Newly Expanded with More Expert Advice to Help You Build a Winning Real Estate Career
Welcome to the world of real estate sales, and the start of an exciting new career! Your destiny is now in
your hands. Along with endless opportunities, flexible hours, and the freedom to chart your own path, you also have the potential to earn fabulous amounts of money. All you need for total success is preparation. Revised and expanded,
Your First Year in Real Estate contains the essential knowledge you need to start off right in today’s vastly changed real estate market, avoid common first-year missteps, and get the inside edge that will take you to the top.
Real estate expert Dirk Zeller has compiled the industry’s proven secrets and strategies that will enable novice agents to hit the ground running and excel from day one. You’ll get the insider’s guide to:
• Selecting the right company
• Developing valuable mentor and client relationships
• Using the Internet and social networking to stay ahead of the competition (NEW!)
• Setting—and reaching— essential career goals
• Staying on top in today’s challenging real estate climate (NEW!)
• And so much more.
Concise and thorough,
Your First Year in Real Estate is like having the top coach right by your side.
“Dirk Zeller''s approach is brilliant! He gives the best basic marketing techniques to his students. I applaud this book.”
—Bonnie S. Mays, vice president, Realty World America, and executive director, Realty World Academy
“Follow the advice in this book and you will join the growing list of real estate professionals who call Dirk Zeller their mentor!”
—Rick DeLuca, nationally recognized real estate speaker
Classic Insight into Building a Fabulous Career in Real Estate
Welcome to the world of real estate sales! Now, "you control your destiny. A career in real estate offers endless opportunities, the freedom of flexible hours, and the potential to earn fabulous amounts of money. But to reach your goals you need to be prepared. Before you dive in, you must learn everything you can and discover the edge that will take you to the top.
Inside, experienced and top-notch real estate professional Dirk Zeller presents the secrets to success that will allow you to excel from day one. Full of practical answers and step-by-step solutions to the field''s most common obstacles and challenges, "Your First Year in Real Estate will help you build a solid foundation for a lifetime of real estate success.
Be a real estate champion from day one by knowing how to:
-Select the right company and get off to the right start
-Develop valubable mentor and client relationships
-Master your sales skills
-Achieve the financial results you desire
-Set--and reach--important career goals
"Dirk Zeller''s approach is brilliant! He gives the best basic marketing techniques to his students. I applaud this book."
--Bonnie S. Mays, vice president, Reality World America, and executive director, Reality World Academy
"Follow the advice in this book and you will join the growing list of real estate professionals who call Dirk Zeller their mentor!"
--Rick DeLuca, nationally recognized real estate speaker
DIRK ZELLER is the CEO and head coach of Real Estate Champions, which provides consulting and developmental training for real estate professionals, and is a regular columnist for
Realty Times. Visit www.realestatechampions.com for more information.
Also available as an eBook [and on audio from Random House]
Selecting the Right Company
Welcome to your new career in real estate! You have chosen what is for many people a very challenging and rewarding labor of love: selling real estate. The fact that you are here, reading this book, is a good sign: You are already looking for an edge, advantages, and knowledge that will help push you to the top of your profession. So let''s begin.
First Things First
It''s very easy to get swept away in the emotion and excitement of your new career, to have dollar signs in your eyes without thoroughly researching the facts. Although it is important to dive into your career headfirst, it is also essential to make sure both of your eyes are wide open. You need to research, learn, and prepare for your new profession because, ultimately, the company that you select to first "hang your license" with can make or break your career. As such, you must begin your new career before you get your license.
Licensing Training Programs
Many real estate companies offer licensing training programs. These programs will help you prepare for and pass your state and national licensing exams. Some of these firms teach you through classroom programs aimed at meeting the minimum requirements in your state, and often these classroom programs are augmented with tapes, workbooks, and other materials that you can study outside of the classroom.
In addition, many firms offer their own pre-licensing programs at no cost to you; others will charge you a few dollars to attend. There are some that will pay for these programs and even the cost of the state and national exams. These firms usually will deduct these fees from your first commission check. If you are comfortable with a couple of offices, you might consider the one that is willing to invest in your career financially. Seeking out the best firm for you and talking with them will also help you begin networking within the real estate industry.
