Haley Cutter the founder of Cutter Luxe Living with Compass goes back to the beginning of her career in real estate. Haley discusses why she decided to build a team and how her team is built. Haley discusses what her team does to distinguish themselves from the competition and how they are educating their clients about the shift in the market. Haley also talks about balancing family/personal life and professional life.
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D.J. Paris 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I’m your guide and host through the show and in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with top producer Haley cutter. Before we get to Haley just a couple of quick reminders please, as always, the best way you can help our show is by telling a friend think of one other agent that could benefit from hearing the success strategies and tips from top producers like Haley send them a link to our website, right which is keeping it real pod.com Every episode we’ve ever done can be streamed right from a browser, or if the person you’re referring to as a podcast listener, have them pull up any podcast app search for keeping it real, hit the subscribe button and last please leave us a review what other whatever app you might be listening to the show through let us know what you think of the show we read every review and comment and it helps us improve so anyway, enough of all that let’s get on to the main event my conversation with Haley cutter.
Today on the show we have Katie cutter who’s a top 1% realtor and founder of Qatar Lux living with compass in Massachusetts. Now Haley cutter is the founder of Qatar Lux living with Compass after growing up in the Boston area and graduating from Emerson. She began her career working for a Top New York City advertising agency but returned to Boston to get her MBA at Northeastern. Once she graduated she shifted gears to the real estate industry in 2014. She co founded la live in luxury, sorry live in luxury real estate. It probably happens all the time. But let me start that one part over so I don’t screw it up because it is really cool. In 2014. She co founded live in luxury real estate at Douglas Elliman and in 2021 launched Qatar Lux living at Compass as the sole founder and managing broker which is now one of Boston’s top luxury real estate groups. And in December of last year, Qatar Lux living had a record breaking month, so not a year a month with 20 million in closings. This is absolutely incredible. Qatar Lux living serves Boston’s most exclusive downtown neighborhoods and surrounding communities all led by Haley’s driving force for a better client experience. The brokerage is currently expanding also into New Hampshire, and Florida. Please everyone visit visit Haley and her team at Cutter lux.com And that is c u t t e r l u x e.com. Again, Cutter lux.com. And by the way, unbelievable realtor website. I’m always impressed whenever I see a really great one. That’s a good one. Go check it out. Haley, welcome to our show.
Haley Cutter 4:19
Well, thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
D.J. Paris 4:23
Yeah, I am so excited to talk with you. I am always you know, I’ve been doing these sorts of conversations for about four or five years now. And I never get tired, talking to top producers and finding out what it is they’ve done to get to where they are and what they’re continuing to do. And right now I think it’s particularly interesting time because I was with a couple 100 agents just a few days ago at an event with our local association. And you could feel the stress and tension in the room as people are realtors are it’s tough right now. You guys are crushing it so I’m excited to hear about what you guys are doing. But I’d love to see start at the very beginning and learn more about you because you didn’t you know, your path didn’t necessarily point towards real estate with with your education. So I’m excited to learn how you how you made that transition and why.
Haley Cutter 5:12
Absolutely. So yeah, not at all. I did not grow up thinking that I would ever be in real estate. It was not anything that I dreamed of as a little girl. I went to school I majored in marketing and advertising. Got my undergraduate degree at Emerson, as you had mentioned in Boston. And then I was off to New York City. I worked for a top agency. They’re great worldwide, and Oh, sure. Great, great. You got an account management working hand in hand with their Procter and Gamble team, Pantene Pro V. Had some great mentors, they’re really, really learned a lot. Learn how to interact with different people. You know, it was a great place to be and maybe from Boston on the East Coast, Boston’s a small city, but if people can after they graduate, I think it’s worthwhile for for anybody, even if you’re coming back to Boston to spend a year or two in New York City. It’s just such a eye opening, wonderful global experience.
D.J. Paris 6:02
I agree. I love both cities in Boston is one that my sister, she’s a brand manager and are well, yeah, she now she she’s a CMO. But she was work lived and worked in New York City as well in sort of the ad, advertising and marketing space. And so we used to visit there a lot. And Boston. I didn’t have as many close friends but I have visited several times in the last five years or six years. And boy, it’s just such a wonderful city. Boston is Boston doesn’t get its do because New York is so close. And it gets overshadowed sometimes. But I got I love Boston, it’s just a walkable, amazing city.
Haley Cutter 6:40
You’ve nailed that extremely walkable, it’s got great neighborhoods, they all have their own authentic flair. And it can become home where or sometimes New York might feel too vast. Boston becomes a neighborhood.
D.J. Paris 6:53
Yeah. So how did you make the pivot from from from being sort of in on Madison Avenue, maybe in New York City, making the switch back to to? Well, not just the Boston but of course, to a new career?
