When you sit down with Bill Lublin, CEO of Century21 Advantage Gold, Pennsylvania's number one Century21 company, you never know what's going to happen. But you can be quite sure you will get a good laugh.
"I got into real estate by accident," he shared during his Meet the Unicorns interview at the National Association of Realtors Annual Conference & Expo. "I went to school to be an English teacher. My dad sold real estate for a local company and he got me a job until I could find a real job. Sadly, I've ever been able to find a real job."
All kidding aside, it's clear Bill loves what he does. "I enjoy helping people realize the American dream, to own a home," he said. "I'm in Philly and a lot of the work we do is with first time homebuyers."
Bill is also generous with his time and expertise, traveling all over the country as a speaker, teacher and participant with the NAR.
He created the NAR Tech Edge event. He's rewritten the e-PRO twice. And he's spoken on technology, risk-management, and compliance on stages in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Dubai.
That expertise also extends to new agents entering the industry. Bill suggests that rookies focus on finding a really good broker.
"Don't worry about your commission split because it doesn't matter until you start selling a lot of homes. Because nobody in the real estate business makes a lot of money if they don't sell a lot of homes."
Bill really wants to see new agents get involved. Events such as the NAR Annual Conference are a perfect example of how to participate in the real estate community. "It's a great place to establish really wonderful relationships," Bill shared. "Learn how to build your business better -- to create a good referral network."
For Bill, the heart of a Realtor is serving as a trusted advisor, sharing local expertise person to person and on technology tools such as Relola. That expertise is what buyers depend on during a very high stakes time in their lives.
"When people spend a lot of money on houses, whether it's a $50,000 or $150,000 or a $550,000 or $2 million dollar home, it's a lot of money for whoever's doing it and they're going into debt for 20, 25, 30 years. And they're concerned that they make the right decision."
Home buyers want assistance in getting through this sizable financial transaction. They want know that they're in the right area. They want to know that the schools are right for them. They want know if there are hiking trails or biking trails.
Bill knows this from his experience as a seasoned agent, as well as being a buyer himself.
About ten years ago, Bill set out to purchase a condo in Los Angeles. His son was a working actor, and Bill visited on a regular basis.
"I was using a specific website at the time, so I gave that company's agent an opportunity to work with me," Bill told us. The agent very pleasant -- a retired postal worker who had gotten his license to keep busy. The agent showed Bill half a dozen properties. Nothing was right. Meanwhile, the different listing agents were letting him into their properties.
"One of the guys who opened the doors really knew a lot about one of the areas. So as we left, I asked for his card and I said, "Look, I'm not gonna buy any of the homes I've seen with you, but I'd like more information about this area. And if you show me something that I like, then I'll work with you."
Bill and the second agent had one phone conversation. It was clear the agent knew the area. He also knew key facts about Bill. "We wanted something that was acceptable for the dog in a condo," he said. "And my wife had some health issues so we wanted everything on one floor. We wanted a walkable community."
The agent only made one suggestion. "We went and looked at the suggestion, we bought it!"
The agent's local expertise, combined with his attention to the specific needs of his client, were the magic combination to create a trusted advisor. And Bill thinks that's where all agents still bring tremendous value.
"We help negotiate, we help people get through the contract process, we give them advice on title and finances, we talk to them about the value of things in the home. Those are all really important and they're very very big. But in the very early stages of looking in an area, if an agent can be identified with an area, if they keep showing up when people are searching in that area, they will become identified in the consumer's mind as synonymous with that area."
Bill has been a staunch supporter of Relola for some time now. He saw the immediate value in helping agents showcase that local expertise that serves buyers and sellers.
"Here's the problem we have," he explained. "We know that, with all of the social stream, people are being bombarded with a tremendous amount of content. And we know that content is king, and the context of that content is crucial. But we also know that not every realtor is a writer, not every realtor is a great photographer. And yet there's a constant demand for us to be visible by posting good quality content, both written and visual, so that people will identify with us."
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