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The joys and challenges of working in real estate

May 2016

The joys and challenges of working in real estate

REALTOR(r) showing a houseby Heather Fuller

The most rewarding aspect of working in real estate is securing a home that makes the buyer happy. Seeing a smile on my client’s face gives me huge satisfaction, and meeting new people is also a bonus of the work.

Despite the positives, working in real estate can also be overwhelming and challenging. The most difficult challenge is obtaining a listing. There is a great deal of competition and one has to stand out in the crowd. I strive to do this through knowledge, communication and advertising help. However, advertising can be a big expense.  

Once I’ve secured a listing, it can often be difficult to get the seller to agree to a realistic price. I can suggest a price range but the client doesn’t always take this advice. I’ll list the property at the price that is within the client’s comfort zone. Our conversation often includes an agreement that, once we’ve tested the market -- often after two weeks – we’ll reduce the price if the property is still not moving. Frequently, sellers agree to this in the beginning but don’t follow through. I have found myself in situations where the listing is still overpriced a month later. 

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This particular challenge might be reduced if I had a real estate business partner. It can be helpful to sellers to hear information presented from someone else who adds a different perspective. However, I’ve chosen to go solo, since in my view many partnerships dissolve as fast as they form. 

To help clients come to terms with a realistic asking price, our brokerage has implemented house tours for our REALTORS®. Our salespeople tour a property and provide their opinions about pricing. When 20 agents all say that a place is overpriced, this can help sellers adjust their perspective.

"One of the challenges for us as Realtors is that we may have to pay out of our own pockets if we make an error."

Juggling the demands of personal and work life can also be challenging.  When a client calls asking to attend a property showing and I have a personal commitment, it can be difficult to say “no” to potential business.  These decisions happen daily, which can be frustrating. 

One of the challenges for us as Realtors is that we may have to pay out of our own pockets if we make an error. This once happened to me when I was preparing documents for the sale of a house. The sellers neglected to mention to me during our conversations that the furnace was a rental, which is not very common. As a result, this was not noted on the Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS). I always make it a point to go through the SPIS line by line and question by question with the sellers to make sure nothing is missed. However, in this instance, the seller did not disclose to me that the furnace was a rental.

It turns out that, within a pile of documents the sellers had given me, was a paper related to the furnace rental. This paper was a poor photocopy and largely illegible, and I missed the fact that the furnace was a rental. A buyer viewed this property and submitted an offer. When the buyer’s lawyer pointed out this omission, the buyer was not happy. I ended up paying out of pocket for the furnace contract to facilitate the sale. I now make sure I ask the sellers specifically and separately whether the furnace is a rental and whether the hot water heater is a rental.  

I manage my career challenges by being very organized. My education prepared me well for multi-tasking, which is vital in real estate. I took a time management course that helped me with planning, organizing and phone skills. Previously I worked in a business where I learned about accounting and marketing, skills that serve me well.  

My smart phone helps me track appointments, with each appointment colour coded by categories such as work, personal, family and exercise. I block time for personal and business needs and I always try to get a good night’s sleep.

Positive experiences with past clients help me to stay energized. This past year was a slow one but I finished it off with clients who praised me for answering all their questions and taking good care of them. Those clients said they would definitely recommend me, which boosted my spirits for the year ahead.  

Heather FullerHeather Fuller (pictured here) is a real estate salesperson in Pembroke, Ontario who has worked in the field for 13 years. She is a past president of the Renfrew County Real Estate Board.

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Ray Ferris

I wouldn’t have become president of OREA if it wasn’t for the top-notch training developed by OREA’s Centre for Leadership Development.

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