Barb Noote from Coldwell Banker is a top 1% producer in Chicago and believes all real estate agents should find a mentor for the first few years of their business. She believes this is the equivalent of going to college and the lessons learned are invaluable to helping secure the foundation of this business. In our conversation Barb talks about how she built her business over 19 years by giving back, and why this is the most important value an agent must have!
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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. For real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris. I am your host and guide through the show. And are you an advertiser that is looking to get more business from real estate agents, we have spots available. So if you would like to sponsor an episode, reach out to us you can reach our casting directors on at zonna at keeping it real pod.com That’s our email or through our contact form at keeping it real pod.com and also everyone listening please follow us on Facebook, you can find firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash keeping it real pod what we do every single day is we post an article that we find online dedicated to helping you grow your business. And of course we post links to all of the episodes we do and now we even post real live recordings, almost like a behind the scenes you can watch in real time as we record episodes, because once we record an episode, then it takes our team a couple of weeks to actually produce it and get it ready into the format you’re listening to now but if you can’t wait, you want to watch it live where you can do that. So we broadcast them on Facebook and if you’re if you like our Facebook page, Facebook will notify you in real time each time we are doing a live videos you can watch so follow email@example.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And lastly, please tell a friend just think of one other real estate agent that you know that could benefit from hearing from top producers like Barb who is about to ready to come on the show. So thanks guys again for continuing to listen. Thanks for supporting our sponsors. And thanks for telling a friend and now on to our interview with top producer Barbara nuit.
Hey, today on the show we have Barb Knuth from Coldwell Banker. Barb has been a full time top 1% Producing Realtor in the Chicago suburbs for over 20 Or actually for two exactly 20 years. She has experience helping sellers, buyers and renters. She specializes in helping clients understand the home buying or renting process and selling process and out of pocket costs as well as giving them their options so they can make the best decision on what works for them. 90% of Barb’s business is referral based, and she looks forward to being your friend in real estate, please visit her website at Lake County home expert.com and a fresh from the flu. Welcome to the show. Barb, thank you so much.
Barb Noote 3:45
Thank you very much for having me.
D.J. Paris 3:47
I’m just glad you made it. I know this was a was a tough week for you. Yes, definitely. And by the way, you’re also running a business and have four kids. So getting sick is gotta be difficult, a little bit busy. Well, thanks for being on the show. Since you’ve been in production for so long, can you tell our listeners and viewers a little bit about how you got started? Why real estate and how did you how’d you get into the business?
Barb Noote 4:14
Yeah, absolutely. I actually it fell into my lap. It’s not anything that I would have ever thought that I would be doing because I was always very structured and like to be able to plan. And so if somebody would have told me I was going to be working random hours with random people and making random paychecks I would have run away screaming. But I ended up getting a job where I worked with a realtor and she needed some help doing mailings and setting appointments. And it was a great after school job that then after I graduated, I started working more full time hours for her. And I really got to see how fun that job could be. And so then she started giving me a little bit more to do and then had me get licensed and then I was able to stay on with her for a couple more years before I decided I would was comfortable enough to go off on my own. So it was actually a total fluke, but it worked out very well.
D.J. Paris 5:06
So this is a question we get a lot from our listeners, because it seems we’ve had I don’t know, this is like Episode 134, or something like that. So, or 135, whatever it is. And we’ve a lot of top 1% producers have been on our show, and a lot of them had a sort of similar experience where this wasn’t necessarily what they thought they might be doing. When they were much younger. However, how important do you think it is for somebody to have that sort of mentorship? I imagine you probably learned a lot from working from that producer for a while.
Barb Noote 5:41
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I, I’m at a point now where, because the markets doing so well. A lot of people past clients that I have, friends that I have, they’re now coming to me, and they’re saying, hey, Barb, I’m thinking about getting my real estate license, can we grab a cup of coffee, so I can pick your brain. And that’s actually the very first thing I tell them to do is that it’s so important because what you learn in classroom is memorization of things that you may or may not end up using. But the skills that you learn while you’re working under somebody. So I’ll have people that will be like so you think it’d be good for me to work on a team 100%? Does it stink, because you feel like you’re giving a split to somebody else, or whatever the case is, that’s always people’s biggest qualms is like, I don’t want to do that I’m gonna have to give, you know, whatever 50% of my check to whoever, whatever team I’m on. But 50% of something is better than 100% and nothing. And that 50% or whatever you work out with that broker is you’re you’re putting a price tag on that hands on experience. And that’s actually something that my husband tells me all the time is that as I’ve trained agents, and as I’ve had agents working underneath me, he goes, You don’t realize the value you’re passing on to them, just letting them shadow you and learn from you. Because it’s the day to day that you really learn and grow from no two days in real estate are ever the same. So you’ve just got to be able to learn to be quick on your feet, and know how to solve problems or forecast ahead on what needs to be done. And you don’t learn that unless you’ve been working with a seasoned realtor first. So absolutely, yeah,
D.J. Paris 7:11
I think that’s a really good point. And also realizing that we all pay money for expert advice in other areas of our life, right? Like, we might have a financial advisor, or we have an insurance agent, or you know, even you know, all sorts of services where either we’re paying directly out of pocket or it’s coming, there’s a commission owed. And you know, a lot of times, like you said, sometimes a broker will get in the business and say, Well, I don’t want to give up half of my income. It’s like, Yeah, but if that top producer or that team member is going to help you build your business, and they have a track record of a lot of success, right, you’re basically paying for knowledge and experience, and they’re gonna ultimately it’s an investment.
