New Year’s Resolutions

I find it very important to make New Year’s Resolutions that I think will improve my way of life or achieve various goals I might have.  Yes, I know, everyone makes the resolution to go to the gym every day and to lose a bunch of weight.  Of course, I want that too.  I try to make mine a little more realistic to where I’m certain I will be able to go the distance and finish the year achieving my goal.  I was very successful this past year.   I allowed a one-time lapse on my birthday though; I was craving some McDonalds French fries.  This year I am planning on having some New Year’s Resolutions that are both personal and work related.  I have a lot of big goals that I want to achieve, and I need to make the effort to get there.  I’m sure I won’t achieve all of them, but I desperately want to.

Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions are anything from quitting smoking, learning something new, spending more time with friends and family, enjoying life, and even getting organized.  These are all good, but kind of generic.  These are all process focused and have no distinct objective.  I try to be more specific with mine.  This past year I decided to give up drinking soda and eating fast food.  I think the only time I had a little taste of soda was when I absentmindedly ordered a Whiskey Coke out somewhere.  I allowed myself to have fast food once, as previously noted.  Otherwise, I mostly observed through the year. There were a few that I did not do so good on, such as working out more, working on my house more, and walking my dog every day; we walk him often, just not every day. I did not include many career focused resolutions, but I know that I will this year.

This year, I’m going to continue not to drink soda and eat fast food.  I am going to try to expand on that to where I’m not going to eat fried food, especially if its battered.  I had to give myself a loop hole, so I can eat chicken wings; they are fried, but I don’t like them if they are battered.  Great, now I’m hungry.  Another personal one is to work out more. I want to go to the gym at least four days a week, hopefully more.  Along with going to the gym, I want to get up early at least three days a week to take my dog for a run.  I’m not excited about this one — I love my sleep, and I don’t like to run.  Another with health in mind, is to eat healthier.  I already don’t eat much candy, but I will try to not eat any.  Holidays will be tough for that.  Another idea, that I literally just thought of, is that I will cook at home more, trying out new recipes and challenge myself in the kitchen, all while being healthy.  I know, this is process focused, so I’ll have to work out the specifics.

For my job-related resolutions, they are most simple.  I don’t want to get discouraged and fall back on bad habits.  I think I will set one or two for now and add to my plan for the year as they become ingrained in my routine.  One that I don’t feel will be a challenge will be to continue to write this blog.  I hope to get better in my writing, and what I’m writing about, but that’s a different issue.  I’m not counting that in my one or two resolutions.  For those, I will say that I want to make it a habit of going and previewing houses at least four days a week; that could help my going to the gym goal too.  I enjoy previewing houses in the areas that I work, I just don’t do it enough.  The second one will be to call and visit expired listings and for sale by owner houses.  It can’t hurt, the worst thing that could happen is they tell me no and to go away.  At least they will have met me and will have a face to go with the name.  All my goals are to get my name as a REALTOR® more recognized, so more people think of me, when they want to buy or sell a house. 

My theory is that if you have a larger goal that you want to achieve, set interim objectives that will lead you on the path to your larger one.  I use the New Year as an opportunity to start setting those smaller goals that will help me achieve my dreams.  Dream big, and then dream small to get you there.  Have a great day, and New Year, and let’s go see some houses (I’ll be going four days a week, so come join me).

Ugh, Colds

Cough, Cough, Sneeze, and Repeat

This past week I have been battling a bad cold.  I know I promised you a more exciting post this week; I honestly tried.  I had a great one planned, but I could not draw the energy to put the appropriate effort into an exciting blog last week. I am still feeling lousy but have enough energy to tell you all the struggle of being a REALTOR® when you are sick.

