Class teaches Realtors how to survive their first six months
By Maggie FitzRoy, Contributing Writer
There are 7,200 Realtors in Duval County.
And 85 percent of Realtors sell one house or less per year.
Real estate advertising and marketing expert Mark Weithorn presented novice Realtors with those statistics at his “Surviving the First Six Months as a Realtor” class Nov. 17 in the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors auditorium.
“You are a Realtor, congratulations,” he told the room full of newbies. “The woman who cuts my hair is a Realtor. Everyone is a Realtor. You give people your business card and they say, ‘My cousin is a Realtor.’”
After spending money to get a license and pay association fees, he said, “You wonder, ‘What’s going on?’”
“Then six months go by and you go out to get a job, so you can make real money,” Weithorn said.
His three-hour class is designed to help participants avoid that fate by giving them tips on how to stand out from the pack and begin making money as soon as possible while growing their business.
In the event that anyone in the audience harbored a hope that success was going to come easy, he set them straight right away.
Not only would they have to treat selling real estate as a full-time job, he said, they would need to put in 70 to 80 hours a week, seven days a week and be on call 24/7.
He spent the rest of the class laying out a step-by-step plan for how they could achieve success: how to create a business plan, do a cash-flow analysis and create good customer service.
He laid out the duties of an agent, how to work with vacation homebuyers and investors and how to work with renters, many of whom eventually become buyers.
Weithorn also gave tips on how to use the internet to find buyers, create a successful website and research online, including how to use floridarealtors.org and nefar.com.
He also stressed the importance of visiting new and established communities to grow product expertise.
Weithorn stressed the key to a Realtor’s success is effective advertising, saying, “You’ve got to do advertising and marketing — if you don’t, you are invisible.”
He gave tips on how to network, advertise on Craigslist and Google and also how to effectively use the Zillow and Trulia websites as well as Facebook.
Wrapping up, Weithorn suggested participants begin each day with marketing from 9 to 10 a.m., including posting on Craigslist and Facebook.
After that, time should be devoted to answering emails and setting up appointments. Use downtime for research, he added, including going to open houses, networking and taking classes.
NEFAR Education Director Cindy Foley said Weithorn’s class was a new addition to the curriculum, designed to offer new members more than the two-day orientation already provided.
She said other education directors around the state recommended him and that she was impressed. “He is giving them tips I have never seen.”
Eric and Katie Hinojos, husband and wife Realtors with Navy to Navy Homes, said they found the class helpful.
Katie liked the research tips and Eric appreciated the insights on business planning, budgeting and marketing.
“Real estate school didn’t teach you this,” he said. “It was mostly about real estate law.”
Robert Juhlin, with ERA Heavener Realty, said the class remotivated him.
After retiring from 20 years with the Navy, he has found real estate more difficult than he expected.
“This has given me a fresh perspective,” he said. “I know I have to be actively out there. Or, as my wife tells me, ‘Go get a real job.’”