Every week, we ask a Boston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Charles Lima, an agent partner with Keller Williams Realty in Easton.
Boston Agent (BA): Most of your business is now referral based. What are some tips you’ve learned to help secure referrals from clients?
Charles Lima (CL): The key to high referrals is to finding your systems. There are a lot of systems you’re going to utilize in terms of developing referrals. The first and most important thing is your customer service system. Make sure that each client gets the highest service consistently. Also have a system to keep in touch. I use a mailing system, sending items of value, like a handwritten note or some useful information. I’m not exclusively on direct mail, but it helps keep you in your clients’ minds. Whatever systems an agent chooses, it’ll be important they remember to consistently ask for referrals. Whenever I do business with someone, they usually become sort of a customer for life. And through the relationship, I’ll continually ask for referrals and receive referrals.
BA: How important are your relationships with other agents, and why?
CL: It’s all about relationships. In this day and age, where everything is so impersonal, we don’t have conversations. If you do everything through technology, you bypass learning about the person, because there is no connection. Relationships with other agents are especially important. Other agents might be representing the buyer of my seller’s property. You want to go into those situations knowing you get along with the other agent. Other agents are the one that are going to give you the feedback, which will help you give better service to your client. Other agents will tell you that a new home is coming on the market that might be of interest to one of your clients. A lot of quick sells happen because agents will alert other good agents to their new seller’s property.
BA: What is the market in Boston like for first time homebuyers?
CL: First-time homebuyers are very competitive. It’s a competitive market. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you don’t have your stuff together and you’re not ready to pull the trigger, you shouldn’t enter the market. It’s an agent’s job to help clients understand the values of the market and what things are really going to cost and help them make the right decision for themselves. I always tell my clients that if it’s a hot property, you better have two numbers in mind; and the second should be above the asking price. Pre-approval with a good lender is a good idea for first-time homebuyers.
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