Thinking of getting your Real Estate License?

Article reprinted from Active Rain Blog  Written by: Greg Nino, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555  RE/MAX Compass www.GiveMeMyHomesValue.com www.EverydayHoustonHomes.Com

real-estate-agent-28776_640.pngSeveral times a year I am approached by people who want to become a Realtor. Many of them think it’s a great way to supplement their income while they keep their day job. A lot of others are interested in a career change. I decided to type this blog to save myself time. Each time I’m asked I’ll simply send the inquiring person a link back to this post. So, with that said, grab your favorite beverage and read below, because you’re about to get a heavy dosage of what it’s like to start a real estate career.

 

1. PASSING THE EXAM is easy. Creating a business with real income is a different story.

2. Now that you have your license be prepared to lose friends and get your feelings hurt. Most, if not all of your friends and family will avoid using you the first year or two that you’re licensed. Simply put, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. Earn your battle scars. Even after you’ve gained experience, you’ll have friends and family who will not work with you because you’re a friend or because you are family. It happens every day to Realtors across the country.

3. If you don’t spend money you won’t make money. You need to spend THOUSANDS of dollars to create a business. Most of what you are thinking is a cute and new idea has already been tried a thousand times. You will do what every new agent does… spend money (A LOT OF IT) on the wrong things. Over and over again. There’s a famous saying in this business…”If you want to get rich in real estate, sell stuff to Realtors.”

4. You and your smartphone will become inseparable. You will have to get up from eating, watching a movie and sleeping to take calls, return emails and respond to text messages. Of course, you don’t have to do this, but you also don’t have to make any real money in this business. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Ignoring a call could be a $20,000 mistake. Or more.

5. Be prepared to be second-guessed, doubted, questioned, accused and lied to repeatedly. Buyers and sellers have the propensity to lie just like you and the guy next to you at the grocery store. People have perceptions about lawyers, mechanics and police officers. They have them about us too. Even after years of experience, there will be clients who will second guess your every move. This will never go away.

6. You will show thousands of houses. Showing a house isn’t just about unlocking a door. Sometimes you get rained on while showing. Sometimes the house says active on the market when it’s already under contract with another buyer. Sometimes you are late to the appointment because of traffic. Maybe your buyer will be late. The number of things that can go wrong is practically endless.

7. Almost nobody will respect your time. Almost everyone thinks you are overpaid.

8. Expect people to ask for kickbacks both legally and illegally. Buyers and sellers will often want to haggle with your commission.

9. You will pay taxes. A lot of taxes. Expect to pay for the gizmo you use to unlock doors. You will pay for this yearly along with dues to three different associations. You’ll pay for signs, lock boxes, tools, equipment, cameras, advertising for both you and your listings, leads, websites and on and on and on.

10. You will pay for your own health and life insurance. There is no 401k matching in real estate. You are an independent contractor. In fact, YOU will PAY to be at your local real estate office! The broker will take money from you. You will also pay for an office if you want one. Your phone is your costs. Your internet is also your costs. So is your paper, pens and everything else imaginable. You’re running a small business. It’s ALL your costs. You’ll also pay for errors and omissions insurance. The list is really long. Yay!

11. You will get screwed in this business. It’s not for the naive, light-hearted, ignorant or thin skinned. You will work your rear end off and sometimes not make a dime.

12. You will deal with a certain number of psychopaths each year.

13. You will meet criminals, convicts, and felons, especially if you work in the leasing industry.

14. Strange men and women will ask you to meet them at houses RIGHT NOW.

15. You might get a gun pointed at you while showing a house or two. Sometimes rabid Pitt bulls will chase you down.

16. Expect to get towed at least once.

17. Eventually, you’ll get in a wreck while showing. You better hope your clients aren’t with you. Is your auto insurance updated correctly?

18. There is no disability insurance. So, if you break a leg while playing softball you’re screwed. It’s going to hurt your business.

