Barbara Watkins has been recognized for the month of November for her sales success and high productivity. We recently sat down with her to find out how she got her start and what it is like being a REALTOR® in this current market. Here’s what she had to say…
Real Estate can be a difficult career…what ultimately helped you decide to choose it as your career?
Real Estate to me is a People business. Working with clients to help them accomplish the “American Dream” of Home Ownership. You have to be a good listener and a good communicator. Yes, it can be difficult and challenging at times but I find it very rewarding. I love a challenge! There are days that I think maybe I should have got my degree in Psychiatry – haha. I have long time “relationships” with past clients and most of my business comes from past clients and referrals. Being a Realtor I’m able to guide and help clients who are making one of the most important decisions they will ever make. I love what I do!
Whether you are new to the business or a seasoned agent…tell us when you became licensed and how you did it?
I became a REALTOR® in 1988. Of course, I was only 12 at the time! I went to Lee Institute.
Real Estate is local…what local community do you have the most success in? Why did you choose it – did it choose you?
I work most of the South Shore but these days I’m working all over. I’m in Andover, Canton. Reading. If I have a client I will usually go where they want to look at property. I grew up in the Merrymount area of Quincy. I was part of a BIG family. I had 7 Siblings. We were close in age and knew most of the neighborhood. We delivered newspapers as kids. When I first started I did most of my business there. Listings and working with Buyers. Then I ventured out to all of Quincy, Weymouth and Braintree. I moved to Hingham in the early 1990’s but stayed affiliated with my Quincy Office. I had numerous Hingham Offices trying to recruit me. I loved the people I worked with in Quincy. Eventually I did join an office in Hingham. I worked there for about 5 years then left there and came back to Quincy to manage an office. Something different. I did that for almost 5 years. I really missed being out with clients listing and Selling property I decided to get back into that aspect of the business from this Quincy office. It was a good decision for me.
Some Agents love working with buyers…others with sellers. Tell us a little bit about who you love to work with.
I like working with both. They’re very different for sure. First time Buyers are great. They’re so appreciative of the time I spend with them and the things I’m able to point out to them because I HAVE been doing this so long. I also like working with Sellers. They say If you LIST you’ll LAST! There’s nothing like a “Good Listing” although I have had many listings over the years that were not an easy Sell. I had a lot to do in order to make them a property someone would want to own. I did staging as part of my job before “Staging” was a part of the business. Gently working closely with home owners that really needed an “outside” set of eyes. There’s a fine line here.
Most owners love their homes. I’ve even said “The best Buyer for this house is YOU!” to some of them. I’ve had people that once I get the house ready to list they LOVE it. Some even start to rethink moving. Again, this business is NEVER the same. Every home is different, every Buyer, every Seller. Every situation. I love what I do (most of the time haha) – I do love a challenge.
There are many areas of Real Estate that a professional can focus on…residential, rentals, commercial. What is your focus?
I do mostly residential. I’ve done some Commercial. Not much. When I started out I did some rentals. It helped me get use to taking people out in my car (we use to do that) and with developing a style and to learn more areas. There were no GPS back then.
We all know how important technology is in our day to day lives. How has technology impacted your Real Estate career? Do you use technology in a unique way? If so, tell us about it.
I’m Old School! I try to become up to date on the many many tools that have been introduced to us through Technology. I go back to when we would go to the home owners home and present the offer in person to them with the listing Agent. There was nothing like Dotloop. Everything had to be signed even extensions for offers Attorney’s didn’t verbally agree between each other to do an extension. Our Local board would meet bi weekly. At that meeting we’d pick up our “BOOK” The listings were all in that book. One single photo of the property. If there was a price break, a New listing that didn’t make the cut off for the book or something went under agreement. We would go over all of this at the meeting and get a print out of that to update our books by hand.
