I've asked around to a few of my most trusted peers in Collin County, TX, and found that the one piece of advice they would share with a new agent is:Â Trust your gut.
Sometimes, your gut will tell you that you are: 1. About to work with a difficult client. 2. About to attempt to sell an unsellable house. 3. Spending too much time with people for too little income.Â 4. Mis-matched from the very start.Â
Listen to your gut.Â You are very likely correct.Â The decisions you have to make, when your gut tells you that the circumstances you face aren't favoring you, will be difficult ones.Â But, if you make the right one, you will realize that a little discomfort is worth it.Â This industry comes with a big responsibility - to have honest and truthful conversations with people that are not always going to be pleasant.Â Being tactful as you have those candid conversations is a must.Â
1.Â The difficult client.
You just thought you knew difficult people before you got into real estate.Â Now, you get to see people making what is likely their single largest investment.Â Melt-downs are fairly common - for them, and unacceptable - for you.Â You are their expert.Â You must remain calm at all times.Â But, you also have to draw an imaginary line for yourself.Â Determine what you'll take from people.Â You aren't a door mat.Â My own philosophy is that nobody gets to speak to me in a way that I would not tolerate from my spouse.Â I have a great spouse.Â He doesn't yell, he isn't mean,Â and he would neverÂ give me the cold shoulder.Â He's actually really cool to be around.Â If I'm going to be your expert, you're going to be pretty cool to be around.Â One time in 9 years, I asked a gentleman to remove himself from my vehicle.Â I'mÂ very good about staying out of the conversations that occur between couples in the car during a home tour.Â But, on day 3 of a home tour, I had just about all the witnessing of disrespect directed toward his wife that I could tolerate from this man.Â He and I left the vehicle, and I advised him that I am a self-employed individual and he crossedÂ over a limit that I maintain in my business.Â I offered to have the broker come pick them up and return them to their car, or we could agreeÂ that there are limitsÂ to acceptable behavior and continue on withÂ the home search.Â He thought for a minute and apologized.Â He apologized to me and to his wife.Â We continued on the home search, found the home, and the rest of he transaction came off without a hitch.Â He could have opted to discontinue the home search, which is something I would have had to be okay with, since I was the one who drew the line in the sand.Â Â Â Be respectful, be calm, and have the integrity to not allow people to cross over you own personal boundaries.
2.Â The unsellable house.
The public assumes that if you list a home for sale,Â it isÂ reasonable to assume that their home will sell.Â But, the reality is that not every home sells in a single cycle.Â Some homes take 2, 3, 4, or more buyer cycles.Â Other homes just don't sell, and get the reputation of being the 'unsellable' house.Â When you see the signs, you have to have the guts, as a Texas Realtor, to tell people that they have the potential of being that unsellable house.Â More often than not, it is because the sellers discount theÂ objections that a buyer may have to their home in comparison to others.Â Location is a big one.Â Condition is another.Â Price goals that areÂ out of whack with comparative sales are also a cause.Â The last thing any seller wants to be is the home that took over a year to sell.Â Â But, it happens.Â An agent can give a home all the exposure possible, and yet a buyer may not select it.Â Solicit feedback, and follow up to ensure the feedbackÂ is really related to what specifically was liked or disliked about that particular home in the buyers' minds.Â Of the homes the buyer toured (maybe 8-10 homes in an average showing appointment), was this home #2 or #10? And, why?Â Now, share that information with the owners.Â Be real with the client.Â Your job is provide options to them to become the sellable house.Â It is best to get them on board right from the start.Â Overcoming objections upÂ frontÂ is best.Â If not possible, then you have no choice than to price the home with the objections addressed and explaining to the seller why theÂ list price needs to be lower.Â TakingÂ the listing, and then correcting along the way, is the more popular route.Â Â
3.Â Working below the minimum wage is called CHARITY.
