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Freshen Up Your Real Estate Career at Realty Executives

(Published on - 4/5/2022 8:56:56 PM)

Real estate agents know that this career is what you make it. While it’s true that what you get out of it depends a great deal on what you put into it, where you build your career matters too.

Here’s what we mean: Large firms may offer name recognition to potential clients, but not a lot of personal attention for individual agents competing with one another for leads. Smaller, boutique agencies can definitely feel more like a family, but may not offer agents the kinds of opportunities to build a career on their own terms.

If you’re an agent feeling a little out of sync with your current firm, maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at what’s possible with a career at Realty Executives.


1. Freedom to Build Your Real Estate Business

Some firms have a lot of rules and red tape that agents need to navigate in order to be successful. What’s more, there can be such a big focus on achieving the company’s goals that agents start feeling like they’re losing touch with what they want to achieve for themselves.

That’s when a lot of people start wondering if they should give up on real estate all together.

At Realty Executives, we call our agents “executives” because they are in charge of their career. Here, you’re encouraged to build your business the way you want to. That could mean focusing on another job or your family most of the time while letting your real estate practice be a way to earn supplemental income. Or, you might want to go big and work towards leading a team of agents at your own brokerage. Maybe you’re somewhere in between.

Agents here don’t just shape their own hours. They have control over how they market their business, how they cultivate leads — even how they can incorporate passion projects or personal missions to help people into their practice.

No matter what kind of real estate career you want to have, you’re free to build it at Realty Executives.


2. Unmatched Support for All of Our Team Members

Behind all that freedom is a lot of support for our agents. Most firms offer occasional training or networking events, and some standard marketing materials for their agents to use. That’s a nice start, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s not enough.

Realty Executives offers a wealth of professional development opportunities to agents all year long no matter how new or experienced they are in the industry. We work closely with them to identify their personal goals for their business and create a plan to meet them, including working with them on creating marketing materials that reflect who they truly are.

While some other firms can be fiercely competitive among their own agents, we’re proud to be an organization that truly values collaboration. It’s not at all uncommon for our seasoned Executives to introduce newer agents to their network, for mentorships to spring up across different brokerages, and for advice to flow freely among agents at our events.


3. Agent-Friendly Compensation

If you’re putting in the hard work of building your real estate business, you should keep more of what you earn. It’s a simple idea, but it’s still not the norm at lots of real estate firms out there.

Realty Executives uses a compensation structure that allows agents to keep more of their hard earned commission. As the original 100% company, your expenses to the brokerage are capped at a very reasonable amount. So, the more commission you earn, the more you keep.

After all — being able to earn a good living while helping other people is a big reason a career in real estate is so appealing in the first place.


Interested in more info about joining Realty Executives? Request info & learn more. Request info & learn more.

6 Tips for Staging Your Property to Maximize Selling Price

(Published on - 1/21/2022 5:07:37 PM)

With Kerri Kane

Homeowners and real estate agents want to get top dollar for the property they’re selling. One way to help get there is to make sure the home looks its best in online photo galleries and in person. Staging a home is an important part of getting the right kind of attention from buyers. Kerri Kane, a certified home stager and Broker Associate with Realty Executives, offers her top tips for staging your space.


1. Take a Good Look at the Space

If homeowners have a strong emotional attachment to the property, this step may wind up being the hardest. But, it’s important to try to see the home the way potential buyers will. Real estate agents who have a passion for staging can really help assess the situation and offer recommendations.

“I walk into a client’s home and right away my mind starts figuring out what works, what we can work with, and what we should update,” Kerri says. “Sometimes the conversations aren’t easy, but my job is telling you the truth about what needs to be done to get you the selling price you want.”

Outdated wall colors, a scratch on the woodwork, that one bathroom tile that keeps popping out from the wall — all the little things people get kind of get used to living with over time — will definitely stand out to buyers.


2. Clear the Clutter

“I always want my clients to stay in their homes while they’re on the market if possible,” Kerri says. That’s because a lived-in home is more inviting and warm than an unoccupied property. The downside: clutter. According to Kerri, that can be the difference between having a nice property and a showcase property.