19. You might get sued even when you aren’t at fault.

20. When you become successful your competitors might file complaints on you because they are jealous. You won’t like this.

21. As you show houses you’ll be in questionable neighborhoods from time-to-time. You need to learn self-defense, carry a gun or a can of mace. Everyone should be concerned about their safety.

22. Be prepared to leave a social event early to run and show a house or to get yelled at by one of your clients for something you did not do. It doesn’t matter, you are the chew toy sometimes.

23. It’s likely you’ll get audited by the IRS. You have too many write-offs and once again… you make too much money.

24. Lawyers are annoyed by Realtors.

25. Expect to list homes and never sell them. No agent sells every home they list. You will waste time, money, energy and resources.

26. Your signs will be stolen, spray painted and eventually played with by the local kids.

27. Your flyer box will always be empty because kids, passerby’s and neighbors will take too many. Sometimes they’ll take all of them in one day. Then you’ll be chastised for not having flyers in the flyer box.

28. Did I mention you’ll deal with at least two crazy people each year?

29. EACH real estate transaction you work means you are likely dealing with at least 8 different people. You’re responsible for 15-20 things. Right now I am trying to close 11 contracts. I am a little stressed. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about my paperwork, my clients, and my business.

30. You will become an unlicensed therapist, divorced lawyer, and counselor. You aren’t allowed to give legal advice, and you shouldn’t. You aren’t a doctor, but everyone will unload their personal lives with you. You will sometimes live their life.

31. Your spouse will at times hate what you do for a living. 

32. Your wife/husband will despise the fact that you are always on your phone.

33. When you’re sick… you still work. There are no floating holidays.

34. While on vacation…. you still work. You can get an agent to cover your business, but NOBODY will care for your business the way you do.

35. Sometimes when you make mistakes it costs people money. You can’t just apologize.

36. You have to have a nice car. You must wear nice clothes.

37. When you first get started everyone will know you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a fact. This sucks. But if you stick it out, you’ll be okay. 75% of the new agents don’t make it.

38. You get to work with agents! Not all of them are put together correctly. A lot of your problems in this business will be because of the other agent. You will get upset, angry, pissed and offended. Ego’s are here too.

39. Wait for it….. friends, neighbors, and family will ask you for real estate advice while they are involved in a real estate transaction….. YOU aren’t.

40. Other Realtors will give your client advice when they aren’t supposed to. Every buyer and every seller know an agent somewhere.

41. Each market is different. Very different sometimes, but that won’t stop friends and family from influencing your client. Your client will become confused at times.

42. You have a better chance of meeting E.T. than you do working real estate part-time and being successful. It takes time, effort and money to be a part-time Realtor. In fact, being a part-time agent can be even more difficult.

 
So why do agents do this?

You’ll have the amazing opportunity to reap what you sow. You can work when you want. No matter how bad your boss is (client) you are only working for them for a certain period of time. You get new bosses all the time. You can make a real difference in a lot of people’s lives. You literally help shape dreams. YOU can be the difference in someone’s life as they look to sell and buy a home. And not all clients, buyers and sellers are bad. Most of them get it. It’s awesome when everything works out.

And sometimes the money is really good.

 

Advertisements

Do you need a ‘neighorhood expert’?

toronto-1812178_1920Who is your neighborhood expert? And why does it matter? It probably doesn’t matter as much as you think.

I can imagine hundreds of realtors everywhere are cracking their knuckles and getting ready to post nasty comments on this blog.  I get it!

Yes, it matters that you hire a competent Realtor. Yes, it matters that you hire somebody that knows the neighborhood and how to properly priced your house. I just want to get that out there from the get go.

I’m all about hiring someone who knows what they’re doing! But the catchphrase of ‘neighborhood expert’ is a little overrated in my opinion. And I’ll tell you why.

Our city Toronto and the areas known as the GTA, York, Durham and Peel regions, are one of the biggest transient migration areas in the country.  Migration not only from province to province but from city to city, and from municipality to municipality.  To be solely a ‘neighborhood expert’ may be putting you at a disadvantage.

