Rookie agents have a lot to learn during their first years in the business. Jessica Jakubowski, an associate broker at Baird & Warner, and Josh Lipton, a Realtor with Jameson Sotheby’s International, know how to handle it better than most.
The two agents were voted Rookie of the Year for the 2015 Agents’ Choice Awards. Jakubowski was the suburban champion, and Lipton was the city’s. We caught up with the two to ask for their tips for new agents seeking to emulate their success.
First and foremost, Jakubowski advises rookies to choose their brokerages wisely. She says she interviewed brokerages to help her find the right fit. That meant considering more than commission.
“I still hear my real estate teacher’s voice saying over and over that the split is important, but 100 percent of nothing is still zero,” Jakubowski says. “Don’t focus on only your split when you’re looking for your first brokerage. You really need to make sure you’re picking a brokerage that values education and training, one that has a long-term investment in their brokers.”
Jakubowski credits her brokerage’s support for much of her success, but she says that rookie agents also need to look beyond their own brokerages for guidance.
“Make sure you’re active in your broker community,” Jakubowski says. “Even though I love Baird & Warner, we’re not an island, and it takes a community of brokerages to work in a given area.”
That community has proved essential to Jakubowski.
“Whether you’re working with a lender, an inspector, or an attorney, he or she can make or break any transaction,” she says, noting that’s especially true among lenders. “Make sure you find someone who is super successful and is well-known for getting loans closed. That’s going to make your clients’ lives easier and your life easier, as well.”
Who else should agents work to build rapport with? Their fellow agents, of course.
As Lipton says, new agents need to be respectful and professional when dealing with other agents.
“It’s a small street, and inevitably, you’re going to cross paths again,” he says. “I learned that having solid relationships and positive experiences with other agents benefits your client down the road during negotiations.”
He says sellers always ask their agents about buyers’ agents. A seller’s agent’s endorsement of their buy-side counterpart can be quite influential.
New agents should do everything they can to forge lasting, beneficial professional relationships. Lipton learned that means never turning down even a small deal.
“Some of my best referral sources stem from some of the smallest rental deals I did when I was new to the business,” he says. “You never know who they know or who they’re going to give your name out to.”
Remember that renters become buyers, and buyers become sellers.
“You really need to treat everybody the same, and offer the same level of service – whether it’s a million-dollar buyer or a renter who just graduated college,” he says. “That’s how you grow a business.”