Rules for CORE Agents #26: Buildings Built Without Blueprints Fall Down a Lot

You wouldn’t want to hire a surgeon who was just “winging it” when he performed your operation.  You wouldn’t feel safe with a pilot who chucked his flight plan out the window and literally decided to fly your plane by the seat of his pants.  You wouldn’t be comfortable moving into an apartment building whose contractors decided they didn’t need any fancy-schmancy blueprints.

Why? Because when it comes to important things like cutting into a human body, flying heavy hunks of metal in the air, and erecting towering mountains of concrete, we recognize the value of having a structured plan to follow.  Whatever you call them – checklists, project plans, blueprints – these types of formal organizational structure save lives by ensuring attention to detail, consistency of execution, and codification of best practices.

Unfortunately, real estate agents rarely have these types of standardized procedures for running their business.  They make it up as they go along.  They wing it.  They constantly reinvent the wheel. They come into the office with a half-hearted “to do” list and good intentions, but are immediately thrown off course by a phone call, an email, or just their own tendency to avoid difficult tasks.

But if it’s good enough for pilots, doctors, and builders, it should be good enough for us.  Let’s say, for example, that you just took a listing.  Once you sign that contract, you have a bunch of tasks that you have to complete: input the property data into MLS, take pictures, write descriptions, check the accuracy of the taxes, order a sign, set up an open house, and so on.  You might have 25 or 30 discrete items that you have to complete.  More importantly, they are the SAME 25 or 30 discrete items every time.

So why don’t we have a detailed “project plan” that codifies the best practices for putting a listing on the market? Figure out what has to be done, put it on the list, and then take out that list every time you need it.  Think about all the ways that would help you: (1) saving you all the time and energy you spend trying to remember what you need to do next; (2) encouraging attention to detail by focusing your attention on each discrete task; (3) creating consistency of execution, because you would be doing the same thing every time.  Most importantly, of course, a project plan codifying proven best practices would ensure a high level of performance for your clients.

And if you can do it for listings, you can do it for every other common project in your business: facilitating a transaction, taking out a buyer, making an offer, even planning your productive day.  The more structured you are, the more organized your are, and the more organized you are, the more productive you’ll be.


This post is part of a series of what I call the “36-1/2 Rules for Client-Oriented Real Estate Agents,” a collection of short takes on the CORE concept that I’ve developed over the years of discussing and teaching the system.  We’ll count up to the 36th rule over the next few months, and then the 1/2 rule.  You can get the full list of rules by clicking on the “36-1/2 Rules for CORE Agents” category on the blog – scroll from the bottom if you want to read them in order.