Nicole Slaughter Graham is a freelance journalist and writer based in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Help New Agents Gain a Competitive Edge
Newer licensees are at a disadvantage if they don’t have strong guidance from their brokers. Here are ways to prepare agents for market challenges.
January 4, 2019
A market that’s teeming with houses for sale and buyers at the ready is every real estate agent’s dream. It’s the kind of market that keeps seasoned agents engaged and entices new agents into the field.
But this ideal is fleeting, and market fluctuations are the norm. New agents require determination and experience to thrive and overcome challenges. Thanks to time-tested knowledge and mentorship, brokers are the position to afford agents the opportunity to thrive. Glean tips from other brokers on how you can set agents up for success in any market.
Prepare at Every Turn
In order to understand a market, a fair amount of research, analysis, and engagement is required. An agent must have his or her finger on the pulse of the area, which, in part, means knowing what homes are currently available and having insight into the specs of those properties.
“Brokers who are very familiar with the marketplace will immediately know if a new listing will fit a buyer’s criteria,” says Susan Landau Abrams, associate broker for Warburg Realty in New York. This is vital industry know-how for brokers to pass down to their agents.
In a highly active market, agents have less time to show homes to their clients because offers are often being made on a property as soon as it hits the MLS. Therefore, agents must know exactly which homes will fit their clients’ needs so they don’t waste time showing properties that won’t work. An agent who knows whether a property will meet a client’s needs will gain the confidence of their buyer and build a reputation as an agent with know-how, Landau Abrams says.
Focus on Strengths and Market Niche
Newer agents tend to hit the ground running before committing to a period of trial and error. This can hinder their earning potential. Plus, if a market is moving fast, razor-sharp skills are necessary to survive. A flailing agent is likely to lose a sale.
“Trying out different [business tactics] is important, but an agent has to figure out where their strengths are and put their focus there,” says Arnita Greene, team leader of The Greene Group at Keller Williams Preferred Properties in Upper Marlboro, Md.
For example, social media is Greene’s strong suit, so she focuses on maximizing her use of social platforms to grow her business. “Social media is my space to be relatable and build trust with potential clients before I ever meet them. I also post my closings and open houses, which positions me as a person doing the work that they can trust.” Greene also uses her experience on social to inspire the agents on her team to find their voice within the business. She then encourages them to focus on putting their best efforts forward within that space.
Greene suggests helping agents zero in on an audience. “Some important questions I had to ask myself in the beginning were what neighborhoods do I want to work in and what kind of buyers do I need to focus on,” she says. Agents often make the mistake of entering the business without first determining who their ideal client is, which leads to spreading themselves too thin.
Know the Process for Multiple Offers
A market with an abundance of buyer activity usually means multiple offers on a single property. In this kind of environment, it’s imperative that agents understand the bidding process and trends in the area. “Armed with comparable sales and current in-contract sales information, a broker may recommend that a buyer bid aggressively,” says Landau Abrams. Something similar, she explains, may not be available and likely could be priced even higher.
Brokers with experience dealing with multiple offers can help their agents succeed in competitive markets by teaching them how to obtain comparable sales information and how to advise their clients on the process when the time comes. Buyer’s agents will also be in a better position to help clients craft an offer that stands out if they understand the market and know how to work with the seller’s agent or broker. “For example,” says, Landau Abrams, “will there be an ongoing negotiation with the various bidders or will it be best and final offer?” These are questions an agent should ask to help a buyer determine what kind of offer to make.
Starting out in a competitive market can be a bit of a blow to new agents, especially when they’re not experiencing the success they expected. “Don’t quit early,” Greene tells her team members. “Success might be just around the corner.”
There’s a learning curve when it comes to working in markets saturated with seasoned professionals, so let new agents know they can still win a client over by being themselves, Greene says. Teach new agents how to pay attention to the clients’ wants and needs and how to follow up. “The success will come if an agent is willing to learn and keeps putting in the effort,” she says.