The first year in real estate is hard. Passing an exam doesn’t prepare you for what your day to day will look like as a new realtor.
James and Monica share their own stories from when they were first-year agents and what they did to take their careers to where they are today.
This episode will cover the hardships of being a first-year realtor, how to grow your real estate career, the day-to-day and how that changes over time, the power of open houses, marketing budgets and what to focus on, understanding home inspections, ongoing learning and finding your own niche as a realtor.
Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.
Read the Transcript Here
Hi everyone, I’m James Garbutt. And I’m Denny Dumas. And this is the Garbutt Dumas Real Estate Podcast.
James: Your first year in real estate is hard.
Monica: I’m surprised I’m still here.
James: That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Let’s, you know I’m in the realm of becoming a bit of a veteran. So I’m going to be going back on some technology here. I started real estate in 2008. And Monica, you started a little later than I.
Monica: Yeah, about 10 years later.
James: So different eras, different experiences. And I think we both want to acknowledge that it’s, it’s hard. It’s hard at first.
Monica: It is hard. Just if anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re lying. It’s hard.
James: Where do we begin with this one?
Monica: I want to hear some of James Garbutt’s horror stories from year one, and then we’ll talk about, we’ll give you some direction just power through some horror stories. Let’s hear one James.
James: Let’s help, help you visualize. This is, this is 2008. It is a time. It is a fax machine era. This is a you need signatures and initials for any adjustment in a contract, in person. So my evenings would be running around to different clients to get different signatures and emails. And when we would get an accepted offer, sometimes these things were so illegible, like you couldn’t read them that you would send the official contract that was unreadable but and then you’d send a version that was like two faxes prior. And then you’d send a version that was two faxes prior to that. So they could see…
Monica: The initials are like slowly disappearing !
James: See the progress of the disappearing contract that’s no longer readable. So that was some of the logistical challenges. But I think for me, I had a I guess I had the benefit of running a painting business for five years in the summer when I was going to university and college and what that did is
I, I got outside of my comfort zone early. So I wasn’t nervous to knock on doors or cold call or ,or just do something that I wasn’t doing prior. So you know, it took me three months to get my first deal and six months to get that first paycheck. And I remember those first. I got licensed in March, early March 2008. And the market was at a, at a peak and it was about to crash. And I remember those times because I could see the inventory building up the sales, you know, diminishing, I didn’t know any other market any better.
But I knew that everyone that was selling for the previous few years had a much easier than what the market was turning into. And getting a listing was hard, you know, so getting a listing I was chasing whatever I could get. Expired listings, for sale by owners and my goal was just to get in the door and you know, a for sale by owner, expired listing is getting solicited by multiple agents. So sometimes you have to just do anything to just say “Look, I have a buyer interested, I want to see your property, can I can I just take a look?”
And ultimately I’d set up an appointment, I got better at qualifying them and better at setting up those appointments. And I would bring in a more seasoned agent in the office to join me and I’d split the commission with them. And what that did is I got to see the approach of a few different Realtors. And I think one thing when it comes to listing presentations, there’s a lot of advice out there. There’s a lot of strong suggestions. This is how you do a listing presentation. But what I found is, if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably not the right approach for you. And after going through listing presentations with three or four different agents, I kind of found one agent that, I just loved his approach. It was more in line with me.
And so I got more competence in how I approach a listing presentation to get those listings because it’s, it’s always easier being a Realtor when you have something to sell and and when you don’t have anything to sell, I mean you better work buyers as best they can but the, my goal was just the time to focus on listings, it’s time to focus on buyers and there’s a time to focus on learning. And it was kind of figuring out that dance. That was that was the challenge. So before I ramble on too much, 2008 at the fall of 2008 was a big market crash. And leading that year the first year it’s mostly buyers that I was working with. But when I had an opportunity to do an open house for another agent, or when I landed one of these for sale by owner or expired listings. I would work open houses as much as possible. And a lot of that was just trying to meet neighbours and invite all the neighbours, to drop flyers in on the neighbourhoods. If it was a townhouse complex, I’d leave a flyer on everyone’s door saying come to the open house. And then at the open house, I would just try to be as personable as possible and leave that open house with a few opportunities or leads.
