Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate.This week, we talked with Andre Brown.
Miami is one of the hotbeds for real estate. Competition is steep and fierce. In a super small landmass, you have more than 40,000 realtors, and everyone’s helping their friends, sending each other referrals and helping each other in the business. Cracking into the relationships that are already there is tough. Why should they work with you?
Real estate is a relationship business, first and foremost, and one of the best ways I’ve found to maximize my value is by establishing a system of trust. It’s something I spend a lot of my time on, because relationships are a two-way street. Establishing trust makes everything else easier in this business. In other cultures especially, showing that you’re more than just there for business is a big deal, but in America, it can be easy to forget how important it is because of our fast-paced lifestyle. If agents want to be in this thing for the long haul, then that’s where relationships matter.
One of the ways I figure out whether I know someone properly, both in a casual and business setting, as well as a way to help the screening process with clients, is a simple acronym: M.A.C.H.O.
1. Marital Status – M stands for marital status. Are they married? Are they single? Marital status can tell so much about what trends people fall into. For clients especially, it can help determine where they want to live and what size they’re looking to buy.
2. Age and Activities – A stands for age and activities. Age lets you know level of maturity, while activities lets you know what they want to do in their spare time. This helps with figuring out what nearby amenities are best for your client, while also letting you know what they like to do.
3. Children and Credit – C is for children and credit. What kind of school are they looking for? Are they looking for public or private? How important are after-school programs? How’s the community? This is another key factor in deciding place. With credit, what’s their financial situation? What can they afford? How much are they willing to spend?
4. Housing Situation – H is for their housing situation. Are they currently renting? Have they owned a house before? Is this their first house? What do they like in their current living situation? What don’t they like? There’s a reason why they’re looking to buy a new home, and sometimes this can be a key insight as to what your client is looking for.
5. Occupation – O is for Occupation. Where do they work? Are they looking to relocate? How close do they want to be to their job? How’s the public transportation? What’s their income? You can estimate a prospective client’s income based on the National and Local Average for a particular occupation. This can be found on the Department of Labor’s website. Deciding around job interests is a big part of the housing decision.
Most important of all, building relationships takes time. It will take time to build rapport in the trenches. Before I bought my house, before I started as an agent myself, I worked with my agent for a year and a half. She knew what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I was willing to compromise on, what I was ready and willing to buy, and that took time and patience to get to that point. She got a chance to know me, I got a chance to know her, and I’m still friends with her today. That, to me, shows the importance of establishing relationships in real estate.
Andre Brown served in the Marine Corps for 15 years, and retired from active duty in October 2014. Brown is now a real estate broker who is actively involved with the Miami Association of Realtors, and serves on the Young Professionals Network Leadership Council.