Mike – Learning a LOT!

The amount of things I’ve learned in just a few weeks is incredible. This week, I attended another module at Baird & Warner’s Career Institute downtown. Today we went over sales contracts and negotiations with a few of the top agents and managers from different B&W offices. My favorite part of their presentation was being able to hear about the experiences they’ve collected throughout the years. Afterwards, we split into groups where we acted out different scenarios that would challenge us as buying and/or listing agents. This type of role playing is extremely beneficial in this business and having talked through various scenarios will help me handle these conversations professionally.

Last Thursday, our branch manager David, hosted the weekly sales meeting. He talked about current housing trends in both Lincoln Park and other neighborhoods in Chicago.  Rather than just present us with market stats and trends, David interprets the information and talks about the best ways to assist our clients considering the current market conditions.  He also talked about a few of our upcoming office events including ProHOWbition, an annual charity fundraiser event we’re hosting to raise money for Housing Opportunities for Women.  

This week has been flying by as I have been busy working with my first set of clients. It’s funny to look back on how nervous I was the first time I met them.  It didn’t take long before I was very comfortable working with them. One of the things I admire most about our office is the diversity of brokers who work here. Some have been in the business for only a yea (or less) r and can relate to me as a new agent, while others have been around for many years and can teach me everything there is to know. It’s a very comforting feeling to have the cooperation and camaraderie of an office culture like this and to know I can reach out to just about anyone if I get stuck! 

Week 8 – Alec

Week 8:

I have been working with a buyer and we recently came across a property they like.  We are at the beginning stages of my first transaction! It is very exciting but also hectic to be learning all of the initial communications, contract information and procedures that are needed to create a smooth transition into negotiations. Although I am new, I do feel that I have the necessary skills to negotiate with experienced listing brokers and reach the best price for my client due. I have always been able to present directly and confidently which helps in all aspects of negotiations.

One thing I needed guidance with was filling out my first contract, but the direction I was given from my managing brokers here at the Lincoln Park office was all I needed to feel more confident.

My client was very satisfied with the outcome of our negotiations and is now ready to start the inspection and attorney review period. Each day I am looking for anything I can do to make this transaction as flawless as possible. Unfortunately, there is a lot of sitting and waiting for all parties to respond and get on the same page through the day-to-day progression. As long as I am on top of everything, my client will hopefully see that I am a hard worker and feel comfortable as I guide them through this pivotal moment in their life. The only other trouble that I’ve found to be present during this process is that it is very hard for me to focus on anything else. I know I should be continuing to work towards other opportunities, but can’t seem to pull myself away from the original transaction. I hope to have good news for next week’s New Broker Diary as this deal should move quite hastily.

Week 4 – Alec

Week 4:

This week I worked my first open house and I think it went very well!  Only a few people came through to look at the property, but I gained some valuable experience just being there and talking to people (potential clients) about real estate. At first, I was a little nervous about how I would talk to people, however I quickly realized that if I asked the right questions, the guests would do most of the talking and the conversations would go much more smoothly.

It is important to be prepared and understand the local market when hosting an open house. It was great to be able to go through all of the materials I needed with Diana prior to the open and arrive well prepared. Yet another example of how the management at Baird & Warner Lincoln Park is available to help with new agent questions no matter how big or small.  We created brochures, went over the sign in process and my presentation for the potential clients that I would meet. Just moments before the open house started when I had laid out all of my brochures and business cards, I felt that I was ready to present myself as a real estate professional and handle anything that came my way.

The only thing I would do differently in the future is that I would get there a bit earlier so that I can explore the house and really find key points to accent for people. I feel that this would help me put a personal touch on the showing and maybe help my guests notice something that they wouldn’t normally think to look for. You never know if one small detail is going to be a deciding factor in their decision or not.  Other than that, I felt very well prepared and I look forward to following up with the potential clients I met!

