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Posts from the ‘AgentThink’ Category

13
Jun

Have You Hit Rock Bottom? Time For Some Prospecting

the rock bottom blog post
Has this ever happened to you? One morning you wake up and you realize that you have no closings, no prospective clients and no money? Many years ago, when I was just a fresh face with a real estate licence, I survived on credit. I would rack up huge credit card bills and then pay it all back the moment I sold something. Then the cycle would start again. It wasn’t until I developed a saving plan and prospecting strategy that I finally broke from the insanity of living hand to mouth. We are lured into the real estate business by quick and easy money. It’s not until a few months later that we realize it isn’t quick OR easy. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers, but successful entrepreneurs are also visionaries. They are motivated, determined, thorough, hard-working and above all, recognize that they need to reach people….a lot of people, and they need to do it everyday. It’s called PROSPECTING.
Are you like Agent Steve? A few years ago he got his licence. He had been talking about it for a few years and, as a likeable fellow, he had a few friends that said they would buy through him when he was registered. His mother was also planning on downsizing so he had hopes of helping her out too. Out of the gate he bought two properties for his friends. He listed and sold his mother’s house and helped her find a small condo. In his first year he did four transactions. Feeling very proud of himself he thought he had lucked into a great part-time job which helped him supplement his other income as a manager at a printing company. With his new-found money he bought himself a little Benz and took the family on a nice trip. And then everything changed. Agent Steve found himself with nothing. Throughout the time that he was working with his mom and his clients, Steve forgot to prospect. He said he was too busy. So when everyone got settled into their homes he had no new prospects or clients. Steve when from hero to zero.
A good entrepreneur (read Real Estate Agent) knows that when a cheque comes in you have to use some of it to reinvest in your business not buy yourself something pretty. They also know that you can’t put all your eggs into one basket. I have heard lots of stories of agents who have worked with clients for months trying to find a very specific home. They take up a lot of time but in the end they dry up and go away. We call it the “Hail Mary” approach. Two problems…first, the agent didn’t qualify them well enough and second, they didn’t prospect because they knew the payoff would be sweet. Double whammy.
The lesson here is simple. If you have hit rock bottom I can tell you with 100% certainty that you have NOT been prospecting. As crazy as it seems, prospecting, whether you love it or hate it, is the single most important job an agent has to do EVERY DAY! So when an agent tells me they have nothing on the go I know exactly why. The problem compounds very quickly too. Left with no money you start to stress about the rent. Life gets increasingly more difficult. So what can you do?
First, prospecting MUST start at the office. Be present. Go to work every day and talk to the other agents there. Get open houses to do. I know that is tough to do when there is very little product on the market but talk to agents and see if they will extend their open house hours. Let them know you will do the noon to 2pm shift. Second, inspect property. Get to know your product again. You will get a lot of stuff to talk about. Third, call up your friends and ask them out for coffee. Catch up with them and slip in a few details about the market. Ask them if they know any body looking to buy or sell. Fourth, get out and take a course. Learning something always invigorates us. Finally, join a team or club. It’s a great way to meet people and network.
I think it is important to recognize that real estate, in it’s most base form, is nothing more than a numbers game. You need to have 50 meaningful real estate conversations with someone in order to get one contract. Simple. The first step is getting up with a positive attitude. So if you want to sell 10 houses a year you need to have 500 serious conversations. That’s one a week and a couple on the weekend. When you break it down like that it doesn’t seem that hard to do.

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.

