A Day in the Life of A US Estate Agent

Private Property South Africa
Property Professional

The McGuire Team at RE/MAX Select One in Orange County, California is one of the Top 100 RE/MAX US teams, promoting ‘marketing and service at a higher level’. Lori McGuire, Chief Executive Officer, herself an active sales agent also holds the titles of Certified Luxury Home Specialist and Certified Distressed Property Expert. A high-achieving professional and team player with 25 years of experience, McGuire says she spent her first three years selling homes in a small town in rural California where the average sales price at the time was $65,000. After she re-located to the suburban area of Orange County, average sales price of homes rose to approximately $1,800,000, and have since escalated with Remax Select One currently holding listings from $300,000 to $58,000,000. While there were multiple industry challenges experienced during the global economic recession, there has been an increase in the use of real estate ‘webinars’ due to high running costs of traditional seminars. But McGuire says she firmly believes in business coaching, ‘even when times are tough’. She says agents have access to an abundance of valuable information offered to real estate agents on many websites for self-education, providing a platform on which to remain knowledgeable in latest developments on important issues and tax changes. Commenting on how the industry and specific agents have adapted their approach to selling in different markets, including during the recent recession, McGuire says she noticed a remarkable difference in how real estate agents marketed their listings during the past five years. She says the Internet and use of real estate websites in the US is the most effective marketing tool, particularly for high-end properties since many of the buyers are from abroad. Lori said: “When our real estate market declined I realised how important it was for my team to focus on the price points that were selling. We were predominantly selling high-end properties where it was difficult for buyers to obtain financing in the high price points, resulting in reduced sales for a few years.” She says branching out into the distressed property market was crucial for them, as well as working with first-time home buyers. Although the current hot price point is anything listed below $1,000,000, they have been fortunate in seeing high-end properties selling again. For McGuire, the most effective marketing tool is the use of International websites, and most importantly the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).The MLS is an efficient US real estate source of reference that provides a comprehensive database shared by all real estate brokerages, and used as a co-operative marketing system. Additional marketing methods include mailings of brochures on high-end properties, e-mail blasts, real estate magazines, signs and brochure boxes in front of listings, as well as glossy, letter-sized postcards including listings one side and the previous month’s sales on the other side, that are mailed on a quarterly basis. McGuire says testimonials are a very powerful marketing tool, while networking with other realtors throughout the world, as well as locally, has been very beneficial to the business. She says keeping abreast of the latest innovative marketing techniques is critical in a competitive market, but more importantly providing clients with the best methods to sell their homes. Qualified agents are expected to continue with licensing requirements that stipulate participating in continued education throughout, which typically includes courses that provide credits towards the four-year renewal of agents’ licences. US property agents, possibly the hardest hit globally in their industry during the past three years, saw average income dropping as significantly as 40 to 60% during 2007, 2008 and 2009. However, McGuire says there has been a significant increase in sales this year, in particular from agents who started working the foreclosure/distressed property market during the initial declining period, who have performed well in the past few years. About sales success in the industry, McGuire comments that individual agents would consider themselves successful if they sell at least 12 homes each per year, while her team typically sells 50 - 100 homes per year depending on market conditions. She says some agents sell fewer homes that are predominantly high-end properties and still perform well. Cities with low-income housing up to $250,000 have the highest turnover rate, where the average days on market is 2.97 months currently in that price range in Orange County, compared with high-end $1,000,000+ homes where the average days on market is over two years. According to the National Association of Realtors statistics, the average US agent sells four properties per year. McGuire says she considers staff motivation essential, and endeavours to be pro-active in raising sales enthusiasm and drive, by rewarding agents for their efforts. Sales partners at Remax Select One-The McGuire Team enjoy incentives for exceptional performance in addition to normal agent’s commissions. “For every home they sell or list per month, their commission rate increases. We start all over at the beginning of each month. I also reward my sales partners a higher commission for selling our own listings, and they receive a day at the spa on achieving three sales for the month,” said McGuire. Article courtesy of , and is taken from their September/October 2010 issue.

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