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STAY OUT of REAL ESTATE JAIL
Your Lifeline to Real Estate
By Barbara Bell-Olsen
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2013 Barbara Bell-Olsen
All rights reserved.
Stay Out of Real Estate Jail
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Congratulations on purchasing Stay Out of Real Estate Jail. Between this book and the information you can own and download from my website at www.barbarabellolsen.com you are going to be able to jumpstart your terrific career in real estate—or, if you are a seasoned pro, you are going to be able to rejuvenate, refresh and build on what you have already accomplished. Your business will explode, as will your bank account.
If you are anything like me, you have started reading this book on this page and omitted reading the foreword, the preface and the disclaimer. I strongly urge you to go back and start by reviewing the information in front of this chapter. The editors who have helped me rework this book numerous times suggest storytelling should be in a specific order. That means there is information in the previous sections that will help you understand why some items and ideas are presented in a specific style or order. I always jump to the meat and potatoes, but I now realize the importance of starting right at the beginning of the book.
You will see that I have been successful, become a nominee, bought my own franchise and built my own "boutique style" office building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I am presently a managing broker for a large Canadian franchise brokerage, and I write and teach courses—including four levels of "Writing Enforceable Contracts" and a full-day course called "Multiple Offers"—as an outside approved accredited instructor for our British Columbia Real Estate Association.
Most people have a hobby. It could be fishing, hunting, boating, cooking, arts and crafts, or many other wonderful interests. I love cooking and trying out new recipes, but I seem to have a passion for the real estate profession that keeps on growing. My mind must be a bit weird, because I love the intricacies of our industry. I have a knack for it, and the information seems to stay in my brain. I often tell my students that I have no life. I enjoy and thrive on how to better improve our profession, how to improve our image and more importantly, how to help my fellow colleagues.
It has almost become an obsession with me, to the point that I believed it was time to put pen to paper and share my knowledge with those who truly want to become the crème de la crème. This book and my website were over three and a half years in the making, but now it is closer to four years. I was so used to teaching and being able to verbally explain my written material that I honestly had trouble writing this, because I kept forgetting I won't be personally reviewing it with you.
That's where the editors were of huge help in having me reorganize and re-edit everything a number of times. They showed me that I must be explicit and definitive in what the procedures and methods are, and I need to remember we won't be chit-chatting about the particular subject. If ever you have questions or concerns, you are more than welcome to e-mail me at email@example.com, and I will try to be of assistance. I am just so very lucky that I can now share my methods and information with you.
There are not very many agents who want to be a managing broker. For one, the pay is nowhere near what you make by selling real estate, and the job is that of looking after the agents in your brokerage. I personally love it.
Managing brokers are given the authority and information to make decisions in a timely manner and oversee the brokerage operations and those of their agents. They ensure that the brokerage business is carried out competently and in accordance with the Act, regulations, rules and bylaws, and also ensure that there is an adequate level of supervision for agents and for employees and others who perform duties on behalf of the brokerage.
When my agents don't understand something or need some help, I will do everything I can to assist them. When I have to think outside the box to help them, I really thrive on that. There is almost always a solution, and together we will work through the problem and solve it. It is so great to be able to help.
I get to assist with educating both our new agents and our experienced agents, and I am responsible for reviewing their contracts and making sure they are current with the rules and regulations. As part of my duties, I send a note about any errors or items that may become of concern in the future so that they are up to date and know for the next time. I hate doing this, but it is part of my managing broker requirements, and my salespeople know I am only trying to help them for another contract they may prepare that may have the same items or concerns. Thank goodness they understand and don't take it personally, knowing it is what is required of me.
This is the perfect career stage for me. As I said earlier, I have never worked a day in my life since entering real estate, and I absolutely love working with sales agents and people and being able to help them.
That too led to this book. It was time to reveal and share everything I have ever learned with the world. Why not? There is absolutely no sense in all this valuable information staying locked in my brain. I want to help make you the best you can be, and it is so very easy if you follow the proven methods I am going to recommend you utilize. I am going to give you the best support system and explain how to put a Contract of Purchase and Sale together without really having to think about it. Everything is also available on my website so you can own and download a word-processing file and copy and paste what you need after editing the statements, subjects, property specifics and the like.
When you are writing a Contract of Purchase and Sale, your life can be easy, but you need checklists and forms to make it that way. The public will be so impressed by your thoroughness and your professional, ethical and careful attention to detail that they will be thrilled to have you as their real estate agent. They will feel safe. They will know what to expect because you walked them through the entire process. They will know you care and are protecting them.
