18 years ago, RE/MAX United’s Vaughan Underhay was pondering his next career move when his wife, who was already working in real estate, convinced him to take the real estate exam in St. John’s, Newfoundland. While he had never planned on getting into real estate previously, his desire to remain in his hometown and his connection to the local community inspired his switch. Since then, he has become one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most successful REALTORS®.
Below Vaughan shares his insights into what it takes to succeed as a REALTOR® in a small market.
What makes a good REALTOR®?
Having lived in St. John’s his entire life, and being involved in so many different spheres within the community, Vaughan has forged strong bonds that he’s been able to leverage in his work. Over the years he’s learned that what ultimately makes the biggest difference as a REALTOR® in a small community is constantly keeping your name, brand, and image top of mind for potential clients and always delivering an excellent client experience.
About 80-90 per cent of his business comes from past clients in the form of referrals or repeat buyers, sellers, and investors, meaning it’s paramount to put the needs of your client first.
At its core, real estate is not about the product, it’s about the people. A REALTOR® is someone who solves problems and comes up with solutions to satisfy a client’s goals.
Vaughan is typically at his desk by six in the morning in order to get administrative work out of the way and ensure he’s available for clients as much as possible during the day and evening. Long hours and working weekends are not uncommon for Vaughan, but the more he puts into the business the greater the benefits are down the road.
“You have to be there for your clients whenever they need you. In a small community that will go a long way in ensuring clients keep coming back to you and recommending you to other potential buyers.”
The importance of a great support network
As a REALTOR® in a small market it’s important to know you have an organization you can rely on to provide high quality training and support. Vaughan notes RE/MAX’s dedication to sales associates on both a local and regional level.
“We have a head office that will come and visit Newfoundland a couple of times a year to meet with the broker network out here for a RE/MAX RE/CHARGE, or general information session,” says Vaughan. “And if you need support to get something done, they’re always there to help you.”
RE/MAX also provides Vaughan access to cutting edge tools, such as the text-a-realtor system which helps him build fresh client leads. Potential buyers can text the number displayed on a sales sign of a house and receive a hyperlink to the listing, providing them extensive information on a given property. At the same time, the REALTOR® receives a notification and is able to follow-up with the prospective buyer almost immediately.
These tools and training opportunities help Vaughan provide the best possible customer experience and continue to meet the demands of an ever-changing industry.
The value of a REALTOR®
Whether you’re based in a small-town or major city, finding and purchasing a home takes time. REALTORS® can help buyers and sellers optimize this time and make the home-buying process as smooth as possible.
Vaughan believes the biggest asset a REALTOR® has to offer both buyers and sellers is their experience. REALTORS® spend their days showing homes and monitoring the market, meaning they can provide both buyers and sellers invaluable insights that can’t be gleaned anywhere else.
“A REALTOR’S® job is to give their clients information, help them manage expectations, and represent the market properly so there are no surprises,” says Vaughan. “The years of experience a REALTOR® brings to the table are invaluable when making one of the biggest decisions of your life.”