Desperate Times Requires Drastic Measures - A Survival Guide For Real Estate Professionals

By
Real Estate Agent with Crye-Leike REALTORS® 165062

"Desperate Times Requires Drastic Measures!"  I really think this phrase is unknown to many real estate agents these days.  If they want to survive, they need to learn it quickly, and implement some changes!  Most persons that I know in real estate have really gotten foolish lately.  They are so desperate for money to pay their own bills that they have thrown reason out the window.  Yes, it is a buyers market, but because you are behind on your office bill, credit cards or other expenses - you should not be acting less professional.  In hard times, many of the most seasoned agents have shied away from asking too many questions of potential buyers.  They are afraid to rock the boat qualifying someone.  That caller's main intent is to use you for free information, and not to commit to your services. 

Agents that are in a panic do not want to disturb the would be caller with any objections for fear that there are so many other agents out there that will give them what they need.  That thinking is flawed and riddled with dire consequences.  The result is that many agents dig a deeper hole for themselves, and get even more depressed when it doesn't work out.  The quickest way out of real estate business is burnout, and all too often, it is a self-inflicted fatal wound.  You will waste your time, money, effort and possibly risk your own life if you do not act professional and change the way you conduct your business. 

Some Suggestions for Handling Buyers: 

  • For safety, reasons only meet buyers on first encounter at your real estate office.
  • Request personal information: name, address, phone numbers, email address.
  • A copy of their driver's license is to be kept at front desk when showing.
  • Ascertain the time frame to purchase, do they have real estate to sell, and etc...
  • Ask for specific buyer needs.
  • Only work with buyers that have been pre-approved and qualified.
  • No Free Information - unless committed to working with you with signed agency.

If a potential buyer caller is elusive, evasive and less than forthcoming - get them off the phone. This is especially true of buyers that identify they only want to look at the property or need more information.  Your services are not required.  If they are too cheap to pay for a taxi and someone to open doors, they most probably cannot afford to buy a home anyway.  So why are you wasting your time thinking you can win them over when you can't?  If they cannot afford to buy, why are they calling you?

 Jim Crawford REMAX

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James Crawford ABR, Broker Associate

 

 

 

 

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Anonymous
Marvette Critney

We should all be aware of the basic Safety Rules... I would highly suggest that in the current market, you not preview foreclosures without having someone with you.  I and a client were going to view a foreclosure.  When we peeped in the window, it was obvious that someone had taken up residency in the home.  I called the police. 

On another note.....I don't have clients... I simply have friends that I sell home to (sm)!  maybe that explains my teams... 300+ active clients.  You guys are so quick to kick someone to the curb...I have encountered numerous clients that still haven't purchased and are dragging their feet...however they have sent me referals that have closed....   The issue is that you see clients as clients... I see clients as friends... friends that will always be friends....friends that will always contact me with any real estate question.   I am not saying go out into the world and spend your wheels....  take a moment to enjoy the flowers....wild flowers smell better than one single rose... Folks wake up... It is not business as usual... you must reinvent yourselves in a changing market....

 

Marvette Critney
www.imbuyingahome.com

Sep 07, 2008 01:24 PM #153
Rainer
6,772
Jenn Beilmann
Coldwell Banker Gundaker - Mehlville, MO
St. Louis MO Realtor

Jim,

I find it very disappointing that you would censor this conversation thread by removing the post of Inna Hardison, whose dissenting opinion was posted on September 4. Some of the best ideas and achievements are born from spirited debates/discussions, and it is a shame that you would deny the readers of this blog the chance to grow and learn by engaging in a spirited discussion on your featured post. I can only hope that her entry was 'accidentally' removed.

Fear not, for I happen to have a copy and will happily repost it here:

"Jim - I must say that it's admirable that you have the courage of your convictions, such as they are, to make this post public.  That, however, is the only thing that I find admirable in your post, and even more so, in your comments that follow. The fact that except for Ed (DC), there is not a single dissenting opinion in the 140 or so comments makes me cringe, as both, someone who has a real estate license and... well, as someone who shares the planet with so many people who have such low regard for their fellow human beings.

