Me and Real Estate
Like in every other field of sales, selling real estate is about being a sales person, representing yourself/your broker/your brand and going out there and selling yourself and your services. Your 'product' is not so much a house, or a farm, a condo, a commercial building, etc. as it is your knowledge of these particular forms of realty and your services surrounding their unique aspects.
The big advantage of Real Estate is that it is one of the easiest occupations to get into. Just take the exam and pass it and you are in! After that, if you are willing to get up in the morning and go to work you have a job. BUT it is not the easiest occupation to STAY in or make a livable income. If you have not been in Sales before or succeeded in sales before, Real Estate is going to be even more of a challenge. In the previous TAB (About Me) I suggested that my past early disapointments in life, then rebounding and sucessfully working in the computer automation field to match computer systems to someone's business, was a test showing I'm ideally suited for challenges and the business of Real Estate is certainly challenging. I was trained to learn Consultative selling, and just like an analyst, got to understand the customer's current level of technology and how to move up from there. Developing relationships with all kinds of people and personality types was important as I went about interviewing everyone's duties in the company - from the lowest inventory control clerk, right up to the CIO, CFO, and CEO and President. By knowing their problems I was building the solutions for them and I had been trained to configure the hardware and software and write up Statements of Work. I also had to be flexible and humble enough to accept that although they didn't know my technology, they certainly knew THEIRS and how it ran THEIR business. .
Most of the time you find yourself in an advisory consulting capacity in a wide range of disciplines that will affect any buyer or seller - such as legal (and lawyers), financial (and financing methods), municipal(and county, city), tax(and taxing authorities), educational( and school districts and teachers) administrative( and 75 different TREC real estate, construction (and construction techniques and different builders), relocation (and relocation policies in business and the Military), credit(and credit repair), lending (and Lenders), repair and replacement, skills (and tradesmen).
SELLING REAL ESTATE IS TOUGH
If I did not have the wealth of experience in Sales to draw from that I currently have, I can think of many times where I might have dropped out of Real Estate. Why? Some have explained Real Estate sales like a Rocket trying to lift off the ground. It takes thousands of pounds of thrust to launch and to get it off the ground and it seems many times like nothing is happening, but when it finally reaches critical mass it takes off into outer space and then it becomes much, much easier. There are many frustrating things in this business.but experience in fact is what separates the good realtor from the average realtor.
Of course one of the main reasons real estate is tough is because you don't get paid a penny until you close on the sale. In fact most of the time the realtor pays for expenses out of his own pocket upfront, This frustrates many a new salesman. The times when you spend a lot of research for a client and they don't seem to appreciate your hard work and even go off and buy from someone else can weigh on someone who cannot stand rejection. It happens all the the time. Someone who has only been in the business for 18-24 months (the median time for drop outs), gets weary of the sheer amount of times they have to wait 3 months for a paycheck and is not used to the regimen and the rejection.
But for the buyer, It should merely mean to them that they are being protected. The less experienced agent is not really ready - emotionally, financially, etc for helping buyers with the single biggest purchase the buyer will ever make. If I hadn't been selling for 30+ years before I came into real estate I would have given up myself! But when someone says 'no' or 'not now' to me, It just means they are being honest and feel comfortable with me and I am actually coaching them as they get ready, and I in turn am grateful that I have made a friend and can consult with them over a long period of time before they purchase. In fact I probably have 50 clients right now who I have been working with who are in the 'not now' stage, but who rely on me for advice now and then, some for as long as 4 years.
Secondly, real estate is tough because the willingness to go above and beyond is becoming more and more the 'norm' and another good name for it is 'Passion' for your work. It is easy to spot and conversely the opposite quality of 'burn-out' is just as easy to spot. The buyer will find this quality in the enthusiastic agent who is self-motivating. It might be the local Sunday School teacher, the Semi-professional Photographer, the Hockey player who lives for the game, a Singer, the Musician, the Little league Baseball Coach, etc. Something that gives them that extra spark in their life and there is usually a bit of maturity and pride of accomplishment that goes along with that. But mostly it's the willingness to go the 'extra' that is easy to spot.
Are you going to find Passion in every singe agent? Probably not. But those who have survived beyond 7 years, and have a skip in their step and a glimmer in their eye are usually going to give you the best buying experience. And a good buying experience can make the difference in a move. These days there are even more challenging moves as new job opportunities open up, or the Realtor finds himself doing an Estate sale as a precursor to doing his Open Houses with the listing, or as an out of state relocation for a family of seven, or the Listing of the buyers house has to be coordinated with buying another one - all at the same time.
Thirdly Another challenge for realtors is, Hardly have I ever found that a real estate deal was a 'clean-cut' transaction. There are some among our ranks who grow tired of a dragged out prolonged transaction, and then 'doing that extra thing'. Yet it is so important sometimes because you are dealing with 'family'. I had an experience where after doing everything from the showing, to the inspection, to cancelling the contract, to finding another property to repeat the same process, then cancelling again, and then finally finding the right house to managing the repairs, to finding a better lender to one day before the close I was asked if I would 'make a special trip at night' to open up the house so that my clients college aged sons could see it - because they had to go back to school the next morning. What a blast! The kids and parents celebrated their new house - and i was 'part of the family'!
Thus is very important that you do not select the very first Realtor you run into. All Realtor's are different and you need to interview that agent - and similarly the Agent needs to interview the buyer! For example when I interview a client I also try to find out if a client's hopes and dreams are realistic.
