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TEXAS EDITION

4 Qualities of Exceptional Employees

How to Answer the Inevitable Question:

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU?

1 Billion-Plus Reasons Why You Should be Active on Facebook

COVER STORY

FEATURED AGENTS

LISA BIDDLE CRISTINA EDLIN RICHARD PARR JULIE SCHUCHART

Deborah DeBona


TEXAS EDITION

JULIE SCHUCHART

LISA BIDDLE

RICHARD PARR

How did Julie Schuchart become a rising star

When

to estate stay in touch, including phone calls to For Richard Parr real is in the genes. “I and serving their needs. And of course in real estate in Brazos County? A native work 15 17 23 laugh. Real catch up, inviting my clients to lunch or fun20 of being able to make people am actually part of a real estate family,” he says. Bryan-College Station, Julie worked at A&M She et ® and outa personal notes and “My mom has beenevents, a Realtor forsending about over serious - you’re making the biggest sale for fifteen years where she ran a program title and phone, even when I don’t of ea A strong background in thechase little more than 40 Christmas years now and she brought of your life! - but I think it’s impo cards.” certifying secondary school teachers. At the escrow world has providedalso an keep idealit fun.” and I like getting to prope meet me into the business to help her and see if it was same time, she worked part-time for the A&M well. something I wantedAnother to get into. It turned out to foundation for Cristina distinct advantage that Lisa offers Edlin to deliver The ability to help people Athletic Department where she supervised Real most on hs estate also offers Richard a chance be something I really, enjoy very client especially like first-time herreally clients is and her I’m expertise in happiness marketing inandways that the looked Founder’s Suitehome at Kyle Field, all while follow back to his community. “I work inalw a passionate about. I’ve never back.” buyers or sellers don’t expect owning a home would finance, something through her ® raising children she as to a gained single finally tivity that includes the area where I graduate receivemom. fromShe their REALTORS . manydecided years intothe corporate world. really follow her goal of “Ibecoming prope “I give back to almi That passion inspires Richard to work hard and That’s because, in additiona school,” to havinghe says. Helping sellers, shemy says, understand the market. I know how to prothrough donations and sponsoring even tirelessly for his clients real in theestate Southeast agentHousand studied for and received prope deep knowledge of the assorted mix of or estate sale represents a mote price properties region. “I’m willing toand put inEDLIN theinthe time and worked in the “I local school her license 2016. She was invited tosowork sites, factors incorrectly, her Corpus Christidad market, story. walk themsystem carefu LISA ton BIDDLE CRISTINA RICHARD PARR JULIE SCHUCHART that they don’t stay on the market for very years,dream which part of why it’s so important for effort for my clients,” hefor says.TM5 “OneProperties—which client I worked with for Cristina fully understands the is nuances professional photographer was her theme T involved your name out to the netw comm two years until we found the right home forshe them. Everyone long.brokerage—and I get professional photos, and Icontracts useback. a lotBeing ofjoined real estate and thatgetsing soon’ marketing, up with them andshares but it’s more I believe have a has different needs,of and I try toincluding staya attuned to those needs. video, ‘just listed’ and expertise with her clients. Shethat. then hones we in on the soon had thriving business. In‘coming her first six important than What be of service to the communities that shaped us.” main thing is that there to assist them in finding the social videos. AllIofam my listings are published on every en years in the business, Lisa is one of the most Thesoon’ media marketing and“Whe spec months, she did an impressive $1.5 million in home platform. for them, not just the first one wedoing come title across. I try and take approach to while my kids home’s neighborhood. “I spent almost 20 years and and in demand REALTORS® working in the rightmedia sales, and ina comprehensive 2018 she closed overescrow $4 million tellWiw He continues: go out advertises to dinner with my mom there to offerwere guidance, toand answer questions and to estate young made the TM5 switch to real two“Iyears in fishing magaau my listings that gets me“At great results.” Dallas/Fort Worth market, serving Anna, Melissa, I’m marketing in transactions. I’ve had almost great sales mentoring with the can see them light once a week, and almost every time someone always be available.” ago,” broker says Cristina, who has lived the busitioners and fisherman wh y, Plano, Frisco, Van Alstyne and the surrounding and thea Keller mentorWilliams team. Iagent havelives a passion forinthe community, they touched comes up and talks to us. Julie She’s an so Corpus Christi, TX, area for years. “It was an ideal transition.” those properties is actively involved in her community and gives back in orth Texas. She leads a small team, the Lisa Bid- ThatLisa shebrings says with her characteristic enthusiasm. She now each yea in the community for 40food years,drive and he worke availability is partness!” of what Richard’s clients estate Nearly all of her business, she explains, comes via