We had several discussions about the laws governing real estate agents and those that were helpful and some that weren’t.As explained by the attorney on our panel, some new policies that may come down the pike are to possibly make everyone in the business, employees and take away our “independent contractor” status.I believe the one reason our government may want to do this is to collect more tax money from us and have more control in receiving it sooner. The way independent contractors pay their taxes now is on a quarterly basis.It will affect the larger companies and franchises that have hundreds of agents and the companies might have to take out withholding taxes, match the F.I.C.A. taxes, and take out disability, worker compensation on each deal and make monthly deposits to the treasury, depending on the amount of withholding the company may have.This will surely add substantial costs in running those larger companies with many agents. The one benefit will be for the Broker to be able to dictate what, when and how agents do their business, which we cannot do presently, due to having an independent contractor status.
Agents come and go as they please and we cannot control their actions or tell them what to do; only train and guide them to become proficient agents and associate brokers.
The conference was superb and the breakout sessions were extremely informative. I have been attending these conferences for many years and always come away with some new knowledge and a multitude of different and creative ideas.
The technology alone provides a solid groundwork to assist your business and help stay in touch with your current and past customers and clients with much less effort than ever before. However, there is a financial investment and this may be the greatest stumbling point for a new agent.
He or she may be coming into the business on a shoestring, as many, many do, hoping to score a deal. However, without the training and the proper tools to gain the knowledge and expertise, it would be extremely difficult to succeed.
Today, customer service without the right technology to stay in touch is very difficult and tedious and can waste so much of one’s time; that a majority of time and effort should be devoted and focused on doing presentations in securing listings on properties as well as connecting with qualified purchasers.
Before the internet, we use to get weekly books displaying all the new listings. So we had to wait to see the new listings. Some of us who were able to get new listings had to make dozens of calls to prospective purchasers and the paperwork had to be typed up, photocopied, maybe faxed out.
Pagers were also used, but knowing who was paging you at the moment one never really knew, until you called them back. Cell phones were only available to the well-healed agents and you really couldn’t store their information anywhere automatically.
But today, we have so many choices in how we can do our business. However, for new agents, it can be unbelievably overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are older and have no technical experience in using smart phones, Ipads or Ipods.
I have seen agents still using flip phones and barely are able to text, while their patience can grow very thin. The younger agents in many ways have a better chance of making it, since they have been brought up on much of this technology; so it’s old hat to them. However, what is lacking in them is the basic business and street knowledge that many of the older more seasoned agents have.
So much can be learned from those older agents to help the newbies grow and thrive. A properly thought out plan and strategy would be the first step one needs to pursue to create and build the necessary foundation.
This is one reason why going to local and national conferences, will benefit new agents as well as the clients and customers they work with in providing them with excellent expertise and top-notch service.
The new agents should make these events a mandatory item in their real estate career and attend, and I know, if you are new, you may or may not have the money. Do whatever is necessary to find the time and money to go.
But consider it a very wise and prudent investment in your current and future income, if you really have the passion and drive to stay in the business long term. Babies are not made in a month or two and it takes 9 months.
So consider your real estate career a baby and give it the proper nurturing and cuddling and it will pay you back quite handsomely!