A day in the life of a real estate specialist
Typically a real estate professional would start bright and early every day, to get through the routine of their many daily administrative tasks. We took an in-depth look at the Engel & Völkers group and their agent’s activities.
“At Engel & Völkers, our sales advisors start their day by reading their emails for any website enquiries, and then decide whether these clients can simply be replied to with visual presentations, or if a phone call to arrange a viewing is more appropriate” says Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. These decisions are based on whether the client is simply making a general enquiry or whether they have more urgency and interested in visiting the property.
The sales advisor then needs to arrange a convenient viewing time for the seller and lastly liaises with the buyer again to confirm these appointments.
As the selling of properties is clearly their main objective, Engel & Völkers’ sales advisors therefore need to always have a selection of saleable properties available to show to current and prospective buyers, therefore canvassing is their most important and regular function.
Canvassing entails a daily combination of activities such as:
- Cold-calling home owners in their sub-market by way of actual house visits
- Telephonic canvassing to enquire whether the owner wants to sell
- Dropping off marketing material such as postcards, calendars, leaflets highlighting their successes in the area, invites to other show houses etc
- Follow-up calls after the marketing material has been dropped to determine any interest
- Emailing existing clients
- Newsletter emails to the whole suburb to create top of mind awareness
If the home owner requests their property be placed on the market, the sales advisor needs to visit the home the same day, to prevent opposition agents from jumping the gun and listing first. At the same time a deed search is done on the property to establish who the registered owners are, so that the sales advisor knows they are dealing with the persons legally entitled to sell the property.
A property is listed by carefully inspecting the home, making notes of the features on a detailed listing form, asking relevant questions, taking a variety of photographs, establishing what exactly is included or excluded should the property be sold, and much more. The sales advisor then completes a comprehensive market value presentation to ensure that the seller has the correct expectations of the value of their property and what it should be marketed at, this is presented and agreed with the sellers. Sales advisors are informed of the general sales activities in the relevant suburb, they will be able to give an accurate, market-related, selling price for the property.
Once the selling price is agreed upon, Engel & Völkers’ sales advisors lists the property on their unique and sophisticated listing programme and enters all the details viewed at the property into this database. The best photos of the property are selected, edited and linked to the property address on the database, so that the home gets the best possible exposure.
Often it might feel that a sales advisor visits an owner once and immediately sells the property upon taking their first buyer to view the property. Although this does not happen very often, sellers are urged to remember that a lot of additional work took place before the property was sold. The buyer had to be found and a relationship built, which will also continue to be done long after the sale. General marketing of the brand is also conducted to ensure that the agent received the listing, as well as ongoing training and research to ensure that the agent is up to standard so that you will receive the best possible service. Always ask yourself the question, ‘Would you rather have a specialist working on your home and selling it in the fastest possible time, for the best possible price, or would you prefer to see an agent every day, bringing unqualified clients and over exposing your home, and taking months to sell your property, just to ensure that he / she ‘earned’ their commission?’
Should the above situation not be the case, which is often not, once the listing is complete it is uploaded to the Engel & Völkers international listing website www.engelvoelkers.com. This process generates a unique web ID number which the sales advisor will send to the seller so that they can view their property online and approve all the detail, especially the correct price. After this process, the property will be loaded onto more than fifty other website portals. These tasks are often completed by the local administrative staff whose sole responsibility is to support the sales advisor.
The property may also be advertised by the sales advisor in our monthly National Guide magazine which is distributed nationally, and available in an online version at: www.nationalguidetorealestate.co.za. The sales advisor is able to produce an exclusive property brochure property, and will then email this presentation to all relevant buyers listed by that office in the specific price range. This is a very successful marketing tool and well received by potential purchasers.
Urgency is a competency well understood by top sales advisors, and they will ensure their new listing is captured and listed with appropriate marketing and advertising activities expediently.
Regular show houses need to be arranged by the agent as these are always well attended by potential buyers. A show house takes hours of preparation to ensure it is successfully marketed and exposed. Various other marketing activities are also conducted such as local newspaper advertising, exhibitions and property showcases, exposure in our unique property shops and much more.
From all of these marketing activities, calls are received from prospective buyers by the sales advisor and they need to advise, assist and pre-qualify the buyer in order to ensure they are exposed to appropriately priced properties. After the pre-qualification process, buyers are taken to the targeted property as well as similar ones that the sales advisor feels would suit the price range, lifestyle and expectation of the buyer.
The sales advisor will always try to negotiate the best deal for both buyers and sellers and once a contract is signed and accepted, they will send the completed contract to their attorney to start the registration process. A checklist is managed by the sales advisor to follow up regularly to ensure each necessary step is followed through and the property timeously registered. During this time the buyer and seller will receive regular feedback from the sales advisor to keep them abreast of the progress.
One of Engel & Völkers’ focal points is that the sales advisor is expected to provide buyers and sellers with after sales service. There may be special requirements from one of these parties which need to be accommodated. A property sales advisor does not keep office hours, they need to be available to clients at all times as clients are the most important part of the business. “In order to maintain service levels, potential sales candidates are screened through tools that we specifically developed to test potential sales advisor’s regarding personality traits, competencies as well as well as how they will fit into the current team at each office” says Craig Hutchison. This together with the training they receive at our in-house training academy, upon joining the company, plays an important role in service levels delivered to the client. Many of our most successful sales advisors joined us with absolutely no property experience whatsoever, but their passion for the property industry together with proper training on international standards, and the unique support system that we have in place, ensures that clients receive the best service.
As confirmed by Riaan van Deventer, Head of Real Estate at Engel & Völkers Southern Africa “The secret to an Engel & Völkers sales advisor’s success is a structured and disciplined plan for each day. There is no other way.”