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What is the Key to Real Estate Success?

Blog Contributor Business Challenges, communication, Professional Development 5 Comments

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Jay O’Brien

By Jay O’Brien

Are you new to the industry? Have you been in the real estate business for 25 years? Well, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice, professional, or anything in between because I have a little gem of advice that is applicable to everyone.

Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer for a moment. Think about the house you are about to buy or the last house you did buy. Who represented you? Would you choose him or her to represent you again? What characteristics make up a truly great agent? If you had to boil it down to one word, what would the most essential characteristic be?

I am going to venture a guess and say that most people would have completely different answers on this topic. However, in my experience, I have found one significant common denominator that unites all descriptions of a successful agent and amplifies the possibility of future business:


No, not being the “local expert” or the agent with the most listings. The most important quality to possess is communication. You must always be someone who routinely explains contracts with thoroughness until a client fully understands; someone who reviews the market with them one-on-one; someone who answers and returns phone calls around the clock. You must never be the agent who leaves his or her client in the dark. A client would rather work with a REALTOR® who finds answers quickly than with one who knows the answer but doesn’t communicate them properly.

I used to work in the retail sector. Actually, that’s just a fancy way of saying I was a sales associate at Best Buy. Anyway, while immersed in the retail environment, I acquired an abundance of skills and learned many lessons that can be applied to any field, especially real estate.

A lesson that always resonated with my business compass was based around engagement. Studies continually show that customers who are not acknowledged by an employee when first entering a store will wait on average only a few minutes before leaving. Why don’t most of these neglected customers stay? Because people want to know you care. That’s all they need to know and the rest will work itself out. What’s worse than the professional you’ve trusted with the largest transaction of your life not being there for you?

In 2012, 48 percent of my business came from clients who were displeased with their current agent. My suggestion: Don’t be an agent who runs a sales prevention desk. As a REALTOR®, it’s your job to be the concierge to the guests of your personal business.

Jay O’Brien is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Prestige in Anaheim Hills, Calif. Aside from real estate, he regularly supports the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and is the co-founder of Mico York, a nonprofit organization that helps kids worldwide through their own personal artwork. Visit Jay on the web www.jayobrienrealestate.com or contact him at: Jay.obrien@remax.net.

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Comments 5

  1. I could not agree more – communication IS the #1 complaint among consumers. With the advent of “multi-tasking” we seem to have lost the vital importance of taking the time to manage our communication with our clients. Solution: slow down! Communicate with your clients and tell them WHY you are doing what you are doing and more importantly – explain why you did not respond as expected. Real estate is ever-changing and it is our job as real estate professionals to make sure our clients understand the process in detail.

  2. Jay,

    I agree.

    I actually work the “dark side” of the business providing services to Realtors. : )

    The number 1 thing I hear from prospects who become clients is that I was the the first one to return a call or an email.

    Having worked as a real estate agent, I know that my clients need to get things done and want someone who will keep them in the loop.

    Home buyers and sellers are the same. They want to know if there are offers, showings, complaints, whatever. It doesn’t matter as much what, but just to know that you are there for them.

    Good write up.

  3. Pingback: What is the Key to Real Estate Success? | Mark Rafeh Real Estate Blog

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