“Whether you think that you can sell real estate virtually or you think that you can’t sell real estate virtually…You’re RIGHT!”
I am taking advantage of this unique time in history to work on building my real estate business through many different ways. Real estate is not only about showing a home and selling it. That is the mechanical part of the business, that some argue is crucial to a successful sale. I would tend to agree with that, as many buyers will need to touch and feel their new home before they actually buy it; with some exceptions, but certainly the vast majority.
But, is this the entire scope of what we do as real estate agents? I would have to say absolutely not.
We provide so much more value to our friends and communities through providing advice and knowledge and the actual sale is the end result that generates our income.
I know that the real estate business is said to be all about relationships. I have been in the business for over 40 years now, and I can attest to the fact that this IS the main part of our business. It is our job to create valuable relationships in our communities that will one day hopefully earn you the support and business of those that you have helped in one way or another along the way.
So, if you subscribe to this philosophy that building relationships is a key part of your success, then this is an amazing opportunity to reconnect with your communities and to grow your sphere of influence. The most genuine way of doing this is to simply reach out and connect with everyone you know. It’s a great time to CHECK IN and see how everyone is doing and to CATCH UP on things that are happening in each other’s lives. I have taken advantage of the extra time and I have had some really wonderful experiences reconnecting with my friends from all different times in my life. Please, don’t do this with the sole purpose of attracting business, as that approach will be obvious and will do more harm than good. It’s time to reconnect, listen, and get to know your friends and acquaintances again. We typically use the excuse that we’re too busy to keep in touch with people that we really do care about and with people that we actually enjoy speaking with. Now, there are simply NO EXCUSES. Pick up the damn phone and call a friend. If the conversation comes up about real estate, you can always send them some information and guidance as to what your thoughts are on the marketplace and what we can do to sell homes today.
When my friends discuss how we still sell real estate today, I simply share with them that I do it virtually. Everything that we used to do, and more, we now can do virtually via our computers and cell phones. It’s amazing, and I would love to share how we do it.
For me, I’m fortunate enough to have a head start on the virtual world; but not by much. A few months ago I made the tough decision to leave my traditional brokerage of 40 years to join what I saw as the future of real estate, the virtual real estate brokerage. You could see the writing on the wall that the old way of doing things was just not as efficient as some of the amazing new ways that business could be done. The stodgy offices with high rents and overhead expenses were really becoming obsolete as agents have already transitioned to working more remotely. Although agents were comfortable with doing research and setting up appointments remotely, there was still the attachment to an office where they could go and have a cup of coffee and discuss various things and challenges. The offices were the place to get inspired and motivated. The feeling that nothing could replace the water cooler conversations was holding people back from trying to switch to a virtual operation.
Now, it’s more apparent than ever that although the comforts of the OLD OFFICE although, still missed, are not absolutely necessary to operating successfully. Some would even venture to say that those items were a distraction for many. Today, with our Zoom meetings and classes, we are able to connect with others much more easily than ever before. I tell you, I don’t miss the office at all! Actually, I have an office environment now where I see my team more than ever, and we can get more done in less time. I feel more connected with my team today, than I could have been sitting in my big beautiful corner office.
So, let me take the liberty of sharing how my company manages to do everything virtually, and then you can take some of the valuable lessons and hopefully deploy them in your real estate business. The goal here is to clearly demonstrate that it can be done, and some argue it can be done much better, virtually.
The thing that I can say that I have learned the most from over the past few months is that it’s the process of getting into a digital and virtual mindset. EXP Realty and my partners have taught me by example and via training classes to harness the power of technology and the virtual world. When you shift your thinking to finding solutions online and in the new world, you empower yourself to do more than you could have ever imagined, and in less time. You reinvent yourself into a most important and relevant player in the new world of commerce in real estate and beyond.
I joined EXP Realty in January, and I believe the timing couldn’t have been better. I was able to dive into working remotely and have a chance to acclimate myself to the new world just in time for when the rest of the world would be forced to be doing it also. I have already listed, marketed, sold and closed on homes all virtually all during the pandemic so I know firsthand that it can be done. There are many agents out there who are also doing it all remotely right now and if you are not, we are hoping that you will be soon. Although I’m comfortable with doing everything virtually now, I must admit that there was a learning curve. There were times where I said to myself that I wish there was an office to go to to pick up these forms, but after learning the systems there is simply no turning back. Today, I can be talking with someone about a home and I can pull up comparable sales on my cell phone, and create the entire listing presentation within a few minutes. I can even prepare the necessary paperwork to list the home and market on the MLS. The key here is that there is never a need for “paper” in the paperwork. We simply prepare the documents and have the sellers digitally sign them; complete with all the necessary disclosure documents.
Everyone today can and should have digital signature programs. The Brooklyn MLS has just introduced a program called Authentisign, where agents can have access to getting their listings and documents all signed digitally, as part of the membership. I’ve used Authentisign, and it works nicely.
Let’s get back to the virtual world again.
YES, you can speak with sellers and help them to market their homes online. Although nobody will be able to see the inside of the home in the time being, there will still be advantages and benefits of putting the home on the market now. There are fewer homes currently on the market, obviously, and that presents an advantage to existing sellers. The best way to attract interest is by having the virtual tour and hosting virtual open houses. I’ve attracted interest in my listings and there is a list of buyers who are on my WAITING LIST to show the homes as soon as the executive order in NYS is lifted. The seller is excited to see the activity and although it’s not ideal, at least there is some hope that one of the potential buyers will show interest after they see the house in person.