“Sometimes it’s really that simple. Just getting organized and decluttering your home can make a huge impact. Store things in neat containers, clear off counters, stash your kids’ toys in bins under the bed — take things off site if you really need to. The goal is to make the home feel like an easy, comfortable place to live,” she explains.


3. Invest in Improvements

Part of Kerri’s initial assessment includes suggesting improvements clients can make to their homes. Some may be as simple as fixing a leaky faucet or giving the rooms a fresh coat of paint. Others might be more extensive such as updating flooring or retiling a backsplash.

“If a client can do the work themselves well, and they have time to do it, I’ll suggest making those bigger home improvements,” Kerri says. “It’ll only add more value to the home which is our ultimate goal.”

If you aren’t exactly handy, don’t worry. “Everyone can do something. Adding a few well-placed mirrors to the home, for example, can do wonders,” she says. Updating light fixtures, painting cabinets, or creating an accent wall can all help make a home look and feel more appealing.


4. Keep it Clean

It goes without saying that a clean home is more likely to appeal to buyers, but keeping a house in a show-ready state isn’t always easy — especially if you have little ones in the family. “If you don’t do things like wipe down appliances or keep windows clean, people looking at the property will wonder what else you haven’t taken care of,” Kerri explains.

Her advice: “Hire someone if you need to. Get your windows cleaned, have a professional deep clean done — whatever you need to do to get your property looking immaculate.”

In winter make sure you take care of any snow or ice on the walkways right away, and keep a basket of shoe coverings near the door so visitors aren’t tracking slush in. And don’t forget to keep the heat on during colder months if you aren’t staying in the house. You don’t want to deal with a burst pipe!


5. Create the Right Mood

You’ve probably heard about baking a batch of cookies before a showing to make the home smell, well, homey. While that example is a little cliché, it’s all about establishing the right mood for visitors.

“I recommend using an oil diffuser with a light lemon or other citrusy scent,” Kerri says. “It’s pleasing and it suggests a clean environment without being overwhelming.”

Other things to consider include tasteful seasonal décor, fresh flowers, or adding some simple accents like cozy throws to the sofa or a simple statement throw pillow on a bed.


6. Try Virtual Tools

When time is a factor — as in you don’t have a lot of it for staging — there are virtual staging tools that help make the property look great in online photo galleries. “Virtual tools are a great option. I’ve used them a few times when it wasn’t possible to bring in furniture. There’s no reason to rule it out, especially when it could help sell your property at the price you want,” Kerri says.


Kerri Kane is an agent with Realty Executives Cooper Spransy

Passionate about home design and real estate? Get information about joining Realty Executives. Request info & learn more.

5 Things New Real Estate Agents Need to Know

(Published on - 12/3/2021 4:46:11 PM)

With Melissa Walker and Deparish Cole

A career in real estate isn’t just another job. It’s an opportunity to work on your own terms while you build a business that helps other people. Your success is in your hands. That’s both exhilarating and a little intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out.

If you’re new to the business, or are looking at making real estate your career in 2022, read on for some insights and advice from two of our experienced agents: Melissa Walker who has been with Realty Executives for three years, and Deparish Cole who is celebrating his first year as an agent with us.


1. Look for the Right Fit

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide which brokerage you want to partner with. “When you’re new you might think you have to work with the agency that you got your real estate license from, but it’s not true,” Cole says. Both he and Walker recommend looking at several brokerages to find the one that feels right for you.

“I did a lot of research, read reviews from agents online, and interviewed several brokerages when I was first getting started,” Walker says. She asked about everything from the lead-gathering process to professional development, agent expectations, compensation models, and more. “Some places I interviewed really didn’t want to reveal much to an ‘outsider,’” she says. That alone told her a lot about how the organization operated and whether she wanted to be a part of it.

What clicked for her was attending Realty Executives’ regional conference. “It was the polar opposite. People had a wealth of knowledge and they wanted to share it,” Walker recalls. For Walker, knowing she’d be pushed to succeed in a collaborative environment made Realty Executives the right fit.


2. Set a Realistic Schedule

The first year as a new agent is almost always tough. You’re building your client network, learning the ins and outs of contracts, and learning the ropes at your brokerage. On top of it, you’re hungry for success, so answering a late night call or email might feel like something you have to do.

