By Frank Aazami
Recently, the number of real estate licensees in Arizona has almost doubled. Some may say this indicates that the system is functioning well and is healthy; I think it’s broken and ill.
Arizona real estate is robust, for sure. We are one of the strongest states for residential building and resales, across all profiles: starter homes to move-ups through luxury estates. In part because of the pandemic, in part because our beautiful state is still El Dorado in the national psyche, everyone wants to build or buy a home here; residential builders are thriving here. For retirees, new families and transplants from Wisconsin to California, AZ is the place to be.
But what we need is not more Arizonans selling real estate; we need better-trained Arizona professionals who understand the skills required to do this at the highest level. We need excellence. Offering this key service should require more extensive training and experience, and this should begin with the concept of product knowledge. How can you be a good advisor if you haven’t learned all the features and values about the product you’re selling?
Consider Chanel, Hermés, Rolex, Tiffany, Bentley and BMW. These luxury manufacturers extensively educate both new and veteran salespeople on how their distinguished products are designed, built, and valued. In this way, they can sell their unique features anywhere in the world as long as they speak the local language. One lingo, for sure, they’re fluent in everywhere is the brand: They’re eloquent on why they believe the product they represent is best in value.
That’s why everyone selling real estate should thoroughly understand all aspects of the entire process: from the raw land through the community development stage; affordable housing; multi-family; and, of course, custom homes. And, to obtain these skills to be competitive in the marketplace, new licensees should be required to take additional courses covering basics in land topography (civil); usages (zoning/setbacks); utilities (engineering); roads; access; footing; architectural designs; materials differences; built grades; and the benefits of real estate ownership.
Recent licensees should also receive experience working with a master real estate professional who can train them about VALUE: value in location, condition, style, material grade and built quality. An experienced professional can mentor them before they are licensed to work on their own. This apprenticeship should be required; perhaps they would graduate after they have sold an x number of units or dollar volume.
Without offering professional advice and higher level of services from their toolbox, they discount their compensation and have recently offered less in cooperating broker participation. If they are so good at negotiating to compensate for themselves, are they equally skillful negotiating for your true VALUE?
Details Make Value
Only seasoned agents can inform their clients of true market value and point out that value, give credit where it is due and withhold it in cases in which it is not so appropriate.
If you help people sell their homes, do so with extensive knowledge of the area, product and the supporting comprehensive market analysis. If you’re helping a buyer, know what’s available on and off market coupled with what constitutes the real value of an asset. Earn their future resell business.
An experienced real estate advisor should be able to demonstrate his or her in-depth knowledge –– not just the advertised square footage or the labeled appliance brands in the home. That’s easy.
A knowledgeable advisor, for instance, can differentiate levels of workmanship in the finishes, the casework, flooring, lighting, built-ins, technology, craftsmanship and installation: how it is all put together. An informed agent will probably know the architect or his or her work and what distinguishes it in siting, style and level of design detail. So, too, with the builder and interior designer. The distinguished agent/advisor should be able to point out those details to the client.
A market expert should know the local trades, builders, designers and architects because he or she has listed and shown homes designed and built by them and has used this knowledge to facilitate selling the properties at the best value. Not every agent can do this, and these elements differentiate homes, adding distinction and value.
Similarly, a knowing advisor is aware of what distinguishes different parts of the Valley. A $3-million home in one area may not have the value of a similarly priced one in a community that attracts more distinguished design and construction professionals. Not everyone knows this; advisor experts in the local market should know the premier addresses their clients could call home.
With diminished skills in greater quantity in our real estate industry, everyone loses. In particular, the selling client doesn’t receive the due diligence his or her property deserves; and buyers searching for an existing home don’t receive the expertise their search deserves. In both cases, they get more stress and less performance.
That inexperienced Realtor® is looking at the fee, when he or she should be looking at the net sheet: how much the home sells for. By settling for lower compensation, a higher sales price is sacrificed.
Working Every Day at Excellence
Our global Private Client Group at Sotheby’s International Realty strives to offer all of our clients this exalted service. PCG was formed to serve as advisors at this level. It’s how we differentiate our services from others in an increasingly competitive market. After our start in Phoenix, we expanded to Paradise Valley and Scottsdale, then internationally. Today at Camelback Towers, our office with Russ Lyon SIR is conveniently next to Neiman Marcus at Scottsdale Fashion Square. We are also in 70 key markets globally.
At PCG, we tailor the process of buying or selling luxury homes. As advisors, we ask our buyer clients a slate of questions in order to arrive at the best design for their family’s needs or the lot they are looking for to build their dream home. For our clients selling, we completely educate ourselves on their properties, including frequent visits to ensure that we know their homes well and connect with everyone who has been involved in designing, building and maintaining them.
A number of books have recently focused on excellence (Latin: “to raise, to surpass”). Our computer-based culture is mesmerized by speed, volume and getting on to the next buck. We want results quickly but don’t want to dedicate the time to generate the best results for ourselves and for others who depend on our performance. As real estate professionals, we need to expect this excellence of ourselves and new licensees who are joining us.
For example, Dana LaMon’s The Excellence Book offers 101 principles for better living. The first one exemplifies the standard we should set for ourselves in the real estate industry: “To excel is to do better today than you did yesterday.” That’s a high order; think what you have to accomplish in just one week to satisfy that goal. But what a difference that will make for your clients –– and your bottom line.
Frank Aazami, RLSIR Brand Ambassador, is at 480.266.0240, frank@PCGagents.com, PCGagents.com, and text “SIRFAAZAMI” to 87778. SIR Frank Aazami is offering a new mobile download link for your Android, iPhone or iPad. Preview our Global Listings anytime, anywhere, in 18 languages: app.sir.com/sirfrankaazami.
Photos courtesy Private Client Group