Since I am a solo agent, I can’t rely on a team to pick up the slack when I am not feeling well.  I had to struggle through it.  I decided to stay away from the office: nothing worse than a bad cold sweeping its way through an office.  I figured everyone else would rather I kept my misery to myself.  I did manage to go to my weekly meeting Monday morning, but left soon afterwards when I started to not feel good.  My colds start off differently than most, feel OK for a few days and then, BAM, feel like total crap.  I tried my best to power through.  I had a good day, just in time for the office Holiday Party.  Luckily it was during lunch, so I was feeling better. Mornings and nights are the worst. I have never understood that, but that has always been the case with me.  Of course, I had scheduled to hold an Open House on Thursday evening during this week; my body has a cruel sense of humor.  It felt the need to be sick during a week when I had a lot to do. 

The Open House went well, despite me not feeling well.  I almost called another agent to hold it for me but decided that I needed to power through and show up.  It was fairly slow, only one visitor, but the one person loved the house.  Fingers crossed that it works out in the future. I would not have received this good news or met the potential buyer if I had decided to stay home and pity myself. During the down time, I utilized my time and planned out what my social media was going to be over the weekend, I searched for newly expired listings,tried to write an exciting post on the Winter, and yes, I played a few games on my phone.  This time I finally learned. I brought a folding chair with me, so I could actually sit down during the Open House; I didn’t want to stand for three hours. 

The biggest struggle for me during the week was not writing letters to people.  I didn’t want to lick the envelopes, and yes, I know there are other ways to dampen the strip on the envelope to make it stick.  I focused mainly on going above and beyond on my social media content to keep me going.  I tried to have fun with it;putting a post on Facebook about chicken wings, asking the public where their favorites are.  I found some that I need to try.  There will definitely be a future post about chicken wings.

Now we’re to the weekend. I don’t think I made a smart decision on Sunday.  I chose to go play four Kickball games.  Yes, I know it was super cold outside.  Yes, it was outside.  Yes, I know I was fighting a cold.  I don’t feel worse now, and actually might feel better.  That is probably because I was dead tired and went to bed early last night.  I am glad that I went out, it was a morale boost to get back to my normal routine.

Well that was my week of having a bad cold and trying to do REALTOR® things.  I didn’t think I was very productive last week, until now.  I actually did more than I thought.  I am proud of myself for getting so much done, except writing letters, which I am working on now.  Writing this blog has been a break from letter writing, so my hand can un-cramp.  I hope you all stay healthy and let’s go see some houses.

Social Media Strategy

As promised in a previous post, it is time to talk about Social Media.  This has been one of the easiest yet hardest aspects to develop into a habit.  I have no problem being on Facebook all the time, just looking through and killing time, but the challenge of adding creative and interesting content can become overwhelming.  Twitter is another platform that has been, and still is, a challenge for me to utilize.  The only reason I got onto Twitter in the first place was to get clarification of an article I was reading regarding tweets from Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Yes, that was a while ago.  I rarely had tweeted on my personal account since then.  I believe I have tweeted more on my business account in 4 months than I had on my personal one in many years.  That brings up another great point.  I find it very important to have separate accounts on all platforms for your business and your personal stuff.  That allows your thoughts and appearance to be professional where appropriate, though I do still put some personal interests on my business one to keep it from getting too dry.  Other platforms that I use are Instagram, which is a battle, for me; Pinterest, which I think is fun and an easy way to get your information out there.  I’ve been working to start posting on Google+ but that has been a challenge to get going.  I’ve made a point to post on my LinkedIn account a few times a week, because that is a platform that not many REALTORS® use, and finally this blog, which, at times, stresses me out.

