Being a realtor is a rewarding experience for Anita Beaman. Nothing makes her happier than that look on her clients’ faces when she matches them with their dream homes. An electrical engineer turned real estate agent, Anita considers her virtues - honesty, trustworthiness, and knowledgeability to be the secrets behind her almost a decade-long industry stint. Dive in as this Michigan realtor talks about her career, mistakes, and tips for real estate success.
Here's a record of the candid interview with experienced realtor Anita Beaman and her top tips and advice for agents looking for success in real estate.
I got into real estate about 10 years ago, and I work for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. I like working with people. I've always enjoyed it. So this was a good way I thought I could engage with other people. I also like to look at homes and design. So it seemed like a good fit for me to get into this type of business. I’m an electrical engineering graduate. So, if you ask me why I shifted from engineering to real estate, it’s for my children. I have always liked engineering. I'm in the Metro Detroit area, so automotive is very, very big here. But then, once I had children, it was hard to balance a full-time job. They (the company) were actually very good. They let me split my job with another woman. But then I started feeling more and more left out. When you're only there for two and a half days, and then the other person is there for the same, you start losing track of the projects. Once that happened, I started focusing a lot more on my kids. So I stayed home, and then by the time they reached an age where I felt I could go out a little bit during the day and leave them, I didn't want to go back to a 9 to 5 job. Real estate just always kind of appealed to me. So I thought I would try it. Yeah, that's why I did it. I'm still very much an on-hand person.
I'm the one that will go to people's houses and help them with things. They always laugh. But it's my thing. I like the flexibility of real estate. (As an afterthought) It’s kind of flexible. Sometimes it's crazy (laughs). But I feel like I have a life; I’m not getting up in the morning and just going to work and coming home.
Helping people. Honestly, I think that when I help somebody find a home, I find it very inspiring for me. As I have a degree in engineering, I've always liked things that have to do with building. So when somebody finds a home that they like, it just makes me feel really good. And it's important that they find something that they're going to be really happy with. I never want to sell somebody a home and then have them come back and have second thoughts about it. So that's what makes me feel good when I know they found the perfect fit.
I think I would have taken a bigger variety of classes or education, obviously in real estate, but a little bit varied, maybe studying contracts so that I would be a lot more familiar with them. The design aspect of homes. I had trouble at the beginning, walking in a home and seeing what was there that was too much, or maybe should be taken out; how to make a home feel comfortable, yet not too personal so that other people could get an idea of what they want to put in. I also feel like I did not ask enough advice from other agents.
A lot of times I just tried to figure stuff out on my own. You forget that the other agents are there to help you, and they're your best learning tool. So I think that's something very important that I wish I had done more.
I think an agent needs to have good negotiating skills. That is probably the most important thing about the buying and selling end of it - being able to negotiate the deal fairly for your client and keep both sides happy. The other agent happy. Everyone happy. One of the things in my office that we’re taught is we are your agents forever. So I think the second thing that's really important is to develop a relationship with your clients so that they don't feel they're just another number or a customer. If you really want to understand what they want, you have to understand a little bit about that person. And I think some of it then goes back to relying on continually learning. There are so many rules that change. Everything was just flipped upside down with the pandemic, and a whole new learning curve came in. So in order to stay on top of your game and be able to help people, I think that yes, the keys are learning, planning on knowing your clients forever, and just good negotiation skills.
I reach out to them depending on the client, either by phone or by text. I go through my client list - my database, and I pick a few people once a week. I don't try to overdo it. I pick two or three people, and I reach out to them. I'll usually call on the phone. Just ask how they're doing. How things are with their house. Or if they haven't found a house yet. I'll just keep it light, ask them how their kids are doing in school. Something like that. I'll send out a text during the holidays. I don't like to send out generic texts. I like to try and make them feel more personable because we all get those generic texts or emails and we just ignore them. So I really try and make stuff personal. A couple of times a year, I'll pick out 10 clients. If it’s Christmas, I’ll wrap gifts, put a note on them, and won't ask them for anything. I’ll put a tag on it saying, thank you, try and make a catchy little line for helping me wrap up this year and put them on their porch. I have gotten clients like that before. So it’s about continually reaching out and letting them know that they're important.