Selecting the Right Company for You
Choosing a job for yourself is easy, right? Find a company that is hiring, offer your services, agree on money, and it''s all done. If it were only that easy.
Truth is, there are scores of questions you need to ask both the firm and yourself. You must discover what the company can do for you, as well as how you will benefit the company. The situation should be mutually beneficial to you and your office. So what should you look for when searching for the best company for you?
What Every Good Real Estate Company Has
When you sign on with a company, you become an extension of that organization. Before you ever meet a client, he will already have an opinion of your company, and that opinion will influence what your client thinks of you. Learning how to identify a company with a solid history and positive standing in the community is essential to cultivating business and developing your career. A good real estate company, one that will provide you with the resources to succeed, will have several qualities.
A Solid Reputation Is Essential
The reputation of the company is critical. Remember, you are an extension of the company you work for. Until you are able to build a clientele and a following of your own, you will be relying solely on the company''s reputation. A buyer or seller will have a positive or negative impression of your company based on its reputation before you ever work with her. That reputation will be based on the success of the company, such as the market share it has achieved and the number of homes it lists and sells annually. The company''s involvement with the community is also important.
A Passion About Customer Service Is a Must
A company''s customer service model and service reputation are also important factors. Real estate sales is a service-oriented business where one is paid for results. To be successful, real estate agents must be customer-focused while carefully monitoring time and revenue invested to complete the job. First, you must be committed to providing outstanding customer service. Second, the company you select to work with must share your passion for customer service and must be committed to helping you achieve the level of customer service required to be successful. How you treat your clients, past and present, has a direct bearing on getting listing contracts from a seller and getting that home sold and closed, which is every agent''s desired result. Similarly, your ability to secure your representation of the buyer, find him a home, and close the deal is dependent on your level of customer service.
There Is No Second Place
As a real estate agent, you are assuming a big risk by putting in a lot of time, effort, and even money in hopes of achieving a sale. There will be times when you work extremely hard for your client but the home never sells or your client never makes a purchase. Real estate agents get compensated for only the final result. Unlike horse racing, where they pay for Win, Place, and Show-first, second, and third-in real estate you get paid only when the house sells or closes. There is no second place, so you and the company you choose must be results-oriented. And good results are a product of good customer service.
Strong Listing Companies Help a New Agent
Make sure any companies you are considering are strong listing companies. Working for a strong listing company ensures you will have an opportunity to work with a lot of buyers. Most new agents work with more buyers than sellers. Buyers are easier to attract and create relationships with. They are not entrusting their largest asset, their home, to a new agent.
A listing is a contract with a seller to exclusively represent her in selling a home. If an agent acquires a listing, prices the home appropriately, and sells the house, then the agent will get paid. A strong listing office can dramatically help an agent early in her career. When agents and offices have an abundance of listings, they also receive a high volume of ad calls and sign calls. The ad and sign calls lead to buyers and often sellers.
There is an old saying in real estate: "You list, you last." The most successful and productive agents are the agents who focus on listing property, for a regular diet of new listings is the engine that drives the train. To be truly financially successful in real estate sales without having to work all hours of the day and night and on weekends, becoming a strong listing agent is imperative. Aligning with a company that has a large inventory of homes for sale will dramatically help you create success early in your career.
Researching a Company
Once you have determined that a company has a solid reputation, has an effective customer service model, and is a strong listing company, you must research the company and find out the answers to some important questions. The right answers will help you know whether a company is right for you, while the wrong answers will help steer you away to search for a better match.
Seek Out Market Share Information
First, you should inquire about market statistics. Find out the company''s market share, how many listings it takes in a year, how many listings sell, how many fail to sell, and how many sales it actually makes. These are numbers, statistics, and statistics don''t lie. This information will give you the bottom line about a company and will reflect on its customer service, position in the market, and the potential for success on your part.
Check with the Local Board of Realtors
You will want to research the company at your local Board of Realtors. The local board may have market share and other statistics for the company you are interviewing. It is critically important that you check with a third-party resource and verify the statistics that a company provides. Authenticate the figures and make sure the numbers all add up.
Who''s Number One?