Monica: Oh yeah. The open house racket is where it’s at if you’re a new agent. I, all of my business that I got, all of my easy business that I got in my first year in real estate was from open houses. There’s a lot of more complicated business out there that you can definitely go get but people that typically go to open houses want to buy or sell.
Monica: That simple.
James: I mean, I have one example of one of the first For Sale By Owner listings I had was a townhouse in Burnaby. And I didn’t sell it but from that open house I got a neighbour that was more reasonable and I did sell their place and help them buy and then when the sign was out front I had another neighbour call and I sold their place and help them buy. And the trickle down effect is still paying dividends today. I’m still getting referrals from the same original group. And the amount of business that’s branched off from it. It is probably one For Sale By Owner listing that did not sell has probably equated north of 30 deals over the last 14 years and hundreds of 1000s in commission.
Monica: I mean there’s nothing more devastating than not selling a property when you’re brand new agent. The For Sale By Owner scene is a grind. My first listing was a For Sale By Owner. I picked it up from Craigslist. I had nothing better to do everyday than just stalk FSBOs online. Somehow I managed to get this listing, it was horrible. The roof was leaking even though it was brand new. I mean there it was just an awful awful listing but the same thing I picked up buyers. I mean the place wouldn’t sell, it was the market was so slow but I just had open houses every weekend. And you just kind of have validation by, by being that agent there with your blazer on and your signs out front. People already trust you. It’s the easiest. It’s the easiest front of your job. It’s the easiest way to get in front of business when you’re in your first year of real estate. If you don’t have any listings, that’s okay. Call every agent in your brokerage that’s busy. And ask them if you can do their open houses especially in the summertime. A lot of experienced agents are tired, they need breaks. They want to see their family, they want to go on vacation. Give them a call, say hey, you have a listing in my neighbourhood. I’d love to hold an open house for you this weekend. Saturday, Sunday. Great. Hold the open houses for those agents. It’s the best way to get started.
It’s actually how I ended up on this team. I used to harass everyone on the team because you guys have listings, and I didn’t and I think I probably harassed Lucas, I harassed Denny, just anyone who probably, you too, anyone who had a listing in my, in my neighbourhood and yeah, I would hold open houses and…
James: I can’t think of a more effective thing to do as a new agent on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon other than holding an open, open house. And on a Friday you have the job of promoting your open and inviting people to it and when you’re at the open on the weekend if it’s a dead open at least still share your story, share your videos “Hey, I’m hosting an open” so the benefits of the open are multiple. One: it gives you an opportunity to invite neighbours and invite people that live around the area too that open house so you can drop some flyers off and get some, a reason other than just “Hey, look at me, use me as a Realtor”. It’s “Hey, come to check out this open house, I’d love to show it to you.” Two: you get to meet people that show up at the open house that have real estate on their mind. And Three: is you can share that you are a Realtor socially through social media, obviously Instagram, Facebook saying “Hey, I’m working, I’m a working Realtor” and that is, those little things matter in your early days in real estate.
Monica: Oh yeah. And so what do you do Monday through Friday?
James: Well, Monday through Friday, Monday through Thursday, call it, is chasing expired, for sale by owners or letting people know you know if you’re not comfortable cold calling. I used to do, well here’s some things I used to do. So I would, I would call for sale by owners that I would find in the morning. It was usually beat early in the week like say Monday to Wednesday.
