Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What is a team?

February 1, 2016  ¦  Tanya Hawkins, Realtor, ABR, CRS

I just got back from the second big conference this year and everywhere I turned, the buzz was all about teams.  Team this, and team that.  This isn't a new concept.  Real Estate agents and REALTORS have cooperated via the MLS for many years.  It isn't uncommon to have a husband and wife team or parent and child team up as one transitions out of the business and one transitions in.  Sometimes, there is an informal agreement between 2 or more agents to "take care of each other" and their business if hte other has to be away on vacation or unavailable.   What does this mean to the consumer?

If you are buyer, today’s inventory levels can drive you mad.  No matter where you are in the marketplace, it can be frustrating to find the right property at the right price.  The homes that go on the market in great condition with the right price get snatched up before you can see it.  If you are working with a single agent, it might mean that you didn’t get to see it because of scheduling conflicts.   Another frustration for many buyers in our area is that they come into town on a relocation house hunting trip with a limited time for searching and their agent is not available the whole time.  If you are working with a team, they can run relay, if needed, to allow you to see everything on your list.  It doesn’t just end with finding the home, the team can work with you through the whole process – to include managing the details of the transaction all the way to closing and delivering the keys.                                                                                                 
What about sellers?  What can a team do for a seller that an individual agent can’t do?  Often the top listing agents are sought out by many in the public.  The team concept allows them to focus on their top job which is listing and selling homes.  They collaborate and discuss top strategies for getting the home in front of the best pool of buyers.  They work together to answer calls and schedule showings for the property.  The more people you have answering the phone knowledgeably, means you have a better chance of capturing the buyer for a showing and most importantly for an offer.   

How do you know if a team concept is the right concept for you and what key differences should a team bring to you?
  1. They should be a group of like-minded individuals with comparable experience and commitment to service.
  2. They should collaborate to bring the highest set of results to each of their clients.
  3. They should each have a specialty or experience that rounds out the team allowing for the best outcome.
  4. They should communicate regularly with you and each other to keep everyone up to speed.
  5. The protocol for communication and follow up should be established first and adhered to throughout the professional relationship.                                                                      

The Prime Group of RE/MAX Preferred in O’Fallon is comprised of 4 agents and 2 support staff.  They work together to provide the level of service that is needed to successfully get you through one of the most critical investment

My 'why' and the importance of relevance in today's marketplace...

Jan 23, 2016  ¦  Tanya Hawkins, Realtor, ABR, CRS

As many of you may know, I am passionate about Real Estate and the work I do for my clients.  For almost 9 years, I have worked in this industry and watched the marketplace change both nationally and locally.  Over that period, we went from a “Can’t Lose” mentality about real estate and investing to a “Will I Ever Win?” mentality.  Despite those changes, buyers and sellers have still moved forward.  People have bought and sold homes over the last nine years and some have even made money doing so.                                               

When I made the decision to walk away from a position as a top producer in a large company with enviable market share, it was not easy.  However, what I aimed to do and the service I endeavored to provide far outweighed trophies or rewards.  What I saw as an agent and a consumer in our marketplace was a quantifiable need for professionalism, flexibility, and a customer service mentality which is unequal.                                                        

If you consider the purchasing experience that is associated with luxury goods – think Louis Vuitton handbags, you see that it is not just the bag.  It is an experience from the minute you walk in the door.  You are treated to a level of customer service unlike any other.  They ensure that they have staff on hand that speak your language and cater to your needs from the selection of the bag, acquisition of the bag, all the way down to the package you take out of the store.  Now, you could go online and order a bag and miss all of the kerfuffle.  But why would you?  In Paris, tourists line up outside the store’s flagship Champs Elysees location just to experience the store.  It isn’t just the bags.  It is the experience.                                                                                                                                                 
Now, consider how we handle Real Estate, the largest single purchase for many.  Do we give our clients the experience they deserve when they are buying or selling?  Do we anticipate their needs and provide services that are based on their individual needs and goals?  Or do we let the corporate mentality dictate what we can/can’t provide to our clients?  Are we doing our best as the ambassadors of an industry which is crucial not only to our economies, but to that thing we call the American Dream? 

Last year, Swanepoel was contracted by NAR (National Association of Realtors) to provide a report known as the “D.A.N.G.E.R report”.  This report was a study of the factors and situations that are known as disruptors in our industry and which of these are poised to significantly affect our industry. Here is a link to the report if you are ever interested in reading it entirely.                                   
There were several disruptors that were highlighted in the report, but there was one in particular that kept coming to mind – Relevance. How do I stay relevant in this age of Internet, fast answers, and estimates of value on 3rd party websites?  I believe it is by providing a level of service unlike anyone else. I believe that every client comes with a different set of goals and different ideas about their wants and needs.  By assessing those on an individual basis and coming up with a strategy that is tailored to their needs, we stand a better chance of success, and meaningful success at that.   I believe that extends not only to commissions or open houses and marketing plans, but includes providing access to the most current information and technologies that will make their transition as smooth as possible.                                                                                                                                               
I realize this may not work for everyone, but doesn’t everyone deserve the option