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10
Oct

Pass the Remote Control…. and Think About Real Estate

remotePretty much every single time I sit down and reach for the remotes, the same thought goes through my head. Why is one remote so small and perfect, and one so big, clunky and incredibly complicated? I look at those two remotes and wonder what was going through the heads of the teams who designed these things. One team used the tried and true KISS method (keep it simple stup*d) while the other was intent on putting as many buttons on a remote as humanly possible. “Yes, buttons…lots and lots of buttons of all shapes, colours and sizes. That’s what the consumer wants”. One remote is slick and functional while the other is confusing and ugly. One has just three buttons (all useful) the other has 50 ( I only know what about 6 actually do).
It’s funny how my mind turns to real estate when I look at these things. I guess I can’t help myself. Our business is incredibly complicated at the best of times. Wouldn’t it be great if selling real estate was as simple as the three button remote? But really, can it? On any given day, we are explaining any number of real estate terms like BRA’s, FINTRAC and PIPEDA, we are explaining holdover clauses, mortgage verification, and walk scores. We are verifying zoning, SPIS’s and tenancy issues. We are dealing with photographers, stagers and home and termite inspectors. And to top it all off we are trying to show our value to a buyer or seller who simply doesn’t think we earn our commissions anymore. For their part, the consumer doesn’t have it any easier. In fact I would argue that their remote is even bigger. Additionally, they need to weigh which agent and company to use, and who will provide the most bang for the buck. Who’s offering cash back, or offering a free toaster with every sale? Who’s best suited to market my home? Maybe they want no service at all. Then it’s off to explore the myriad of websites and VOWs. It is literally a sea of confusion out there.
Instead of trying to make it easier, we keep adding more buttons to the remote. Now we have to be experts in pre-emptive offers, basement apartments and structural issues. Everyday we hear about another RECO complaint and fine handed out so we update our clause books, add more forms, more paperwork, and adapt on the fly to another potential hazard.
There is no question that the real estate transaction has gotten more challenging. While we wish the process was as simple as an ergonomically designed three button remote with lovely scrolling thumb dial, we are going to have to get used to the multi-button behemoth we have created.
Would not the consumer be better served by a remote that would allow you to select a neighbourhood, scroll down to the right house and then click “buy” and then know that behind the simplicity of the process was the guarantee that they would be in capable and trusting hands? Or is it simply a case that we can’t help ourselves? we need to have more choice? More is better? I’m not sure what the answer is but whatever we do it’s important to keep referring back to the operating manual each time a new button gets added. Be an expert in the real estate business and don’t be afraid to pick up the remote every once in a while either.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

9
Oct

The Real Estate Chain Reaction

science class
Today in Mastermind we talked about a series of events that, like a chain reaction, happen when you do everything you can to ensure the right conclusion. Here’s what I mean….do you remember back in high school chemistry we were asked to mix two chemicals together and then document the reaction? Often the students had different conclusions. Why? Because of the variables involved. Was it the measurement of the ingredients, the temperature of the flame or the length of time the chemicals were mixed?

In many ways, the outcome of your first interaction with a buyer or a seller, depends on the steps you take next. As with many agents I know, the first listing is often a friend or relative. This is a great way to get your career off and running, but, for ultimate success, you need to remove all chance and stick to the tasks that work. That means coming out strong. Prepare and stage the house to perfection, get a pre-home inspection, take care of any repairs, order virtual tours and professional pictures, tell the neighbours, hold an agent and public open house, etc, etc. the list is extensive and, quiet frankly, labour intensive and expensive, but at the end of the day you know that you didn’t leave anything out. I bring this up for one reason. You don’t leave any stone unturned because a perfect execution will lead to more interaction and more deals.
Today we talked about the real estate chain reaction and had some interesting examples of it. We heard from one agent who put an ad in the paper for a small house in a relatively unheard of neighbourhood. In a time when newspaper ads hold little value to a young demographic, it seems like a colossal waste of money, but a strange thing happened. The agent got a call from an interested buyer because their parents, who were helping with the purchase, had seen the ad. Bingo. Connection made.
Here is another one. An agent is out-door knocking. He just happens to meet someone interested in selling. Within a week the property goes on the market and sells successfully. The owners were so thrilled they used that agent to sell the mother’s house. That one sells quickly too. The agent then starts canvassing the neighbourhood to let everyone know that he sold it but to also ask if they know of any other people on the street are thinking of selling. Someone mentions the vacant house down the street. The agent writes a hand written note and leaves it at the house. The following week he has that one listed too. And so the real estate chain reaction begins.
I know to here are a hundred similar stories out there, and for each one there are ten others that end with one single transaction and plenty of lost opportunity because the agent didn’t do EVERYTHING, to ensure the chance of future business. You might even suggest that the agents just got lucky. Have you ever heard the saying “the harder I work, the luckier I get”?
There is another benefit of putting every ounce of effort into your listings. Your clients will know the lengths you went to and will recommend you to other people. So, get your business off on the right foot today. Agents fail because they go into the listing with the attitude that the house will sell itself. That might be true, but then what?
In a market where you are competing with 40,000 other agents, commission is no longer the competitive advantage. For ultimate longevity you need to go above the bare minimum of service. Not only will you sell the property but it will cause a chain reaction of events that will help grow your business and guarantee a fruitful career.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

8
Oct

Mission Possible. The Ultimate 12 Week RE Sales Contest. Task 5. Know Your Competition.

When all is said and done, there are only a few simple truths about real estate….First, it’s a numbers game. The more people you know and the more often you contact them, the likelier you are to get their business and make some money along the way. We like to call it prospecting. The second truth is that in order to prove your worth, you need to know everything about real estate, and you have to be able to answer questions quickly and accurately. That knowledge starts with big picture information about interest rate trends and market conditions, and filters down to new neighbourhood statistics, then to the most minuscule information about home improvements and how to maximize your return on a bathroom renovation.
But there is another truth about real estate that applies particularly to our market. If you are going to win an offer presentation, you need to gain any advantage you can find. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to have a solid relationship with the agents in your market. In many ways this is a hard concept to wrap our heads around but hear me out on this one. Many years ago, before MLS, there were only a few hundred people practicing real estate. Agents survived on relationships. They would trade “pocket listings” like baseball cards. If an agent didn’t like you, he kept his cards close to his chest and didn’t share. If his relationship with you was great, you’d be the first person he called when he got a new listing. Sure this may not translate as well when you have 40,000+ agents in our city and an active MLS system but the reality is that, for the most part, our trading areas are relatively small. After a few months in the business you start to recognize the same players over and over again. It is important to nurture these relationships as best you can because you will be doing business with them at some point and if you are good to them, they will be good to you. I’m not suggesting they would break their fiduciary responsibilities, but being on good terms with your opponent will go along way.
So this week’s task is to go out and build relationships with agents in your farm area and it is especially important to agents who are new to the business. Why? Because, they will put you in the loop. Consider that the work you do over the next 7 weeks will help you gain access to an exclusive club. I equate it to the crossing paths with another runner and getting that quick little wave or a simple nod of the head that says “Hey good to see you out. Isn’t this awesome?” That, in itself, will help you more than you will know.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

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