Expired listings were on that list as well. I got very frustrated with for sale by owners and expired listings because I was licensed in 2008 when the market was tanking. So even if I did land one I was probably landing it at a higher price that it was gonna sell for. So you know, I was they were really for the most part pretty bad listings at that time just on average, but doesn’t mean they always will be. In a climbing market it’s much better to have an overpriced listing than when a market crashes. So the, but, but what I enjoyed that with a little bit less pressure was I would just commit to making 200 calls. And there was more phone numbers listed then, than today I’m sure but I might say, pick out a complex, it might be Victoria Hill it might be because I started in New West. It might be The NEWS complex, North News, you know the News buildings, there’s three towers there (in New Westminster). I’d look at the sales that have happened year to date. Last six months. I’d look at see if any a Realtors in my office has a sale. And I would just call people in that building and say “Hey, there was this recent sale on your building. Just curious to know if you’re planning on selling in the near future. And if you’d like to know more about what what value, where values are at?” And they either hang up or they’d be interested.
And my what, you know, I usually leave 200 calls with, call it, 20 to 30 people answering and call it, one to two mediocre leads. But those leads I remember distinctly, doing that for a year consistently and then I got busy and I ignored that list of leads for call it, nine months. And I went back to that list of leads nine months later. And I think it was a staggering number of them. 35 to 40% of them were listed or had sold. So I, there is the important part of if you’re going to do the work to get the leads, keep in touch and follow up with them. But that was for me, I found if I just committed to doing 200 calls. And knowing that 10 to 15% will pick up and knowing that one or two leads to win but even if it’s zero, I did my 200 calls. Do doing that three times a week. That was part of my rhythm and that made you know, that helped me get busy.
Monica: We talk about these things like they’re easy, “Oh, call 200 people”. We started out this podcast by saying your first year is hard. These things are hard. Calling 200 people is hard. You have to research the building like James said you have to research before you even make that first phone call. You need to have some type of script in your head or written down. You need to know the active listings in the building, the sold listings in the building ,the expired listings in the building, the terminated listings in the building. It’s hard. It’s a lot of work.
Worst case scenario you learn a little bit about the community that you’re trying to sell in. Best case scenario, you get one or two leads. Cold calling was a huge part of my business. When I first started, there was a woman that got licensed the same time as me. This is back when we were with Keller Williams Her name is Sonia Lagiglia. I love Sonya. Her and I were as far as I know the only two Realtors that made it out of the class of 2017/2018 right when the market turned from a super hot market to a super, super slow market. We would call, cold call, every single day. Monday through Friday we would get together make ourselves a coffee, really like high five each other and then we would get on the phones and we would just get abused by old people. For the entire day. It was so hard. But we got leads. It was really really hard but we got leads.
No one else was doing it that I could tell because we were accessing public lists and we were looking at like the easy, the easy ones is expired listings that never relisted. So it expired, we would go, I would go back to 2015/16 and I would say okay, these listings never sold. It’s 2018 now, we call those leads and they were like they would list like in three years nobody had called them and you know why? It’s because it was so busy in 2016/2017 I don’t think any Realtors in all of Greater Vancouver were making phone calls during that time. So that’s what we started doing. And like I mentioned a little earlier we got on Craigslist, we found for sale by owners, but we did door knocking. We would make these cute, adorable little flyers with our pictures on the front and some information about the community and we would put them on doors and we would knock on doors. We got leads that way. It was it was really hard.
James: I think door knocking is phenomenal, especially in like townhouse communities where a lot of doors are close by each other. They’re not home, you leave a little flyer under the door or on the door as well. It’s great thing to do before an open house. I remember my first door knock of an expired listing. And you know I had this is, this is where advice comes in. People that give strong advice, just caution strong advice.
Monica: Oh man, I was gonna, I was going there with a story ,so I got a story when James is done.
James: I was given the advice: “It’s got to be aggressive. You got to get in first” and for some reason, I think it was it was even to get in the morning. And I went to a house at 8am before, before they went off to work and the homeowner was just so upset with me.
Monica: No kidding!
James: I knocked on the door, I could see that he came out of the shower. And I, when the moment he knew I was there because his listing expired the day before, he just, he just flipped up and said “Get out”. So I left that experience really sour and you know, we gotta get used to getting burned. I think there’s, there’s a different scent to emit in your first year of real estate until you’re a little bit seasoned where, you just get abused when people know that you’re a rookie. You don’t know what you’re doing. Sometimes it’s deservedly so because you’re not communicating effectively or in the right way or at the right time in the right manner. And you know, the best way to learn that is by having people get really angry at you.
