By Brittney Schwartz, REALTOR® University
The to-do list for a new real estate professional is long. You’ve got to learn how to use your MLS, figure out the mechanics of hosting a stellar open house, and much more. Those basics are important, but right at the top of that list is finding a good mentor.
You have a lot to gain by forming a relationship with a colleague, role model, or a personal career guru who is willing to share his or her wisdom with a protégé (namely: you). Everyone from Bill Clinton to Oprah talks about the importance mentors have played in their careers. They can guide you through tricky situations and provide helpful advice about finding the perfect niche. But a mentor can do so much more.
- A mentor can help you gain perspective. The years of knowledge and practical experience you will gain are absolutely invaluable. A seasoned role model has “been there, done that” and is in a great position to tell you what to do and, better yet, what not to do. Just think of all the insightful information about prospecting and effective lead follow-up techniques they have up their sleeve!
- A mentor can give you a competitive advantage. A real estate veteran can arm you with the essential skills to achieve peak performance in the industry—and we’re not just talking sales. If you select a mentor who works at the same company as you do, they can provide invaluable insider information on how to navigate company politics, get things done, and promote yourself within the organization.
- A mentor can help you think outside the box. Learn what they didn’t teach you in school through a bond with a higher-up. A mentor can help you look at situations in new ways and ask hard questions to help you solve problems. They can also help you develop emotionally. In the first five years of your career, you are still developing an understanding of yourself and your impact on others. A mentor is there to help you grow both professionally and personally.
- A mentor can help you define and reach goals. Your mentor should be someone who has a career you aspire to. He or she can help you lay the groundwork by setting short-term and long-term goals, and by recognizing your accomplishments along the way. Closed your first sale—check! Didn’t give up on finding a difficult client the perfect home after months and months of searching—way to go!
- A mentor can expand your social network. Your mentor is likely to have an extensive network of industry relationships that would take you years to cultivate. They can introduce you to the right people and open doors that might not otherwise be accessible.
- A mentor can inspire you. Mentors have the lives we want for ourselves; they’re the ones whose careers we’re in awe of, whose lifestyles and values mirror our own. These mentor-mentee relationships are empowering—and might just end up being one of the most important relationships you have.
Now that you know the importance of a mentor, how do you seek out the right one? Find someone whose career aligns with your goals, and tell them you admire them and would love to get their feedback on your job performance. Also, emulate them. Eat what they eat for breakfast, so to speak. Use their advice and hit the ground running. Soak up all you can. Before you know you it, you’ll have a young real estate agent asking if you can be their mentor.
Your association can also help you in this important search. NAR is full of resources for mentors, mentees, and organizations, including a mentorship program available for students of the Master of Real Estate program. Mentors are REALTOR® University faculty, professional staff, alumni, and others in the real estate industry with practical expertise.
If you have any questions about the REALTOR® University mentoring program, please contact Development & Board Services Specialist Breanne Gingerich at 312-329-8612 or email@example.com. You can also view our updated field guide for help more on mentoring in the real estate industry.
By Patti Stern, Principal, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Every one is starting to make predictions already for the 2015 housing market. One of our own predictions: 2015 will continue to be a buyer’s market, particularly in certain areas where homes are older. While low inventory has plagued the market for years, a broader disconnect exists between inventory and buyer preferences.
As more Millennial’s (the generation under the age of 33), enter the market and baby boomers downsize, the generation gap between buyers and sellers will further drive market conditions.
Younger home buyers make up the largest groups of today’s consumers. According to a National Association of REALTORS® survey, Millennial’s and slightly older Generation X represent over 60 percent of today’s home buyers.
However, the bulk of the housing inventory over the next 15 years will come from retiring boomers who want to downsize and embrace a new lifestyle that doesn’t include their large suburban home. It’s expected that 20.1 million senior households will attempt to sell between 2015 and 2030, and according to University of Utah researcher, Arthur C. Nelson. What’s more, an estimated 7.4 million won’t be able to find people to buy the houses.
Younger buyers want an already updated home and with a large percentage of homes built before 1990, that poses a challenge for the market. Older, outdated homes give buyers a lot of reasons to cross the property off their list.
