Welcome to the wonderful world of real estate! I began my career in real estate in the 1960s. It was wonderful then and has evolved into something even more wonderful today. What a joy it is for people to own real propertyùto have a place they can truly call home. And you get to delight in helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership, while earning a good income for yourself and your loved ones. ItÆs a truly satisfying career choice.
Back in the 60s, real estate was primarily an older manÆs business. There were few young men choosing real estate as a career and even fewer women.
Fortunately for all of us, times have changed. I know of some young people these days who got their real estate licenses while still in high school and had a jump start on their careers on graduation day! Due to its flexibility of working hours, the field has provided excellent opportunities for thousands. IÆve seen many exciting changes over the years and congratulate you on your choice of a career in real estate.
When I wrote the first version of this material, it was actually two separate books. One just covered the listing aspect of real estate. The other, selling. They were first printed in the 1980sù back before computers, wireless phones, pagers, and the Internet. You are so fortunate today. Much of the research you need to do is available with the click of a few keysùand in minutes. I used to invest hours in researching data for Comparable Market Analyses, and reading through the Multiple Listing Service book (yes, it was a book, back then).
While the times have changed, some important aspects of buying and selling real estate have not. These include: the reasons people need your services; motivations for wanting a particular type of home; how husbands and wives relate to each other during real estate transactions; and how you must relate to them. ThatÆs the power of this book. In it are step-by-step strategies for getting started in this business, for finding people who need your services, for helping them like and trust you and your expertise in the field, how to prepare for a listing presentation, what to expect from potential buyers, what to say when they give you the most common questions or objections, how to negotiate offers and counteroffers, and how to close people on either listing their property with you or buying the home youÆve helped them find that best suits their needs.
In this revised edition, I have kept the best of the original books, deleted old strategies that may not be as effective today as they once were, and have added strategies that work phenomenally well in todayÆs marketplace. I cover the use of technology to save you time and increase your appearance of competence with clients. This book is designed to help you achieve a certain level of comfort within the real estate industryùbeing comfortable with the knowledge of what to expect and how to succeed in this truly wonderful career. Treat it as a textbook. Read it with a highlighter, a pen, and a notebook. Let it become your quick reference guide and your study guide as you grow. There is enough material here to help you through many years in this business. And, to help you find the success you dream of more quickly than you would without it. My wish for you is to find as much joy and satisfaction from your real estate career as I did mine.
MASTERING THE ART OF SELLING REAL ESTATE
Portrait of a Professional
Real Estate Salesperson
If you are reading this book, you may already have had a day that stands out as your worst day in real estate. If youÆre new to the business and havenÆt had such a day, donÆt worry, you will. Just donÆt let it deter you. Perseverance has made all the difference in my life.
My worst day is one I will always remember. I was new to real estate, nineteen years old, and I didnÆt own a suit. So, I wore my black and silver high school band uniform to work. My car was a beat-up, old convertible with holes in the roof and springs popping through the back seat. Needless to say, I didnÆt present the most professional image.
Like most new licensees, I didnÆt know what to do with myself. The training program in my office consisted of the sales manager giving me the thumbs up signal and telling me to ôhang in there.ö I was warm and friendly with all my prospects, but didnÆt know how to close a sale. In fact, I was so nice that sometimes when people didnÆt buy from me, they would send apologetic notes to my broker, saying how nice I was.
Until I discovered that there was such a thing as sales training, my earnings averaged $42 per month. That was for my first six months! It doesnÆt matter how you budgeted, even in the early 1960s, $42 a month didnÆt make it.
My enthusiasm was beginning to fade. In fact, there was a low period during which I decided real estate wasnÆt for me. Three sales had fallen out in one week. One day I walked into my brokerÆs office and said, ôIÆm thinking about quitting.ö He had no answer for meùthe thumbs up signal wasnÆt good enough anymore.
