Pretty much all realtors are sole proprietors, we work for ourselves, sometimes in teams and sometimes those teams hire assistants and put them on payroll but the vast majority of us earn our own keep. We also normally work with a group of other agents in companies that we pay to associate with. I work with The Agency, we are a small group of 25 or so agents who individually hang our shingle under that umbrella and in return we get a lovely office, desk, chair, admin, front desk and professional oversight of all our transactions. We generally meet once a week to discuss the current market, new listings we have coming, buyers needs and often there’s a presentation on a topic that will also earn us continuing education credit hours. There is huge value in which company you decide to associate with and I feel very strongly that I’ve got some of the best people in the industry around me.
The Agency does a certain amount of marketing on behalf of us all, but in the main I am responsible for my own marketing and advertising to find clients. In the early days I had a very successful print campaign with Portland Monthly magazine, but costs rose and print readership went down, social media arrived and I got good at designing my web site, writing my blog and networking my way around Portland. Another useful tool has been Zillow. Almost everyone thinking about either their own home value or buying a home uses Zillow at some point and agents like me appear at the bottom of Zillow pages as an agent you could contact if you wanted more information. I’d say about 90% of the time a Zillow lead is a dead end or you are simply a door-opener for a potential buyer that is almost impossible to convert into an actual committed client. But every now and again you make a good connection and hey presto, you’ve got a client and away you go!
Bruce was one of those. He contacted me via Zillow, looking for an agent that would help him move to Portland from Walla Walla where he was a retiring professor at Whitman College. I happened to be in Australia at the time and what with time differences and a bit of jet lag on my part I started off badly calling him Mark, (already surrounded by far too many Bruce’s is the only excuse I had) but once that was cleared up and I was back in Portland, Bruce came in to talk. I took him for drive around Portland to ascertain neighborhoods, architectural style and budget.
By the end of that first meeting I knew he either wanted a cute bungalow or a condo on the water. Bungalows were in plentiful supply but rarely met a couple of his deal breaker must haves, and so my attention shifted to condo’s with that all important water view. Our search began right as Covid-19 started to make itself known, and that definitely slowed things down but by the end of summer he was ready to leave Walla Walla and we found a beautiful end unit condo in Sellwood, right on the water (with it’s own slips no less) and he came in to town to see it. The market has been insane this year with multiple offers on everything, everywhere, but I’ve only missed one bidding war and this was not it. We bid high and were the happy winners.
I just handed over the keys, thanks Zillow for a great client and thanks to Bruce who knew what he wanted. Now I REALLY need some more clients just like him!
I am both a Realtor and Interior Designer. I have transitioned from simply selling homes to selling what makes homes beautiful.
©Suze Riley 2013