Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and HouseLogic.com’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.
A One-Minute Guide to Surviving Rookiehood
May 1, 2000
Free advice from salespeople who've done green time.
“You can get up to speed without spending money, such as by holding open houses and calling on FSBOs.” --Diane Fowler, Douglas Realty, Cape Coral, Fla.
"Don't be lured by promotional gimmicks or services. You're too green to know if they might be appropriate. ”—Greg Stamolis, Windermere Real Estate, Northwest, Inc., Seattle
“Get a sugar daddy.”—Anonymous
“To be successful, you need to acquire some debt: Buy a nice car and a house. I need to have things to work for. My broker even helped me with the downpayment on the car.”—Ralph R. Roberts, Ralph Roberts Real Estate, Warren, Mich.
“Hold open houses and create your own personal promotions—they’re free. For instance, I hired a high school student to take pictures of every home in a neighborhood. I made descriptive fliers for each home photo and had her deliver them to the owners. I got two listings priced at more than $200,000 from this endeavor.
I also believe you've got to spend money to make money. As soon as you can, invest in a toll-free number, a Talking House system, or a hotline from which customers can get information on your listings.”--Ryan Bishop, Coldwell Banker Grand Realty, Spokane, Wash.
“Start out by working as an assistant for a top producer. The person may even pay for your licensing. And choose a national franchise. You need a big name behind you—the kind of company that offers free advertising and good training. Ask salespeople at the company whether the training programs are top notch.”—Lisa Knight, Century 21 Wilson Minger Agency, Inc., Niceville, Fla.
“Concentrate on a specific area and a specific price range. I recommend $250,000 to $400,000. That's where you'll find serious buyers. If you start selling really expensive homes, all you'll get is curiosity seekers. And by focusing on specific areas, consumers will associate your name with that area. People who start out in the business tend to spread themselves too thin by seeking listings in every area of their market.--Adam Kaufman, Realty One, Woodmere, Ohio
“Set a timeframe in which to make one sale. I prepared myself for the financial crunch by interviewing former salespeople and brokers as well as some professionals who I respect in our community.
"I spent four months studying my area's market and learning about creative financing, writing a business plan, setting up marketing schedules, preparing personal promotions, setting up a direct mail program, as well as researching new technology to streamline my business.–Julie Ann Lunte, Magic Valley Realty, Twin Falls, Idaho
“Write a business plan. Borrow money from family or a bank to get started. And establish a credit line. Then pay yourself first. That is, put some money into personal marketing. Live on whatever you can survive on. Focus on the sale rather than the commission. Otherwise, you're not helping the consumer and you won't see any repeat business.”--Ralph Roberts
Senior Speech Writer
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