July 3, 2017

The Secret Habits of Great Real Estate Professionals


Before I even conceived of being a Real Estate Professional (back when the plan was for me to teach German after college), I lived in a magical place called Asheville. UNCA has a beautiful campus but I was still determined to live off-campus.

The summer of my junior year, I started looking at newspaper ads and calling property management companies. These were early days for Web 2.0 – Real Estate Content Marketing definitely didn’t exist. But I still managed to strike gold: one company had an agent who could meet me that day. She answered all of my questions and showed me two apartments within an easy walk to school.

This agent amazed me: she knew exactly how far we were from campus; from the closest grocery store; to my favorite record store downtown. Little did I know, several years later l’d field similar questions in D.C. How did that agent get me to sign on the day, even though I knew I had more options? What made her – and her company – seem like a smart choice? If you know a real estate professional who makes it look easy, here are the things she is doing behind the scenes – and working hard to pull off:

  • Documenting everything. I promise: a building manager isn’t writing down your every conversation to use in a personal after-hours blog. (Wouldn’t you read that, though? I would! Landlords get the hot goss.) It’s actually a really easy way to communicate with the rest of the team about package deliveries or maintenance requests that need more than one pass. Sometimes this is longhand in a resident folder. Sometimes it’s a note in our CRM.
  • Never being afraid of the phone. Have you heard of this thing: the telephone? It’s a tool for talking to people who aren’t in the room with you. And it’s an amazing way to follow up that also shows confidence – if a real estate professional isn’t confident enough to call about her property, what does that say about the product? The service you’ll get later? This habit shows confidence and attention to detail. Ditto for follow-ups on maintenance requests.
  • Practicing radical empathy. Once upon a time, a toilet tank in an apartment leaked, and leaked, and leaked – and caused water damage in the apartments below it. One of the residents in one of those apartments became convinced that her ceiling would fall in on her while she slept. By the time she made it to my office a few weeks later, she was tired and upset. But I didn’t get upset because if you think about it, that is scary. So I told her as much.

We prepared for a worst-case scenario in case this ever happened right above her (worst case: some plaster would get water damage and MAYBE some would fall down) and we would have to re-plaster and paint. Because she was prepared for a much worse worst-case scenario, and because I was showing her that I would be upset, too, she got a chance to catch her breath. And because she knew that she was seen and understood, she could take my plan at face value.

Who knows if any of these life skills would have helped in an alternate universe teaching, but they served me well as foundational tools for real estate marketing. And at least I can still say: tschüs, sehr geehrter Leser! Bis zum nächsten Mal.

For the non-German speakers among us, that means “Bye dear readers. Until next time!”