repeat or referseveral She’s serves on Agentand Leadership CounGroup, that includes a buyers agent, an assistant coming serves Brazos County allown surrounding counties. raise up mo educator, so there are people Festival who havetogrown backways. to work with him, andthereferring their ral clients, a statistic that highlights Cristina’s dedicated service. It helps that Cristina lives cil at her Keller Williams office, she’s also on the keting person. At least half of Lisa’s business is friends other worthy community who have always known them. Inonpr see th and colleagues to him. “65% of my business is Board ers; she knows the mindse of Directors local Chamber of“That’s Commerce, well as comes d referral, something she credits to her personal repeat it’s why I’m so from dedicated to thiscommunity area.” and referralatatthe this point,” he says. Already, the majority of because Julie’sasbusiness refermembe Given her proficiency in title and escrow, she frequently works “We like fishing and we sp in constant with my clients. Inneighborhood. this day and ageShe ralsBoard from past clients. What keeps her also clients eager to sing her culties. Julie’s husb on contact the HOA in her to sales. “I truly become friends with my clients I’m serving with clients who are dealing withon estate properties orgoals thosefor with out inmight a boat,” says Cristin Richard’s the future of seem amodest, have to on be available on online, theworking, praises toissues. their friends and “I focus on problem-solving running marath volunteersyou forcomplex Meals Wheels. When shefamily? isnt know I have their best interests at heart when of technology title “Title and escrow officers have toofknow friends onanyone floatingwho cabins actually some the biggest goals love phone, via text message. You need to respond in a reasonand coming up with solutions,” she says. “I run to the noise. with him to races to she loves to spend time with her three grandchildren, as well k with me. I offer them an unsurpassed level of the contract,” she says. “I know what every section means and I to get out and have no cell community can have. “I plan to continue working as able amount of time. My phone is always in my pocket or there is an issue, I like to meet it head on. If there’s a probfree time, she loves as garden anddon’t read.Ifjust She also recently took up golf. cation, which is so important in this business. I boxes or initial each sectionalways… without fully under- every barbecue and fun.” andcan enjoying of have it,”homes. Richard right by me at my desk.”lem,check I work to figure to solve it so we get to the minute renovating o all texts, always answer my phone, and answer standing it.” Cristina ensuresout herhow clients are“But fully aware of every my biggest goal is to keep meeting wonderf table,toand make sure everyone is throughout the Lisa wouldisn’t like toclosing continue grow team, thehappy ons as quickly as possible. I never want my client Being detail when signing contracts. “I’m topeople help my seller to dream the fu in touch a burden for Richard - it’sher part of able thewith and put know them intoAstheCristina homes looks of their process.” Staying in touch with past clients comes naturally Recently Julie has what they’re going to have to do and help them work through in they the community, explicit purpose of being able to help more people. “I treat e their needs aren’t my top priority.” joy of real estate. “The thing I love the most is creating rela- here to provide them thement service deserve the to any Julie. become birthday and Christowna home renovatio getting issues resolved,” she “There’s possibility that my clients fairly and honestly, and myfriends, goalexplains. issend always tionships with people,” he says. “I“We love meeting new people encetotheycards can trust.” mas cards, andincall each to say, “Hey, goal is who to receive he new agents are gett n’t just build strong relationships though, she help them get to the next stage their lifeother as smoothly as how is everything going?’” with Julie, her ravetimes, that she’s broker TM5, anp Bywhat putting people ease during emotional orclients confusing exceeded my at goals in the possible. I love I do. IAfter getattoworking meet new people, and I oritizes maintaining those relationship long after honest, personable, genuine and that— she their gives them confidence. At least asincredibly important professional. as that, Cris- “I’m solo.”worthy Given goals her focus on get to help make real estate dreams come true!” e transaction. “I do a lot of old school things tina adds, is the thatand shethey makes herself that,” readilyshe available. on more work as a solo a realistic withfact them, appreciate says. the industry—she’s “Some people come to me after working with agents that didn’t service she provides the s answer their phones or were always on vacation,” she says. “I may take some pressure of wish I could always be on vacation, but I’m not! I answer my helping clients the way I li

uccessful 20 year career in Cor7 merica, Lisa Biddle was impacted izing and considering retirement, unplanned event changed her mpletely. “My husband got a job in an for three years, and I decided I do something to keep myself busy. ays been interested in real estate, my license and initially got into it a hobby. I was mostly helping out at I knew, butDEBORAH after awhile, I realDEBONA oyed it so much, that I made a full er out of it. I just love it!”

