“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” -Hal Borland
As the winter fades away and the second quarter arrives, here are three more things that Realtors can learn from spring.
(Click here for Part I)
4. Spring cleaning
For a majority of the country, there is a moment between winter and spring during which the temperatures creep up just high enough that you run home from work or even wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “This is the kind of day that makes me want to open all the windows and air the house out.”
Letting that welcome “fresh breath” of spring into your home leads to some chores that you usually need to take care of at this time of the year: Things such as washing windows (you know this when the glorious morning sunshine reveals all the dirt and grime on the windows), sweeping out the garage, and getting the patio or deck furniture ready to go. These are all things on my “honey-do” list.
window cleaning image via shutterstock
What can Realtors learn … ?
This is the perfect time of year to stand at your office door (at the office or in your home office) and straighten up your work space. As you head into the busy time of year, you don’t need clutter or distraction getting in your way.
You should almost have your 2011 taxes done by now (You do pay taxes, don’t you?) so it could be the perfect time to grab that banker’s box and put away all of your closed 2011 transaction files.
Clean off your desks from all those builder promos and office-meeting agendas. Clear the floors from the boxes of old listings fliers and the piles of newspapers that had one of your old “Home of the Week” ads in it. You don’t need these anymore.
Personal note: If in the process of cleaning you discover a stack of old multiple listing service books beneath the rubble, seek immediate assistance and professional help! Or call the folks at cable channel TLC — they may want to speak to you about appearing on a special Realtor edition of “Hoarding: Buried Alive”!
5. Tend to your garden
For many people, having the chance to get out and work in the yard or garden is a wonderful time of year. I remember my father always looked forward to the opportunity to break out the garden tools and start cleaning up the flower beds and landscaping and getting the areas ready for the new colors and smells of the season. He loved to get his hands dirty.
This is a wonderful time of year for people to head to their local gardening store and look for a new type of flower or plant that might give their yard and garden a fresh, new look.
gardening image via shutterstock
It’s the work you do in the early spring that leads to the blossoms you’ll enjoy and pick later in the season.
It’s also the perfect time to prune away the deadwood and bad stems that could block the beautiful flowers and fruits from emerging when the sunshine gets warmer and brighter.
What can Realtors learn … ?
It’s time to get your hands dirty and start cleaning out your database. When was the last time you updated the list? Do you have all the current information for all of your clients and close members of your sphere of influence? Info such as spouse’s name, children’s names, birthdays, anniversaries, social networks, etc.
The reason rosebushes can become so lovely is the bad blooms are pruned away. They shouldn’t be taking away nutrients from the best blossoms. The same is true of your database.
If you have 300 names in your list, yet only 200 of them are people who would truly do business with you or refer you to someone they know, the overall size of the list will begin to overwhelm you.
You won’t have the systems or income to consistently touch the 300 people, so you won’t — and that will affect the 200 who know, like and trust you. The more you diminish the database with extra bodies, the more you increase the chances of losing those closest contacts as potential leads.
Think quality over quantity when it comes to names in your “garden of referrals.”
6. Tax time
OK, I know not everyone loves tax time. I’m sure a few Realtors who might also be accountants, or are married to one, might be the exception. Some people get their taxes completed and submitted to the Internal Revenue Service in January or February — either to get it out of the way, or to get some money back from the federal government, or to learn how much their tax burden will be so they can plan accordingly.
I’m on the other end of the spectrum, usually arriving at my accountant’s office with my worksheets and receipts around April 13 or April 14.
paperwork image via shutterstock
What can Realtors learn … ?
Didn’t you say to yourself last year, “Next year, I’m going to get my stuff in order a lot earlier”? Wasn’t this supposed to be the year you implemented a new system for tracking your expenses and budgeting better so you had money for your taxes and marketing expenses.
First, do you have a good accountant or certified public accountant who you work with? If not, start there.
Start talking to other top agents in your office or local marketplace and get recommendations. You always suggest that for-sale-by-owner sellers use a professional to market and sell their home, so wouldn’t it make sense that you use a professional, too?
Second, what type of system do you have to track your business expenses, driving mileage and additional tax liabilities? Are you paying quarterly taxes that could take a huge burden off your shoulders each April?
Remember: Owing a lot of taxes is good, because it means you earned a lot of commission dollars. What you have to show for it in the end is another lesson.
Tomorrow: March Madness and Mayflowers.