I use Instagram a lot. So I use a lot of social media. To engage some of the older markets, I am using Church bulletins. I do some stuff with local newspapers too, but not a lot. I try to go more into the churches or the community centers. Sometimes I'll do an easy get-together. I’ll go to the local senior citizen and tell them I can come in and talk about retirement homes or things like that. I take some cookies and juice along. I’ve also started using a lot of QR codes. That's a new thing coming out, but it's a great way to quickly get a lot of information to one person. And of course, pictures of all my previous marketing housing, you know, definitely getting it out in front of everybody when you sell or list a house. I'm just starting to do a little Tik Tok, but not enough to have any followers except family now (laughs). So yeah, just trying to get in front of people. Obviously, a lot of social media and emails, and I do still send out regular letters to people. I hand-write, you know, for Christmas and stuff like that.
I get most of my clients through referrals, you know, through Facebook or somebody I’ve already sold a house to. So sometimes, it's a good way for me to learn about that person through somebody else. They'll call and say, “I know someone and they're looking for a home.” I kind of look at their age, and if they're younger, I'll try and be more casual with them. They tend to like that a little bit better. I sometimes feel if they're older, try and be a little more serious with them. Sometimes I research them a little bit because there's so much information out there before I actually meet with a client. You know, we're very involved with safety and security now too. So we ask for ID from new clients. A picture of their driver’s license, or where they work, or just something where you have a basis to find out a little bit about them.
I really, really like it. You guys have been the only people I've used for virtual staging. I used you a couple of times before the pandemic; then, things have slowed down. Both times they were homes that did not have virtual staging initially, and they just didn't seem to move on in the market. It’s amazing when you can show somebody how the house looks with furniture, which you guys did. It makes a total difference. And both times within a week, those houses had accepted offers on them.
I think when we have a vacant house, it's important, and virtual staging is so much easier than real staging because when you look at the house online, you can get an idea of how it looks with furniture. But then, when you walk in and see it, you can have this empty canvas that you could put your own designs in. When you've already seen that it looks good, you go there with a little bit of a preconceived notion of how the furniture will look. Then it's easier to see the amount of space you have without the actual furniture there. So I think virtual staging is fantastic. I really do.
I think it's one of the best things out there that makes a huge difference, and there are so many different designs that you can style to fit the house. One was a farmhouse I did, and the furniture was great and fit right in. The other was kind of modern, more contemporary. And that furniture was great. Virtual showings are becoming huge too. I sold one house after a virtual showing. They were in Chicago. They put the offer in from Chicago and accepted it, and she's been living there. This was a while ago, so she's probably lived there for seven years, and she loves that house. I still keep in touch with her. So I think virtual showings are great for people who are relocating.
In the beginning, they shut us down entirely from March until the end of May (2020), when it first came out, and then we were able to come back out, but were limited to the number of people we had. Of course, it was always dependent on the different sellers. Some had no problem letting people in their houses. But some would only allow virtual showings. And I think it was more difficult for some people because there was a point when you could only have one or two people in the house. You could only go in and see it once, or if you saw it virtually the first time, you would actually see it only during an inspection period. So it taught people to really pay attention the first time you're going through a home. It definitely has helped people from touching things in homes. I think you don't see that as much. Now, as so many things are going virtual, there are many more homes with cameras inside. So it just changed the whole landscape. People are keener to see homes virtually before they decide if they want to go and see it a second time. Sometimes they'll say, “Oh, can we just see it online? And then, if we like it, I'll have my husband, and we'll go out and look at it.” So I get a lot more of that. And that was rare before the pandemic.