CRISTINA EDLIN

CONTENTS

4) 1 BILLION-PLUS REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE ACTIVE ON FACEBOOK

18) HOW TO ANSWER THE INEVITABLE QUESTION: WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE YOU?

13) 5 SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES REAL ESTATE AGENTS MUST AVOID

21) 4 QUALITIES OF EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYEES

Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068

To find out more about Richard Parr,

visit his website at coldwellbankerhomes.com/tx/houston/agent/richard-parr/aid_95379,

mag@topagentmagazine.com | www.topagentmagazine.com call him at (281) 300-0175 or email him at rbparr@cbunited.com www.

No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent To learn more by about Biddle call 972-333-0301, Magazine is published Feature Lisa Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published Copyright Top Agent Ma To find out more about Julie Schuchart, email Julie@t materials, Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for lisabiddle.com opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. email Top lisambiddle@yahoo.com or visit call 979-571-1725, or visit tm5properties.com/agen To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com. Published in the U.S. To learn more about Cristina Edlin, visit cedlin www.

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http://

go to her Facebook page, email tinaedlin@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/tinaedlin

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1 Billion-Plus Reasons Why You Should Be Active on Facebook By Bubba Mills

The number is staggering and potentially career ending for REALTORS® who ignore it: 1,440,000,000. That’s the total number of monthly active users on the social medium Facebook. That number alone is reason enough to use it regularly in your real estate business. But Facebook can also help turn you into the expert in your community. Just by sharing knowledge and relevant events about the community you can become the go-to source for all things local – a perfect way to capture the attention of prospective buyers. Plus, Facebook advertising also gives you tons of targeting layers like age, location, recent life events and interests. Plus, it constantly adds new targeting filters and functions that help you reach even more niche prospects who closely meet your customer criteria. Talk about pinpointing a target audience. 4

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Another Facebook real estate ad tool is Website Custom Audiences that lets you create Facebook ads that target users who have visited your website. And several apps specifically for Facebook have emerged. Consider these: • Heyo.com: Helps you host contests, showcase promotions and high-

light special offers. • Woobox.com: Let’s you easily create quizzes and other fun tools for engaging content. • Pagemodo.com: Helps you make your Facebook business page both sleek and stylish and tabs allow for easy lead capture. But the latest offering is just as cool. It’s called Facebook Live and it lets you stream live video on the internet. I recently wrote about Periscope, another live video streaming app, but when you use Facebook Live you’re automatically featured at the top of Facebook users’ news feed. What’s more, statistics show that live video is viewed more than recorded video. How can REALTORS® use Facebook Live? Open Houses: Broadcast a walk-through of a new listing

and highlight all the great features.

Webinars: Host live webinars targeted to buyers and sellers. They can sub-

mit questions just like a real-life seminar.

Real Estate Talk Show: Offer the latest news in the industry plus share lo-

cal events and your newest listings. In short, become the Lester Holt or Diane Sawyer of real estate in your town with your own “TV” show! Facebook offers these tips for using Facebook Live: Promote: Tease upcoming Facebook Live broadcasts for more viewers. Plan better: Take time to plan what you want to do in the video, whether

it’s a few key talking points or to have a few questions ready ahead of time in a Q&A, in case incoming comments slow down.

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Invest in some equipment: A shaky live stream turns off viewers so con-

sider a tripod or other stabilizing tools, especially if you’re taking viewers on a tour of an open house. And check the shot before going live.

Get the lighting right: If you’re indoors be sure you have plenty of good

lighting and avoid a lot of light directly behind you because it’ll wash you out.

Sound good: A common mistake for beginners is overlooking sound.

Consider an external microphone to make sure your viewers can actually hear you. And if the live option makes you a little nervous, you can also stream pre-recorded videos. Hey, that has worked like a charm for TV for decades. Some businesses promote their web series to “air” on Facebook Live at a certain time like TV shows. After they are streamed, Facebook Live videos function as normal Facebook videos. Some business owners believe videos may perform better if they begin as live ones. NowThis, a news company that publishes entirely on social platforms, experimented by streaming a 38-minute compilation of its favorite viral videos via Facebook Live. The stream received over 20,000 views and over 500 comments, according to Facebook’s counters. Yes, all the new-fangled internet tools, apps and options for REALTORS® can be a bit overwhelming. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll slowly be right there in the business-winning mix. E-mail me today at Article@CorcoranCoaching.com and I’ll send you more free information about how technology can help your real estate business. Copyright©, Bubba Mills. All rights reserved.

