Rookie Diary: William Pecora on Selling in an Age-Restricted Community

In the sixth month of the series, the rookies experience the challenges of having both sides of a transaction, listing, and selling in an age-restricted community. In addition, their brokers share their thoughts about the rookies’ progress.

July 1, 2004

William Pecora, 25

RE/MAX Real Estate Ltd.
Brick, N.J.
wpecora@remax.net

July 2004

This month, I finally decided to get serious about farming, something I’ve been very sporadic about for the last year.

The neighborhood I’m concentrating on is my own. It’s called East Dover and consists of about 500 houses, most of which were built in the last 30 years and where the average selling price is about $300,000.

My plan is to hit everyone in the neighborhood with something—a postcard, flyer, newsletter, or giveaway item—twice a month for the next year.

In the third or fourth month, I’m going to start sending business reply cards where people can request information on buying, selling, refinancing, whatever. The idea is they’ll get to know me the first month or two and then feel comfortable asking for information about their real estate needs.

I’m budgeting about $6,000 for the campaign, a lot of money for a beginning real estate salesperson. But every book and article I’ve read and every successful real estate person I’ve talked to has basically said the same thing: The key to successful marketing is consistency. Which is something I haven’t been doing up until now.

Part of what has gotten in the way in the past is my own perfectionism. No postcard was ever good enough. No message was compelling enough. Consequently, I’ve avoided making a decision and nothing really got done.

I’ve come to realize, though, that perfection doesn’t matter. Just send something on a regular basis. Do it.

Other than that, it’s been kind of a slow month. I scored one new listing—a mobile home—which I’ve never sold before. The seller is a referral from a past client. The price is $100,000. This alone should make it easy to sell because it’s almost impossible to find a house in this neighborhood for under $150,000.

But it turns out there are some complicating factors. The main one is this particular mobile-home community has an age restriction. We can’t sell to anyone under 55.

I’ve had probably a dozen calls on it, all from people who are too young. What I finally did was something I’ve never tried before.

I noticed there was a Baptist church one block from the community. It dawned on me that people who go to church tend to be older.

So I called over there, spoke to the pastor and a few people in the church office, and asked if they knew anyone who might be interested. I also sent over a flyer and asked if they would post it where people could see it.

Since then, I’ve had two inquiries from older buyers associated with the church. Nothing definite has come of it yet, but I feel pretty hopeful. At least they’re the right age.

Finally, I decided not to pursue the relocation fee from the salesperson down in Florida that I was so upset about last month. As you may recall, I referred a client to a practitioner down there who then refused to pay me a relocation fee.

I just want to move on. But it still bothers me. I can’t believe someone would be that unprofessional or that shortsighted. Over the last two months, I’ve referred four clients to salespeople in Florida. I’m a good source of referrals. But I won’t be referring any more clients to that particular practitioner again.

William Pecora’s Broker: Karen Symington

RE/MAX Real Estate Ltd.
Brick, N.J.

Bill’s progress has been phenomenal. His approach to the business is very holistic, meaning that he understands that buying and selling is a process. It’s not just about getting a commission. It’s about working with people, keeping track of a lot of details.

He’s also very responsible—if he tells you he’s going to do something or take care of something, he does it.

One of the things Bill had going for him from the beginning was that he had a very responsible job before getting into the business.

He was a store manager for Donna Karan, the designer, which put him in contact with a wide range of people. It gave him confidence and a certain polish, both of which have served him well in real estate.

Another thing in his favor is the balance he achieves between work and his personal life. His wife and son mean a lot to him and he takes time for them.

My own feeling is you can’t be successful in this business unless you have a good home life. He does.

We all need to be more disciplined about prospecting, and Bill is no exception. In the last year, however, he has started going to planning board meetings in an attempt to meet builders. It’s a good strategy.

His next move, probably, should be to hire a buyer’s agent. He’s ready to be a team leader.

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.

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