I was in banking for 30 years. I knew my passions and strengths are in an office setting and providing internal and external customer service. I love paperwork and tasks and deadlines! As a banker, I had helped lots of customers during the buying and selling process of their home. I had never been on the real estate side of the transaction and knew that I would like to learn it. Vicky is always the #1 Real Estate Agent in our area (in our state!) I knew she would be the right fit and the best person to learn from. And with that volume, I also knew that I would have to learn fast!
Our team includes: Vicky as Listing Agent, 2 Buyer's Agents, a Listing Manager, a Resale Contract Manager, a Transaction Coordinator, a Customer Care Specialist plus me.
As Contract Manager, I manage the listing and pending transactions for a local home builder that Vicky works with/for. We have closed 39 transactions this year and currently have 62 pending.
As Office Manager, I manage and train the team of assistants; help Vicky submit offers to the sellers when we receive them; help the Buyer's Agents to prepare offers and schedule showings, etc.; and implement new and exciting changes to enhance what we can do as a team. I also work very closely with Vicky and the Buyer's Agents to make sure the team is working toward their vision of growth and success. Communication is the key to success as the Office Manger.
I start my day with a 15 minute huddle with Vicky and the assistant team. This is usually done by conference call as we are not all in the office first thing in the morning. We talk about priority tasks for the day and make sure everyone has an idea of what's happening for the day.
I then spend my morning submitting offers to sellers, reviewing emails, answering questions from the team, answering calls and questions from agents about our builder, scheduling meetings with our builder, and reviewing / working files.
Every morning I look at the whiteboards and calendars to determine what needs my attention that day. For example: Is there a home nearing completion; What home is scheduled to close this week or month; Do I need to provide assistance for a meeting that is scheduled with the builder; What files need a second review / audit; What items are missing from files that need immediate attention.
After my review of all of that, I meet again with the Transaction Coordinator who assists me with the builders' tasks. We determine priorities for each of us and follow up on items from the previous day.
I try to have a brief conversation with each team member daily. Just to check in or provide "teaching moments" or determine if we need to improve our systems and tools. Some times its just a quick, personal chat.
We have a team meeting each week that includes everyone - agents and assistants, too.
We have a team training once a month. We call it "Boot Camp". It's a one hour training on a topic that either needs to be reviewed, something new has surfaced, or we want to implement something new. The training is always fun and informative and we have great interaction as a group.
Lastly, Vicky and I meet with the builders every other week to talk about issues or concerns, upcoming projects, etc.
On my "Perfect Day", all of my tasks sounded well planned and efficient. A normal day, however, is not usually that perfect. Vicky and I might need to meet with the Resale Contract Manager to help with a difficult transaction (repairs that are needed that are difficult to schedule, difficulty in getting documents, etc.)
We might have a new listing that the Listing Manager is still processing but then we already have an offer on it. (Great problem to have! Right?!) I would then help with the listing process and the pending process to get it done.
We might have lots and lots and lots of activity on our new construction side. (Again - Great problem to have!)
Honestly, the hardest part of my day is trying to handle things immediately when they come in. This causes a lot of inefficient, unorganized multitasking. I wish that I were a little better at managing myself.
...how very different each transaction can be. There are parts of my world that are repetitive but there is so much to each file that can be so very different. Even on the new construction side. Even after 5+ years, there are transactions that make me stop and think and then go to Vicky for guidance.
We have an office with a big open space in the middle and 4 offices around the edges. The 3 Agents have individual offices and so does the Resale Contract Manager. The Listing Manager and Customer Care Specialist share a 2-person desk closest to the Resale Contract Manager. The Transaction Coordinator and I are on the opposite side of the pony wall from them.
My desk is situated so that I can almost always know / hear what is going on with everyone in the office. It helps if I need to step in to help anyone. I am normally in the office 100% of the time.
However, I am currently working from home due to the high volume of COVID cases in our county. I have asthma and do not want to risk it. As a Contract Manager, working from home has not had too many complications. It has been a little difficult when sharing paper files with the team but we are figuring that out. It is very difficult to manage the office when not IN the office. That has been a very difficult transition for me and for the team.
I believe my 30 year banking career helped to prepare me. Having skills in providing great customer service, meeting deadlines, understanding documents, understanding and following compliance, being part of a team, and leading a team.
Having said all of that, I believe the most important skill or trait is being able to communicate with your mentor/leader. Find the right fit for you. For example, Vicky and the buyer's agents are very focused and goal driven. We talk goals every day. We also have scripts for everything - how we answer the phone, the verbiage in our emails, etc. I was used to that from my banking career. But if you aren't used to that, it can be new and intimidating.
On the other hand, I am very detail oriented and not expressive (analytical/amiable). So a very loud, energetic, and social agent would not be the right fit for me.
Wow! Great question. I am a much better forward thinker than I was before. I think about the future of the business and the team more than I ever thought that I could.
I am also more open to be coached and groomed and trained. We did all that in banking and I survived it but I didn't love it. I truly love and enjoy it now! I've met great and amazing people. I've learned so much.
I care about our team and the business as if I owned it. Sometimes Vicky has to remind me that she owns it! I mean that in a positive and caring manner.
The service that we provide our customers is so important to me.
Our success is important to me.
When meeting with our customers and our staff, our service and success are always the driving influence.
I started as the Listing Manager.
My goal is to transition out of the Contract Manager role. I want to train an amazing new team member to take that role.
As Office Manager, I would like to get my real estate license so that I am able to help the agent's more. I want to work with Vicky to learn to be a negotiator and work with the buyer's agent to help review contracts with the buyers.
I would like to help us continue to grow - more buyer's agents maybe and more listing agents perhaps. I don't know! Sky's the limit!
The next step might also be to be an amazing escrow officer. The escrow/title side of the transaction is something I haven't done yet!
It doesn't but I might get my license as we grow and move forward. It has not been essential to this point though.
Word, Excel, Outlook. We just recently started using Google Drive and we are still exploring it's many uses and advantages.
Do it!! I love it! Study the websites of the local agents. You can tell a lot about their personalities as well as successes that way. What agents or companies speak to you? Is there a team in place that interests you? Why? Take your application/resume to the brokerage level - they always know if individual agents are looking to hire an amazing assistant.