An Insiders Viewpoint - Nathan Hughes from B&H Real Estate Burnie

OpenAgent has just announced the winners of the 2018 Home Seller Choice Awards

We’ve got an exclusive interview with Nathan Hughes of B&H Real Estate in Burnie. Having entered the industry over 10 years ago, Hughes has obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate, which has rewardingly made him a winner of the 2018 Home Seller Choice Awards.

Let's see what he has to say about what a top performing agent looks like in Tasmania. 

How has the industry changed over the years?

Hughes describes how real estate remains focused on the people. However, the way people connect with agents has changed with the rising digital age.

"I think social media has changed the industry quite a lot. It's changed the way we locate our sellers and buyers, and the way we interact with our clients... I think real estate has always been about the people, not so much the property itself."

"I continue to interact with my clients - regardless of whether they're buyers or sellers - but technology is constantly changing the way I interact with them."

"I continue to interact with my clients - regardless of whether they're buyers or sellers - but technology is constantly changing the way I interact with them."

Why is responsiveness important?

In order to stay competitive in the real estate industry, Hughes feels that staying responsive to the people who have contacted him is a major priority.

"Response rating in real estate is crucial. It’s something that I prioritise, making sure that any time I need to return a call or email, I do so within that hour. One thing I find that really helps is to schedule the follow up phone calls with vendors."

"Automation is also something that I use quite frequently. It ensures people get a response from me within 48 hours if they’ve contacted me. It’s a very high touch service that I provide, and the responsiveness pays off."

What do you love about your job?

There are a range of perks to being a real estate agent. For Hughes, being able to connect with new people every day makes his current profession more rewarding than his last. 

"Prior to real estate, I was an aircraft technician and I found that the nature of the role was more to do with machines than people."

"... I got into this industry because of that... This industry is about having a connection with your clients and interacting with different people every day. Different clients come around that keep the job interesting - there is a story that will always be revealed during the selling process."

"Different clients come around that keep the job interesting - there is a story that will always be revealed during the selling process."

How do you manage your time?

Being a real estate agent means you won't have the usual 9 to 5-time constraints. However, being flexible means time management is crucial.

"One thing I learnt very early on is to create a very hard work ethic and stick to your daily routine. By doing this, you can get a lot more accomplished in a single day than most other people."

Hughes manages his time by working on ad-hoc tasks during the day so that he has the freedom to meet clients after hours. 

"I try to get as much of the ad-hoc work done during the day, but always stay open to receiving phone calls from people wanting after-hours appointments or listings... If people are getting home at 7 pm, I’m more than happy to go and sit in their living room until late just to meet. It's about being flexible!" 

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Do you work in a team?

Real estate agents are often believed to work alone. However, Hughes explains that giving clients the best possible experience comes from working with a team.

"I have a business partner and several people that work with and for me. We work in an open office... where everybody's thoughts and opinions on the property and dealing with multiple buyers at once are all open to discussion."

"Our goal is to always get the best possible price and experience for the client. That’s where my team come to play - we all take on a joint team effort."

What is important when meeting a vendor?

Each vendor has their own distinct expectations and requirements for an agent. For this reason, Hughes likes to figure out what a vendor is looking for in order to uniquely tailor their home selling experience. 

"The key factor for me when meeting any new client is not to go through a pre-planned appointment. I first seek out what they’re looking for in an agent, whether they’ve had positive or negative experiences in the past and what they’ve learnt from those experiences... I also enquire about how they would like the process to go for them."

"Having all this information is important. It allows me to understand their expectations and goals so that I can tailor a positive experience with them."

Interested to know more? Have a read about how to prepare for your first meeting with an agent.

Transparency during buying and selling

top real estate agents TAS

Vendors are placing their trust in the hands of real estate agents when making decisions about their property. Hence, transparency is incredibly important, even if the truth isn't pretty. Hughes feels that being honest from the outset is a key part in building relationships with clients. 

"The one thing I try to do from the outset of meeting a new client is basically being honest. Whether the information is good, bad or indifferent, I’m going to tell them regardless because they can’t make an informed decision without first having the knowledge."

"If a property has faults, I have the duty of care to buyers to let them know. I’ve learnt throughout my time in the industry to overcome any sort of objection when it comes to a property or a situation from the outset to avoid any potential issues in the future."

Building good characteristics and habits

With real estate agents often getting a bad reputation, one of the most important parts of the jobs is developing and displaying personable characteristics and habits.

"Honesty and integrity are good characteristics to have. You’re dealing with different situations from vendor to vendor - whether they’re an investor or somebody very emotionally attached to a home."

For Hughes, being able to understand each individual situation is necessary for giving clients a positive experience. 

"The sale itself may be the easiest part but how to make that sale work for the particular client to get the most positive experience is crucial and can be hard."

"You need to be empathetic to pretty much everybody's personal situation."

"To do this, I think the most important things to find out are exactly who the client is, how they take information in, and what the most important factor to them is."

"The sale itself may be the easiest part but how to make that sale work for the particular client to get the most positive experience is crucial and can be hard."

Do you value personal branding?

Similarly to how social media has changed how agents connect with people, it has also changed strategies for personal branding. Hughes believes personal branding is highly valuable in building an impression prior to meeting new clients.

"With the digital age, you have to be careful with the way you brand yourself - you need to stay true to who you portray yourself as you are. When clients meet me, they need to see that the brand I put out there for myself is exactly who they'll be meeting on the day."

"Agents need to be very mindful that when they’re out in the field meeting new clients, their brand is a representation of who the clients are going to meet."

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