Does Farming Actually Work In Real Estate?

In my pre-licensing classes at Demetree School of Real Estate, farm area is probably the first vocabulary word I teach.  On day one, within the first hour of class, they learn that a farm area has nothing to do with agricultural.  Rather, it is a residential prospecting technique where the real estate agent specializes in a particular neighborhood.  I give an example, and the students usually chuckle in disbelief.  Someone always asks, “Does that actually work?”

It works like a charm.  It’s not exactly the fast path to success, but there is no such thing as a fast path to success. 

I have several Realtors who farm my neighborhood.  I probably get half a dozen postcards a week from different real estate agents.  I get Just Listed postcards, Just Sold cards, football schedules, soccer schedule, you name it.  I usually give it a quick glance, then because I’m a real estate instructor, I put it in a folder to use in class.  If I weren’t an instructor, I’m sure I would toss them.

The front and back of a farming postcard I received. It includes the name, phone, email or the real estate agent plus a customized link for me to get more information.

So the other day, our local Realtors Association sent out the ballots for the board of directors.  I recognized one name, not because he was student, not because I’ve done a deal with him, not even because I’ve ever met him in person.  I recognized him because I’ve been getting postcards from him. 

I haven’t voted yet, but in elections, whether it is for the local Realtor Association or United States Congress, the biggest hurdle is getting people to recognize your name. This guy that has been sending me postcards for a year has overcome that hurdle.

So yes, farming absolutely works. But just like farming the land, it’s not a quick fix. It takes a while.

Should I Work For A Large Real Estate Brokerage, A Boutique Brokerage, or a Cloud-Based Agency?

I frequently get calls from people asking for career advice.  A common question I get asked is whether it is better to work for a small boutique agency, a large franchise brokerage or a cloud-based company?  The answer is a big fat, “It depends.” 

When you first start in the business, you probably need training more than anything else.  You might want someone to hold your hand through your first few transactions.  When you have twenty years of experience, you hopefully aren’t looking to your broker for hand-holding – you might be focused on the technology tools, leads, or maybe even how much they leave you alone.

I happen to have my license with a large franchise because that is what works for me right now.  However, I have friends who have their licenses with boutique firms or owner-developers and they are happy with that.  So much depends on your personality and what you need from a company.  This might change, in fact it will change, as time goes one.

A small boutique company will usually offer a work environment that is more personal.  Since there are only a few people in the office, you get to know them pretty quickly.  You will have easy access to your broker because there are only a handful of people.  They probably won’t have a formal training program.  When you sign up, the sales manager will tell you that someone will help you, but it is likely not this person’s job to help you.  In other words, their title is not “trainer.”  It is probably someone who is trying to get their own listings, but if they have time, they might teach you a little.

A cloud-based company will probably be very cheap to work for.  You will have a good commission split and very few fees.  That’s all you get.  You won’t even have an office to go to if you want to.  You will meet your clients at Panera.  If you are at the point in your career, where you don’t need any support, this might work for you.  But it is going to be a difficult environment for a beginner.

real estate career journey
There are many paths to take when starting your real estate career. Many paths lead to success, but one might be better for YOU.

The large franchise companies offer formalized training programs, technology tools, and other support.  A large company has more resources and name recognition than the other two. The large company name will lend credibility, which is important when starting out. Once you have developed your a reputation, this might not be as important. The large franchise companies often offer technology and marketing support that is not available to smaller companies.

None of these is better than another, they are just different.  All industries have an ecosystem.  It is necessary to have small firms, large firms, and in-between firms.  Some of the smaller firms are trying to grow to become larger, or may be eventually bought out by a larger company.  But some of the small firms will stay small firms forever.  None of these is better overall, but one of them is better for you. This depends on what you need from a brokerage company right now. 

If you need any help finding a good brokerage company to start your career, I’m happy to help.  If you don’t have a license yet, but want to get started in real estate, I can help you with that too.

This Man Learned The Hard Way What “Caveat Emptor” Means

Recently, a piece of land was for sale at a tax deed auction in Broward County.  A man looked it up on the property appraiser’s website and some other public sites and found a photo similar to the one here.  He bid in the auction and snagged it for $9,100.  Here’s the kicker… he did not win the duplex.  He did not even win one of these villas.  He won the piece of grass that divides the two driveways.

Caveat Emptor

This photo from Google Earth shows what the man bought. He didn’t buy the house – he bought the strip of land in between the two driveways.

In one of those only-in-Florida situations, somehow this strip of grass is separate from the two villas.  The new owner is calling it deceptive and wants his money back.

I’m going to assume this guy never went to real estate school because one of the things I teach is that the rules of a tax deed auction or a foreclosure auction are “caveat emptor,” which means “Let the buyer beware.”

If you ever have a buyer who wants to skip the title search, this is why they need to do it.  In real life, you have to get a title search because the mortgage company requires it.  But if a person were paying cash, they could skip on the title search.  Here’s a good story about why the title insurance is worth it.  You want to be sure you are getting a house instead of a strip of grass with two mailboxes.

If you ever bid on a tax deed auction, or if you ever take the Florida real estate sales associate exam, be sure you know what caveat emptor is.

If you are interested in going to real estate school or getting your real estate license to ensure you don’t make a mistake like this guy, you can find me at Demetree School of Real Estate.

What Is Karen Climer Up To?

I haven’t blogged recently (you may have noticed) but I’ve still been getting a lot of call asking me where I’m teaching classes.  I have an exciting answer to that question…

I’ve opened my own real estate school called Demetree School of Real Estate.  Check out that schedule to see when I’m teaching.  My first class is a FREE! math review on July 19, 2019.  This is intended for people who have passed the class exam, but are getting ready for the state exam.  It’s free but you have to register.  Click on this link to go to the website.  Then give me a call to register.

I’ll be blogging at that site about getting your Florida real estate license.  But I’ll also be blogging here about starting your career in real estate.  If that’s not enough information, you can also check out my YouTube channel

As always, if you have any questions about getting a Florida real estate license or starting your career in real estate, you are welcome to call me.