When this blog says Adventures in Rookie Real Estate, for me that is completely true-I am a real rookie. I have only been in the business for a little over a year and a half. My background is in Engineering sales and business development and life insurance. I went into this thinking how hard can this be. Well a year and a half later I can answer that question-VERY HARD. I have never been in a business where you end up working so much for little return. Yes people, even my husband, see us working from home, having a flexible schedule and think we have it so easy. I swear I really think my husband thinks when I am working from home I am really sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching Ellen and Dr Phil. Well here is some news, from morning until night I am always working on something. This has to be the hardest job I have had with little payoff. May be after I have in this business for a while it will get easier, but right now it is not. My anxiety level over this job can sometimes be through the roof. It is not just getting clients that can be a problem-it is getting them to buy that can be the problem. I have lost many deals simply because no matter how much urgency I put into the situation, for one reason or another they want to wait and then it is too late. You can bring a horse to water, know and convince them that they are thirsty, but you still cannot make them drink. It can be quite frustrating. I have some clients I would like to hit them over the head to get the deal done. So the question is with all this work for the past year and a half with little pay-off really worth it? Do you walk away or do you keep working hoping that change is right around the corner. It is a gamble. And being so new I cannot answer that question. I just know that I feel like I have put so much into this job to make it work that I want to see a pay off and somewhere inside me I really believe I will. But if you are new like I am or even thinking about going into this business-make no mistake, it is a hard business. When you are new, there is nothing that is easy about it. I was asked recently if I regretted getting into real estate. To be honest, I am not. I have a strong belief in myself and know that all I am doing will pay off at some point. I honestly never in a million years this would end up being the hardest job I have ever had. And the most expensive. So that is my reflection being a rookie in real estate
In the early stages of my career, I never took the time to see what was really working for me. However at the end of 2011, I made the decision to hold myself completely accountable and frankly….kick ass in 2012.
I spent the last couple of weeks of the year self evaluating every detail of what I did in my business. Obviously, 2011 was a little different due to my little hiatus I took over the year. But nonetheless, there were some victories and some failures. I took a step back and learned from them all. This helped my create my plan for 2012.
This is what I decided I have to do in 2012:
1. Blog every day starting today. Blogging has always been my thing. I was blogging before blogging was cool. I slacked of within the last year and I had to deal with the consequences. My many blogs have brought me a lot of successes and I am committed to making it a priority.
2. Continue to be active within the local and national associations. I have found that by being apart of association committee’s has helped me be able to serve my clients better.
3. Get back to the basics. Yes, social media has worked for me. But it’s not everything. In November and December I really focused on calling my sphere. It has helped my land a new listing coming on the market and 2 pending sales in the last week or so. I guess it really does work. I have also been sending weekly emails to my investor clients. There are so many amazing deals and my emails include the best of the best deals. From the responses I have received from them, I can tell its sparking their interest.
4. Learn something new. I am so over the whole social media stuff. I get it. I need to focus on finding new ways to grow my business that doesn’t involve updating my Facebook status.
5. Be Thankful. I’m still here and kicking. I have a lot of cool people on my side
I can honestly say 2011 ended well and its flowing thru into 2012. This is going to be a great year! I am going to push myself as hard as I can to make all my goals this year come true. Cheers to 2012!
I recently made a huge change and went to a different brokerage. Prior to meeting my broker, I hadn’t even thought about a change. I was perfectly content where I was.
We got the chance to connect at a couple of events and really got to know each other.
After getting to know each other, I felt it would be the perfect move for me. My broker was just this super happy, positive and supportive person. I felt I needed that.
I always see these somewhat obnoxiously happy people and wonder how that can be real. How can you be that happy all of the time?
After being with my new broker for a little over two months now, I get it. This has been the best couple of that I have had in a long time. I am thinking big. I am being more creative and I feel refreshed. The biggest change I have notices is this: I am more connected to my clients, friends, family and tweeps. Being positive and being in a positive environment has completely helped my confidence. If you were to see me in my office, my chin would be up and I would have a smile on my face.
