Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Creating a Successful Listing Presentation

 To improve your capture rate of listings taken to listing presentations given... it is imperative to plan what you are going to say beforehand, so that during the presentation you can focus on getting to know the Sellers, your semantics, body language and tonality.
First Know the Seller … Before you go face to face with sellers, gather as much intelligence as possible prior to the presentation about them... Know why they are moving, and when they need to move. Know about their mortgage balances and if they are current on payments. (Hard to ask I know…but necessary in today’s financial environment)…also try to discover their level of motivation to sell…and if there are 2 Sellers, make sure they are both on the same page.

Second Know the Property… City, County, Well, Septic, Additions, Repairs, and the Neighborhood are all important factors when it comes to pricing and who your buyer pool will be. Obtain copies of recent appraisals, inspections, and surveys if possible prior to meeting with the Seller…you can never have too much data.

Third Know the Market… Current market conditions can greatly affect pricing and how you present the home to a buying audience. Do your research and educate the Sellers … Have options ready for them if your plan A doesn’t work. As in the previous paragraph the more data you have the better. Don’t rely just on data from MLS…pull sold data from tax records to discover non-MLS sales from FSBO’s , and foreclosure and pre-foreclosure data.

Fourth Have a Business Plan… Have a written business plan to showing the Sellers your plans to get their property sold in the shortest amount of time possible while still attaining them the highest net dollar at the closing table. One idea to ad in a sheet show everything you do for the first few days it is listed…from putting it in MLS to marketing to making fliers and setting up Broker Tours and photo tours.

Fifth Be Enthusiastic!... Few sellers will want a boring agent to sell their home… start off with an exciting presentation and keep the level high throughout your listing period with them. Enthusiasm gets referrals!

Even though Sellers want to work with Agents who are enthusiastic about their property... you have to be honest … you must not attempt to hide or “soften” market realities.  Still be enthusiastic and show that you are excited about the opportunity …

Suggested Dialogue: Mr. and Mrs. Seller… We will need to work as a team to get your home sold…I will always tell you what you “need” to hear, which may not always be what you “want” to hear…just always know my job is to test the market and report the truth back to you.

Sixth Be Confident…If you are lacking in confidence, determine what you need to do to gain a belief in your ability to achieve success.  Are there skills you need to master to dramatically affect your confidence?  What one thing, if you did it better, would change your self-confidence? If a Seller perceives a lack of confidence in you at their kitchen table… they will surely perceive they will get the same performance when a low-ball offer comes in and the negotiations get tough.

Seventh Be Prepared to List Now….Have a Listing Agreement ready to sign with you, coming back later may cost you the listing. Seems simple enough but I am amazed at the number of agents who do not have a listing agreement pre-filled in for their appointments…leave the active date and the price blank. You want to be ready when they say “where do we sign”!

Lastly, Be Willing To Say No…. You are not just going to see if the Sellers want to list with you…More importantly You need to be going to see if the Sellers, and the property, qualify for your listing inventory! An uncooperative Seller or a property in poor condition, in a bad location, and overpriced is a REALTOR®s nightmare…and a surefire case of indigestion! A negative, mean, and uncooperative Seller rarely turns positive, nice, and cooperative as you progress into the listing period…They usually just get worse… Until you stab yourself in the neck with the same pen they signed the listing agreement with!

I hope these tips help you to capture more listings in the upcoming months…

Keep Prospecting!

Eddie Brown ©2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are Buyers Really Liars? Or Are You Just Asking The Wrong Questions?

It’s Monday morning and you receive a call from one of your clients. She has Fantastic News!!!! She and her husband just found a home, made an offer and wanted you to be the first to know! Aren’t you thrilled for them?

You ask if it has the four bedrooms they wanted. “. . . Nope, only three is the reply… Was it the Traditional you wanted?  . . .No, actually it is kind of contemporary… Two story you ask?“. . . No, a ranch style… Was it in North Raleigh?. . . Ah, no, Clayton they state.”

After a few more pleasantries you say good-bye, wait a few moments and then yell... “Buyers are Liars!” This experience has occurred often enough to have the phrase you screamed become a cliché, yet it continues. Why?

Lack of Questioning…Listening…and Counseling
Many REALTORS avoid this crucial phase of the agent/client relationship due to a fear of getting too personal…. a misguided belief that if they “go to far” the client may be turned off and use someone else … (Seems in the before mentioned scenario that is exactly what occurred) 

I have noticed many REALTORS under value their time and do not realizing the importance of counseling. It is critical to spend the initial time getting to intimately know the details of the clients’ wants, needs, and desires. You must demonstrate the benefits of working with you by counseling them on all aspects of home buying and/or selling.

Something very rarely done is to meet BUYERS at their current home…This allows you to get a good feel for their lifestyle and get a feel for their buying motivations. The second meeting can occur at your office to provide the technological resources and demonstrates professionalism and credibility. Consider going to both places during the initial stages of the relationship.