Haley Cutter 7:06
Sure. So I ended up coming back home, I really wanted to be closer to my family, there were a few things going on. And it was important to me to be here. So when I came back to Boston, I tried the advertising route. And I found that it just couldn’t compare with New York City. So at that point in time, my my fiance, who’s now my husband, he was in real estate, and I constantly found myself surrounded by him, his friends who were all in real estate, we were talking real estate, you know, every time went out for dinner every time we had a cocktail party, as we’re taking a walk in the park. And and I did enjoy it. And I thought, you know, what, if I can’t beat them, I’m just going to join them, because I was in it.
D.J. Paris 7:41
Well, to add also, I imagine I’m curious, because you’re really a marketer at heart. And that was, you know, your background, your training as well. I’m curious if you as my background is the same. And I’m curious if you ever looked at some of the marketing and the branding that was happening, the advertising in real estate in the realtor world, for example, and thinking I could do a better job of that, or I could have there’s a lots of room for improvement, I think, right.
Haley Cutter 8:09
And we’re going back to to 2008 2009. And all these great schools and apps that we have now where even if you have no advertising experience, you can put together a really cool ad, those didn’t exist. So some of the real estate advertisements just really weren’t that good.
D.J. Paris 8:30
Yeah, we didn’t we didn’t have Canva back then. Right? Like, he just changed the game for everyone who goes, I don’t really know how to use Photoshop and Canva came around and said, Oh, no problem, we can take care of that for you. And now. And now everyone can have cool looking stuff. Without really a design background. But you’re right back then you were really on your own.
Haley Cutter 8:51
You were you absolutely were. So I loved being able to put my advertising and marketing background to work. PR was also an area that I studied, and it was a perfect complement to to the real estate industry.
D.J. Paris 9:05
Yeah, makes makes so much sense. And I would love to hear about, you know, being that. That you’re you’re from that, you know, from the Boston area you guys serve as all of Massachusetts, Massachusetts, we should say. I have been as far west as which is not very far west as far west as Worcester. That is that is. But I know Massachusetts has got a lot more than just Boston in it. But you guys cover so much ground and your team. So tell us, tell us why you decided to build a team. And I always think this is interesting, because and and the reason I’m asking is there’s so many agents right now who are either solo practitioners, or maybe they’re already on a team. And they’re either thinking I want to join another team. Maybe this team isn’t the right fit or they’re not on a team thinking I either want to build my own team, or I want to join an established one I’m curious on on why you decided to build a team
Haley Cutter 10:00
So the reason that I was driven to grow and build a team is that I know my strengths, my strengths are in marketing, they’re an advertising, they’re in sales, but they’re not in so many other different areas. And I think that as Realtors as workers right now, we are not just being called on to go in open the door and show the features and benefits of a property. But, you know, we’re asked to be the financial analyst, and really, really diving deep into to all the trends where the price points, then mapping it out across the board. So finance side operations. When we work with new development clients, we’re partnering with groups that are doing visualizations. So it’s not as if a photographer can come in and just take photos. But we have members on our team that specialize in all these different areas. And my skills, that that’s not where I’m best utilized, and why I like a team and how we build our team is not just oh, you’re gonna sell in downtown Boston, you’re gonna sell in Beacon Hill, but what are the strengths and attributes that you can build? And how can we all be stronger together?
D.J. Paris 11:06
Yeah, that makes it so so the way that you have your team is our predominantly our people, our agents on your team? Do we? Are they do they have different roles? Or how does your team structure?
Haley Cutter 11:18
Sure, so it does differ project to project home to home, but I’ll give an example. So right now, we are in the process of bringing a beautiful, beautiful $6 million plus property to market. It is located in Newton mass, which is directly outside of Austin, one of the suburbs. It’s also abutting the beautiful golf course. And it is in the pre construction stage. So when we even when we pitched the developer, we’re bringing in our team members who specialized in the visualizations, we are bringing in our team members who have different speak different languages than I do. So we have manual, Cantonese speaking, specialists. We’re bringing in our finance team. And then we’re saying okay, so I’m going to be the one who shows the property 99% of the time, but, you know, Catherine is going to be helping and working with our visualization team, which is out of Vancouver. And interestingly, the team that working with this time is out of Poland, right. So we’re global it here. But no one person can manage all this and do it really, really well.
D.J. Paris 12:22
Right, it takes a village. Yeah.
Haley Cutter 12:27
What I’ve recognized and even in the last year is sometimes, you know, the question will be on a pitches, well, you know, I know that you have a big team, are you going to be the only one and what my response is, is, you know, I will show your home 99% The time but but my team, we are all stronger together than we are apart. And they obviously you know, I certainly can’t speak Mandarin and Cantonese, I cannot get behind the firewall on WeChat marketing homes. So, you know, we’re really, we’re giving the benefits of all of our team members and explaining why why we work together. And you know, the CEO of a company, he’s not doing every single job, but for whatever reason, our clients but they’ve worked for a while expecting that Realtors wear all these hats.
D.J. Paris 13:12
And I teams are a relatively new phenomenon. So I guess a lot of people had the experience of I had somebody who was a realtor, they seemed it seemed like they did everything and and now we have to almost resell our clients on this team base structure. Because you’re right, there’s there’s that fear that the client is going to think I’ve become so big, and I can’t really give them the personalized attention that they think they deserve. They’re gonna feel, and you’re right. So having that answer, ready and loaded. And of course, what you say makes perfect sense.