4
Jun

Negotiating With The Lowest Offer in a Multiple Offer Scenario

negotiating with the lowest offerImagine this scenario. You are the listing agent holding court in a multiple offer situation. You have five offers on your house which you listed for $699,000. Your expectation was that with any luck you might reach $750,000. Agent Steve’s offer is for $710k, Agent Robert’s offer is for $740k, Agent Susan shows up with $745k, Agent Betty’s clients are $760 and Agent Matthew smokes everyone by bringing in $780k.
You have a couple of choices here assuming all offers are clean (no conditions) and have roughly the same closing date. Choice one, accept the highest offer and break out the bubbly, or roll the dice and send them all back in hopes that you can get even more. Sure you might lose one or two but given the current market conditions in Toronto there is a pretty safe bet that you can squeeze a few more dollars for the sellers.
So in this scenario you send them all back. The conversation goes a bit like this….thanks for all the offers. Frankly they are all pretty close so the Sellers have requested that we give you an opportunity to improve your offers. In this example all the buyers improve their offers. Agent Steve improves to $725k, Robert gets to $750k, Susan’s clients are tapped out and only improve to $752k, Betty brings back $760k and Matthew’s clients have lost too many homes to go home empty-handed so they lay it all on the table with $802,500. So pretty simple decision really…..or is it?
As the listing agent you are in possession of all the offers. There is plenty of time (lets assume irrevocable time is 11:59pm on all offers) so you decide to try something. You call in Agent Steve and have a conversation that goes like this….”Hi Steve great job on the offer but it’s not the highest. However my seller really likes your buyer and wants to make you an offer. We are going to sign it back to you for $820k. I know your clients are waiting outside so I will give you 10 minutes to decide”. If the clients balk you move on to Robert. If Robert’s clients balk you move on to Susan, then finally Betty. If Betty’s client agrees, then they have bought a house. If not, then you still have Matthew’s very good offer.
In this example I have kept it pretty simple and haven’t complicated it with deposit amounts or short irrevocable times which might skew the results but the question remains, is this way of handling offer night appropriately? Do you find any moral dilemma in handling things this way? Ultimately you are getting the most for your client so you are doing a great job, but are you just playing with the other agents to the transaction? It seems that this is a delicate chess game where a lot could go wrong so ask yourself if the risk out does the reward?
We had a big discussion at our company today and couldn’t really pinpoint anything wrong although we did wonder if the listing agent had an ethical duty to let all the other agents know they were in a sign back. sleazy seemed to be bantered around but not illegal. After all is it any different when you have only one offer but kindly ask the Buyer Agent to improve their offer?
I’m sure there will be a lot of discussion to follow on this topic and will certainly add additional comments as they come.

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.

4
Jun

Having Some Challenges With an Agent Bully?

the bully agentI like to live by the motto ‘treat others as you would have them treat you’. I don’t often lose my temper for no reason and think that I’m pretty even keeled so it drives me crazy when I hear stories of agents that fly off the handle for no apparent reason. At this week’s Mastermind we talked in great length about the “Agent Bully”. So, one of my agents sold a home listed with an experienced city agent. She is also quiet experienced and likes things done properly so when she emailed her first waiver to the listing agent she followed up with a phone call to ask if he wouldn’t mind sending her back the confirmation. His response was “I’ll do it when I have the time”. She kindly asked that he do his best to acknowledge it in a timely manner since she wanted to let her buyer client know that the waiver was delivered. He told her in no uncertain terms to back off and that he didn’t owe her client any responsibility to get it done. There was some general back-and-forth that followed, with the end result that she called the Broker of Record to complain. In the end, he delivered the acknowledgement several days AFTER the waiver was delivered. Subsequently, for the next waiver, she delivered it in person to his office and asked that the receptionist acknowledge receipt. For the record, it is imperative that waivers are acknowledged within the appropriate time frame.
The episode highlights so many different issues that face us today. It speaks to our profession, our understanding of the people who we work with, simple good manners and, of course, business etiquette. My agent will forevermore have a deep mistrust for this agent who works in the same general neighbourhood. It is likely that they will run into each other again yet that trust has been broken. So what are your options? First it is important to get the deal done. Your client has charged you with acting as their representative. Second, keep it professional as there is no need to complicate issues with personal feelings. Third, kill them with kindness. If all else fails call their Broker of Record and let them know that you are having a problem with an agent and you simply want to make the broker aware, (and document) that a “situation” exists and that you are doing everything in your power to keep the deal moving forward.
For those of us that are in it for the long haul we cannot afford to burn bridges on every deal. Nor do we have the time to call Brokers every time an agent speaks rudely to us.
At the end of the day I suppose there is no clear-cut answer. We get compensated not just for selling or buying a house but for all the tasks that go along with buying and selling, including, but not limited to; delivering waivers in a timely fashion, conducting showings and open houses, arranging appointments, offer presentations, just to name a few. And yes, sometimes we will deal with real jerks (for lack of a better word). No matter how busy we are or how much pressure we are it is our responsibility to act professionally.

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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