Barb Noote 7:51
Right. And I mean, you can’t look at another job and not see it, someone’s paying, someone joins the union there. They’re not getting paid at that high salary right away, I’m trying to think of what the word is now that they use when they’re basically shadowing them, like an apprentice and apprentice, thank you very, very good. So, you know, when you join a union, that’s what you’re doing. And you got two years of that. And with real estate, you don’t have to have a two year or four year college degree. So you’re getting into real estate with no student loans. So if you’re looking at it as you don’t have to be on a team forever, and you don’t have to be working under somebody forever. But if you look at it, as I’m going to do it for two years, I’m going to do it for four years, and the money I’m giving back to that team is the same as education at school, you’re still coming out ahead because you’re still coming out then with no student loans. And now you’ve built yourself a career in those two to four years. So it really is a mindset you got to people have to be able to get past so that they can just throw themselves in and be a sponge, absorb it all. Learn it all and then figure out how you can make it work for you. So
D.J. Paris 8:54
yeah, and also like you know, certainly sit down with met with multiple teams before you make a decision. See what you think’s the best fit. Because not every team is the right fit,
Barb Noote 9:05
correct? Yeah, some people run things very differently. Some people are very hands on other people. You know, I think there’s a transition period where you have to learn what kind of Realtor you want to be because there’s the transactional people who they’re more dollar driven. And they work very well with the real with the consumer who’s also dollar driven. There’s some buyers and sellers out there who don’t want the warm fuzzies they don’t need you to be their best friend. They want you to get to the bottom line, they want you to get the job done and they’ll call you when they need you again. And then there’s other people who want you calling long after the deal is done because they want to tell you about their dog or their cat or whatever their situation is in life. So yeah,
D.J. Paris 9:42
yeah, that’s a really good point. And I know that one of the really most interesting things about your business in particular is how much of it is referral based which I always say that’s the that’s the reward for doing a great job on you know, without Every client, can you talk a little bit about why you think your referral rate is so high? It’s certainly not that high for most brokers. So I think our listeners would be very interested to know why, why you why that sort of happened for you? Sure. Well,
Barb Noote 10:12
first of all, I like say, I’m blessed with really good clients that I like stay in touch. So that’s very helpful. But I think a lot of it has to do with that, that staying in touch. And like I’d mentioned before, I’ve had a lot of coaching over the years, nobody knows everything. So every time I feel like I’ve kind of reached a plateau, I reach out and I invest more money in myself and in coaching to figure out how to get to the next level, or how I can be better for my clients. And something that’s always stayed consistent with that training is staying in touch. And if you don’t treat those clients like a paycheck, the income will follow because you’re genuinely a caring person that cares about them. And I know, it’s hard to think about that if you are a realtor that’s new or you’re struggling, are you trying to figure out how to go from paycheck to paycheck when that’s not consistent. But I can assure you that when you start doing that, and you start leading with just trying to do what’s in the client’s best, best interest, they’ll always come back to you. And it’s not always just about that client. I mean, I’ve got some clients that have referred me so much business, and then their friends and family refer me business, because I helped them. Maybe it was a home inspection that had gone bad and I didn’t pressure them to move forward. I told them that there’d be a better opportunity for them out there, one that didn’t stress them out. Some of my clients joke with me, because when we’re looking at a house, or, you know, they’ll, they’ll like it, but they’ll be on the fence and I’ll be like, you know, kind of talking them through like, hey, you’ve got options, you can buy it, you don’t have to buy it. And they’ll joke with me they’re like, you know, you’re not a really good salesperson, you you’re no, you’re not trying to convince us to buy the house, but I don’t ever feel like that’s my job. I I really look at it as my job is to give them options based on facts, because it’s very easy to get caught in the emotion of negotiations. And I don’t think that everybody makes the best decisions when they’re in that emotional state. I know I’ve bought and sold houses myself. And even that I’ve got to have my husband talked me off the ledge on Sundays. Things are nice.
D.J. Paris 12:08
I had the same thing. Yeah, I had the same thing happen to me. When I went to sell my condo a couple years ago, where I listed it higher than I should have. I knew I knew better on advice. I took none of my own advice. And then I finally after a month I went I should probably lower the price. And it sold right away because
Barb Noote 12:25
your own pictures and everything
D.J. Paris 12:28
that I didn’t do that I was smart enough not to do.
Barb Noote 12:32
Excellent. Excellent. So yeah, I do think that’s got a big, big piece of it is just the caring factor.
D.J. Paris 12:38
Can you believe that? How often and thankfully, I don’t think it’s as prevalent as used to be. But you know, I still see I mean, it even happens, sadly, some of our own brokers, we now have a team in place at our firm, where we go through and look and whenever we see somebody who clearly took their own photos, we reach out to them and we’re like, please, please upgrade your photos like hi, it’s it’s 150 bucks, or whatever it costs, it is absolutely worth
Barb Noote 13:03
and and they I always tell realtors that they should treat selling their clients houses as if they were selling their own and how pristine they want it to be whether that’s with pictures or signage or how it looks online. I just feel like there should be that level of expectation that if you were going to sell your own house, how what would your standards be? And try and get your clients to understand that. So? Absolutely.
D.J. Paris 13:26
Yeah. So one of the questions actually, from when this is a good time for one of our listener questions. So let me make sure I found it. Okay. So you talked a lot about, you’ve talked a bit about referrals and doing a great job for your clients and really showing demonstrating that you’re that you care about them and giving them options instead of trying to push them one way or the other. So here’s a question about after the sale. So one of our listeners, Laura says, How do you stay in touch with your contacts after a sale? Do you do postcards, newsletters, phone calls, texts, social media posts, like, what’s your process for, you know, seeing being that maybe the person is going to be now seven years away from doing another real estate transaction?