Haley Cutter 13:43
And it really is how we operate. You know, day in and day out, if you look at the projects that we take on, we’re putting the best team in place for every project to market and sell it and we do, I’d say probably 70% of our business is on the left side and about 30% on the buyer side. But on the left side, it is so so important to have the right people in place because you know, the social media, the brochures, the lifestyle videos, writing up the narrative, this is not like one, one person is not going to be the best fit for all of that. So my team and she previously she wrote for Bravo. So when we have to write narratives and property descriptions, she’s been a writer. Yeah, I can read. It’s not going to be as good as what Jen can write. That’s the reality of it. No, I know my strengths are and I think that my job as a team lead is really to understand the strengths that my team members bring and to utilize them appropriately.
D.J. Paris 14:44
Such a great answer and it’s such an important answer and what what I what I think is because I really want to get to this idea of luxury and luxury and working developments because I was in a Having it was at a breakfast with our local association. A couple days ago, a couple 100 agents in the room, mostly younger agents not younger, so much in age, although some of them were, but certainly younger or newer to the business and the whole, we had some speakers, some top Realtors here in Chicago, who were talking about luxury luxury rentals in this case, and the room was packed and standing room only because everybody who isn’t in luxury, who’s new to the business goes, I want to be in luxury. Can we dispel some myths about being in luxury? In other words, what I want to make sure our audience understands is what it’s really like to be in to be a luxury agent to work in that space. And it you know, while it’s something that I think a lot of people aspire to, I don’t think it’s the right fit for a lot of agents, would you agree?
Haley Cutter 15:50
I would agree. And to me luxury, it’s not about $1 amount. It’s not about wealth, but it’s about living a lifestyle that you feel uniquely abundant. And so when we’re marketing a property, whether it’s a luxury property or a $500,000 property, we are giving all of our clients the same white glove service, because I think that they deserve it.
D.J. Paris 16:11
Yeah, it i Absolutely. Believe that treating, you know, each each client, the same giving them a luxury experience, not only will of course, net you referrals and repeat business, but also will attract the I have the luxury buyers and sellers to write because that’s what they’re expecting and looking for from an agent. And also I want to also real ask you about competition, because obviously, there’s a tremendous number of agents in not only just the Boston area, but in the whole state. And of course, you’re in competition, I’m sure a lot of times with particularly with listings you do 70% of your business or listings, I’m curious, how often are you up against a multiple sort of interview? Sort of experience where they’re interviewing, you know, several different teams? Is, is that a common? Is that common for you? And if if it is, how do you go about distinguishing yourself from some of the other really amazing teams in your area?
Haley Cutter 17:09
Sure. So I think that my personal business, about 70% of it right now is either repeat clients or referrals. And thankfully, we’re it’s not necessarily an interview, they want to take the time to make sure that they they get to know me, they understand the process, but usually there’s not somebody we’re competing with. When we do really, once again, I think that cutter Luxe living utilizing all of our team members best strengths and grading the best team is nobody else is doing that here in Boston right now. So we have people who are the team members, they have the same role, right? So they’re gonna go in and they both go and the photographer comps, and they’re both fair. And they both go and they do the showing, because honestly, you know, team member a and team member B, they both feel that they should be there. So but when I started to restructure and rebrand Qatar Lux living, I looked at the way how we used to do things, and I thought, how can we improve upon it. So right now, I if I’m there meeting a photographer, I do not want another member of my team to be there, I want them to be working on visualizations, doing an analysis, making phone calls, it just, it doesn’t behoove anyone. So that’s how what I see right now in the Boston marketplace is most of the teams, they’re still operating almost as one unit. But there’s two three people, and fine, like you’re brand new, and you want to shadow and of course, that’s appropriate to do so. But I, I’ve really spent a lot of time this past year, I thinking long and hard about just the utilization of time, and how we can make sure that we have time for ourselves and our self care and our families so that then we can give back and really give 200% to our clients. Because at the level that I was operating at, you know, we did 150 transactions last year, not all sales, some rentals, but it’s impossible to do all that and you know, have an amazing family life and, you know, see your friends and enjoy hobbies, and all those things are really, really important. So just trying to do things a little differently this year.
D.J. Paris 19:16
I think it makes so much sense. You’re right. There are so many teams that currently exist that are really just a bunch of individual agents that get together. They keep doing their individual business, and I’m not here to say there’s anything wrong with that. Not at all. That’s perfectly lovely.
Haley Cutter 19:30
And it worked. It did.
D.J. Paris 19:34
But I really think you know, what you said is so important. I think as a as a society, I think, you know, we used to think things like multitasking worked and being a jack of all trades work. And then the science is now more available to everyone that is really, really clear that it does not work as effectively if you try to do everything well. There’s just a lot of things you’re not going to be good at. And you had talked about, hey, I’m a marketing person. I’m a brand Ending I’m an I’m an advert ad person. I know that side of it. I don’t I’m not a visualizations person, you know, and I, there’s certain your
Haley Cutter 20:09
I understand it. But you know, my time is not best spent doing that.
