Payfully chatted with New York real estate agent, Kevin Bendis from Branco Group who specializes in apartment rentals and digital advertising for real estate listings. See what real estate advice and tips he has for the real estate community.
Why did you want to get into real estate?
I got into real estate for a few different reasons, the principal one being that I came to understand it to be a field that was friendly to the arts. Actors, dancers, painters, and musicians often end up finding real estate to be a worthwhile career because the hours can be flexible.
Nine or so years ago when I first began working in real estate I was an active musician and I wanted a job where I could balance my time between making money and playing music. Showing apartments allowed me to do that. Depending on the brokerage you work for, making your own hours is a real perk of the job. You could work for six straight weeks and do well and then take off time to go on a tour for instance.
Having a schedule that was on my terms and being around people who are in the arts really appealed to me and still does. I think this aspect of the job isn’t mentioned enough. Real estate is incredibly demanding and requires many hours of work, but you can also make the time for your passions if you choose to.
Since real estate agents don’t get guaranteed compensation, do you have any tips on how to manage your finances during high and low season?
This is the most difficult aspect of any job that involves sales and in New York real estate it can be grueling. I think this ties into the last answer a little bit, but balancing your finances during the changing seasons is tricky. If you’re new to real estate and begin during the summer, the market seems saturated with deals to be hade. However, winter is the opposite. You don’t think of New York as a college town, but the market ebbs and flows around the school year. If you’re not careful and don’t balance your budget you can wind up with little income during the winter months.
My advice is to be practical. August can be one of the most lucrative months. If you’re able to save and put away money from summertime deals it’s imperative that you do so. Many brokers take what they’ve earned during the busy season and go for long vacations during the winter. Conversely, I’d say there is an opportunity during the winter. Everybody needs to move at some point and some of us end up doing that in the middle of January. I often like to switch gears and try to focus on making bigger deals during this time. It’s easy to close a number of smaller deals across the summer, but I try to focus on properties outside of my comfort zone. Preferably properties with a bigger budget than I’m used to. It can be more challenging, but the payoff can be great.
Do you use any apps or technology to keep your business organized, or to generate more leads?
At my company, I think the most used resource for us is Nestio.com. I wish it were in app form, but the site is easy enough to navigate. A few years ago mine and other companies switched over to Nestio as the home for all their listings. It has since become a necessary tool we use. Nestio links listings with brokers. This is where we publish our own listings and where property owners list their homes as well. Nestio is raw data on specific units, but its precise and up to date. Of course, StreetEasy is probably the most used and most effective app for prospective buyers and renters. The way it streamlines listings and images is pretty great. From the agent side, I find I’m using Nestio more than anything else. It’s best for checking a property’s status and details, especially when in the field.
What’s your strategy to close a real estate deal?
Every deal is different, but the best advice I can give is to communicate with your client as clearly as possible. From the get-go, you need to establish a relationship with clients. When people are looking for homes they’re also seeing ads, listings, and emails from other agents. It’s difficult to stand out and to lock someone down. These days we communicate via text and email so often it is easy to lose personal connection. It’s becoming more old school, but picking up the phone and speaking to someone is the best way to start and close a deal. Agents just beginning may roll their eyes, but I can almost guarantee that if you speak to someone or meet them face to face your odds of them sticking with you and closing the deal will increase dramatically.
Any broker can show a client any unit in the city, and so you need to be yourself and demonstrate you have a client’s best interests in mind. Take the time to break down every detail of a deal to a client. The idea is to make sure they understand, but you never need to go for the hard sell. Most people find it off-putting if a broker is so pushy. However, you do need to highlight what is great about the unit you are showing. It’s true for all sales, no matter the product. People are looking for human connections and if they trust you with their housing needs not only will they move forward with you, but they will recommend you to their friends.