Often, agents can get scared or frightened when asked to write a contract. You may worry that you'll mess it up, and that is one of the main reasons for problems in our industry. It is so easy to forget something, or you go too fast or sometimes get a little overwhelmed preparing the contract. It can be nerve-racking. Some have told me they are almost paralyzed when it is time to write the contract. You want to protect the public and yourself.
With the help I'll give you in this book, you won't have to experience that dreaded feeling in your gut when you're asked to prepare a contract. You won't question what you have to do and what statements, clauses and subjects to use. You will have so much knowledge, confidence and skill that you will easily take your clients to the successful closing of their purchase or sale, and you will retain them for life. Your business will soar to any level you want. How successful do you want to be? It is up to you after you read and implement the following superior structured procedures into your everyday business plan.
Whether you are new to our industry or a seasoned professional, you can do and be anything you set your mind to if you implement the timesaving, unique and inspiring concepts offered in this book.
Learn Your Craft
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Pilots do not set out on a flight course without first following their checklists and procedures and verifying that they have done everything perfectly. They cannot afford to forget something and thank goodness for that.
You have chosen to specialize in an ever-changing profession. There is so much to remember that you need checklists and forms to make it easier. This includes predone Contracts of Purchase and Sale and addendums with all the required wording prepared and ready to go.
If you do not take the time to learn your craft and continually upgrade and educate yourself, you could run into problems by making mistakes. It is easy to do with all the disclosure requirements and the introduction of new legislation. Real estate is a very serious business, but you can have so much fun and success if you are organized, know what you are doing and have your own business plan incorporating the simple methods introduced here.
You will be someone who is proud, confident and excited while being ethical, professional and knowledgeable. Obviously, this means you will be thrilled with the contracts you prepare, and your business will grow with satisfied and happy clients who will tell everyone how great you are. Your bank account will begin increasing by leaps and bounds. It's perfect, and it is all up to you. What more could anyone want?
It would be pretty dangerous if a pilot didn't use his checklists and procedures, and it is the same for us. So let's make our professional occupation one of perfection and work together, all the while protecting our clients and customers.
Real Estate Jail—Fact or Fiction?
Fiction—we do not have a "real estate jail" per se, but we do have to face our authorities at different levels if there is ever a complaint filed against us. It is not a pleasant experience.
I should have faced our authorities when I started, but I was just plain lucky that no one complained. We have reports and newsletters we all receive from our authorities, and often there are sections of what I call "Who's in trouble?" Most of us read this section first to see who was has been disciplined and why.
Often these agents made a simple or stupid mistake: they went too fast, they forgot something or they were a bit careless and got caught up in the moment. They are not bad people at all. They made a mistake, which anyone can do.
Once a complaint is filed, the authorities go through each agent's contract with a finetooth comb looking for any and all errors that might have been made. They have the power to enforce their rules and regulations, and they often do just that. Common penalties include a fine or a license suspension for a period of time, and/or they send an agent for further education.
The shaken agents have their name published in these newsletters and often can have a "permanent mark" in their file. Who wants that to happen? No one, and as I stated, it is often something ridiculous we could have prevented had we just double-checked or taken a little more time. It is not fun at all, and it is very time-consuming preparing replies and reasons for your defence. It is stressful and just plain awful.
This book was written to help anyone this could happen to, and you will see that some of the incidents that caused a reprimand were really simple mistakes, and some were caused by failure to stay up-to-date with the requirements of our authorities and the legislation. Agents who are truly unprofessional or unethical to the detriment of the public are dealt with in a very harsh manner, and our authorities do weed out those types of people.
The authorities have a mandate to protect the public, and that means we have to do the same. So let's do it and do it right the first time. You will see how silly some of the mistakes are. With just a little more care writing the contract, adding in the statements or subjects or having more knowledge or training, there would never be a problem. Keep yourself updated and educated, and have an active plan and checklists in place for writing any type of contract. I am going to give you just such a system.
I will review in depth the primary clauses and phrases, specifically:
the statements that could be in most contracts
the subjects (Famous Five)
the property specifics.
And then I will cover such items as:
offers and counter-offers
removing the subjects
changing an accepted Contract of Purchase and Sale
turning in your documents.