“When I first started I thought I should be ready to go at all times,” Walker says. “I was exhausted every day.” Something she learned and has passed on to Cole is that setting a realistic schedule — which includes time to rest and relax — is important. After all, if you’re becoming an agent in part to have a schedule that lets you spend more time with your family, working 24/7 will not help you do that.

Cole adds another important piece of advice he’s learned during his first year as a real estate agent: it’s okay to say no. “Don’t be afraid. Not every client is right for you. It has to be a good relationship on both sides, and if it’s not a good fit that’s ok. You can refer them to someone else who is. The last thing you want is to dread working with someone or vice versa.”


3. Build a Professional Support Network

Just because you’re independent doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. Cole and Walker highly recommend finding a mentor in the business, or joining a team that understands agents are people, not numbers.

“Having Melissa here for me has been amazing. Every transaction is different, so having someone to answer questions is really appreciated,” Cole says.

A supportive network or a mentor can give you advice, like reminding new agents to budget well (especially in the early months when there may be a lag between your first sale and your first payday), and take breaks when you need them.


4. Never Stop Learning

As a new agent you’ll spend a lot of time learning, taking classes and workshops, and soaking up as much information as you can. But it shouldn’t stop once you’ve celebrated your first year.

“There’s always something more to learn,” Walker says. Realty Executives, in addition to informal peer-to-peer collaboration, offers a wealth of professional development opportunities to agents all year long no matter how new or experienced they are in the industry.


5. Find Your “Why”

The last piece of advice Walker and Cole have is to find your “Why.” The reason you’re in this career in the first place.

“It’s hard work. Especially that first year, it can be a grind,” Cole says. “I don’t have kids yet, but I’m doing this to build a good foundation for the family I will have someday. This is a career where I can do that and be successful without having to spend years in college. And, I can show people there’s more than one path to success.”

Walker, too, sees her job as much more than a way to earn a paycheck.

“My goal is to help 100,000 people of color to leave a million dollars in assets to their descendants or an organization that benefits people of color. So when I put it in that perspective, when I'm tired and I don't really want to get up, it's like, ‘Melissa, this is not about you. This is not about a sale. This is not about one transaction. This is about your bigger goal.’ And if I’m moving the needle toward that bigger goal, that's what matters.”


Melissa Walker and Deparish Cole are agents with Realty Executives Integrity Northshore

Interested in more info about joining Realty Executives? Request info & learn more.

Giving Thanks to Clients and One Another

(Published on - 11/1/2021 7:57:22 PM)

This is the month when we pay special attention to what we’re thankful for. In the spirit of the season, we asked our agents what they’re thankful for when it comes to their careers. These are just some of the wonderful responses we received.


What do you appreciate about being a real estate agent?

“The support and opportunity for growth is simply unmatched. I have gained invaluable knowledge and perspective in such a short time.”
— Valerie Wilson, Realty Executives agent for nearly a year

“The freedom of deciding what to do with my day, and having the ability to grow with no cap on success.”
— Colin O'Neill, in real estate for 3 years, Realty Executives agent for 1 year

“I appreciate being able to be counted on by my husband and kids, my parents and in-laws, and also by our sphere of clients because of the flexibility of my schedule.”
— Jessica Liljegren, agent for 2 years, with Realty Executives for 1 year

“I love the flexibility and the opportunity to help people through what, for most, is the biggest and scariest transaction of their lives.”
— Brian Montrey, Realty Executives agent for 5 years

“Flexibility and additional income on top of my full time job.”
— Katie Nichols, agent for 2 years, with Realty Executives for 2 months


What are you thankful for when it comes to working with your clients?

“I'm thankful that they have given me their trust, loyalty and friendship. We've been able to laugh, trudge through deep snow, outrun wild animals living in kitchen cupboards, land on the dream home, sell in the right amount of time and high five at closings, to name a few. Through it all, it has been an adventure.”
— Christine Johnson, agent for 15 years, with Realty Executives since June 2021

“Clients putting their trust in me with something so significant in their lives.”
— Hailey Chang, Realty Executives agent for 9 months

“I appreciate all my past customers who continue to use our services again and again. There is nothing more rewarding than when past customers refer their best friends and family to us.”
— Jodi Olson, Realty Executives agent for 20 years

