Monday, July 29, 2013

Are You Keeping Your Client’s “On Track”?

When coaching a student, one of the most difficult things I am tasked with doing is to keep the associate on track and focused on their goals. This seems like a simple feat but in reality it’s where most coaches see the greatest resistance.

As a Professional REALTOR you will often have to step into the role of a coach to keep your clients focused and out of the ditch. Today’s topic is about keeping your clients motivated and on track to reach their buying and/or selling goals.

One of the good (and bad) things about our current market here in the Triangle Area of NC Is we have a lack of inventory…especially in the $200-400,000 range. The stats show a huge increase in sales in this particular range with a marked decline once you hit the $500,000 mark. Sellers in this range are seeing multiple offers in days, and sometime even hours, of listing their property.

KEEP EXPECTATIONS REASONABLE: If you know a buyer can only afford a $225,000 mortgage, and they only have $15,000 in cash for down payment and closing costs, don’t show them properties valued above $240,000…(key-word is “valued” and not priced) This is where you can earn your commission! An over-priced property may be a hidden jewel just waiting to be sold if the agent is willing to gather the INTEL to determine actual value verses list price… and then educate the seller with a reasonable offer supported with comparable sales..

Showing your buyer clients a “loaded” home above their pay grade is a sure-fire recipe for a big pot of disappointment stew! Keep their expectations realistic and have them be willing to walk away from a transaction that doesn’t work for them.

LOW APPRAISALS: One transactional breakdown we are experiencing is a seller receives multiple offers and the buyers run the price up “competing” for the home... only to see it not appraise for the contract price. This is something the agents needs to prepare the buyer and seller for in advance.

This is an important consideration when accepting an offer…a Seller should compare offers by LTV…a buyer with a 96.5% LTV and asking for $3000 in closing costs will most likely not have the available cash to bring to closing if the property does not appraise…which would disappointingly force the seller to reduce the contract price to the appraised value…or cancel the contract.

Same goes for the buyer in this situation…they need a plan B if the home doesn’t appraise… TIP: If you feel there may be an appraisal issue, inform the lender to order the appraisal right away.

“LOSING” the Home:  Nothing is more discouraging for a buyer than to find the perfect home and then have the seller accept another offer. Here are a few ideas to prepare them for and/or prevent a letdown.

1.     Don’t waste time! Show them the property as soon as possible and if it is “the” one write and deliver the offer immediately….call the listing associate as soon as you know the buyer is interested. If your buyer is out of town, make sure to have open lines of communication 24 hours a day…. sometimes minutes and hours can make the difference between winning and losing with your offer.

2.     Write reasonable offers. In a sizzling market like we are experiencing, making lowball offers and asking for personal property is no longer acceptable…especially when you know up front you are competing with another buyer for the property. Educate your buyer on comparable values and have them be prepared to present their highest and best offer first. Higher Due Diligence, Less Concessions… Lower LTV and Higher Earnest Money Deposits, and mortgage qualification letters all make for superior offers.

3.     BE NICE! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But for some agents, representing their client seems to go hand in hand with being mean, nasty, rude, and a general all around pain in the rear. The buyer agents attitude can reflect in the listing agents offer presentation to their client. If the competing offers are close… and the seller asks their listing agents opinion… it may come down to which co-broke agent would they rather work with? Ever hear the old saying …It doesn’t cost any more to be nice? Well in this case, being a jerk could cost your clients their dream home… and you a commission!  I have seen cases where it came down to one of the buyers had written a hand written letter to the seller saying how much they wanted to purchase their home to raise their current child and the one which was due in 4 months. This “heart-string” pull was the deciding factor in which offer the seller accepted.

Above all else… always portray a positive attitude to your client…when they see you give up…they will give up on you as well.

Eddie Brown ©2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Are You "Hard To Start"?

I grew up on a farm in Eastern Wake County…where my father had about 100 acres on which we raised Polled Hereford Cattle… and we harvested the corn, hay, and soy beans to feed them.

We had many motorized farm implements, but one tractor I recall was especially ornery about cranking… a 1960’s Allis Chalmers … “The Beast”, as we called her, was painted a beautiful red and white and could pull a five blade bottom plow through damp red clay soil and not even grunt.  I loved to drive her …once you got her started! 

To crank The Beast we always had to remove the air filter and spray starter fluid into the intake… she would resist by belching smoke and snorting while her starter whined like a 3 year old at bedtime… but eventually she would give in and settle into a low rumbling tone only a 70+ horse diesel engine can create. Once “awake” she was more than willing to pull, plow, mow, or disc anything you could throw at… or drag behind her.

Are you as hard to start as “The Beast”?

My past experiences have shown how most people have great intentions… but like our big red tractor …they belch, snort, and whine all the way to the Starting Line. This statement can be confirmed by merely looking under most any desk in a real estate office…What you will most likely find will be boxes of unused marketing materials, purchased with a promise to start prospecting more consistently.