Monica: Honestly having people get angry at you isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It’s gonna set you up for the future. It’s going to toughen, toughen you up a little bit. Listening to some aggressive advice. I mean, we all okay, I did everything. I did the door knocking, I did the open houses like if somebody told me “Hey, this might work” I did it. Like I didn’t care. I wasn’t something, I wouldn’t even think it through. Sometimes I just feel like “Oh, this guy is successful. He told me to do it, I’m doing it!” and I would do everything.
So I was doing, this is kind of embarrassing because it’s so stupid, but I was doing an open house. I called Jordan McNab. “Jordan, I’m gonna do open house at your awesome listing in Port Moody.” It was a really good listing. But, “I’m going to do an open house for you this weekend”. He was so grateful because he was so busy. And then like, this was a Monday or a Tuesday and I was gonna do the open house on Saturday at two. So that week I was doing all my same, all my, up to all my usual nonsense. I was doing the classes, I was going to the brokerage, I was listening to this veteran Realtor at my brokerage and just writing down every piece of advice he gave me. And on Saturday I got up, 8am Went out, put out my signs up all over, every sign I had pointing to this open house because this agent had told me to get up and put your signs out early so that people can see them, when they’re like going to get coffee or do whatever may be going to their kids soccer game, who knows, so that they’ll know that there’s an open house there later, they’ll go to the open house, it’ll be a busier open house. I get a call from Jordan at like 9am he’s like: “Monica, what are you doing?” I was like: “I’m just at my house” he’s like “I have people calling me trying to find the open house. They’re knocking on the door of the…they’re knocking on the door of this house…”
James: Minor detail huh?
Monica: Oh my God! Well, of course I don’t have like “Open house from two to four” on my sign.
James: You’re like “Open house is starting NOW!”
Monica: It’s open house at 8am on a Saturday. Oh man. Did I get in my car and drive down as fast as I could go get my signs and I’m laughing the whole time because obviously like, that was a stupid idea. And he’s like “Who told you to do that? “Of course I didn’t tell him and he was like “That’s the stupidest thing, don’t do that!” And I was like oh crap, ok. Like, don’t worry, I’ll be there at 2.
James: That’s hilarious. Yeah, that’s good one. Reminds me of the time I showed a place without permission to show the place because the guys were so accommodating, I assumed, I didn’t hear back from them on time, I got a showing, this is the one. And I surprised them at the door and they’re like, “No, we’re not showing it right now.” So you know. Yeah, and that was that was obviously dumb.
James: But when you’re so new, you, you make these mistakes. I guess common emotions are it’s very common to feel lost. It’s very common to feel like down on yourself that it’s, was the right move?
I found that I had to throw myself in full time right out of the gates not give any door or opening for you know a full time job and doing on the side like I wanted to sink or swim. And I thought that, that was the right approach. The, the, I guess the important thing is you never know what kind of market cycle that you’re going to enter in your first year. So, you know, when I was looking for, for sale by owners and expired listings, a lot of those didn’t work out because the markets was downward trending right out of the gates. But, what did work really well was putting buying opportunities in front of people and back then I remember one of my biggest first wins was you know, when you messaged someone on Facebook, everyone would look at it. It was like a text message back then they’re like, Oh, someone messaged me on Facebook. I better look right? But the market had by January, the market had gone down 20% from the summer in some cases, more. It was a big drastic change. And I found that putting deals in front of any leads face was, was an effective approach. If I met someone up at an open house, I tried to set them up on a property search and I’d have like a three email rule. So I’d set them up on a property search and then I’d send them an email of value “This thing listing just hit and it met your criteria. Make sure you want to see it”. And maybe two weeks go by “This listing just reduced its price by $200,000. It’s good opportunity.” And then I do one more email. Three emails and after that third email, I just let it go because oftentimes the emails don’t get responded to. And if they don’t respond by the third email. I just Okay, that’s it. That’s enough emails. But what I found was six months later, three months later, I’d get a call back.