The terms used to describe various people who maybe calling on these very "professional" real estate folks, and interrupting their favorite reruns, are something I would expect from ill-bred, ill-educated dope sellers, and certainly not anyone whose job it is to facilitate someone's most important financial transaction. 

Is your time nowadays really so precious that you can't wait to "kick 'em to the curb" or scream "next"? This is no longer about simply an issue of one's getting paid for performing a service - this is some bizarre pre-emptive tactic to get paid just as much and risk absolutely nothing in the process, and without RISK - no one, and I mean no one deserves the hefty paychecks you get (and please, spare me the splits and expenses speech).

If there are actual consumers out there who read this blog - do you really think any of them, qualified or not will think of you as "professionals, who aim to serve their clients"?

On a personal note, there is absolutely no way in hell that I would feel ok handing over my financials, my driver's license, or anything else that is "mandatory", nor would I sign an exclusive anything with someone I just met, in order for one of you to maybe take me out to see a house or two that I might be interested in.  You must be freaking kidding me...

As for doctor/attorney comparison - once you are all done with some equivalent of 8 years of school, and pass your residency/BAR, you might have some right to demand a pre-consultation deposit, but then again, at least with the attorneys who do take on contingency cases, they don't get paid anything till they win!  In the meanwhile, Jim, you might sound a bit less childish when making said comparison if you could spell." ~ Inna Hardison

Sep 07, 2008 01:24 PM #154
Rainmaker
898,747
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Jim, we are losing more realtors right now because of the market.  The one that remain through the slow down must work smarter.....qualify first.  Work with the great buyers.  What's going to happen with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout?

Sep 07, 2008 01:45 PM #155
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Jim Crawford
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Jenn Beilmann, St. Louis MO Realtor (Coldwell Banker Gundaker)

I view her post as a personal attack.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion and even you.  

"In the meanwhile, Jim, you might sound a bit less childish when making said comparison if you could spell." ~ Inna Hardison" 

Even If I did misspell, what does that have to do with the thrust of my post?  A Blog is also a personal journal, and it is my Blog.  If I feel someone is disagreeing with me that is fine, however someone attacking me is personal, that it their privilege, but I will remove a personal attack. 

I will leave your post here and let others comment on the merits of it.

Sep 07, 2008 01:47 PM #156
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Kay Van Kampen, Broker, Springfield Missouri Real Estate (RE/MAX Solutions)  Times in real estate are changing at too quick a pace right not to take down our guard.

Sep 07, 2008 01:56 PM #157
Rainmaker
34,175
Ed Schneider
Evers & Co. Real Estate Inc. - Washington, DC
Washington DC Real Estate Specialist

I second Jenn Beilman's opinion that this forum should be an open exchange of ideas -- even if those opinions disagree with the original poster. I think Inna Hardison made very valid and worthwhile points that should be considered by all who read this professional site. This is, after all, a service business, and if we show disdain for the people who request and use our services, it furthers their opinion of real estate professionals as being no better than used car salesmen and cynical politicians. Condescension is not a good business tool.

If we are to improve our image, we need to show concern and empathy for those who come to us for the professional advice and guidance they deserve and provide those services, advice and assistance. If we don't because of our own avarice and self-importance, then we don't deserve their respect for us, our time and our knowledge. In my view, these people are not trying to rip me off. That giving them of my time and experience will help them in their goal, and provide me with an income and future referrals. Common decency is essential to dealing with the public. I know I appreciate other professionals dealing with me the way I would deal with them -- with respect and dignity.

Sep 07, 2008 01:56 PM #158
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Ed You are entitled to your opinion.

Sep 07, 2008 01:59 PM #159
Rainmaker
211,941
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Jim, if you took offense at any portion of my post, you were, of course, entitled to hit that delete button. I still find it curious, at best, that you chose to delete my comment instead of asking me to moderate what you found offensive, but that, too, is your prerogative. I am more appalled at the discussion in the comments of your blog than your spelling aptitude. While I can see how you could perceive it as a jab, in my humble opinion, given the constant comparisons to highly paid professionals in other occupations, it seemed fitting enough to point out.