Let me explain. The realtor that you hire needs to have a great understanding of not only the microeconomics of your subdivision but also the macroeconomics that will impact the people moving in and out of your neighborhood. It’s not just a matter of knowing the closest school the closest park and where to get the dog groomed. Those are all wonderful and good. But they won’t do you a heck of a lot of good if you don’t understand where the buyers are coming from, and what their frame of reference is for the lifestyle that they would like to create.

In Markham having a house on the cul-de-sac used to be a  sought after location…about  TEN YEARS AGO. In fact houses on cul-de-sacs sold for higher amounts of money. They were called the premium lot and when the subdivisions were originally built, the homeowners paid more for these lots. They commonly would put a pool in the backyard because it had a bigger yard. Now fast forward to today. The influx of buyers in Markham has been significantly over the last 5 to 10 years.  There is a trend now for the preferred houses to be on a main street, on a bus route, without a pool.

If a Realtor does not understand where the buyers are coming from in this scenario,  they might miscalculate the desirability and pricing of a sellers property. When you are interviewing agents, make sure they are well versed not only on the microeconomics of your neighborhood but on the macroeconomics of the trends that affect you.

Taboo Subject Matter

shield-107861_1280Here’s a taboo subject that Realtors don’t want to talk about.

What if you sign a listing agreement or a buyer representation agreement with a Realtor, and you no longer want to work with them but you are still under contract?

First of all, for real estate agents, it is against our ‘laws’ to coach you, a member the public to break a contract with another real estate agent. It is simply not allowed. It is bad sportsmanship.

If I was in a binding contract and unhappy, I would want to know my options. So here they are.

Step 1: Let’s all be adults. Talk to your Realtor about WHY you are unhappy, and tell them what they can do to fix it. On the same token, be open to feedback from the Realtor about how they are viewing the relationship. Have an open, adult conversation about how to move forward.

Step 2: If that conversation didn’t get your concerns resolved,  call your realtor’s boss. Yes, Realtors have one. They are called the Broker of Record or Office Manager.  Call and talk to them about the problems that you’re having. Explain to them what you would like to see happen. They have some options available. Asked them how they can resolve it for you and be open to ideas. The buck stops here so to speak, so work with this person. They have the power to hold you to the contract, release you (through a suspension or cancellation), or reassign you to another Realtor who may be better suited.

Step 3: If you are unhappy with how things are working out with your Realtor, please exercise your options and speak your truth. If you don’t, chances are you’re going to have a challenging transaction. You could be one of those horror stories we read about in the newspaper. And those stories make me so sad. Find your voice, speak your truth, and ask for the kind of real estate experience you desire.

When you found THE one!*SOLD

71 TurquoiseFinding the right home for you and your family is a lot like finding your soul mate.

Although you may have a list of qualities you are looking for in a partner, that list often flies out the window when you meet THE one!

Like Selena Gomez says “the heart wants what the heart wants”.

I think about that when I am inside this new listing.

Some houses just ‘feel’ right.  Plus you won’t have to sacrifice anything on your list! This one has warm hardwood floors on the main living area and a cozy fireplace.The kitchen has stainless steel appliances & the dining room opens onto a bright and sunny south facing yard. The fenced yard is unique in a subdivision, in that it does not have houses towering over your backyard.

The staircase is tastefully updated with dark wood and carpet. All the light fixtures have been upgraded. The three bedrooms upstairs are all thoughtfully laid out. The master suite boasts a walk-in closet and spa-like ensuite with soaker tub and separate shower!

The basement has a laundry room and large cold storage, plus finished play area and media room with wired surround sound.

There is a single garage with direct access to the foyer. Parking for 3 vehicles!

Top it off with great schools, transit, shopping, places of worship all within walking distance. And a hop skip and jump to all commuter routes! Did I mention a quiet street with awesome neighbors and very kid friendly?!

