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Denise Lewis, Real Estate Pro in Oak Park, IL

I recently passed my state exam. (Yea ME!!) Seriously, I am a new agent looking for advice on where and how do

Asked by Denise Lewis, Oak Park, IL Fri Feb 27, 2009

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1) My advice is to join a national chain GMAC, Re/Max, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's are my top picks for training competent Realtors. I can't tell you how many times I’ve received offers on homes that the contracts will filled out halfway, paragraphs left blank, etc., just plain sloppy. National chains (and some local offices) will take the time to sit round tables, train their Realtors and instill a professionalism in them because it will lead to more money for that office!

2) The next thing I would do is get a website. Statistics show that 80%+ of homebuyer’s people start their home research online.

3) No one will be able to "tell" you how things will go and every situation/deal is different. You will learn with experience. Ask questions, lots of questions. If you do not know something, even if it's filling out a contract properly - your broker is always there to help. Never guess on anything always ask!

4) The way you treat your clients will start a referral stream and bottom line that is where you will get your leads.

5) Finally, just be diligent, LISTEN to potential clients and pass your cards OUT TO EVERYONE!

Good luck!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009

First of all, some very good advice thus far.

When I first entered the business in 2003, the market was moving at a very brisk pace. I encourage you to seek out the advice of agents who have entered the profession over the past year. When you interview, it may be a good idea to ask the managing broker to refer you to someone who recently started in their company and treat them to lunch. Find out how they are making it in that particular organization.

I was lucky enough to have a large contact base, which proved useful in getting client referrals. The first thing you need to demonstrate is competency before referrals will come your way. The earlier suggestions for acquiring a mentor are useful in this case.

I would also recommend trying to find an established group or team to become part of. You'll find yourself working a lot of weekend open houses, but you'll also find that this is the best way to meet potential clients.

The most important this that I can impart is to be very observant and listen twice as much as you speak. You'll find that agents are often very long winded and will pass on quite a bit of experience without solicitation!

Best of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009

My piece of advice would be to assemble a strong team around you - attorney, lender, inspector. It is important to have someone with whom you have developed a relationship.

Either I or my partner would be happy to sit down with you and discuss how we deal with our clients as real estate attorneys. Feel free to contact me at any time.


Paul Garver
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Dear Denise,

Congratulations on passing your exam, and good luck to you in your real estate career. There are a million things that I (and other Realtors) could suggest that you do, but I'll try to bullet point my suggestions.

Read "Your Successful Real Estate Career" by Kenneth Edwards. It's a great starting point for what to look for and expect if you're new to real estate.

Take a look at a number of company's advertising (both online and print), and call on the companies (and/or specific agents) whose advertising you respond to. You might be more comfortable starting somewhere with like minded agents or with a like minded client focus. Which companies are focused on the geographic areas that you'd like to focus on.

The business especially when you begin is about leads and prospects. In some of the larger companies or working with the most successful agents, there may be a lot of leads generating. But the question is how many of those leads will flow down to you? The number of leads that you can generate directly to you or pick up and work with directly will determine how well you do in the business (especially in the beginning and in a historically tough market).

Compensation and employment agreement with your brokerage will obviously be one of the most important if not the most important aspect of your decision about where to hang your license. By compensation and employment agreement I mean what percentage of commissions that you generate will be yours and what percentage will be the brokerage's- as well as what costs you have to cover by yourself as opposed to what costs the brokerage will cover for you (advertising, licensing, continuing education, etcetera).

Other than that I’d focus on places that feel right to you. If you have a lot of questions, then you might want to go somewhere where the managing broker (or other agents in the office) seem to have enough down time that they can sit with you and answer your questions or even go out with you on appointments with clients. If you’re nervous about face to face or phone work, then you might want to go somewhere where most of the leads or business is generated via the internet.

There are a million questions that could be asked, but if you’d like to talk about it feel free to give me a call. I talk faster than I type. Let me know if you have any questions. And good luck once again.

Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty
773-418-0640 (cell)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Before you even think about meeting brokers sit down and write out exactly what is important to you in order for you to succeed. Things to consider:

1) How tech savvy are you? Do you have the funds to invest in the latest technology?
2) How strong is your personal network? Can you count on them or do you need someone to give you consistent leads to stay afloat while you build yourself up?
3) What kind of reserve funds do you have? This is not a business you can really do as a part-timer. If you have a 9-5 it's going to take you an extra 40 hours a week on top of that to get where you need to be

I can tell you from personal experience that the big-box companies are great for a lot of things but support isn't one of them. You might get a couple hours with the broker right in the beginning to show you the absolute basics but don't expect leads and mentoring opportunities to come knocking at your door. My recommendation is to find a medium sized company that will committ to matching you up with a mentor. Plan on doing a lot of "intern" type work because that's how you'll learn the ins and out of the business. Open houses are great but you really want job shadowing opportunities to directly see your mentor interact with clients, take angry phone calls, and put out fires of all sorts that are the hallmark of this business.

You should also bring in your mentor on your first half dozen deals to make sure you're not short changing your customers. They'll feel more confident choosing you knowing that you have a season pro there to back you up every single step of the way.

If you have more specific questions I'd be happy to chat with you more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Interview at least five brokers before you make a decision, find someone to mentor you, do open houses for them, ask them what website company they use, how to set up a website, take floortime when available.Find a mortgage broker to help you qualify new buyers, there may be an in house broker to help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
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