5 Ways to Sharpen Your Axe in 2017

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Broadpoint Properties Cal BRE #01324959

real estate skillsIt’s the new year, and I’m probably already going to break one of my resolutions. Each year I resolve to be kinder and more tolerant of others. I’m sorry, but that is often difficult for me as it is for many in the real estate industry.

Story time

About 6 weeks ago, my husband (maybe you’ve read about him before in my blog) received a call on his multi-million dollar listing from a man who saw it on Zillow and wanted to check it out. Hubby went out and showed the home to the interested party. This prospective buyer loved the home, and made a verbal offer that was quite low.

After putting the offer into a letter of intent and presenting it, the seller declined; it was just too low. The seller specified his bottom line and the buyer dug in his heels. Then, about three weeks after the showing, hubby received an offer on the home from another agent, who was representing this same buyer (the one that put in the lowball offer). (By the way, this is not an article about procuring cause… so read on.)

After speaking with the seller, hubby responded via email and said that he had already presented this very same offer from the very same buyer and the seller already declined. Then… his (hubby's) phone and email started blowing up. Both the agent who had written the offer and the buyer contacted hubby and said that this buyer had wanted his own representation and this is why the buyer had gone elsewhere to seek out an agent.

Now, California permits dual agency and I understand that dual agency has its challenges, but here’s where the story goes sour and here’s where I break my new year’s resolution (and possibly offend a few readers). Because this entire situation was so strange, I personally checked the production of the agent he asked to represent him. In her entire career, she has closed 4 transactions. 4 transactions!

Let’s get real

Let me be very clear: If you are going to tell me that you want independent representation, you are not going to hire someone who has only closed 4 transactions to represent you. You are going to call a local and reputable brokerage and research the track record of other local agents in the industry. Newbie and part time agents gain their experience the more transactions they close.

In the past 10 years—either as broker, agent, short sale negotiation, or coach—I have been involved at some level in over 2000 transactions, and I readily acknowledge that sometimes I am still not sure of the best course of action; I often need to mull things over, and consult with reputable colleagues (like my hubby or other top producers in the industry).

Looking to Sharpen Your Saw in 2017?

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Seek out a mentor or mastermind partner. This can be someone from your office, another firm, or a coach you have hired. This could be someone you could shadow, but at the very least you should consult regularly on best practices and review areas where you need to improve or are seeking advice. Example: if you are finding a certain aspect of the business stressful, discuss that with your mentor or partner and see how this individual handles those very same issues.
  2. Read or listen to at least one book per month. I really don’t care if the book is fiction or non-fiction. You could easily listen to an audio book in your car as you are driving around town. Research shows that the benefits of reading include stress reduction, mental stimulation, vocabulary expansion, mental improvement, stronger analytical skills, improved focus, and better writing skills. I listen to about 30 audio books a year (all in the car or while I am exercising), so it can be done. You can get the Audible app by clicking here and your first two books are free. Right now, I am listening to The Underground Railroad, and one of my favorite non-fiction books is Outliers.
  3. Attend office meetings and broker caravans or broker open houses. If you don’t have a lot going on, you should familiarize yourself with the inventory. Attend broker open houses and look at all the vacant homes in your area. Then, when someone calls you to list their home for sale, you’ll likely be familiar with the floor plan and layout already. Also, office meetings are for your benefit. In my case, people tell me about things they want to learn and we discuss those things in office meetings. It’s always disappointing to me (as a broker) when an individual wants to learn something, and I bring in the speaker. Then the agent doesn’t show up for the meeting because she has a dentist appointment or needs to return an item to the mall.
  4. Keep busy. The very best way to sharpen your saw is to show property, hold open houses, and list and close transactions. Each and every day in real estate is a unique adventure and the busier you are, the more experience you’ll have, and the better the agent you’ll become.
  5. Start using Pipeline Planner. If you are chasing your tail and not sure where to begin, you should begin with the end in mind. In order to do that, you’ll want to get your hands on Pipeline Planner, the ultimate daily planner and sales tracker for real estate agents. (Check out the weekly Hot Tips & Bright Ideas section for weekly ideas about how to get your business into high gear.) Right now through January 9th, we’ve got our digital download reduced to $6.95.

It’s okay to have only 4 transactions under your belt, and it is also okay to admit that you don’t have a lot of experience. Believe it or not, studies show that people who are honest and admit what they don’t know actually are more trustworthy than those who do not. To that end, in 2017 even the most experienced can hone their skills, and set new goals. What will yours be?

Comments (3)

Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Well Melissa Zavala Jerks are everywhere. So you ran into one. No big deal. As they say locally, CHILL. You gain nothing by letting these jerks upset you.

Bill Roberts

Jan 26, 2017 07:38 AM
Mike Bjork
Evolve Bank & Trust - Redondo Beach, CA

Thanks, Melissa!  I always find it amusing to listen to people, whom act and talk like they've had a wealth of experience, and only to find they've only done a few transactions; then to top it off, they try to dictate to others how things should be conducted.  Great advice on the "Sharpening your Saw".

Jan 26, 2017 10:20 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

These are all excellent ways to sharpen your axe. Reading can never hurt. You are always able to expand your knowledge by reading.

Jan 26, 2017 02:22 PM