“It was a difficult market for buyers and I am especially thankful for their resilience and realistic view on the market.”
— Amy Sprengel, Realty Executives agent for 4 years

“I've been thankful to be able to serve clients of so many different walks of life. My favorite was when I helped a family with 3 kiddos move from their trailer into a beautiful ranch home with a spacious yard for their kids to play!”
— Jordan Hynum, Realty Executives agent for 2 years


What is one thing you’ve gained by working with Realty Executives this year

“The support and opportunity for growth is simply unmatched. I have gained invaluable knowledge and perspective in such a short time.”
— Katie Wright, Realty Executives agent for 6 months

“I still appreciate the ability to do my own thing so much.”
— Kim Peterson, real estate agent for 17 years, with Realty Executives for 10 years

“I love working with the Realty Executives Family. Everyone is always super supportive and it's always okay to have questions.”
— Brandon Roeling, Realty Executives agent for 5 months

“I'm proud to be part of a company that truly values people first and stands behind it. Our agents, office staff, and clients always come first and I'm very proud of that.”
— Amy Sprengel, Realty Executives agent for 4 years

“I have learned that you can be part of a whole and still be an individual. I've learned how the firm steps up when you need it.”
— Shannon Marie Lopez, Realty Executives agent for 5 months

Thanks to all of the agents who shared their thoughts. We’re grateful to have you as a part of the Realty Executives team and look forward to continuing to help you grow your business.


Interested in more info about joining Realty Executives? Request info & learn more.

Work Fearlessly: Find your niche, follow your passion With Rose Paul

(Published on - 10/1/2021 4:07:45 PM)

 rose Paul

There’s a saying that goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Of course, the hard work never really goes away, but when you find work that’s meaningful and fulfilling it feels different than just having a job.

Rose Paul had earned a degree in computer science and programming while living in her home country, the Philippines. But, with her love of architecture and passion for helping people, it wasn’t the most rewarding career path for her. When she took a job as an administrator in a local real estate office she knew she had found the field where she belonged.

“I loved learning the industry and how to build up a business,” says Paul. 

When she arrived in the United States, she wasn’t sure she’d continue her practice as a real estate agent. “But I guess when you have a passion and love what you do, you give it a try,” she says.


Create work that has meaning for you

While Paul was establishing her roots in a new country and working hard to build her real estate business, she realized she could use her knowledge to help other people like her. 

“I believe part of the American dream is owning a home,” she says. “But a lot of people new to this country don’t know how to make the dream come true. They’re intimidated by the process, and there might be language barriers too.”

Paul decided to make as much of her real estate business as possible focused on helping immigrants, particularly those in the Filipino community. “I’m able to offer a friendly face and be someone they’re comfortable with. We speak the same language, so I can help explain the process to my clients in a way they really understand. I hope working with me to find a home here helps them feel less homesick,” she says. “My community is my niche.”


Independent but never alone

Before joining the Realty Executives team, Paul had been an agent with another firm. Although she was working hard to build her business, she wasn’t seeing the success she wanted. On top of it, she didn’t have much encouragement from her firm.

She was feeling down and unsure of herself, but not quite ready to give up. She made the move to Realty Executives and found a level of support she hadn’t had before. “Realty Executives believed in me and what I wanted to do to serve my community,” she says, “Even when others out there did not.” 

The leadership team there listened to her vision and worked with her to create a clear plan to build the business she wanted to build.

“Realty Executives was truly there for me. They helped with marketing my business, and still are pushing me to learn more. They support me in following my passion and building up my niche, and I know they care about me,” Paul says. 

She’s one of many Realty Executive agents who have built up niche businesses. Some focus on helping seniors downsize, others specialize in a certain neighborhood or wherever their interests lead them.

One more thing Realty Executives and Rose Paul believe is that building a niche has to happen for the right reasons. “You need to have a servant’s heart. You have to have a passion for serving people and helping them, and you have to do that outside of your business too,” she says.

If you feel like real estate is something you want to do, Paul’s advice is simple. “Don’t be afraid. Go for it. That passion of yours will help you go through some rough times. Find a good company or brokerage that will be there always to support you and help your business grow, that values you as a person.

Interested in more info about joining Realty Executives? Request info & learn more.


Rose Paul is an agent with Realty Executives Integrity Brookfield.



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