Barb Noote 14:11
Sure. Well, and again, I think this is where it’s important that we focus on the fact that just because of that one person has moved in may not be looking to buy or sell again, in seven years, they’ve got all of their family and their friends. And that’s where a lot of my referrals come from is that when I do a good job for them, then they pass that name on. And that’s why a point to bring up to that is sometimes as Realtors we’re always like, Oh man, you know, our clients, they start bringing their parents with on every showing. And then it’s hard because we feel like it’s us against the parents. And it’s really a mindset, you’ve got to get out of your own way and realize that if your clients, parents see you taking such good care of them, they will become advocates for you too. So we’re all trying to help the same person here. So I think that’s important as far as staying in touch with them. One of the big things that I do is I have a 90 day program for after I close. So yeah, absolutely. So this is a huge one because most of the time, I found that when I closed on a house, I would give my client a card at closing with $100 gift card in there. And I would say thank you so much for letting me work with you and blah, blah, blah. And sometimes I wouldn’t even get a thank you from it. And it’s not that which should have been, I wasn’t giving them a gift to get a thank you. But it was almost like I started to feel like they expected me to give them a gift for working with them. Even though I know I worked my tail end off. So I was like, Okay, I want them to know that I’m giving them this because I appreciate them. And I will appreciate them continuously in the future. So I broke that $100 gift card up into three different stages. So now when I meet with them at their walkthrough, I give them a big laundry basket full of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, anything you can imagine that you need that first day you move in, oh, that’s so smart. I love that people love it. And it’s way better than a plant because lord knows I can’t keep a plant alive to save my soul. So at least I know they’re getting use out of this, I will get calls and text messages from clients for days being like, oh, Barb, that toothpaste was a lifesaver. We couldn’t figure out where we packed ours or even silly things. Like when we go to do the walkthrough, I had a client one time and she’s like, I have such a bad headache. I don’t know how I’m gonna make it through closing, I’m like, oh, there’s some ibuprofen in this gift basket. So it’s just all those little things that come in super handy. So they get that, and then 60 days after closing so that you know, they get the gift basket that’s lasting about the first 30 days. And then 60 days after closing, they get a gift card from me that just says, Hey, I know buying your house or selling your house was stressful. Here’s a movie gift card now that you’ve unpacked some Why don’t you get out into the community and just take a night off. And then at the 90 day mark, they’ll get a gift card for me for like Kohl’s or target or something like that. And it’s just with a quick little note that says, hey, I’m sure you’ve finished unpacking. And now you’ve thought about additional things you’d like to buy to make this house your home. Happy Shopping, let me know what you buy with it. And that’s always really fun, because that encourages them to interact back with me. So then I’ll get text messages of like a picture of towels, or garbage cans, like something silly, but for them, they bought it. And then they thought of me. And so I always I always get a lot of really good feedback about that. Because most people are programmed to think that once the sale is done, and we’ve gotten our checks that we don’t care anymore, and that’s just simply simply isn’t true. So I think just the long term, staying in touch with them, has really made a huge difference in growth in my business, because they know they’re still on my mind after closing. So it’s a big
D.J. Paris 17:40
one. Yeah, that’s I think you’re the first person that we’ve interviewed who has that sort of 90 day process. Excellent. No, it’s, it’s awesome. And it’s it, you know, if we think as listeners, probably a good percentage of realtors will do something for their clients at closing, or after closing, you know, a gift card, a gift, whatever. But to really think, and that’s certainly better than nothing, of course. But to really think like, what could they use in the first 30 days, and then to put a little gift basket together with like a laundry basket. That’s a good idea. Like paper plates, of course, you know, toothpaste, all
Barb Noote 18:20
those scissors is a big one. Oh, that’s a good one. Like, I couldn’t find my box cutter. So yeah, it’s been really beneficial.
D.J. Paris 18:27
That’s really, really smart. So like, if we think like, boy, does that meet somebody’s needs, you know, it’s funny, I moved into an apartment once. This is like a silly example. But it’s a really good one where the landlord which was the condo owner, he and his wife, they knew I had a cat and a dog. And they the day I moved in, they had put the entire island. The kitchen island was littered with cat toys, dog toys, treats, and you know it, they probably spent $25 total. And it’s it’s silly, but I went wow, that was and then they wrote me a handwritten note, you know, thanks so much for renting. And I was like that was really, really smart. And it made me think that like, oh, they care about me, even though I’m sure they do that for every tenant, but they should do that for every time.
Barb Noote 19:13
They do care about you. They want to have a working relationship. And that’s exactly what I think this is too. So and get
D.J. Paris 19:19
in and guess how well I treated that place. Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, it sounds silly, but I probably treated it a little better. Not not that I don’t treat places. Nice. I do but I felt a little more connected to them. Yeah, though. I’d never met them.
Barb Noote 19:34
And I never ation so do right by them. Absolutely.
D.J. Paris 19:38
So what a what a great suggestion. So for everyone listening, come up with a 90 day at least a 90 day plan where you can consistently add value. And it doesn’t it doesn’t mean you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money either just demonstrate that you care and that you’re giving them things that they actually need.
