Wendy Cole is editor and content director of REALTOR® Magazine. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Trend Spotters
New Jersey real estate brokers Lynn Moles and Ronni Temple work closely with their sales team to seize opportunities in up-and-coming markets.
October 1, 2009
Lynn Moles & Ronni Temple
ReSales & Investment Realty, Haddonfield, N.J.
Years in Business: Moles became a sales associate in 2000 and Temple entered the business in 2004. They opened their brokerage in 2006.
2008 Gross Sales: $4.5 million on 35 transaction sides
2007 Gross Sales:$10 million on 67 transaction sides
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Sales Associates: 20, plus 8 referral agents
Finding the Hot Markets
We’re all about helping our sales associates work in specific markets where there’s a lot of buying and selling activity. We provide them with the training they need to be comfortable in various niches, whether it’s first-time buyers, seniors who are selling a house they’ve been in for 60 years, or investors who want to buy as-is properties. We help practitioners identify their preferred business niche or geographic area, and we work with them to find special government programs or incentives, such as the first-time buyer tax credit, that could help them with their niche customers.
Support from the Start
To help our new associates get up and running, we’ll go to listing presentations with them and do whatever it takes to help them feel confident. We provide them with an introductory letter for clients and a template for a quarterly newsletter.
Changing With the Times
The market is constantly changing, and you need to understand that to be successful. Our brokerage originally focused on rehabbing properties and selling them to investors. We aimed to be a full-service real estate investment agency. But now that flipping has given way to longer-term investing, we’re handling more property management for investors. More of our business also is in residential sales, and we’re also getting into sales of HUD homes, which are priced nicely for first-time buyers. Our approach is working well. Last year we averaged 53 days on market for our listings, compared with 82 days for our county as a whole.
Making Money on Referrals
At the end of 2008, some of our associates were having trouble making ends meet. We decided to create a referral company that provides them with an alternative to selling real estate. It allows them to keep their license active, refer clients to our company, and receive a fee when a property is sold. On a $200,000 home, the referring agent would make $675. Other good candidates for our referral company are investors who hold a real estate license and new associates who have another job yet have a good network of contacts who want to buy or sell real estate.
No Communication Barriers
The two of us have positioned our desks in an L shape in the front of our brokerage office. We have chairs in the middle so clients or other associates can speak to both of us. Not only do we have an open-door policy, but we don’t even have a door! We’re right there when people come in. We don’t want to come across as being unapproachable by having offices tucked in a corner in the back. It sends a message that we’re not hierarchical.
Not a Fan of Fees
Associates at our company pay no desk fees, transaction fees, or mentor fees. They don’t do floor time, and they keep 70 percent to 75 percent of commissions no matter how many sales they produce. That’s how it has always been with us.
Social Networking—In Person
We hold monthly networking gatherings for our team and others. We call them meetups. We invite a real estate attorney, mortgage and title representatives, and practitioners from other companies. Meetups are a great opportunity to connect in the evening over cocktails. They’re a good motivator for everyone, and they help with recruitment and retention.
Growth on the Horizon
We want to recruit 80 more practitioners in the next two years, and our goal is to hand out more and more business to them. We want to do more managing and processing of transactions, and let the associates do the selling.
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