Now I wouldn't be the first realtor to say 'those folks are dreaming'! I would bet you 70% of buyers have un-realistic expectations, especially of the buying process and also when it comes to the financing. which is a large part of buying a house. The realtor is trained to help the buyer reach their objective in a sensible way taking them through all the "typical" steps - financial qualification process, the search, the legal aspects of making an offer, contingencies, the negotiation of the price, the negotation of the repair amendment, the necessity of dealing with the appraiser these days, and on and on. However, I have never found the "typical" steps to be the same in any transaction I have ever done. They are so many variants they are all over the map.
The Realtor must be flexible enough to deal with any situation that comes up and occassionally, to even drop something at a moments notice to tackle the lastest 'emergency'. This is NOT AN 8 to 5 JOB, nor can the realtor ever count on his weekends to be free. Of course mobile technology and automation help this to be a lot easier than before, but its no substitute for good service. I answer my phone nights and weekends all the time. That is the only time most working families have in order to go out and search and do the evaluations and make important decisions about the serious business of moving from one location to another location with all the ramifications that go along with it.
So how does a realtor manage this kind of job? How does he/she manage to keep a job like this for 5-10 years. You have to be an enthusiastic, out-going person who is willing to share and you have to have some sort of a schedule (or you'll go nuts!) That's a given. Some of the more 'adaptable' Realtors I know have 'gifts' and are talented musicians, speakers, volunteers, and teachers - and like to share or volunteer. I have volunteered for fund raising efforts, run 5k races, coached sports teams and a few years ago even volunteered to do an ELVIS song ON STAGE (for the first time in my life!) for my Realtor peers at the Historic old Woodlawn Theatre downtown San Antonio. I'd only done it once before at a Karaoke Bar at the Pitney-Bowes training school in Atlanta back in 2000. This time it was in front of 400 fellow realtors! But - we raised almost $6,000 for TAR (texas association of realtors) to lobby congress to keep the Interest and Tax deduction alive!! I practiced for a month, rented a White Elvis Suit, bought the Elvis wig, and sunglasses and sang "Are you lonesome tonight"!! I even added my own humor to the monologue to get a few laughs. The prize-winning performer was not me, but another Realtor who was perhaps one of the best Saxophone players we had ever heard. It was a great time and it makes you feel good to serve.
The Psychology of buying a house for many home-buyers is fraught with unrealistic expectations, dreams of grand living, and for some an expectation to completely change their very life-style, especially in the San Antonio area. San Antonio homes are still relatively lower in price and have more overall value than the rest of the country and I can help you do that. I have lived here long enough to know the life style possibilities! I have seen buyers go through the 'highs and lows' - realizing you can buy a great house for a cheap price - then suddenly finding out about the less than perfect soil conditions, or the gotcha's from buying a new house from a new home builder who 'forgot' to tell you something because he was too busy or you were in the middle of moving, that causes you pain. However, I have also seen the Smiles on the folks who along with their house, the 2.5 acres, and the mother-in-law Casita right next door, they also got a 300 Year Old Oak tree, with a 100' foot canopy. Sometimes you just get lucky down here!
Typically though many times a Realtor has the task of bringing someone down to earth, because the Texas Law says he must. That's not true of ordinary business enterprises who just build houses only to make a profit. Texas is NOT like other states. Our laws are slightly different, and we put a lot of stress on protecting the buyer. Texas Realtors have a "Fiduciary" responsibility to the buyer to serve every buyers best interests.
Like in all sales jobs, there are pressures on new Salespersons. Those who are not well trained and who have not gone through the test of time always finds it harder to listen to the Client's every need, and are under pressure to sell something, anything, in order to get a start in the business. This is no different whether selling computers or services of any kind; It's hard work getting started. Most start out as "buyers agents" where they focus on just buyers and their needs. With a new Realtor who has had a solid sales background, developing relationships between client and realtor, helping the client get prequalified, negotiating a deal to get the price lower for your client, knowing the LAW as it applies to Real Estate transactions through the dozens and dozens Legal promulgated forms. Rather than use a $175-$200/hour lawyer it is less hassle, there is ZERO nickel and diming, and it becomes much more professional to use a Realtor to do dozens of 'little things' you never even thought of. Back in the day it used to be in order to get it 'perfect' you'd hire a good lawyer to work - but even then the reluctance to show you property every day or go find that missing key (unless you were willing to pay those hourly fees) and everything has a fee, all adds up, even finding and evaluating the best lenders, negotiating repairs, and all the dozens of minor details that we realtors do gratis! Now with Texas promulgated forms, we can act as well as any real estate lawyer (we don't practice law but the Realtor Knows the law) and can negotiate and write up a more mutually agreed upon repair amendment, write up amendments from anything to changing the closing date to extending the option period to doing a leaseback, etc, even do a closer-to-value CMA, advise on home inspections, advise on Surveys, advise on Appraisals, and more. This will all combine to bring about a more successful close. The more practice the better.
Prior to becoming a Realtor, I first became a Loan Officer/Loan Originator. I did this because I tend to be very thorough and wanted to learn real estate the 'old fashioned way'. The way it used to be. I like being well-rounded with a lot of life experiences. It helps me become a stronger negotiator. Since 2009 I have sold San Antonio homes, including Schertz, Cibolo, Converse, Universal City, Selma, New Braunfels, Seguin, Thousand Oaks, Live Oak, South San Antonio, Floresville, and the West side using the same sales experience I developed from my 30 years of computer sales experience and solution sales.
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