Let’s start with Facebook.  This is the platform that I am to most comfortable using, as I have been since 2005, or so.  I did not have a business account then, since I was still in High School, but I had learned many of the ins and outs of the site, or so I thought.  Once I came to CB Premier Group, I learned a lot more regarding the use of Facebook to build a business.  I jumped on board and began to explore the business side of the site.  I’ve learned how to build advertisements, boost posts, set target audiences, and much more.  Learning what to post took a little while, but I think I am getting a better grip on both what I want to post and what I need to post to get traction from my followers and the general public.  This is especially important in case of ads and boosted posts.  Another thing that I found out on my own, I think, was that when you post an ad, or boost a post, you NEED to invite those who liked the post to follow your page.  That is the easiest way, I’ve found, to get new people to follow you.  A strategy that I use to avoid just posting Real Estate posts all the time, is to post a motivational quote that every morning, (OK, I try to every morning).  These can help to motivate me through the day and can cheer me up in the morning if I’m feeling down.  Sometimes I am in the office earlier than I want to be, or appear to be, so I schedule posts throughout the day at various times.  I wish I remembered the source, but I found somewhere that the best times to post on Facebook are around 9 AM, Noon, and 5 PM.  If you think about it, it makes complete sense; before work, lunchtime, and after work.

Now let’s look at Twitter.  As described earlier, consistency here has been more of a challenge for me.  I use the same strategy I use with Facebook by posting the same motivational quote on my Twitter feed.  Other than that, I try to post about what I am doing during the day. I don’t get too personal, but I try to seem transparent.  One of the themes I’ve been using a lot, is complaining about going to the gym and how sore I am from going to the gym.  Another way that I get Tweets is through Instagram.

Well, I guess now I need to talk about Instagram.  So far, I generally use Instagram to show off the houses that I am looking at whether with a client, just previewing them myself, or going to open houses.  Through Instagram, you can replicate your posts on other sites; I only go with Twitter and Facebook since I use those sites regularly.  Occasionally I post food that I’ve ordered or made to show what I am into.  I am working to post more content on Instagram, but it’s been tough for me to get going on that.  I forget to take pictures of what I’m doing a lot and think of it after the fact.

Now let’s talk about a fun social media platform that I use, Pinterest.  This is a super easy platform to post on.  Nearly every day, I go on the site and look around on topics that interest me, or that I think might interest people doing research on DIY projects or thinking about selling their house.  I have started to create my own pins, but I have not, yet, figured out the magic way to utilize those.  Once I do, I’ll write a blog post specifically about that.  This is a site that is still new to me, but I enjoy the time of searching through it.

This next platform is extremely new to me, and I really don’t know how to use it yet.  I am talking about Google+.  So far, I am still exploring the site and learning ways to utilize it.  If you have experience or insight, I am more than willing to learn the ways to use it best.  I don’t know if I’ve even posted on there yet, to be honest.  I better do that now.

The last platform that I will talk about is LinkedIn.  I will talk about my blog in a later post, and I don’t feel the need to share the website with you all, as you are already on it.  LinkedIn is an important website for, well, everyone.  If you are in business, you should have a LinkedIn profile.  It allows you to connect with colleagues and even search job listings.  One aspect that not many utilize is the fact that you can post on the site for the world to see.  I try to post a few times a week with articles that are relevant to the time, relevant to Real Estate, or just great articles that can help you through life.  Not many REALTORS® use this to their benefit.  As always, I try to stand out from the herd.

Well, now you know the strategies that I use on all my social media platforms.  I hope you all will follow each one of them.  I will continue to build on my social media skills and will probably write about what I learn some time down the road.  I hope you enjoyed this read as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Next week I’ll write about something more exciting.  I don’t know what it’ll be yet.  I hope you all have a great day, and week, and let’s go see some houses.