Trust me on this one, if you have been looking for THE one in Brampton, take a look at this one soon, before it is someone else’s perfect family home! It WILL be the one that got away for someone! Guaranteed.

Video and photos to follow, but don’t wait. BOOK today! Click for more info

Choosing a Realtor

credit-card-401076_1280We realtors are a funny bunch.

I belong to some groups on Facebook that are for realtors only. And for the most part, we are a very supportive group. Like most industries, there is a brotherhood or a sisterhood amongst Realtors.  We stick together. You would be blown away if you knew how they jump in to help those in need. Quietly and without fanfare.

But there is also the side of us that is vicious. We see another realtor do something that we see as reprehensible to our profession and we jump all over them.

Having been in this industry over 20 years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saddened by the conduct of fellow realtors. I’m sorry to say that I’ve been sad more often than I’ve been proud.

That is why I am such a big champion of members of the public standing up for what they want, having a voice for what they want to create within their real estate transaction.

Before I’m a realtor I’m a consumer. And as a consumer, the only way I have have my voice heard is where I choose to spend my money. Nothing speaks louder than withdrawing my money from a company and moving my business elsewhere.

I appreciate the saying that every dollar you’ll ever spend is a vote for the kind of world you want to create. I believe in that. And I hope that the public will become more empowered as time goes on to know that they have a choice with regards to real estate agents and how they want the real estate transaction to unfold.

There’s a real trend in real estate to label things and give them cool names. For awhile there you may have heard “I am not a real estate sales person, I’m a real estate adviser.” That is actually one of the better ones because and important part of the sales process is education.

I believe once the consumer is educated about their options, they will be able to make a decision that in their best interest. Our job as real estate agents is to advise and educate. Once the consumer has enough information the decision they need to make becomes very clear to them. They don’t need to be ‘sold’, they don’t need to be pushed, they don’t need to be tricked. The decision they will make becomes very clear to them when they have been educated and advised in a trustworthy environment.

They don’t need to be ‘sold’, they don’t need to be pushed, they don’t need to be tricked.

The decision they will make becomes very clear to them when they have been educated and advised in a trustworthy environment.

So if you ever find yourself in a position where you were feeling pressured by a real estate agent, put the brakes on!  I’m not saying to dump your realtor. What I’m saying is you have the right to have a voice on how you want the transaction to roll out. And if you’re not being heard, speak up! Remember the blog posts from the past. You are looking for a forever realtor. Ask yourself if this realtor is that person. Before you sign anything with any realtor (btw… I am all about signing! ), know what you’re signing and more importantly who you are going into a partnership with, because that is what signing an agreement with the realtor is… it’s a partnership. It’s you and the realtor working together in union to get to a common goal… and that common goal, well, it better be what you want not what a realtor wants.

Listen, one thing you’ll never have a shortage of realtors to choose from. Trust me on that. From time to time, you might not be able to find a general practitioner doctor or specialist for your child but there will never be a shortage of real estate agents at your disposal. Don’t be afraid to bargain hunt (but you do get what you pay for!), don’t be afraid to choose quality over cheap, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, don’t be afraid to check your pro and con list. This is YOUR real estate transaction. This is YOUR life. This is YOUR investment. These are YOUR hard-earned dollars. You deserve the very best representation as you transition into the next phase of your life. What you need is a real estate agent that is going to honor your role in the process and respect where you’re at, and hold your goals is number one. Not their goals. Your goals. You need a Forever Realtor! 

Your New Forever Realtor: Part 5 of 5

(Click here to start at the beginning of the series.)

photo-manipulation-2035967_640

Do you have a BFF? Best Friend Forever?

I do. Her name is Rachel. What do I love about her? That is easy. I have actually boiled it down to 4 traits.

Fearless, Courageous, Honest, and Big Hearted.  She is my tribe. My Best Friend Forever.

So what is the big deal about having a BFF?  Let me start by listing the benefits.