Remember most buying decisions are based on emotion. People buy products to satisfy emotional needs. This can be difficult since people have been conditioned at an early age to keep their emotions to themselves, so when asked “simple” questions they tell you only the “simple” specifications…without letting their emotions show through.

The mistake some REALTORS make is to leave a client interview with a list of specifications and features instead of a real understanding of their motivations…(Or in other words….THE TRUTH)

The skill some Professional REALTORS have mastered is to ask open-end, non-directive questions:

Here are but a few suggested open-end questions:

“Describe your present home.”

“Of all the things you’re trying to accomplish in this move, what is the most important?”

 “Describe what you want in your next home.”

“Where would you like to live?”

 “What don’t you like about your current home?”

 “How would your plans be affected if you moved earlier/later?”

“Tell me about your past experiences in buying and selling real estate.”

 “If we decide to work together what are the most important things you will expect of me?”

Open questions will generate deeper emotional responses. Try this method and see if the cliché “BUYERS ARE LIARS” turns into a forgotten phrase for you!
Eddie Brown

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Are You Attracting The Wrong Type of Clients?

Do You Seem To Attract All The Negative Clients?

The Power of Attraction Is Stronger Than You Think….

Ever wonder why some people just seem to be “lucky”? Everything seems to always be perfect in their lives? Perfect wife/husband …perfect children …perfect hair …perfect smile? Do you think it is luck?

 There is an old saying which says …A successful person makes their own “luck” through hard work. Ever wonder why some agents in the office seem to be really “lucky” at their phone lead time? Or why some agents seem to fill the listing and sales boards month after month?   Do you really think it is luck?

I have a story I want to share ….It’s a story about an agent …let’s call her Betty …Well Betty would come into my office at least 3 times a week moaning and complaining about the poor quality leads she was getting, and how every client she has are not very nice people (that’s not exactly what she called them …but this is a G-rated blog). So after weeks and months of listening to her stories I came to the conclusion that Betty was really, really ….”un-lucky”!

This is how I coached her…I said ...”Betty, I think I know why all your clients are acting like a~*#@” ...Betty said “Oh really ….please tell me before I throttle somebody” …I stood up and took her by the hand, led her down the hall to a mirror and I pointed at her reflection, and said “There it is” ….

I said nothing more …I stood and stared at her reflection in the mirror and waited for a response …after a few moments of silence Betty turned and looked at me and said “I don’t understand …are you trying to tell me I am the problem?”  …I calmly, but firmly said “exactly”   (Betty was now entering into what we in the coaching world call the denial phase) ….”I am not the problem” Betty said angrily …”I cannot believe you could even say such a thing” and she stormed off down the hall and left the building in a huff… A "MAD Betty"!

Three days later Betty came to my door and sheepishly asked if she could come in … as she sat in the chair I could see the anguish in her face and tears welling in her eyes …this was not a mad Betty ….this was a defeated Betty. 

She told me how she had done some soul searching, talked with her family and friends, and realized that what I had said was true …that over the past few years she had become a bitter negative person, and instead of looking for the good in people, she always sought to find the bad (or the negative) in them. She realized this only after her husband, children, and some of her closest friends all told her how much she had changed and how much they wanted the “old” positive Betty back.

Well it’s been about 6 months now and Positive Betty is back! ….Her business has almost  doubled from this time last year, she is enjoying life, lost 20 pounds, quit smoking, and has not worked with an a** in quite some time! 

The moral of this story: If the negative is what you seek, The negative you shall find.

Stay away from Energy Draining Negatives like Fear, Worry, Drama, and Conflict …Run towards Energy Givers and Sustainers like Positive Associations, Positive Mental Intake, Taking Care of Yourself, Written Goals, and Accountability.

Stop focusing on problems and focus on your goals. Track your progress and take breaks to re-energize when needed.

Every day when you wake up you have a choice …to be happy (positive) or be sad (negative) …which one did you choose today?

 Eddie Brown ©2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Become a Master of Communication

George Bernard Shaw once said “The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”. 

A friend of mine who was a Police Dispatcher of The Raleigh Police Department told me a story where he once received a call from a frantic man who wife was in labor. The caller yelled into the phone … “My wife is pregnant, her water just broke, and her contractions are 2 minutes apart…please tell me…what do I do”? My friend calmly asked the man “Is this her first child”? The man screamed back in the phone “NO YOU IDIOT…This is her husband”!

As most REALTORS have discovered, in tense or adverse situations, what you say is not always perceived as you hoped it would be understood...  Another saying you may have heard is... There is always 2 sides to every story (I to like to say… there are as many “sides” to a story as there are people in the story!)

As a former Law Enforcement Officer, I can attest that sometimes an “eye-witness” can be your worse witness. This is often caused by an individual’s “personal filter”… which the event must pass through before being redirected through the brain and then verbalized in their own words.

Have you ever been at a sports event where a call was made by a referee and one side perceived it as a good solid call and the other side started yelling “REF YOU SUCK!” (If you’ve been to a Carolina Hurricanes Hockey game, I am certain you have heard this chant…) This experience is a result of personal bias and personal filters…We know there were not two different calls made…one correct and one wrong…the two different sides merely “saw” it differently because of personal filters. And because the third party (the Ref) has a perception of what occurred, there is also the possibility that the “penalty” may never have actually occurred… Are you starting to see how the communication confusion can start?