Virtual open houses are events that are held online only and they are held via a zoom meeting or facebook live event. These events attract some additional interest and attention to the property. We are showing homes virtually and we will be ready to show when we can with a waiting list in hand.
So what else is an agent to do in today’s world.
Sharpen the saw!
It’s time to learn and sharpen your skills to better serve your clients and customers. I’ve taken over a dozen courses already and I’ve even taught a few over the past few weeks. We get to learn from other experts in the industry to better understand and share what we are doing to help out during these times. The real estate world is changing rapidly, and the top agents will use this time to prepare for the rebound. Those who do not, may not even be around. Be Around for the Rebound!
At EXP Realty, we have an online world where we go to meet and get everything done that we might have done by visiting our old school offices or corporate headquarters offices. This award-winning space is called “EXP WORLD.” EXP agents and our guests (ask for a guest pass if you are interested in seeing what it is all about) can create an avatar that is supposed to look like you. I must admit that I’m a little jealous of my avatar as he didn’t gain any weight during this work at home order (the real life John did). When you visit Exp world, you can walk around the campus and pop into any LIVE training class that you like. At first, I thought that it was a little far-fetched for me to get into, but after a few short minutes you kind of get used to this new way of learning and you feel like it’s the same as being at a live event…only better. Since these events are held online, you can attract the best minds in the world to present the topics and discuss them easily. The other day, we had an industry expert from Texas teaching with someone from Florida, while I’m here in NYC with my team attending. I was able to ask questions and debate how things might be a little different here in the city. The old way of getting these minds together would be cost prohibitive. I don’t see us going back to the old way soon. We will probably still have local events, but the advantage of these remote learning opportunities will not go away. Learning is evolved forever!
In addition to learning in the world, it is also the place where we get total support for everything and anything. When I first joined, I had an issue with technology. I couldn’t seem to sync my existing database with the great new KV Core software. I went to the technology outpost in EXP World and the support person there was able to take over my computer and fix the problem in less than 5 minutes. In the traditional brokerage, you would have to call someone to come by when they get a chance to look into it, and that would normally take a few days. Now, it’s done better in a few minutes. There are over 500 staff members online waiting to help you with whatever your issues might be, from licensing, to payroll, or marketing strategies, you can get it done VIRTUALLY and I might add that it’s quicker and better! Virtual Support has evolved forever and will play a larger rold for companies going forward.
Brokerage operations are saving tons of money by going virtual.
Some of the other benefits of going virtual is the fact that the costs of the operation are dramatically reduced and your company becomes much more efficient.
At EXP Realty, these savings are passed on down to the agents in the form of better compensation. Your agents can now keep more of their commissions and they can choose how to build and grow their real estate careers in the manner in which they see fit. It’s their business, and they should be able to decide where to invest their hard earned commissions.
How Much Can The Traditional Brokerage Save?
Can you imagine how much a brokerage can save if they didn’t have to pay rent, utilities and decentralized human resources? By putting the money back in the agent’s pockets, the new virtual real estate brokerage is able to attract the best agents who get the most listings which bring in more buyers and so on and so on. The virtual model simply works and there are lessons to be learned that we can all benefit from.
Adapt Virtual Skills to Existing Brokerage
Some real estate brokerages are deciding to shift and be part of the new virtual movement, and as times go on, we are predicting more and more will make some sort of changes to become more virtual than before. Companies are already starting to go more virtual by either shifting some or all of their processes and operations to the virtual world. The shift to virtual will cut bottom line expenses for brokerage operations to survive and thrive.
Some Brokers and Teams Transition to JOIN EXP
Some brokers and teams are choosing to simply join a virtual model that is already working, like EXP Realty or one of the other ones out there. You can count on more of these virtual models popping up in the near future. By joining a successful model you can simply continue to do business as your team or entity and be up and running within days. Brokerages and teams of all sizes from 3 to over 800 agents have taken the step to explore and find out why this is the right move for them, and for so many to come after us.
It has been said the EXP is the Amazon of Real Estate. Some predict that we are in the early stages of the model and if you watch the growth patterns, you can see that this seems to be correct.
People all over the world are finding out how the EXP model can make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
I hope that you consider shifting your traditional ways to the online world either by taking baby steps today or by at least exploring the options with an existing model.
If anyone would like to find out more, I would be delighted to help you with converting your operations to do things more virtually, or to explore how EXP is making so much sense for brokers and teams around the country to jump onboard.
One of my main missions in life right now is to make sure that my friends and colleagues have all heard and fully understand the real EXP Model and how it can be a real game-changer! I know that it’s not a good fit for everyone, but if you don’t give yourself and your family the proper opportunity to really understand it, you are in my humble opinion doing a disservice to yourself and your family.
Hey, when I first looked at the model, I wasn’t even looking to do something different, but when you see it…you can’t unsee it!
I really don’t care if you ever decide to join EXP or not, but I do care that my friends and colleagues at least fully understand the opportunity. When this model grows exponentially in the NYC area and beyond, I want to grow it with my friends. I don’t want you to come to me a year from now and say, why didn’t you tell me about it then…