Best Practices For Small Shop Real Estate Brokers
The 21st century has transformed the way we view and interact with real estate, and so too has the broker's relationship with it—and, consequently, the broker's relationship with clients. The following are some of the best practices to follow for the modern-day broker.
1) Creating and maintaining a policy and procedure manual.
Brokers who operate or own their own brokerage firms take on a great deal of responsibility, and they must protect themselves from liability. Developing, maintaining and updating a company policy and procedure manual is essential.
Myriad real estate law practices have created guides for brokers crafting their own business or individual policy manuals. Brokers should pay heed to the rules and regulations guiding their respective markets, and even hire attorneys to help write their manuals if they can afford it.
2) Establishing a social media presence
In the complex urban markets flooded by thousands of young professionals, students and new companies each year, clients find everything online...from jobs, to restaurants and bars, to first apartments and office spaces. Curating social media, then, is an essential part of maintaining an effective 21st century real estate business.
In New York City, for instance, over 200,000 young people post and seek listings and roommate searches through Facebook groups dedicated to finding housing, such as Gypsy Housing and NYC Housing. Realtors—particularly those working independently or through small firms—benefit greatly from posting photos of newly available spaces through their company’s website or local real estate websites, or establishing online presences on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. The practice allows buyers to get a feel for normal price ranges in various neighborhoods and locales.
Smaller brokers have—and must capitalize on—multitudes of opportunities to meet and exchange tips and info with other brokers and agents, both in-office and out in the field. Particularly in smaller, more localized markets, other agents are the best source of advice and firsthand knowledge on approaching potential buyers or sellers and what makes sense in the market. The best place to find new customers and career advice is through other brokers, and maintaining these relationships is a very real part of every agent’s average workday.
4) Personally (and physically!) managing client expectations
Investment sales brokers first develop a thorough understanding of the seller’s listings and expectations. Thus, much of the broker's day is spent meeting with clients and leveraging market knowledge to manage those expectations...all before setting an initial price.
Brokers must also work with sellers to set up their spaces for buyers in an aesthetically pleasing manner. This may include new pieces of furniture, add-ons or maintenance to offer buyers a vision of the space's potential.
5) Read and learn as much as possible
An essential part of the broker’s morning routine, regularly consuming publications dedicated to real estate—including Bisnow, The Real Deal, GlobeSt, the Wall Street Journal and the real estate section of the New York Times—helps them maintain awareness of industry shifts in their city as well as major markets around the country.
Fluctuations in Washington, DC’s retail scene may not directly inform an agent’s activities in suburban Louisiana, but retaining a solid knowledge base of trends across the United States helps brokers assist clients in making informed, contextualized decisions.
Part of staying current on real estate is familiarity with trends in listings in the immediate area. Knowing the average differentials between market pricing and negotiation trends allow agents to help clients set realistic expectations of both savings (if buying) and profits (if selling).