Having Rachel as my BFF, is me knowing she will always have my back. She is the one person I can call 24/7 from anywhere on the planet, with any request, and she makes it happen. Remind me to tell you the story about South Beach, the topless sunbather, and a pair of lost glasses…or the story about the stolen bicycle, or the story about the phone booth…

The one thing about BFF’s is they always make your life colorful and full of good times and stories that get better over time!

And your NEW FOREVER Realtor should be the same thing. Your NFR (New Forever Realtor) should be someone who has your back, you can call 24/7 with any real estate question, concern, request, comment, joke, or story. You should feel so comfortable with your NFR that you have no doubt AT ALL that you have hired the right person for the job. That they are YOUR Realtor, even when you have nothing to buy or sell. That is the true test of if you have a Forever Realtor. That they are YOUR realtor, in the same way your bestie is your BFF. You don’t have to see them all the time or call them all the time, but you know that if you send out an SOS they will respond. Open heart, open mind, ready, willing and able to help in any way they can.

So here is a sad part of life. Not all BFFs are Forever. Some are for a time and a season. People change. We all do. If you find yourself without a BFF, trust a new one will come along. And if you find yourself without a NFR, start a pro and con list 🙂

People ask what is the best time to plant a tree. 50 years ago. They next best time is now.  When is the best time to find your NFR? NOW! You don’t know what you don’t know. Meeting your new NFR will add to your life, not take away. And if you don’t want a Realtor in your life, I suggest you have the wrong realtor, or have not yet met the right one!

Interview me, you never know, maybe I will be your New Forever Realtor!

Putting it all together: Part 4 of 5

old-phone-1742852_1920If you missed the first 3 installments, click here!

By now you have figured out I didn’t mean to NOT  tackle the clutter on the coffee table nor the pile of laundry, but rather to SLOW DOWN in order to SPEED UP.

Sure it is exciting to sell your house! A new chapter is about to unfold! It is also stressful and nerve-wracking.

It is human nature to do one of two things. 1) Get completely overwhelmed and do nothing or 2) Jump in at a frantic pace tackling everything at once and run ourselves and our loved ones crazy!

What I am asking of you is to choose option 3.  Slow down in order to speed up.

Making the Pro and Con list about what we do and don’t want in our NEW FOREVER realtor is the first important step in that process. It gives us space to breathe and focus for a few minutes. This exercise actually gives us a sense of control and direction over the process. It can help to solidify your objectives. And at the very least, you got to sit down with your feet up for a few minutes! You are welcome 🙂

So what next?  What do you do with this information? I hope you are sitting down because this next part can be a bit intimidating or downright scary…

CALL SOME REALTORS

No! In this day and age of virtually everything online, why do you have to call them??? Because, and trust me on this….that is where your first impressions start. This is actually where the interview process begins. And the best part? The Realtor probably doesn’t even know if yet! Call it the Secret Mission.  If this sounds like a lot of work, maybe it is. Maybe the easier way to do it is to call your friends realtor, or your parents old realtor, or even your own realtor. Which is fine, if that Realtor is me lol, but here is why you are going to go through this process. You are looking for your NEW FOREVER realtor. Okay, I have used that term for many blogs now. So let me define what that is and why you need one.  Read on…

Part 5 is coming soon….

The Con: Part 3 of 5

( If you missed Parts 1 and 2, click here. )

signs-1172208_1920The CON!

Why have a whole list of negative crap? Because just as important as knowing what you DO want, is knowing what you DON’T want!

Have you ever been in the position where you are SINGLE and Looking?  Did you have a List? Real or in your mind?

Deal Breakers: Married, Unemployed, No Car, Divorced, whatever….many of us had a list.

You knew what you DIDN’T want, and that helped to identify what you DID want.

It brought clarity to the dating relationship. It also helped challenge you to defend what you thought you wanted. EG: don’t’ want to date a divorced person. Got it. Then you meet this amazing person and find out he is DIVORCED! So you challenge your own thoughts on why that was important to you and realize maybe that CON is not as important as you thought. So off the list it goes!

