Though she is still early in her real estate career, broker Kate O’Neill has already learned a lot of valuable lessons — and earned some impressive successes in less than one full year in the business.
For one thing, Kate has yet to have a buyer of hers pay above list price, “which is pretty big in the current market that we’re in,” she says. “I’m pretty proud of that!”
For another, Kate has quickly earned a glowing reputation around the Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park office for her social media savvy, particularly using Instagram as a channel to speak to her sphere, sow the seeds for long-term referral relationships, and reach her ideal millennial buyers.
“One thing with my social media that I always keep in the back of my mind is to treat it like my business card and my social proof,” Kate says. “That way, when people look me up, any potential new clients or friends of mine who know I just got started in this can see that I’m busy and that I’m actively working. That I’m constantly hosting open houses, or selling a property, or teaching them something that they didn’t know.”
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As a real estate broker, it’s important to regularly check in on your most important goals, and make sure that you’re executing a strategy that will help drive your success. Ongoing monitoring, self-evaluation, and targeted training are critical to implementing a sound business plan that will help you get where you want to go.
As we head into the second half of our incredibly strong 2021 real estate market, this moment is an excellent opportunity for real estate brokers to evaluate their performance through the first half of the year. Here are three important questions to ask yourself:
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- Are you doing everything you need to be doing right now to reach your business goals for 2021? If not, what needs to change?
- What are you doing really well right now, and in what areas can you improve?
- What are you doing in the second half of the year to invest in the single most important asset to your business — YOU?
When broker associate Mike Greco started looking for a new opportunity after a first career in retail management, he knew he was really looking for not just a new occupation, but a new life — one where he could be more in control of his time and lifestyle.
“I wanted to have flexibility and I wanted to feel rewarded for the time and effort I put in,” Mike explains. “And I wanted a job where every day was a new challenge and I got to spend a lot of time with people — where it was a mix of being out in the field, and only having to be behind a computer for a couple of hours a day.”
That search for a more flexible, rewarding, and active career quickly led him to real estate — and to Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park.
Though he interviewed at a few different brokerages, it was meeting the staff at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park that helped him ultimately decide that this office would be the right fit — especially as he started out in his real estate career.
“I really liked the culture that Baird & Warner has,” Mike explains. “You really get the feeling of support, not only from David, Negeen, and Diana, but also from the other brokers. It’s a very welcoming community. And that’s the type of person that I am. I like winning as a team!”
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Consistently ranked as a Chicago Top Producer and one of the highest-performing agents at Baird & Warner year after year, Jim Abbott is no stranger to getting asked about the keys to his success. He has two simple pillars that he always shares, he says.
Number one: “Over-communicate and stay organized. Although we buy/sell homes daily, the average buyer/seller only does this every 3-5 years on average. The market and technology will be different than the last time they bought or sold and we need to walk them through that. Give updates, let them know the next steps are, and create a timeline to follow. Be their go to person that keeps in contact with their lender, attorney, inspectors, etc. They have so much to do, anything we can do to help them will be appreciated!”
And number two: “Any chance you get to exceed someone’s expectations, do it! Your job is to execute at 100% but people will remember the small stuff that is unexpected or above and beyond that. It can be as simple as stocking their refrigerator with some snacks and drinks for the day they move in or helping them coordinate painters/movers/etc.”
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Most real estate offices will be led by a Managing Broker. But very few give agents unparalleled access to a full-time management team with more than 50 years of combined experience in Chicago real estate, whose sole focus is on accelerating your success at every step of the way.
That’s exactly what agents at every stage of their careers experience at Baird & Warner – LIncoln Park.
At every level, our brokerage’s leadership is made up of people who truly understand what agents need to be successful, and who are truly committed to providing the very best tools, resources, training, and support to make it happen — especially when it comes to pivoting and meeting unexpected challenges head on.
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Becky Sexson has earned numerous professional accolades since launching her real estate career five years ago — from being named Baird & Warner’s Rookie of the Year in her first year in business, to being named a Rising Star in Chicago Real Producers magazine, to being designated as a Top Producer in Chicago by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.
But before transitioning from a career path in the not-for-profit space, “real estate was not really ever on my mind,” Becky says.
