Thinking of getting into real estate?
Here are 3 things you may not know about the life of a REALTOR®:
- It’s not about selling anything.
The truth is, you can’t sell someone something they don’t want or need. Well, maybe you can try, but that’s not exactly the best way to create a reputation to build a business on. Of course at Schmidt we do a lot of work to help our clients get their homes ready for the market. And once all the prep is done (staging, photos and more!) we leave no stone unturned getting the word out to buyers and other agents. The goal of marketing is to reach the best buyer for each home… the buyer that genuinely wants and needs a home like the one we’re helping our clients sell! That ideal buyer will also pay the best price! That’s the win we’re looking for – Happy buyer! Happy seller! The key is to cut through all the noise online to attract the ideal buyers. Then we don’t have to sell them on anything! At that point, our role becomes coach and advisor to our sellers to ensure they end up with an offer that protects their interests and meets their needs.
Perhaps the most important and least understood role of a REALTOR® is as a coach to our clients. Let’s face it, moving isn’t fun, and the stress of buying or selling can wear a person down. Sometimes our clients are ready to throw in the towel just to end the stress! It can be tiring going through the negotiation process, especially if buyers find themselves competing for a home and they lose out. Or what about when they find their dream home only to discover on inspection that there are some significant issues they aren’t willing to deal with. The thing is, the reason they decided to move probably hasn’t gone away. If they’re feeling crowded in their 2-bedroom condo with one child and they’ve got another on the way, they’re still going to need to move. The role of an agent here to is remind them of their WHY…the reason they embarked on the buying process to begin with! And help them stay on target to reach their goal, keeping their eye on the prize! The same goes for sellers. It’s a lot of work keeping a house show-home ready for buyers, and it can be annoying to do all that work and not have an offer in hand. But just like that buyer who needs more space, or that seller with the new job in Calgary, they still need to move regardless of all the effort involved. Our job is to help sellers understand how buyers are currently viewing the market and give them specific feedback about their property to help them attract the best buyer. Sometimes a seller might be tempted to just rent their property, but that might mean they can’t buy in Calgary. And that means they’re renting too, and not getting settled as permanently as they’d like. Most often sticking with their original plan is the best course of action. Enter their “REALTOR® Coach” to keep them focused on the end game!
- How we really spend our time…
Contrary to popular opinion, agents don’t spend all their time showing properties! For every hour of meetings there’s usually at least two hours of preparation and research behind the scenes. Of course, we spend time showing homes to buyers and evaluating properties for sellers, that’s the most fun part of what we do, but you might be surprised to learn how much behind-the-scenes work goes on!
When we’re working with buyers, long before we get in the car to view properties, we’ve prepared for a Buyer Consultation by researching the market for our clients based on their initial description of what they’re looking for. After what’s usually a 2-hour consultation, we go back to the MLS system to refine the search. We compare our clients’ expectations with the market, and by adding our experience and local knowledge to the mix we often come up with options they haven’t even considered! Then it’s a daily update and search to seek out new opportunities, track properties they’re considering, and getting more information to our clients so they are well informed to make a smart choice.
And when we’re representing sellers, there’s even more behind the scenes work to be done. Frequently we’re gathering information months in advance of putting a home on the market. The more we know, the better job we can do to present the property to the market and find the best buyer for their home. Helping our sellers navigate the complicated world of building permits and surveys, as well as researching the market and advising on the optimal pricing strategy all takes time. This is not a “do it once and you’re done” kind of job. It’s ongoing. Constant monitoring of the market is required to keep our listings priced strategically compared to the competition. Getting feedback from agents and monitoring similar properties for sale or recently sold keeps us at the keyboard for hours a day.
- You don’t have to be an extrovert to be an excellent agent.
While it’s true you have to enjoy people to enjoy a career in real estate, you don’t have to be the life of the party to be a successful agent. In fact, studies show that more introverted agents are most often better listeners, which makes them excellent REALTORS®. Real estate agents are professional problem solvers, and to understand the problem your clients want to solve. Here are some of problems clients frequently bring to the table:
- What type of home should I buy based on my budget?
- When should I buy based on my long-term goals?
- Should I sell first or buy first if I need more space for my growing family?
- What’s the first step to help my aging parents downsize?
The best way to ensure that your clients end up with the best result is to ask the right questions, then listen carefully. Listening also builds trust, and trust is the currency of business! So, just because you’re not the most outgoing person you know doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful agent! In fact, your ability to listen might be your best business tool!
So, there you have it! Being a REALTOR® is definitely not what most people think. It’s actually even more interesting and far more satisfying than you see on HGTV. Every situation is different, and there’s always a new problem to solve or challenge to overcome. If you or someone you know is thinking about real estate as a possible career, why not pop into one of our regular Saturday morning info sessions! Click here to find out more!
By Kathy Schmidt
PS Another surprising fact is it can be lonely being an agent… It’s one of the many reasons I enjoy working in a collaborative environment. There’s always someone to share stories with, someone who needs my help and someone ready to assist me when I need it! It’s how we do things at Schmidt!