Barb Noote 19:54
Yes, absolutely. Another touch on that too is the Client appreciation events. I don’t know if other people are doing those. But for people who are just starting out in real estate, it can be very intimidating. I remember the first time I did it, I’d only been in business for like seven years. And like, what if nobody shows up? Even worse? What if three people show up? So I partnered up with other realtors, and we, you know, rented out this venue. And that way, we each invited people. And so if I only had two of my people come, but they each had 15, we still had a room full of people. And so nobody could sit there and be like, so why don’t you have any client, you know what I mean? So it took the pressure off of having to look cool. And now I’ve been doing for 20 years, I I’ve got my client appreciation party coming up, we have about 150 people coming. So it’s it’s huge. It’s grown so much over the years, but starting out, like I know, I know, for me, it was always overwhelming when I went to seminars or coaching places. And these realtors that were really successful talked about the things they were doing an all I saw and felt was dollar signs. And I’m like, what, how do I get from where I’m at, though to there, there has to be this bridge, right? And so for me, how could I get there was by partnering up with other realtors. And like I said, small venue, then you’re splitting the cost of like light appetizers, and we just did a little raffle giveaway. And there’s manageable ways to do it. You could even do a reverse one where they come to your office, we did that for pie giveaway, where you can have clients come and pick up a pie right before Thanksgiving. So it’s like a reverse pop by and then they’re coming to you. And then they’re picking up the pie. But you get to see them and it’s Hi, how are you? How’s your family and then, you know, so there’s ways that are cost effective to do it because we just got our pies from Mariano’s. And they were like they gave us a deal at like $3 a pie. So we were able to like buy all these pies and have clients come to us. So again, the pressure was off from having to throw this big hoopla. But they came to us and they were so genuinely grateful. And how nice was it to make this one on one contact with people that I’d closed on back in January. And the following November, I’m able to see them face to face again. So we don’t get too busy this to stay in front of them. So little tips like that.
D.J. Paris 22:05
Well that’s, that’s that’s a really big tip actually. So because everybody at Thanksgiving has a pie, right? So what you’ve actually done possibly is even taken that off their to do list to go out and either make a pie or buy a pie. I mean in a in a sort of silly way. It’s not silly, because it’s actually something every single family has at Thanksgiving. In addition, I want to go back to the partnering with because honestly, that is nobody has mentioned that ever on on our show, partnering up with another agent. I always say agents because we have listeners nationwide and in some states, their agents and other Yeah. So anyway. In Illinois, if you say well, yeah, Illinois, some brokers get very upset. They’re like, we are not agents. We are brokers. But anyway, so partner with another realtor. Yeah, partner with another agent, broker realtor, this is a great idea. Because that is it is everybody’s fear when they do their first client Appreciation Event is I mean, it’s look at anytime anyone throws a party in socially, that is your biggest fear. Yeah, and the reality of it is, is like even if two people showed up, it would be fine. But to alleviate whatever embarrassment or, or, or just, you know, uncomfortable sort of scenario that might be I think that is such a great idea. And the other thing too, is when you partner up with other agents, you can also to help offset the cost even further, you can reach out to your, your your partners, like if you have a mortgage broker, a loan officer who’s you give business to or who wants to develop business with you, attorneys, title companies, you know, they can help offsets. Yeah, but that is so smart. I would have never thought of that for client appreciation partner up with someone else, maybe even two or three realtors. And then nobody knows whose clients are whose.
Barb Noote 23:49
Yeah, it takes the pressure off. So absolutely.
D.J. Paris 23:52
Okay, one of our other listeners asked us a totally different change of direction here, but they said, okay, so you’re out in Lake, you work mostly in Lake and McHenry County, counties, which are the suburbs of Chicago for our listeners who aren’t familiar. Now, one of our listeners named for riq, I believe says one of my suburban clients wants to move to downtown Chicago, I’m guessing freak as a suburban agent, one of my suburban clients wants to move to downtown Chicago, I don’t really know that area. Should I refer the client to a broker that specializes in downtown? Or should I spend time learning about it and help the client myself? Do you have an opinion on that?
Barb Noote 24:32
I do. And I’m going to say refer it out. I have found that, again, the mentality of helping the client the best way and looking out for their best interest is not you either one pretending to know the area or two respectfully, like you said, researching it. Well, you know, there’s something about knowing your area like when people move to my communities, I can tell them all about the schools and the park districts and the grocery shopping and which movie theater has fived Dollar Movie Night and things like that. And there’s value to that, especially if you have somebody moving from out of the area. And I’ve had several clients that have wanted to move down to the city and I have referred them out. And I just, I’m brutally honest with them, I say to them, Look, I love spending the time with you. And I would love to continue to help you. But part of me helping you is getting you someone who knows the area better than you do and better than I do. And so a lot of times, I find that they respect the fact that I’m being honest with them, and referring them, something I also do is give them a couple of options, so that they can talk to those realtors and figure out who’s going to be the best fit. Because if you just contact one realtor and say, Hey, client work with this person, and they’re not a good connection, personality wise, it can also still be a better turnout there. So you want to make sure that you talk to a couple realtors and you feel like you find a realtor that works the same as you and then find two of those and then give those numbers to your client and have them call them and see who they’re most comfortable with after they talk to them on the phone. So, but I definitely think it’s worth just getting the referral fee for because they’ll appreciate your honesty. And they’ll continue to refer you all the business up here in the suburbs, and because they’re going to know you’re looking out for them. So yeah,
D.J. Paris 26:12
yeah. And I think the conversation is a really simple one, right, you basically just say to your client, I would love to help you in downtown Chicago, but honestly, that’s not my specialty. And I have a couple of partners who that’s all they do. And they’re going to do a better job than I can. And so what I want to do is get you in touch with them. Because as much as I would love to do it myself, they’re actually a better fit. And I’ll supervise it, I’ll make sure you’re getting taken care of but really, they’re going to be the I mean, people would be will be so flattered and honored that you’re willing to pass it over. If you and if you frame it correctly, and not just like oh, I don’t want to deal with it. I don’t want to drive into the city and help you. Which of course the client wouldn’t probably think anyway, because of how genuine you are, of course, working with them in the past or whatever. But yeah, what a great, great answer. Thank
Barb Noote 27:00
you. Yeah, there’s nothing that’ll blow up more. So if you help them with something, and you’re like, oh, cool, but because you didn’t know the area, like school district wise or something like that. I mean, I the neighborhood I live in actually has three, three different school districts within the subdivision. So I’ve had clients before that want a certain school district? And they’re like, Well, why don’t you show me these three? And I know, like, well, that’s not in this specific school district that you say you want to be in? I can open it up if you’d like, oh, no, we definitely want to stay in the school district. If I don’t know that area, I don’t know that in school boundary lines can just be crazy at times. So it’s important to know the area because it can really bite you. Yeah.