D.J. Paris 20:13
Right? Yeah. So I almost think, how did you ended up determining what was the best use of your time? Because I know right now that we have a lot of listeners who do everything themselves, and are trying to figure out, I’m not on a team, or a team structured like yours? How might somebody go about thinking, okay, maybe this part of the segment of my business isn’t the best use of my time, and not what I’m best at?
Haley Cutter 20:38
Sure. So I think for a solo agent, that the best opportunity, and the quickest would just be to outsource. So perhaps hiring on somebody to help with your marketing or administration, so start little by little, and those opportunities are available to everyone. And then I’d say if you’re a solo agent, and you’re looking to build a team, or approach it as if you’re building a business, you need a CEO, you need a CFO, you need a marketing person, you need someone who’s going to help out with a public relations, maybe maybe you just have three agents that all they do is sell and they sell really, really well. But if an event needs to be executed to promote the property, you recognize that that’s not their skill set, and you have team members that you can shift and actually in the pay accordingly.
D.J. Paris 21:19
Yeah, makes, again, makes so much sense. I am curious right now being that we’re in a shifting market, in particular, we know everyone listening, you know, pretty much everywhere in the country, here, at least the United States, we’re dealing with, of course, raising rising interest rates. So buyers price points are shifting, oftentimes not for the better. We have, of course, inventory issues, not as much on the market. And right now I imagine. There’s just a lot of client management that has to be done and expectation management and helping somebody understand the turbulence of what’s what’s happening. I’m curious on how you think about having those conversations and what you’re, you know, what you’re doing, you know, with your clients, when there’s the buyer clients, for example, which I know not isn’t the primary part of your personal business, but you know, still something you have to service and what are how are you talking to clients about gosh, guys, there’s just not much out right now. How are you educating your clients about the current conditions? So
Haley Cutter 22:25
when it comes to the buyer side, we are constantly speaking to the mortgage lenders, the banks and saying, what’s it as well as the listing agents? What’s making a difference? Why is client a getting the home over client B. And the way that offers are presented now have changed significantly in the last 12 months in the last six months, there are new vehicles and tools available to certain mortgage lenders where rather than just having a pre approval letter, you could submit an offer that’s completely gone through the underwriting process. So that did not exist, at least I’m sure Massachusetts in the pre COVID market. So it’s pretty amazing when you just look in, really these banks and these brokerages, they’re trying to figure out ways to make their clients shine and in winter homes, they know how important it is to them. So we do we stay on on top of our game, and we’re in contact with the mortgage brokers with the banks. Sometimes we’ve even asked not sometimes across the board, if we know that our clients are in a competitive situation right now, when we’re submitting the offer, we’re submitting a letter from the mortgage broker that is explaining, you know, client a has already gone completely through our underwriting process, their funds are strong, they’re putting down less, or they have more means and they’re even putting down so if something happens, and there’s an appraisal gap, so what an appraisal gap is right is if if a home right now is selling for a million, but the comps in the area really only support an $800,000 sale, then when a bank appraiser comes in he might only appraise it for $800,000. So it’s now up to the buyer to cover that difference. So we’re assuring the sellers that our clients are able to do that.
D.J. Paris 24:08
appraisal, appraisal Gap coverage is huge right now. Very common.
Haley Cutter 24:13
Absolutely. And we’re we’re setting the expectation for the buyers that this is what you need to do and right now we are in a market that in the HUD suburbs unfortunately, you’re waiving the inspection, and that’s a little scary if you don’t have any knowledge you’re not a contractor I’m not I go into home and I don’t know what’s in working order and what’s not of course, if I turn on the light and it doesn’t turn on I know it’s broken. But you know what’s going on between the walls so you know what an open house is actually the perfect opportunity if you would like to bring in an inspector your own Ah, that’s brilliant. I never thought ever it may be there’s nothing wrong with doing that. At least not here in Massachusetts. I’m sure every market is different. So I have seen in in our clients, our team members have physically brought inspectors. They’ve paid them for the day. Hey, we’re gonna go to open houses today. Please come with us. You know, no If there’s if there’s anything major, right, if it’s what’s going to nickel and dime right now, but But is this home structurally sound? Do I know what I’m getting into? Those are all really, really important questions for a buyer to ask. And they have the right to know that.