Think of yourself as aÂ free-standing business.Â Just because your office is in your car and in your home doesn't make this any less a business.Â Treat it with respect.Â Â Fast-foodÂ restaurants are a great example.Â They give you a previewÂ sign in case you aren't sure what you want (we preview homes online in much the same way), and some have 2-3 windows for service.Â The goal - get you through the line quickly, but with a pleasant experience, so you want to return.Â Same with real estate.Â As a business owner, you must always compare the amount of time it will take to service the clients needs against the time you put into it.Â Total time needs to be taken into account - phone interviews, computer searches, previewing homes online together, meetings at the office, time touring properties, writing the offer, and managing the details to the closing table.Â On occasion, you'll be asked to take on a client that is going to put you in the hole financially.Â You'll spend way more time with them than you should, and your bottom line will result in having worked for just cents per hour.Â Literally.Â Cents per hour.Â BELOW minimum wage.Â You have to decide if these cases are charity, and you are really volunteering your time, or if they are a time-waster.Â It is tough in a self-employed business to say 'no, thank you' to a client opportunity.Â But, over time, you'll learn that you must do this to stay in business.Â Like any other business, you have expenses and a wage that should be expected for your efforts.Â No apologies.Â There will not be a time when you regret having turned away what you know was a negative transaction from the start.
4.Â Mis-matched agents and clients.
If you aren't the type who can tolerate many different personality styles, then you have no business in real estate.Â Again, think of yourself as a free-standing business with a frontÂ door, through which all sorts of clients will enter.Â Some of those will be looky-loo clients, some will be serious clients, and others might be serious clients, but not easy for you to serve.Â Only you can decide how far you're willing to go to accommodate that client.Â If you aren't happy, then the chances are that,the client isn't that happy with you, either.Â A difficult relationship is uncomfortable for bothÂ of you, and makes it very hard to build trust and rapport.Â With a little experience, you will come to recognize the clients with whom you work the best, and your targeted marketing program willÂ attract your best clients yourÂ direction.Â Until then,Â you are earning the thick skin that will see you through your career in real estate.Â In the beginning, you may just have to grin and bear it, as they say.Â Later on, you can recognize a mis-matched client, and introduce them to an agent you know who is better suited to serve them.Â They'll be happier, and so will you.Â There is nothing wrong with admitting that there may be an agentÂ whoÂ can serve the customers' needs better and asking if you can make an introduction.Â
It isn't always a personality type that causes a mis-match.Â Hours of the day, and days of the week can cause friction.Â Personally, I start work at 7am.Â So, a 6pm showing tour is not going toÂ make me a happy camper.Â Why?Â I normally stop working at 7pm.Â Â I would have already put in 11 hoursÂ that day, and now it's going to be a 13-14 hour day.Â Is anybody happy about working 13-14 hours in a singleÂ day?Â It's pretty exhausting, and it creeps into my already limited personal, family time.Â I would much rather have that buyer wait until the weekend to see homes if they cannot start their tourÂ earlier than 6pm.Â I know other agents who would not ever dream of working on a Sunday.Â Every agent is a freelance contractor and sets their own schedule.Â If a buyer can only look for homes on weekends, and wants both Saturday and Sunday to tour homes, then that particular agent is not going to be well-suited for that client.Â There isn't a buyer's agent around who hasn't sacrificed their schedule for a customer.Â Â But, doing it too often makes for a very unhappy agent, and possibly problems on the homefront as well.Â Â Success in real estateÂ demands time and personal commitment - and some sacrifice of time by the agent's family.Â
Trust your gut, set your boundaries, and be flexible without sacrificing too much.Â
Have a blessed day!
Ronda Allen - Realtor
Certified Purchasing Manager - C.P.M.
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource - SFR
Texas Affordable Housing Specialist - TAHS
CEO of comingsoonhomes.com since 2005
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs
#1 OfficeÂ for RE/MAX in theÂ North Texas region 2009!
Follow us on twitter:Â www.twitter.com/comingsoonhomesÂ and http://www.twitter.com/prospertxhomes
Friend me on Facebook:Â Ronda Wise Allen
Your client referrals R always welcome!