I tend not to censor my blogs, but that's probably because I blog to learn as much as to communicate, and a conversation tends to be a two way street. It seems some blog to gain a following, and the comments here lead me to believe that yours is rather sheepish in nature, hence maybe you are simply unaccustomed to handling dissent, and that, too, is ok.

The consumers reading this 'localism' post are lucky in so much as they can at least know upfront what to expect from every realtor who commented here. In the end, their decisions are the ones that matter, and in that, there is poetic justice.

Jen, Ed - thank you for noticing and having my back.

Sep 08, 2008 09:23 AM #160
Rainer
22,970
Carin Arrigo-Zimmer
TopBroker Network Real Estate - Orange, CA
TopBroker Network Real Estate

Okay, signed in now.  :-)  Whoa. Not to rock this dissension-of-a-topic any further, but I haven't been on Active Rain much lately because I'm smack in the middle of finishing my very first real estate transaction with my incredible dream buyers.  Just a few days until escrow closes, in fact.  As a newbie, I can only say that my buyers came to me because, as she put it, "we wanted to work with someone who would treat us like human beings."  This, coming from a couple who previously had been working with one of the top agents here in the city where I live. Needless to say, it was quite the honor they chose me. Desperate times for this newbie?  Well, many have suggested this isn't the best year to begin my business, and at first, I believed those naysayers, yet quickly discovered that actually, this is the best time because, more than ever, buyers and sellers are in great need of some sort of human connection.  It is all about service.  While I'm pretty excited about earning my first paycheck, I'm more excited that I was able to accommodate and service some lovely people who are beyond thrilled about their newly purchased home.

Point is this:  Though not nearly as seasoned as the Jim Crawford's of the world (no disrespect to you Jim) I know enough about the human condition to understand what makes people respond. Being safe is important in whatever we do, yet, should we not lose sight of how to treat people with dignity, respect, and kindness? Idealistic, I'm not. Nor is it my intention to stand high on any pedestal.  I'm well aware that not all will be the savvy buyer and/or seller. I have much to learn. I get that.  If I think someone is wasting my time, then I'll say something.  Mostly though, I don't foresee that happening much based on what I've just shared.

Lastly, we all make our own choices on how to conduct our business. My choices may be different than my fellow agents' and that's cool. Although I've made my share of mistakes during this process, the values I feel most convicted about, remain right where they started. So gotta say, I'm right with Inna, Ed, and Jenn on this one. Thanks....

Sep 08, 2008 12:04 PM #162
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Carin Arrigo-Zimmer (Referral Real Estate Services, Inc.)  Thank you for your comments.  It is great giving individualized and personal service to buyers.  It is something we all should consistently strive for.  For those that make a career out of real estate there is a realization that success is a duplicatable event.  It isn't based on one closing or a few closings.  Experienced agents close many sets of buyers every year - sometimes 30-40 buyers and give each of them the best service possible, and never compromise the quality of service provided.  However, we cannot do that if we are wasting our time, and not qualifying the buyer.  We all have choices in the way run our business...we are not employees.  We are independent sub-contractors and accountable to ourselves for our best use of time.  We all have our own ways to get the deals closed.   Some buyers do not like to be asked questions, and some agents do not like to ask them.  That is their choice.  As agents we can choose to close one deal or many deals.  For those that choose to close more deals and still deliver the same high quality service to all - systems have to be in place.  Without it we will exit the business in short order.  Survivors in real estate know the numbers. In good times real estate has an 80% turnover ever two years.

Sep 08, 2008 01:11 PM #163
Rainer
63,274
Sonja Adams
Samson Proprties - Purcellville, VA

I think the basic principals will always apply and we need to take care of our safety first...its important and I think any reasonable client will understand that...

Sep 09, 2008 07:13 AM #164
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Sonja Adams (Samson Realty, LLC)  Safety first is always a great starting place.  Our sixth sense must speak to us, and we need to listen to that internal voice. 

Should we meet those that are not forthcoming with a pre-approval?  Do we go to a vacant home at a remote rural location at 6:30PM to meet a client we have had no initial buyer meeting at the office?  Have we told someone where we are going, and whom we are meeting?