That all changed when she went through the process of buying a condo, which sparked her interest in the real estate. And, as she tells it, it was her now-husband who first made her believe that a career in real estate might be the perfect fit.
“He put a bug in my ear,” Becky explains. “He would say, ‘hey, I think you’d be great selling real estate. You’re really organized, a great networker, you’re really outgoing, you can build relationships and you’re good with numbers… Maybe it’s something that you might want to consider.’”
So Becky ended up getting her license and jumping into real estate, giving herself a year in which she would devote herself to building her business full-time, with the same level of dedication and planning she had used to structure and excel in her previous 9-to-5 jobs. It ended up being one of the best decisions she ever could have made, she says.
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Baird & Warner is synonymous with Chicagoland — but did you know that our brokerage also offers agents national and global reach?
Here at Baird & Warner, all of us take fierce pride in being a part of Chicagoland’s largest independent and locally-owned real estate company. We just celebrated our 166th birthday; that’s more than a century and a half of making real estate easier for buyers and sellers across Chicagoland.
From helping to lead the rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire, to expanding the L, to fighting for Fair Housing, to strengthening our communities through our Good Will Works charitable arm, our story is the story of Chicago. Our long history has provided us with deep roots in our community, giving us the kind of local experience and expertise that no other brokerage can offer. We know these communities better than anyone else, and we’re always committed to finding new ways to adapt, innovate, and meet our clients’ changing needs.
That means we’re committed to the idea of making real estate easier for everyone — even if you’re buying or selling outside of Chicagoland. We like to say that our agents are local experts with a global reach, with the strategic partnerships and connections it takes to provide our clients with unmatched service whether they’re buying or selling across the state, the country, or the world.
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Baird & Warner offers very competitive commissions as well as impactful support, training, and business planning that empower our agents to develop more sustainable long-term businesses that will be able to grow, scale, and support their goals for many years to come.
And did you know that on top of all that, Baird & Warner can also help put more money back into your pocket each and every year? Here’s how we do it:
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At Baird & Warner, we’re known for our unparalleled training opportunities that make it easier for new brokers to accelerate their success. But did you know that we also offer a wide variety of tools and resources designed to help experienced brokers increase their efficiency and generate more business — including the ability to assemble the team that you need, whenever you need it?
Agents at Baird & Warner don’t just have a few tools lying around to pick up and experiment with from time to time; they have entire workshops and a workforce of support staff that serve as the engine for their real estate businesses. This behind-the-scenes machinery is all designed to increase efficiency and drive production so that agents can focus on what’s most important – building their businesses.
For experienced real estate brokers, being able to have a team on-demand is an incredibly valuable service. Experienced agents are busy enough as it is; having to go through the process of staffing up a support team can be an enormous amount to take on. You have to figure out the job descriptions; post and manage listings on job boards; screen and interview candidates; go through onboarding; figure out payroll and scheduling. This can all become tedious and time-intensive, especially when you’re also trying to stay focused on generating new leads and servicing your existing clients.
And on the flip side of the coin, if you ever hit a stretch when you’re not so busy, you might find yourself paying for professional services that you don’t actually need at that time.
At Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park, our agents have the ability to build a team on-demand — getting the qualified assistance they need, when they need it, without having to jump through hoops. It’s all about giving busy agents time back to focus on the activities that matter most.
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After years in the not-for-profit space, Virgil Jones made the leap into residential real estate — and his growing business is a testament to the power of hard work, building relationships, and continuous learning and growth.
Before transitioning into real estate, Virgil spent 16 years leading educational not-for-profit organizations. In his previous position as CEO of LINK Unlimited Scholars, a scholarship and mentoring organization, Virgil had the opportunity to search for, develop, and build a new headquarters for the organization.
“This experience drew me into real estate,” Virgil explains. “And although I continued to lead LINK for several years after we built this new facility, it piqued my interest in real estate. I learned so much from this experience, and was fortunate to work with top leaders and professionals in the market.”
Seeking a change and knowing that he wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial path, Virgil moved into the real estate space — and interviewed with many different brokerages before finding the right fit.
“I looked at probably five or six different brokerages. I went from small to some of the big-name ones,” Virgil says. “I heard of Baird & Warner, and I knew that it was a very professionally run organization.”
And once he interviewed with the management team at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park, he was “pretty much sold,” he remembers.
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