Thanksgiving Travels

I would like to start this off with Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope you had a great week and you were able to spend it with lots of family and friends.  Some people have the issue of traveling during the holidays as I did.  I had to drive from St. Louis, Missouri to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The drive there wasn’t too bad, 7 or so hours, with a little bit of snow.  The worst part of the drive was its length.  I have learned many ways to pass the time while driving on long trips.  This time was a little more tough, as my girlfriend was working remotely, in the car, during the drive, so it was a little more boring for me for the first 6 hours.  I was going to listen to an audiobook but realized we were in her car which does not have Bluetooth and my phone does not have an audio port in it.  I just cranked up the volume on my phone and listened to the book.  There were some moments where that was tough.  After I finished the book (I was almost at the end when I started it) we switched over to listening to a hilarious podcast.  I will write a post on podcasts that I enjoy soon.  Once we got to Ann Arbor, we let the dogs play for a bit and then went out to dinner.  We had some awesome nachos and some good beer.  The next day was Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day was a great day with great food.  First thing I did though was work.  I made sure to write my letters and either post or schedule posts on social media.  After that, I watched a lot of football and hung out with my girlfriend’s family.  We took advantage of most people being inside and took the dogs for a long walk and then to a local school to let them run. I’d forgotten how fast my dog is when he can fully sprint.  It was a lot of fun.  After the walk, the dogs were all tired, and that was GREAT.  Family friends had gotten to the house by the time we returned, which added to the excitement.  Louie, my dog, got to reunite with people he only gets to see once a year; yes, he remembers them.  I’m sure our Thanksgiving was like most everyone’s, congregating in the kitchen and catching up with everyone.  After catching up, we returned to the couch and watched more football.  If you couldn’t tell, I like football.  Once the food was ready, we all sat down and ate. We ate SO much food.  We all thought that we were full after dinner, until we remembered there was dessert.  It all was so good.  After we ate our dessert, we were all tired and returned to the couch to watch more football, aka nap.

Friday was a day of recovery.  Since we had eaten so much food, we had planned on going on a long walk with the dogs, but first I had to get some work done.  I’ve learned that being a Realtor requires discipline to continuously communicate, even when you’d rather just sit back and relax.  When I finished, we went on a long walk through the woods; of course, it was muddy, and I almost slipped at least 10 times.  It was a great walk.  After the walk we went into downtown Ann Arbor to get lunch and to check out the local shops.  Ok, I was the only one who needed lunch.  After I ate lunch, we checked out some local shops.  I bought a few cool prints and some spices.  It was a good time.  After we were done at that collection of shops, we were picked up by my girlfriend’s dad and we moved to a different part of town, after dropping off the letters I had written, so I could get some University of Michigan gear; I had been wanting a good pair of sweat pants.  We kept walking around for a little bit and shopped some more.  Once we got back to the house from shopping, my girlfriend and I left to go see her friends from high school.  That was a lot of fun, and very entertaining.   The drinks were flowing, and the music had them all dancing.

Saturday was the big, but depressing day for the house.  Michigan versus Ohio State.  This was supposed to be the year that Michigan won.  I watched the first half as I wasn’t allowed to get up; my dog decided I was his bed and he was laying on me the whole time.  The second half I was in the other room reading by Kindle.  I forgot how good my book is.  After the game, everyone was upset (guess who won).  We took the dogs for another walk, not if the day before.  After the walk we went and did an escape room.  It was really fun; however, we did not escape.  We went from the escape room to dinner, where we met up with some other friends.  Great, now I’m hungry.  At dinner I had an amazing burger with Ghost Pepper cheese on it.  It wasn’t too spicy though.  This day was not as filled as the rest, as we were going to be leaving to drive back home the following day.

Sunday was our day to drive again.  Before we left, her family made breakfast.  Which was delicious, as usual.  One funny thing though, was when her brother was going to fill up my glass with orange juice, he spilled the juice into the pan full of scrambled eggs; they were still good.  The highlight of the breakfast was the scones that her dad makes, they were awesome.  After breakfast, we packed up all our stuff and hit the road.  The drive back was just as long, but there was a little more excitement, rain.  This whole drive we listened to a new audiobook that we’ve heard good things about.  We both really enjoyed it.  I am so glad that I didn’t have to drive through the blizzard that hit the other side of Missouri.  We were so happy when we got home.  We had ordered pizza, which delivered 15 minutes after we unloaded.  Now it is time to eat healthier and to exercise to work off all the food that I ate.  Well, that was my Thanksgiving.  I hope you had a great week too.  If you would like, tell me about it in the comments section below.  It is always great to hear of adventures that others have.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

Open House time

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great week.  Over the weekend I decided to hold an Open House on my listing.  I can’t wait until the time where I have so many listings that I need to have other agents hold my listings open for me.  After a while, if the Open House is slow, and does not have a lot of visitors, you can definitely get bored.  The key is to find something to do that is a productive use of your time.  Open Houses can be intimidating at first.  I have learned to not think too much into them, and just show up and be nice to the people who come.

