7 Ways Realtors Can Go Above & Beyond
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught real estate professionals anything, it’s that they need to help and be kind to one another. “We need to come together and work together for a common goal: helping buyers buy and sellers sell,” says Jeff Naylor, sales associate with RE/MAX Professionals Realty in Tallahassee.
Naylor helped Windermere-based sales associate Ida Petkus assist a young couple who both recently graduated from medical school.
The doctors were reporting for their residency in Tallahassee and wanted to buy a log cabin home they saw online.
“We don’t have offices in Tallahassee,” says Petkus, of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty. “So, I called the listing agent [Naylor], and we had the most professional conversation. I think we both said, ‘Let’s get it done,’ [at the same time].”
With a recently issued statewide stay-at-home order and no official COVID-19 addendums yet, the older sellers had qualms about opening their home to strangers. Naylor stepped in to allay their fears.
“He screened the buyers [for COVID-19 symptoms], who immediately drove five hours to view the property,” Petkus says. “They arrived in their P.P.E. [personal protective equipment] and made an offer from their car on the drive back.”
Thanks to the Florida Realtors Form Simplicity app, they had a deal by the time they got home.
Although preapproved for a mortgage, the couple’s lender couldn’t finance the log home.
“Jeff turned everything around,” Petkus says. He suggested alternative lenders, and they were approved for the doctor loan program. “He’s been there every step, educating first-time buyers, responding to every question and restoring their confidence in working with a real estate agent.”
“Our business grows exponentially as a result of how we treat each other as professionals,” says Naylor.
“Jeff made me proud to be a Realtor,” Petkus adds. “It was a great example of Realtors working together—at different brokerages in different cities—toward the goal of homeownership.”
Here’s how you can be a real estate champion:
1. Spread positivity.
If there were ever a time to spread positivity, that time is now, says Lilli Schipper, Senior Director of Luxury Sales at Douglas Elliman in Fort Lauderdale. “If you’re a positive person, it’s better for your clients and negotiations. When I call other agents for scheduling, I want them to think of me and my buyers as awesome.”
“No matter the situation, don’t get emotionally charged,” Naylor says. “Keep a smile on your face. If everyone is reasonable, things can be worked out. Some agents have an adversarial approach to real estate, but they should keep in mind that they’re probably going to work with that other agent again. People love to work with an agent who is positive and works well with other agents.”
2. Honest communication is key.
To facilitate open communication with other agents, answer the phone and respond to emails, texts and direct messages quickly. “If you’re unable to take someone’s call, then call back,” Naylor says. “During a transaction, relay whatever you can in a positive way—the good, bad or ugly—because everybody deserves and appreciates the truth. I want my buyers and sellers to be out singing my praises to their family and friends. I want other agents who worked with me to remember that I’ll communicate throughout the process and have great ideas on how to negotiate any hiccups.”
3. Be respectful.
Your good manners show people that you respect them and value their time. “Treat every real estate professional like you’re going to be in the business for another 20 years and want them to remember you fondly,” says Schipper.
In addition, protocols were recently established to keep everyone safe in our new market. “Some situations require us to sign the COVID-19 Addendum and wear masks,” Schipper says. “You have to be respectful, because everyone has a different comfort level.”
If a listing agent says their seller is elderly and doesn’t want showings, don’t push the issue. “I’ll say, ‘No problem. I’m going to send you an email. Please let me know when it’s available to show.’” Schipper also keeps extra masks, hand sanitizer and gloves in her car. “We have to be considerate, because we don’t know people’s stories or situations,” Schipper says.
4. Give and request feedback.
“My job as a listing agent is to help the seller get the highest price in the shortest amount of time,” she says. “If after 10 showings nothing is happening, I need to call the other agents and ask what happened, what they liked and didn’t like.”
She credits feedback and advice from another agent with helping her navigate a frustrating situation with a buyer who wanted to shop around too much. “He was a successful businessperson whose financials made it possible for him to [be picky] but he was insistent on shopping mid-deal,” Schipper says. “The other real estate professional and I made it happen after we went through three appraisals, no joke. We got the inspection and the closing and held it together. We are still friends to this day. We owe it to our buyers and sellers to represent them in the best light.”
5. Step up on behalf of fellow agents.
If an agent asks for a favor, do it, Naylor says. When he was preparing for vacation, one of his buyers found the perfect property and [wanted] to see it right away. “I couldn’t be there, so I called the listing agent and asked if she would show her listing with my buyer. She said she’d be happy to, and it turned into a $420,000 sale. In our profession, you should strike while the iron is hot. Telling someone it’s going to be a week or two before I can show a property isn’t good business. I told that agent if there’s ever anything I can do for her to call me.”
His positive relationship with other agents resulted in happy sellers and happy buyers.
6. Do that something extra.
In addition to closing gifts for her clients, Petkus always gives a thank you gift to the agent on the other side of the transaction. One recent gift was a wallet with a rechargeable adapter for cell phones. “I’ll leave it at the house on the kitchen counter with a note that says, ‘Thank you. It was great to work with you. Hope to see you again on the other side of the table.’ Building peer-to-peer relationships are so important, especially now.”
7. Be thorough.
As a listing agent, it’s important to be forthcoming with information about the property. “When you’re dealing with a buyer and have minimal information, it’s not good. If you’re a buyer’s agent who will only work with qualified buyers, listing agents will receive you well because they know you’re dealing with someone who has been approved. The last thing you want is for a listing agent to [anticipate a showing] only to find out the buyer couldn’t buy.”
When other agents see you as authentic, pleasant and cooperative, they will want to work with you. It’s a win-win for everyone! #
Leslie C. Stone is a Vero Beach-based freelance writer.