"You don't know what you are doing!!"....Heard that lately? A friend and fellow agent, (a new, younger real estate agent as a matter of fact), was told that several months back, when she was working with a customer. This customer was someone who was looking for a house that she just couldn't find! She wanted a new house with all the bells and whistles and she wanted it for 1/2 of what the houses were priced at! She was driving this new agent like a dog--making her do things that are not important like calculate the square footage and dollar per square foot costs on houses that sold recently. She was wearing her down and wearing her out! Even though this buyer was well qualified and ready to buy, she was hard headed and not realistic about the market---The agent came to me because I had helped her out in the very beginning
Now, new houses are the one bright spot in the inventory here in the Hamptons---new builds get top dollar and even though the builders are asking very high prices, they are getting pretty close to their asking prices....the selling prices on new builds are 5%-10% off the asking price if the buyer can get the finish work that they want in the final product.
So, back to my friend; she was devastated when she called me to tell me what had happened.She had been crying and I could tell! I asked her what this person was looking for and she gave the run-down on what she had shown to her and her reaction to each house was the same--"I will only make an offer on this one if you think I can get it for 50% off the asking!"--now the agent was correct in not letting her think she would be able to get a new house for 50% off the price. She even made a call to 2 of the potential sellers and got very surprised and unhappy owners on the other end.
This agent ended up asking me to take over the customer so that she could observe how I handle people like that. She was thinking of getting out of the business and I was there to help her get past the barrier and the emotion of the circumstance. The first thing I did was sit down with her (the agent), alone, and talk.....
"Do you believe you have an 'aptitude' for real estate?" was the first thing I asked her..."I don't know!" was her response....not quite what I wanted to hear---she was defeated!
So, I said to her "You have a desire to be in the business, right?" Her reply was fast: "Yes I really want to be an agent--I love showing and selling houses--if I can ever get a real buyer!"...."well You have to create a "real buyer"! That's what we do in this business!" I told her emphatically. Then I gave her the dictionary description of Aptitude:
" APTITUDE 1. capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent: "
"Aptitude is as important to success as much as COMPETENCE is, with one great big difference--having APTITUDE for anything starts with how much you care about it and how willing and ready you are to tackle the hard parts. 'He/she is apt to succeed in real estate'is a statement made of someone who has it! I would love to be able to say that to you and about you. So lets work toward that!!!"....She was thrilled that I had come up with some way to work toward being successful in her new career.
"Aptitude is more than a 5 day training; it is more than a degree in business!!!" I told her that if she has an aptitude for real estate, she would know very soon...and so would I!
APTITUDE IS MISSING IN SOME REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS; These are the agents who just don't "get it" when it comes to the way they handle people in the market place. They are the agents who are in it only for the money and they will try to sell at any cost! They literally don't care if the buyer or the seller ever uses them again, so they go for the gold ring every time without trying to develop a long term relationship.
"IT"S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!!"
"So, just understand that it is NOT all about the money---you need to make money, we all do, but remove that from the equation for now because you need to work on your attitude and your aptitude!
What you need to do is to become opinionated without being bossy; learn your craft as if your life depends on it...because it does!!! Then talk to me and to other agents, express your opinions--don't be afraid.....just do it. And ask questions---many, many questions because that is how you will learn".
More than anything else, a buyer wants a good guide to buy the right house. If you take the approach that you want to know everything there is to know, that is important to know about buying a house, and you convey that to your buyer, she will listen and she will buy from you. ....So you really, really have to know your inventory and the sales data about the market---know it in your gut, 'til you eat it and sleep it!
"Aptitude for real estate will be the single most important ingredient for you if you want to really excel in the real estate business--it will get you through difficult times and market changes that make this profession one of the most challenging (and rewarding) careers you could possibly have!!!"
I drove the point home as much as I could because where this young woman was, there did not seem to be much hope that she would stay in the business.
Now it has been 6 months and this young woman has made the jump from a "flunky" real estate agent to an informed, vibrant, and talented agent who really DOES have an aptitude for real estate---and by the way, she has sold her first house....a new build with all the bells and whistles, for almost full ask....And she sold it to the customer that had beaten her up so badly verbally!!!...She will never hear "I don't think you know what you are doing!" ever again!!!
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY. The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
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