Robert Sharoff is an architectural writer for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine. With photographer William Zbaren, he has produced books highlighting the architecture of Detroit and St. Louis. He is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.
Rookie Diary: Ada Acevedo Takes on New Niches
In the third month of the series, the rookies tackle lost commissions, new niches, and personal fears.
April 1, 2004
Ada Acevedo, 27
Baird & Warner
Finally, a good, solid sale. The couple I've been working with for the last few months—they're the ones I mentioned last month who weren’t sure if they wanted to buy in the city or the suburbs—found exactly what they were looking for in the suburbs.
These things are so unpredictable. The townhouse they bought is in a suburb about a half hour northwest of the city. It’s in the same area we looked last year, and a couple of deals had fallen through.
The asking price was $307,000 but we negotiated it down to $302,500. I didn't feel like we had a lot of leverage, though. For one thing, the comps were about right. Also, they really wanted it. After all these months of indecision, they just suddenly made up their minds.
It felt really good to have a sale after the last few slow months. What I'm learning is that real estate has a lot of peaks and valleys. You have really busy months, and you have months where you're not sure where it's all heading. Dealing with that can be kind of tough.
I do keep busy. There's always something to do or something you should be doing: staying on top of listings, calling clients, sending out flyers and other material. But you definitely need sales. They're what all the other stuff is about.
I continue to work with a lot of buyers. I had three referrals last month. I also had a referral for a rental client, something I'd never done before but I decided to give it a whirl.
The process is actually very similar to working with buyers. You pick up the lists of different rental properties from the brokerages that specialize in them, go through the newspapers, and then take your clients around to look at them. Finally, when they find something they like, you help negotiate a lease.
The commissions are less, of course—generally anywhere from half a month’s to a full month’s rent. But the whole process is a lot less stressful, I guess, because there's a lot less at stake. A lease is only a lease, not a 30-year loan commitment.
Still, though, I try to give the same time and attention to renters as I do buyers and sellers. The thing is, I'm trying to build up a clientele, and the way to do that is to make a good impression on everyone you come in contact with, no matter the size of the deal.
I also had some good news at the office. I found out I made it onto Baird & Warner's relocation team. To get on, you have to be selected and attend a training session where they explain how relocation referrals work, the problems that can come up, and the resources that are out there to help you.
What it means is I'm now eligible to receive referrals from my manager for corporate relocations. I think it will open a lot of doors.
The one thing I'm a little worried about is that in order to stay on the team, I have to come up with two outgoing relocation referrals each year to pass on to other salespeople. It can't be that hard, right? But I've never done it, so I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes open.
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