As the busiest time of the year, the spring season is vitally important. Performing well can catapult a new real estate agent not just into a successful year but also into a successful career.
I reached out to several agents of all experience levels to see what they’re doing to get ready for the busy spring season. Here’s what they had to say.
Do your homework
“I’m told spring is the busiest time of the year,” said promising rookie Virginia-based agent Heather Reis-Platter. She recently joined the Keller Williams Realty Falls Church team after a successful career in pharmaceutical marketing. She serves as a buyer’s agent on the Novins Group lead by veteran Realtor Andy Novins.
“My focus right now is on doing my homework. If you don’t know how to use the MLS and other online tools, this quiet period is the time to learn,” Reis-Platter said.
“There are reports you can pull from your MLS about houses sold in the past 60 days and houses on the market. I’ve met agents who said to me, ‘What are these reports you are talking about?’ — and they have been agents for years.”
Tanya Stawski, an agent in Beverly Hills with Sotheby’s International Realty, agreed with Reis-Platter. Stawski’s listings include a $14.6 million French chateau with an infinity pool set on the hills overlooking Los Angeles.
“The first thing you need to do is educate yourself and research the inventory of the neighborhoods you would like to break into. Go check out the houses, run comps and be ready to know the inventory inside out,” Stawski said.
For elite auctioneer James Pratt of James Pratt Auctions, who splits his time between Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles, “Marketing is everything.”
He advises new agents like Reis-Platter to be proactive on social media all the time, and not just when you have active listings. You should also provide buying tips or news about recent successes.
“Video is the best. Try and do as much video content as you can, as statistically, this has the most engagement in real estate right now,” Pratt said.
Pound the pavement
Long-time agent Michael C. Lovullo with Lantern Bay Realty in Orange County, California, has listings that range from $16 million oceanfront palaces to $1.8 million suburban homes near the beach.
He suggests that new agents like Reis-Platter don’t settle for getting their market knowledge from MLS reports.
“Good agents pound the pavement and get out there and look at every property that is for sale in their market. It gives them better perspective and not only helps them know what’s available but helps them better estimate market value,” Lovullo said.
“Otherwise, it’s like going to a horse race and betting on horses that you have no information on. Market data knowledge is key!”
Make yourself useful
Gary Gold, executive vice president of Hilton & Hyland/Christie’s International Real Estate in Beverly Hills is a fountain of knowledge for new agents. He set a new record in Los Angeles selling the Playboy Mansion for more than $100 million.
Gold reminds new agents that they should find ways to be useful to everyone they talk to.
“You need to reach out to your clients with valuable information. I always call my clients and prospects for a reason and provide something of value to them in terms of expert information,” Gold said.
Gold adjusts his own schedule to meet the needs of buyers and sellers.
“If you are going to work with Chinese buyers,” he said by way of example, “you will have a significant advantage if you can communicate on their time zone. I have consummated deals at midnight my time while my competitors were sleeping.”
Agent Eric Chen, Long & Foster’s director of Asia Pacific Initiatives, also frequently works with buyers from China.
“My advice to new agents are to follow the 4P’s: be proactive, be persistent, be positive, and be patient,” he said. “It may take time to get your first commission, so focus on all the things that will create a pipeline of opportunities for you, like market knowledge, marketing, networking and good work habits.”
Perhaps the simplest advice comes from Rosalie Klein, broker with Rodeo Realty – Sunset Team. Rosie the Realtor, which is her brand name, farms an area of Los Angeles known as Beverly Grove and has closed more than 500 transactions with her partner. She advises first-time agents to get real and work hard.
“Stop watching Million Dollar Listing. It’s a show, not real life,” Klein said. “Real estate is a full-time business. If you take it seriously and have the passion for truly helping people to make a difference in their lives, you will be successful.”
Save clients time
Reis-Platter seems to have taken to heart much of this professional advice from her more experienced peers.
“I don’t wait for my client to say, ‘I want to go see these three homes.’ Because I want to be the expert on my farm area. I see all the homes that come to the market in this area,” she said.
“The other day, I previewed eight. So when I am with a client, I am saving them time. I can say, I’ve seen that, that, and that, and this is the one you need to see because the others don’t have what you want. Why would I make them see a hundred homes when I have already eliminated a bunch?”
If you are a new agent, take a page from Reis-Platter, and follow the advice above from the experts who have experienced major success in the industry.