How It Started
Approximately 19 years ago, I engaged the services of a Pemberton Holmes Sales Representative to assist me in selling my property. At that time, I was dissatisfied with my job as a buyer for Thrifty Foods and was considering a career change. When I asked my agent about the process, he suggested that I speak with Mike Holmes, the CEO of the company. Mike was receptive to the idea and met with me to discuss the possibility of entering the real estate business.
From the outset, Mike expressed confidence in my abilities. He believed that my experience working at Thrifty’s and my easy-going personality would be valuable assets in the industry. However, he cautioned me that success in real estate required more than just putting up a sign and calling it a day. To help me succeed as a real estate agent, he connected me with one of his agents who acted as my mentor.
My First Few Years
As a sales representative at the company, I had the opportunity to participate in a weekly training program. The program was facilitated by experienced managing brokers and agents who provided valuable insights into the real estate industry. It was great to have access to real agents who had an insider perspective on how things worked. One of the agents in the program had been working in the industry for over 12 years and was a foreclosure specialist.
The weekly meetings provided a platform for specialists in specific markets to share their knowledge and experiences. Attending these sessions helped me learn about the available resources and how I could become a successful real estate agent. The courses offered practical skills that were not taught in the licensing course. The most important lesson I learned during that time was how to conduct open houses. The agents would take us to open houses and demonstrate how to interact with clients, what to do and what not to do. It was an incredible learning experience to tour the properties with the agents, and there were usually around 10 of us in attendance.
The Importance of Open Houses for Sales Representatives
I gained a deep appreciation for the importance of thoroughly knowing every detail of the house and property when conducting an open house. It’s essential to have a solid understanding of the type of heating, construction style, and any other relevant information, as clients will have questions about every aspect of the property. For instance, when showing an acreage, it’s critical to know where the boundaries are and be able to point out the location of any easements, stakes, or other relevant details. Additionally, understanding technical information like strata fees is crucial. Mastering open house techniques is a crucial step toward becoming a successful real estate agent.
Another vital lesson I learned in my early years was the importance of having a readily accessible managing broker. I knew I could always reach out to Mike and the other managing brokers for advice or contract clauses, which helped me provide better service to my clients and become a better agent right away. It felt like having over 25 years of experience at my disposal, and it remains one of the most valuable resources I have as an agent.
How Did you Become a Successful Real Estate Agent?
In my opinion, having the right personality is a key factor in becoming a successful sales representative. Being easy to work with and not holding grudges are important traits that can help you establish a good reputation among other agents in the business. This can come in handy when trying to close deals that may not have the best monetary offer.
Another crucial factor is having a deep knowledge of the industry and being able to serve as an expert for your clients. Buying or selling a home can be a daunting experience, and as an agent, you need to be the anchor that your clients can rely on. Fortunately, the brokerage I work for provides ample opportunities to learn from experts in the field. We attend weekly classes where we learn about the latest industry trends, legal issues, and tips from experienced agents. It’s also important to seek advice from others, regardless of how long you’ve been in the business. And when creating contracts, it’s best to keep things simple to avoid any confusion or legal issues. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion before finalizing any important decisions.
Why Have you Stayed in the Business?
When it comes to my decision to remain in the real estate business, I cannot go back to a 9-5 job where I sit behind a desk. As a single parent, my previous job required me to work from 7-4, which did not give me the flexibility to take care of my children. The change to becoming a real estate agent was one of the best decisions I ever made, even though it is not an easy job. The work is demanding, and you are required to be available to your clients 7 days a week. Despite this, I believe that it is ultimately worth it.
What Lessons Have you Learned during your Career as a Sales Representative?
Knowledge is Key
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career as a real estate agent is the power of knowledge. The more you know about the industry, the easier it becomes to navigate tricky situations. For example, I once had a subject-to sale on a for-sale-by-owner property, and we had amended the completion date to help my clients in the interim. We had a mortgage broker responsible for organizing bridge financing to complete the sale.
However, the original dates between buying the house and selling theirs were a couple of months, and we’d amended to make that bridge period shorter. The broker didn’t realize this and was still organizing financing for several months, which would have cost my clients a lot! Fortunately, we caught it in time, but this experience showed me the importance of knowing good people and being knowledgeable about the industry. If you have a good understanding of the real estate business, you can become a successful agent.
Don’t Close on a Friday!
Another lesson I learned is to avoid closing deals on Fridays or holidays. As a sales representative, it’s easy to forget that not everyone works all the time, and if you can’t reach the lawyers, things can quickly become chaotic. In one instance, I had a client with a deal closing on a Friday, and the buyer was already on their way with a moving truck to the new house. However, we couldn’t release the keys, and they threatened to sue my client for the costs. Eventually, we resolved the situation, and the deal was completed on Monday. But this experience taught me an important lesson: it’s better to avoid closing on Fridays or holidays to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.
Do you have any Advice for New Sales Representatives?
Establishing connections with other real estate agents can greatly benefit your business. It helps in making deals easier and offers more acceptable. For instance, I had one transaction where the competing offer was higher, but the other agent and their clients preferred to work with me because of the good relationship we had built.
Participating in open houses is also a great way to showcase your expertise and get more clients. I recall an incident where I was watering the grass to make it look good for the event. A neighbour who noticed this approached me and asked if I always did this for all my listings. I replied in the affirmative, and she immediately decided to list her property with me.
It’s important to remember that selling a house is often the biggest asset for the seller, so treating it with care and respect is crucial. By doing so, you can demonstrate to potential clients just how valuable you can be to them.