Our first insider, Chelsea Werner, is a senior real estate agent for Bold NY, focusing on luxury sales. Chelsea has been in the real estate industry for almost 10 years from up and coming neighborhood rentals to upscale, luxury condominiums. We’ve asked Chelsea to give us her expert perspective on the luxury market and tips that will help real estate agents close deals faster.
You can follow Chelsea Werner and stay up to date on the Manhattan luxury marketing on your Instagram, @chelcjw.
What are the best tips for an agent when selling a luxury home?
I think the best tip is really to take the time prior to listing to get all of your ducks in a row. Once a seller decides to list their apartment, they typically want to get the ball rolling quickly and go to market. As an agent, you want to make your client happy. However, you also have to set appropriate timelines and expectations to give yourself time to prep.
There is a lot that goes into listing an apartment. I am a firm believer in making sure the apartment is in peak condition—even if that delays the process a bit. Some units can benefit massively from small upgrades. For example, hiring an organizer, or a professional deep cleaning service will give the space a polished feel. You can also bring in a visual expert to re-arrange or add to the space in its current state. It is important to take the time to go that extra step as it will definitely help in the long run!
Typically, the luxury market is also slower to move. Therefore, having direct buyer pools and targeted lists of people you can reach out to prior to listing a home can help expedite a sale. Anything you can do to create awareness around a space prior to listing it can help move the needle. Additionally, consider hosting a broker event where you can generate more leads. Or reaching out to other brokers who have similar inventory in the area. All of this can help attract more people to the space.
What do you find challenging as a real estate agent and how do you overcome them?
In my opinion, the hardest part is getting someone to agree to work with you. Especially when it comes to purchasing or selling what is most likely one of their most expensive assets. Is it a huge personal and emotional process to buy or sell a home, even if it is more of an investment. You need to be able to showcase yourself and connect with someone so they feel safe with you. Just like any other relationship, there needs to be a level of trust between a buyer or seller and their agent. You also have to set yourself apart from the competition. There are some real estate brokers that will say whatever they think they need to say in order to get a client. However, this practice ultimately becomes a detriment to the profession and to themselves.
What are your go-to strategies for closing a deal?
I don’t have any “go to” strategy because I like to take each person on as their own situation. I do think it is really important to have a face-to-face meeting with a client prior to working with them. This enables you to connect with the client and get a better sense of who they are. It is also an easier way to establish a genuine connection. I’m always very careful and diligent about following-up and putting things in writing. Even if it is just outlining a call, it’s better to have a concrete understanding of their expectations and my game plan. The last thing you want to do is make the experience for a client like a second job for them.
I figure out based on the clients needs what is the best way to communicate with the buyer or seller. They need to feel comfortable and supported throughout the process. I also think finding ways to stay organized is the key to success. Always keep lists and save everything so you can refer back to something in an instant if you need.
What are 5 mistakes you’ve seen rookie agents make?
- You cannot want a deal more than a client.
- Time management is a huge part of this business as you are pretty much your own boss. You need to make sure you are organizing your time wisely as it is really all you have.
- Stay organized! Keep track of everything—all your deals, all your clients, set reminders for follow through etc… It is really easy to get sidetracked and not make this a priority, but it’s essential to success in real estate.
- Align yourself with the right people in the industry. When starting out, you want to soak up all the experience you can and start making money as fast as you can. Make sure you are not just working for the sake of working, but that you are learning as you go. Make a conscious effort to seek jobs you think will be as much of a learning experience as it will be money in your pocket.
- Don’t burn out too quickly. It will take time to learn the business and to start earning real estate commissions.