How many people love what they do? Could you say you have found your true calling? Is your career something more than simply what you chose to do for money? I can't seem to decide whether it is my career or a good strong positive attitude that drives me. Have I fallen in love with what I do no matter how tragically it has broken my heart? Have I mentioned the fact that I am in Real Estate in California right now? The days, which have become scarce, that I have the opportunity to go on an assignment through my agency usually go as follows:
I take each of my sons to their daily destination, and I am on my way Starbucks in hand. My drive is either walking distance from home, over sixty miles from door to door, or somewhere in between. Whether it is in my beautiful hometown, that there is absolutely no place quite like to me, a drive along the incredible winding back road to Napa along the abundance of vineyards, through the shadows cast by the arches of majestic oaks, or over an hour in traffic somewhere off the freeway deep into the Bay Area near the hottest new shops and trendiest restaurants into a resort style community. It is always the beginning of a new adventure when you feel this passionately about anything.
I pull into a brand new community that I have never explored! I have studied enough about the community and builder prior to that day, if I was given notice as to where I will be. Whether I work alone or with another agent, my duties tend to be the same. I begin by opening the sales office, I check to see if any pertinent instructions have been left for me as I quickly familiarize myself with everything around me. I ensure that everything is up and running, A-frame signs on the corner, cookies or coffee for the guests, balloons tied to the fence, walkways swept, windows cleaned, brochures and price sheets neatly displayed, photocopies of necessary flyers are in abundance, no sign of break in, no bulbs to replace, nothing to report to the construction team for repair, and it is still minutes before our posted opening time.
The smile, if not yet there, slowly gets brighter as the angle of the morning sun transforms the models into what looks like a Hollywood set, keys in hand as I set off on an exciting journey into a budding community, carefully inspecting the seemingly perfect, freshly planted foliage on the path of butterflies or hummingbirds, Kodak moments begin to increase. Opening each home one by one, I stand in awe of the latest architecture, technology, and innovation it is fashioned with. I absorb the warmth (and a hint of glade plug-ins mixed with fresh paint if nothing is amiss) as well as the beauty surrounding not only the home, but the entire community. I seek to find what makes it unique, interesting, and of course valuable.
I check the mail, the courier box, the voicemail, email if given access, and read all instructions or community information binder, if any, that have been left for the day. I familiarize myself with the office. Can I easily use all office equipment, where are the document and lot files stored, how are the files setup? At any given moment somebody can fly through the door or call on the phone, and I feel a need to be as useful as possible for the sake of all parties involved. I read up on the company sales policies, procedures, and employee expectations. I read a sample contract to memorize HOA and Tax Assessment fees and what they pay for, and any CC&R's that stay from the usual. I check the home inventory, how many sold, pending, available, unreleased, how long homes have been selling. Who are the preferred lender and title company used?
Of the available inventory, I should know all included options and value of them. I tend to take a stroll into any inventory homes personally to not only ensure they are viewable, but to get a taste of what has been installed and what is still on its way. Are the colors dark, light, or of special interest? What about the lot? Is it the cozy US postage stamp or the chunk of an acre home site on the corner of a cul-de-sac backing a creek? What makes this home or lot unique? Is the home safe to tour? Or must I paint a picture for my guests today? Are there any finished homes that are lived in to compare to my production homes? Any subs on staff?
And now, I am on to the fun part. "The Other Guys," I love to shop my competition! If given enough notice, I may have already started. What do we have that they don't have? Location, Schools, Granite, all upgrades included, or we give you the option to decide what is most important? I emphasize the difference by stating our pros instead of pointing out their cons. After all, I may get a call in the early AM to work for them tomorrow! How are there sales, prices? Do I know people within the company that can give me a brief update? Being a Hostess in the Bay Area for the same Agency for so long has definitely paid off in networking rewards.