Week 2 – Alec

Week 2:

This week I had a meeting with my Sales Support Manager Diana so we could go over some marketing materials and coordinate an announcement about my new career that would go out to everyone in my sphere of influence. What’s great about Baird & Warner is the fact that they let me take the reigns and personalize my own marketing strategy. This allows me to put my own personal touch on things as opposed to sending out a generic form letter. Of course, if I ever need help with anything, Diana and David are there to give me advice and suggestions on how to make my initial efforts at a marketing campaign successful. We are constantly pondering creative strategies that will attract clients to my business brand. These ongoing conversations I’ve had with Diana & David are incredibly useful as I work to grow my business as a realtor.
This week I also attended our weekly new broker training session where a small group of us share experiences and challenges we’ve had as we get our businesses up and running. Sometimes these trainings run like a round-table discussion group where we talk through issues, questions and concerns we face. Other times we delve deep into a pre-selected topic that will help us grow our businesses and run through various scenarios.  While these meetings are not mandatory, they are very helpful and I go to as many as I possibly can. I know the knowledge and experience I gain from these trainings will prove useful when I’m finally doing some deals of my own! 

Week 1 – Alec

Week 1:

When I first started this journey, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how things would pan out:

I’ll absorb as much information as possible during the educational phase. By the time I complete the instructional courses and exams, I will know exactly what company I will want to join. Then, they will guide me seamlessly into my career.”  While this may sound like the ultimate scenario, it’s not where most people find themselves after the completion of their real estate pre-licensing course. Even with the dozens of letters and phone calls from recruiters, I wasn’t feeling satisfied that I knew what office I would join and I wasn’t getting any closer to my decision. Where was I going to hang my license?

In the beginning, I knew a few things: I didn’t want to join a giant company where I would be considered as a number rather than a person. I wanted a company that would understand my personality and the way that I do my work.  I wanted an office with a great culture and a company with a stellar reputation.  A few more weeks of searching went by with no success until I received an email from David Bailey, the Managing Broker at Baird & Warner-Lincoln Park. I knew the Baird & Warner name well as I had seen their signs throughout the city and suburbs. Though it didn’t seem like the intimate, tight-knit company I initially wanted, I didn’t have much to lose, so I gave it a go.

Immediately upon sitting down with David, I knew I found what I was looking for. He didn’t try to sell me on anything; he simply gave me facts about the wonderful company I am now proud to be a part of. He was kind and direct, and he gave me time to consider my decision. He arranged a meeting with Diana, the assistant managing broker, so I could learn more about company culture, tools and resources. My discussion with Diana far surpassed my expectations, and I knew that she, like David, was one of the most knowledgeable yet down-to-earth people I had ever met when it comes to real estate. It did not take long for me to realize how lucky I would be to have these easy-going, professional, and helpful individuals guide me through this process. It became clear that Baird & Warner, though a fairly large and successful company, was in fact the close knit community I was looking for all along.

Needless to say, Diana and David made my decision of Baird & Warner in Lincoln Park an easy one. Since then, I have been reminded every day that I made the right choice by the amazing office I get to work in, the passionate people I get to work with, and the tremendous knowledge I have gained through the interactive and fulfilling training sessions provided by the company. I am looking forward to learning more under the guidance of David and Diana and the rest of the remarkable Baird & Warner team!

Mike – Starting Out

Going into my first day, I was extremely excited to get started with Baird & Warner as a new broker. I had a strong interest in real estate since high school, so I was eager to see if it would be everything I expected. Like most newcomers experience, I didn’t know anyone within the office yet. It could have been an intimidating environment; however, it was quite the opposite. After walking into the office, I was immediately greeted by friendly staff and agents that were excited to see a new face. I headed into a one-on-one meeting with Diana who got me set up with all of my Baird & Warner accounts (email, MLS, etc.). She also gave a quick rundown of what the next few days would be like for me.  

Luckily, the day I started was the day of David’s weekly meeting, so and I was able to sit in on it and learn valuable tips as a broker. The topic was, “How to properly price a home”. While classes like this one may sound appropriate for only new agents, it’s great for all experience levels. Those who may be in need of a refresher or simply want to stay on top of their game can participate; and they did. David did a great job of not only making these classes fully informational, but interactive with those involved.

While getting to know the MLS, a fellow agent in the office showed me shortcuts and some of his favorite tools. He showed me how he utilized them for his current clients and how he found their perfect property. I’m big with hands-on learning, so being able to go through the process step-by-step, rather than reading a manual, was a huge help.

Overall, week one was what I expected. When beginning a career in any field, there will be times when you’re on “information overload”. There can be so much to remember within a short amount of time, but this office was able to feed me what I needed to know while still allowing me to feel comfortable. This could be the start of a very rewarding career.