As a Real Estate Expert, let me dwell on some short topics about our business gleaned from my own experience as an agent. Answer this simple question: If a home buyer is putting 8 Cr for a 10 Cr property what percentage is the buyer financing? Actually that answer depends on who you are asking. From the perspective of the lender the buyer is financing 80% or 8 Cr. But from the perspective of the buyer, every property is financed 100 %. Come to think about it, the buyer’s money has to come from somewhere. If that money was parked in a savings account then the buyer would be earning interest on that amount. After putting that money in property the buyer is not earning interest money anymore. If the money is coming from a mutual fund, the buyer is giving up the “opportunity cost” of the money. If the buyer’s parents are putting in the down payment for the property, his parents are forfeiting the money that they could have earned by putting that money elsewhere. So the entire purchase price has some sort of interest cost which means all buyers are financing 100% of the purchase price one way or another.
I like to believe that I am a nice person but sometimes that good quality can work against you. Think about it. It does make sense. Even good qualities can work against us. Take for example people who easily trust others. They may leave their cars unlocked or their expensive possessions unguarded and thus become the victim of thieves. If you are generous, people are bound to take advantage of you. If you are hard working then you probably have a boss who exploits you. Nice people also have problems. Every industry in the world operates like a colony of ants working together for a common cause. Each person knows his / her role within the colony and sticks to a job that contributes to the greater good. This spirit of cooperation can lead to communities with millions of citizens. But where there are ants there will also be anteaters! Anteaters survive by feasting on ants and they can take the form of customers, clients, co-workers and competitors. I believe that its nice to be nice but foolish to be foolish. I never give our competitors extra chances to slurp me up. Giving anteaters more chances to means that they will do almost anything to capture your business usually when you least expect it.
Dry Spells & Overcoming It
The goal of every property consultant is to keep their commissions coming in at regular intervals and on a dependable basis. Sooner or later it happens to the best of professionals. Two or three transactions may fall apart at the last moment and at the same time. You might be looking for good real estate buyers but hot and immediate leads are not coming in. Your property listings may be priced right but buyers are not biting. You may be wondering if you have angered the gods. When this phase happens there are several things one can do. First read a motivational book or audio or look for some inspiration to get you out of your groove. The second thing is to go back to the basics. One has to review one’s schedule to see if the work is being done correctly and time is being spent wisely. Like in the game of cricket, four single runs are as good as a four! I generally look for small successes that can help me recover my momentum. I have realized that the universe tends to send business my way whenever there is something else going on in my life besides work. So I tend to distract myself with some extracurricular activities or go on a spontaneous weekend getaway or redo my house or my living room. Another inspirational technique that I sometimes follow is to tag along with some colleagues on some appointments. People love it when extra people show attention to them and besides you can always end up learning something new.
Some agents in the real estate business tend to swear by the power of goals. But I generally don’t set too many goals for myself. Most Realtors average about 10 transactions a year. When I on the other hand set up a goal to complete 40 transactions in a year and then manage to reach to 30 then it is ridiculous to feel disappointed inspite of accomplishing three times the industry average! I eventually concluded that I was making a very good living and serving people well and that in itself was enough. I have seen enough people burn themselves out by chasing audacious goals. As soon as the agent accomplishes those goals, the bar is raised again and he / she is again under undue stress and pressure to fulfill higher expectations.
Finding Role Models
As one winds one way through the business of property transactions and real estate. As one progresses in the profession, one reads books, attends conferences and seminars and meets a whole lot of interesting people. Whenever I meet someone who has inspired me in some way, I believe it is a good idea to learn from them but I never attempt to be like them. You can be a more successful person if you strive to become the best version of YOU and not a better somebody else. I know lots of successful people in various businesses who are all unique. Being a non-conformist can make you a more interesting person and also helluva lot more successful.
Who Actually Pays the Commission?
Most agents today especially the ones who have become “Channel Partners” for developers or do exclusive project marketing for upcoming properties will say that the Developers i.e. the seller is paying their commissions but I would say otherwise. Sure the money is coming off the ledger of the developer but in fact it is the buyer’s money. Once the sale deed is executed, it is the buyer who has to round off the money to pay for everything. The funds are distributed to pay for all the expenses of the closing including broker commissions. The seller then keeps whatever is left over. The current system as it works offers dual benefits of taking the expenses from the seller’s side of the ledger. Firstly it reduces the buyer’s out-of-pocket costs. If the home price was INR 10 Cr and the buyer paid an extra 3% (INR 30 lakhs) to the broker, the lender would calculate the loan amount based on the purchase price and not the total cost. The loan amount consequently would be much lower and the out-of-pocket amount for the buyer would be much higher. Secondly, the brokers also gain by taking their commissions right off the top rather than as an add-on. As we saw in the earlier example, the broker’s fees was 30 lakhs but if the same broker charged 3% of 10.3 Cr he would be getting a higher amount. So the benefits of taking the money from the developer obscures a simple truth. The buyer is the one who pays for everything including commissions.
Apathy to Passion
Success in Real Estate depends on various degrees of commitment. Some professionals are completely apathetic to the business while others are just enthusiastic and there are some who are genuinely motivated. Motivation is a powerful tool for success. In spite of being a powerful tool, motivation still pales in comparison to Passion. Passion is a rare commodity. Some people go throughout their lives never truly feeling passionate about anything in particular. Only a few people have a genuine and true passion for the real estate business. If you have passion in the world of real estate, you can be hugely successful.
In the business of real estate, things do go against us very often. Interest rates go up, markets crash, clients lie to you or change their minds etc. One can always change and adapt to one’s own shortcomings but you cannot really do much to battle external forces except perhaps the way you perceive things. Once not too long ago in the previous firm where I was working, we were complaining about the local market conditions when a new guy named Raj (named changed) joined our office. He came from Delhi and in spite of the fact that he did not know the local market and neighbourhoods very well, he started closing deals and making money right under our noses. His very first assignment was a harbinger of the things to come. He spent a lot of time with one seller who was motivated to sell his property. By the time he had left the seller’s house he had convinced the seller to accept a very aggressive offer that would be just right for the market conditions. He then sealed the deal for the seller with terms that other sellers would not ordinarily accept! When he introduced this listing to us at our sales meeting, I immediately knew the perfect buyer for the apartment. A few weeks later we closed the sale while other agents in our company were still unable to close similar deals. That was ten years back and Raj is still going strong!
So when the going gets tough, it pays to remember that other people have it worse off than you and you accordingly adjust your perspective. That’s how I have survived for so long the game of real estate 🙂