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CHICAGO EDITION

5 Tips to GET NEW CLIENTS Top 4 Ways to Juice Up Your OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY Developing Your PRICING PHILOSOPHY FEATURED AGENT

BRIAN EMMERICH COVER STORY TOP REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY

THERESA PANZICA

5 STEPS TO ACHIEVE LONG TERM SUCCESS as a Real Estate Agent


CHICAGO EDITION

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TOP REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY THERESA PANZICA

4) 5 TIPS TO GET NEW CLIENTS 13) TOP 4 WAYS TO JUICE UP YOUR OPEN HOUSE STRATEGY

THERESA PANZICA

BRIAN EMMERI

Brian Emmerich is a realtor truly cares more about his cli than he does about himself. always has their best interes heart and is there to guide th every step of the way through home buying or selling proc This has developed a strong b ness for him over his 12-year estate career and given him a percent and referral business. “The reason my cli BRIANrepeat EMMERICH keep coming back and referring me is because they realiz they know it, and it comes across,” he says.

Emmerich has really carved a niche for himself with sen that are looking to sell their home and move to the next s of their life. He is literally an expert in this area of real es CONTENTS earning himself the designation of Senior Real Estate S cialist (SRES) and serving as a member of the Senior Ser 18) DEVELOPING YOUR Task Force with the Mainstreet Organization of REALTO PRICING PHILOSOPHY “It’s given me heads up on how to work with seniors and f ilies in the transitional phase,” he says. This delicate time senior’s life can often have them open to scams and or ad from members that overwhelmed by the proc 22)family 5 STEPS TOareACHIEVE and at the same time, unaware of market changes or the LONG SUCCESS options nowTERM available to seniors. Emmerich has the exp ence to help seniors during this challeng ASand A demeanor REAL ESTATE AGENT time and offers them the support they need to sell their ho He also offers a bevy of resources to his senior clients to h them pack, declutter or even move.

While seniors are a big part of Emmerich’s business, it’s the only client he takes on as he deals with plenty of f mag@topagentmagazine.com | www.topagentmagazine.com time homebuyers and buyers with a variety of budget ran Primarily serving Northwest Suburban No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consentthe of the publisher. Top Agent Chicagoland Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions ensure theGroup, accuracyhe of offers published as partare of taken The to Schwabe his client a uni materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. perspective with a conservative financial background. Prio To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com. joining the real estate industry, he worked as a controller Published in the U.S. then in industrial sales, seeing real estate as an industry couldn’t be outsourced like his other professions. Movin Coldwell Banker and then to the Schwabe team, Emmeric Top Agent Magazine the specialist on the team for the downtown Chicago mar

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5 Tips to Get New Clients If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve probably built up a healthy percentage of repeat and referral business. Although it can be tempting to just maintain those relationships rather than generating new business, there’s something to be said for staying on top of 4

your game by never resting on your laurels. Actively pursuing new clients is not only a way to generate more business, but depending on how you do it, it could even lead to a profitable new niche. Here are just a few ways to build up your new client base. Top Agent Magazine


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Become a referral partner with industry peers

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Cold Call Expired and FSBO Listings

Everyone from mortgage lenders, to financial planners, to insurance agents, can be potentially lucrative referral partners for a Realtor®. You may already have great relationships with some that just need to be more formalized. But, you don’t just want to partner with anyone, make sure these are people you also feel completely comfortable referring your clients to - people who share your values and work ethic.

Another avenue to consider is divorce attorneys – yes, you heard that correctly. Helping people go through this difficult period actually requires a very specific skill set. You need to be able to handle the legal aspects, as well as the emotional ones. There are numerous training courses you can take if you decide to take this route, which could end up being a lucrative and much-needed specialty.

