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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Real Estate Career - Why now and why Real Estate One?

We are kicking off a recruiting blitz for additional agents for our Milford office – both experienced agents and new agents – as we wind down the summer of 2008 and head into fall. I got to thinking about what to say to someone who might ask, “Why should I consider a career in real estate right now?” or perhaps even “Why should I consider Real Estate One for a real estate career?”

Those are good questions which show that the questioner is not being flip about a possible career move; so let me see if I can answer them to your satisfaction.

It is no secret to anyone (even Rip Van Winkle would know this) that the real estate market in Michigan has been in free fall for at least two years. Foreclosures dominate the news headlines along with stories of rapidly declining home values. There are even the occasional articles or story-line references to the impact that the down market has had on real estate companies and agents locally. Several companies have folded and more have downsized, consolidated operations or been bought out by larger competitors. Even Real Estate One has felt this pressure and has taken the appropriate steps to right-size the company and decrease the number of offices to better fit the market demand.

The number of agents who are actively selling real estate for a living has decreased steadily over the last two years, as more and more part-timers or marginal performers have exited the business. Even Real Estate One has lost its share of part-time agents or agents who just couldn’t make it in the business in the current market environment. That’s actually good news for those who remain or those just entering the business, since there is less competition for home buyers and sellers.

So you say; OK, Norm, you’ve painted a pretty bleak picture of the market and the job landscape so far. Why should I even consider getting into this profession now and why with Real Estate One?

Let’s start with one and only one assumption – that you are a salesperson or you want to become a salesperson. It doesn’t matter what you are selling now, if you are a salesperson. Here’s the bottom line. As a salesperson, what you a can make at it is generally constrained only by the market that is available to you. Sure other factors have influence, but if I gave you a market in which the total sales is only a couple of million dollars annually and restrict you to just that market, then your earnings potential would be severely constrained, even if you dominated that small market and made a high commission rate on each sale.

Well, the real estate market just in Oakland County for residential home sales was $2,266,588,000 in 2007 and so far in 2008 is at $1,270,677,000. Those are numbers that people pronounce with a “B” on the end, not an”M”. According to RealComp II Multi-List statistics, 9, 832 homes sold in 2007 and 6,505 have sold thus far in 2008. I did not include leases, which you can also get paid on. Now, if you are a sales person at all; you should be salivating at the prospect of a market that big and that is just in Oakland County. Remember that you can list homes and sell homes anywhere in the state of Michigan. Over the last year, I have done business in Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Livingston Counties.

So, amidst all of the gloom and doom in the papers and on the news, there is a huge market out there. The agents who listed and sold those homes in 2007 made total commissions that approached $68,000,000. So far in 2008 there have been commissions of a little over $38,000,000 that somebody else put in their pockets. If you are a salesperson AND you believe in yourself, a good part of that money could have gone to you – you just weren’t in the game. Or, maybe you were in the game, but didn’t have the support and systems to get your fair share; I’ll cover that, too.

But, to answer the question “Why should I consider a career in real estate even now?” Because, even now; it’s a huge market with a huge potential for rewarding your efforts. Real estate sales have no cap on what you can earn and no territory constraints. No one will tell you that you can’t sell another house or that you can’t sell in someone else’s territory. More than most other sales jobs, what you make out of it will depend on what you put into it and how effectively you expend that effort.

That brings us to the second big question – Why should I go into a real estate career with, or move my business to, Real Estate One? Real estate sales are like other sales in this respect – it is easier to sell if you have a good brand behind you and if you have a good organization behind you. Real Estate One is the largest and most successful real estate company in Michigan. It is not a national franchise operation, which has its own set of good and bad points, but it is one of the most recognized brands in Michigan. Fortunately it's also not a mom and pop operation like so many of the local franchise offices. Real Estate One has the financial wherewithal to weather a storm like we are in now and continue to provide the programs and services to help its agents be successful.

I said that not being a national franchise operation has some negative impact and that is because we don’t get the national brand advertising that is on TV occasionally; but, it is good because we also don’t have a franchiser with their hand in our pockets for franchise fees. What we lose in national advertising, we more than make up in local size and presence, with over 40 offices in Michigan. Not one of the local franchise operations even approaches half our size in Michigan. Our size means leverage with the media and the MLS and other organizations and Real Estate One uses that leverage to negotiate the best deals for its agents. Having been with one of the mom and pop franchise operations, I can tell you that you just can’t be at a better place when it comes time to spend your own money on marketing and advertising, because you can spend it at Real Estate One negotiated rates.

Then, there is the training and the programs that Real Estate One runs. If you are an experienced agent, you won’t need all of the courses that Real Estate One runs for those just starting out; however, you’ll still be amazed at how many courses that REO University offers that you will want to attend, on topics ranging from short-sales and foreclosures to selling to seniors. For the beginners REO U provides a treasure trove of courses, many free, to help you get up and running. Many of the courses pertain to the technologies that Real Estate One supports for its agents, from photography courses to how to leverage the Internet. Even many seasoned agents may find value in many of those courses, too.

And, there are the systems that Real Estate One has put into place or sponsor with third parties to help their agents be successful. From contact management systems to presentation and Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA) systems to virtual tour and real-time messaging and phone systems, you won’t find more offerings anywhere else; nor will you find a better understanding or a deeper commitment to using and leveraging the Internet than at Real Estate One. Real Estate One has been a leader in Internet presence and continues to offer our agent and customers many unique Internet tools and capabilities.

Finally, there is a big intangible. If it is important to you to work in a friendly and supportive environment, one with positive values and a caring, family feel to it, then you can't ask for anything more than what you'll find at Real Estate One. The company has been family owned from the beginning and is still owned and run by the Elsea family, even though it is the largest real estate company in Michigan and among the largest in the nation. The Elseas have worked hard as they grew the company to keep the values alive that were a key part of the early company history - trustworthiness, honesty, hard work and giving back to the community. The Real Estate One Charitable Foundation works year around through the local offices and agents to raise money for the American Cancer Society and the Special Olympics. Its a company that you'll be proud to be a part of in your local community.

So, is now the time to look at making a move to Real Estate One? If you consider yourself to be a salesperson, or you want to become a salesperson, then now is a great time to find out if real estate sales is for you. And, Real Estate One is the best company that you could choose to help you take your best shot. If you’re a seasoned pro in real estate, then ask yourself, “Why don’t I work for the number one company in Michigan? Why am I making it harder than it has to be on myself?” Do yourself the favor of giving yourself all the advantages that you can and see what you can really do in this market with Number One behind you. Join a company that can help make it happen for you! Call the Milford Real Estate One office today - (248)684-1065 and ask for Vicki. Just say - YES, I want to join the winning team! And, tell her that Norm sent you.

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