So this has to mean something right? Being positive, brings positive things? I have to think that it does. My business is already improving just because of me simply having a positive attitude.
So my plan is to keep the positive attitude. It can only get better from here.
My office VP recently told me a this and I thought it applied to my current situation:
“I do truly believe that attitude is 90% of success.”-Brian Bolier
There are many things that I have let hold me down in the past. I let this happen by my own choosing. I have now made the choice to not let the mistakes I have made in the past leave a shadow over what I am doing now.
Its time for me to reinvigorate my business. I have a new focus. Not to be selfish, but its all about me. I’m not scared to start over.
Lucky for me, I have so many colleagues available to give me advice . Dont be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of people out there that are more than willing to give you a push.
If there is something not working in your business plan, re-evaluate it and make changes as you go a long. Look at people who are successful and try to see what they are doing. Look at your failures and makes sure you don’t repeat them. People in any business fail from time to time, so don’t be hard on yourself. Be confident in yourself and don’t give up.
When there’s a social backdrop such as there is in a club (see Networking, Part 1), it’s a bit easier to find some common ground to get the conversation going, or perhaps there’s an activity involved that naturally opens lines of communication. On the other hand, I find that industry events or those cocktail hours that are set up for the sole purpose of networking can be tough to ease into.
But first, why is networking in the industry even important? Well, for starters, it’s an opportunity to meet others who also work in your industry but might be in other roles, such as mortgage brokers, attorneys, commercial agents, etc. We work with some of these people on nearly every deal, so by establishing these relationships you can start developing a power team of people you might want to work with in the future. Plus, networking within the industry can set up a cycle of referrals that could mean additional income down the line. I recently had someone come into my office looking for a storefront so that she could open up a nail salon. I don’t work with retail space, but through some past networking I know a couple of commercial agents who I trust that might appreciate the referral (and maybe they will return the favor in the future, or perhaps there is potential for me to collect a referral fee). It’s not always easy to meet these people through the natural course of business, especially if you are brand new to the industry, so look into some local professional networking events to develop your list of contacts.
I find that these networking events can be very intimidating, so here is a list of some tips that I collected over the past year that have helped me be a little more confident in those situations:
- Have a 30-second elevator speech prepared. Rehearse this before you go in. What do you do? Do you have an area of expertise that others in the room might find valuable?
- Have plenty of business cards and a pen to write notes on the back of cards you receive from others. Step aside when you can to jot down things that you want to remember later, such as their interests or keywords that will remind you of any stories they might have shared. You want to be able to reference this in later correspondence so that they remember who you are.
- It shouldn’t be a contest to see who gets the most business cards. Trading cards and moving to the next handshake is more likely to have your card end up in the trash. Spend some time talking to people and get to know them. You’ll remember them better and chances are that they will remember you better too.
- Go to events with a goal (and again, this goal should not be about collecting cards). Maybe this is “meet five really solid contacts” or “find a new mortgage broker to begin developing a relationship with.” If you set a goal and stick to it, you increase your chances of making the event worthwhile for you.
- People like to talk about themselves. Ask questions. Be an engaged participant.
- Let’s be honest though - not everyone is a joy to talk to. When you find yourself in a dead-end conversation with someone you are not interested in, give yourself permission to find a polite way to exit so that you can meet someone else. Don’t waste their time and don’t let them waste yours. You might also want to use that pen you brought to discreetly make some kind of notation on the card they gave you to remind you later that they might not be worth following up with.
- Follow up with your new contacts by sending an email the next day saying how nice it was to meet them. Include a mention of something you talked about to add a personal touch. Continue to follow-up with them in the coming months if appropriate.
Sounds a lot like dating, doesn’t it? But it’s one way of meeting new people who can help your business in many ways down the line. Besides, you get your face out there and you establish yourself as a serious player in the industry.
Do you have any other tips? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
I recently met a loan officer @Alex_Stenback . We were talking about business and how I got into real estate. He asked a question, that honestly I had a hard time answering. He asked “What is your goal for the year?”. I honestly had no clue. I have never really set goals. I guess you could say this is bad.