Bubba Mills is the CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching.com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international Real Estate, Mortgage, and Small Business coaching company committed to helping clients balance success in business, while building value in life. Bubba Mills is a nationally recognized inspirational and education speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. To find out more about Corcoran Consulting & Coaching, call 1-800-957-8353 or visit us at www.CorcoranCoaching.com. 6

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Deborah DeBona Top Agent Magazine

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Top Agent Deborah DeBona is based in Austin, where she serves the North Austin region under the banner of Reilly Realtors.

Deborah DeBona has always been interested in real estate. After leaving Southern California and a thriving career in the jewelry business, Texas had her eyeing a new professional path. Deciding to pursue her interests and take a leap of faith, she earned her license in 2016 and has never looked back. In the short time since, she has built a steadfast reputation for her excellent marketing and listening skills, her proven follow-through ability, and a personal touch. 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Today, Deborah is based in Austin, where she serves the North Austin region under the banner of Reilly Realtors. There, she has built a substantial book of business through repeat and referral clientele, amounting to more than 50% of her client share. What’s more, she has developed close ties with area builders who rely on her for her proactive listing approach and natural knack for client relationships. In fact, building an organic connection with clients is one of Deborah’s chief priorities. Likewise, she cites communication, client education and an authentic enthusiasm for her new career as some of the key drivers of her swift success thus far. “I had worked in retail sales for a long time, so I understand the importance of customer service and I focus on professionalism with my clients’ best interests above all,” she says. “It’s all about them, so I make sure to listen, I always pick up the phone, and my cliTop Agent Magazine


ents know they’re never on the backburner. My goal is to treat them as if they’re my only clients.” When she moved to the Austin area, Deborah soon aligned with a local builder who had more than twenty listings languishing on listing services, out of date and unsold. Inspired by a challenge, Deborah decided to pitch her Top Agent Magazine

own proactive approach and in short order, almost all of those properties were swept off the market. “I really considered that a huge win,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to work with builders, developers, home buyers, home sellers and investors. I’ve been through the building process myself and I love the process.” As part of her larger listing strategy, Deborah incorporates the talents 9 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


of stagers, professional photographers, and necessary tradesmen. What’s more, she will unabashedly coach clients through staging, repairs, and fix-ups that will yield the highest returns in the sale process, and often lends a helping hand throughout. Likewise, her strategic open houses lure local buzz. Regardless of whether she is working with buyers or sellers, Deborah’s focus remains squarely on the Copyright Top Agent Magazine 10

client at the heart of every transaction. “You have to find common ground, develop a rapport, and build a relationship from there,” she says. “It’s important to develop trust, I am more than just their real estate agent. In the end, my clients and I often maintain a friendship after the sale has closed.” They know they can call me for anything and they know their referrals are safe in my hands. Top Agent Magazine


Beyond the office, Deborah gives back through her work with the local Chamber of Commerce. She is also a supporter of a non-profit, Hope House. In her free hours, she most enjoys time spent with family and loved ones, her two Havanese dogs Hampton and Jacob, entertaining, travel, yachting, golf, paddle boarding, skiing and sampling Austin’s world class restaurant scene. As for the future of her business, Deborah intends to continue her steady upward trajectory. For now, she considers what has she come to appreciate most about her second Top Agent Magazine

career thus far, “I have been fortunate to have had two careers in my life that I love equally jewelry and real estate both require champagne.” she laughs. “I love that every day is different and I love that sense of anticipation. It is so rewarding to accomplish that big win of helping clients meet their goals. It keeps things exciting and I relish the excitement that every day brings.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11


To learn more about Deborah DeBona email Deborah@ReillyRealtors.com, visit DeborahSellsAustin.com, or call (512) 790 – 1550 www.

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SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES

Real Estate Agents Must Avoid There is perhaps no greater marketing tool for agents these days than having a large presence on social media, but there is more to social media marketing than just opening an account and gaining followers. A lot of agents forget the social part of social media. It’s all about engagement, but it needs to be the right kind of engagement. This can often be the first impression potential clients or industry peers have of you, so make it count. There is no second chance to make a first impression, and that is especially true for real estate agents. Here’s just a few things you want to avoid.

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1 Using it to Vent

Social Media is a great place to complain and commiserate about things, but save that for your personal page. A real estate transaction is already a stressful ordeal, the last thing anyone wants is someone who seems like they’ll bring a negative energy to the process. Even worse? Bad mouthing other Realtors® or listings. You’re selling yourself and your skills, so don’t sell anything that shows you in a bad light. Much like marketing a property, everything you put out should be professional and inviting.

