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Posts from the ‘The Morning Meeting’ Category


The Real Estate Time Machine

hot-tub-time-machine-di-3-1Not that long ago I was asked why I chose the first company I ever worked for. The Truth is that as a young guy getting into real estate, over 25 years ago, I literally had no clue what to expect. I knew I wanted to be successful so I thought the best thing I could do was surround myself with successful people. Before entering real estate sales I built and renovated houses so I was always reading the real estate section of the newspapers to get a handle on the market and what was available. The company that I eventually started at was a boutique company with several offices around the city and, from the looks of it, had lots of great listings. The day I started, the manager assigned me a desk and wished me good luck. I soon found out that being successful in real estate was a lot of hard work.
Looking back, I had a lot of fun at that brokerage but I was missing one critical piece of the success puzzle…training. I simply didn’t know that training was something that realtors did. So I guess, if I could go back and do it again, I probably would have started with a company that offered training. This was the nexus for my meeting topic this week. I billed it as a sort of ideas exchange in the theme of “Hot Tub Time Machine”, one of the best movies EVER. So with a few dozen people at the meeting I asked everyone to imagine travelling back in time and starting their careers over again. What would they do differently if they could. Here are the top responses and associated notes in no particular order;

1. Start farming an area right from the start. Market yourself as the expert, and send out information with frequency. Most recognized that this is an expensive proposition for someone just starting out but everyone agreed that if they had spent the money they would have seen the fruits of their labour. The truth is that it often takes a year or two to see returns on advertising initiatives but one or two sales easily covers the expenditure.
2. Set up the right systems. This includes a solid CRM program that would help you work efficiently and effectively and not leave any potential client unattended. Agents are reluctant to spend money on a system early. A good CRM program is often one of the last tools that an agent buys when, in fact, it should be one of the first.
3. Get a coach. Again, the initial investment is hard to swallow. Imagine if I said…you pay me $500 per month and I will give you the means and tools to earn $100K? It’s a hard notion to get your head around. The truth is that coaches work. They keep you accountable, but more importantly provide you with great ideas on how to improve your business.
4. Prospect. Well this goes without saying. Real estate is a numbers game. The more people you know and talk to , the more business you do. Many agents know they have to prospect but the fear of rejection prevents them from starting. Experienced agents would say that they now have enough skill to prospect easily, but they wished they did it earlier in their careers.
5. Work longer hours. One of the reasons I got into real estate was to set my own hours. I quickly learned that the harder I work the more successful I became. This is a business that is 24/7. Working part-time will only cut it if you are happy to supplement your income with a sale once in a while. If real estate is your full-time gig, then you can’t wake up at 10am and roll into the office at noon.
6. Several agents said they would have started their careers earlier or taken the plunge to be full-time right away. This is not a business that you can be successful in if you are doing it part-time. I have interviewed many agents who have said they were going to transition into fulltime sales from their fulltime jobs. It almost never happens that way.
7. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Some agents said that the fear of the unknown kept them from trying new things. Some agents would say that the use of social media is an integral part of the marketing that they need to do but at the same time it can be daunting space if you aren’t a social media user. Picking the right one to use and utilizing it properly is a job on its own.
8. Be a better communicator of your value. As many new agents would admit, one of the questions you are terrified by is…how long have you been in real estate? This can be a tough one to answer or it can be an opportunity to build amazing relationships with potential clients. All agents agreed that if they could go back in time, they would try to be better equipt to diffuse their own self doubt.
9. Find your own voice or identity early on. Define your “brand” and use it consistently.
10. Spend money. The old adage is true… you need to spend money to make money. If you don’t have money than designate funds from each cheque to pay yourself, pay your expenses, pay your taxes and pay for your marketing. Don’t just run out there and buy a Tesla with that first cheque.

We had a great discussion and when I look at this now it is evident that these are great tips for anyone considering a career in real estate. Mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association . The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE


You Can’t Win Them All, But You Can Increase Your Odds

show-upNo question that frustration levels are high these days. The market is still very hot and competition on offer night is as strong as it has ever been. They used to say that you had to make fifty significant real estate related conversations to get one deal. Today that adage has been tweaked to say that you need to make one hundred connections for the CHANCE to get a deal.
Part of my job as manager is to help agents figure out strategies on winning BEFORE they present. I decided to use this topic as a focus for my Tuesday meeting. Having lots of brains in the room allowed us to work together to come up with ideas on how to improve your chances. Frankly some of them seem very obvious but you would be surprised how often even the simplest idea can lead to victory.
There are the basic winning strategies. Have a well prepared and clean offer, include a large deposit in form of a bank draft, and have your client nearby. These three items should be enough to get you across the finish line. But there are some that may be less obvious. The truth is that it is not always the person with the biggest bag of money who gets the house. On the contrary. A solid offer, with better terms and conditions can beat a higher price more often than you think.
Like a good detective, its important to find out as much as you possibly can about who the seller is, how experienced is their agent, who are you competing with. The answers to this questions may help you in determining your strategy and potential offering price. Also it is important to present well. That means not just looking good, but making sure names are correctly spelled on the offer and that you have multiple copies for each seller even if the eventual offer will be signed digitally. It seems like a silly thing to do but before you head to the offer table ask the listing agent who you will be presenting to. If it is a family of five making decisions for an estate, bring enough copies for everyone in the room.
Ultimately the perfect presentation should include building rapport not just with the listing agent but with the seller. Being understanding yet firm with a sharp mind on the market and comparable sold properties in the neighbourhood will endure you as a professional.
Another helpful hint. After the offer is typed, find yourself a quiet room with no distractions and go over the entire offer line by line. There is nothing worse that wrong clauses, inclusions or names. Many years ago I received an offer on a property from an agent who was obviously in a rush. In an effort to save time, this agent cut and pasted clauses from another offer. When it arrived to me it had the wrong address and seller’s name on one of the schedules, the written deposit amount didn’t match the numeric amount nor did it match the amount on the cheque. Sloppy mistakes like that can cost you a deal very easily and there is nothing worse that having to go back to your buyer and explain why their higher offer was not accepted.
As I said earlier, these tips won’t guarantee you will win but they will increase your odds dramatically. Have any other tips that have worked for you? I would love to hear them. Drop me note.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association . The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE


Financial Habits of Successful Real Estate Professionals

piggybankOver the last few years I have made it a priority to attend the National Association of Realtors (NAR) convention every November. It’s a great learning and network opportunity and a great source of materials for my office meetings. Naturally I am inclined to share tips and tricks with other Realtors. I

It seems that each NAR conference I attended had a different running theme. In 2011, the USA was inching out of a major housing crisis and many of the topics revolved around how to  sell foreclosures. The next year it was all about advertising and using social media to find buyers. The following year we heard about the magical “foreign” buyer. Then it was predictive analytics and cool new apps that were somehow the shiny new object for quick success. While there are still plenty of shiny new tools the overriding theme of this year’s NAR, focused on the profession….the Realtor profession.

Many of the education sessions focused on strategies to build your business by showing how professional you are. Some of the courses offered had titles like “getting smarter, simpler and more effective”, “Preparing for the global shift” and “When trust is high, negotiating is easy”. Lots of catchy titles, but one stuck in particular stood out. It was called the 7 Financial Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Professionals. The description billed it as ways to create long-lasting improvements to your personal and business well-being. At my advanced years (he says only half-joking) I have come to realize that I am not immortal and maybe it’s time I start saving for my retirement (again, only half-joking).

I made notes at the presentation which was given by a woman who was not only a successful Realtor but came from a financial planning background. I made copious notes and presented my findings to my office earlier this week. Without further ago…prepare to be mostly amazed.

  1. Develop and use a business plan. Seems pretty obvious but I have to say that over the many years that I have been in a management role, few agents, despite constant reminders, do not want to develop a business plan. But the few who accurately defined their niche market, known their centres of influence, have a plan to reach people and a budget in place to advertise have ALWAYS been my most successful agents.
  2. Develop and use a budget. Well I just finished building a home and it could not have happened without a budget and accurate tracking of expenses. As self-employed sales people this is a critical piece of our success. Knowing how much you need to survive tells you how much you need to earn. But you need to also keep money aside for tax planning, marketing, personal development, lattes and, yes, retirement.
  3. Separate business from pleasure.Not only does this thought process integral to establishing your business budget but it will prepare you for the inevitable tax audit. I use a simple app called Expensify to track my expenses. Simply take a picture of your receipt using the app and then every week or so, log on to your desktop and drag and drop the receipts into various categories. Easy. I throw out my receipts after taking the pic but I’m a trusting soul.
  4. Hire a tax advisor. For the money, this is the smartest thing you can do. An accountant will maximize your deductions, keep accurate records, will help you eliminate tax surprises in case of an audit.
  5. Understand the risks. Whether they be investment risks, inflation risks or business risks, keeping up with the latest news will go a long way. If you think it prudent, hire a professional to manage your money.
  6. Plan for retirement. The last thing you want to do is out live your savings. This is a tougher one for young new agents entering the profession. They think the market will stay good forever. Truth is, real estate has been a cyclical business. There are peaks and valleys. So the younger you start saving the less you have to save. It’s worth doing the math though. How long do you think you will live and how much money will you need to survive. Factor in other assets and investments and see where you stand.
  7. Lastly, create an estate plan. Make sure you have a will, a solid power of attorney and some medical directives if you wish.

Even if you think you will live forever and are richer than Warren Buffet, these 7 habits will serve you well for years to come. Having been through one real estate cycle already I want to plan better for the next one. I remember a cartoon posted above a Realtor’s desk back in 1990. It simpy said “please God let there be another boom. This time I won’t piss it all away”.




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