D.J. Paris 27:38
Also, and you know, which of those schools are possibly even the best, which one of those districts is the right fit? Right? So sometimes, you know, having that knowledge is so valuable, and, and you’re just not going to know it all over any metropolitan area or suburban area. So refer out I guess, is the but fine. And you know, by the way, what a great opportunity to create those relationships with other realtors in other areas and just reaching out and saying, Hey, once in a while I get clients that want to move, you know, is it okay, if I pass, you know, over to you. And, you know, I’m sure most brokers would be super flattered.
Barb Noote 28:14
And a lot of folks from the city are moving up this way. So I’ve gotten several referrals from people that want to move out to the suburbs, because maybe they started out in the city, and now they’re having kids and they want to get further north for schools or community or whatever the case is. So it works both ways you build that relationship, and it’ll last Jeff.
D.J. Paris 28:32
Okay. Dave asks, you’ve seen a lot of changes for brokers over the past 20 years, what role do you think the broker will play in the future? Will it be the same as today? Or do you see it changing? Even now?
Barb Noote 28:51
You know, that’s a really good question. I do already see it changing in the fact that office dynamics are changing. When I first got into real estate, it was very popular and desirable to be in a large office. And then everybody kind of had their own office space in there, right. So you knew you were successful if you made it off the floor and into your own private office. And then in the last few years, because of technology, we’re all working so much more remotely, that it almost has become to the point now where although we like having maybe a home port to go to the reality is that we’re more working on the go and a lot of realtors end up working from home, or they want an office that they can go to and maybe just kind of strategize or have some training and then they’re on their way again, so I’m finding that maybe with brokers, either offices may be downsizing, so to speak, like their their main space, they just don’t need as much square footage or they’re going to be changing that to where a lot more of our training is done online. Sure. or the training is changing too, because more of our training is about our online presence. So it isn’t so much necessarily having these long office meetings where we have to go in and we have to meet to get information we need, it’s all at our fingertips. So I think a brokers role will be changing in the fact that they need to be in tune with what tomorrow’s buyers and sellers want, and how they can make sure that we’re catering to those needs. So I just don’t know if the stuffy office atmosphere is necessarily something that’s going to be around much longer. I’m already seeing it with Coldwell Banker, they’re making a lot of changes towards that right now, where it’s more open space where people are collaborating more, but then they’re going off and doing what they need to do. So it isn’t that private. Everyone’s closed off. I think a lot of people are learning that working together now is being very helpful and working online. So if anything, I just think that brokers are having to be more in tune, like I said, with what tomorrow’s buyers and sellers want with the online presence that we need. It’s important. Yeah, let’s
D.J. Paris 31:02
actually that brings me to another question that nobody asked, but I know would be asked by our listeners, which is okay. Let’s say you don’t have an office, or it’s a dedicated space at an office, which is, as you said, becoming more and more common. I know, at our firm, we have like 650 brokers and we have two offices and nobody uses either office. Yeah, I mean, very rarely do they use them. But they’re here in case people want them, which is a lot of a lot of brokers have that scenario where they work, they have an office if they want to use it. But we find that even our own brokers don’t don’t use it much. So my question is, if you get a referral, and somebody wants to buy a property, and let’s say, you know, do you invite them to the office for our first meeting? Do you have do you meet them at a Starbucks? People have all sorts of different approaches. What do you typically do in that scenario?
Barb Noote 31:53
So couple things for the last couple of years. Because my areas so wide, I was just I would ask them, I’d say, Well, where are you located at? Do you want to meet at a Starbucks close to your house. So Starbucks was loving me because I was constantly meeting at different Starbucks is all over. And a lot of people like that I think it’s a neutral zone versus shown to my office. This last year, I did open up a satellite office that was closer to my house because again, mom of four I don’t, I cannot work from home. I try really tried, but the dishwashers calling me and everything else. So yeah, so it’s good for me to physically get up, get my kids to school, and then go somewhere. But it’s a very small office, it’s right downtown Gray’s Lake, and I have it so that way, I would have that central location so that if someone’s like, Well, hey, I can come to your office. Now I’ve got something that’s a little bit more centrally located. So now I’ve got something north suburbs, I’ve got something closer to the North Shore, I’ve got a couple different locations, but the reality is meeting someone on neutral ground is very acceptable. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be office space, if you choose to work from
D.J. Paris 32:59
home. Yeah, and you know, I know safety is obviously always a concern as well, especially if you don’t know the person. And so sometimes, I think realtors, maybe, you know, just go okay, well, let’s start showing your properties. Maybe they haven’t met with the client yet. And if they don’t know them personally, meeting a neutral ground might just be a good idea safety wise, to get a sense of like, am I compatible with this person? Do I feel safe as the realtor, which you know, again, all of us need to need to think about. So you know, having an office is always a great neutral, possibly neutral, meeting space as well. But if they’re not comfortable coming to the office, then you can go to them. And I always think what a great way to say it is say, hey, I want to come to you, I want to make this easy for you. Is there a coffee shop or you know, a restaurant you want to meet at whatever, nearby and I’ll just come to you and make it easy. If you’d rather come to our office, we can schedule that to whatever works best for you. And just letting so what what a great idea. Awesome. All right, let’s see those. Okay, I would so I never get to these because I always forget to so I’ve made it a point to get to these. Because you were nice enough we a little behind the scenes for our viewers and listeners. We always ask a few like funny questions and never asked them because I get to be the lucky one. Yeah, so you get to be the lucky one. So tell us about the squirrel story, or the homeless man story. Either one is fine or both.