2

Lack of Consistent Branding

Yes, social media is about social engagement, but it’s also about creating brand recognition. While you don’t want it to be purely promotional, you are running a business, so create a consistent branding across all social media platforms. If you can afford a professional graphic designer to help you out with this, that’s great. But at the very least, have the same profile pic, cover image and highly visible contact information, across the board. And don’t forget to share links to your other accounts, some people prefer different social media applications.

3Not Posting Enough

It’s good to create a schedule of how many times you’ll be posting per day and to pick times when you might have the most engagement. Don’t over do it, but three posts a day at the right time, tends to be a good goal. There are numerous tools on Facebook, for example, that 14

can let you see when interactions are the highest. Stick to your schedule and adjust accordingly. It’s also important to not just post your listings. Be a resource for people who follow your page. Post community events, or other informative articles that are relevant to home ownership. Be a page they want to follow even when they aren’t buying or selling a property. They’ll remember you when the time comes.

4

Not interacting With Your Followers

It’s called social media for a reason. The more you engage with your followers, the more they see you as a real person, and not just a marketing tool. Not only do you get to know your past clients and potential clients, on Facebook, engagement actually will make your posts seen by more people. So it’s a win/win.

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Not Sharing or Linking to Others

It might not seem like a good idea to not promote the blogs, pages or listings of other people, but it’s not only an excellent way to build goodwill, it will also increase your own presence when they reciprocate. So make a point to share posts and links for local businesses and even the blogs of your peers, if it’s a post that offers valuable insight into an expertise you don’t have. That will encourage them to share your posts and even your listings, which will increase your potential buyer pool. This is another incentive to create your own blog. Unique informative content is always of value, and more likely to be shared than promotional links.

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LISA BIDDLE After a successful 20 year career in Corporate America, Lisa Biddle was impacted by downsizing and considering retirement, when an unplanned event changed her course completely. “My husband got a job in Afghanistan for three years, and I decided I needed to do something to keep myself busy. I had always been interested in real estate, so I got my license and initially got into it almost as a hobby. I was mostly helping out people that I knew, but after awhile, I realized I enjoyed it so much, that I made a full time career out of it. I just love it!” After seven years in the business, Lisa is one of the most respected and in demand REALTORS® working in the lucrative Dallas/Fort Worth market, serving Anna, Melissa, McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Van Alstyne and the surrounding areas in North Texas. She leads a small team, the Lisa Biddle Realty Group, that includes a buyers agent, an assistant and a marketing person. At least half of Lisa’s business is repeat and referral, something she credits to her personal approach to sales. “I truly become friends with my clients and they know I have their best interests at heart when they work with me. I offer them an unsurpassed level of communication, which is so important in this business. I respond to all texts, always answer my phone, and answer all questions as quickly as possible. I never want my client to feel like their needs aren’t my top priority.” Lisa doesn’t just build strong relationships though, she really prioritizes maintaining those relationship long after the active transaction. “I do a lot of old school things

to stay in touch, including phone calls to catch up, inviting my clients to lunch or fun events, and sending out personal notes and Christmas cards.” Another distinct advantage that Lisa offers her clients is her expertise in marketing and finance, something she gained through her many years in the corporate world. “I really understand the market. I know how to promote and price the properties correctly, so that they don’t stay on the market for very long. I get professional photos, and I use a lot of video, including ‘just listed’ and ‘coming soon’ videos. All of my listings are published on every social media platform. I try and take a comprehensive approach to marketing my listings that gets me great results.” Lisa is actively involved in her community and gives back in several ways. She’s serves on the Agent Leadership Council at her Keller Williams office, she’s also on the Board of Directors at the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on the HOA Board in her neighborhood. She also volunteers for Meals on Wheels. When she isnt working, she loves to spend time with her three grandchildren, as well as garden and read. She also recently took up golf. Lisa would like to continue to grow her team, with the explicit purpose of being able to help more people. “I treat my clients fairly and honestly, and my goal is always to help them get to the next stage in their life as smoothly as possible. I love what I do. I get to meet new people, and I get to help make their real estate dreams come true!”

To learn more about Lisa Biddle call 972-333-0301, email lisambiddle@yahoo.com or visit lisabiddle.com Top Agent Magazine

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Laughs!

