Welcome to the real estate paradox

By Sandesh Bilgi, Vice President of Global Learning, Sotheby’s International Realty

“Did I choose the right brokerage? I don’t know, maybe I did; I am not sure; maybe I should switch, but I am happy here and comfortable. But I am not getting what I want — maybe somewhere else will give me more. I could ask for more commission. What am I paying for? Is this the right brand? Are they nickel-and-diming me?”

Stop right there.

You think that the grass is greener on the other side — well, keep thinking that, because in either case you will still have to mow it. That means the grass still grows on both sides; which one will you water and take care of?

The truth is you are happy where you are at, and you have all the tools and resources that you need. You just need to start using them. You have an incredible company, an awesome brand, a stellar leadership team (trust me, I know them), but you have to stop blaming them and be accountable for your actions. I know that you are fully capable of being the next top producer, and you have amazing support. You just know that this is the right fit for you, but you still have self-doubt that prevents you from cashing those checks.

It all comes down to your own mental mindset, your ability to believe in yourself and the true understanding of your why.

Again… Stop. Take a deep breath and let yourself know that you are at the right brokerage, this is the perfect fit, you have all the tools and resources that you need to be successful and you are aligned with the perfect support system to get you through the abyss to become successful and make money.

Welcome to the real estate paradox: we always want more, we seek differentiation, we yearn for opportunity, we need more money, but we don’t change. We want now-money but have futuristic behavior and choices. We struggle with maintaining business while trying to generate business — well, guess what? We all struggle with the same.

The answer is simple:

  1. Know your capabilities: Are you building a sustainable business?
  2. Understand your value proposition: Are you leveraging all of your assets and those of your company?
  3. Perfect your market: Do you know all the stats and trends of your target area?
  4. Running a business: Do you know your numbers?
  5. Be a specialist: Would someone pay you to ask you a question because you are an expert?
  6. Have a plan: Do you know what you are doing?

Now that you understand this… go look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are aligned with the best brokerage, you have the magic wand, you know where to go and you are ready to make it happen.

Welcome to real estate, whether you are one day, one month, one year or a lifetime in the business — we all struggle with this. But you are not alone, and no one can figure this out for yourself but you. You are in the right place.

Stay the course, build a bridge, dig deep not wide, capitalize on opportunities, have fun and believe in yourself. You have made the right decision, and the minute you question it… make a phone call and ask the right question… someone will always answer. Once again, you are in the right place at the right time, and that time is now.

For more on choosing the right brokerage, check out AgentEDU’s course on the best real estate company to work for.

Sandesh Bilgi is the vice president of global learning for Sotheby’s International Realty. He is responsible for the learning and coaching platform for all the agents worldwide for the brand focusing on agent productivity, value proposition, business planning and lead generation. Sandesh also works with broker owners and leadership to develop a retention and recruitment strategy and plan of action. His mastery of skill with over 20 years in the real estate space is based on mental preparation, positive planning and energy realignment. Sandesh can be seen everywhere — just look. (Facebook, LinkedIn).

What do buyers want to see in your real estate listing marketing?

Agents could be missing out on sales because because of listings with mediocre photos and the absence of floor plans, virtual tours and other details that make the property stand out to buyers, according to a new report by real estate marketing firm BoxBrownie.com.

The report takes a closer look at what BoxBrownie Global Director of Sales Marketing and Revenue Peter Schravemade calls one of the most underrated sections of the National Association of Realtors’ Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report.

He notes in the report that the NAR stats show that 89% of prospective homebuyers want to see listing photos, 67% want floor plans and 58% would like a virtual tour.

Professional photography a must

The report states that more than three quarters of agents (76%) hire professional photographers for their listings. High-end properties were more likely to have professional photos of the listing, according to the report, which noted that listing with sticker prices of $500,000 or more had an 85% or more chance of having professional photos, while 71% of properties under that amount included professional photos.

Schravemade adds in the report that brokerages have a duty to their agents to make sure quality photography is used in every listing — even if the pictures are shot by the agent.

“We do believe educational institutions and bodies should take greater responsibility in training listing agents as to how to go about marketing a home for sale or lease,” he wrote. “Part of that training should include sections on what constitutes professional photography.”

Virtual tours saved the industry?

Maybe not so much, according to the BoxBrownie report. Virtual tours are nothing new — they’ve been around for more than two decades, according to the report — but 360°, 3D and other virtual tours were touted during the pandemic as a major shift in the way homes are sold.

The report add that only 5.9% of homes on the market are offering virtual tours. That’s a far lower figure than those reported by the National Association of Realtors, which reported that 35% of listings are offering virtual tours.

The BoxBrownie report believes those figures are exaggerated by the area of the country surveyed, sample size and other factors. “Other research is simply looking at links provided within listings and assuming they are virtual tours rather than videos or slideshows,” Schravemade said in the report.

The conclusion: virtual tours could give agents an edge with their listings. “They are no longer difficult to shoot, cost-prohibitive, or time-intensive,” the report states. “Importantly, purchasers value them highly in decision making around the purchase of a home.”

Back to the drawing board

Just under 10% of listings of single-family homes offer floor plans, but more than two out of three homebuyers want access to them. “This is not a figure worth shouting from the mountaintops, but it certainly is an improvement on the previous number we had from a 2015 study, which said that only 5% of MLS listings included a floor plan,” Schravemade said in the report.

BoxBrownie suggests asking every seller if they have floor plans available. These might be available through the appraiser, as floor plans are often included with appraisal documents.

If they’re not available, retail outlets like Home Depot offer plan draws starting at about $100.