Barb Noote 34:29
Okay, well, I’ll start with the squirrel one because the homeless man stories kind of creepy, but the squirrel one was actually like not long after I got into real estate and I was asked to go and look at this estate house. And it had been vacant for a while. And they wanted a market analysis done on it. So I had asked one of the ladies in my office if she wanted to go with me it was a vacant house. They’d love to key under the mat for me. And it was a waterfront property that was actually in her neighborhood. So I said Would you come with me and just put your eyes on it. We can, you know, work it together if you want, I was relatively newer. And so I we get to the house and you open it up and it was like time had stood still it was like shag carpet and paneling and everything. But there was just piles of stuff everywhere. So we’re like walking like in these little paths trying to make our way through this house with just stacks of magazines and newspaper, all this stuff. And it was like, it was so creepy. So it was like someone had plucked whoever lived there and just took them out in the middle of night like makeup was still out on the bathroom. I think it was so creepy. Yeah. And so then like we’re laughing because we noticed there’s all these pictures of like this little Yorkshire Terrier, and there’s all this little like dog droppings. And I’m like, they didn’t like leave this dog in the house. Right? So we’re like now whatever. So we go downstairs and I can’t even see the floor. There’s so much stuff. And so then as I’m standing there, my friend Shawn comes down. And I’m talking to her. But as I’m talking to her, I noticed this pile of clothes is starting to move. And I’m like looking at I think I’m like losing it because I’m looking at it. And then I’m looking back at her and I’m looking back at this pile. And finally I go to say to her, there’s something moving by your foot right at the same time that she says What are you looking at? And as I go to say it, this squirrel pops out from under these clothes on the floor and literally, like grabbed her leg? Oh, no. So she’s screaming, I’m screaming. The two of us are running for the stairs at the same time. And it was like one of those movies where you both tried to go up the stairs. We’re stuck. We’re like pulling at each other. We could not get out of the house fast enough. And then we just sat on the front porch and laughed for like another 20 minutes and then had to go home. But we were like what the heck, what kind of job did we sign up for so? So there was actually a squirrel living in this abandoned hoarder house and yeah,
D.J. Paris 36:49
so maybe the squirrel was doing maybe the squirrel is doing makeup in the bathroom?
Barb Noote 36:54
Maybe it wasn’t dog poop that we were seeing in piles was probably the squirrel in his entire family. So
D.J. Paris 37:00
yeah, oh my gosh. And then tell us tell us the homeless man story.
Barb Noote 37:03
homeless man story was we were showing houses that was during the recession. The market had crashed, there was a ton of foreclosure properties. And so I was working with this investor couple who was buying properties. And so we went into this house and there was a gentleman who was laying on the floor like it was a vacant, it was empty. And it was laying on the floor. And so I was like, oh geez, I’m like Excuse me, sir. Realtor realtor and I went over and I touched him and he was freezing cold. He was dead. Oh, no. Yeah, dead, like full. We had to call the police. I had to wait there while the police came, I was joking with my clients and like, so we writing it up or what? And they were like, Oh, no good. So we had to fill out a police report. And when the police got there, they actually recognized him. He was a homeless man that they had seen in multiple areas. And he must have just broken into this foreclosure and froze, I guess I don’t know. So when people are always like, Oh, do you have any crazy real estate? Real estate stories have ever found a body and like coincidentally I have So luckily, that’s a long time ago. I haven’t had any traumatic experiences with squirrels or bodies since.
D.J. Paris 38:08
Yeah, I in my very first career. My career my very first job when I was in between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I was a security guard at a retirement home. And sadly, crowd, lively crowd except for the few unaligned people I find. So I have had that experience. Yeah, it’s it’s it’s pretty
Barb Noote 38:32
rough sticks in your mind. That’s
D.J. Paris 38:35
for sure does. And then if you could tell us about the man on the couch, that’s the last story Alaska. Yeah,
Barb Noote 38:41
that one was also weird. Come to think of it. I’ve had a lot of weird experiences, get your real estate license today, people. It is one of the exciting things about the job, right? Every day is different. So a man there, we went into this house, and the house was very specifically decorated, I guess I’ll say he had very specific taste. And it was very over the top is very hard for my buyers to visualize themselves in it. And so they were making some comments about it. Like, I mean, I don’t remember what the comments were at the time, I’m sure but they were not positive comments. not positive. Like, why would anybody ever paint this color or who chose this flooring or things like that, right? So we’re going through the house, and I’m just like, you know, like, I get it. Yeah, you know, so I go downstairs, we go walking downstairs, it was a split level, and I turn on the light and there’s the homeowner laying on the couch listening to our entire conversation. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, she’s like, I was sleeping. And I was like, I’m really sorry. You know, we had an appointment. He’s like, Oh, I heard and I was like, Sorry, I’ll leave feedback.
D.J. Paris 39:50
It is it is funny that people with really awful taste never know that they have awful taste.
Barb Noote 39:56
Yeah, they don’t want to hear it either. They’re like, Do you know how expensive this was? I’m like, I’m sorry. All right. So yeah. So it’s been some very fun stories, experiences with my clients, for sure.
D.J. Paris 40:08
And then I just have I have one more question for you. So a lot of our listeners are relatively new to the business and are always curious, obviously, you’re 19 years in
Barb Noote 40:19
2019, that’s fine. Where you’re going with? Yeah.
