The Confident Rookie Series - Secret One - Master Your Systems BEFORE You Need Them!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

How comfy are you with your systems? Specifically, your MLS and your contract software? For me, if I'm not proficient with my tools of my trade, it's easy for me to shy away from using them. Well, in OUR trade, shying away from using the MLS or your contract software is pretty much fatal to your chances of bringing in a paycheck. KWIM?contract

Last year, after two years away from the trenches, I re-activated my real estate license. The RE/MAX office I joined had a new fancy-schmantzy contract software program I'd never used before. Well, the heavens smiled on me and I got a buyer off my blog literally the first day back. We went out looking at houses and they found one they liked and wanted to make an offer on it.

YIPES! I had no idea how to even fire up the program, much less navigate through it, so... get this... I put them off with some stupid excuse until two days later so I could get a crash course on the software. But even with the crash course, I was a bit of a basket-case writing up the offer, from a technology perspective.

For a new agent, I imagine this would be doubly or triply unnerving! At least I'd actually gone through a purchase contract with a buyer a couple hundred times, so I wasn't nervous about that... but the actual technology of it just about shut me down.

So, the first step is admitting you have a problem. When you run an MLS search for a buyer, do you trust your results? When you're looking for comparables to price a home for a prospective seller, are you sure you found them all? No? Then practice practice practice. And get some training, either from the local MLS provider/board or from another agent in the office. Do 5 practice CMAs* on 5 office listings. Do a CMA on your own house. Search for homes Just Like Yours and go preview them.

If you use contract software (as opposed to handwriting your contracts), GET SOME TRAINING. These systems are not intuitive and you'll be a basket-case like I was if you're sitting down with a buyer to write an offer and can't figure out how to print it out. Or how to auto-populate the fields from contract to contract. These programs are typically pretty powerful and can do a lot of things for you... LEARN THEM.

Yeah, yeah, I know that Learning your Systems isn't nearly as sexy as learning how to prospect, but unless you're a master fake-it-til-you-make-it-er, those prospects you bring in won't be worth much to you without a decent knowledge of your systems.

Tomorrow: Secret Two - Practice with Your Printer (more important than you might think!) 

* CMA traditionally stands for Competitive Market Analysis or Comparative Market Analysis, however, I recently a much better definition, compliments of Broker Bryant - "Compilation of Market Activity." A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent to determine the market value of a home.



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  1. Yvette Gardner 04/07/2009 02:19 PM
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Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Jennifer - This is so true mastering the tools of the trade is vital to your success and sanity.

Apr 03, 2009 12:49 AM #1
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jennifer - SANITY!!!!!! You are so right!!!!! I can't bluff my way out of a paper bag, so if I don't know what I'm doing, I will definitely be a mess!

Apr 03, 2009 12:51 AM #2
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

The sad part is most MLS's , ours does, has free classes all year to help in areas. Folks do not take advantage of them . It is another example of either you become an expert or you do not survive. Thanks for the post

Apr 03, 2009 12:52 AM #3
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Charlie - Ours, too. But there are so many other much more important things to be doing than actually learning your job, eh???

Apr 03, 2009 12:54 AM #4
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Charlie is right. I would assume that every Board has an Education Committee of some sort. It is so hard to get people to attend the classes they need.  pretty frustrating when you work hard to provide it for the agents and they dont show up....

But that is why 10% of the agents do 90% of the business!

Apr 03, 2009 02:27 AM #5
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

I experienced first hand exactly what you're speaking about when I changed companies in October!  I felt like an idiot, and (fortunately) my first clients after the switch for also previous clients so I was able to get away with some growing pains.  I'm so glad I wasn't trying to make a good first impression because I probably wouldn't have.

Apr 03, 2009 11:30 PM #6
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jennifer, you illustrated with your example, just like anything in life, lots of practice helps.

Apr 04, 2009 06:08 AM #7
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


Practice always makes perfect.....take the opportunities to perfect your will never regret it.

Apr 07, 2009 09:54 AM #8
Jason Daley
Bremerton, WA
Kitsap County Real Estate, Bremerton, WA Real Estate

Boy I remember some of my first contracts 4.5 years ago... Talk about a lump in your throat!!!

When I moved from WA to UT, and had to learn all new contracts (A bit different from state to state in this case) I went through every line of the contracts and addendums and highlighted anything that I wanted any clarification on, and then took that to our office and had them go through each item with me.

They told me that I am the only agent that they know of that has ever done that. Nuff Said...

Apr 10, 2009 04:00 AM #9
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jennifer, it's learning curves that keep us young - and frustrate us along the way lol! We have a contract system that is used state-wide and it can be great or frustrating if you push the wrong button and delete by accident!

Apr 10, 2009 04:11 PM #10
Another Realtor

Odd that you couldn't just ask your broker for help with the software.

Jul 21, 2009 05:56 PM #11
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