I was so depressed that I went back to my desk and started looking at the classifieds. Then the telephone rang. To my surprise, through the receiver came, without a doubt, the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. It was an absolute melody. She said something that I had never heard before. ôSir, my husband and I would like to buy a home.ö I thought someone was playing a joke on me. Then, she said, ôSir, weÆd like to spend around $200,000.ö This really shook me up because the area I worked in was Simi Valley, California, and then the average home sold for between $18,000 and $20,000.
I felt like saying, ôMaÆam, would you like half of the valley, a quarter of the valley, or what?ö I didnÆt though. Somehow I kept my composure and set an appointment for 2:00 p.m. that day. To say I was nervous after this phone call would be a terrible understatement. I didnÆt even know of a home that was worth that much in Simi Valley. After driving around for a few hours, I finally found the right home on the top of a hill. It was absolutely perfect! It had a phenomenal view. It was a $187,000 mansion. My career finally looked like it was turning around.
On the way back to the office, they announced on the radio that it was the hottest day of the yearù105 degrees, 75 percent humidity. I didnÆt care, though. My enthusiasm was zooming off the charts! Back in the office, I pulled out a piece of paper, like any starving real estate person, and figured out what 6 percent of $187,000 was. People around me could hear me say, ôAll right! IÆm going to make some big money here!ö
Right at 2:00 p.m., in walked this gorgeous creature. She had on a $300 outfit and diamonds everywhere. Her hair was beautifully styled, her makeup exquisite. It must have taken at least two hours to put it on. I jumped up to meet her.
Being such a nervous wreck, I donÆt even remember how I got her into my car. As we drove down the street, I couldnÆt think of a thing to say to her. I was embarrassed by my car and nervous about the possibility of selling such a high-priced property.
All of a sudden, my car started to jerk. In my excitement about finding the right home, I had forgotten to check my gas tank. It was empty! Rolling the car to a stop at the side of the road, I turned to my potential new client and said, ôMaÆam, IÆve never had anything like this happen before. Please forgive me. ThereÆs a gas station only half a mile away. IÆll be right back.ö
There I was in my newly dry-cleaned, wool band uniform jogging down the street with my gas can. I wish you could have been there when I got back to that car. Not only was I a sweaty wreck, the woman had sat in that closed car at 105 degrees the whole time I was gone. Everything that had been on her face was now on her chest. Her hair even looked like it was melting. ôMaÆam, IÆm so sorry,ö I said. ôIÆve never had this happen. You can have all the air.ö I turned all the vents on her and drove on to the house.
By the time we got to the house, I had decided nothing could be worse than selling real estate as a career. Trying to regain my composure, I thought IÆd show her the beautiful view from the patio. She would have to be impressed with it and might forget what had happened with the car.
Walking over to the sliding door, I said, ôMaÆam, I think youÆll enjoy this view.ö I held the curtain back for her to see it. Well, she thought the sliding glass door was open and walked right into it. She hit her head hard and was obviously stunned. She looked at me for a split second with an expression I cannot describe and ran to lock herself in the bathroom.
Luckily, the sellers were gone. But now I had to get her out of the bathroom. I began knocking on the door, pleading with her to come out. Upon hearing a noise behind me, I turned to see that the sellers had returned ahead of schedule. Needless to say, they wanted to know what was going on. With the help of the sellers, the lady came out of the bathroom, and I got her back to my car. Not a word was spoken on the trip back to the office. When we got there, like a zombie, she got out of my car, walked to hers, and drove away.
I went into the office and took some aspirin. This was definitely the end of my real estate career. Nothing could be worse than what IÆd just gone through. Out came the classifieds again. Then, there was a phone call for me. When I answered, the man on the other end said, ôYes, Mr. Hopkins, you just showed my wife a home. I just canÆt believe what sheÆs told me. I want to see it, too.ö I felt like fainting dead on the spot!
They were both coming to the office right then. This time I had a goal for when they arrived. My goal was to get them from the front door to my ...