D.J. Paris 40:24
So for people that are newer, what do you think is the most important thing they should be doing? We talked about finding a mentor, finding a team where you could really learn and absorb, in addition to that for their own business, you know, do you have advice of what they should do, to really, you know, help build a nice future for themselves.
Barb Noote 40:45
So there comes a point where you need coaching, I think that something that Realtors do, right is we don’t want to be in corporate America, we want to be our own bosses, we want to create our own schedules. But then when we actually get to that point, we don’t know what we’re doing. And we don’t know how to create a business, so to speak, because we know how to call people we know how to show houses. The problem with that is, then you’re being reactive to the business, right? And you need to be proactive to create the business. So how do we do that? So I would say the very first thing you want to make sure that you have is a database. I mean, I had a database before it could be online, which is embarrassing. I had like the phone book thing that I would write down these numbers, and then I was constantly having to redo it with new names and new addresses. So now, I mean, with technology, there’s just no good excuse. And most offices that you work at will have some sort of database that you can use. But for me, I think it was coaching, I was in the business for between five to seven years, and I just kind of plateaued. And I just didn’t know how to get out of my own way. I knew what I knew. But I didn’t know how to get past that. And so for me, it was coaching and I went to a bunch of different like, sometimes they’ll offer like a half day seminar for free, or they’ll offer a seminar for $99. And then if you want continued coaching, but even going to that one day seminar, you can get one or two things out of it, implement it. I think sometimes people get hung up on Oh, if I do coaching, it’s because I need this whole thing produced for me. And the reality is just baby step and just do that one thing until you have it down as a system. But if you have a database going just stay in front of your clients, you know, a big thing that a lot of realtors do. When they’re starting out as Popeyes. It’s something that I’ve dabbled in. And I always say that I need to do more of and I’m mad when I run out of time. But just Popeyes you know Father’s Day is coming up, you can get a roll of duct tape and say thanks for sticking with me with your real estate needs and just drop those off at 10 houses of your clients. So something else I did as a new realtor is I always offered to help realtors who were already established, that might be too busy to do their open houses and things like that I would sit the open houses for them because there was an opportunity for me to get clients. And there isn’t anything that you can’t YouTube online. Now. I mean, I wish I would have had access to all the stuff that agents have now because you could YouTube how to have a successful open house and Tom Ferry or pop up or Brian journey or Joe stump any of those. And those are three coaches that I’ve worked with, that have all helped my business grow tremendously. So it’s important that you don’t feel like you’ve got to spend money you’re not making but you also have to look at it as an investment. And find the budget that does make sense for you. And like I said, some offices, I know my office offers Brian Buffini and offer some great rebate if you take the class and finish the course and complete two deals afterwards or something along those lines. So I mean, I’m sure if you talk to your broker and said, Hey, I want to invest in me, there’s a seminar I want to attend, I don’t think there’s a broker out there that would poopoo the idea and not support you in some way and work out something with you. So it’s just constant education. Because those seminars are taught by people that have all been in the same shoes as you at one point or another. So just listen to them and learn from them and take a couple things and run with it. So
D.J. Paris 44:09
a lot of them to a lot of them to have money back guarantees, right so maybe the coaching doesn’t always have that. But like Brian Buffini used to be called 100 days to greatness, I forget what it’s called. Now,
Barb Noote 44:20
they’ll have that. Yeah, they still similar to that. Yeah, I
D.J. Paris 44:23
forget what it’s called. But whatever it’s called, like, there’s a money back guarantee. So if you it’s three or $400, whatever it is, it is absolutely worth it. Because there’s really no risk and you know, you know, getting those courses, even when you’re new and obviously spending money you don’t have is never, never something that anybody’s comfortable doing and not always something somebody should do. But the good news is, is a lot of these places, you know have that built in is like hey, if you’re not having success with this, then we give you your money back. So I always recommend do as much of that stuff of course as you can because even if you just get one or two good ideas and then eventually you know all those come But he’s also have live coaches. So what they really are trying to do is, you know, get you, you know, involved in their systems, and then they want to continually provide that service. And almost every top producer we’ve had on the show has a coach in some capacity. So I always say if the top 1% of all realtors have coaches, like maybe the rest of us should do the same thing. And I understand understanding that cost is, is a factor. But again, some of their introductory courses, which are amazing. I am familiar with Brian Buffini, but there’s also Tom Ferry, there’s Mike ferry, there’s a million others, and they’re all probably pretty good. So yeah, great, great suggestion. And one last thing is is I wanted to ask you, because of course, you’ve been doing this for, you know, two decades now, which is incredible. Why do you think your clients do choose you? And again, I, maybe they’re not necessarily comparing you to other brokers? However, why do you think you’ve become so why do you think you’ve become successful over the years?