Now, let’s get to the details of holding the Open House.  Before the actual day, you will want to put out directional signs around the house, I usually put mine out on Wednesday.  These are there to show potential buyers where there is an Open House in the area, and how to find it.  I have put signs out as far as a couple miles away from the house to draw in the attention.  When you are putting the signs out, you need to think of where the major roads and the high traffic areas are.  This will lead to more eyes on the signs.  However, if you are putting them in someone’s yard, it is always appropriate to get permission.  I’ve lost a sign for not doing this.  In addition to the signs, I always advertise the Open House on all my social media platforms and the various real estate websites.  Facebook has become one of my favorite ways to advertise coming openings.  More detailed information on what I do on my social media platforms will be discussed in a later post.  These aren’t the only things I do to prepare for the big day.  I also create printouts to showcase the house in its best light.  These printouts have all my contact information, so the visitors will have a way to contact me later if they want to see the house again, or any others in the area.  Another printout that should be prepared is a sign-in sheet.  I usually fill in the first few spaces to give the appearance that there are more people interested in the property, and what I hope for them to fill out.

Now its game time.  The first person has come in, now what?  I always hand them the printout and ask how their day has been.  Having a little small talk is crucial, as it serves as an ice breaker.  You never know.  You might learn that they don’t have an agent and they are seriously looking to buy a house.  You could find out so much, but I make sure not to push too hard.  After the initial greeting, I tell them to go look around the house and I will be here is they have any questions. I have not had an Open House, yet, where I was busy from start to finish.  There will be down time.  It is very important to utilize that time to get other things done.  For example, I planned this post during an Open House.  I prepared an outline for what I wanted to write.  Other things to do are research the area, make phone calls, write letters, etc.

Closing up time has come.  Regardless of how many people came to your Open House, you must do the same thing.  The first thing I do is lock the door, so I can close up the house without people sneaking in where I can’t greet them.  If someone comes after I lock the door, they will knock or ring the doorbell.  That will allow me to greet them appropriately.  After I lock the door, I walk the house to make sure nothing has happened that I wasn’t aware of.  While doing this, I turn off all the lights and close the various doors behind me.  Basically, I ensure that the house is just as I found it when I arrived.  I pack up all my stuff, including the Open House sign-in sheet.  If it is not my listing, I return any remaining marketing material.  After packing up, I leave the house, making sure that the doors are all locked.  One big thing to remember is putting the key back in whatever lockbox there is. I don’t want to pay that fine!  On my way to my car I take the ‘Open’ rider out of the sign and return the sign to how it was displayed beforehand.  One of my least favorite parts comes next, picking up all those directional signs that were put out the week before.  While I am driving around picking up those signs, I call the listing agent, if it’s not me, or I call the seller, if it is my listing.

Now that the Open House is over and done with, you still have work to do.  I usually wait until Monday for this next step.  You need to call the people who signed in at the Open House to gauge their interest and to see if they are interested in viewing any other houses.  I then think how I could have done better and plan to ensure that the next one is better and more successful.  Once you’ve realized how you can do better, I start planning the next one.  It is a constant cycle of planning and holding and planning and holding.  It is part of the job.  The important thing to remember, be productive and take advantage of the time.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

Who? What? Where? Why? and How? You become a Realtor.

Where to begin?  This journey began with me looking for a job in the field where I used to work, Retail Fixture Manufacturing.  I could not find a job that I felt that I belonged in.  Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I always found myself searching for houses in my free time, or just when I got bored, so I thought I’d explore the idea of becoming a REALTOR®.  I first went online to search for the top Brokerages in St. Louis and applied to a few of them.  I went on a couple interviews and realized where I belonged, CB Premier Group.  They offered to help pay for the schooling needed to take and pass the test.  I was one of the lucky ones who was able to pass the test on the first try; oh, how I wish I could know the exact percentages that I got.  Like everyone else, all I know is that I did better than 70% on the national portion and 75% on the Missouri portion.