D.J. Paris 25:14
That’s a really great boy I have we’ve done almost 400 episodes, nobody has ever given that specific tip. And I want to just say it again, for anyone that might have not heard it, which was so, so smart, which is if you are in a situation where you’re having to waive the appraisal, or the inspection, you can if there’s an open house opportunity, you can just bring someone with you, do you ever get pushback from the listing agent, or, or as the listing agent and or whoever’s running the open house maybe not even aware, do you sort of do it on the quiet or
Haley Cutter 25:47
they think that they are aware, it’s not something that’s hidden. I know if we’re on the other side, we welcome it. And if I’m on the listing side, it’s not that I have a problem with an inspection, I want a buyer to go in with their eyes wide open. But the problem is, is that if you have six seven plus offers, sometimes 20 offers to wait the day or two, for the inspector to come in to get the inspection report some of those buyers, they’re going to find other places you’ve already lost them. So it really comes down to timing, the sellers just want to move fast. They want to know if it’s priced appropriately in the suburbs right now that if they go to market on a Friday, and they do open houses Friday, Saturday, Sunday, they’ll have an accepted offer, you know, early in the week, and they can they can make their next move, they can figure out where they’re going next.
D.J. Paris 26:33
It’s really interesting. Now what happens in a situation? And when I say what happens, I’m saying how do you, I would think a big fear as an agent would be when you aren’t able to bring an inspector and appraiser to an open house, maybe there just isn’t an open house opportunity. And you’re not able to get someone in there to really look but you do have to make that concession on on the offer, because you’re competing with other people that have already made that concession. So if that comes up, does that ever come up? And if so, how would you talk to the client, because now the client might have some additional fear about gosh, now I’m really not going to know what I’m getting into?
Haley Cutter 27:10
Sure. So maybe at that point, just go in with your eyes extremely wide open. If this is an older home, you know, look in the basement, look for signs of water damage, look for signs of termites, for any kind of you know, rodents, bugs, etc. Take pictures, open the bulkhead. If it’s a newer home, you know constructed here in the last 10 years, I worry less about that. But once again, just go in with your eyes wide open and look less at the shiny fixtures, the lights, the appliances, but but really the structure of the home, you want to make sure that the property that you’re purchasing is structurally sound. And if it’s not that you have a good understanding of the cost that it’s going to take to get it there.
D.J. Paris 27:51
Yeah, and I also think too, I’m curious to get your thoughts that if you’re a solo practitioner, and you’re not yet super familiar with what inspectors and appraisers actually look at, structurally, go, go hang out with one for a day or spend some time with them or pay them for their time and say, Hey, in case I can’t get a hold of you, or I need to just you know, if I’m not able to bring you here somewhere, what are like 10 things I should be looking for every time I go into a home. And I imagine that would be a great little just series of things that every agent should learn?
Haley Cutter 28:21
Of course, yeah, that’s a good question. You know, what I’m gonna call Lenny Lucario. To be sure and ask him he’s the best right now is, you could if you wanted to hire inspector to go out with you for a few hours on a Saturday morning, they have time right now, it was interesting, at the beginning of COVID, you could not book an inspector, they were just so booked. But now with everybody waiving the inspection, they are available, they would be more than happy to spend a morning you know, an evening going to some open houses with a potential buyer.
D.J. Paris 28:48
I mean, I would pay somebody $500 for a few hours of their time to do that, because it would it’ll end up it’ll end up just differentiating myself from all the other agents that exist. I want to talk about balance because you had mentioned this earlier. So we’re gonna I’m gonna change topics because so many of I, you know, I don’t have children, I don’t I have a girlfriend who lives with me. But that’s the extent of my account my complicated family life. But of course, you have children, you have a husband, you have a career not only as an agent, but as a as an as a managing broker, as a team leader. And then of course, your own individual business. How do you what what do you do to stay balanced so that you’re not burning the candle at both ends? And you know, being that you want to be there of course, for your family and for your team? And for your clients? How do you figure out how to how to structure all of that? Sure. So
Haley Cutter 29:41
no one’s perfect. And this is definitely an area that that I I worked at, I work every single day, but I do get up really early. I take time for myself in the morning. So I tend to rise about five o’clock and if I’m not going to work out Pilates or yoga then I’m just taking a nice walk in in my neighborhood and clearing my head so that when my children get up and really start their day, and they’re running, and they’re crazy, and they’re active, because they’re nine and 11, then I have the the energy and the mindset to welcome that. Whereas if I was just waking up at the same time as them, I wouldn’t have a chance to reset and refresh.
D.J. Paris 30:18
That’s a good point. So you’re like a big fan. For anyone listening? There’s a great book that a lot of realtors have read called the Miracle Morning. It’s not a specifically a real estate related book, but it is about how to take those first hours of the day for yourself. And, and, and do that before the chaos all begins. I’m curious about boundaries. And when I mean boundaries, I don’t mean personal boundaries more about work boundaries. So for you only because this question comes up so often, you know, if you get a text from a client late in the evening, do you have do you have special rules around? You know, if it’s after a certain time I, you know, I don’t worry about it, or are you Uh, hey, no matter if I’m awake, I’m responding. You know, what are your thoughts about
Haley Cutter 31:01
it, I’ll respond, but I also go to bed really early. And my team members know that. So sometimes, if they’re texting at 9pm, I might be up. But by 930, I’m asleep. And I’m up really early in the morning, I have a lot of responsibilities. And I don’t feel guilty about that.