This is a route a lot of agents take when they are just starting out, that usually leads to great success. You probably haven’t cold called since you started out, and this is a great skill to build up again. It will not only sharpen your sales skills, but could generate a lot more business. People with For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) and expired listings, are usually very motivated to sell. This is a great chance for you to really hone in on why they need to hire you. Do you offer innovative marketing plans? Access to a large sphere of influence? Expired listing clients are looking for ways to sell a property that seems impossible to move. With FSBOs, you need to show them how you can get them more money in their pocket, even

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with paying you a commission. Pursuing both will really engage your mind to think outside of the box, which will not only get you more business, but make you better at what you do. 5


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Partner up with a Relocation Company

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Become a Builder’s Realtor® of choice

This is another niche market that you can really capitalize on if you want to pursue a new specialty. But, it is a specialty, so getting educated on the process will help you generate the business you want. It’s a complicated area of real estate, you’ll often

times be helping to facilitate dual transactions, as you try and secure a property at the same time you are helping your relocation client sell their previous home. This specialty is becoming an in-demand skill in areas that have major corporate headquarters.

This can be a real score for any Realtor®. The competition might be fierce to land a client like this, but there are numerous ways to make yourself stand out from the rest. Gain certifications and become knowledgeable about the construction process. Be wellversed on what trendy materials, features, and finishes will add value to a property. Get the builder on board with you by offering to take just a segment of the subdivision then wow them with your marketing skills. Take on properties they haven’t been able to sell. You can even offer to throw an open

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Create a Website that Offers Real Value to Potential Clients

Perhaps the most useful way of getting contact information for people looking to sell is by adding a home valuation feature to your website. When people are first considering selling their home, finding out how much 6

house for them. This is another way to show them the level of service they can expect from you. These clients might be harder to land, but the payoff will be enormous.

it is worth is one of the first questions they want answered. By becoming a resource to potential clients (and current clients!), you just might be the first person that comes to mind when they’re actually looking to sell. Top Agent Magazine


THERESA PANZICA Top Agent Magazine

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Panzica is a member of Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association and operates The Law Office of Theresa Panzica in Chicago. an attorney, so you could say I was bred to do this work!”

Real estate law presents unique opportunities and challenges to anyone who dedicates themselves to the practice. But those who embrace the challenges with the opportunities are best suited to thrive both for themselves and the people they represent. Chicago attorney Theresa Panzica grew up in real estate law. “I became an attorney in 2006, but I have been around the business since the 1980s,” says Theresa, whose father owned a real estate law practice and often brought her to his office when she was young. “I worked at the family law firm and a title company as a closer before becoming 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

While the majority of her work involves protecting home buyers and sellers during purchases and sales and helping save people from foreclosure by overseeing short sales, The Law Office of Theresa Panzica offers broader services for clients and other professionals. “I want to make a difference for my clients, but we also want to provide value to our REALTOR® referral partners,” says Theresa. To that end, Theresa is a skilled networker and a trusted educator. “I hold regular events and consultations for REALTORS® on how to improve their business and position themselves for success,” says Theresa. Examples include “Looks, Leads & Lunch” events featuring experts in hair, makeup and clothing who offer free consultations and professional photographer who takes REALTORS®’ headshots. Another Top Agent Magazine


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event, “Brunch & Earn” plays off the popular “lunch and learn” concept and focuses on sharing new techniques for attracting more buyers, traditional listings and short sale listings. Theresa schedules special presenters for each event to create a buzz. She also holds events for the public on topics around buying, selling, short sales and tax appeals. “It’s important to give back and help our colleagues and our clients thrive,” she says, noting that getting out in person with people is the best way to stay in contact. “I don’t like to send generic newsletters and mailings,” she says. Instead, she and her all-attorney staff provide services for their professional partners and keep clients informed on topics related to tax appeal opportunities; land Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

trusts; zoning variances; probate; wills; trusts and even business entity formation and maintenance. Meanwhile, back at the office and out in the field with clients, Theresa and her attorneys enjoy making a positive difference in people’s lives. “I’m putting my blood, sweat and tears into creating a positive experience for each client,” she says. “Even when it’s a negative situation like a short sale, I like that we help people.” The firm takes no retainers or upfront fees from clients, whether on short sales or traditional sales. It’s feel-good work, she says, knowing that she only gets paid if they are able to close a deal for a client. “We give our all and no one is ever upset.” Top Agent Magazine