I think that's when we seriously went more online. I started experimenting with QR codes because they became common in menus, restaurants, etc. Everyone has been using them. So they became more commonplace on the internet, which has opened up a whole new idea. I'd love to see where somebody can go outside a house, scan a QR code, download the inside of the house, and do a virtual tour right like that when they're driving by. So that changed the landscape. And like I said, even showings, you really wanted people to be serious, not where you just go out on a Sunday and look at 10 homes, even if you weren't really sure. So I think we have to start really pinpointing what our clients like. It's important now to not say, “I don’t like this one, but we'll go see it.” That's kind of gone away. Now, it's more of “I really think I like this, so it's important to go see it.” I never did Zooms before. Now, sometimes when I meet a new client, especially right after the pandemic, I would reach out to them on Zoom to introduce ourselves and talk, and I could get a little more of a feel for what they liked. That was something that I think hardly anybody was ever really doing before, but it became common. Even now, when you meet an agent, one of the things that I will say is, “Did you want to come to my office and meet? Would you like to do a zoom? How would you like to get together?” And probably 60% of the time, they'll say, “Oh, let's just zoom,” or “I'll Skype you, or “FaceTime you.” So I think that's a big difference. How you meet people, things are becoming a lot more virtual.
It's not that easy. I’m lucky I have teenagers. I like to keep Sundays to myself if I can, but in real estate, especially with the market going crazy, that is not always possible. So at least, I will try. If it's a weekend, I will try and schedule all of my showings in the morning or the afternoon. So I have the rest of the day. You really need to have another agent as your fallback. I have good partners who always back each other up if somebody's out of town. Or if we have a family event, knowing that I have someone that I can rely on really helps a lot. I think most people are fairly understanding. As you get familiar with it, it's easier to schedule around your family. But of course, there are always times when that's hard. And I think that's when it's important to have someone that you can rely upon where you'll show their house if they're busy, and then they'll show your house when required, or help you out with a contract or something. If you're out of town or on vacation, you just always have to be covered in this market. You can't just close shop.
I think that I would tell them that you really, really need to reach out to your fellow agents. The most important thing is you want to find an agency that offers a lot of classes and teaching. Be prepared. In the beginning, it's more about learning than making money, probably like any type of job. But as long as you have someone you can get an opinion or advice from, and you're in with a good group of people, you’re set.
Also, put the client first. Always put the client first. It should never be about selling a house and moving on because you want to get to the point where you're getting referrals. You aren't out there, just looking for strangers in the park. Nobody's just going to walk up to you and say, hey, will you sell my house? So you really want to build lasting relationships with clients, and that's how the longer you’re in business, the more business you will get, and your reputation will improve.
Nothing feels better than doing something helpful for somebody else. And I think sometimes it can be frustrating when you start out, but when you finally make that first deal or sell that first home, it's a wonderful feeling. So just stick with it, build lasting relationships, and ask for advice.
Virtual staging is important as it makes sure the house looks good when you are listing it for sale. Pictures are the first thing somebody looks at, so they are the most important thing. I can tell you a million houses that I have passed by and not even shown my clients because the inside does not look appealing, or they haven't taken the time to take quality pictures. So being able to showcase it - how it would look if you lived there is great. Another thing is you can switch up your virtual showing. You can have the house look a little more country one time, and then you could switch it up and make it look more traditional. You could start appealing to different people; you just really need to treat each home like it's your own. And that's how you're going to get more sales and treat each client like they’re your family. I will be using you guys again. You know, it's slow right now. But I highly recommend you. And I actually made a book from that Farmhouse that you guys did. You did this Farmhouse for a client in her 90s. She had moved into the nursing home. So I ordered her one. I don't have another copy. I gave it to her - a print with the inside of the house, and she loved it. She could have a memory of the house because she was there for like 50 years.
An agent who looks out for her clients like her family, Anita is determined to build long-lasting relationships in the pursuit of helping clients buy and sell homes. We’re sure her tips will be valuable to aspiring agents, and we wish her the real estate success she deserves.
Click here to read our insightful feature with real estate superstar Bryan Casella and stay tuned for more insightful interviews. Want to try out Styldod? Click here for a free trial.
Styldod is a design-tech company that aims to simplify real estate marketing and help agents present homes in their most favorable light online by reimagining and automating the listing photography process. Having begun as a virtual staging company, today, Styldod has affordable and best-in-class products and services for every facet of real estate marketing and photography. Styldod’s suite of services include virtual staging, image enhancements, floor plans, virtual renovation, 3D renders, 360 degree virtual tours, and Matterport virtual staging, to name a few. We're trusted by over 10,000 realtors from all over the US and from companies like ReMax, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams. Know more about us at https://www.styldod.com.