Insights into the exciting the world of real estate
Through interesting interviews, our real estate agents provide unique insights into their personal professional lives. Our series starts in the Saxon metropolis of Leipzig with Eric Wegener. The 28-year-old real estate agent shares his exciting experiences and daily activities along with the skills he’s mastered so far, and the necessary skills interested professionals need. In the following interview, he explains why it's not a cut-throat industry and how it’s about creating good relationships with customers and developers.
Ziegert EverEstate: How is your career developing?
Eric Wegener: At the beginning of 2020, I finished my Master's degree in Communications/Marketing and got in touch with the Leipzig office through a fellow student who was working at Ziegert EverEstate at the time. Immediately, I arranged a phone call with Christoph, the Team Lead for Sales in Leipzig. At that time, I was a total newcomer in the real estate industry - except for the knowledge I had acquired privately as well as the sales experience I brought from my previous job. After our personal meeting in the Leipzig office, I decided against a position in the marketing sector and to start as a real estate agent.
Exciting! What brought you to Leipzig?
Eric Wegener: I was born in Wittenberg, which lies between Berlin and Leipzig. I first moved to Berlin for five years. I then studied abroad for a year in Amsterdam and finally moved to Leipzig. Things are not quite as urban here as they are in Berlin. In addition, I appreciate that Leipzig offers a beautiful cityscape with great buildings and many recreational opportunities.
How did you manage the career change?
Eric Wegener: In principle, I took a risk by deciding against a career in marketing, since I was entering new territory and the fixed salary at the start was lower than the marketing position I was offered. However, there is great potential for brokers with the commission model - if you do your job very well and put in the work, it pays off. In the end, I went for what I really wanted to do - and that greatly helps when getting started. If you're passionate about something, it's much easier to acquire the necessary knowledge. I wasn't afraid to ask questions either.
What is important besides risk-taking?
Eric Wegener: To kick things off, I read a lot about real estate and watched series to find out what the daily job is like, but most of the learning comes with the job itself. One of the most important things is to enjoy dealing with customers. Everything else can be learned. The key point is really your interactions with people: Are you reliable and authentic? Do customers trust you? Within the company, there are of course appropriate training courses to further your education.
What does a typical working day look like?
Eric Wegener: In the morning, I look at our CRM and take the first phone appointments with customers and we discuss the property search. Most of the time, a specific property has been requested and so we talk about it. Subsequently, the customer is sent the documents about the property. Then the inspection is carried out, which I often plan a week in advance. This is followed by the purchase decision. Reservation contracts are prepared, documents are checked, the exchange with the financing advisors follows and finally the organization of the notary appointment. If there are any questions after the notary appointment, I am still available as a contact person. The handover and acceptance of the property, however, usually is handled by the developer.
Who is your target group?
Eric Wegener: I feel that the inquiries from customers for real estate purchases are equally split between investment and for owner-occupancy. "We are looking for our daughter/son" is a frequent statement, but basically, I have a roughly equal share of owner-occupiers and capital investors.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of your job?
Eric Wegener: One big advantage is personal flexibility: You can manage your own time and plan the appropriate appointments. On the other hand, it can also take more effort to juggle everything. It's then up to you to set clear limits and, for example, stop taking calls late at night. Basically, I strive to provide customers with the best information as quickly as possible, but everyone must reconcile that with their own personal schedule. So, on the one hand you have a lot of opportunities to organize the work yourself, on the other hand you must make sure you do it right. It's also great that you constantly meet new people from different industries.
How much time does a property take on average?
Eric Wegener: From the inquiry about the property to the notary appointment, it can vary greatly. Sometimes I must deal with customers who want to buy immediately and submit all the documents quickly. In principle, there must be two weeks between receiving the purchase contract and the notary appointment. Apart from that, things sometimes happen very quickly, sometimes within a week. For example, on a Monday I receive the inquiry about the property, and this is followed by the consultation about the new building and the examination of the documents - on that Friday, if all goes well, I can send out the reservation documents. In the case of other inquiries, the entire process takes weeks. Here, above all, a lot of patience and empathy are important, so that every customer is treated with equal importance.
What is the relationship like with the property owners?
Eric Wegener: In principle, we sell properties acquired by the company in cooperation with developers. I am in very good contact with both internal and external developers. This is very important for regular exchange. We work hand in hand: I am in daily contact with my colleagues at INCEPT about the relevant documents or for when the notary appointment is arranged.
Does that make your brokerage work easier?
Eric Wegener: Yes, absolutely. For example, I don't make any cold calls myself, as I receive our inquiries "pre-sorted" as best as can be (laughs). This allows me to work more productively and with several customers simultaneously.
What experience has been less pleasant so far?
Eric Wegener: I can actually tell you about one fantastic customer (laughs). She had already had two viewings before I joined the company - you have to know that in some cases there are buyers who ask for the same apartment 5 times, don't get back to me and ask for a viewing again. So, when the woman in question called or emailed again, I was hardly set up for success. It was a lot of back and forth, including me visiting the same apartment with her 4x. Again, as a realtor, you have to develop a good sense of timing to convey to the buyer when the offer is coming to a close. In a polite way, you are allowed to exert some pressure in this regard if you realize that otherwise it will be a hopeless endeavor. In the end, the woman in question surprisingly bought it after all, which of course made everyone involved very happy.
What has been your greatest success so far?
Eric Wegener: At the end of last year, I sold a new-build apartment from an external developer worth 1.9 million. But above all, the interpersonal contact with this buyer was smooth, uncomplicated and a personal highlight. I'm always happy to meet clients who are friendly, funny and cooperative when you ask for documents. Even after two years of working here, I still notice positively when someone is particularly engaging.
What can you expect in your job?
Eric Wegener: You definitely have to want to work with a wide variety of people every day. You should not only be enthusiastic about real estate, but it would also be helpful if you are interested in the background knowledge of construction. In general, you should find the industry appealing, otherwise your performance will not be convincing. Ultimately, you should be confident in your product. Customers sense whether you know about it and have a desire for your profession. I treat my customers the same way I would like to be advised when buying an apartment. Many appreciate it when you work honestly and reliably. If you have a real desire for this profession, you can have almost unlimited success.
Translated by Marit Hunt