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This Golden Retriever wants to sell you a condo

Give your real estate agent a treat

Golden Retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and capable dogs. Therefore it stands to reason that you would want to include one in your real estate business.

As the photo above suggests, however, a canine real estate agent requires a human support team for tasks such as signing documents (dogs have no thumbs) and communicating with building managers (dogs have trouble on the phone). till, a dog can serve a fundamental purpose in your office beyond the chasing of errant tennis balls.

Are you really ready for this job?

I spent two years in the New York City real estate industry, and one of the first lessons I learned was how hard it is to differentiate yourself in a very crowded marketplace. Different real estate sales and rental companies have different specialties, as well as varied access to exclusive listings. The "exclusive listings" bit was especially important in New York, where a good deal's market availability is measured in hours.

However, real estate agents are shoulder-to-shoulder in Vancouver (as in most big cities), and they all kind of look the same to the general public. With so much money flying around, you may be surprised to learn that many brokers struggle to get by.

The real estate industry attracts a lot of wannabes, people who haven't taken on board what an unforgiving environment they're entering. This in turn makes it more difficult for the serious pros (or those who genuinely want to become pros) to carve out a reputation. When you're surrounded by half-assedness, the onus falls on you to prove yourself different.

If you're in the real estate business, you do not have days off as most people understand them and the phrase "part-time" has been purged from your vocabulary. You only get paid when you close a deal, and such deals have enough moving parts to make them vulnerable to collapse at any time. If your calendar doesn't look like Rick Ross', then you'll be starving before too long. The game will take and take, financially and emotionally. It's no joke.

Knowing how not to waste a client's time (and therefore your own) is something you only figure out through experience, and that experience only comes through a mix of spectacular failure and hard-won success.

'Trust me'

Add to this the fact that many would-be clients don't trust you from the get-go.

"I don’t even trust the way you just now said I could trust you."

-Wynn Duffy, "Justified"

Dealing with New York's legendary rental prices, I found myself the unwilling face of the rentals market: high prices, low quality, low availability. I was seen as shady because the industry is seen as shady. Because it can indeed be shady.

Honesty is not presumed (something I as an agent both resented and understood), so buyers are getting used to doing as much research as they can. I encourage this: the balance of information has tipped more towards the buyer's favour than ever before thanks to the magic of the Internet.

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