Theresa Panzica was 2016 Who’s Who for Chicago Agent magazine for real estate professionals. Theresa’s office typically is working on 300 short sales and 70 to 80 traditional sales at any given time. And while she has no plans to step back from short sales, she is working toward increasing her ratio of with traditional sales. Her husband, a new attorney, recently joined the office; they hope to add a suburban location in the near future. Clients in every transaction appreciate that Theresa and her attorneys are knowledgeable, responsive and make them feel like family. “I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s second nature to me,” Top Agent Magazine

says Theresa, who brings her three young daughters to work with her just as her dad did with her. “My daughters started coming in at a much younger age than I did!” Theresa continually derives motivation from her family and cherishes their quality time together. An Italian and a true Chicagoan, when not working she enjoys exploring the city and its outer reaches with her husband and kids. When at home, they love cooking Italian recipes handed down from her mom and grandmother. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


To learn more about THERESA PANZICA, visit panzicalawoffice.com, email contracts@panzicalawoffice.com or call 773.539.5970 www.

• Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association • Chicago Bar Association • Illinois State Bar Association • Justinian Society of Lawyers of Illinois • National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Copyright Top Agent Magazine 12

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Top 4 Ways to Juice Up Your Open House Strategy by Rob Flitton

I go to open houses, but not just because of my profession or interest in architecture and interior design. I go to open houses to see how effective real estate agents are at selling. It has been rather eyeopening because there is very little selling going on—the average open house strategy needs work.

1.Build a Dynamic Open House Booklet After they leave, open house visitors will discard a one-page for-sale info sheet naming a home’s features. But they will keep, and possibly use, a 6 or 8 page booklet loaded with interesting items that directly solve problems for them.

Perhaps “selling” is considered an outdated skill, or that it feels socially awkward for agents to be regarded as a salesperson. But if you’re a real estate agent, you are a salesperson. At most of the open houses I go, I see money floating out the door every time a visitor leaves because of the agent’s inability or refusal to sell.

It will require some strategic thought to nail the content and design, but perhaps include: (i) descriptives about the benefits of buying the property you’re showing, and not just data, (ii) compelling reasons why they should consider working with you along with a web link to search for listings on your website, (iii) a web link telling them how to get a prompt, written estimate on the value of their home, or to find out what other homes in their neighborhood sold for, (iv) possible discounts on real estate related services—maybe a reduction in fees from your preferred lender, or a reduced home inspection price, (v) possible discounts on non real estate related items.

An open house is a lucrative opportunity to find buyer or seller clients –selling the listing itself may also be the goal, but an agent should not pass up this chance. There are 4 distinct strategies an agent can immediately employ to juice up their open houses and get awesome leads. Top Agent Magazine

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If you combine this dynamic booklet with properly trained closing language, as touched upon below, it is something the average person will either keep and use or pass along to someone they know. A well designed booklet can bring you a lot of business.

data—and they are void of interesting or problem-solving information.

2.Work The Neighborhood A few days prior to your open house, find the names and addresses (from tax records—or elsewhere) of, say, 20 homes in each direction from the Pre-internet, both open houses for open house. resale listings, and model homes for new construction, relied on strategic For the cost of postage and some collateral materials (handouts). Vis- sweat-equity, mail a postcard to these itors were ostensibly looking at sev- 80 homeowners inviting them to the eral competitors at the same time, so open house and offering something collateral materials had to have the unique and compelling—perhaps a power to bring them back to your drawing or giveaway for those willing site—a great call to action, eye- to provide their opinion on the asking catching color, identification of the price of the home (and the entry card, of course, will net you their email benefits of buying your product. address and phone number). People Yet at open houses today, I primarily are generally nosy and like to be see bland information sheets dis- validated, so asking for their opinion cussing features—the listing price, on something happening in their own the square footage, and the standard neighborhood is very appealing. 14

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And, it is best to mail them again right after the open house to talk about what happened. “From our Saturday open house, we discovered 3 qualified and eager buyers that are now looking for a home in this neighborhood—if you would like to know what your home is worth for these buyers to consider, please give me a call.”

dynamic booklet and say: “Please enjoy our open house, and am hoping you’ll do me a favor. This booklet is loaded with great information about, and if you become interested at some point in buying or selling, would you please call and give me the opportunity to earn your business? Or if you happen to know someone now who is looking now, would you kindly pass this booklet onto them?”