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CRISTINA EDLIN A strong background in the title and escrow world has provided an ideal foundation for Cristina Edlin to deliver client happiness in ways that most home buyers or sellers don’t expect to receive from their REALTORS®. That’s because, in addition to having deep knowledge of the assorted mix of factors in her Corpus Christi market, Cristina fully understands the nuances of real estate contracts and shares that expertise with her clients. “I spent almost 20 years doing title and escrow while my kids were young and made the switch to real estate sales two years ago,” says Cristina, a Keller Williams agent who has lived in the Corpus Christi, TX, area for years. “It was an ideal transition.” Nearly all of her business, she explains, comes via repeat or referral clients, a statistic that highlights Cristina’s dedicated service. Given her proficiency in title and escrow, she frequently works with clients who are dealing with estate properties or those with complex title issues. “Title and escrow officers have to know the contract,” she says. “I know what every section means and I don’t just check boxes or initial each section without fully understanding it.” Cristina ensures her clients are fully aware of every detail when signing contracts. “I’m able to help my seller know what they’re going to have to do and help them work through getting any issues resolved,” she explains. By putting people at ease during emotional or confusing times, she gives them confidence. At least as important as that, Cristina adds, is the fact that she makes herself readily available. “Some people come to me after working with agents that didn’t answer their phones or were always on vacation,” she says. “I wish I could always be on vacation, but I’m not! I answer my

phone, even when I don’t know who’s calling; I’m approachable and I like getting to meet so many people through real estate.” The ability to help people is the greatest reward of her career. “I especially like first-time homebuyers or people who thought that owning a home would always be out of reach for them.” Helping sellers, she says, is equally gratifying. For many, a home or estate sale represents a turning point in a person’s or family’s story. “I walk them carefully through every step. I always hire a professional photographer and drum up excitement with ‘coming soon’ marketing, networking with other agents and friends.” She then hones in on the ideal buyers through targeted social media marketing and specialized advertising depending on the home’s neighborhood. With Canal area homes, for example, she advertises in fishing magazines and newspapers that reach vacationers and fisherman who are most likely to be interested in those properties It helps that Cristina lives the life of many of her buyers and sellers; she knows the mindset of those who are buying or selling. “We like fishing and we spend any free time, weather permitting, out in a boat,” says Cristina. She and her family enjoy time with friends on floating cabins whenever they can escape. “It’s great to get out and have no cell service for a night or two and just fish, barbecue and have fun.” As Cristina looks to the future of her business and her involvement in the community, she is considering forming a team. “There’s a possibility that I may build a team in 2019 with some new agents who are getting licensed,” she says. “I met and exceeded my goals in the past year and felt the pressure of being solo.” Given her focus on each client’s needs, she won’t take on more work as a solo agent if doing so might jeopardize the service she provides the service she provides. “Having a team may take some pressure off of me and allow me to guide them in helping clients the way I like to.”

To learn more about Cristina Edlin, visit cedlin.kw.com or go to her Facebook page, email tinaedlin@gmail.com or call 361.944.8462 http://

https://www.facebook.com/tinaedlin

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How to Answer the Inevitable Question:

Why Should I Choose You? In some markets, a real estate agent is competing against thousands of other individuals and teams. There are only so many bells and whistles—so many buzz words you can throw at prospective clients. To a buyer or seller who has interviewed several other agents already, all of it begins to blend together and every realtor sounds as though they’re reading off the same script. Your clients want to know why they should choose you. They want to know what makes you different. It’s highly likely they’ll even 18

ask you this question directly in your initial interview, but as an agent, you might have a hard time coming up with a response that either you or your clients are truly satisfied with. To answer your client’s why you must go back to your own why. WHAT SKILLS DO YOU HAVE THAT OTHERS DON’T? Just because there are other agents in your area doesn’t mean those agents have the

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same skills that you do. We each bring our own backgrounds and experiences to the table. What comes naturally to you? Maybe it’s your negotiating skills or your ability to connect people that sets you apart from the rest. WHAT PART OF THE BUSINESS DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST? There are skills and then there are passions. In real estate, there’s so much to enjoy. There’s the opportunity to match a family with the right home and the sense of safety and comfort that brings their loved ones. There’s the ability to give someone a sense of financial security by advocating and negotiating on their behalf. And then there’s the houses and neighborhoods themselves— the architecture, history, and community. WHAT ARE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS? When you look at your client list and the portfolio of work that you’ve built over the years, what are you most proud of? Sure, there are financial rewards, but there are also other accomplishments that your prospective clients will likely be eager to hear about, such as happy client testimonials, a thriving referral business, volunteer and charity work, or even how you lift and support your own team. Everyone needs money, but those other accomplishments and how you speak about them show your client what kind of person Top Agent Magazine

