Today’s “Ask the Expert” column features Charles Williams IV, the CEO and Founder of BuyerMLS.
Q: What lessons have you gleaned from your industry experience that today’s real estate professionals can’t afford to overlook?
A: Both my parents and my grandparents were heavily involved in the real estate world, so I learned early on a few important lessons. One is the undeniable power of a strong network and the other is how crucial it is to have the right tool at the right time. These are generalities that can apply to almost any business practice, but when it comes to real estate, I can drill it down to several concrete best practices.
First, the importance of having a strong network of people comes down to diversity on many levels. All too often, real estate professionals specialize early on in their career, narrowing their options both in the present day and a few years into the future. I oversaw the acquisition and resale of nearly two dozen properties before I was 30 and we sold them to the widest variety of people you can imagine. That’s because I knew the widest variety of real estate agents possible. Not just people who specialize in first-time buyers or specific neighborhoods, but people from all walks of life that specialize in market niches. Prospect lists are often those who are referred by friends and family, so they bring to the table people who are basically similar. The broader reach you have, the bigger pool of potential buyers you have to tap into.
Second, the old adage of right product/right market is almost as important as the real estate mantra of location, location, location. Except, in the case of selling homes, you have to keep the buyer top-of-mind down to even the most granular levels. If the buyer has a young family, point out how many electrical outlets can accommodate the many devices kids have today. Or, if the buyer is older and hoping to age in place, point out the wide turning radius in the hallways, should they ever need to be in a wheelchair. Before I would approve any final designs for my projects, I would make sure we had at least several features that would appeal to different types of buyers. Similar to the first idea of needing a broad pool of buyers to draw from, you also have to have amenities in place that different types of people are looking for.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but both of these concepts would be at the center of BuyerMLS. It isn’t just about the mahogany finish or the great landscaping (even though they are important!). Sometimes, the most important thing is making sure the right person knows you have a house coming on the market. That can be the difference between selling above asking price or having to invest heavily for advertising and promotion.
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