By: Alex Craig
Editor’s Note: This piece is a part of a larger series on selling inherited properties. Make sure to check out all the articles in the series:
There are certain skills and business specifics required to succeed in the probate, inherited home niche. It’s essential to know these requirements if your goal is to add this niche to your real estate career or make it your specialty.
Healthy Cash Flow
In the inherited home space, the cash flow cycle is a little different, and it’s important to prepare yourself accordingly. On average, it takes longer than it does with an average sale for a real estate agent to get the dollar back that they invested in lead generation. In short, that means that if a real estate professional invests today in trying to generate leads in the inherited home niche, they should not expect a return within the same timeframe as a traditional home sale.
Of course, all manner of variables affect the timetable, and there is no exact formula to calculate the return time. What I want you to start doing is adopting the mindset that it will take longer to get a commission check.
When I first started in real estate, my broker told me, “The marketing activities you do today will usually bear fruit in 90 days.”
I’ve found the statement to be true when we’re talking about a standard sale, but when it comes to the inherited home space or with probate properties, that timeframe should extend to an average of 180 days.
Patience and time are key in this space, which means you can’t go into the inherited niche looking for fast money. Having a steady cash flow from other sources is imperative for most agents who want to jump in. Too many real estate agents give up too early when trying out this niche, because they don’t have the foundation to weather the wait.
Faster Converting Lead Channels
Any agent considering this niche should have some already established, faster converting lead channels. These are the channels you invest time and/or money in that produce a return relatively quickly. Having lead channels that convert quickly will help you cover the cost of your monthly expenses—desk fees, dues, etc.,—so that you’re covered while you jump into the inherited property space.
For new agents interested in the inherited niche, it might be wise to push this lead channel to the backburner until you’ve established some business that generates income on a fairly regular schedule.
Therapeutic Communication Skills
Clients selling an inherited property require you to learn a different communication style. You must understand how to communicate in a situation full of emotions. In the inherited property niche, you’ll need a firm understanding of grief, the ability to help clients by offering support and the wear with all to navigate family situations.
Self-reflection is important here, as is training yourself to leave your personal situations at the door so that you can better aid your clients through a transaction that is often trying or emotional.
For example, if your mother passed away and you’re working with a client that reminds you of yourself, then it may bring up many of the emotions and feelings you have about the loss of your mother. This is normal and it’s important to be aware of what you bring to the transaction as far as emotions are concerned so that you don’t make the agent-client relationship more about you. Your client, though they may be experiencing a similar situation, is not your therapist, and you are not theirs. A fine line exists between being a supportive professional and overstepping, which can cause issues.
Make sure to walk into the situation with a clear head and able to define what’s yours to manage and what’s not.
You need to have thick skin to work in this space. Sometimes you meet people who are deeply angered by a loss. Anger is a difficult emotion to navigate, even if it’s not directed at you. You might also deal with misdirected anger, which can lead to a sticky situation.
Detachment from your client’s emotional responses—and not responding with emotion—is important to be successful in the inherited property space.
Never let their comments turn into statements you tell yourself about your character. The ability to not take things personally when emotions run high starts with an understanding of the grief process.
You’ll also want to focus on assessing the situation as needed. If a client is angry, make sure to assess how you’ve handled the transaction thus far. As yourself probing questions and make sure you’re in a space to be willing to look at things objectively. Did you unintentionally miscommunicate? Was the client feeling pressured by your body language, communication, or sales presentation?
These are learning points to help you learn to communicate with clients. Sometimes, you’ll find that you’ve done everything right and you truly are dealing with someone’s misdirected anger. In those situations, take solace in the fact that you’ve done everything you could to properly serve your clients. The situation itself is difficult for them, but you’re doing your part.
To succeed in this space, you need to focus on managing your cash flow, have some lead channels that generate a faster return, learn therapeutic communication and develop a thick skin.
Though this might feel overwhelming at first, the reality is that the inherited property niche is a rewarding one. You are oftentimes helping people in a very difficult time and being able to be a part of such a transaction is a great payoff.
Alex Craig, a real estate professional with Century 21 Looking Glass in Lansing, Mich., helps homeowners sell their homes for maximum cash in their pocket by taking a data-driven approach and executing a systematic marketing plan that uses current digital marketing strategies. Craig also runs the Dolinski Group (www.dolinskigroup.com), a company focused on helping real estate agents get more from their careers and earn more without the heartache.