you are and if that’s the type of person they want to work with. WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS? Real estate might seem like your entire world at times, but you also have a life outside of work. Maybe you like music or traveling or being outdoors. The best part about being a realtor is that there are often ways you can thread these interests into your work, like hosting client functions and events. WHAT DOES YOUR CLIENT CARE ABOUT THE MOST? Let’s face it, your clients likely care the most about only a few things: saving or making the most money, doing it as soon as possible, and making sure that doing so isn’t too stressful. Your response to your client’s question—why should I choose you?— should address these concerns. Maybe you excel at creating systems that make the selling process efficient and profitable for your client. Or maybe you excel at providing a personalized experience for homebuyers. Try out a few responses. You might even start with a template: My [skills or passions] helps me [provide this service] because I can [achieve my client’s goal]. Like most things in life, coming up with a compelling and concise response for why clients should hire you will take time and practice.

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RICHARD PARR For Richard Parr real estate is in the genes. “I am actually part of a real estate family,” he says. “My mom has been a Realtor® for about over a little more than 40 years now and she brought me into the business to help her and see if it was something I wanted to get into. It turned out to be something I really, really enjoy and I’m very passionate about. I’ve never looked back.” That passion inspires Richard to work hard and tirelessly for his clients in the Southeast Houston region. “I’m willing to put in the time and effort for my clients,” he says. “One client I worked with for two years until we found the right home for them. Everyone has different needs, and I try to stay attuned to those needs. The main thing is that I am there to assist them in finding the right home for them, not just the first one we come across. I’m there to offer guidance, to answer questions and to always be available.” That availability is part of what brings Richard’s clients coming back to work with him, and referring their own friends and colleagues to him. “65% of my business is repeat and referral at this point,” he says. “That’s because I’m in constant contact with my clients. In this day and age of technology you have to be available on online, on the phone, via text message. You need to respond in a reasonable amount of time. My phone is always in my pocket or right by me at my desk.” Being in touch isn’t a burden for Richard - it’s part of the joy of real estate. “The thing I love the most is creating relationships with people,” he says. “I love meeting new people

and serving their needs. And of course I love being able to make people laugh. Real estate is serious - you’re making the biggest sale or purchase of your life! - but I think it’s important to also keep it fun.” Real estate also offers Richard a chance to give back to his community. “I work in a market that includes the area where I graduated high school,” he says. “I give back to my alma mater through donations and sponsoring events. My dad worked in the local school system for 38 years, which is part of why it’s so important for me to give back. Being involved gets your name out to the community, but it’s more important than that. I believe we have a duty to be of service to the communities that shaped us.” He continues: “I go out to dinner with my mom and dad almost once a week, and almost every time someone whose lives they touched comes up and talks to us. She’s sold real estate in the community for 40 years, and he worked as an educator, so there are people who have grown up in this community who have always known them. I see that, and it’s why I’m so dedicated to this area.” Richard’s goals for the future might seem modest, but are actually some of the biggest goals anyone who loves their community can have. “I plan to continue working as hard as always… and enjoying every minute of it,” Richard smiles. “But my biggest goal is to keep meeting wonderful new people and put them into the homes of their dreams. I’m here to provide them the service they deserve the experience they can trust.”

To find out more about Richard Parr, visit his website at coldwellbankerhomes.com/tx/houston/agent/richard-parr/aid_95379, call him at (281) 300-0175 or email him at rbparr@cbunited.com www.

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4 Qualities of Exceptional Employees Hiring a new employee is one of the more stressful parts of being a business owner. After all, you’re taking someone on and trusting that they’ll not only be a valuable addition to the team, but won’t do anything to hurt your business’s hard earned reputation. Sometimes a person comes in and you click right away, and other times you might be blown away by an impressive resume. But there are things you should look for that might not be as obvious at first. Employees that have the following qualities are ones you should seek out, because they will definitely be well worth the time and energy you invest in them. Top Agent Magazine

1. They have the confidence to be innovative There’s a reason people are drawn to those who think outside the box. Not only do innovations often lead to an extremely profitable business, even when that thinking doesn’t pan out, creative thinking is something that will energize your business and will motivate more employees to start taking chances. Innovative thinkers also usually have great leadership skills. Ironically, you want an employee who isn’t afraid to speak up to authority and is someone who knows how to bend the rules without breaking them. They know that

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the success of the team and business is what’s most important, as long as it’s done ethically and with respect for everyone involved.