Sep 09, 2008 10:00 AM #165
Anonymous
Anonymous

Jim,
I go an extra step in this porcess. Any Buyer OR Seller wanting my services must complete two documents with me, in person, and with proof: a financial statement, and a cash flow statement. Why? I am both a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed realtor. I do not wna thtem to be one of the 1000 or so families I meet with every year to do a loan modification or short sale with.

If they don't put up, I don't put out. Plain and simple. If I discover a lie in the documents along the way, they are FIRED! Period. End of discussion, and I will NOT refer them to anyone else.

I fired more than 200 people last year. Two calls, they were  done. Saved a lot o wear on the car , body, and gas bill, and that was the icing on the time cake.

Lou Farris, MBA
"That Realtor Guy (In Shorts)!"

 

Sep 19, 2008 08:29 AM #166
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Crye-Leike REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
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Lou Farris, MBA "That Realtor Guy (In Shorts)!" -  Bravo for having the guts to be the professional!

Sep 19, 2008 12:20 PM #167
Rainmaker
175,133
Randy Landis
Retired in Samar - Tupelo, MS
Overseas Retirement Consultant

Good post Jim, but after reading through several of the posted comments I'm feeling a bit relevant to only parts of your post.  Let's not forget that the school of thought here has applied for many years and we have not seen this strong of a Buyer's market for many (many, many) years.  In order to catch that one buyer who may be qualified, I will roll out the red carpet.  There is not many agents out there who can afford to stand by the sales scruples that we so readily preach during a Seller's market.  Times change, and we must adjust.  Who is to say that that caller on the other end of the phone is not qualified.  I will take that chance in this market.  What else would I be doing?  Sitting in the office waiting for the phone to Ring?  Don't get me wrong, I will use script as much as I can but I WON'T jeapordize losing a potential client just because gas is at $3.10 p/gal.  I'll change as much as I have too!

Oct 08, 2008 11:00 AM #168
Rainmaker
175,133
Randy Landis
Retired in Samar - Tupelo, MS
Overseas Retirement Consultant

Hey Jenn,

I just read your post after I posted my somewhat dissenting comment.  I feel vindicated!  I too could not believe all the posts that agreed with Jim, and honestly did not read them all....I got too tired of all the "dittos".  There are some valid points in Jim's post but I didn't feel that it was entirely accurate on today's battlefield.  Dissent makes for good debate!

Oct 08, 2008 11:08 AM #169
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Randy Landis of EXIT REALTY PREMIER (EXIT Realty Premier)   It is about working leads, and more importantly generating more leads than you could possibly handle. To me it is a natural.  Even in slow times, we closed 3 days last week and 6 referrals.

Oct 08, 2008 03:55 PM #171
Rainer
99,016
Bobby Wallace
Vacant Land Solutions - Charleston, SC
Sell Your Vacant Land The Hassle Free Way!

Jim - Active Rain is truly a reflection of life; I am amazed at how when a person (like yourself) attempts to help others by sharing their life & business experience, they come under personal attack...and the "disgruntled probably-soon-to-be-victims-of-the-warning" completely miss the point!

It's not about spelling...it's not about deleting a post...it's not about telling someone how to run their business:

I "get it"

I read a story once about a person who discovered that he was the only swimmer on a sinking boat full of people and he realized that he couldn't "save" everyone...he tried, and ended up drowning with the non-swimmers.

Sometimes, you just can't help some folks!

I appreciate you!

Bobby Wallace

By the way...Yellow Jackets or Bulldogs?

 

Oct 09, 2008 12:27 AM #172
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Crye-Leike REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
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Bobby Wallace Charleston, S.C. Rent To Own Experts (1-800-SELLNOW)   Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Several years ago there were such things as 'experts.'    They built a solid reputation for a proven track record of results, and there advice was sought by many.   It doesn't mean they are experts, it just means they have a voice.  Today everyone has a voice. Perhaps it is like the real estate agent that has never sold a home, but consideres themself  a real estate consultant.  Others may deem it fraud. The problem arises with current medias, Blogs, posts, comments, and anonymity.  Modern media  gives that voice the same weight as the person that used to be recognised as the expert.  It isn't right, but today it is accepted as being politically correct.  I view a lot of it as personally tastless, but I let their peers judge them instead of myself.

Oct 09, 2008 06:35 AM #173
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