After passing the test, I had to be fingerprinted for a background check.  It completely makes sense to get a good background check on new REALTORS(r) because, who would want someone with a sketchy history going through your house in your absence?  I know I wouldn’t.  I passed the background check, as I knew I would, which resulted in a trip to Jefferson City to go get my license, or at the time, my temporary work permit., This allowed me to begin my actual training, which began on July 9.  My Broker provides top of the line training that shows the new REALTORS® the ins and outs of what it takes to be successful.  Those two weeks of training were crucial.  I now know how to operate my Facebook Business Page, Matt Wroughton Realtor, expertly advertise, hold Open Houses, etc.  The hardest thing for me, still, is door knocking.  I think its mostly because I have always hated people knocking on my door, selling anything.  No, I’m not asking people to sell their house., I’m just introducing myself, so they might think of me if they, or someone they know, is thinking about a move.  I’m still not comfortable with this process, but I’ll eventually get over it and use that approach to help grow my clientele.

Although I am still loving my decision to jump into Real Estate, there are still challenges.  I am brand new in a business where having your own clientele and sphere of influence is crucial here are many more experienced and established REALTORS® in Missouri, St. Louis, my specific areas, and even my Office and that makes it difficult to break in.  As in everything new, the first one will always be the hardest.  I did not escape that truth.  I just missed my parents selling and buying a house, my cousin buying a house, and two friends selling and buying their houses.  Those all would have been great for me getting in the business and would have put some much-needed money in my pocket.  At the time, none of them knew I was becoming a REALTOR®.  I’m not bitter at all, I swear.  Oh well, off to the other people in the city who need my help.  More on that to come on a later post.  I am still working hard, doing all the little things that I was taught in the excellent training that I received at my office.  If you are considering making the jump to Real Estate, please reach out and I’ll answer all the questions that I can.  I’m sure you can do it, and I’ll try to get you into my office if you’d like, it’s a great group.  Have a great day and lets go see some houses.

New Beginnings = First Blog

Hello all, my name is Matt Wroughton, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Premier Group.  My goal is to assist Missourians with their residential real estate needs.  I was born and raised in the St. Louis area and am as passionate about the growth of the region as I am about real estate.  I’m sure there will be more about my passions in a later blog post.  I have decided to start blogging because I want to share my experiences beginning my new business as a REALTOR®.  This is not the easiest business to launch.  There are so many experienced agents in the state, city, and my office with whom I’m instantly in ‘competition’.  But this industry offers so many other great things, such as schedule flexibility, getting to meet so many great people, learning the city very well, and many others.

The initial process begins with going to a class and passing the test, not the easiest.  The process only gets more interesting from there.  I will be continuing to expand on this process throughout this blog.  If you are interested in becoming a REALTOR®, I will attempt to give you the best insight on the process as I can.  I will also be describing the challenges of building my business.  There are also many interesting situations into which a REALTOR® can get. These always entertain me, and I hope will entertain you as well.

For those of you who are considering making the jump into of becoming a REALTOR®, I will be writing for you, giving you tips for how to succeed, hopefully, in this industry.  I will share my triumphs and my mistakes, so you can hopefully avoid making the same mistakes.  If you are interested in buying or selling your house, I will be writing for you. You will gain insight into who I am, and how I might assist in this process.   But mostly I will be writing for myself, to help document and fully process the progress I am making through this new stage in my life.  I hope everyone will enjoy my writing, and I am always interested in feedback to make it even better.  There are many ways to get in touch with me, and please feel free to use any of them to do so.  This blog will help me grow and allow me to share with you all about the life of a REALTOR® and what I have learned and/or experienced recently.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.