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Rick Obst, Real Estate Pro in Eugene, OR

What advice would you give to an agent just starting out in the business?

Asked by Rick Obst, Eugene, OR Sat Sep 3, 2011

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Well, Rick, I stand by my original thought!

An agent has to prospect - has to go out and meet prospective buyers and sellers. It's beneficial to figure out how you're going to do this BEFORE you went out and paid for classes and got licensed and opened up shop.

Sometimes, a new agent will have good reason to get into real estate - they've come from a related field and they have lots of contacts and there are people just waiting to do business with them.

Sometimes, a new agent will wander into the business thinking it's like Target - people will just walk up to them and ask them to write up a purchase or a sale. It ain't like that!

So, it's kind of like a student driver getting on the road and wondering where the brake is. We can give a lot more useful advice to people BEFORE they get into the biz than afterward.

Now that they're in the biz - prospect. Don't market, blog, social network, tweet, email blast - prospect. Meet with actual people who are ready, willing, and able to engage in a real estate transaction, and ask them for their business.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
22 years ago when I was new, my principal broker gave me two pieces of advice that worked! "Go on tour every week and see all the homes you can. At least you can be an expert on what's on the market and be able to use your knowledge for accurate pricing". (I was also new to Eugene so I learned the streetsand neighborhoods. ) To this day I tour as many as I can every week.
and : "Do open houses for other realtors". My first buyers were all from hosting open houses. You'll pick up more buyers by being friendly and not trying to sell them that house. You get a sense for who's approachable and who isn't. Never be pushy!
My additional advice is to join organizations you care about. While you're benefitting from the work you do for or with them, you'll be getting to know people. Avoid self-promotion in those groups. If they like you, they'll use you. I don't belong to networking groups where it's your purpose to get business, but they seem to work for some people.
Training is important, but I agree with an earlier reponse that having a mentor is extremely valuable. That first contract will look daunting. It's aloso a way to deal with that dreaded question "How many listings have you had?" If you can tell them you have an experienced person helping you it helps a lot. Share your first listing with a top producer if necessar. They want to choose you because they LIKE you. But no one wants to be your first client.

And finally, always tell the truth. People appreciate that and you'll soon get a reputation for high integrity. "I don't know if this house has the recalled siding, but I'd be happy to ask the listing agent. Go to home inspections and ask if you can follow the inspector around. You'll learn a lot!
Web Reference: http://www.bennettdean.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
1) Find out which firms in your area provide the best new agent training. Go with the best. Ask around to LOCAL Realtors about the training. Long term, if that firm's not a fit for you, you've still started with a solid training. Take advantage of all the training sessions offered by title companies and other vendors. Most are free and take 1-2 hours. Take advantage of free or low-cost webinars. I'm not a fan of the big national motivational programs (Billy Nye, Brian Buffini, Mike Ferry and many more) but they do work for some people,

2) Select a firm that is well known regionally. (When you say "Hi, I'm Rick Obst with XYZ", you don't want the response to be "Who's XYZ" or "What does XYZ do?" That probably means a large firm, but I don't know the Eugene area.

2) Select a firm that can show you how it using the best technology, and is capable of helping you take advantage of technology. For one example, more than 25% of the searches on Realtor.com on the weekends are from smartphones. You and your firm need to be able to take advantage of that trend.

3) Select an office in that firm that has the right "feel" and size for you.

4) Ask your Principal Broker to pair you with a mentor for the first year. Pay the mentor some pre-agreed percentage (10%-20%) of your net commissions for that first year. Co-list your first three listings with your mentor and split those commissions 50-50..

5) With your mentor's advice, write a simple business plan, set goals for yourself, and meet weekly with your mentor to report your progress. At that meeting write down what you're going to do in the coming week for your business, yourself, and your family. Report how you did next week.