The guests begin to arrive, all at once and usually in the middle of the day. I greet everyone warmly to see if I can break the ice. I like to ask what if any are there special needs in a home (size, style, number of bedrooms). If they are blunt about the fact that they are looking at decor, I smile and allow them to take a personal tour of the model homes. No matter how you look at it, you want the customer to have the very best experience possible. Some may say I am annoyingly positive, but at least everyone can agree that I am a positive person to work with.
The customer that I do have the opportunity to work with instantly becomes the best part of my day. Not because of the thought of career opportunity if I generate a sale in this market, just because I love my job. If that customer is at all interested in purchasing a home, the first thing I plan to do is figure out exactly what it is they want and need. I love to tour the models with the potential buyer. Figure out there must haves. I gently go through a process called qualifying as I continue to demonstrate key included features, along with customizing capabilities. But mainly I listen to exactly what it is that they are interested in. I enjoy engaging the children in the tour also, as a mother, my heart melts at the idea of people finding "home."
Working with another agent has become a tremendous source of knowledge. I usually have far more direction and responsibility. I quickly learned the ins and outs of the business by being present to observe numerous sales demonstrations and contract signings. Most of my associates possess strong leadership abilities which have begun to rub off. When I am put in charge of obtaining information for weekly sales and traffic reporting I take advantage. It is the perfect opportunity to gain as much information about my regional market as possible, while networking at the same time. Nothing generates assignments during the holidays like a "hey I'm still a temp and you need good coverage while you go on your paid holiday" call.
Lately, my days have been filled with down time. I spend that time looking for a partner and funding to pursue my latest business venture by networking with others in the online business community. I feel my idea is inevitably going to materialize with or without me in a matter of time and I fear I will get no credit for origination. I have not yet shared the details with anyone. At the same time I must search for a full time permanent career out of necessity. Who will listen to a Temp with no degree? Who can I trust? Who can I afford? The way I see it, the first person to hear my cries for help stands to benefit and prosper significantly. I don't know if it is my positive attitude that drives me, or the passion I have for my work, but I know that my aim to help simplify business for people has become a golden opportunity gnawing away at me at every second.
Internet proficient, and experience generating various correspondence, spreadsheets, records, reports, and other documents using Microsoft Office, Outlook and a variety of other programs. All positions held have required the ability to effectively communicate with others. Prior to experience listed below, assistance with marketing, promotions, and customer service at a theater. Handled heavy phones, collections, typing 40 wpm, 10-key, and skip tracing at a Credit Union. Assisted with bookkeeping, A/R, and detailed expense reports at a transportation company. Business office experience started with payroll and reception for a CPA in 1998.
Clerical experience with several large companies, including working with buyers, potential buyers, title companies, appraisers, lenders, and construction. Experience with prospect follow up, marketing, demonstrating key selling features, providing on-site construction tours to the public. Extensive knowledge of building products and brand name comparison, the construction process, and timelines. Providing all interested parties with descriptive and extensive information about business and products and services. Researching companies prior to assignment to provide strong representation. Responsible for sales office, including checking all windows and doors, securing alarm systems, and diligently monitoring inventory in the interior of the homes.
Assisted with the setup and grand opening of a field office. Assisting the Community Sales Manager with all aspects of business. Exchanging weekly traffic report information with all area competition and regular visits to competitor locations to comparison study. Communication with the local brokerage community including events to provide product information and services. Responsible for securing model home complex and sales office. Meeting regularly with all team members to exchange marketing and sales strategies, reports, and progress. Attending training seminars and field related business conferences out of area.
Urban sales experience including sky rise condominium sales. Working closely with buyers and potential buyers during the intricate buying and construction process. Reports including traffic, sales, model home maintenance, and inventory. Maintaining open escrow accounts, and escrow closings using spreadsheets, reports and various forms of communication. Effectively tracking and maintaining records of all communications with buyers and potential buyers. Meeting regularly with the sales and marketing team to help create a more effective sales environment in the new urban sales storefront. Ordering supplies and effectively monitoring office supply inventory.