In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

As president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale’s World Renowned Real Estate, Neal Oates Jr. brings bespoke real estate services to high-net-worth clients from around the world.

As an instructor for the National Association of Realtors, he impacts the professional lives of agents all over the country. However, the true secret to his success lies in the relationships Oates cultivates with clients and colleagues.

How long have you been in the business?

I entered the real estate industry in 2005 as the client care manager for one of South Florida’s prominent real estate teams at the time. Our primary clientele were global buyers from the European region looking to invest in high-end real estate in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. 

I earned my license in 2007 and moved into the sales side of the business with that team, specializing in global client relations and retention.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I will be doing more of what I am currently doing, simply on a larger scale. As a brokerage, we will have greater market share in more areas to better provide world-renowned real estate services to a wider array of clients. 

A daily goal is to retain my integrity so my leadership impact is lasting and creates new opportunities for more minority brokers.

Five years from now, I want to be able to see a positive fingerprint that I’ve left on the industry as a whole while delivering memorable service to my domestic and international clients.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?

The single greatest lesson that I’ve learned as a result of being involved in real estate is that there is a universal language. The language that every individual, culture, or country understands is the language of “respect.”

I have come to understand that if I can communicate respect in all that I do too; with everyone I work with, I will reap rewards that surpass my wildest expectations.

How did you learn it?

This lesson is evidenced by my success in the South Florida real estate market. As a first generation Realtor from Alabama whose Spanish is laughable at best, my ability to connect with people of different nationalities and languages is perplexing to many, but it’s intentional.

As soon as I realized that I could not compete with agents who shared language bonds with those I desired to serve I had to find an advantage that positioned me ahead of the competition. 

As the son of a Navy man, leading with respect was that advantage. An understanding that the idea of respect may look or sound different depending on the culture, country, or beliefs of the other person, but it is always there. I am willing to do the difficult work of unearthing the other person’s idea of respect and molding my actions to it instead of expecting them to conform to my ideals. 

This is very evident when I am working with buyers from India, Thailand or China. Making the extra effort to know proper name pronunciations or type of clothing fabric to avoid during our meetings go further than my real estate knowledge ever will.

What advice would you give to new agents?

The best piece of advice I have ever received, and that I continue to share, is to “know your numbers.” There’s so much information available to every agent that we often get overwhelmed and actually forget to learn the vital few. 

As a new agent, knowing the months’ supply of inventory, median days to contract, days on market and list-to-sales price ratio will position you to know more than the majority of seasoned agents in your marketplace.

These vital metrics will allow you to have intelligent conversations with buyers, sellers, or colleagues when asked, “How’s the market?”

Do you want to be featured on an upcoming “Lesson Learned” column? Reach out to us here!

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram  and YouTube.

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