3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Real Estate Business
Q&A with Eddie O’Sullivan | Side Partner & Founder of Elevation Real Estate
Q: How is the spring housing market different for your team this year?
It’s busy. Last year was busy. It seems to be a little more so this year. There is a motivation on the seller side to get out on the market because they’re worried that next year is not going to be so great. It’ll be a contentious election, there’s vitriol in the media, markets are probably going to be bouncy. Some sellers think we’re out at the top and want to get out now. It’s motivating sellers to come to market, especially for more expensive properties. I’m seeing a lot of sellers who want to diversify or downsize.
On the buyer side, the New York Times did an article two weeks ago with a picture of a finger on a launch button and the tagline “IPOs are coming”. That freaked out buyers. Everybody’s like, we’ve got to get in before the 10,000 millionaires show up. That motivated buyers quicker than sellers can get to market. We’re seeing hefty numbers, bigger than last year. All of this is making this year busy.
Q: What are some things that agents struggle with when things get busy like this? It seems that time management becomes even more critical.
Agents spend a lot of their time wasted on non-essential activities. I know because I’ve done that in the past. If there’s a way to fail at this I’ve done it. I used to spend my days stuck in busy work.
This includes anything from maintenance of marketing activities, getting marketing collateral produced or created, chasing down disclosures for signing, or allowing activities to be changed or altered by the arrival of a non-critical email or phone call. Then the actual work is only able to be done at nighttime, when there’s nothing else distracting you.
Instead, agents should always be spending time on dollar generating activities - prepping for your next listing appointment, generation of your next listing appointment, preparation for your buyer consultation appointment, pursuit of the next buyer consultation appointment.
Q: As someone who runs a super efficient real estate business, what advice would you give to others on what 3 things they should do to be more productive?
I am constantly in pursuit of a better way. Can’t say that we are super efficient, but we try to be systematic. We are fine tuning and tweaking.
Agents who wear the standard “single agent hat” - they’re the marketing person, they’re the copy person, they’re the distributor of information, they are the ones who follow-up on the document signatures, they coordinate with the vendors - though all super important and super necessary details, they’re mechanical. A truly effective agent is not the mechanic, they are the car designer figuring out the next model. You need 3 things to do that:
1: Get an assistant and get rid of being in an admin role
If you don’t have the time to do dollar-generating activities, because you’re buried, then you may reach a ceiling that you can’t seem to get past. You don’t believe it until you experience it. When you have more time to get coffee with people, you actually have more people to work with.
You are going to have to figure out. You don’t hire somebody just because they are available. The criteria has to be - how is this person going to help take tasks off of your plate? You need to talk to another agent who has an assistant, you need a job description to find that right person.
You are going to have an element of training, which freaks people out. You need clear to-do lists for any functions you have. If you have systems, then you can hand systems over to somebody.
If you’re too buried to find an assistant, there are programs that can help. They do all the screening and will make it efficient for a busy agent who is freaking out about hiring an assistant. But a solid assistant is critical.
2: You need buyers’ agents
But you don’t have any right taking on other people on your team without the assistant. Some people try to do it the sneaky way by bringing on a buyer’s agent, but they really want you to be an assistant. Then there’s resentment. You need to get the foundation right first, then build a team of buyers’ agents.
"With a model like Side, I’m able to provide a great value proposition to other agents that are independent and not necessarily a direct partner on your team. I have the ability to get an 8 to 10 million dollar producer to join my team and they get their own autonomy."
There is an old perception out there that a buyers’ agent is a lesser job, but that’s fake news! Haley [an Elevation buyers’ agent] has produced more in 2 ½ years than it took me in 7 or 8 years. It’s because specialization allows for much faster speed and growth. So I would highly recommend to anyone who is green, unless you have an impressive database, you benefit so much from the strength of a team.
3: Limit the amount of different technologies you’re using
Technology is a blessing and a curse. If it becomes necessary to maintain or enhance the existing experience for the client, then I will take it on. But unless I can find a compelling reason, I try to avoid it or delegate it. I use the “K.I.S.S.” method. If it makes my life easier, I’ll keep it.
Certain things like transaction management, social media, marketing, client updates are all important. Having technology in place helps prevent headaches in the process. For example, we guide our clients through the process, provide an estimated timeline, plan for when someone is going to be in town or out of town, then work around that. We know what’s on the horizon and leverage auto-generated data to build that report so it’s a great experience for our clients.
"With the Side app, I have a technology team and a platform in place with continual improvements that I can leverage to free up my time."
Tech takes time to learn and implement, but most agents are real estate experts not tech experts. Agents should leverage tech experts to streamline and automate the parts of your business that enhance the client experience, but also ensure that it’s done in a way that doesn’t overcomplicate things.