The ‘Senior Sell Off’
Sellers who adapt to the changing marketplace and understand that today’s buyers don’t have the same vision when it comes to updating a home will position their property in the market and stand out from the competition.
Staging continues to be more important than ever before — whether it is a $250,000 home or a $2 million dollar home — to preserve and in some cases boost a home’s value and get it sold.
Only 35.1 percent of home sellers nationwide think now is a good time to sell. But waiting may mean increased competition from similar style and aged homes. Staging and even low cost renovations can help sellers get top dollar in a shorter market time today so they don’t become part of the ‘senior sell-off’.
“It’s important we offer sellers the resources to successfully sell their home now,” says John and Joanne Hoye with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in West Hartford, Conn. “Staging gets the properties looking their absolute best, boosting seller’s confidence in listing their home today rather than waiting. It also helps address inventory issues by bringing to market more move-in condition homes. Quality, well-priced inventory will ultimately drive a more balanced market that’s a win-win for our buyer and seller clients and staging can help us get there.”
For more examples of home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit pjstagingdecorating.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The average cost to host a 10-guest Thanksgiving spread is $49.48, according to a 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation survey of 150 volunteer shoppers around the country.
The cost of preparing your home for holiday guests is much more difficult to determine. But you can help owners do it wisely and efficiently. Add to your e-newsletter a free article, Tips on How to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the November “Be the Host with the Most for Thanksgiving” article package. Share all five today.
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
By Alex Cavelli
“First you make your habits, then your habits make you.”
We all have good intentions. Early in my career, I set a lofty goal. My intention was to prospect Monday through Friday and speak with 25 people each day about their lives and real estate.
For about six months, Monday and Tuesday were strong days for me. I was feeling productive. Best of all, I was setting appointments and winning listings at a rate I was happy with.
But by the time Wednesday or Thursday hit, I lost my motivation. I went from making 25 contacts on Monday and Tuesday, to 15 on Wednesday, to maybe 10 on Thursday. By Friday I was down to zero. Not only did fail to measure up, I also started questioning my commitment and abilities—not good for the psyche.
What happened? Regardless of my skill level, there had to be an explanation of why it was so challenging to finish a full week of lead generation. So, I spoke with willpower scientist Colin Robertson. Robertson runs a company called Willpowered and has devoted his life to scientifically determine what it takes to win our mental battles.
After explaining my situation to Robertson, our conversation went like this:
Robertson: Would you expect to run 25 miles your first time out?
Me: Of course not.
Me: That’s not realistic. I can’t finish that without training.
Robertson: So then what would you do?
Me: I would start at maybe three miles and build up from there.
Robertson: Why three?
Me: Because three miles is challenging, but I know I can finish.
Robertson: Alex, have you ever talked to 25 people for five straight days about real estate?
See? Makes sense. Robertson says that, as humans, we tend to be overly optimistic about our abilities when attempting to develop a new “keystone habit”. It’s sort of like the New Year’s resolution effect. We get super excited early on but soon our willpower fades and we are back to square one.
Starting at 125 contacts per week, at least for me, was like running a marathon on day one. I was setting myself up for failure. Instead, we had two choices: We can start with that New Year’s resolution type of goal that ultimately fizzles out, or we can approach the problem scientifically.
“Do Not Fail.” Robertson’s very simple and manageable “Do Not Fail” philosophy is the starting point to creating great habits. We tend to approach goals like I did – wanting big results right away. But when trying to create a habit, consistency is what we should be aiming for. Here’s how Robertson helped me determine the right goal for me:
Robertson: How many people can you talk to consistently each day that guarantees you will finish?
Me: I can probably make 15 contacts on a consistent basis.
Robertson: “Probably” won’t work. What is the number that guarantees that you will not fail?
Me: I see. That number is definitely ten.
Robertson: For the next four weeks, talk with ten people each day. No more, no less.
Here’s the science. In making ten contacts/day, there are no days where I don’t make any progress. Every day my client list is growing no matter what. And with every day that I make ten contacts, confidence grows that I’ll be able to make ten contacts the next day (and the next day) as well. When I’m ready, I can increase that number to 15 or 20 – just like a runner would gradually increase his or her mileage when training for a marathon.