Also, adding on door-knocking or If they reply with a “don’t know” type flyer-hanging to your mailings boosts of answer this usually means they are your neighborhood equity even more. indeed looking but are just not ready yet to reveal this to you, so you will 3.Close and Qualify need to work to make a connection. Engage every single visitor in closing Good consultative sales connections dialogue, because every single visitor are made when you can make them feel you’re not pushy and are able to is there for a reason. directly resolve their problem. While smiling, with shoulders erect, and maintaining suitable distance, A “yes” type of response is great, but look them in the eye and offer your you should take the qualifying step of handshake while stating your full asking them if they’re working with another agent. If they are, the dyname and company—and then ask: namic booklet comes in handy again: “Are you out looking to buy a home “If for any reason your agent is today?” unavailable to show you homes, I can be reached at the phone number in There are 4 categories of answers, this booklet. Plus, it contains fantastic and any answer they provide is an resources for searching online and a opportunity to get to the marrow of discount on financing.” what they need. There are “nos”, “don’t knows,” “yeses,” and “other.” If you can’t get a sandwich, get a bite. If they are definitive about looking, If they reply with a “no” variety of and don’t have an agent, then they are answer, then you can hand them your available for you to work with and Top Agent Magazine

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here again you need the right type of closing and qualifying dialogue. The goal here is to evoke from them their home-buying goals so that you can match and narrow down to a single opportunity. It’s a mistake to present multiple listings to a buyer at once. Ask broad questions and then narrowing questions followed up by “if-then” questions. Example: “What types of functions do you want in your new home, or activities near your neighborhood?” Followed by something like, “is the number or size of bedrooms important to you?” Followed by, “so if I can show you the kind of home we just described, are you ready to go see it and possibly make an offer?”

4.Have Interactive Tech Tools Onsite It is the worst feeling to engage someone as a potential client at an open house and then have no tools available to solve their problem— don’t assume they aren’t going to want to do business right away. If you’re engaging a potential buyer, you better be able to instantly gratify their desire to see viable homes online so internet access and an easily view-able screen are necessary. They may ask you to go see other homes in-person, so you need to have a coagent available to either show them those homes, or spell you off as host while you do. You may be asked to write up an offer for them so you will need the tools and ability to create and e-sign documents.

Naturally, any objections or “nos” you receive in this process are just fan- When a potential listing client is in tastic opportunities to learn about their front of you, you need to be able to needs and earn a connected trust. show them recent comparable sales and may even be asked to list their The “other” thing they might tell you home and will need the tools and is that they’re not a buyer at all, but a ability to create and e-sign documents potential seller. Potential sellers often for taking that listing. go to open houses to find out how their home stacks up, but are you It happens sometimes—but it never aware what the number one reason happens if you’re not ready. they attend open houses is? Potential sellers go to open houses to Rob Flitton is a Seattle Real Estate Mardirectly or indirectly interview you, a keting specialist helping independent agents to increase their income. Email Rob potential listing agent. And they hire robflitton@gmail.com at any time or call/ confident, prepared professionals. text him at 206-612-2314. 16

