And then today…
I began reflecting on the fact that I am beginning my 29th year (yikes) in real estate sales. Recently, a young woman asked me about my job and if I would recommend it as a career for her.
I became a realtor by accident. While we were expanding and remodeling our home, I needed studio space to continuing making my soft sculptures–Marli Originals–and, as I rented space in a realtor’s building, she twisted my arm to get my real estate license.
I was “burning out” on the art shows, and the timing could not have been better, as it turned out, because the housing boom was about to begin! My highest honor was 2003 when I received the Prudential Real Estate Chairman’s Circle award and was featured with other top 8% producers in the Wall Street Journal. Not bad for a pig farmer’s daughter, I thought, and wished I could tell my dad.
Looking back, I realize I was “flying by the seat of my pants” in the frenzy of the good years, but the following ten tips (in no special order, just as they bounced into my head) are all important for my continued success:
- HONESTY You just can’t fake it. I’ve seen others get caught in lies. Honesty is everything in building your reputation.
- INTEGRITY You have to do what you say you’re going to do, and you want to surpass your client’s expectations with a few creative surprises.
- TECHNOLOGY You need to love technology and embrace it in every facet of your work. You need to keep up with the latest and greatest.
- MONEY You need to realize it can take months, sometimes years, before you get your first sale. Also, it costs money up front for all your fees including insurance, MLS, and dues. Remember, it takes money to make money! Plan for it.
- OFFICE Although most realtors work independently from home, you need to be part of an office where you get “on the spot” support and work with people you trust. Also, it’s a bonus if there’s good humor in the room and good candy in the dishes.
- CLIENTS Always remember who you are working for and keep their best interests in mind at all times. We are talking about major life choices when we are buying & selling real estate. It’s someone’s home!
- LAWYERS, LENDERS, INSPECTORS Set up a support system of individuals you can trust. Contrary to some thinking, there are no kick-backs with referrals. You are just helping your clients to have good, competent help.
- CONTINUING EDUCATION The state requires 12 hours of continuing education every few years including an Ethics class. I would recommend taking the classes in a group setting and not by internet. You hear and learn from the craziest stories in a live class.
- SAFETY Listen to your instincts. Be vigilant at open houses and at showings with people you do not know. While hosting an open house, I always make sure a back door is unlocked and I always follow clients when going up and down stairs.
- RESPECTFUL Respect the property (all kinds) and respect the people (all backgrounds and religions). Just as there are no two properties exactly alike, there are no two people exactly alike either. Be open minded, be resilient, and be respectful. The differences are what makes the world go round and keeps the job so fascinating!
This is off the top of my head, as I try to help the young woman. Changes and additions will come as I think of them.
Also keep in mind that when you are in sales, you have to be able to accept rejection.