The end, for now. Our career is not comprised of one sprint. It’s rather about running with a steady, consistent pace and then increasing that pace over time. If you want to run a marathon, then start with a 5k and pace yourself. In other words, to start the habit of lead generation, set aside one hour each day to make anywhere from 5-10 contacts with your sphere, past clients, FSBOs, or expireds. The point is to be consistent and start with a goal that guarantees you will finish.
Next week we’ll connect with Mr. Willpowered again to discuss the next step to scientifically develop the habit of prospecting: “The Seinfeld Method.”
In the meantime, if you’re curious about my progress and would like to discuss a lead generation plan that works for you, please contact me. I can be your first contact of many.
Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast. Connect with Alex via linkedin.com/in/cavelli or Alexcavelli@kw.com.
By Brandon Johnson
There’s a real trick to appearing, communicating, and performing like an experienced real estate professional. And, as a 23-year-old agent who got his real estate license in June of this year, I want to share how I transformed myself in less than half a year on the job.
Only 3 percent of licensees are under the age of thirty in my local association, and I am the second youngest overall. Still, I can proudly say I have started off strong as the youngest agent in our brokerage to make the top producer’s list my third month as a licensee. The key to my early success is that I quickly adjusted to the demands of being a real estate pro in three key areas.
Looking Like a Professional. I look young. When people initially meet me, many are inclined to think I’ve just graduated from high school. Therefore, the hardest part of working an open house the first few times was not answering questions about taxes or square footage. I realized that customers came in assuming that I am not an expert, a professional, or in some cases not even a real estate agent. I needed to change that, so I started to experiment with my attire. When I started to wear a shirt, tie, blazer, and slacks, clients started to ask real estate questions and not questions asked about how much experience I had. I realized I had to change my appearance to stand out compared to other agents. If a customer attended a dozen open houses on a Sunday I wanted to be the agent that stood out so that when I followed up they would remember me. As a result, my open house activity directly contributed to thirty percent of my closings.
Speaking Like a Professional. Of course, a clothing change isn’t going to stop everyone from asking about my boyish looks. But when clients did ask, I realized I could simply state that I am working in my first year under our company’s mentor program and get back to the real estate questions. But when a customer seriously questions your age as a negative factor of being a real estate agent, you cannot let them leave your presence without proving that your age is actually an asset. I tell clients that since I am younger I have fewer commitments, allowing me to spend more time focusing on my career. When you explain that you have devoted your life to a new career and that you are passionate about working in real estate, people will understand that you truly want to work for them. When I tell them of my early successes, I am not boasting. I am telling them that I am qualified to represent them as a real estate expert. The best advice I received about communicating like a professional was not to rush into answers to sound like you know it all. If a customer asks a question that you cannot answer with certainty, tell them. I respond by saying they asked a good question and I would like to ask the listing agent or my manager to provide the most accurate answer in a timely manner. If I’m at an open house I tell them that I will respond to them Monday afternoon and ask for their contact information. Because I was honest, I usually am able to turn that short interaction into a lead.
Goal Planning Like a Professional. I told our managing broker that I wanted to close a million dollars’ worth of deals before the end of the year. Her response was not negative, but it was not optimistic either. I entered into real estate clueless of what an average first-year agent produces. I wanted to be a top producer, and that led to me working like a top producer. I noticed that the most experienced agents in our office started working around 8:30 in the morning. I made it a goal to beat them into the office every morning. I noticed that many agents work an open house every Sunday but the best agents work two, so that’s what I do. I can honestly say the amount of time I spend in the office is the reason that I have generated most of my leads. Lead generation aside, my time spent in the office impresses the more experienced agents I work with. I tell my clients that I have 100 years of experience because of the network I have built in our office with my fellow real estate agents. I tell them that my company will not let me fail, and that my goal is to build a relationship with them that will be converted into a closing.
Brandon Johnson was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois. He graduated from Keith Country Day School in 2009, graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013. During his time there studied Spanish linguistics and international relations, became a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and expanded his family’s business. He became a licensed broker in June 2014. Brandon is a council member of Rockford Illinois’ Young Professional Network. Also, at the age of 23 he is one of the youngest licensees in the Rockford Association. Outside of real estate Brandon is a certified IHSA Basketball official and enjoys being involved with the community.