I took the evening to look back at what I have done over the years. Starting in the title end. I ended up in the closing side after college. I had no clue what I wanted to do for a career. I went to a temp agency and they happen to place me at Burnet Title. I almost instantly fell in love. I love the energy, the challenges and the growing up I did while I was there. I started there at 19 and worked there for 6.5 years. I was known for doing a great job, handling a high volume of closings and I became the go to person for questions.
Towards the end of my time there, I began to realize that I wanted more. I needed a bigger challenge and I wanted to be more involved with the entire transaction. So I took a big leap and got my real estate license.
It was very intimidating. I believed that I could just jump right in and be successful. Obviously wasnt the case. It was hard work. I struggled for a very long time. Almost quit once because I didn’t think I could make it. I started this blog in the beginning of my career. I had a hard time finding real life experiences from other agents. I thought maybe it was my job to share my experiences, good or bad. It works for me and I think many appreciate me being so honest about what’s going on in my career.
The good news us, this past year, has been epic for me. I have had one of the best years yet and the opportunities have great. It’s all clickin’. I think I may have it figured out.
As far as a goal, I really have no clue. I’m terrible at setting goals. However its something I have to consider.
I connected a few years ago with Nick Baldwin. He was a fairly new agent with Keller Williams in Montclair, NJ.
I have noticed him over the past year or so, really standing out over other agents. He seemed to connect with people in such a way that his business has grown tremendously.
1. When was JMRE started?
2. Whats your background in real estate?
I am coming up on my third year in real estate this year. There are a couple of reasons I started my career as a Realtor. One, is because my mother, Roberta Baldwin, has been a Realtor for 15 years and she already had a very established team called The Baldwin Dream Team. We are now working out of Keller Williams Realty in Montclair, NJ. The other reason was, as my relationship with my now wife grew more serious, she wanted me to pick a career path that had more of a solid future. Needless to say, three years later, I’m still doing this. I entered the job at a very shaky time for the country financially, and I managed to close 13 transactions my first year.
Right now, I’m primarily serving all of Essex, and parts of Morris, Union, and Bergen Counties in New Jersey.
My wife and I noticed that many of her friends that were getting married in Michigan (her home state) were buying homes very soon after the wedding. Not to mention, about 60% of my client base is young couples in their late 20′s to early to mid 30′s, who have been married two years or less. Then it dawned on me that there should be a real estate service geared towards them, and only them, to help them step by step through the home buying process. As a newlywed myself, I can totally relate to them on this level.
We don’t offer physical products, although I may be giving away some coffee mugs. HAHA!!! This service is focused on helping the newlywed make smart choices in today’s market, especially financially. A wedding can be draining on the bank account, so buying a home that still gives you room to breathe is very important. On the website we have mortgage calculators to help them make these wise decisions. Also, chosing the town that they are most comfortable with, with a school district that’s right for their children is something else that I will guide them through. I also have a full MLS feature on the site that will give them up to the minute info on any property currently listed for sale in the Garden State MLS. Or, if they are still planning their wedding at the same time as their home search, I have a feature on the site where they can fill out a short questionnaire about what they are looking for in a new home, and I will take that information and search for homes for them so they can be focused on planning their big day.
The reason I am focusing on these couples is because these are people who are going through a big moment in their lives. They are making a lifelong commitment to each other and they deserve the extra attention from a service that is meant for them. There are Realtors out there that brand themselves so many different things. “The Millionaire Realtor,” “The Celebrity Realtor,” and whatever else you can come up with. Newlyweds are a huge market. A lot of people get married and they deserve someone who is basically their Realtor.
I believe the fact that I am in the same boat as they are gives me the upper hand. Granted, I won’t be a newlywed forever, but when the average age if a Realtor is 51, I’ve got many, many years of JMRE ahead of me.
I am huge on my BlackBerry usage, so smart phones are a must. In a world of texting, BBM, e-mail, instant message, Facebook, twitter…the list goes on…I am always quick to respond. The new BlackBerry Tablet is being released soon as well, so I will be able to take the MLS with me on the go when I’m with clients. Technology is evolving everyday and it’s important for me to keep up with it to help the business grow.
