For Real Estate Sales Professionals

August 27, 2001 E-zine

Jim Gillespie's 
August 27, 2001
Publisher: Jim Gillespie 


Doing what has you become the best real estate
agent in your territory definitely beats all
of your other options.


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1. Which Real Estate Firm Should You Be Working For?

2. How to Upgrade the Quality of Your Prospects

3. How Title Insurance Saved My Life!

1. Which Real Estate Firm Should You Be Working For?

Which real estate brokerage company should you be working for right now? Is it the one you're currently with? If so, great! If not, why not? And if not, why are you still working for this company?

If you're happy working for the real estate company you're currently with congratulations on being in the right place! Just know that the company that's best for you may change over time throughout your career. Companies change, managers change, agents within the offices change, and the overall culture and "vibe" within your office itself will change. 

When you began your career did you start with the office that was truly the best one for you at the time? Or did you find yourself working there because you knew someone who worked at that office? Or maybe because they were the first office to offer you a position as a real estate agent?

Regardless of where you are in your career right now ask yourself the following questions about the office you are currently working in:

Do you enjoy the feeling of working there?

Is your office the best and most successful office in your territory?

Does your office have several of the top producing agents in your territory?

How do you feel about your commission split with the company?

Do you feel you could be making more money if you changed companies?

Do you feel you would enjoy yourself more working at a different company?

If you were to change companies, which company do you feel would be the best one for you?

Overall, do you feel you would be better-off working for this other company or staying at the company you're with now?

Keep in mind there's no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. It's just helpful every now and then for you to ask yourself if the company you're with now is really where you want to be. Sometimes it is and sometimes making a change can breathe new life into your career.

If you feel that the reputation of the company you are currently working with is hurting your ability to get listings and grow your business, this is a major red flag. Agents tend to take on the culture of the office they are working at, and if there are other offices in your territory that have better reputations than yours this could really hurt the growth of your business. On the other hand if you're extremely entrepreneurial and like a smaller, lower key office, a larger company might not work for you. 

The bottom line is you want to be where you feel great about the office, the people, and your opportunity to make great money. Wherever this is for you is exactly the place you want to be.

2. How to Upgrade The Quality of Your Prospects

How is the quality of the prospects you find yourself working with day-to-day in your real estate business? Are you working with loyal people who are fully qualified or do you find yourself running around with people who are working with multiple agents and/or wasting a lot of your time? If you feel you'd like to upgrade the quality of the prospects you find yourself working with, the solution is really quite simple.

In every territory there is an abundance of great prospects. There is also an abundance of marginal prospects, too. And the marginal prospects are the ones who will absolutely drive you crazy! If you're running with 10 prospects right now and half of them are marginal, that's a lot of aggravation you're going to be dealing with. If, however, you have 50 leads and half of them are marginal, you can choose not to work with the 25 marginal prospects and work only instead with the 25 high-quality prospects. 

Do you notice how the top producers don't seem to be wasting their time with marginal prospects? That's because the top producers, generally speaking, work only with solid people. And how can you make sure that you do this in your own real estate business, too? The key is having a system in place that finds you the greatest number of prospects to consider working with on an ongoing basis. This system is a result of many different activities which include canvassing, networking, sending out mailings, marketing, advertising, and obtaining referrals from your past clients.

Out of all of these activities, canvassing may be the most effective way for you to uncover an abundance of prospects. However, It may also be the activity that you want to do the least. Some of the best, most successful agents in the business have gotten to a point in their careers where the amount of phone or in-person canvassing that they do is minimal. These people have already built a great reputation for themselves in their territories and obtain much of their business from referrals, past clients, and constant, polished, high-quality mailings constantly going out to the prospects in their territories.

For most agents, though, canvassing is what will increase your business the fastest. The more you canvass, the more opportunities you will uncover. The more opportunities you uncover, the more great prospects you will be working with. And when your plate is full and you're working with a high number of great prospects, you simply don't have the time to work with marginal prospects. This is totally and completely where you want to be in your business as a real estate agent.

So if you find yourself working with few prospects or marginal prospects, it's a sign that you're not prospecting! If one of the reasons you're in real estate sales is to make the most amount of money possible during the time that you work, you need to be doing the activities that will make this happen.

