YPN: REALTORS® share their secrets

With the Seattle housing market still solid but undoubtedly changing, brokers want to know: how are other successful brokers staying relevant, building trust with clients and setting seller expectations?

The panelists at Thursday’s The Edge: A Networking Breakfast with Economist Matthew Gardner, hosted by the Seattle King County REALTORS® Young Professionals Network (YPN), answered these questions and more for the sold-out crowd of 150 industry professionals. REALTOR® and event emcee Darren Kentner asked the six panelists to give their best tips on dealing with clients in today’s market.

Storytelling

“Everyone has a story to tell about their home, or a story they want to create in a new home,” said panelist Katherine Vincent, broker with Windermere Kirkland. Brokers should not only be able to tell their story to connect with clients and earn their trust – to create that connection, they need to find out what their clients want also.

Compass broker and panelist Bret Butler said he builds trust with clients by sharing stories that highlight his experience. “We’ve found lately that open houses are getting a lot more traction than private showings. The worst thing you can do at an open house is try to sell the house,” said Butler. Instead, use that time to get to know potential new clients.

Client Expectations

Keeping clients, especially sellers, engaged in a shifting market takes clear expectation-setting out front. While more inventory hitting the market is a good thing for our economy and housing affordability, it can also leave sellers in a different situation than they thought they’d be in. “As much as I can preemptively set [seller] expectations, I do,” said panelist Phil Greely with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty in Seattle. “That way it’s not a shock if we’re at day 30 and their home is still on the market.”

Panelist and Keller Williams Kirkland broker Vija Williams said she uses data to set these expectations. This strategy lets the market speak for itself and takes the emotional pressure felt by buyers and sellers off the broker. “The key to all of this is managing expectations up front,” said Williams. If you wait until your clients are calling you with questions, Williams said, your communication is happening too late.

Millennials

Millennials have the most spending power of any generation, and they are buying in the Seattle housing market. What are they looking for in their first home?

Panelist and Compass broker Brennen Clouse said that in his experience, millennials want two things: room for their dogs and easy access to public transit. His clients find homes they’re interested in on Google or through social media, and many are also interested in a home they can rent out part of to help with the mortgage.

Millennial expectations are changing the way brokers operate. With technology and information available on-demand, millennial buyers want that in their home search, too. “[My clients] want to be able to get into a house right away,” said Shoshana Godwin, panelist and Redfin broker. “They expect quick responses from me. If I’m not responding right away, they go elsewhere for the information and then we have to spend more time dealing with the misinformation they got online.”


In short, staying relevant is all about communication. Brokers who communicate well set themselves up for long-lasting, trusting relationships with clients.

Something else the panelists all agreed on? Confidence is key. Use your knowledge and expertise to think big in your business and build genuine client relationships.

Thank you to YPN, the panelists and everyone who attended. These tips, tricks and insights are yours to use and make your own. We hope to see you again at next year’s YPN breakfast!