6) Save my email and next March sometime, drop me a line and tell me how you're doing.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Hi Rick,

I am a relative newbie to the industry (3 1/2 years) but have managed to become one of the top producing agents in my area. I attribute that success to a VERY strong internet presence which includes a great website (Real Pro), high ranking in Google and blogging every chance I get to establish myself as the Real Estate Expert in my community. Join Active Rain and use their outside blog--every time I post a blog to Active Rain, within hours I am on the first page of Google for that particular topic.

Best Of Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Rick,
In reviewing your profile I see "Obst Business Solutions Team"
This suggests you have a business vision already in place. The nature of the title suggest you are already in the consultation business and are augmenting this business with some real estate exposure. No brokerage is clearly identified.

This really begs a few questions about your status and intent.
#1. Are you currently with a brokerage? If not, then responses regarding evaluating brokages are useful and in great abundance.

#2. Yes you are with a brokerage. There are many visions of success. Many of these opinions are draped in the results of success but not the essence of success. The core of success is the ability to create choice, the ability to choose who, what, when, why and where. The same will be true with your real estate business. The ability to choose is completely dependent on your ability to generate leads and convert them to clients. From an abundance of leads you are able to choose the type of business you want to create to serve your clients. Without clients, nothing else matters.

#3. What do you have? What do you bring to the table? Where does your passion live? Understanding the response to these question will allow you to focus on the market that will be most productive for you. For instance:
-You may have an extensive database of folks with investments. Perhaps through real estate investing coalitions you can create a exceptional middle position where you benefit from your credentials but never place your sign in a front yard,

-What do you bring? Analytics. You can see potential, calculate costs project profit. This can be a superior B2B opportunity for creating your vertical market with like-minded people. Targeted B2B networking is low cost and very beneficial.

-Where's your passion? For many in this business they will repeat, "Helping people." And it is true. Being the solutions provider for the many owners in a state of perplexed paralysis is essential. Citizens need help, need answers, need solutions, need results, need outcomes, even if they are, in essence, the least worst option.

I've sat in many meeting where a broker has a budget ready to use for whatever purpose needed to benefit the agents in the office. The broker asks, "What do you need?" of the agents pommeled by recent events.
Reduce the coffee fund fee. More reliable or faster wireless connection at office. Faster notification of messages received by receptionist. These agents have lost their way.

It is your responsibility to know your vision and what you need to achieve it. And be aware, you are the only determining factor regarding your success. Your commitment - are you committed to a real estate career or is it a hobby, an accessory? Commitment is what you offer. You and only you determine your success.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Pay attention to your peers, differentiate who is successful from who is not and why that is so. When it comes to leads/deals learn early on that some will, some won't, so what, who's next? Pair up with an experienced loan officer and insist every buyer is well qualified. Be yourself, love what you do, and let it show. Avoid negative people. Have an open mind to change... As it is constant.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Good question, with some good tips so far! I will be checking back as I just got my license not too long ago.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Make sure you carry cards with you everywhere - when you stand in any line waiting - talk to people around you about what you do. Send letters to every one you know and have done business with to let them know what you do - follow up in a week with a phone call. Start a mailing list of people you meet and send them something once a month so they know you are in business. This is a stay in touch type of business - so I hope you communicate frequently and do very well!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
I would suggest using social media sites to share with the world your entry into real estate. Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are good places to start.
Web Reference: http://www.AdrianChu.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Annette, Thank you for your lengthy and insightful response. I specialize in helping Realtors market their listings and businesses online. It's even tougher for new real estate agents to establish themselves in business these days. The question I posted is not so much for myself as it is to engage the Trulia community to offer their experience and advice to new agents such as one of my newest clients. Thank you to everyone who has posted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
You must find a niche. It could be first time buyers, military, short sales, foreclosures or HUD Resales, or church buildings, homes priced under $10,000, etc....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Mack, I work as a virtual assistant for many Realtors in the Eugene, Oregon area. One of my clients is a newer agent and I'd like to pass along expert words of advice from the Trulia real estate community.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Why didn't you talk to me BEFORE you got started?!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
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