D.J. Paris 31:16
No, and nor should you, I just think it can be very difficult for agents sometimes to feel like it’s okay to tell their clients, hey, I’m available from, you know, usually from this time to this time, if I’m up, I’ll certainly respond after that, if I’m not first thing in the morning. But so many agents have a hard time setting those boundaries with their clients. Do you feel that that’s appropriate to, to set expectations early on with the client so that they’re so that their expectations are, are in alignment with what you’re able to provide? Thank you.
Haley Cutter 31:47
And I know a lot of brokers that will say I’m available between x and x time. And if you set that if you set the framework in the beginning, then I don’t foresee any problems with a client. Yeah. That’s what I think I could get better at. And I noticed that sometimes people say like, oh, I respond to emails between X and X hours. I like the idea of it practically, I have not been able to find a way to make it work. But who knows, maybe one day
D.J. Paris 32:12
I I’m laughing because I have the same problem. I’m like, I know I shouldn’t be checking my emails all day long. I know, it’s not good use of my time. But it’s it’s addictive. And it feels good to immediately respond.
Haley Cutter 32:24
I don’t want to call these nines, like when I fall behind that gets overwhelming. Yeah, if I can just keep up throughout the course of the day, and it’s okay.
D.J. Paris 32:33
Well, I have a question I’m going to ask. And then before you answer, I want to I have to do a quick sponsorship read. But my question is about team members now. And I know you have a large team. And when you think about adding a team member, I’m curious to know what qualities and somebody you’re looking for not so much their skills, because obviously you’re going to you pick people with very specific skills. I’m more interested in qualities, because I am sure so many agents want to work with your team want to join your team, you guys are one of the most successful teams in all of Massachusetts. So I’m curious on what you look for, because I think that’ll help. And again, you’re you’re one team and there’s millions of teams that look for different things. But I’m curious on the qualities you look for in a in somebody that you’re considering to join your team. And I think that will help our audience understand what somebody at your level might be interested in. But before we do that, I want to take pause for a quick moment to talk about our episode sponsor. It’s one of my favorite companies out there in the real estate tech space, which is called follow up boss. And after interviewing hundreds of top Realtors all over the country for this podcast, the CRM that is talked about by more of our guests than any other Believe it or not, it is follow up boss and let’s face it, following up is the key to taking your business to the next level follow up boss will help you drive more leads in less time with less effort and don’t take my word for it. Robert slack who runs the number one team in the United States for real estate agents use his follow up boss and he has built a one and a half billion dollar business in just six years. Follow up boss also integrates with 250 existing external systems. So if you’re already using other pieces of technology for your real estate business, no problem follow up boss integrates with them you keep those tools too. But here’s the best part. Follow up boss has seven day a week support. We know real estate happens at nights and weekends right so they are available so you’ll get the help you need when you need it. Get this follow up boss is so sure that you’re going to love their CRM and for a limited time, they are offering keeping it real podcast listeners a 30 day free trial which is twice as much time as they give everybody else. So oh and by the way, no credit card required. So they are so confident you’re going to keep using their systems and you will once you try it that you’ve they’re gonna give you 30 free days and then they’re going to ask for payment if you want to keep going but only if you visit the special link which is follow up boss.com forward slash real file Follow Up boss.com forward slash real for your free 30 day trial, follow up like a boss with follow up, boss. And now back to our question. So when you’re looking to expand your team, what qualities do you look for in an agent?
Haley Cutter 35:16
So first and foremost is character, because if I’m bringing somebody onto my team, then they are indirectly but also directly linked to me. So that that is the number one trait that I am looking for in an agent. We want people who are go getters and are gonna go the extra mile, roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, it’s not all what you see on selling sunset and the stiletto heels and walking around and pointing out the attributes of a condo, we’ve sold nine and a half million dollar condos, they’re beautiful, that’s great. But that probably is 1% of what we’re doing on any given day. So sometimes we’re moving furniture, and we might be moving furniture up the stairs. So it’s, it’s not all glitz and glam. And you have to work really, really hard and be willing to put your time in. Also, our team, we are large right now. And it’s extremely important to me that any new team member that we bring on has compatible. It really is competitive with our team has complementary skill sets isn’t directly competing with anybody. And it’s going to fit in and feel welcome. So something that we’ve done in this didn’t exist initially. But now if anybody does want to join our team, and initially I’ll have a conversation and interview, if you will. And if I think that the person would be a good fit for our team, our next step is that they come in and they attend one of our team meetings. So we meet at 11 o’clock every Wednesday on Newbury Street, it’s the one time that I’m in the Boston office, because otherwise I’m just running around home to home, showing and selling and everything else. So it’s a good opportunity. And we roundtable it’s really fun. Wednesday is my favorite day of the week. And, you know, first is just, you know, observe, see what’s going on? Like, does this seem too crazy for you? Or is it like these people? I like them that are my tribe, you know, where do you feel? And then after that the team, we as a team, not just me, but it’s Hey, you know, Sarah came in? And what does everybody think? Do we think that she’d be a fit? And the Fit goes two ways, too, right? So if we feel you’re a fit, like you also have to feel that you’re fit. And then we’re taking it even a step further. And until we formally onboard anyone, we’ll have a trial. So based on what’s going on, if someone’s traveling, maybe it’s a little extended, if they’re going to spend a lot of time with us, maybe it’s long. But that’s an opportunity for you to come in to go to our events shadow me or any of the team members on listings to help out and and then feel like is does this feel right for you? Because it’s so important right now that the team members we’re bringing in, we need we need the team to be strong. We’re currently strong. And we just want to make sure that if we’re adding it’s the right person, and it’s the right fit. We’re not putting on a team member just to get your ear, you know, you’re, what $10 million in sales that that’s, that’s irrelevant.
