The Confident Rookie Series - Secret Two - Practice with Your Printer!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Picking up from yesterday's blog about how important it for rookies to Master Their Systems before they need them; today I'll add just a little bit more to that project.printer

Practice with Your Printer. This may sound silly, but when you're writing an offer for a buyer, it's nerve-wracking if you can't get the printer to work. Seriously.

I wrote my very first offer back in 1996 at 6:00 pm on a Friday night in my Coldwell Banker office. I called my broker away from Happy Hour to help me (yep, he was a bit looped). I'd had training on the contract software and was pretty comfy there, but had never actually printed a contract.

Using my own brand new contract software (registered under my name & all!), I created the contract with my broker's help, and then went to print it out. Oops. Great big DRAFT watermark across every page. Hmmmmmm. Tried again. Same thing. My buyer was sitting in the conference room waiting for me, but neither I nor my broker could figure out what was wrong. And, being Friday night, there wasn't much chance of finding any customer service at the software company.

I was a mess and felt like an idiot. I ended up re-writing the entire contract on pre-printed forms and life went on. Turns out that I needed some activation code to remove the DRAFT watermark.

But there are all sorts of things that can go wrong when printing from new software, aren't there? Especially if you're in a networked real estate office.

So, as you're practicing with your contract software, be sure to also practice printing out the contracts. Please don't hesitate to waste paper. If your software requires legal paper, be sure you know where it is and how to load it. If you have the option of either legal or letter, be sure you know how to select the one you want. Know how to "insert" or "remove" n/a's and such.

And... always have a back-up plan. Here's mine:

  • Plan A:  Business as usual - use the regular office printer
  • Plan B:  If that fails, try the other printer at the office (we have two)
  • Plan C: If both of those fail, email the contract to the receptionist to print out
  • Plan D: If I'm really crashing & burning, know where the pre-printed contracts are and write it up manually.

Again, I know this sounds trivial and even silly, but just wait until YOUR buyer is sitting in the conference room waiting to sign his offer and you can't produce anything for him to sign!


The Confident Rookie Series:

  1. Know Your Systems
  2. Practice with Your Printer (sounds silly, I know)
  3. Preview, Preview, Preview
  4. Drive Your Route Ahead of Time
  5. Cheerfully Waste Your Time
  6. Find Your Handyman
  7. Let Your Seller Prospect Do Most of the Talking
  8. Get Comfy with Your Commission
  9. Admit that You're New
  10. What to say when you don't know the answer

Stay tuned...


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Yvette Gardner 04/07/2009 02:20 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
Real Estate Rookie
Rookies Turning Pro
Selling Soulfully
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Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Jennifer - This looks like a good series...I'm subscribing to your post! :)

Apr 04, 2009 05:37 AM #1
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker


Great advice.  System should be in place and tested for when you need to use them.

Apr 04, 2009 05:38 AM #2
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Jennifer - I meant that I'm subscribing to you blog, but I think you knew what I meant.. :)

Apr 04, 2009 05:38 AM #3
Bob Volanti
Keller Williams Realty Fresno - Clovis, CA
Fresno and Clovis, CA Realtor

Really good advice Jennifer,

Getting up to speed on those most basic things are an important part of an agents career. I've heard alot of the printer confusion stories not the least of which is the weekend out of ink or toner.

Look forward to your series. Have a great weekend.

Apr 04, 2009 05:41 AM #4
Cameron Novak
The Homefinding Center - Corona, CA
Featured Corona Real Estate Agent Team

I recommend that all of my agents practice writing offers PRIOR to when they actually have a client sitting in front of them.  A well prepared agent will give the buyer or seller confidence that the agent knows his/her stuff.

Cameron Novak, Corona Real Estate Agent
Cameron Novak

Corona & Riverside Short Sale Agent
The Homefinding Center
Corona, California 

Apr 04, 2009 05:41 AM #5
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jennifer, I suppose we can easily overlook the importance of a printer and the driver from computer to printer and the settings. Your example illustrated how Murphy's Law creeps in and it is never as easy as it should be. Having a backup plan or plans definitely helps out.

Apr 04, 2009 06:11 AM #6
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

I can't believe you remember the exact day, date and time when you wrote your first contract. That never even occurred to me to remember that O_O  But then, I was selling manufactured homes first, then got my license and started selling houses. So I was doing both. I guess my lines kind of blurred.

Aside from that though, it sucks when drivers go bad; printers break, software needs to be reinstalled, etc. Technology, as great as it is, can also be the biggest pain in the butt.

Apr 04, 2009 10:34 AM #7
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Nice post, Jennifer. I've had that exact scenario happen to me - DRAFT printed across every page of the contract, with buyer waiting to sign. LOL. Fortunately help was only a phone call away. Good advice.

Apr 04, 2009 10:51 AM #8
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Tim - I was mortified (12.5 years later I still remember the panic).

Lisa - I have a spectacular memory for such trivia...

Gary - Having a back up plan can also assure you that you'll never need one!

Cameron - I agree. I helped a trainee last week do his first offer and it took us several hours. The first time is tough!

Bob- Printer problems are one of the reasons I decided to work from home most of my career...


Apr 04, 2009 11:01 AM #9
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Another great tip Jennifer.  It is so true that we need to practice with our "stuff" to be sure we Get it so the actual deals go smoothly...

When I first started in the mortgage biz in 1987 we did not even have a fax machine in the office... the application was only 2 pages but I still remember sitting with one of the processors for a week practicing filling out the 1003 filling in the blanks and asking the right questions.  Practice may not make perfect, but it does make you more confident!

Apr 05, 2009 01:56 AM #10
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

J - I love this series - what a great idea.  Even for us not so newbie agents anymore - these are great reminders on keeping track, especially when some of us need to regroup.  Oh and looking forward to those teleconferences - You literally read my mind on some of those topics.  I'm looking forward to all 3.

Apr 06, 2009 03:34 AM #11
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Jennifer - This rang so true.  Also, for many of us that use on line Zip Forms, vs. desktop, we need to renew EVERY year so we need to do this in January every year BEFORE we have a client sitting there waiting.  Many agents renew but then find they can't get in.  So I renew and - TA DA - practice printing.  My version of Plan D - have a preprinted blank contract with me at all times!

Apr 07, 2009 03:13 AM #12
Muffy collins
Bridgeport, CT

Jeffifer, i am following the series.  I am a newbie and love reading your post. Thanks so much for all that you do for us!

Apr 07, 2009 04:09 PM #13
Jason Daley
Bremerton, WA
Kitsap County Real Estate, Bremerton, WA Real Estate

Jennifer - I Love this series!!! It is SSSOOO true, Ihave had just about every one of these experiences when I was new and a few other embarrassing ones, too funny :)

Apr 10, 2009 04:17 AM #14
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

Too familiar Jenifer. I wrote the contract and went to print it 2 hrs before my meeting. I spent the next hr. getting worked up and stressed out beyond belief. I ended up having to hand write the contract at the appointment.

Confidence is key in all of your systems and machines.

Apr 14, 2009 04:57 PM #15
Robin Holliday
Wainwright Real Estate, Virginia Beach, Virginia - Virginia Beach, VA


Thank you for all your information, I just joined your group and also received access to your VIP lounge! Great stuff! Your ideas of Real Estate  and all the little stuff is exactly how I think about things! Thank you for being so REAL!

May 01, 2009 03:17 AM #16
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Robin - I love it when I "meet" kindred spirits!!

May 01, 2009 03:25 AM #17
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