The future looks very bright! In the short time that the service has been out there, it’s been getting a lot of positive, local attention. I officially trade marked the name and the logo, so I am now able to give it the big push I have been waiting for. My goal for the service is to expand nationally – to have a network of Realtors connected to the Just Married Real EstateSM service. People get married all over the USA, so why not have a Just Married Real EstateSM in every major housing market? It just makes sense!
Just that this is the perfect time for newlywed couples to buy. Interest rates are low and the country is “on sale.” In some cases, you can own for the same price as renting. Sometimes less. Like a marriage, buying a house takes a lot of compromise, so couples should be ready to give and take. ”You Found the Key to Your Heart, Now Find the Key to Your Home,”with Just Married Real Estate SM
One important lesson that I have learned lately, is that you can’t always find support in your office. When I moved to Edina Realty a few years back, I knew the majority of the agents in my office. I thought, hey this will be a great office for me to work in. But just like many offices, people are generally more geared towards support their own business.
I started to look else where. I found the YoPro’s through the Minneapolis Association of Realtors and that has been a tremendous help!
I also found a huge network of people throughout the Twin Cities tat all support each other. I found these people through Twitter. This proves that social media does work. My opportunities have grown so much because of the people I have chosen to connect with. It amazing how my business and my focus has changed.
There are days like today, that I feel like throwing in the towel. I had a buyer become disqualified due to purchasing a vehilcle over the weekend. I feel like every single deal is taking so long to close. When I break down the costs of every deal, its pretty much a wash. It seems as if there is so much fighting against me.
But then I look back and realize why I chose to do this is the first place. The reasons are below.
1. I love real estate
2. It’s all I have ever known
3. I wanted to be in control of my business
4. I have the sense of being an entreptenuer
5. I have goal and if I dont make them, I will feel like a failure.
I always think back to these things. They help me turn a rough day around.
Thought I would share. I’m currently working on a business idea and this is the advice from one of my clients I work with. I asked how hard/easy it was for him in the beginning. He had years of experience under his belt. This is what he had to say!
“I had the luxury at the time of disconnecting myself from a partnership in a very friendly way (my best friend was the managing partner, and the reasons for me leaving were generally amicable . . . at least hadn’t gotten to the point of being angry) with a modest “book of business” consisting of some reliable clients who knew and paid me regularly, and a “buffer” of cases that would consistently yield revenue for a year or two (these were tax appeal cases, which I did at the time on a contingent fee basis; I had full control of them, but no real long term potential for a “relationship” with the property owners; it was a one and done deal in virtually every case).
Basically, what I had was eighteen months to make it, to bring down sustaining clients who spent enough, but not too much, money with me (i didn’t want one or two “big” clients, because the consequence of losing that one client was too great).
It took about 30 months… things got very lean for about a year (about at lean as they have been latedly, as a matter of fact). I took in enough to pay bills that second/third year, and occasionally collected a check. I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but there was a minor recession and a stagnant development climate that directly affected my ability to generate client revenue. And when you are the only profit center, you have no ability (as I’d had before) to walk down the corridor to a partner’s office, and ask if he/she needed any help on stuff.. No organized support structure. With a spouse in school, a harridan waiting to scratch my eyes out if I was late with a child support payment, a babe to feed, mortgage payments, rent payments, insurance ,. . . it was scary.
The good new is you find out who your friends are, and who you can trust. You find out whether, in fact, you have reasons to be confident in your abilities . . . and you will examine absolutely every weakness and failing you have and work on them (or, if you don’t, you will go nuts/become a drunk/find some other way to wreck yourself). It is a gut check, . . . and in my case, if it hadn’t worked out, I would not have starved or died, but my image of myself as a good, effective, skilled, and fully professional attorney would have suffered irreparable harm. I succeeded (so far) in being self-sufficient and competitive, but it was not a given, by a long shot, for a long long time.”