By David Nielson | Boomerang Capital
As we look back at this year and pause to catch our collective breath, it may be good to take this time to reflect and consider how we can become more effective in the new year at the things we are doing. Steven R. Covey considers this the final habit in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Imagine you are going for a walk in the forest when you come upon a man sawing down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask. “I’m sawing down a tree,” he says.
“How long have you been at it?” You ask.
“Two or three hours so far,” he says, sweat dripping from his chin.
“Your saw looks dull,” you say. “Why don’t you take a break and sharpen it?”
“I can’t. I’m too busy sawing,” is his reply.
As an outsider, we could see that the process of cutting was dulling the blade. And the duller the blade, the greater the effort that is required to keep sawing. The solution, of course, was for the woodcutter to stop periodically to sharpen the saw. He was so engrossed in the situation that he couldn’t see the need to take a break and do what was necessary to make his job easier.
Habit 7 teaches us to take the time to stop and “sharpen our saw.” “Sharpening the Saw” is synonymous with “self-care” or “self-renewal.”
A few things to consider as ways to ‘sharpen your saw’ as we head into a new year.
Become a realtor.
There are quite a few beneficial reasons to become a realtor.
- Earning commissions on your deals. One obvious reason to become a realtor is to save on commissions on your deals. These savings can be significant. Profit splits between agents are common, so you could earn 3%. Buying a house for $300,000, and then doing the work and selling it later for $400,000 (this is typical for what we see in Arizona) means earning $21,000 in commissions if you’re the realtor. Given that in a typical deal like this profit earned may be as little as $50,000, this is an increase in profitability of almost 50%.
- Earning commissions on other deals. When you’re ‘in the business,’ you end up knowing lots of buyers and sellers beyond just your particular projects. Why not earn a commission for that work if you are facilitating the connections anyway?
- Networking. Along those same lines, knowing more people can be beneficial to your business. Deal flow and getting your name out there are probably the biggest reasons to do it, but realtors also end up with much deeper information regarding neighborhood (re)development plans, pricing, and general ecosphere issues (such as permitting, appraisal, title issues, etc). The more information you have, the more informed your decisions are.
- Influence. Ever wonder who discusses and impacts issues such as wholesaling, a move to digital (crypto?!), “greedy agents,” and fair housing? These topics were all discussed at the October meeting of the Arizona Department of Real Estate, which regulates and licenses brokers. As a broker, you would also become an Arizona Association of Realtors member. Through these organizations, you’ll be informed on key issues in the industry and also have a platform to have your voice heard.
- Legitimacy. This credential can add to your reputation and credibility as you work with anyone in the real estate business – not only buyers, sellers, and other realtors but really anyone, including subs. They will know that you have passed tests and have third parties that consider what you do.
The process is simple: learn the material, pass a test, and then keep up your continuing education (CE) credits. While this sounds daunting, remember that one of the reasons you are doing this is to learn (and keep up on) all of those other pieces of the puzzle, all of which will add to your business in one way, time, or another.
Get out there.
- Community events. Attend events in the general community(s) you work in and meet the people whose neighborhoods you are making better, maybe they have some additional ideas for you.
- Professional Associations. Realtors are not the only places to network and learn. In addition to the AZREIA, there is a National Real Estate Investors Association (free to AZREIA members and with some handy benefits as well). These additional professional associations can facilitate your networking, introduce you to relevant trends and relevant topics, and provide you with additional organizations for your resume.
- Online. There are many Facebook and Meetup groups, as well as online resources like Bigger Pockets, and of course the resources available at sites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, which are free and may be worth checking into from time to time. Staying on top of these online resources can help you be at the front of the wave of changes in the field, rather than being swept away by them.
Talk to me!
This isn’t meant as a commercial, but I have a lot of other resources and ideas that I’m happy to share with you on a much more personalized level. In all my years in this industry, I’ve been fortunate to have made a wide variety of connections that I’d love to share with you. Maybe we do business, maybe we don’t, but either way, we are likely to come away more informed and connected. And if it’s not me, consider taking someone else in the business to lunch just to chat and compare notes.
A word of caution as you consider these suggestions is that there really is no substitute for being involved in the process and actually doing the work. Learning from others can help identify opportunities and avoid mistakes but making and executing decisions will be what makes the most impact.
Whatever you do as you pause to catch your breath at the close of 2022, spend some time planning how you’re going to “sharpen your saw” for the upcoming year. Then start executing that plan. May 2023 be the year for working smarter not harder and may the results you get reflect that.