Barbara Brooks’ new year is off to quite the strong start! The Florida-based realtor closed four deals last month alone, making her Opcity’s top performer by number of transactions for February 2019.
Barbara has been in the real estate industry for 17 years, starting out part-time. Even when real estate was just her side gig, Barbara saw success in the field and was recognized as a top agent in Charlotte County, the market she still covers today.
These days, real estate is her primary focus—and it’s also become a family affair. Barbara teams up with her daughter and son, who are in the industry as well.
“Having my family around me, watching their love of real estate and their passion, and getting to all learn together—it’s special,” she said.
A lot has changed since Barbara started in real estate. Her ability to adapt to that change, and use it to her advantage, has helped fuel her success.
“Being open to new things instead of doing things the same way is important,” she said. “Understanding the way people are really shopping now. A lot of people are already doing their search online. So they feel they already know exactly what they want and think they can do it on their own.”
This doesn’t discourage Barbara. Instead, she sees it as an opportunity to communicate the value she has to offer as an agent.
“I tell them that’s a really great start, but I can help them a step further. Most of the items online are already picked over, and some of the information is not as well-kept as what I can do for them. I’m going to send them properties that match their criteria as they’re becoming available, and provide information so they don’t miss out on that perfect property.”
She’s also made a point to stay up-to-date with technology, which her daughter has helped with. She uses her iPhone calendar and Opcity’s Referral Manager to keep track of client details and stay on top of outreach. Staying organized is essential for Barbara, whose clientele includes local buyers as well as out-of-towners seeking warmer weather. Technology helps her manage all the moving pieces and better cater to each individual.
“Sometimes I’m juggling a lot of people. On Opcity I’ve got a great place to put my notes about what they’re interested in, their likes and dislikes, personality traits, where they’re coming from. So I’ve got the ability to bond with them.”
Barbara takes the time to build real relationships with her referrals.
“Buying a house is not an event, it’s a process,” she said. “It’s a lot of hand holding, a lot of understanding, and really listening to their wants and their needs. You have to build that time in.”
This means asking a lot of questions during that initial conversation and really getting to the root of what they’re looking for.
“If they’re inquiring about a specific property, primarily I want to find out what it is about that property that captured them.”
Barbara says people often start off saying they want one thing—whether it’s a certain neighborhood, or price point, or property type—and later realize it’s not exactly what they’re looking for. By listening carefully and offering her expertise, she can help her clients discover what’s truly the best fit for them.
For example, she recently helped a couple find their part-time residence. Initially, they said they wanted a house. But they hadn’t really considered all the implications—managing the lawn, maintaining the pool, the insurance hike that comes with owning in a flood zone, home ownership fees versus maintenance fees. With Barbara’s guidance, they realized a condo made a lot more sense for them, and she helped them close on the perfect one.
Building good relationships also requires proactivity, Barbara explained.
“I don’t want to be just the ordinary agent that’s like, ‘OK well we’ve met up, good to meet you, give me a call.’ I want to stay in front of them. Staying in touch really matters—whether it’s emails, phone calls, or little texts back and forth.”
And like many of the top-performing agents we’ve talked to, Barbara is big on being quick to the meeting.
“If they’re local, I want to go to that property right away with them—that day or the next day. You gotta strike while the iron’s hot. When you meet them face-to-face, you can bond. Even if they rule out that property, they can see that you’re on top of your game and that you have their interests in mind.”
Barbara tells us that ultimately, helping people achieve their dreams is the most important and rewarding part of her job.
“Whether it’s my children, or the clients who trust themselves in my care, there’s a lot of joy in watching people’s happiness and watching them get exactly what they want,” she said. “It’s really a pleasure to go to work.”
Barbara Brooks is an agent with Integrity Real Estate of Florida in and around Port Charlotte, Florida. She provides home buyers and sellers with professional, responsive and attentive real estate services. With 17+ years in the industry, Barbara knows how to listen to buyers’ needs and effectively market sellers’ homes. Visit The Barb Brooks Home Selling Team on Facebook to learn more and get in touch.