My life is filled with love and laughter thanks to the amazing people I get to hang out with. As well as being awesome, they’re creative, talented, generous, and fun! I thought you might like to meet them, so I’ve asked them to come and give us a behind-the-scenes look at what they’re passionate about. I have to warn you though – creativity is contagious!
My guest today is Linda Brent – a realtor with a big heart and a passion for providing the very best. I’ve known Linda for a number of years – she even looked after my youngest son for me (and I can’t thank her enough for that either!!).
Linda, how did you get involved in real estate? L: I knew that being a stand up comedian was not in the cards for me, so I looked into becoming a realtor where I can still make people happy. LOL
Becoming a realtor was the best decision I’ve ever made – other than becoming a mother, my first and favourite career. I had thought about becoming a teacher, but the job market was slim. But as a realtor I see myself as an educator, so I am kind of a teacher. For me, it’s not always about making the sale but making sure people are well educated so they can make good choices and right decisions. It’s also about making sure people are buying and selling a home for the right reasons. A home is one of the biggest assets in our lives – it is where we raise our families and live our lives. I’m excited to be a part of the experience. One very hot July, I decided that the kids were getting older and it was time I did something other than being a mom and a volunteer. Don’t get me wrong – I love both very much, but it was time. So I went online and I completed the first course within a week (which I don’t recommend. On the computer every day, for 7 days 8 hours a day, crazy crazy!)
It’s a big investment, too, so it’s important to have the help. What do you love about it? L: I love that my job is more of a passion and an obsession than a daily grind. People who really know me, know that I am a giver and always happy to help, so being a realtor is the perfect fit for me. What I love most is that I can give all my time and devote all my energy into helping people find the perfect home. Great feeling when I am out and about, and I see my clients and they tell me they love their home. When people call me to sell, it can be an emotional time. I love that I can help guide them through the process. Lots of laughs and sometimes tears.
There’s more to it than just the business part of it. What courses are needed in order to become a real estate agent? L: To become a realtor you will need to take 3 courses. Once you sign up for the first course you have 18 months to complete all three. Once all three are competed you are not fully licensed, but you can trade in real estate. You have another 2 years to complete another 3 courses to become fully licensed. I recommend that you do these courses as soon as possible. Once you get busy, you’ll find it hard to find the time. I was fully licensed within 18 months of starting my first course. At the end of each course, there is an exam and 75% must be obtained to pass. If you do not achieve this mark you can pay $50 and rewrite the exam. You can do this 2 times before you have to redo the whole course. It’s not hard to achieve 75% if you hit the books and study. Once you start to trade in real estate, that is where the real education begins. All the info on becoming s realtor is on the http://www.orea.com website.
Any tips for people selling their house? L: First and most important – find out the details of your present mortgage, so you are aware of any penalties you may incur if you break your term mid-stream. In some cases the penalty is too large and moving makes no sense.
If possible, update the furnace, windows, and roof. Also look at the kitchen, bathrooms, finished basement, flooring, and overall finishes. Make sure the front entrance looks good, first impressions are important. It may even be worth buying a new door. In some cases it’s not possible to spend a lot, but it’s important to understand where the value will come from.
Make sure your place is clean, tidy, and free from odour. If you are packing to move, then pack to sell, less is more. Freshly paint, clean the windows, screens, and tracks, make sure the furnace is free from dust and the filter is changed. Even if someone has an older home that needs work, if things are neat and clean it gives people a good feeling. We want people to feel good when they walk through the door and think – wow these people really take care of their home.
As a realtor, I want to make sure my clients’ homes are well represented so I take a lot of pictures, have the floor plans available, and make a list detailing the upgrades. That way potential buyers are well informed even before they walk through the door.
There’s a lot to consider. Probably why realtors are so important. Any tips for people buying a house? L: First, go see your mortgage person to see if you qualify to buy a home and determine your price range. Your realtor can recommend a mortgage person; there are different options, for example, bank vs. mortgage broker. Once you’ve established that you can afford a home, the fun begins. Buying a home is a process, and this is where the education and expertise of a professional realtor comes in handy. Find a realtor you like and stay loyal. It is so much easier than trying to do it all yourself. A realtor you are loyal to will bend over backwards to make sure they find the right home for you. We know what to look for and what to stay away from. As soon as my clients become clients they are like my family. If I won’t sell it to my kids, I won’t sell it to you. I am here for the long haul, I care about where my people go – yes, everyone becomes my people.
How should people choose a real estate agent? L: There are many ways to choose a realtor. Most people know at least 4, so word of mouth is always good. Friend and family referral is good. Visit open houses and meet the realtor and see them in action. Don’t be afraid to commit to a realtor – we are not that bad. 😀
When choosing an agent to sell your home, don’t pick the guy who is charging the least amount of commission and giving you the highest evaluation of your home. They are buying the listing and telling you what you want to hear, but the risk is that in a month you will have to lower your price and the market has moved on without you. Your home will go stale. The right price is the key selling feature of a home. Overpriced listings are detrimental to a successful sale, so it is best to make sure your home is priced true to the present market. In real estate there is a saying “list to exist”. When I meet with clients, I make sure I can visually show them the value of their home in a story so to speak. A good agent will know their product, and give you a true opinion of value, not just what you want to hear.
All of which takes a bit of research on the realtors part, I imagine. Any funny anecdotes? L: When I meet with clients, I take the research, good comparables and a good understanding of the present market so they get the picture. Funny story – one time I met with my client to go through my presentation and gave him all my information and preferred listing price. He looked at me and said, “Thanks very much, Linda, but my hairdresser says that my house is worth at least 20k more.” I looked at him and asked him if he had a pair of scissors. When he asked why, I said since we’re going to let the hairdresser price the house, I get to cut his hair. He said that was crazy, that I couldn’t cut hair. Why would I do something I wasn’t trained to do? My point exactly. I’ve had the carpenter price the house, Uncle Joe from British Columbia, 90-year-old Aunt Mary, who was a realtor 50 years ago, price the house. In most cases, they will hear the voice of reason eventually. In a good market, I’ve let them list the house at their price for 14 days, if it’s not too crazy high. If it sells, I love the ‘I told you so’! If it doesn’t, it’s all mine.
When I started real estate, I was very excited at the prospect of showing houses and seeing beautiful homes and creative decorating ideas. It didn’t turn out exactly that way. One of my fist deals was a first time buyer looking for a fixer-upper, lucky me. We went to look at a lot of houses. The next day they called me and said they had decided not to buy the falling down house and wanted to go back to see the smelly house and probably offer. Welcome to the glamorous life of a realtor! I have learned that regardless if it is smelly, falling down, or a million-dollar mansion, everyone is excited and happy about their new home. I have so many funny real estate stories, maybe I should write a book, LOL.
You should! What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career as a real estate agent? L: Go for it! Maybe talk to someone who is in the business to see what your options are. I’m not going to lie – it is a tough business. It’s important to stay honest, keep your integrity intact, and keep it real.
Good advice. If you had to pick a song to be your theme song what would it be? L: This is a hard one since it could be so many. I love Stompa by Serena Ryder because it gets me motivated.
What would you pick as a superpower? L: The ability to heal.
Good one! What’s your favourite dessert? L: Just one? Haha Home-made from scratch lemon meringue pie.
Thank you very much for sharing all of this with us Linda! This is the perfect time of year to spread the word about tips and pitfalls of selling and buying – I think the busy season is spring. If you’d like to contact Linda, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re not from Kingston, I hope you’re lucky enough to find a realtor as dedicated as Linda!