There are many companies in real estate who have claimed in recent years to be number one. Some claim to be the biggest real estate companies, in terms of sales, in the world. They have national advertising campaigns staking claim to being number one. Others claim to be number one in service. No wonder the consumer is confused as to whom to believe and do business with! If the industry can''t decide who''s number one, how can anyone else? Most likely there are statistics and documentation to back each company''s claims-it all depends on how you count the numbers. But the bottom line is: Be sure to validate the information you receive from the companies you interview.
The Multiple Listing Service
Another source for market share and statistics is the multiple listing service. In most marketplaces around the country, real estate companies and agents use a multiple listing service to increase exposure. This allows all agents in the Board of Realtors to access every house and property for sale and allows them to sell it. This service is often a separate entity from the Board of Realtors, and it is an invaluable source of information regarding listings and sales of homes. They will help you interpret the truth on the sales in your local area and who controls the market.
Lots of Agents, Little Production
One word of caution with regard to market share: The number of agents a company has can dramatically affect market share. Many companies have a lot of agents, but each individual agent does little in production. That type of company will not have the personnel who can help you improve your skills much beyond the beginner stage. Make sure you select a company that also allows you to grow and thrive.
Local Business Journals
Lastly, if you live in a major metropolitan area, you may find that the local business journal provides valuable information. Look for special editions that deal with real estate in the marketplace. The journal will often rank brokers in size and scope of services. This is another wonderful resource to ensure that you are obtaining the whole truth and starting your career with the right company.
Take a Drive
Another useful research activity is to drive around the community you want to work in and check out the signs. Whose signs are in front of the houses you would want to represent? How many signs are there?
Take the time to drive to the actual office you are considering. Is it in a location that would be effective for business? For some offices it is difficult to see that they are even there. Look at the office from the buyer''s or seller''s viewpoint. Would you stop there to inquire about their services? When you walk in the door, does the office have the look and feel of a successful business, or does it look and feel chaotic? Some of your future clients will make their decisions on just such an impression.
For a new agent these questions are critical; when you gain experience and skill, the location and amenities are not as important. At that point you will have clients and the skill to create clients and you can generate new business from any location. For now, the look and feel of your office is what your client''s impression will be based on.
Be sure to research a company''s advertising philosophy. For a new agent, the company''s frequency and volume of advertising can help you, as a new agent, generate new clients. There are many companies that do very little advertising and rely on the agents themselves to advertise their properties. These companies have a much higher percentage of experienced agents than new agents. Compare advertising over a two- week period. This will give you a good comparison because some companies do bigger ads less frequently, while others engage in lower- profile advertising more frequently.
Note whether the company does display ads or just classifieds. Display ads usually have the company''s banner or heading and they gather in one place all the homes the company is advertising. Classifieds are smaller ads arranged by location of the homes. The display ads will give a more impressive appearance to the consumer than spread-out classified ads. A display ad is more elaborate, since a company will often feature an agent or all their agents. Take the time to look at their ads and see how they promote the agents and the company. Is that the image you want to project? Can you see yourself in the ad with the other agents?
Real Estate Book Publications
Another advertising area to review is the real estate book publications you see at the local grocery store. These publications are very effective in marketing and advertising property. They provide a longer shelf life than local newspaper advertisements and offer pictures of the properties. In most markets there are a couple of different magazines to choose from, of varying quality. In these publications, does your prospective company present the type of image you desire? Are they even present in these advertising mediums? Many companies you will be interviewing may produce their own publication of this nature.
Evaluate the quality, size, and scope of the advertising in these publications. Are there company-sponsored pages with numerous agents on a page, or are there pages for individual agents? When an agent is the only agent on the page, generally the agent has paid for it. You want to make sure that the companies you are considering have space for new agents like yourself to use.
The Company Internet Site
With more and more buyers moving from searching print publications to searching the Internet, the company''s Web presence is important as well. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 85 percent of consumers start their search for properties on the Internet. They go there before they venture to newsprint or real estate magazines.
The company you select must have a robust Web site that is highly ranked in key search terms. If you type into Google, for example, the area where you live and add the words "real estate" behind it, the sites that come up in the higher ranks in Web searches are the Web sites that will get the most traffic.
You also want to evaluate whether the company Web site has a method to harvest the leads. Are they offering free reports, Internet data exchange (IDX) listings, or some other strategies to get visitors to leave their names and contact information so a lead can be generated? This is all part of the new lead generation strategy in real estate today.