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— by Nancy Chu

The 7 Basics You Should Master for a Strong Real Estate Career 

If you are like me, you are getting pretty tired of hearing the word “SHIFT” whispered every day at the office copy machine…or listening to fellow colleagues lamenting the lack of inventory by the coffee maker… or just picking up Gary Keller’s SHIFT and re-reading the table of contents every morning (yes, I do this) to refresh oneself on tactics to help maintain business in a changing environment. I think half the realtor-focused blogs out there now are about this exact sea change in the market – it’s what I have been reading and certainly what I have been writing about myself. 

I would be more annoyed, except that it is entirely relevant and absolutely on the horizon. Lately, I have found myself searching the blogs and articles for any secrets to success in a shifting market – any nuggets of wisdom, revolutionary ideas, or even products that under-promise and will no doubt over-deliver… 

Much to my great chagrin, after careful research and countless hours of scouring, my conclusion is that a successful real estate career hinges on an absolute adherence to the BASICS of this business. After 12+ years in Real Estate, my daily business practice reduces down to 7 basic steps:

  1. Lead Generation 
  2. Knowing the Inventory 
  3. Follow Up 
  4. Development of Best Practices 
  5. Transaction Skills Mastery 
  6. Marketing my Brand 
  7. Time Blocking for All of the Above 

A thousand words is WAY too short to address all these topics, so I will endeavor to do so one blog at a time, and today, I want to address what I think is actually the most vital of all skills – and while it is last on my list, it is certainly NOT least. 

Time Blocking – that thing that we all know we MUST do yet avoid like the Plague…

Time Blocking is NOT sexy. Why do we think real estate should be more glamourous and less 9-5 work? I blame HGTV now. What part of any of these Home Design/Selling/Flipping shows featuring toothsome, well-coiffed, fancy “Realtors” tells the truth about how this career we call “REAL ESTATE” actually happens in day to day practice? Let’s review a typical day in Real Estate (here is the part where I show you my ideal Time Blocked Day…) 

My (Attempted) Daily Schedule

6:00a: Rise and Shine (drag my sorry ass out of bed…it’s dark this time of year – ugh, why did I stay up late to watch THE WALKING DEAD? Why don’t I just go to bed at a decent hour??? Throw a coffee pod in the machine) 

6:15a: Exercise & Meditate (too cold to go to the gym, how about an indoor workout I can do with kettle bells in the basement – where is that video online?) 

7:00a: Wake the Family & Shower (shout at the kid 3 times and race into the shower – hey, at least I didn’t drop the kettle bell on my foot this time! 

7:30a: Breakfast (the cajoling has worked and the kid is up, dressed and packing his backpack. “Mom, where are my shoes?” toast or a banana? Push the kid out the door to school…) 

8:30a: LEAD GENERATION (I can only say that I don’t care how many hours a day you do, just DO it. I prefer 2 hours a day of lead generation, and I also don’t care when it is done. Some days morning, some days at lunchtime and some days early evening after work – whenever you can block out the time to lead gen.) 

10:30a: Coffee & Broker Open Houses (My team covers 6+ counties in Northern NJ, and between all these towns, there are broker opens nearly every morning of the week. Know thy inventory and market area like the back of your hand.) 

12:30p: Lunch & Learn (Gotta eat and honestly, taking care of yourself is the best way to stay healthy enough to live a life worth living and have a business worth owning. If I can learn about a new vendor product or take a class that helps me hone my skills at the same time, all the better.) 

1:30p: Appointments (Listing meetings, Buyer presentations, Showing homes) 

3:30p: Follow Up, Transacting on deals (Buy side, Sell side, contractors & attorneys communications) 

5:00p: Marketing Projects (here is where my admin and I talk about all the branding development we plan on doing – LOL, who gets around to this? Sometimes and we have to try, right?) 

6:00p: Family Time and Dinner (I’d LIKE to say I cook every night, but I have to admit that many days, it’s a roast chicken and bag of salad from the supermarket…and that’s on a good day…helping the kid with homework, chatting with my mom, movie night with the hubby – this is the best part of my day!) 

You got me – honestly, I am thrilled when I can maintain this schedule 50 percent of the time – every day a new phone call throws me off my consistency game, “What’s on fire today?” asks my husband as he watches me gesticulate wildly and shout at the top of my lungs in the hallway because the inspection dredged up vermiculite insulation or the FHA appraisal didn’t hit our contract number. Every day, new hurdles arise to knock me off my schedule – it’s the nature of real estate, we all experience this daily. And every day we fall prey to these “fires” and we find ourselves foregoing the time set aside for lead generation because we have to “save this deal” and “my clients won’t wait for two hours to talk to me.” 

I have only one way to handle this objection. If you know your inventory, follow up consistently with your clients, master your transaction skills with only best practices in mind…if you do your job well, your clients will be with you to the end. No excuses not to time block your way to a shift proof business.  

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