There will be more than a few unopened motivational CD’s purchased from some infamous real estate guru’s seminar where you said, “That’s really good advice…I need to get back to doing those basic activities”…

Or what about the software program you purchased to organize your database… which now is only used to print labels for your Christmas cards? Is any of this starting to sound familiar? If you are being honest, you probably are guilty of at least one or more of these “hard to start” career stallers.

Let’s look at three things you will need to discover before you can get started…and stay started!

1.     Goals: Once you crank your engine, where are you headed? Written goals are accomplished 50-90% more often than those left unwritten. The problem is most of us don’t set any goals… (written or unwritten)… and those individuals who set NO goals… ended up reaching them with remarkable proficiency! Would you leave home driving from Raleigh to Los Angeles without a road map? Or a GPS?  I would hope not.

2.     Motivational Check: What are your motivations…but more important… are you motivated to do the actions necessary to reach your goals? In your written business plan schedule rewards along the way. Make the trip worth your efforts… no one wants to work for nothing. Schedule several milestones to celebrate your achievements. Work harder - Play harder!

3.     Determination: How resolute are you… once you have made the decision to start… to also keep going?  There will be potholes along the way…mornings where you would rather stay home and not make those calls, or send those hand written notes…but you have to be determined not to give up… which is what happens to 80% of us. We usually have great intentions, we get pumped up and motivated… but somewhere down the road we give out of gas and then we just quit…we give up because it is too hard… we begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities. So we just stop! We don’t turn around and go back to where we started, we just run into the ditch, turn off the engine, and stop.

This doesn’t have to happen…

Coaching can be your “starter fluid”…your “GPS system”… and your “tow truck” for when you hit a ditch.

A one-on-one coaching program designed specifically for your business plans, goals, and lifestyle will get you kick started… and more importantly, keep you going in the right direction. Oh but don’t relax… there will still be the same potholes and the same ditches… but with a coach riding shotgun, the warnings will be loud and clear and most of these obstacles can and will be avoided.

Why do only 20% of real estate professions make a real living in our business? Because these highly motivated elite professionals found a way to become self-accountable and consistently complete the necessary activities to be successful. They either have the talent and personality to do it themselves or they hired an experienced production coach to help them. Which one are you?  

Eddie Brown ©2013

For more information on how one-on-one coaching can help you… visit



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is There a Better Way to Deliver Bad News?

Real estate will always be full of ups and downs... Like the thrill of finding the perfect home for your client, followed by the news the sellers JUST accepted another offer.

Hopefully you and your client's lives have been filled with more good news than bad.

But what do we do when the uncomfortable time to deliver bad news arrives?
The news that the buyers loan was not approved? News the appraisal came in below contract price? The news how during the inspection, it was discovered the entire basement is full of mold and the foundation is bad, and both heat exchange units are cracked? The news the buyer is cancelling the contract the last day of their due diligence period…for NO SPECIFIC REASON?

 Or what about this one…It’s 2 days before closing and you have to go to your relocating buyer to advise them the closing attorney just discovered an equity line on the property they are purchasing and the seller is now is a short sale position…lacking the funds to cover the deficiency…Is there any possible way to legislate damage control in the delivery on these types of messages?

The answer is yes:

Let's go back to when you first met your client. Pre-education is paramount! Let your clients know beforehand they always need to have a “Plan-B” because “Stuff” happens… and when it hits the fan... if they have a good Plan B it will not be as devastating.

In the Marine Corp we had a saying “adapt and improvise” … we always had a Plan B, C, and D for when Plan A fails…(notice I didn’t say “if” Plan A fails…there is going to be disaster from time to time…that is just life…so be prepared)

Next: The significance of the when and how of delivery:

When: As soon as possible! Delaying the delivery of bad news is never a good choice. Plus it adds the advantage of time…Time to initiate their Plan B, or in a worse case develop one.

How: Make it personal! The delivery of bad news is always better in person when possible. Don’t hide behind an email or text…if you can’t be face to face, then do it voice to voice… (But tell them you wanted to do this face to face).

Never hide the facts…Give them all the information you have and if they have further questions find the answers promptly. Then follow up and follow through with what you say you will do. Get It Done!

Always look for a silver lining…and always…ALWAYS come to the table with options for your client. Bring them solutions to their problems and you will become their hero.

My Grandma used to say “if you have to serve rotten potatoes… pass them the whole bowl of gravy…and it better be good gravy!”. Be upbeat… but be ready for some fall-out, (there will most certainly be emotions)…The most common first reaction is anger, so be prepared to explain the options they have available...if you aren’t prepared with multiple solutions, then fear will set in…so do your homework.

NEVER throw the other side under the bus….don’t place blame… it will only fuel your clients’ emotions. Blame usually causes the client to want to step away from the pain… where solutions will help move the transaction forward.

And finally: No matter how disappointed your client is…you want them to leave this meeting feeling you have done everything you can do to improve a bad situation…and that you are on their side 100%!

We hope you found this information valuable…to learn more about one-to-one real estate production coaching visit

Eddie Brown ©2013