I started with Hewlett-Packard in 1975 and stayed with them for 17 great years. During my time with HP I was able to work with some of the brightest and most ethical people I have ever met. At the top of the list was Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett. They really started the phrase "Management By Walking Around". An extension of that was the "Rules of the Garage". The wisdom that this brings to the table can be directly applied to the real estate business. After all each Realtor is a small business. The treatment of customers and need for creative solutions doesn't change. In the market that we face today, it is more important than ever to protect your buyer and seller as best you can and know your business.
"Rules of the Real Estate Warrior."
- Believe you can change your clients life. If I can help a family or small business reach their dreams for owning that special piece of property or their dream home, start or expand their new business, I believe it can be a life changing experience for them.
- Work quickly, keep your tools ready, work whenever. Often the difference in real estate is in getting the tasks done on time. When you are buying or selling a home, there are lots of tasks that must be done by both sides, its a virtual team created for one project in mind. Providing leadership by getting each task done quickly and on time can often make the difference between a smooth flowing process and one that is always hitting bumps that can create emotional stress and failed deals. When working with out of state clients your tools need to be in place to do the job and not just on a 9 to 5 work schedule.
- Know when to work alone and when to get SMEs involved. When working on a real estate transaction, it really is a team effort between the client and the agent. Both have specific tasks that need to be done. Sometimes those tasks are performed more efficiently by the Realtor using the expertise gained over time having done the task (CLUE reports, inspections, etc) before. Others tasks such as preparing the house for sale may require help to the client by having the Realtor bring in subject matter experts (SMEs) like interior decorators, landscapers, electricians or plumbers to give advice. If it is a buyer, then the Realtor, loan officer and buyer can often work together to discover ways to improve a buyers credit score and smooth the way for loan. Distressed sales and purchases often require working closely with clients legal, credit and tax consultants. When talking to the most successful real estate agents you can bet they have formed their virtual team to help their clients.
- Share - tools, ideas. Your brokerage success contributes to your success. I know of very few people in this world you really "know it all". In real estate this is especially true. A real estate transaction may look simple on the surface, if everything goes perfectly, it is. But that is a rare case indeed, especially now with the complexity brought on with distressed home transactions. My office at Century 21 Arizona Foothills in Surprise provides an atmosphere of cooperation. I don't sense the need to "protect my back" as many Realtors in other offices have told me is important. By working in an office where you can ask a question and get an honest response, I can better serve my clients. I can draw on the expertise of those around me and not fear that I could loose my hard earned client to someone else. This kind of office benefits the client, because they really do have the collective power of a strong organization.
- No Politics. Why be distracted from your success. Trust is critical. Lets take it a step further and add honesty. There is no need for office politics if you are honest and respectful of another person. You don't have to like them, you don't even have to work with them, and as an independent contractors (which most Realtors are) you don't have to report to them or answer to them unless you are a part of a virtual team satisfying customers needs. So why spend time dealing with politics, it just does not make sense or money for me or my clients. Spend that time with clients, it is a lot more productive.
- The client defines a great real estate experience. The client holds the check book, pays the bills, provides referrals for the future and defines if you have done a good job. That does not mean that you should or can do anything that negatively impacts your organization, professional and personal ethics. It does mean that you want to work hard, communicate and try your best to meet the client needs. I like to think of this as providing the best "outcome" for the client rather than talking in terms of money, especially those with distressed properties.
- New ideas to help get and satisfy clients are not bad ideas. In tough real estate markets, you need to find differentiators to sell your listed homes. There is nothing wrong with working with your client and your peers to come up with ideas that will help sell your client's home. If your client is buying a home, sometimes the creativity has to deal with structuring the deal so that all sides see it as a win. Finding lenders who are experts at first time buyer programs or maybe helping the listing agent with new ideas to close a Short Sale are just two examples. If the transaction needs some thing to get it moving, start your brain moving and put some ideas on the table for consideration.
- Only embrace different ways to work that contribute to your success. I relate this to moving from a paper based working environment to use of the internet. I believe in leverage and the internet is just the medium to provide it. As a sellers agent, this enables me to tap prospects locally through the mls (multiple listing service) and the Point2NLS (national real estate marketing service). Again, using the internet I can provide prospects with information on listed properties that wasn't possible just a few years ago. This helps me to further differentiate my listings from others. There are lots of innovations available because of technology advances for both buyers and sellers. I take the time to evaluate many of these so I can provide enhanced services to clients. However, agents who simply try every "new" software or service without evaluating it to see if it actually contributes to their business, are often soon out of business
- Do something positive for your business everyday; recruit clients, increase your knowledge, improve your tools, move a deal forward. I read this as a commitment to do the best job I can do for my clients and my business everyday. Everyday is an opportunity to learn, look at new tools and think how I can do better. Not everyday is a perfect day and there are days when we all need to rest or just a change of pace.
- Believe that you can do anything. Once a commitment is made to help a buyer or seller, I believe I can make that commitment pay off. If I don't believe that, its time to allow the client to have representation by someone else. The client deserves representation that believes they can help the client reach the best outcome. In short sales, I work with the lenders team short sale team to make sure I know first hand how the process is going. Many times with distressed properties you have to find new ways to help your client.
- Invent to get around obstacles. That's a great term. I believe in real estate it means to open up thought process. If something you are doing is not working then try something else. The best inventors always seem to be able to look at what they are doing that is not successful, understand why it is not working the best they can and try something else. In real estate there are good guidelines to go by and generally they work, but when they don't try something else, do a little inventing within your Realtor organization, agency and personal boundaries.
You may or may not agree with everything I have been talking about on this page. That's ok. I would like to hear your comments.