Kim Bennett is not your average real estate agent...after getting her license just over a year ago, Kim has already closed more than 40 deals in her first year as an agent, and it's only October!
We are excited to recognize Kim as our top Opcity closer by number of transactions in September 2018. In September alone, Kim closed five deals through referrals she met through Opcity.
That kind of volume doesn't happen out of nowhere. It takes hard work, creativity, and a willingness to go above and beyond the norm to find her clients the perfect home.
We spoke to Kim about her success over such a short period of time. A few of her suggestions for real estate success include:
- "Follow up, follow up, follow up."
- Tell everyone you know that you're a realtor. Put out as many local connections as you can.
- Learn about new technology. If we don't learn new technology and go where the clients are going, we're going to miss out. As you can see from [Opcity's] Referral Manager, I have a 60 mile radius. We have to be willing to go where our clients want to buy.
Going the extra distance to accommodate her clients' needs is exactly why Kim has been able to close over 40 deals this year. A lot of her clients are first time home buyers.
"I love working with first-time home buyers. It's always great to put somebody who has never owned a home into a home for the first time. I work with a lot of first-time home buyers, and we get a lot of those introductions from Opcity."
That certainly makes sense. First time home buyers, who are unfamiliar with how the process works, are more likely than experienced buyers to start their property search online.
"It's common to meet first time home buyers who are credit challenged," said Kim. "We have to think outside of the box to get them into a home. I take those challenges and try to find a way to make them work, rather than just saying, 'It's not worth it.'"
Thanks to a broad network of real estate professionals, Kim is typically able to provide clients who need extra assistance with credit repair or financing to one of her trusted lenders. She also has a network of investors that offer seller financing. It's a win win for all parties.
Before becoming a real estate agent, Kim owned a construction company and would buy and sell homes through seller financing. Her experience and knowledge in that area has helped her understand what can be done to serve her clients in different situations.
"The more knowledge an agent has on what needs to be done or what somebody can do with a home—the procedures, how to get permits, who to call, etc. —will help their clients in the long term. Most clients have no idea where to start and rely on their realtors being experts in the industry."
It's also important to Kim to focus on every client as an opportunity.
"I think a lot of agents overlook buyers. Agents concentrate on getting listings. The motto I hear is, 'List to live," but if you don't have buyers to buy the homes you're not going to sell anything. I myself have quite a few listings, but I really enjoy working with buyers."
It's also easy to dismiss clients if there are credit problems, or they don't have a down payment right away.
"I get a lot of clients who have small budgets but who are looking in high dollar areas. It doesn't mean the home they want isn't available or doesn't exist, you just have to find it."
If she does run into that challenge, her strategy is to utilize Opcity's long-term hold feature in the Referral Manager. This allows Kim to keep leads that will have a longer buying cycle in her name while she nurtures them.
For clients looking in a very specific area, or with a low budget, Kim utilizes auto searches through the MLS, so the minute something becomes available in the area the client is informed.
Lead nurturing is an important part of Kim's process. Her personal rule of thumb is to contact clients who are not ready to buy right now every two weeks. To make sure they stay top of mind she sets auto-reminders in her calendar. This way the client knows she hasn't forgotten about them.
"There's a fine balance between too much communication and not enough, but two weeks seems to work well for me. You just need to be patient with the situation and give it time."
"Clients appreciate that too. They know they're more to you than just a number and that you're still keeping an eye out for a property that will be a good fit. They know you’re staying on top of it, and for me that’s the biggest key to success. It’s just communicating with my clients."
With all of the online sources available, it's really easy for clients to start looking on their own and to be connected with other agents.
"One of our first questions we always ask a new client is, 'Are you already working with another agent?' We don’t want to waste our time or their time, and it’s not fair to the other agent who isn’t aware that their client is speaking with somebody else.
If the client is working with another agent, we try and send them back to that agent. I would want that. We say, 'Speak with your agent, and if you don’t want to work with them anymore, let them know and then give us a call.'"
Kim Bennett is a real estate agent with HER Realtors in Newcomerstown, Ohio. She prides herself on being an excellent resource for experienced and novice homebuyers alike. Follow her on Facebook and reach out for any of your Central Ohio real estate needs.