So you know, my rule is like a three email rule. It doesn’t mean that’s right or wrong. But the important thing is don’t just set someone up in a search. Present opportunities to them, especially if it’s a buyer. In a market like this, there’s gonna be a lot of opportunities as well. So I found that adapting to the market is important. We’re preaching open houses but during COVID you couldn’t have them so that would be a frustrating time. We have to pivot to something else. I think if you can’t do opens or if you don’t want to. I think the overarching thing is being in front of more people. You know, I found going to a wedding was a great opportunity to meet people and get leads. “What do you do?” “I’m a Realtor.” You know, being in front of people, not just being around the same people, all the time. Expand who you are exposed to.
Monica: I think looking for opportunity in every situation when you’re new at any business is important. It’s very true of real estate but it’s true of any business. The first year in any new business is hard if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve started a, a new bakery or you started a new anything, it’s hard in the first year. You have to validate yourself you have to build a culture for yourself. You have to find people that believe in your, you know, image and, and in your theme, and I think one of the biggest negative, falsehoods I hear from new agents is: “The market is bad. I got licensed at a bad time.” I hear it all the time. I heard it when the market was hot. I heard an agent say: “Well, I just got licensed at the wrong time. It’s too busy. It’s hard to crack in. Everyone already has an agent…” And all that, you know, I heard so many negative things when the market was really busy. The market is slowed down tremendously.
I was talking to a new agent about two months ago. She was crying. She was. She was crying. She’s great, but just like horrible timing and the market had crashed and she had just got her license and she’s like, you know “The markets crashing!” and this was like two months ago, the markets not crashing but she was, she was, she was upset. She was frustrated. It was hard. And the important thing is opportunity. And this is what I told her like there’s gonna be a lot of angry sellers in the next six months. There was going to be sellers whose Realtor couldn’t sell their home, let them blame it on their old Realtor, you be their new Realtor. So find opportunity in any market. You have to. You have to just kind of believe in yourself and blindly, blissfully, ignorantly, like, trudge forward. Do all the things, make mistakes, put your open house signs up at 8am on a Saturday like, do whatever you have to do to, to get your foot in the door and, and don’t make excuses for yourself I think is the most important thing just get out there.
You know if you’re uncomfortable knocking on doors, be awkward if you, if you’re super awkward the first 10 doors and you stutter and you sound like a fool. It’s not going to happen every time. Eventually you’re going to get good at it and that skill that you’re building in yourself isn’t lost and I think that’s a really important thing for new agents to realize is the time on the phone, the time researching properties that never goes anywhere that doesn’t culminate into that listing that you’re hoping to get, that actual time is learning and it’s not last time. It’s an important learning curve. And, and you just have to try, you gotta do it.
James: You have to adapt. You have to figure yourself out. You know, there’s the personality that’s meant to be the leading Realtor of X city or neighbourhood and then, you know, there’s the personality that maybe a little more introverted or not, as, you know, would be charming. That would maybe be more focused on niche properties like investment. Where knowledge matters and you don’t have to be the charmer. You know, because people see right through that in the investment world.
Monica: Totally. A Realtor that I met a few years ago. He’s a total dork. Just just a dorky guy. Dorky guy but cool that’s super dorky, soft spoken and, and he’s one of the guys you have to like asked to repeat themselves all the time. Like, wait, what was that? Like? He’s a soft talker. Right?
And I thought about it after I left. He’s really successful and it kind of made me chuckle when I got in my car because there is somebody out there for everyone.
James: He’s being himself.
Monica: Yes. There’s someone out there for everyone. If you want a big show-boaty Realtor, you’re gonna go find a show-boaty Realtor. If you want like a soft spoken, gentle, like you know, takes a backseat, let’s you steer kind of thing., there’s a Realtor like that out there. Just be true to yourself. Don’t make excuses, just head out there guys. You can do it.