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BRIAN EMMERICH Brian Emmerich is a realtor that truly cares more about his clients than he does about himself. He always has their best interest at heart and is there to guide them every step of the way through the home buying or selling process. This has developed a strong business for him over his 12-year real estate career and given him a 75 percent repeat and referral business. “The reason my clients keep coming back and referring me is because they realize it, they know it, and it comes across,” he says. Emmerich has really carved a niche for himself with seniors that are looking to sell their home and move to the next stage of their life. He is literally an expert in this area of real estate, earning himself the designation of Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and serving as a member of the Senior Service Task Force with the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS. “It’s given me heads up on how to work with seniors and families in the transitional phase,” he says. This delicate time in a senior’s life can often have them open to scams and or advice from family members that are overwhelmed by the process, and at the same time, unaware of market changes or the new options now available to seniors. Emmerich has the experience and demeanor to help seniors during this challenging time and offers them the support they need to sell their home. He also offers a bevy of resources to his senior clients to help them pack, declutter or even move. While seniors are a big part of Emmerich’s business, it’s not the only client he takes on as he deals with plenty of firsttime homebuyers and buyers with a variety of budget ranges. Primarily serving the Northwest Suburban Chicagoland area as part of The Schwabe Group, he offers his client a unique perspective with a conservative financial background. Prior to joining the real estate industry, he worked as a controller and then in industrial sales, seeing real estate as an industry that couldn’t be outsourced like his other professions. Moving to Coldwell Banker and then to the Schwabe team, Emmerich is the specialist on the team for the downtown Chicago market, an area he feels at home in and knows well. No matter the client, he is sure to make them feel at ease and give them the support they need to make the right home buying decision for them. “I like to keep people well informed so they feel incredibly comfortable that they’re making the best decision possible,” he says. Top Agent Magazine

It’s easy for Emmerich to stay in touch with his clients as he runs into many of them in the community that he lives. Here, he is an active member of his church, educating attendees on the sacraments. He is also a member of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, where he has been involved with the board, and provides greatly needed blood and platelets to community residents through his own donations. When Emmerich wants to have some fun, he plans time with his wife and family. They take to local restaurants for a night out or travel to a unique and interesting city. He is also an avid reader. With business growing for Emmerich, his future plans include continuing the focus on seniors as more and more baby boomers are retiring and moving to the city that he specializes in. He wants to take the opportunity to work with more elder care attorneys as their trusted realtor, emphasizing on his ability to put his clients first.

For more information about BRIAN EMMERICH, call 847-409-1366, email homes@brianemmerich.com Copyright Top Agent Magazine 17


Developing Your Pricing Philosophy By Dirk Zeller

Ask a dozen agents to explain their home pricing philosophy, and you’ll

hear a dozen different approaches. And if the talk reveals frank responses, you’ll also learn that the most common pricing strategy is no strategy at all. Here’s my advice: Break out of the ranks by establishing and following a specific strategy for arriving at the ideal selling price for each home. Adopt the philosophy that, in real estate sales, price is king. Price trumps all other factors—including marketing approaches, home condition, market competitiveness, and sales approach. I believe that, in the end, marketing and condition of the property are controlled by the price. The alternative, advocated by many agents, most sellers, and even some sales trainers, is to emphasize marketing over pricing. Rather than working to set the ideal price, they believe success will come from optimizing the home’s condition and presentation and then marketing it with skill and savvy.

I take the opposite belief, based on years of experience working with sellers who wanted unrealistic prices for their homes and who experienced firsttime sales failures as a result. Over my sales career, I resurrected and re-listed more than 600 expired listings—nearly 75 a year. Among all those transactions, I never met an owner with an expired listing who thought that an unreasonable price had anything to do with the home’s failure to sell. They all blamed the previous Copyright Top Agent Magazine 18

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agent and that person’s approach to marketing. Each sought some magic marketing strategy to change the reality of the law of supply and demand. There is a magic strategy: Price the home correctly. Price is the only factor that can overcome sales obstacles, compensate for a home’s deficiencies, and motivate a purchaser even if the condition of the property and your marketing approach is less than perfect. Getting the listing at any cost Does this scenario sound familiar? An agent (usually a newer agent) is short on business or maybe even desperate for the chance to stake a sign in someone’s yard. The agent wants a listing at any price – even if the chance Top Agent Magazine

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to seal a deal erodes the likelihood of selling the property. To gain a seller’s nod of approval, the agent makes a flatteringly high pricing recommendation, throwing out a number the client wants to hear and then hoping something good will result from the bad situation. I can think of few examples, if any, where this philosophy works. Hope isn’t a successful pricing strategy. Worse, the please-the-client mindset is a hard one to abandon. Agents who achieve listings with unrealistic prices find it hard to later counsel their clients honestly.

