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Posts from the ‘The Morning Meeting’ Category

10
Nov

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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5
Jun

Dum Da Da Daaaaa! Where Do Clients Come From?

meeting client picI know you’re dying to find out the results. Earlier this week I sent out a simple message to my agents…”The results of my little survey are in BUT you will have to attend tomorrow morning’s meeting to find out where clients come from. The methods were highly unscientific but the results will be mildly informative (hopefully) and, with any luck, generate some worthwhile conversation”. The heading was also a bit catchy…Dum Da Da Daaa!

I have to admit that I was rather curious too. A few weeks ago I pulled the last 120 deals from our records. I wanted to know two things; Where did the agent meet the client AND how long did they know them before they bought or sold their house. I had a feeling what the top response would be but I was more curious about other responses. It took me some time to contact each agent and ask the questions but in the end I was able to categorize the responses into twelve clear groups. We had a full house at our meeting to unveil the results. Now, if you know me then you know that reading them off is NOT something I do well. I prefer the pomp and circumstance of an event, even if the results aren’t all that exciting so we played the “Realtor Feud” game, pitting the Red team against the Blue team in an epic battle (not really) with the winner getting bragging rights for the day.

Obviously the results will vary but I thought it interesting that the top four responses, representing 67%, came from the people we know the most; past clients and friends. I suppose that makes sense, after all, our past clients and friends know us the best. We are still picking up clients from people we don’t know as well. That’s a good sign and evidence that traditional methods of prospecting work. Flyers, news letters, open houses, sign calls and walk-ins accounted for 15%, family and neighbours accounted for 10%, clients coming from social media and web accounted for 6%, and professional referrals (people you are associated with in business such as referral companies, lawyers, accountants) accounted for 3%.

So the next question is how quick did agents buy or sell homes? Well not surprisingly (again) agents had long-lasting relationships with friends, past clients, family and professional referrals. Social media and web-based clients had the shortest relationship time followed by signs calls, open houses and walk ins. This indicates that clients coming from these sources have done their research and are in the active buying or selling process.

The take away from this little bit of non scientific research is that you need to prioritize your inbound clients. Past clients and friends are on a slow drip campaign when it comes to touching base and follow-up. Online leads, open house and sign call clients are ready and able so deal with them quickly. I believe this little test is further proof that a solid CRM system is a mandatory tool for our business. I would encourage all Realtors to evaluate where their clients are coming from and prioritize their contacts.

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.

22
Apr

Real Estate Jeopardy. The Game Show Meeting Topic

jeopardy gameI run nearly over 90 meetings a year. 45 of them are direct “office meetings”, me standing in front of a group of agents talking about “stuff”. Usually its market related, sometimes I have a special guest or do a panel discussion, occasionally it’s a field trip and sometimes I talk serious stuff about what is happening in the real estate world. I will be the first to admit that while some meetings are awesome (and agents come up to me later and commend me on a great meeting), others are, well, dogs. The good ones I blog about and share. The others I bury like a bad bone.
Some of the time you just want to have fun. A few years ago I brought in a magician. Once I asked the agents to pick their real estate anthem song and sing it. That was hilarious. Today’s meeting was one of those fun ones. They take a long time to prepare but are worthwhile. Over the course of the year I keep track of all the little things agents either forget to do or ask questions about. For this meeting I created categories with those questions and had agents square off Jeopardy style. A lot of the questions are fairly easy but what I find is that it gets everyone talking, and isn’t the whole point to get a conversation going?
So you are probably wondering what the questions were. Well, they ranged from who signs the confirmation of acceptance on an offer to what is the legal rent increase for 2015 in Toronto to Land Transfer Tax rebates to how much first time buyers can withdraw from their RRSP’s.
It took about 45 minutes to get through the 20 questions. We had a ton of fun and I hope that the agents will put this one in their memory banks. By the way, the answers to the above are; The last one to accept an offer, 1.6%, $2000 provincial and $3725 City of Toronto, $25,000 per person. By the way, it’s nice to offer a prize. I had little bags of Jelly Beans for the winners (but basically everyone’s a winner).

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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