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To earn like a realtor you must study – and like people

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Realtors Sergio Pitcher (left) and Chris White (Photograph supplied)

At the height of the pandemic, Sergio Pitcher was stuck at home unable to work.

He used the time to get his real estate licence.

Chris White had considered doing the same long before Covid-19 came into existence, but life’s distractions held him off.

The pandemic kick-started him into action.

“I had been really interested in it for probably ten years,” said Chris, a full-time teacher at St George’s Preparatory School who earned his licence in December 2021 and started working the following June.

“It just got put on the back burner because of kids and family and all that fun stuff. I always knew that it would be a difficult profession to do full-time because it can't guarantee a steady income, but I wanted to give it a try.

“As a second job it’s been fantastic. I just can’t say enough good things about it.”

The potential for financial reward was a huge incentive for both men. At a time when the cost of nearly everything is on the rise, they are glad for the extra cash their part-time job with Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty has put in their pockets.

“The standard commission is five per cent of the sale for the brokerage. Then from there different brokers have different arrangements of how they split the commission with their agents. If there is a co-broke with two agents involved, then the commission is split between the two,” Sergio explained.

Like Chris, he had also “always loved” the real estate industry and so when the pandemic limited the offerings of Planet Math, the tutoring company he established for students aged 5 to 12, he decided to take the opportunity to learn something new.

“Business was slow at that time so as a lifelong learner, I said, ‘you know what, I've always loved real estate, I’m gonna sit down while we’re in lockdown, study, pass these exams, and I'm gonna go with the best real estate company in Bermuda Coldwell Banker’, which is right next door to Planet Math.”

In theory it was a simple plan but the reality was that the exams were quite difficult, said Sergio, who has worked as an agent for about two years and promotes his skills with the tagline, “Sell it with Serge”.

“You have to put in the time. If you don't put in the time to study then you're not going to pass because it's very specific information that you need to know.

“It's all about the basics of real estate and what it means for property descriptions, legal documents, the deeds – just the basic terminology. And that's just a small portion of it.”

Realtors Sergio Pitcher (left) and Chris White (Photograph supplied)

It is also important that any would-be realtor understands the legal side of the business and how to calculate such things as mortgages and cap rates; however, most of the exam is focused on the Real Estate Brokers’ Licensing Act.

“That is the vast majority of the information you have to be really familiar with and if you know that, plus the math and the general terminology, then you’re pretty good,” Sergio said.

Monthly exams are offered through the Bermuda College. Successful people must then apply to a real estate agency for training and hiring.

Both Sergio and Chris turned to Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty.

“It's been nearly a year and it's great. I love working with people,” Chris said. He added that it felt “amazing” each time he handed over the keys.

Being “pretty personable” and “good with people” helps, he added.

“It takes a lot of networking. I do a ton of e-mailing and you have to really put yourself out there so that people know that you're there. But once you get a relationship going with a customer, a client, it's a really great feeling.”

Sergio added: “You have to be a person who is outgoing. You have to be friendly. If you're introverted or quiet, you're not going to make it in this business because the only way to get business is to go out there and to get it. Business doesn't usually come knocking on the door; the majority of business comes from going out there.”

Bermuda is currently a sellers’ market. The demand for homes was evident in a recent sale for Chris: a freehold condominium that was one of only two units and had a private driveway and its own yard.

“I put the listing out on a Friday. I had six people come on the weekend and I received an offer. It went into contract in only a matter of days,” he said.

“There are certain properties that are selling so fast. There's so many people out there that want to buy Bermudian property and it's great. There are parts of the market where things will sit for a long time – really expensive houses tend to take longer to sell; certain types of condos can take longer. But a nice house under $1 million is going to just fly off the market. People are almost fighting over it.”

His advice to anyone interested in becoming an agent is the same advice he received from a friend who does it as a full-time job: “Just get back to people. If somebody sends you a message about anything, respond to them. As soon as you do that, you start building up a relationship with the person. If you take days to get back to them, or you're slow to respond about anything, then they move on very quickly.

“People are looking for a house. They want to know that you care about their interests. And what I've found is, by being a really responsive person and helping people, they have passed on my name to other people. I've gotten new customers that are looking for places to rent or buy who have all come to me because I helped their friend. And that's a great feeling because that means you're building a good reputation and word spreads quickly in Bermuda.”

A big misconception is that the Bermuda industry works in the same way as popular real estate reality shows, Sergio said.

“TV is TV. In real life, you have to work hard, you’ve got to be out here. You have to be really laser-focused and always be looking for opportunities. And when you see an opportunity you must, must, must jump otherwise you’re going to miss it. So you’ve got to constantly be on the lookout for those opportunities, and you can't ever be shy.”

For more information on becoming a realtor with Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, contact Susan Thompson: sthompson@brcl.bm

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Published March 03, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated March 04, 2023 at 8:00 am)

To earn like a realtor you must study – and like people

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