Meet Luis Guimaraes, a self-employed agent currently with Nestseekers. With a passion for property, Luis officially turned his passion into a career, last year, surprisingly during the pandemic. Experimenting with social media and taking advantage of Zoom, Luis took this time to try out different things to see what would work for his business. Here is his story:
Can you just start off with telling me a little bit about how and why you got into real estate?
Well, I got into real estate because, to be honest, it was something that I always wanted to do since I was young. I don’t know why, but I was never really was keen to join the High Street agents. I could never identify with the people in the high street. So for me, I had to be my own boss.
So that was the reason why over the years I approached companies like Remax but I never really joined them. I approached them because I had an interest. But they always told me, oh, if you want to do this job, you have to do it full time. Because I was in finance and working, I could not dedicate all my time to the industry and that is why it took time for me to finally take the plunge.
That was how I got into the industry. It actually is quite recent, to be honest. I just love real estate in general. This is a business where you need to deal with people. It is all about people. There’s nothing else. And I love providing a good service. At the end of the day, it is also the sort of business where you can actually live a life.
Yeah, you can have that work life balance.
There’s no limit to how much you can earn. So for me, it’s a very, very good feeling because I never liked the 9-5, which was what I had done all my life. I tried many things, but not real estate, because getting started in real estate is actually really hard. And for me, I actually started during the first lockdown, so with COVID it was especially difficult to get started.
Ok, so you joined Nestseekers March of last year?
Well, Nestseekers I joined in September, I initially started with Keller Williams.
That’s a very interesting time for you to join.
Yeah, it gave me time to experiment and to develop a YouTube page. I’ve done a few videos, I created Coffee with Luis, did a couple of Facebook Lives where I interview people every week. As difficult as the time was, it allowed me to try out different things to see what works.
So you talked about getting onto YouTube and Instagram, but can you talk about your experience working during the pandemic?
Well, as I said at the beginning, this was my first experience in the industry. I was distributing some leaflets, but that was it. I didn’t really try to speak to people unless it was on the phone with some friends. And that’s how it started. I let them know what I was doing and everything.
In the beginning, there was a lot online. I developed my website. I tried to create a newsletter database as well. But the beginning was a bit tricky because it doesn’t matter what you do, you can do social media, you can do newsletters, you can do things but there’s just one secret for this business to be successful, and that is to talk to people. Even with all this new technology.
This is all about people trusting you and referring you, and that takes time to build. The beginning was a bit hard.
What is one thing that you feel like has changed within the market because of the pandemic that won’t come back?
I think that the virtual viewings have the potential to stay, because I think they are very convenient. People can straight away see the properties, and if there’s a real interest, they can go and see the house. But for me, I find that it will save time for everyone. The ones that are really interested in actually buying are the ones viewing. I’d rather go and take two or three potential customers to a house than take 10 or 20.
And to be honest, I think even online, things like Instagram, TikTok, are becoming a really big part of the industry. Initially, it was just for the kids now it is becoming a major tool for every single business, I think it is becoming more and more relevant. It’s almost essential for my customers to confirm and see who I am and to establish my presence there.
Have you used TikTok?
My son said, don’t even think about it because it’s just a lot of dances and moves. But you know what? I used to be a Zumba instructor, so I should be OK.
Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I think the industry is definitely going to see virtual viewings stay, that’s my point of view, because it’s convenient for everyone just like the zoom calls have been. I mean, why do you want to go back to the office if you can communicate so easily. I have met so many people through zoom which without the lockdown would have taken so much longer to happen.
Do you have any predictions for the market in 2021?
It is a tough call because, of course, this is just a prediction. it’s funny because I was reading the Financial Times yesterday and they talk about predictions and all the specialists only guessed 4 out of 22 in last year. So predictions are predictions.
To be honest, if you asked me a few months ago, I’d say that probably the market is going to collapse when the furlough finished. But really, I’m not so sure about that anymore. From my point of view, just because I know you’re going to have a lot of unemployment, but it really depends how fast the vaccine and the confidence comes back, because I think the markets are really holding on. And if there’s no major surprises on the negative side from a vaccine, I think the market probably will start going up. This is a quite tricky question. Especially because I cover Kensington and Chelsea.
But I don’t think we’re going to see a massive collapse of the market as I’m seeing it.
In Kensington and Chelsea and you said the market is improving. Is there any specific trend that you’ve seen?
Initially, the area suffered a lot with Brexit and now without a doubt because of COVID. My target was usually people that work in the city or students from China, they can afford a certain level, a certain price. And the city now is empty.
You know, I think England’s going to suffer a bit for a few years because of Brexit, especially the financial sector. But I believe that they will turn things around. So I think that’s when things possibly will start improving again in this specific borough. The houses that have gone down 20 percent in the last five years, I don’t think they are going a lot lower unless there is a total surprise with the vaccine not working.
But it’s going to take a bit of time for things to go back to normal. I think we in general, need to adapt to this virus because even with the vaccine, we’re going to have this virus for many, many years and we need to learn to live with it and adapt accordingly.
What is one thing you believe agents or agencies need to change in order to be able to continue growing in this new market?
Well, it’s not really anything new, I think it’s about the reputation in the industry and that’s where people like me who are self-employed, I think are good for the industry because we are people who are really keen to do our best to actually help the customers and to do whatever it takes.
If you connect with the right people, you have a higher chance to secure instructions. Also engaging in lead regeneration, obviously. Above all you have to have phenomenal customer service. And you need to be doing lead generation on a regular basis, even when you are full of customers, you need to continuously dedicate part of your day to find some new leads from new business all the time. And you should provide an amazing service. That’s all you need to have. This business doesn’t matter if you’ve got one more app or some other software to help you.
There’s a lot of rejection in this industry you know, you have to be persistent, you have to have a lot of good qualities in terms of personality. You have to be honest and have Integrity, I think is essential for any citizens, any part of the world to be successful. Good communication skills.