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Posts from the ‘AgentThink’ Category

5
Aug

My Phone Fell in the Lake…And Other Wild Excuses

blast offFrankly there are times when I just want to spit. I’m a pretty chill guy so saying I want to spit is really just a total exaggeration meant to demonstrate my frustration. So what has me so riled up? Agents that don’t call you back.
Agents spend lots of money to attract potential sellers. When they list and subsequently sell homes, they make money. It’s a petty simple concept really. So I’m a bit at a loss to understand why agents don’t call back an agent who has a bone fide offer on you property.
Over the last few years I have seen and heard of so many examples of agents who are horrible at returning calls that I’m almost ready to call the Centre for Disease control. This is turning into an epidemic. While there is a small possibility that the agent can’t call because they are currently on their way to the space station, most likely they are killing time and hoping that another offer is going to come in. Okay, I get that. But the problem exists on the other side of the transaction. If the agent you are trying to reach isn’t getting back you, how do you explain to your client, without looking incompetent yourself, that you are doing your best to get things done?
Last week an agent in my office put together an offer on a property that had been on the market for over a month. He registered the offer with the front desk of the listing brokerage and asked that the listing agent be paged so that he could set up a time to present the offer. The agent returned the call in a few hours and said that he would inform the owners and call him back with a meeting time. One hour passed, then another, than another. My agent called the listing agent for an update. The call went to his mailbox. Another few hours go by, still nothing. My agent sends him a text. “WHAT’S GOING ON? WHEN CAN I PRESENT?” Nothing. Now, my agent’s client is wondering what the status is and all my agent can say is that he is waiting for the listing agent to get back to him. A full day goes by and still nothing. My agent calls the Broker of Record and asks that the agent return his call. Meanwhile the Buyer client is wondering if my agent is really working on his behalf. After all, it seems nearly impossible to believe that an agent, with offer in hand, isn’t doing everything in his power to put a deal together. Finally, the listing agent calls my agent nearly 48 hours after the initial contact and apologizes. Apparently the Seller was away and he couldn’t reach him and further explains that the Seller will only look at an offer if it is for more than the list price. Right. Now we know just how serious the Seller is. Well the story made me think of some of the other wild excuses I have heard over the years. Here are some of the classics….

1. My Phone fell in the toilet, bathtub, lake, ocean, off the balcony. (blame it on an accident)
2. My wife went into labour. (blame it on the spouse)
3. I just got your message now. (blame it on technical difficulties).
4. I must have been out of range when you called. (blame it on your location)
5. My office didn’t pass the message to me. (blame someone else)

The fact remains that you cannot play the blame game. There is no excuse for not keeping the Buyer Agent in the loop, and quiet frankly, I have heard my fair share of excuses. But speaking to the big picture here, our industry is often painted with the broad brush of incompetence. Being a professional, full-time agent, means keeping the lines of communication open across the entire playing field. Returning calls is just part of the job. Sometimes you have to report good news and sometimes bad. At the very least just touching base is enough.

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

30
Jul

You Need To Lose a Deal!

You need to loseI really don’t want to sound like a broken record, but, OMG, if I have to utter those words again I think I might scream.
Here is the scenario. An agent recently took out new clients to look at houses. They had built up a nice rapport, spent some quality time together and had a BRA signed. Things were looking good. They found a house they loved. The agent knew it was competitively priced and that there were going to be a few people bidding on the house. He spent the better part of an evening explaining the process, encouraging them to get a home inspection done before offer night, to confirm with their mortgage agent that they had their financing and then showed them some comps to help determine a good price to go it at.
After their very long conversation, the agent headed back to the office to type the offer, then it all went sideways. The buyers wanted to load down their offer with conditions; condition on financing, condition on home inspection and condition on lawyer review of the offer. Oh, and one more thing, after much deliberation, they want to offer $15,000 below the list price. That sound you hear is the screeching of brakes. You and I know this deal is going nowhere fast. The agent calls me looking for encouraging words and the magic spell that will make it all go away. Then I have to say….”well, unfortunately, your clients need to lose this deal so they can understand the process and learn to take your advice “. I HATE those words.
The truth is, new buyers don’t need to lose on any house if they don’t want to. Often their decisions to load down their offer with conditions has more to do with having cold feet. Still, they need to listen to you and THAT means trusting you. Of course you will run into situations where the client is an armchair Realtor who thinks he knows more than you, or you might be unfortunate to work with clients whose father says something like, “are you crazy? you can buy a mansion in Peterborough for the same money”. So what can you do to prevent your manager from uttering those annoying words? Try these five tips.