James: Sorry, I started a Facebook messaging story and I never finished it.
Monica: Ok, let’s hear it.
James: So I guess the lesson 2008, got into the industry and the market crashed big time from August to January. And I was coming back from a trip in January and I noticed, I saw this advertisement from Onni group that was basically “Buyers selling – discounting the remaining inventory in Victoria Hill and Suter Brooke”. I think there were some other developments as well. But it was a big shift at all prices were halfed 25 to 35% overnight. And, and that was an opportunity. And I already had the mindset of that time Oh, market’s down, present buying opportunities to people who listen and I put that out to everyone’s contact that I had on my email list, which, build your email list. Facebook, I messaged everyone back then Facebook was more effective than it is today. And from that, I got the news on the flight back, it was like, the sales started two days after. And in the next two weeks, I ended up doing 11 deals with Onni between Port Moody and New Westminster and it was, it was a moment where it was like Oh, I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna make it. And it was, there were phenomenal opportunities for buyers. The buyers are getting a smoking deal. I feel for the people that bought it at the high price right before that. It was, it felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity but from that, that was early 2009 Starting January, February with 11 deals as that being my first full calendar year in the business, just gave me so much momentum. It gave me more stories, to tell more to talk about. And in that full calendar year. I ended up having a great year and it was the first year where it was like I’m gonna make it.
Monica: You got to put yourself out there. Like, you have to be okay with hitting up your email list. Hitting up your Facebook friends.
James: Out of my earliest videos they’re terrible. Getting, expanding your comfort zone is huge. You know, I think it’s important to, to figure out what kind of Realtor you’re gonna be, what you’re going to market, what you’re going to niche in and you have to kind of stumble your way through it. And, and video is a very effective tool if you want to be outward facing Realtor to the masses. And you’re not going to be good on video the first time. So you ideally want to bury your first terrible videos with so many videos until they just get better that it’s, it’s the terrible one just get lost in history and they’re fun to look back at, down the road.
Monica: It is. Even if, if you scroll deep enough in the Garbutt + Dumas Instagram, you’re gonna find some of all of us being super awkward. It just takes time. I think a lot of people go to our Instagram often, I hear so many clients and in so many listing appointments, people say how much they love our videos and they like our personalities. And every now and then I have to laugh because we were all super awkward once, like we weren’t all so charming and smooth on camera we were all, super awkward. The first year is hard.
James: The positive video is they know you before they meet you and it’s sometimes the easiest clients or listings to land.
Monica: Oh yeah.
James: We both have experiences from that.
James: Yeah. What would you say are some key must do is for new agents, whether it’s a daily habit or thing that they need to have or work on by the end of their first year? What should, what should a new agent have in their repertoire or whether it’s a daily habit or whether it’s part of their marketing?
Monica: I just think like being a master of your domain is extremely, extremely important and what that means and I tell this to any new agent that asks and the few that do it I have called me and told me that this is a great one. So this isn’t the open house sign advice. This is legit advice guys.
Set yourself up on a search if you live in a condo building, in your building, so that you know all the active listings and every listing that sells in your condo building. So if you’re in the elevator or in the lobby, and you start chatting with anyone you know all the information about the building.
Set yourself up on a search for your friends condo buildings, for your friends townhouse complexes, for your Mom and Dad’s neighbourhood, so that if you’re around some of their friends or your friends and there’s anything about real estate that comes up, and it always does socially, everyone loves talking about real estate. You want to know what listings are active and what listings have sold in the neighbourhood.
If you set yourself up on a little search, and just open it and got it every time those listings come in, you’re going to like absorb the knowledge around you and in these communities, and you’re going to have the answers when people ask. There’s nothing worse than, when an acquaintance, who knows that you’ve been licensed for a few months, asks you “Hey, did you see that listing that came up in my building?” And you say “No, I don’t know the listing that came up in your building.” There’s nothing worse. But if you can say “I totally do know the listing that came up in your building. Did you know that it’s listed for $30,000 more than the most recent sale? How crazy!” But you have to know.