D.J. Paris 38:14
It’s irrelevant, and it doesn’t help the team necessarily,
Haley Cutter 38:17
it doesn’t. Do you have a skill that you can offer that we do not have? So when Catherine came in, and she could speak Cantonese, and Mandarin, and she has an amazing background, and she’s posting things on WeChat, that’s something that I can’t contribute. But that alone would not have got Katherine on our team, the fact that she fit in and everybody felt that are comfortable with her that she was willing to do anything like that’s what got her hired.
D.J. Paris 38:43
Yeah, it’s everything you said, just makes so much sense. And it’s a really great education for our listeners who are thinking about approaching a team and saying, Hey, I would like to, to work with you, I, I love this idea of you know, once they sort of get the initial Hey, we like this person, then it’s like, Okay, we’re gonna try, we’re gonna do a trial period. And that probably weeds out a lot of people as well, because there’s just not as many agents that are willing to do that. And I think that’s a really smart way to make sure that you have somebody who’s committed serious, coachable, because you’re doing your you’re making sure that that those people best represent Luxe living.
Haley Cutter 39:24
And probably the final step to as if somebody shadowed for a month plus whatever we feel is appropriate, if I’ll sit down with them, and I’m not just asking them what their goals and expectations are. I’m asking them what the goals and expectations are for me and for the team. Because I do not want to be bringing anybody on that I’m not meeting their goals and expectations. And I think that that’s a really important question that often is not asked. And I don’t even know if the agents Give It Thought until you ask. Because if somebody was expectation of me is that every morning, you know, we’re going to have a phone call for An hour, and then we’re going to recap for an hour in the evening. I apologize that I just don’t have time for that. Right? Right. But if it’s like once a week, we want to sit down, you want to do goal setting, if they want the opportunity to shadow, great, I’ll let you know. But but sometimes somebody might come in and they think in their head that their goals and expectations are going to be met by you, as a team lead or by other team members. And I just want to be sure that we’re all on the same page. You know, we take the professional photos, we have the ads and all the publications, the last thing I want is to put something out there, and then somebody’s you know, no, no longer part of the team.
D.J. Paris 40:34
Sure. I think you said something really, also really important, which is agents, you can ask those team leaders, hey, here’s what I’m looking to accomplish. You know, can you help me get there, as opposed to saying, here’s why I’d be a great fit for your team, which of course, you shouldn’t say as well, but also say, here’s what I’m looking for. And I’m really looking to accomplish this. Can you help me do XY and Z, and I imagine, you know, you get calls from from agents who are just looking for lead source and are unable to do that on their own. And so they’re like, Well, if I join a team, I might get some leads. But until you understand what that person really needs, and you you might not be willing or able to do that. But a lot of times you’re right, the agent doesn’t say, here’s what I need, right? There needs to be a fit. I think that’s really important is ask for what you need. And in you know, it’s okay. If the I mean, it’s like I, we get these calls, too, because I handle people who are interested in joining our firm, and we get that question a lot. I always say what are you looking for? What do you want in a firm? And if they immediately it’s like, Oh, I really need a lot of leads. I’m like, we are not the right fit. I wish we I wish we could do that. But the truth is, we don’t. And I’d rather you know that right now. And then otherwise join us. And then you know, photos, all the all of the things and then you’re like, oh, that person isn’t happy here and they leave or we’re not happy with them. And I would love to talk with the last thing I want to talk about is something you said earlier, which is about your referral. 70% of your business is referral repeat, you know, a business. What are you doing? This is what I’m always interested in, after the sale. What are you and your team doing to stay in touch with? With clients? Maybe they just bought a home and you’re like this person and this is their forever home? Or this? They’re going to be there for a long time? What are you doing to still stay, at least in the back of someone’s mind as they progress when they’re not needing your services right away?
Haley Cutter 42:33
Sure. So for us, it’s always relationship, not a transaction. So when the home has closed for still, we’re going to call we’re going to send cards, we do a weekly newsletter. And that’s just an opportunity for us to be top of mind. And sometimes if a client purchases in downtown Boston, they might not know that we have two new listings coming on and dentists on Cape Cod, but when they get our newsletter, they’re like, oh my gosh, really? I didn’t know that you service that. And you know what? My brother? He’s thinking of buying a house on the cake? Can you help him? So it’s little things like that. So some of it is just putting them on the newsletter list. And of course, if somebody wants to unsubscribe, it’s their right to do so. Please, by all means do but most people say how much they enjoy it. Yeah, and just if you were calling them, you know, every day, you’re not going to call them every day. But you know, maybe pick up the phone every few months. Or if you know that somebody really enjoys baseball, when the season starts, they like oh my gosh, you want on the baseball game? Like let’s meet up. Just keep it real. And don’t be fake about it.