If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! The pitfalls of a “please the buyer” approach are many and significant. By overpricing, you can practically count on a reduction in your productivity, profitability, and salability, and here’s why: It’s impossible to keep your productivity high when your time is spent in conversations with an unsuccessful seller who lacks motivation to take corrective action. The seller’s negativity, concerns, and phone calls will only increase with each week or month the house remains on the market. 20

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As time goes on, you’ll devote more and more time unsuccessfully trying to create a sale not only for your seller but also for yourself. This will pull you away from activities that are more likely to deliver income. The ensuing frustration will de-motivate you and stunt your ability to secure better appointments that create other income opportunities. An unsold, overpriced listing negatively impacts your profitability because it costs you time and money to service while it delivers no revenue to your business. And the situation only gets worse the longer the listing languishes on the market. You’ll end up deducting the expenses of this in-limbo listing from the proceeds generated by any revenue-producing deals you manage to close in the meantime, reducing your net profit and business success. Unsold homes that linger on the market seriously diminish your salability, which is the term that describes your sales success track. Your salability is based on such key statistics as your average ratio of listing price compared to sale price and the average number of days your listings are on the market. Obviously, these statistics, which prospects rely on when choosing one agent over another, can be crushed by a “get the listings at any cost” philosophy. They’re also harmed by the “start high and reduce later” tactic. If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President and CEO of Real Estate Champions. Copyright© 2014, Dirk Zeller. All rights reserved.

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5 Steps to Achieve Long Term Success as a Real Estate Agent Real Estate can have a reputation as an industry with a high turnover as far as agents go. Being a ‘people person’ with an entrepreneurial spirit is a great start, but what some fail to realize when starting out is that this is a business. So if you’re in it for the long haul, you need to treat it that way. Here are some key steps you need to take to have your own successful real estate business.

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FIND A MENTOR

Once you get your license and hang your sign at a Brokerage, you’ll find that you’re pretty much on your own. That’s why it’s a good idea for new agents to find a large Brokerage that offers in-house training and mentorship or a boutique brokerage that has more seasoned agents who are eager to take a new agent under their wing. Being able to shadow a more experienced agent is invaluable and allows you to mirror what you’ve seen and run through the numerous scenarios that will arise when you are representing a client.

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CONTINUOUS TRAINING

This is a business that is constantly changing, so it’s smart to always stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technological innovations and systems. There are even numerous online resources, where you can keep up on your trade, such as blogs by top producing agents that are a treasure trove of information. A confident agent with an in-depth knowledge of the business is one that easily earns the trust of their client, leading to repeat and referral business, which will be the bread and butter of your business.

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BUILD A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE

Yes, referrals are the basis of your business, but building a strong online presence and marketing yourself to new clients is also important, especially before you’ve built up a strong referral base. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media tools are great way to get leads both for your listings and for yourself. It’s even a good idea to buy several domain names when you start, so that when you’re ready to build a website, you can ensure you have the names you want. Obviously the internet is also a great resource to find leads. Before you find a niche for yourself, it’s important to take advantage of every avenue there is. A lot of successful agents started off doing things no one else wanted to take on like foreclosures, expired listings or lower priced homes. But as you’ll find out, helping those who need it most is a great way to build a loyal client base, that will not only come back to you when they are ready to sell or buy again, but will be your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to referring you to friends and family.

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BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION

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SET GOALS

One thing you’ll find in this business is that doing a lot of work up top, will lead to a more successful outcome down the road. That goes for marketing plans for your listings, as well as your business as a whole. It might not be the fun part, but it will allow you to one day focus on what you do best, dealing with your clients. Set up your CRM and the other systems you want to use from the get go. Getting these things established before you’re hopefully a busy agent is the best time to really learn them and decide what’s best for you.

Once you build a strong foundation and are establishing your client base, it’s important to continually set goals that help you implement your business strategy. You can even invest in a real estate coach if you need someone to hold you accountable. It’s also important to constantly reevaluate what you’re doing. Set up a monthly audit, where you go over what is and what isn’t working. As we mentioned above, this is a fluid business and things are constantly changing, the same can be said of your business. What worked a year ago, might be losing you money as your business grows.

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Chicago 3-19-17  

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