Same can be true of your CON list for your NEW FOREVER Realtor. Maybe on your con list is: New Agent. But once you interview someone, you find they ACE Every quality you want, except they are new to the industry. Yet they have an action plan in place with a seasoned agent, that you like as well, and it covers all your fears.

Moral of the story, Pro and Con lists evolve over time. Remember when I said there is no right or wrong?  This is what I meant.

The con list will help you see the red flags in your interviews. It will help bring clarity in the midst of information overload!  At the very least it will give you food for thought.

Having a con list will give you a set of fluid rules to guide you to creating the type of real estate experience you want! Remember the example of choosing the type of holiday form the earlier PRO Blog?  (You can read it by clicking here.) If you are choosing a holiday, do you want a totally relaxing week on the beach? Or a back packing tour of 4 Asian countries in 8 days? Both are great experiences, but will require different things from you, AND leave you with a different aftermath. Energized, Relaxed, Exhausted, Inspired….You get to create the experience if you consciously choose it and plan accordingly before you book it! Same as in your real estate adventure. Which is why I had you start here. With a PRO and CON List.  Rather than clearing off the coffee table, or scaling  Mt Laundry! Don’t worry we will get to that… sorry, but it will need to get done eventually.

A word of caution. Once you have done both lists, focus on the PRO list 80% more than the CON list. Yes, the CON list in important to define what we don’t want, but once we have awakened that part us, let it go for the most part and focus on the PRO list. Focus on what you want to create. What type of home selling experience you want to create, and with what type of person? We attract what we focus on, so focus on the good crap 🙂

Stay tuned for part 4….

part 2 of 5: Your New Forever Realtor

(You can read Part 1 of 5 here)pros-and-cons-2028471_1920

So you have your PRO and Con list done, and your feet are comfortably wedged on the coffee table between your Nivea Creme, the stack of mail, yesterday’s coffee mug, the vase of dead flowers and the dog’s leash. (Yes, I can see through this computer screen…)

No, why did I have you start here?

Because currently we are closing in on 50,000 real estate agent in the Toronto Real Estate Board, and choosing ONE to be your NEW FOREVER REALTOR is no easy task. You need to have a plan to tackle this mission. Enter your PRO and CON list. Pat yourself on your back for having made it this far.

I am a firm believer that it is important to know what type of experience you want to create BEFORE you start creating it. Take booking a holiday for example.  Is your next holiday booked? If it is, did you book a totally RELAXING holiday at an All Inclusive  Resort in the Caribbean where your biggest decisions will be Pool, or Beach? OR did you book an adventure holiday backpacking through 4 different countries in 8 days? Both holidays sound amazing, but will give you completely different holidays. One may recharge you, on may exhaust you. Neither is right or wrong. But you get to create your experience by booking the type of holiday you want!

So back to picking your NEW FOREVER Realtor.

Your Pro and Con list will help you define what is important of you during the experience of selling your house. Sure you might think selling a house is easy, and sometimes it does appear that way. Because everyone is selling in a few days right?

Not so much.  Even for those that do sell in a week or less (and not everyone does), weeks of planning and work went into the project before you ever saw a For Sale sign go up. 

So your relationship with your realtor is important. You need to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST them with what you want to accomplish, and be on the same page with how to get there. You and your Realtor are ON THE SAME TEAM! Working together! Not against each other. Makes sense right?

By deciding in advance what you WANT ( the Pro list) in a Realtor will go a long way with helping you identify the Right Realtor when they are sitting across the table from you. You will know what to ask and what to check off your list. The Pro list will bring clarity to you at a time when you maybe a bit overwhelmed at your choices. It will bring you back to centre, pointing at what is important to you.  And don’t be afraid to add to the list on the fly.  You dont’ know what you don’t know. And once you know something you can now add it to either side of the Pro or Con list!

Speaking of which, read the next blog….THE CON! coming soon…..