Interpretation of what is being said can also create poor communication…this is caused by individual perception filters. Ever played the game where a group sits in a circle and a phrase is started and verbally passed from person to person? By the time it reaches back to the first person the story usually has changed significantly! Read on to discover techniques to avoid confusion and become a master of communication…

The following are the different filters communication must pass through and why so many communications are misunderstood:

·        Filter 1- What the speaker actually wants to say… (What he thinks in his mind as he is preparing to speak)

·        Filter 2- What the speaker actually says when communicating

·        Filter 3- What the listener hears

·        Filter 4- What the listener actually understands

·        Filter 5- What the listener wants to say in response (What he thinks in his head he wants to respond with)

·        Filter 6- What the listener actually says in response

·        Filter 7- What the original speaker hears

·        Filter 8- What the original speaker actually understands

How to Improve Your Communication Skills:         

1)    Repeat what you think you heard and understood to the speaker…example: “What I understood you to say is… the seller is willing to have an engineer look at the crack in the foundation and report on it…and then, if needed, the seller will have a licensed contractor perform any needed repairs”?

2)    Ask “clarifying” questions like: “What did you mean when you said any needed repairs?... Will it be all the repairs identified in the report?”

3)    Perform perception checks on the other side by asking questions like: “I feel you are uneasy about having this inspection performed or am I misreading your body language”?

4)    Active, Attentive Listening is a required skill for communication. We were given 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. An excellent communicator must be an excellent listener as well. Use phrases like “yes, I understand…or please continue” to let the speaker know you are listening and understanding them.

Don’t take for granted the party you are communicating with is understanding what you thought you said. With verbal communication always follow-up with written confirmation of the conversation and how you understood it…this gives the other party an opportunity for rebuttal if necessary. Think before you speak and listen before you respond…don’t just be a good communicator…be an EXCELLENT COMMUNICATOR!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Next Big Opportunity in Real Estate?

According to recent national research 70% of all existing homes in the U.S. were built prior to 1990. Research also shows the median age of a U.S.  Home In 1992 was 25 years old…in 2002 it was 30 years and in 2011 it was 35 years old. 
What do these stats show us?
If 70% of all U.S. homes are 22 years or older… what does this say regarding the condition of the majority of homes? According to the National Assoc. of Remodelers in 2009 22% of all home purchasers who bought a home 15 years or older planned to do $10,000 or more of improvements within 6 months of closing…(I am sure with the influx of REO and short sale properties that figure must be higher in 2012).

For the 10 years prior to 2008, U.S. Homebuilders were churning out between 1.3 and 1.5 million new home units per year…Since 2008 the average built number has dropped significantly to <600,000. The last time this few new home units were produced was in 1932 ….when the U.S. population was 124 million. The 2011 census now shows the U.S. population at 314+ million (over double what it was in 1932). This leads us to the old adage of supply verses demand.

Supply and Demand:
The U.S. population is growing and living longer…Plus there are approximately 80 million Echo Boomers between the ages of 18 and 32 years old who are already, or are thinking about, entering the real estate market as buyers. Couple this demand with a lowest supply of new inventory in 80 years and I think you can see where I am headed.
I feel the demand for existing homes will be higher over the next 5-8 years than it was during the “boom” years. With the median age of 35 years… a large portion of these existing homes sales will need updating, remodeling, or rehabbing. Here is where the “Next Big Opportunity” lies.

Cash is Tight but Financing is Cheap:
Many home sellers… turned home buyers… have lost a good portion of their equity and are “cash poor”. This makes REO and Short Sale listings in high demand to these cash strapped buyers…many times allowing them to buy into built in equity. The national average discount for REO sold homes was 34% below non-distressed like kind sales and short sales were discounted 24%. In the past 18 months the percentage of distressed homes sold to buyers who plan to occupy them has increased significantly…where previously the majority of REO buyers were savvy investors who usually know the market and the cost and hard work of rehabbing.

It is important to know what programs are available to buyers who want to buy homes in need of repair…We as REALTORS have to help our clients see a vision…see past what the home is now to what the home “could be” after the rehab work is complete. So…It will become even more important to build solid relationships with trusted contractors who have experience in remodeling and rehab and to educate yourself on loans like the FHA 203k (FHA 203k Loans)  or Fannie Mae HomePath  ( )  which allows buyers to finance all, or a portion of, the repairs or improvements on their existing home purchase.  For questions regarding financing call Dan Flynn at 919-785-4238

New opportunities do exist in our marketplace; you just might have to look a little… (and work a little) harder to find them. If my gut feeling is right…this information shows a new need your clients will be facing…step up to the plate and become their “go to” professional for all things real estate related. Grab the opportunity to be ahead of the curve and secure business you may have otherwise missed!

Eddie Brown
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