Barb Noote 46:01
Um, I do think it’s because I know the area. But I also will say that you have to adapt in this business. So I think that one of the biggest times I saw myself having to adapt, right, and we’re realtors, we are creatures of habit, and we hate change. But yet, we’re in a business that changes daily. So it’s kind of contradicts itself. But one of the areas where I saw the biggest amount of changes when we had that last recession, I mean, we got hit so hard. We had houses out here that were bought and sold for 350 $400,000, that I was selling for 130,000 $150,000. I mean, huge, huge loss. But in that moment, you have to almost figure out what what the need is or what the demand is. So I went through and spent money on all these certifications for short sales certification. So I am an expert in that field. And I learned a lot about foreclosures, I took the training on all the different websites, HomePath had their own website, offers.com has their own website. And I went on there and I would learn how to do all of the offers. Because if you don’t do the offer, right, your client loses it, and you’re selling short sales and foreclosures at the time. So I saw a lot of the realtors get out of the business because they didn’t want to deal with those. And I saw a need. And so I wanted to, you know, fill that need. So was it great. I mean, no, we were working for a fraction of what we’d made during a good market. So I was working the same amount of hours for a fraction of the cost. But these people actually needed us and in a good market. Buyers and sellers don’t always feel like they need us even though we’ve got the background and we know the ropes that have to be jumped through. But in this case, people really did, they didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know how to sell their house and not have to go into foreclosure, how to stay in a house long enough to find a rental or how to even make themselves look desirable as a renter after they had a short sale or foreclosure. So there was a lot of hand holding. And I do think that going through that market has created some relationships with some of my clients that we will forever be connected because we were there, I was holding their hand when they were crying. I mean, I was there when they were losing their house, it was just it was emotional for everybody. And now that the markets come back, I’ve watched all these people rebuild and flourish and come back to buy houses for me again. And that’s where I got to reap the benefits of it, it was painful, sometimes even telling them they had to pay a commission on some of these deals, because they knew that they didn’t really have the money, you know, so it was really hard. But now we’ve seen it on the flip side where there’s really not a lot of foreclosures. And I’ve actually seen Realtors leaving the business now because they only focused on foreclosures. And now they didn’t have a client base to work with. So something that I think is important is you don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket. I had some religious or some clients that, you know, they always say, well, Barb, why don’t you just work with relocation you do great with relocation, you’re, you know, the area. So everybody relocating, and you can’t just invest all of that, because at one point relocation didn’t exist when the market crashed, companies weren’t offering relocation packages. So I think one of the things I learned on that too, is you can’t just rely on one source of income, you have to be diversified and figure out what people need. So I think that just that adapting, you know, like I was saying earlier, how brokers are gonna have to adapt for the market change and what what agents need to help their clients. It’s all about changing and if you dig in your heels, unfortunately, you’re gonna get left behind. So I think that’s built a lot of rapport with my clients is the knowledge that I have just from those experiences and constant training, always taking classes.
D.J. Paris 49:44
Yeah, because you never want to be in a scenario where maybe you’re a traditional realtor working with buyers, sellers, people buying primary residences or selling primary residences, and then all of a sudden investor comes your way and says, Hey, I I’m looking for deals and you’re like My gosh, I really don’t know how to do that. Now, that might be a lot of brokers position today. But then make that point to go, you know, over the next two years, I’m going to take a bunch of classes, I’m going to, I’m going to talk to other realtors who focus on working with investors. I mean, if that’s something you want to do, and then two years in, you’re going to know as much as just about anyone with respect to, you know, working with investors, and you always want to be able to say, I know how to do that. And if you don’t know how to do it, learn how to do it. And and again, even if you’re just watching YouTube videos, there’s a lot to absorb there. But yeah, working with an investor is a completely as you know, a completely different experience and working with a primary residence buyer or seller,
Barb Noote 50:41
definitely, often you have to know what rental income will look like, what resale value will look like, there’s a lot, they’re relying on you for answers for the future. Right, because they want to know what that resale value is going to be when they flip it or what the rental income is going to be versus what they’re paying for it. So there is there’s a little bit sicker layers to it. Another big one is there’s a lot of people that we saw that could not afford to downsize when the market was in its recession, because these people own these large homes, and they’d raise their kids in them. And their goal was then to sell their house for to go towards retirement. Well, they couldn’t because their house was worth 200 $300,000 less, right and what they thought it was going to be. So they’ve been riding it out. And so now this new boom that we’re seeing here is all those people that have been riding out that last recession are like great market came back, we’re going to sell it now. So now you have a lot of people downsizing, and that’s where we also get relocation with people out of state. So it’s knowing where the markets going. And I don’t know that you can necessarily do that if you aren’t in it every day so to speak. And no offense to protect Realtors I get you got to start somewhere. I know I did. But it’s very important that if you’re doing it part time, you’re taking that additional training to understand where the markets going because it moves quickly. It doesn’t seem like all the time, but all sudden, it’s a totally different market. So
D.J. Paris 52:02
Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up. i You’ve said it all. Thank you. No thank you and for everyone listening, if you are a buyer or a seller or renter and investor someone who is looking for a top producer to work with. Barb would always love to take your your information to your QA. But Barb, what’s the best way? Anyone who’s listening who wants to possibly, you know, work with you is what’s the best way they should reach out to you?
Barb Noote 52:29
Well, we all know realtors have our cell phone stuck to our heads. So my cell phone number is 224-280-9025 Caller text is
D.J. Paris 52:39
great. And what’s the best email as well.
Barb Noote 52:41
My my best email would be firstname.lastname@example.org
D.J. Paris 52:46
Awesome. And then also everyone go visit Barb’s website, which is Lake County home expert.com. And she has links to all of her social accounts there as well follow her on Facebook, just search for Barb noodle, it’ll pop right up. Barb, thank you so much for being on the show. This was so incredibly valuable. You gave about 10 or 11 Really solid ideas for our listeners, which is exactly what we’re trying to do on the show. So on behalf of the listeners, we thank you for your time we know you were sick, we know you have your mom, you’re a successful business. You’re very busy. So thank you so much. And also on behalf of Barban myself for everyone listening. Thanks again please tell a friend just find one other realtor that could benefit from hearing or watching interviews with people like Barb and tell them about the show have them visit our website keeping it real pod.com They can stream every episode we’ve ever done or follow us on Facebook facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod to watch these episodes live and also every day we post an article that we find online designed to help Realtors build their business. So anyway, Barb, thank you again and we will see everyone on the next episode. Thanks Barb. Sounds
Barb Noote 53:53
good. Thank you. Bye