1. It all comes down to giving the clients accurate information. Show them the numbers (they don’t lie). Provide them recent comps and differences between asking and sale prices.
2. As much as it hurts, you need to be brutally honest about the process. Give them a primer on the market. In case they are new to the city, or have been living under a rock, show them newspaper articles that emphasize what is going on in your local market.
3. Document real life examples of clients that you have worked with or talk about situations where others have lost because they weren’t prepared.
4. Have home inspectors at the ready and explain that the home inspector will save you money by showing you the true condition of the house. It is a needed expense of buying a home.
5. Have some serious dialogue with their mortgage broker. Explain your familiarity with the market. Put their mind at ease that the house you sell them will appraise with ease.

Naturally, there are no guarantees, but a few preventative measures may limit the times you have to lose a deal to prove a point.

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

25
Jul

Getting Your First Deal and Avoiding The Sophomore Slump

Sophmore slumpSo, just how long does it take to get your first deal? It’s a question nearly every new agent asks me during the first interview. I say that they should prepare for at least six months without any income, but the reality is that everyone is different. Some come into the business with clients ready to go. Others start their career buy buying or selling their own home. Others have a massive sphere of influence and will turn a deal in a few weeks and others don’t know a soul in the city and take a few months to get ink to paper. Frankly there is no exact science to it, so I asked the question in a local Facebook group and got answers that ranged from a few weeks to half a year. Here is a cross-section of answers from agents in different markets.

One agent said… I managed to firm up my first deal in about 6 weeks. got paid in about 10 weeks. I would tell a new agent that they may lose money the first year. You can never predict how the market will behave.

Or, this one…I tell every new agent to have 6 months worth of wages (for personal and business expenses) comfortably in the bank. Don’t count on a pay cheque for 6 months min. I had mine in 5, but was prepared for 6. Too many drown in the overhead without a plan.

Another great comment… It took me 3 months and the second one didn’t come until the 9 month mark. I would say 9 months generally to a new agent.

Also this one…Started out on my own September, first commission December. I was prepared also for six months but very happy to say it took four.

And finally some wise words… it all comes down to how much the Brokerage can help them in the beginning and if the person will work it is a job. So much learning to do in the first year or so… so the stronger the brokerage I believe the faster the deals. Just like the stronger the team… more experience for the new agents, greater confidence and more deals.

Actually, I believe that it isn’t the first year that determines your success in any business but what you do in the years that follow. Many agents coming into the business with prospects or clients ready to buy or sell. They spend there first few months buying or selling homes for friends and family that they forget the basics of building a business for life. We have seen it several times, new agents who rock their first year, they go out and buy a new car, go for a holiday and think that they have walked into the easiest job ever. Then the reality of year two sinks in and they have no business in their pipeline. It’s called the “sophomore slump”.

So, how can you avoid the “sophomore slump”? Don’t take your initial experiences as gospel. Use your first commission cheque wisely. Use every opportunity to research your farm area, work on your website, get your continuing education credits out-of-the-way, and above all, prospect. These are just some of the basic building blocks for constructing a successful career.

Of course there is more to think about than surviving for as many as 6 months without an income. Have you heard the old expression…you need to spend money to make money? Starting any new business, whether it is a flower shop or real estate, requires some capital outlay. The good news is that, depending on where you work, the initial few months can be floated by the brokerage. Still, there are business cards, open house signs, name riders, website, not to mention a clean car, rent, food, gas. The list goes on and the amount needed will differ substantially depending on where you live and work. As crazy as it sounds, it’s important to have your finances in order right from the start.

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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