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Scott MacDonald
RE/MAX Gateway
Years in real estate:
Region Served: Northern Virginia
Average sales price in your market: $460,000
Average time on market: 90

How has your role as leader/manager changed in today’s tougher marketplace?
I have to spend a lot more time counseling clients on all of the changes in the market. As an example, I have to let them know about the new mortgage requirements and how that affects things like appraisals. I caution clients that even though we may get contracts on their house, if the price is not correct, the house won’t appraise out and the deal will not go through.

Then I have developed software for selling houses. Our listings sell at 98.6% of list price in 20 days if they use our software and take our advice and do these three things: price it correctly; stage it; and get a pre-inspection. If people only do two of the three things, the house may sell more slowly or for less.

As far as managing my agents, I have to help them become patient and tolerant. Agents are frustrated today with the pace. Short sales are a great example of how long the process can now take. A house that might close in four to six months, could take as long as nine months if it’s a short sale. I am helping my agents accept this new reality.

What’s most important for leaders to focus on in terms of motivating agents? Expanding their database is very important so I provide them with tools and resources to do that. What I like to do is give agents more information so they can educate their clients and grow their base.

What types of communication and training are most important and effective? We have training sessions every Friday. Then quarterly we have key speakers come in. In the past we have had everyone from Bill Duncan from Fannie Mae to speakers from the FHA. For our agents and my clients I also do blogs and podcasts. I try to figure out how our agents and customers like to be communicated with whether that’s by phone, or e-mail or text message.

How do you help agents stay positive in challenging times?
Zig Ziggler says motivation doesn’t last so you have to do it every day. And I do. I try to look for the good in every situation.

What types of incentives help motivate agents?
Everybody is motivated by different things. For some they want more family time-for others, it’s a vacation. So I talk to my agents and find out what they want and then when they get a commission I write on the check, “you are one step closer to that vacation home” or whatever it is they are wanting.

Why did you become a Member of Top 5?
RE/MAX used to be the elite of the elite and then in the early 2000s it kind of got away from that. So Top 5 gives that elite status back to me. Top 5 also gives me a great way to differentiate myself from other agents.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?