D.J. Paris 43:34
I think that’s right. I think people can sniff out in authenticity, or non authenticity. I’m not sure what’s the proper way to say it. But But yes, I think being authentic and being gracious and also thoughtful, like in your case, every week sending them what Brian Buffini value,
Haley Cutter 43:55
they probably you know, they’re busy. They don’t want to hear from you every week. But every now and then, well, I’ve got a funny story. So go ahead. We have a client who has become a friend. But when we were initially looking for properties, and she must have purchased in Beacon Hill about five years ago now, we were touring some spectacular homes for five $6 million plus and for whatever reason in the Back Bay. A lot of the homes we went into, they were just staged a little funny. So there was this one that there was actual stuffed cats arranged on every bed with a cup fake milk in front of it. Oh, no. So she was like, oh my goodness, Haley, like, you gotta get me out of this house now like she’s flipping. He’s like, no, no, no, no, no. And they also had creepy dolls. So to this day, if she goes into a gift shop and there’s like a cat joke, like she’ll take a picture and send it to me and I’ll take a picture and send it to her. So it’s just that’s authentic. That’s real.
D.J. Paris 44:49
It is. It is funny. Realtors get to sort of see how the other half live sub dives do right. We’re like, wow, that person painted a sky on their ceiling with clouds and Okay. Hey, are there taxidermy? Yeah, it was, it was bizarre. But those those experiences really bite bind you to other people, right? Because you share that sort of intimate, funny experience. And then it becomes kind of a like a lifetime, a lifelong joke, right? Yeah.
Haley Cutter 45:18
Gifts to like, it’s not just me giving them to her, she’s giving them to me. Shared commonality,
D.J. Paris 45:25
I think it’s a great, great place to wrap up being authentic and, and having fun with with your clients and just being being yourself. And, above all, you know, you demonstrate and your team demonstrates professionalism. And I think that is, at the end of the day, what seals the deal with keeps everyone happy and wanting to work with you. Because I know there’s a lot of people I really like and I’m connected to, but I don’t trust their skill set. Right. And you guys do everything, you’re authentic. You’re a well oiled team, and you have really strong, not just you, but everyone on your team is really, really skilled. And I think I think that’s just an incredible combination. Obviously, you’re having incredible success as a result.
Haley Cutter 46:11
We also have a lot of fun along the way.
D.J. Paris 46:14
Yes, yeah, I get that as well. I totally, totally believe it. Just even looking at some of the photos, everyone in your in your staff, you can tell when people smile just for Team photos, but maybe not that way. You can see it in the photos, your photos, everyone looks legitimately happy. And you just said hanging out with everybody on Wednesdays when their team meeting. That’s a really, that’s your most fun thing to do. So, you know, boy seems like a wonderful environment. I want to to wrap up by saying if anyone out there if any of our listeners have have clients who may be vacation out in Massachusetts, of course, take QA there’s lots of wonderful places on the East Coast. Or if you have clients that are relocating to Boston or anywhere in Massachusetts, Haley and her team would love the opportunity to chat with you. Or if you just happen to be a listener and you’re not a realtor, but you live in that in the in the Massachusetts area. Or if you’re moving there, definitely check with with Qatar Lux living, they would love the opportunity to chat with you see if you’d be a good fit. And if they would be a good fit. And the best way to reach them. Obviously, you can go right to their website, which is Qatar lux.com. And that’s Lux with an E at the end Qatar lux.com. With compass in in Massachusetts. And Hailey is if anyone else is wants to reach out to you, is there a better way they should touch base? Oh, so
Haley Cutter 47:31
Haley dot cutter is my handle on Instagram as well as Facebook and or email@example.com.
D.J. Paris 47:37
Wonderful. And we will have links to Haley’s Instagram and Facebook in our show notes. If you’re listening on a podcast app, just look in the show notes. And you can follow her on social and contact her that way. Haley, thank you so much. We are so grateful for your time we know how busy oh my gosh, you guys are so busy. And you took the time to really help our audience improve their business. And we are so grateful for you for that. So on behalf of the audience, we say thank you. On behalf of Haley and myself, this is actually Memorial Day weekend when we’re recording. So Haley, I want to hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. Also hope all of our audience enjoys the holiday. By the time most of you here this Memorial Day be long gone. But I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and we will see everybody on the next episode. Oh, one last thing please tell a friend about this episode. Think of one other agent that in your office that you know that could benefit from hearing this great conversation with Haley send them a link to it. You know there’s a million ways to do that. So please let them know about our show. Haley, thank you so so much and we will say thank you so grateful to have you and we will see everybody on the next episode. Thanks anyway. Thank you bye guys.