by Eric McCartney
In boy scouts, the motto is “be prepared.” This can be applied to real estate as well. Organization is the key to success, and there are many things you can do to get organized and stay organized.
“Managing the slower periods wisely will help you immensely in busy times.”
In our line of work, most of us have cycles when nothing is happening and business is slow. Don’t waste that time. Use it to prepare a few up-to date form packages so that they are ready for your buyers and sellers when you do get busy. Having a few draft offers ready for times when you’re with buyers can be another time-saver, or a starting point. In this market, you never know when the busy times will strike.
Managing the slower periods wisely will help you immensely in busy times. Review your forms. Take some online courses at your leisure. Speak with your Broker of Record or Manager to get ideas and tips, and learn from others in the business. Help out a colleague, or take on an Open House for someone in your office. Review your presentations. Create a client newsletter. Walk around your neighbourhood. Volunteer in your community. All of these activities will pay dividends for you in the future and also assist you when your days get busy.
Technology is a great help in managing my time. The age we are living in is amazing! Using my smartphone or tablet, I key in appointments, tasks, categories and so much more. My smartphone is a small computer that saves me hours every day. It allows me to give my clients and customers even better service. I keep lists of the names of various lawyers or home inspectors to suggest to my buyers and sellers. If a consumer asks me to convert a measurement from meters into feet, I have an app for that. If I’m asked about the latest mortgage rate, I can use my smartphone to obtain that too.
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It is so convenient to be able to upload all of this information into something I can speak with, take pictures and video with, and it’s all in the palm of my hand. I post in my Outlook calendar the dates for listing, conditions to be met, expiry dates of listings, appointments, events and volunteer meetings, and I can be notified automatically in the fashion I prefer. All of this saves me time and effort. I email and text with my smartphone, although for business, I prefer emails to texts because the former gives me a record of every conversation about a specific property. All of this communication is posted and saved in its own property/client electronic folder. Texting, for me, is not as efficient for historical purposes.
During a listing presentation, I ask the sellers if I can take a few photos of the property. I like to take some “before” photos with my smartphone. This gives me ideas if I am going to be staging the property later, but the photos also help to remind me of what features are presently in the home.
Clutter in my work space is something I work hard to avoid. The more clutter I have on my desk, the more difficult and time consuming it is for me to complete my tasks. As REALTORS®, we are always working with many documents and it is easy for papers to get mixed up, out of order or lost on our desks. If I am working with various clients simultaneously, I use different coloured file folders for different clients. Smith is yellow, Jones is green, and so on. These visual cues save me a lot of time. Every document and version thereof is scanned, dated, named, and saved electronically within that property’s folder for an audit trail.
Finally, getting enough sleep is crucial in this line of work. I know only too well that this can be difficult at different times of the year when we’re so busy with numerous clients and customers at the same time. This is even more of a challenge if you have family dependants, or even a new puppy! A good night’s sleep can have a positive impact on almost everything else, including your health. If you don’t get enough sleep, can you really give 100 per cent to the job?
In real estate, we must always look ahead to see what problems may arise and come up with solutions and answers. We must be at the top of our game. If we are not well rested, eating in a healthy way, and getting enough exercise, we will find it more difficult to be productive. I walk my dog in the morning to stay fit, but I have also “adopted” several parks and boulevards in my neighbourhood so if I spot litter there, I pick it up. This activity gives me even more exercise and beautifies the spaces around me. By taking care of yourself, you can also take care of business and leave things better than you found them.
Eric McCartney (pictured at right) is a REALTOR® in York Region.
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