What you don’t learn in real estate school (understanding what your client wants and how to get it)

What you don’t learn in real estate school (understanding what your client wants and how to get it)

My mother was such a big influence in my life, personally and professionally. She taught me important intangibles about real estate that you just don’t learn in the classroom.

From the time I was a young girl, I’ve been immersed in the world of real estate — updating my mother’s MLS sheets, placing signs in yards, and helping her complete her very busy to-do list. Once I graduated from college and began searching for my path, it was my mother who encouraged me to become a real estate agent. So I entered the field, and when I didn’t experience the immediate success I had hoped for, she showed me why.

And I listened to her.

That next month, I sold a million dollars worth of property. What was the difference between zero and a million? Just one thing — my attitude. But it wasn’t my attitude about real estate, money or even my own ability. The source of my shift was my mother. More than anything else I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to make her proud. After 36 years in the industry, I have carried her example with me, and as a result, have experienced much success and a great sense of personal reward.

Here are a few of my favorite lessons from her that I want to pass on:

  • The best way to learn how to be a successful real estate agent is by learning from one another. Throughout the first part of my career, I realized how important mentors are. Spending time with an experienced agent is one of the best ways to see real estate in action — and to make sure it is the right career for you! Always look for the person who is carrying out business in a way that you admire, and follow their lead. And, when the time comes, be a welcoming mentor to those who look to you.
  • Maintain courtesy with other agents. It’s crucial to have good relationships with everyone you partner with because chances are you will work with them many times over the course of your career. I always want to be someone that agents want to work alongside. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we make buying and selling less stressful for our clients by working together.
  • Respect sellers’ properties. When I pull up to someone’s home for a showing, I take care not to walk through their landscaping or park in their driveway — it’s an expression of respect and it helps make a great impression. Also, sometimes the seller still needs to leave and you don’t want to block them in. I try to be as respectful as possible every chance I get because, as an agent, you’re always building relationships with everyone you meet.
  • Get to know your buyers and spend a lot of time researching the properties they want to see. Preparing your buyer with details about a home before they step inside can make all the difference in their decision to buy or to move on to a property that is a better fit. Prepare them so they aren’t surprised by an interesting wallpaper choice or an outdated kitchen so that you can help them envision the possibilities. If I’ve done my job well by listening to what my buyer is looking for, I am able to connect them with the home that they know is “the one” as soon as they walk through the door.
  • Own your mistakes — and do what you can to fix them. No agent is perfect, and mistakes will be made. Owning up to them can be challenging and costly, but it is critical to maintaining relationships and demonstrating integrity. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone tries to fix them. Be the one who fixes them.
  • Relationships are the most important thing. For me, real estate is a personal experience; I believe that true success is only possible when you care about people, their needs and their goals. You also have to care about your community and about fostering great relationships — not just with clients, but with fellow realtors, builders and developers who can help us find the perfect home or successfully sell the home my client is currently in.

These lessons have guided me as a real estate agent and have allowed me to work with others in amazing ways to support my clients and help them find their perfect property. I hope my mother’s wisdom helps you in your day-to-day as an agent. I would love to hear from you — what are your favorite real estate tips that can help make our work all the more rewarding and successful?

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