The Best Practices for Agents: An Overview
Whether you're a seasoned veteran in the real estate world or just starting your career as an agent, it's critical to master the fundamentals. Perhaps now more than ever before, agents are asked to wear many hats: social media guru, interior design expert, financial advisor, life coach. It's hard to know what to focus your limited time and energy on.
Regardless of where you are on your career path, perfecting these five agent best practices will help you grow your business and thrive in challenging, competitive markets.
1. Be an Up-to-the-Minute Expert in Your Market
It's crucial to stay on top of the latest developments in real estate. This means recognizing the changing trends in markets and mortgage rates—not just nationally, but also in your local community. Staying on top of local sales and trends gives you the insight to accurately price homes for sale and to help buyers know how to craft a successful offer. There's no shortcut for this type of expertise: You need to follow the market in your community by knowing the inventory and how it's moving. Maintain constant engagement in your area.
2. Know Your Neighborhoods
Expertise on your local housing market is important, but clients also rely on you to introduce them to their new neighborhood. Impress them by going beyond vague neighborhood stats and talk about the area like an insider. Make a point to know the names of important school districts and notable programs they offer. Don't just have restaurant recommendations—be able to suggest a dish or a drink to order, too. Be ready to share your specific insights about the personality and history of the community. When you can talk about these things with authority, you instantly build trust and add real value for your clients.
3. Embrace the Latest Technology
Today's home buyers start their journeys online. For better or worse, they use online estimators to get a sense of their home's value, and they scan listings for photos and research neighborhoods before they even call an agent. To capture your clients' attention, it makes sense to meet them where they are. Harness the power of social media to boost your marketing, add scanable codes to flyers that link to online listings, and capture contact emails at open houses with an iPad app. If you haven't already, invest in a CRM to manage your communications with clients and keep everything organized.
4. Make Your Clients Feel Like VIPs
Some people think that real estate is about houses, but successful agents know that it's really about people. Are you doing everything you can to make sure your clients get a completely personalized, white-glove experience? Using tech to improve your communication is a good start, but you also want to focus on some old-fashioned people skills. Perfect your listening skills and show them you care about them. Make your network of connections available so they never need to worry about finding a mortgage broker, home inspector, or general contractor. Be responsive when they call or email.
And don't forget to go the extra mile to show you appreciate them, whether it's with a small housewarming gift, gift cards to local shops, or simply a handwritten note to mark a personal milestone. Remember, the home buying experience is an emotional one: treat it like one.
5. Keep Learning and Growing
In an industry like real estate, change happens fast, and it's near-impossible to be great at everything. That's what continuing education is for. Take an honest assessment of your skills and think about your weaknesses. Would you benefit from a marketing course to get you up to speed on social media and internet strategies? Are you up-to-date on the latest legal issues in your locality? Consider taking continuing education courses at a local college, or search online for webinars and professional development materials designed specifically for real estate professionals. You'll learn a lot, and you'll also make useful networking connections locally.
Odds are, you're already a master at most of these real estate agent best practices—but there is always room for improvement! Choose one area of weakness to improve on, and come up with steps to make that practice one of your best. Follow through on your plan, and your business will thrive!