So I think like Step One is: become an Uber stalker for all of your friends and families. Neighbourhoods, stratas, everything just know be a master of your domain. I think that that’s number one. And number two,
James: Just like, that’s a big number one. I want to get to number two but what you’re saying is learn, know, know the product, know the prices. I don’t think there’s any excuse not to. I think, I think it really is. For some agents it takes a while to figure out where they’re gonna niche because they just are so open to any deal that comes their way. So often, oftentimes with a new agent, I’m trying to help them like look at the long term. What do you want to be selling? Where do you want to live in 10 years? What products do you want to sell when you’re the successful version of you’re in your head of what type of Realtor you can be, where’s that geographically and what type of products are that? And it might not be, it might just be areas specific that might be I don’t want to sell houses in X world. Well, make sure you’re doing something every week or every day towards that longer term goal. Don’t ignore the short term deals that come across your plate but get to that long term goal. When you’re proactively learning, learn, all the products around that long term goal. Share that knowledge so that people know that that’s where you’re trying to focus. If you want to just sell I mean, everyone wants to sell houses in say Vancouver…
Monica: Only $2 million houses. That’s it!
James: So you kind of have to pay your dues to get there, but along the way, if you’re preaching two million dollar houses in Vancouver all day, every week, you’re gonna naturally draw in clients that way. Another thing about you’re talking about setting up searches set up if you can, if you’re lucky to land a listing, set up a search around that listing so that when, if you don’t sell it, which not all listings sell, it’s hard to fire a Realtor that services really well, you know? It’s easy to point out a new Realtor “This Realtor really doesn’t have much experience, we got to try some one that’s bigger” because you know oftentimes the more established Realtors benefit in these hard markets because listings don’t sell and then after the first agent didn’t do it, they go to a more prominent one.
If you’re a new Realtor, but you update your clients on the market the whole way through, it’s harder to, they, they had a good experience with you. They’ll be more likely to stick with you or refer you out but ultimately you’re doing good service and good service get referred.
Monica: Oh yeah. Just, just like the knowledge, the knowledge is there for you and I think being master of your domain and learning, just learning everything about those areas that you want to work in that, that will never not work for you, that will never not work in your advantage.
James: To be specific about learning know what, uh, you know, let’s just say you’re neutral on the product type and it’s just more area specific. Know what a one bedroom condo is how, much one bedroom condo is going for, how much two bedroom condo is going through, how much new and old ones townhouses, houses, you should know the rough price points of nearly everything, that someone asks you on the spot., you’re not throwing out a haymaker number that completely doesn’t make sense. Plus, the more you’re on top of the sale prices, the more accurate you can evaluate properties. Because I can safely say I have met some reactors that could not evaluate a property accurately but it’s maybe a one bedroom condo when the same unit sold below it. That’s easy, but a house or a townhouse or something that’s old and renovated a little more challenging, understanding how to evaluate properties is gold. You know it is really important to certain clients, they will not let you slide if you give them a poor evaluation maybe like some people know.
Monica: For sure.
James: And learning prices in addition to that, anytime you have an inspection, be in on that inspection, learn the common stuff, the stuff that comes up in inspections. I would say the times of day or in the evening where you’re not marketing yourself and not cold calling and searching for that client. It would be good to know the common issues or you know, different problems with different eras. If it’s condos, what’s common issues with 80’s built construction, versus 2000. Rainscreen vs non rainscreen. If it’s a house, there’s a different issue with a heritage home vs a mid century home vs an 80’s built home vs a post-2000 home. And if you buy a house that’s 2002 that’s very different than a house that’s 2022. Step code. Like it’s just the technology has changed. So learning that is gold. I don’t I think the best way to really kind of establish peace of mind, authority and confidence when you don’t have the experience is knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t have an age. If you’re 21 years old in the business and you know your stuff, people are gonna value that over a forty year old that doesn’t know a thing.