I will also explain how to put this all together so you never forget anything. You must focus on these items each and every time you write an offer. You cannot afford to forget anything. You must be disciplined and follow the same format with each Contract of Purchase and Sale that you write. You must be consistent. It is critical.
First I want to give you some general information, including how I ended up in the real estate industry. I will include my first few days in the profession and what happened to me with my first buyer and my first seller. This will just reinforce how things can go wrong and why, but I will then take you to an ideal order of contract writing so it never happens to you.
I will also give you a few ideas with respect to promoting yourself, advertising and a few other marketing suggestions.
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Why did I choose a career in real estate? I was working and had been working as an executive administrator to the president and vice-president of a company. The vice-president had told me for years to go into real estate because I would be so good at it. What the heck did he mean? What makes a good real estate agent?
One day he told me he was going to fire me because I was wasting my talents working for him, and I should go into real estate and work for myself. He didn't want to hear another word about it. I was devastated. Fire me, are you kidding? Well, he wasn't kidding. He told me he would give me one year's notice, time enough to obtain my license, and then I was gone, like it or not. What was he thinking?
He left me no choice, so off I went and took the course. I personally was forced into real estate as a profession with no idea what I was doing. I worked for these two fellows for years, and it was often six days a week and hours and hours of overtime that I didn't get paid for.
I wrote the real estate exam in a room with hundreds of other hopefuls, and I must admit I was scared to death. What if I forgot everything I learned? Although, I must be honest, in those days, the courses didn't teach me how to sell real estate at all. I just learned "stuff." It is very different today.
When I was studying for the exam, I took courses to help me pass and met a fantastic lady who became the best in our industry for a number of years. We both were extremely competitive, and I wasn't going to let her beat me on any of our assignments (we usually got the same marks). There was one area we thought might be on the exam, and we just couldn't remember all the answers.
I made up some rather rude words to remember them by, and she memorized them too. When we wrote the exam, there was that question, and I looked over to see her staring at me. We both burst out laughing. The rest of the class thought we were crazy.
I passed. Now what?
Well, the vice-president fired me as soon as he heard I passed. That was it, after all my years of dedication and service and free overtime too! I couldn't believe it. He fired me!
I was on the streets in more ways than one.
Now I had to find a brokerage to join. My classmate had already picked a company and told me there was a desk for me too. I was to be her partner. I didn't know if I wanted to do that.
She was so successful it was unbelievable, but I went to another company to learn on my own. No one told me connections and knowing people was one of the biggest assets, especially when starting out. I guess this was my first really big mistake. I should have gone with her, even if just for her connections.
She is no longer in our industry, but she was one dynamic woman. She was married to a doctor who got bored and became a lawyer, or maybe he was a lawyer and became a doctor. She was brilliant and had unbelievable connections.
One thing I did learn is that meeting people and letting everyone know what you do for a living is critical to survival in our industry. That's how you get business. Referrals and who you know. You are going to have to generate your own clientele when you first begin as a new agent, so we will cover a few promotional and advertising ideas shortly.
My First Day
I joined a large brokerage, and on my first day I was greeted by the managing broker. He showed me my desk and said, "Good luck, Barb." That was it. I waited, but nothing else happened.
My desk was sparkling clean. I could almost see my reflection. There was a phone and phone book but no pens, no paper, nothing in the drawers, nothing at all.
Excerpted from STAY OUT of REAL ESTATE JAIL by Barbara Bell-Olsen. Copyright © 2013 Barbara Bell-Olsen. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Stay Out of Real Estate Jail.................... 1
Chapter 2 Learn Your Craft.................... 5
Chapter 3 Starting Out.................... 9
Chapter 4 Promotion, Advertising and Marketing.................... 15
Chapter 5 Know the Market.................... 25
Chapter 6 A Real Estate Agent's Job Description.................... 27
Chapter 7 Common Contract Statements.................... 31
Chapter 8 Subjects in Most Contracts: The Famous Five.................... 93
Chapter 9 The Order of My Contracts.................... 107
Chapter 10 Property Specifics.................... 109
Chapter 11 Tenancies and True Stories.................... 123
Chapter 12 Offers and Counter-Offers.................... 131
Chapter 13 Subjects Removed, Fulfilled or Waived.................... 135
Chapter 14 Changing an Accepted Contract.................... 137
Chapter 15 Turning In Your Documents.................... 141
Chapter 16 Mastering Your Craft—Getting This Down to a Fine Art............ 145