When you are doing the activities that constantly uncover a ton of prospects in your territory you get to choose the best prospects to work with, and you get to make a lot of money in doing so, too!

3. How Title Insurance Saved My Life!

Having spent over 20 years in the real estate sales business, I definitely have my fair share of crazy stories and experiences to look back on. I'd like to share one of them with you and in the process give you a real-life example of why title insurance is so important to protect us as real estate agents.

Selling investment properties was something I fell in love with doing very early in my real estate sales career. With investments you can sell many properties to the exact same buyer one after another. It's not like selling houses or commercial/industrial property where the buyer will take possession of the property at close of escrow. With investments, the buyers are looking for great investment deals and they will rarely, if ever, take possession of the property themselves after close of escrow. So if you have a multitude of different investment buyers with money, all you have to do is find the great investment deal and they will literally line up to buy it! However, uncovering that great investment deal can take a lot of work...

It was a warm, sunny day in May of 1986. I was looking through the Multiple and WHAM...there it was! A new listing that was absolutely perfect for an investor I had been working with. I showed him the property, we immediately wrote an offer, and within 48 hours we were in escrow at $850,000.00 for the purchase of the property. 

David, my buyer, soon introduced me to a man who would be his partner on the purchase, an active Superior Court judge named Richard. Richard was a nice, wonderful man, but this was the first investment property he had ever gotten involved with, and he was very, very worried that something would happen in the transaction that could possibly hurt him. He never knew just how real that possibility would become...

Everything progressed wonderfully during the escrow. However, just before we were to close escrow, David asked me to inform the seller that he and Richard would have to close escrow one week late. The money David was using to fund his share of the escrow with was coming out of a CD that would not mature for another week. And of course, David didn't want to lose the interest.

When I informed the seller of this, however, he was irate! He claimed he was committed to close another escrow simultaneously with the sale of his property to David and Richard. I'd never seen anyone so upset at a one week delay in the closing of escrow before. However, I'd soon find out the true, underlying reason why he was so upset...

The seller finally calmed down and we recorded the transfer of ownership on the property one week later. I called the escrow officer at 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the recording and she confirmed with me that the recording had taken place. She then said the magic words:

"Your commission check will be ready in a few hours."

So as you can imagine I put the phone down, breathed a big sigh of relief, and looked forward to receiving the check by messenger a few hours later. However, thirty minutes later the escrow officer called me back...



"Hi. This is Pat. We have a problem."

"What problem? We've transferred money and have recorded the deed. There can't be any problems now."

"Well, the title company just did a search on the property and there's a new $300,000.00 trust deed that just recorded on the property with the seller's signature on it."

"I guess we do have a problem."

"My messenger is on his way right now to deliver the seller's $800,000.00 check to him. I'm trying to page the messenger to get him to return to my office with the check right now!"

"I can't believe this!"

"I'll call you as soon as I have an update."


I had never in my entire career had a problem with a deal after the money transferred and the title had recorded. Fifteen minutes later, Pat called me back...



"Well, I got a hold of the messenger in time. He's coming back with the check right now. I also talked to the seller."

"What did the seller say?"

"I asked him, 'Where did this new $300,000.00 trust deed come from?' He responded, 'What new $300,000.00 trust deed?' I then told him, 'You're not going to get your $800,000.00 check until that new $300,000.00 trust deed is paid off.' He then replied, 'Oh that trust deed!'"

It's no wonder that the seller was so upset at our escrow being delayed one week in closing. He had taken out a $300,000.00 trust deed with a private individual figuring that escrow would close before the trust deed got recorded. He was probably figuring that no one would notice the new trust deed until the next title report was ordered on the property, perhaps years down the road.

This is a perfect example of the system working exactly as it was designed to work. Without title insurance buyers and sellers could easily be devastated by people like this seller trying to do similar things to them. Even if the title company hadn't caught the recording of the trust deed at the last minute, my buyers still would have been protected when the truth was finally uncovered.

When you're in the real estate sales business for many years you accumulate a few stories like this. Now I know why title insurance is so very, very important in every single real estate sale transaction.


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