Research the Details
Statistics don’t lie. Find out the company’s market share, how many listings it takes in each year, how many listings sell, how many fail to sell, and how many sales it makes from other company’s listings. Not only will this information give you the financial bottom line, it will give also you more insight into the company’s customer service philosophies and its position in the market. Most importantly, it will tell you a lot about your potential for success.
The companies you’re interested in should be willing to give you this information, but you should take the next step and verify it with the local association of REALTORS® and the MLS. You also should make it a habit to read the business section of your local paper, local business journals, and other relevant publications. These regularly cover local real estate businesses and may even have special real estate editions that feature top-performing companies in the area.
One other thing to look for in your local business journal is rankings. On a weekly or monthly basis, many compile detailed information about industries and use it to rank companies within that industry according to size, scope of service, and sales. Business journals often publish these ranking once a year into a Book of Lists,which is well worth the additional cost if it doesn’t come with your annual subscription.
Your research also should take a more intuitive route. Take a drive around the community that you would like to work in and check out the properties for sale and what companies are representing them. Evaluate which companies are especially active in the area and the quality of properties they’re representing. Then take the time to check out the local office you are considering. Is it in a good business location, convenient, visible, and appealing? Look at it from the buyer’s or seller’s viewpoint. Is it someplace you’d like to go inside? When you walk through the door, does it have the look and feel of a successful business? How is the customer service? Is this someplace you’d like to work?
As you’re driving around the area, make a note of the advertising. A company’s advertising philosophy is especially important for new salespeople, as frequency and volume is critical to generating new clients from random inquiries while you build your personal network.
Look for signboards in yards, billboards, and bus boards. Next, check out the local newspapers. How does the company advertise its local office, its properties, and its sales associates? Does it rely on classified ads, or does it invest a little more in display ads? Does it participate in inserts and feature opportunities? Does it use real estate publications that are often free and available at local grocery stores? When reviewing advertising, evaluate the quality, size, and scope of the ads. Do they have a professional look and feel? Are there company-sponsored pages with numerous sales associates on a page, including space for new salespeople? You need to make sure the company you select is willing to support new sales associates with advertising you can’t afford for yourself right away.
Source: Adapted from Your First Year in Real Estate by Dirk Zeller (Prima Lifestyles, 2001). Dirk Zeller is a speaker, trainer, coach, and author. He is the CEO of Real Estate Champions, a coaching company based in Bend, Ore.
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