Following is the third of a four-part series for how the real estate industry can weather the quarantine and the COVID-19 crisis as a whole. In this part of the series, I will outline tips for active agents and those looking to become agents. In the next installation, I’ll be offering tips for homeowners.
TOP 5 REAL ESTATE TIPS FOR ACTIVE REALTORS
No. 1: Connect with clients online by starting an online newsletter, blog posting schedule, opening a business Facebook page or making timely posts on your existing websites and social media. Ask for likes on your Facebook page, update your LinkedIn profile and jump into the popular world of Instagram if you haven’t already.
No. 2: Contact past clients and ask for referrals you can utilize in advertising — sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and more have templates that make asking easy with the click of a button — you can even have a drawing for a gift card for clients who submit reviews to motivate them to take a few minutes of their downtime to send in a review.
No. 3: Send emails or hand written notes to clients, friends and colleagues to check in with your sphere and send them your best wishes during these times. Also reach out to old leads and follow up with buyers/sellers who have dropped off the radar with a kind “thinking of you” message.
No. 4: Take time to dive into the latest and greatest technology available, especially that which will help you take the lead in this shifting market … I remember I was the first agent to be featured locally for embracing virtual tours (back in 2005ish when they were merely scrolling photos set to music). Being a leader in new strategies and emerging technology can set you apart from the competition. A great way to learn what’s new and hip is by doing some good old-fashioned online “stalking” of top producers in other parts of the country and start experimenting with a strategy you discover that no one else is doing locally.
No. 5: Invest in online training (most is quite inexpensive) and get designations and extra certifications in areas in which you want to specialize. Work on continuing education credits to get them out of the way before crunch time when they are due. Consider enrolling in your broker’s license (even if you never intend on running an office) — the added credibility of being an Associate Broker is well worth the 180 hours and approximately $800 invested.
TOP 5 REAL ESTATE TIPS FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONSIDERING BECOMING A REALTOR
No. 1: Look into online real estate classes and take the plunge — enroll in an affordable course and start taking action in exploring the industry, instead of dreaming about “one day.” Even if you don’t become an active agent, you’ll learn a great deal in the 60 hour course, and you’ll discover if the industry feels like a right fit for you. Moseley Real Estate School is my favorite, and the course is under $300. I’m proud to have been the very first agent to ever join the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors after taking an online course back in 2002. Before that year, most agents took the course in person — I took mine from Moseley on dial up Internet service!
No. 2: Make a budget and seriously consider the expenses involved in holding an active real estate license. Contact your local Association of Realtors and ask them questions about the process and investment required in starting a career in real estate. The fees involved in joining a local board of Realtors, enrolling in the multiple listing service, charges associated with joining a brokerage, and general start up expenses will shock you. Yes, real estate commissions look great “on paper” but be sure to fully explore the true cost (financially, emotionally and mentally) of beginning a career in real estate. I’d suggest having six months or more of savings to allow time for your career to take off. For almost the entire first year I was an agent, I was embarrassed to attend office meetings because my business was slow to take off — patience, persistence and doing things differently than others is the key to success.
No. 3: Start following local top producers who have a good reputation and learn from those already successful in the industry. Sign up for free online newsletters or courses from professional Realtor trainers and get a feel for the industry from the inside before you dive in. Tom Ferry, Brian Buffini, Gary Keller and many others offer free online tips and have written books you can soak up to learn inside scoop about the industry.
No. 4: Begin researching available local, regional and online real estate brokerages while exploring which office seems like the best fit for you. Email or call brokers and start interviewing them. Compare their offerings to new agents, including their willingness to invest in start-up costs. Be sure to ask about training opportunities, mentorship availability, the possibility of having “duty time” (answering the phone or working at the front desk to get leads), and company lead generating/sharing.
No. 5: Start a database (with email and physical addresses) of friends, family and community contacts so you’ll have people to reach out to when you launch your career. It will be important to notify your circle (and expand it) for your best chances of hitting the ground running. And even if you choose to not become an agent, at least you’ll have your Christmas card list ready and can get your cards out around Thanksgiving this year!
Finally, make sure you review my other articles written for homebuyers, sellers and homeowners for other suggestions you can implement or share with your clients during this chaotic time.