When an Appraiser needed to do the Appraisal they would visit the real Estate Offices and Realtors would let them use “The Book” to look up comps and they would want us to help them because there weren’t inside photos for them to go by. I would always help the Appraiser. Some Agents would go hide when they saw them coming in. Haha I love how we have so much at our fingertips and how much more efficient it has made our world. We have photos, videos, floor plans, staging, updates online to the minute, classes online Just so many great tools at our fingertips. All good.
Do you use technology to get specific jobs done in your day to day business? What types of tools do you currently use?
I LOVE DOTLOOP!! It’s so helpful in getting things done efficiently, quickly and from home in my PJ’s if necessary. I’m happy that we have Lisa to check those loops and let me know when I am missing something or did something incorrect.
I want to be on the top of my game and this system and having systems helps with keeping me there. I liked when we had Realtor.com the upscale version. I really need to take advantage of more of these ways of doing business easier and more efficiently.
Almost EVERYONE uses social media in both their personal and professional lives. Do you use both?
I do use limited social media. Not as much as I should be. I’m OLD SCHOOL so I really like the personal touch I should add some more social media to my way of doing business. I think it’s where most people find us. I’ll have to put that on my business plan for 2020
How important is the lead generation to your current business? How much time would you say you spend on lead generation?
Most of my business is Referrals, Past Clients, friends and family.
Where would you say MOST of your leads come from?
People that I know. Friends of mine, my family, past clients, and listings I have. I could use a better system to track and keep in touch with clients. It’s a matter of getting that in place.
Are there any other tools or techniques do you rely on to be GREAT at your job? Is there something special that we don’t know about yet that you would like to share with the company?
I work mostly on referrals and with family and friends. It seems to be word of mouth. People are happy and so they tell their family and friends to call me. I try to treat each person I work with like I would like to be treated. Do what I would want a Realtor to do if I were the Buyer or Seller. Just follow the Golden Rule and be fair and honest to all parties including our fellow REALTORS®.
Staying up to date in this industry is a constant challenge. How much time do you spend on educating yourself? What do you do to stay up to date in this industry?
I try to go to classes, conventions, and seminars that will be helpful and keep me updated because – YES! It’s a changing career. I also have many friends and acquaintances who are in the business in many areas and we do share ideas and updates.
Do you spend time studying the current Real Estate Market? How do you perform your research? Do you find that being knowledgeable about the market gives you an advantage? If so, how?
I think we absolutely HAVE to and NEED to be knowledgeable about the market. We need to know. I can spend hours researching what’s happening in the market. I find it fascinating. I love what I do!
What ultimately made you decide to choose our company? When did you join our team?
Is there anything in particular that SUCCESS! offers that really works for you and your career?
There are so many things. Helpful and knowledgeable Agents is huge, multiple offices, commission splits are the BEST, the paperless transactions, the fact that SUCCESS! has a compliance person to keep us out of Real Estate jail. Thank you Lisa!!
What would you say sets SUCCESS! Real Estate apart from other Real Estate Agencies?
I think we try to be our BEST. We are encouraged by all of the SUCCESS! agents and staff to be professional. We help each other look good. We don’t have to answer to a corporation so we are able to give our ideas to Steve and to other Agents and Steve can make decisions that are best for the company as well as hear what is good for the Agents.
We love working here… Would you recommend SUCCESS! Real Estate to another agent or co-broke? What about our company do you think would or should appeal to other agents?
EVERYTHING!! It’s a great TEAM to be part of. I tell other REALTORS® all the time.
Real Estate can be a 25/7 job. Many of our agents juggle full-time family and personal lives in addition to running their own real estate business. How do you manage to keep it all together?
I believe that I need to be there for my clients for sure. I also feel that you have to know how to prioritize and have people that will cover for you that have a similar style of doing business. I am very lucky I have that so if I am not available I have people in place that help. I am also available to do the same for other Agents in the company. You figure it out after a while how to balance and juggle. Never leaving the client feeling like they are not on the top of your list!
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not selling Real Estate in your downtime?
Feel free to reach out to Barbara Watkins at any time