2. They are constantly reviewing their past performance A good employee looks forward, but they also look back. They are always evaluating what worked and what didn’t work in past performances and then adjusting their plans going forward accordingly. If they are coming off a big win, they know how to capitalize on that by using the momentum and cementing in everyone’s minds the value that they add to the team. If things didn’t go as planned, they assess what they can do better next time, and they don’t get bogged down in insecurity. They take responsibility and they have confidence that they won’t repeat past mistakes. They know that failure is a temporary state, and are able to learn lessons from their mistakes, that will make them a better employee going forward. While no one wants to fail, having the confidence to try something and fail will one day let you strike gold. Someone who lets failure shut them down, leads to a dead end and will soon make them a dead weight on your team.

3. They value teamwork Even though an exceptional employee might be a rising star, they realize that success is 22

not an individual endeavor, it relies strongly on who you’re working with. Exceptional employees make sure that everyone is contributing and valued for their input. They put the interests of the company above their own, and thrive in an environment where ideas and information are shared freely. Shared success is the ultimate goal for every project. Exceptional employees have the confidence to know that even when they’re not singled out for praise, they’re an irreplaceable component of a larger machine.

4. They are self-motivated learners A key thing to remember is that while experience is a valuable commodity, intelligence and intellectual curiosity is usually something that can’t be taught. Yes, you might request employees get additional training or attend seminars, but exceptional employees will be seeking out educational opportunities constantly. Even if they don’t have a lot of money for weekend retreats, they will be getting books from the library, downloading audiobooks, and most importantly, taking advantage of one their greatest resources, YOU. Exceptional employees know that the way to stay ahead is to always be at the forefront of new technology and systems. They don’t see educating themselves as a burden, they actually enjoy it. They realize that everything they take in, will one day make them not only an exceptional employee, but an exceptional boss as well.

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JULIE SCHUCHART How did Julie Schuchart become a rising star in real estate in Brazos County? A native of Bryan-College Station, Julie worked at A&M for fifteen years where she ran a program certifying secondary school teachers. At the same time, she worked part-time for the A&M Athletic Department where she supervised the Founder’s Suite at Kyle Field, all while raising children as a single mom. She finally decided to follow her goal of becoming a real estate agent and studied for and received her license in 2016. She was invited to work for TM5 Properties—which was her dream brokerage—and she joined up with them and soon had a thriving business. In her first six months, she did an impressive $1.5 million in sales, and in 2018 she closed over $4 million in transactions. “At TM5 I’ve had great mentoring with the broker and the mentor team. I have a passion for the business!” she says with her characteristic enthusiasm. She now serves Brazos County and all surrounding counties. Already, the majority of Julie’s business comes from referrals from past clients. What keeps her clients eager to sing her praises to their friends and family? “I focus on problem-solving and coming up with solutions,” she says. “I run to the noise. If there is an issue, I like to meet it head on. If there’s a problem, I work to figure out how to solve it so we can get to the closing table, and make sure everyone is happy throughout the process.” Staying in touch with past clients comes naturally to Julie. “We become friends, send birthday cards and Christmas cards, and call each other to say, “Hey, how is everything going?’” After working with Julie, her clients rave that she’s honest, personable, genuine and incredibly professional. “I’m realistic with them, and they appreciate that,” she says.

When it comes to marketing listings, Julie works with clients to set a competitive price. She then has professional photographs taken of each listing, and for land and luxury properties, she hires drone photographers as well. She promotes each listing thoroughly on social media—where she has a huge following of people who appreciate her positivity—which often results in a sale before a property is even listed on the MLS. She posts properties on all the major real estate websites, her personal page, business page, and the TM5 website. What’s her favorite part of her new career? “When someone walks into a house you can tell when they fall in love,” Julie says. “You can see them light up and say, ‘Wow!’” To give back to the community, Julie and the other agents at TM5 run a large food drive each year. She’s involved in the Spirit of Texas Festival to raise money for the Boys and Girls Home and other worthy nonprofits, and she fundraises for friends and community members experiencing illness or other difficulties. Julie’s husband is a marathon runner with a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states. Julie loves to travel with him to races to support him and see new places. In her free time, she loves restoring furniture and designing and renovating homes. Recently Julie has partnered with an investor to start her own home renovation and restoration business. Her five year goal is to receive her broker’s license, become an associate broker at TM5, and grow her own team. Now those are worthy goals that—with her passion and natural talent for the industry—she’s sure to achieve!

To find out more about Julie Schuchart, email Julie@tm5properties.com, call 979-571-1725, or visit tm5properties.com/agents/julie-schuchart www.

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