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Posts tagged ‘NAR’

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”.

 

 

 

27
Jan

When Bad Things Happen To Good Agents

karma babyRejected, scuttled, jilted and abandoned. These are just some of the words to describe that moment when life hands you a real estate loss. You know, that exact time when the client you’ve been working with for the past few months emails you to say…”hey we were out this weekend and walked into this amazing house AND well, we bought it…isn’t that great?”. Or how about “we were going to list with you but my boss’s wife is an agent and…”. Oh and my favourite (that’s happened to me twice in 2014) “We figured since you were a manager now you wouldn’t be able to help us, so we hired someone else”. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is worse than having to look that person in the eye and congratulate them even though you would rather kick them in the stomach. The reality is that these clients aren’t out to intentionally cause you harm (at least we hope so). They just weren’t thinking.

If you are a Realtor, I have just one thing to say…get used to it. After 25 years in the business, no one knows more than I do that there is no loyalty when it comes to saving a buck and no matter how good you are at staying connected, one of your clients is going to buy or sell a property without you. It’s how you recover that defines your career. Someone once told me that when you get bad news, you should take 24 hours to cool down. Formulate your response but keep it under your hat. The hotter you are the longer you need to cool down before you press send. I would be the first to admit that there are times when I don’t necessarily follow that very sage advice. When (and if) the sting subsides, find out what went wrong. Was it just a timing thing? Was the new agent at the right place at the right time? What did they say that sealed the deal? I believe it’s important to have that “exit interview” in order to learn from the experience. Maybe, if you acted quicker, you could have saved the deal.

So what can you do when you get that inevitable call? First and foremost…take a deep breath. This is only a minor setback. There is truth to the old saying, ‘what goes around comes around’. That basically means that one day you will be the guy that fluked into a deal that some other agent was hoping to close. So hold your head high and keep those clients in your data base. NAR reported that over 70% of home buyers and sellers never hear from their agents once the transaction closes. This is your hall pass to return the favour. Send them flowers, congratulate them on the purchase (or sale). Work that CRM like no one else. Trust me, nothing is as constant as change. Those clients will move again and when the time is right they will look to the person who has been by their side the whole time.

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.

5
Jan

The RealtyLab Top Five Posts of 2014

top 5 RL 2014Happy New Year everyone. I hope that you are as excited as I am to start 2015 off with a bang. I find myself in such a great place these days. In 2014 I ran 1300 kilometres including two half-marathons, and was elected to President Elect of Toronto Real Estate Board. In addition I took on the position of Creative Director of Bosley Real Estate and grew my office significantly. All and all, I would put 2014 in the “win” category. We will just have to wait to see how 2015 unfolds, but I have already laid out my goals, although they are more like hopes, dreams and aspirations.
With all the other “stuff” that I was doing, my blog took a bit of a beating. While I actually collected a few more followers last year, I recorded fewer views because I was writing less. Finding time is increasingly becoming a challenge. Still and all, I had a couple of successes, so without further ado, I present the top five posts of 2014.

5. In this post I posed a simple question. Would our lives as realtors be easier if the Seller paid the listing agent and the buyer paid the buyer’s agent. Kind of an interesting theory once you work out how to roll the buyer agent’s commission into the purchase price. it is certainly one revolving topic around our office.

4. Nearly a year ago we had an office meeting where we discussed the pain of losing a listing presentation. What emerged was a discussion on removing all the variables from the equation. Being prepared seemed to be the most important point of the exercise, but the office got a lot out of this shared experience.

3. No other post received as much discussion. It revolved around the multiple offer scenarios. In this case we played out a fake multiple offer where the listing agent held back the highest offer but then made counter offers to each of the lowest offers. Confusing? Only a lot. At the end of the day, this type of negotiating required nerves of steel. The ultimate response was just to set the ground rules early and negotiate in good faith.

2. Back in November 2013 I was lucky enough to attend the National Association of Realtor’s Convention in San Francisco. Although the conference has a distinctly U.S. feel, every Realtor should endeavour to attend one NAR in their lifetime. I made a ton of notes but it took me a few months to actually blog about predictive marketing. In a nut shell, predictive marketing was done by a company that could analyze a series of seller events to predict the likelihood of them selling their home. It’s not as crazy as it seems.

1. And, the number one post of 2014 was a story I wrote about the return of the real estate brand. In this early entry I theorized that commission was no longer a competitive advantage for Realtors entering the business. Today’s Realtors need to perform above and beyond the general real estate population if they were to survive and given the enormity of that task, a newer agent might want to consider working with a brand that did a lot of the heavy lifting.

So there you have it. RealtyLab’s top 5 blog posts of 2014. I’m looking forward to breaking new ground in 2015 and hope that you will check in to see what I will write about in 2015.

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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