveness to questions, and the way you portray your personal knowledge will contribute to the creation and maintenance of your ‘expert’ brand.  Even the way you dress and maintain yourself can have an impact. 

In real estate, your own biggest fan should always be yourself.  Your brand will allow others to identify your strengths in a second, and you should try to ensure that through your personal conduct it is upheld and protected.     


0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 10/09/2010 at 11:50 AM | Categories: