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What is the key to real estate success? According to JoAnn Roberts, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, it has to do with maintaining a balance and continuing education. Read on to learn more of her top tips.

JoAnn Roberts
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Years in real estate: 18
Region served: Pinecrest, Gables by the Sea, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Fla.
Average sales price in your market: $500,000 – $4,000,000

What’s your take on staying educated given the time demands of doing business in today’s market?
As REALTORS®, we are part of a dynamic, rapidly changing industry, and continuing education is a must to stay competitive. I personally have acquired 14 real estate designations. Although the public isn’t aware of what the designation logos stand for, they mean the agent who possesses them cares enough to spend the time and resources necessary to acquire the highest level of education and skills in the real estate industry. I also believe in educating my clients so they are fully prepared to make the right decisions at the right time when selling or buying a home. Agents need to bring extra value to their clients. As an Accredited Staging Professional and a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist with a background in interior design and decorating, I bring extra value to my sellers when it comes time to guide them in preparing their home for sale to maximize its value.

What’s your biggest obstacle to staying ahead on information?
Time. Agents have to be very disciplined to spend their time wisely. As I go through the day, when I have “wait time,” I use my iPad to read real estate articles I have bookmarked. I always read RISMedia’s articles of the day as well as other top real estate information resources. I constantly stay aware of my local real estate market and keep my community aware of market trends through a monthly newsletter.

Do you use social media to stay current?
Yes. I recognize social media as an important tool to build rapport and recognition in the community. But I also know it can take an immense amount of time. That said, I think agents have to be very, very disciplined in their social media time management.

How has marketing and selling listings changed in recent years?
Dramatically. We used to market houses only in newspapers and magazines with only the basics: number of bedrooms, baths and square footage. That old-style marketing is boring to today’s savvy buyers. They can get the basic information online from numerous sources. They want more. Today’s buyers want to know why they should buy one home over another. What would it be like living in the home and in the community? Even the ranking of the schools is at their fingertips online.

When we market properties today, we need to sell “The Lifestyle,” the community. Tell the story.

Also extremely important is professional photography. Since 97 percent of today’s buyers search online for their next home, the photos are the first viewing of the home. If the home’s photos don’t grab the buyers’ attention within two seconds, it will be passed by. I make sure my photos and “lifestyle verbiage” grab attention. I also take advantage of Coldwell Banker’s global reach with 3,100 offices in 51 countries, and 85,000 agents. This is a tremendous advantage since so many of our buyers are coming from out of the country.

What three things can’t you live without?
My assistant, my iPhone and my iPad.

What’s your best idea for time management?
Prioritizing through what I call a “brain dump.” As a full-time REALTOR® with business, family, charity commitments and pet responsibilities, an endless parade of ideas, people to call, appointments to make and articles to read and write comes to mind throughout the day, and this “to-do” list seems to spill over into my sleep time. I keep a pencil and pad of 3×3 Post-it® notes on my nightstand. With the lights off, as the list of unfinished to-dos comes to mind, destined to keep me awake, I grab my pad of Post-its and begin jotting them down with two or three word reminders. I keep writing them down until there are no more and my mind is blank. This is the most amazing way to de-stress and get a good night’s sleep. Then I can prioritize my notes the next morning.

What is the key to a successful life in real estate?
Balance. Taking care of your health, family and career. Taking care of health is number one so you can enjoy number two and be successful in number three. I feel a major reason for my successful life in real estate is from the help and understanding of my family; continually educating myself in all facets of the real estate business to better represent my clients, helping new agents coming into the business, thanking my company for everything they do to promote my continued success, supporting community events and schools, giving to charitable causes, staying up to date with technology, always treating my clients with respect and giving them honest, timely advice and professional guidance throughout their real estate transactions. My report card of how well I’m doing in serving my clients is from the wonderful testimonial letters I continually receive after their sale or purchase, thanking me not only for great service but for “being there for them when they needed me.” The other way I know how well I’m doing is from the continual client referrals to their friends and relatives.