Sept. 27, 2010

a "Non-Techy" Realtor's perspective in a Virtual World(Brokerage); Bellingham Homes for Sale

If we all did the things we are capable of,
we would astound ourselves.

~ Thomas Edison

I wanted to share with all of you, my fellow Realtors, why this Non-Techy Realtor chose to hang her license with eXp Realty, a Virtual office.

When I began my career in real estate 5 years ago, I started with a traditional brokerage, a storefront.  I worked the market for two years from 2006-2008 learning the ropes and had relative success as a new agent.  We did get the occasional customer/client who dropped in but it was becoming fewer and far less and that's that this office was located on a busy street with great visibility.  But as we all know , it was right about this time that our real estate market began to hit a snag nationwide and our economy was in the very early stages of recession.  We all began to feel the pinch of slower sales, rising gas prices and inflation all around.  It was at this time that I began to reassess my career and think about what the future held for real estate, Realtors and brick and mortar offices.  It was also at this time that virtual offices started to spring up here and there.  I was intrigued.   There were alot of yeahs and nays about virtual brokerages, mostly nays.  You know, we humans don't take fondly to change and whenever there is a change ,of course,  we have to have a negative outlook on it before we've even experienced it.

After  interviewing many brokers and brokerages in Bellingham including the standard,  Windermere, RE/MAX, John L. Scott, I chose to hang my license with a smaller independent firm, Buyer Tours.  Although not yet a Virtual Brokerage, they had a growing online presence and a smaller office space for the agents to share, a "drop in" space.  What I also liked  about this brokerage was the open, fresh and innovative  stance it had and growth minded philosophy.  It was not stagnant nor steeped in traditions, but rather on learning and collaboration and held itself to the ethics, professionalism and integrity of Realtors.  It was team oriented and differed in its marketing  methods  and lead generation.  When I first met with the owner, Glenn Sanford, he told me how many leads his company was getting daily and weekly from his Bellingham website, realestate.bellingham.net, one of the top real estate websites in Bellingham.   Hmmm, like most other agents out there, I was skeptical; figured it was just a recruiting ploy.  He also explained that it was through this top ranked website that they could provide internet marketing for agents, for sellers, and attract consumers enabling him to keep overhead low and  costs down for the agents.  It was no recruiting ploy!   This brokerage then and still DOES get a tremendous number of leads daily and weekly. True statement - I have had to stop taking some of these leads because my plate is already full.

All in all, I saw the writing on the wall.  Our world had changed and I knew I did not want to be left behind.  I knew that for my business to grow, this Brokerage was where I had to be for the future of my real estate career.  Not to mention that the brick   and mortar offices were becoming dinosaurs. More and more of these brokerages were either shutting down or merging to help with overhead cost and these dinosaurs were not providing the necesary tools to help their agents .  There is so much more to having a brokerage  these days than desk space and  a water cooler!

One year later (10/2009)after joining Buyer Tours,  Glenn realized he could grow even more, cut his overhead even more and help the agents keep their fees low by creating a 100% Virtual Brokerage.        eXp Realty was born.

Let me say this, I am not a " Techy" person, but what I have learned in one year, this past year, has helped me tenfold.  My business has grown, I am steadily busy and we are in a " down market".  My entire perspective has changed on how I think about me and my business, how I am going to grow my business, how I will market myself.   Although not a techy person, I have learned about SEO (search engine optimization) and Social Media and how to  use it correctly to build my business.  I now know what a "Key tagword" is and how to use it effectively.  I am now a Blogger and a Vlogger.  I do have an Avatar  in  our Virtual Office.  I have learned how to maneuver through our virtual office , going from our WA state conference room to a private meeting in my broker's office.  We are able to share files and videos  in our virtual office which for me, a non-techy   person, is not frightening but truly exciting.   I can  also join in any one of our company meetings from the comfort of my home or anywhere my laptop will take me.     I am continually amazed at what we can now do with Technology and......that I can learn it and I can do it and want to learn more.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.   And No, it is not " like playing  a video game", but rather an efficient way of collaborating with fellow agents not only local but nationwide.   In fact, in this our first year we have added 10 other state brokerages to our Company and are set to add two more in the next couple of weeks.    How's that for growth?  We have a WIKI that we share all of our information on so at any time of day or night, I can go into the WIKI and research information or listen to a class I might have missed on our education Thursday schedule.   The compensation schedule is highly competitive with a very low cap rate not to mention the fees are much lower than other brokerages since I'm not paying into lease fees or franchise fees, etc.   In addition, eXp Realty provides another revenue source, Company Revenue Sharing Plan.  eXp continues to set the bar for real estate brokerages current and future.

Keep in mind, I am a Realtor and that is what I do. I love assisting home sellers and home buyers in the sale process, educating and guiding them through this process.   It is because of all this Technology that I can be a better agent for my clients, market myself better, and when possible get a new lead. I have  a great group of IT guys,  Kirk, Gabe, Eddie, within  reach ready and able to train me, teach me, assist me, collaborate with me on learning all of this cutting edge technology.  How wonderful to have a direct hand and say so in my marketing!  For example, Kirk Johnson, recently met with me one-on-one to assist me with my website and , sellingbellingham.net .  An hour and a half of knowledge and information right at my fingertips.  I am so grateful.  Also, Gabe from our IT team helped me build my website, again from one of his Blogging and Wordpress classes.

The way I see it,  What are you waiting for??  Have you been reassessing your future real estate career wondering where you'll be next year?  Wondering how to build more business or where your next client will come from??   It's a very different world now, the market is global and consumers are shopping online and are very savvy.  They are able to view not only photos, but virtual tours and ThanX to Google Maps now have street views.  The consumer now knows what they want by the time they      reach a Realtor.  How are they going to reach you?  If they're in Hong Kong or California??   No more storefronts, not even for the locals.  Sellers are doing the same thing, viewing how their properties are being marketed online.  Don't you want to learn how how to improve your business?              

The moral here is eXp Realty, a Virtual brokerage,  is not for Techy Realtors but is a smarter brokerage equipped to benefit  all Realtor's, whether Techy or not,  in today's evolving market.  I am glad I had the foresight to see what lie ahead for the future of real estate brokerages and was able to see the writing on the wall...

....and if I can do it, I know you can!

For more information on eXp Realty and attending one of our Opportunity Presentations feel free to call me at 360-303-3898 or email me at roberta.soares@exprealty.com .

Call me direct, 360-303-3898, if you would like information on Bellingham Homes for Sale

To achieve your true potential one must train to do something beyond what you currently believe you are capable of.
~ Glenn Sanford



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