I am always impressed with people that can run with a pebble in their shoe. That’s my expression for someone that keeps on “keeping on” despite not having the best tools, even though the best tools may be as easy to come by as stopping and taking the pebble out of their shoe. They are so focused on the task at hand, they don’t notice the pebble. In fact, they run better, faster, and longer than the folks with the latest version on the Nike running shoe – and they are running in a five year old pair of Keds!
The good news is that if your run well with a pebble in your shoe, when you get it out you can really move!
Let me give you an example. Yesterday I was setting up two new computers in our Lehigh Acres office. I was installing Microsoft Office 365 on both machines. Earlier I had configured them to run our CRM cloud based system and linked them to the shared drives on our server (Market America Realty uses a combination of private and public cloud computing to coordinate our offices and provide the latest tools to our agents). Nathan Baschieri, one of our top producers was in the office as well. Nathan is a strong team leader that, well, does deals! I mean this guy is rocking Lehigh Acres real estate and moves more property than anyone else I know out there. He is focused, determined, knowledgeable, and a great relationship builder.
Nate represents many of his clients at the courthouse steps and has a large following of investor buyers. There is a short sale I am negotiating and he asked me how it was going, I gave him the address and owners name and he clicked few a few websites looking up the mortgage holders and liens. I asked him if he subscribes to a third party service that is available to foreclosure buyers that puts all this information on one spread sheet and with a few clicks of the mouse will give him all the information he may need, short of an onsite inspection, to make intelligent bids at the courthouse steps.
He looked up at me and replied affirmatively;
“Yeah. I get it. But I have to tell you, in the old days there were just a few of us at the courthouse buying foreclosures. I had to do all the research by cutting and pasting and looking at several sites. Then this service came out and made it easy for every Tom, Dick , and Harry to think they knew what they were doing. Just before they went to online auctions for foreclosures, there would be over 60 people at the auctions. But it has made my buying a lot easier. I’m much more effective.”
Nate was, in effect, doing long division before he had the calculator – that’s why he can use the “calculator” so well.
I’m a big one for asking my agents do the long division before they are allowed to use a calculator.
Another good example is BPO’s (Broker Price Opinions). You want to get into the real estate business and learn a territory? Do BPO’s. Your first BPO will take about a half a day. You have to pull all the information on your subject property, pull three comparable sold properties and three comparable on the market properties and then reconcile the data in a summary report. You will use the MLS, the Tax site, perhaps a mapping program and of course the report program itself. On one computer screen it takes a little juggling to open and close windows to do the report. You also need to get pictures of the subject property. A completed property report has the MLS sheets for all six comparables and the total report can be as many as 16 pages plus 24 pictures. But once you have done the report it’s a pretty safe bet you will know that neighborhood. This is one of the best ways to develop an expertise in the business. A good agent should be able to tell you the potential selling price of a home quickly – because he has the background and focus.
The BPO process without the Pebble? Get a six screen computer set up like Josh Unger has in our Sarasota office. Set up macros for common entries, and pretty soon you will be doing 100 BPO’s a week like Josh does. Be he did “long division” first on his laptop. One BPO every two hours. Now he runs the company BPO profit center and has a team performing BPO’s – without the pebble! Companywide we are performing over 200 BPO’s a week.
As good as today’s tools are, and we certainly have some of the best, nothing can replace getting out into the field, meeting people, and looking at property. Some of the best deals I have found are not by scouring the MLS or Loopnet, but by driving around and meeting people and walking property.
Heck, maybe walking around is how I got a pebble in my shoe.