By Marc Gould
As savvy brokers, you know that establishing and growing a real estate brokerage takes more than simply staffing up with bright and enthusiastic young agents, real estate licenses in hand. It’s a long, hard road training your team, helping them build and grow their book of business. Where will your agents find clients? How do they establish their referral networks? How will they respond to customer objections and close deals? Putting your agents on the path toward their success—and yours—requires equipping them with some need-to-know information and need-to-have skills to build a robust business. What follows are some thoughts and advice from brokers around the country.
Get the training
Training is one of the best ways for agents to build their skill sets to handle complex transactions and increase their confidence when working with buyers. REBAC offers training in buyer representation through its ABR® designation, which includes elective courses that concentrate on various aspects of the buyer’s experience, from negotiating to short sales and foreclosures, to improving customer relationships.
Take Jessica Dillenbeck, ABR®, of Binghamton, N.Y., for example. Dillenbeck found that her real estate license alone was not enough to gain a foothold in the business. She needed to establish herself, which she did through earning the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation. Dillenbeck became owner of her own brokerage that caters to buyers, and she saw her business grow steadily.
Do the homework
Encourage agents to become experts on the local market by delving into area housing data. They should be familiar with the average prices of homes, both listed and sold. After all, buyers say what they most want from a real estate agent is help in finding that perfect home, according to the 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. Moreover, nine in 10 homebuyers say they’re looking for an agent with solid knowledge of the real estate market and purchase process.
Savvy buyer agents should be ready for business at all times, armed with a homebuyer’s packet filled with helpful information. Mary Pat Elledge, ABR®, a real estate professional in Plano, Texas, suggests that you include the following information in a buyer’s packet:
• Your buyer’s representative agreement;
• Home-buying tip flyers;
• Home insurance information;
• Handouts covering the steps to the home-buying process; and
• Title company costs for closing estimates.
REBAC provides its members with a series of Consumer One-Sheets. These free, printable handouts cover a range of useful topics to address in buyer counseling sessions.
New agents will likely need to work extra hard to prove they’re up to the job. One way to do so is to keep those in their sphere of influence (even if it’s only family and friends at first) informed of all transactions, suggests Val Smith, ABR®, a real estate professional in Abilene, Texas.
It’s also helpful to establish a presence for their real estate businesses online, for example, via a website or blog. A blog or website is a good place to offer information for buyers, such as tips on closing, home search checklists and financing information. REBAC offers its members customizable marketing materials, which can also be very helpful. Since a growing number of agents are using social media to get the word out about their businesses, REBAC recently launched a Facebook app for ABR® designees who want to add a tab to their page to show off their value to buyers.
REBAC has a network of more than 25,000 ABR® designees. Through courses, networking events, online directories, and networks, agents can have access to a nationwide network of buyer representatives to connect with. The network can also serve as a venue for swapping referrals—a way to keep business growing as well as establishing them as a buyer’s best ally.
These tips will set both you and your agents on the fast track to profitability. On your mark. Get set. Grow!
A wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.
For more information, visit www.REBAC.net.
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