Monica: It’s true. I mean, a lot of a lot of even more I’m gonna say seasoned not necessarily experienced but a lot of more seasoned agents that have more years behind them, they, they lose sight of the ongoing education that should be happening and there’s been many times in my early in the early part of my career where I’ve had more knowledge than they have and that’s why I scored the listing and they didn’t, not because I was more capable of it and we’re both you know, offering the same package pretty much but in listing appointments, I know everything. There’s no stone unturned. I’m you know, I’m hunting down permits. I’m calling the city I’m doing all the things before the first listing appointment, which kind of brings me to my number two.
So I have these two things that I think are the most important. The first is: Be master of your domain. And the second is: Be honest with yourself and your work ethic. Know how much did you work this week? How hard did you try? Be honest with yourself and your work, work ethic at the end of the week? Did you, were you a Realtor for five hours? Were you a Realtor for four hours? Did you do four hours of open houses that means you’re a Realtor for four hours this week? That’s not enough. It’s not enough. It should look something like 40, 40 hours. It really should look something like 60 plus your first year and even now. But if you haven’t put in 40 hours of prospecting a week, you’re not a Realtor yet.
James: How many people were you in front of that week? How many people did you communicate with that day? What, what did you do that day that actually amounted to people knowing that you’re a Realtor, whether it’s you know you can be outward sharing on social media, blogging and trying to create inward channels to get those calls. Or you surround yourself around run clubs and different sorts of events, that you’re just exposed to more people and you have a broader network.
Monica: The truth is there’s so many different avenues that work there’s so many different things that will help you become a successful Realtor. But the one thing that has to happen is you have to put the work in you have to do it. You have to go to run club. You have to go to your social networking things. You have to do all of those things and that needs to accumulate to hours because there’s one undeniable factor and that’s hours put towards something like you reap the benefits from that. So if you’re not putting the hours in, there’s, there’s no possible way for you to be successful.
James: Learn, learn, learn. And in addition to knowing the product, know how to write a contract. You should know that before you have to write a contract.
Monica: Just, just partner up with somebody who knows what they’re doing.
James: Know how to do due diligence on a property. If you don’t know how to do due diligence on a house or condo. You should be learning that tomorrow. Because knowledge is, I think knowledge is, I mean, it’s, it’s important to market yourself, put yourself out there but knowledge is so crucial.
The other thing I’ll just kind of give you some specifics. I think it’s important when you’re a new Realtor to just establish your online presence early, you know, so you know, get a website, put your Google business dot on the map. Decide which social media channels if any, are for you. You know right now we’re kind of, I’d say in an Instagram Facebook world, but the future might be Tiktok or something else. And don’t feel that you have to do it but I, I would say if you want to be an area expert of a broader area. Say you want to be a Tri-city, sell everything, kind of Realtor. I think it’s really important to be on social. Yeah, getting comfortable with videos. Start that YouTube channel. You know, put your videos for all properties on YouTube, do some videos for YouTube. YouTube is great for longer term, reoccurring leads and, and evergreen content as well. But I think having overall online presence that is basically a good online resume of you is important because if you’re lucky enough to get a listing appointment, they’re gonna likely look up your name online and it would be I think it’s wise to have something show up.
Monica: Oh, yeah. Your, your online presence is your resume. This is something Denny and I talk about all the time. I think that, the moment I leave a listing appointment I’m 100% sure that the seller is looking me up online. They’re looking at my social media because I just talked about it. They’re looking at our website to see what it’s like because I just told them how amazing it is like, you have to have all of those things dialed and if you’re, if you go to your Instagram and your first three to nine posts aren’t about real estate, the seller is not going to believe you.
James: Online presence and then I would say you have a year or two grace period, but I do think it’s important to have a database that’s properly managed. So like every contact you make, make sure you have ,even an Excel worksheet. Just make sure you have a name, phone number, address, basic details because one day that email list will be very important. Anyway, I hope you new realtors out there got some tidbits from this.
Monica: Hang in there guys.