Hamann Sense, LLC
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Interview with Brad

Please tell me about your professional background and experience.

I enjoyed an amazing four years at Butler University where I graduated with a degree in Marketing and minor in Psychology in 2004.  I worked in the hospitality, financial services, and telecommunications sales industries from the year 2000 up until I became a real estate agent in 2006.  I was affiliated with Keller Williams in Illinois and Indiana for over seven years before developing my own brokerage, Hamann Sense, LLC.

Tell me about some of the high and low points of your real estate career.

There have not been many low points, but a very rare, failed real estate transaction probably qualifies.  I’ve been fortunate to assist in securing or selling homes for family, friends, and colleagues, but most notably, I had the opportunity to assist a client who later would become my wife!  Finally, I was awarded the “Rookie of the Year” Award for Keller Williams Mid-America for my 2007 sales results in Illinois and Indiana.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions in the business?

I think the biggest misconception is that a larger brokerage has more of an advantage over a smaller brokerage.  Let’s face it, homes really sell themselves.  I can assure you that this experience is more about strategy, education, and customer service than anything.  What matters the most is the individual representing you, not the larger company.  I am more of a strategist and consultant than a sales person.

Another big misconception is the schedule and availability of a real estate agent.  The general public sometimes believes that a real estate agent should be working 24-7-365.  Any real estate agent has a life outside of the business, me included.  It is necessary to set expectations before beginning any working relationship.  Of course, any time-sensitive items such as negotiations, inspection responses, or other deadlines will be addressed in a timely manner.  The book, "The Power of Full Engagement" is one that I sometimes mention.  "Energy is simply the capacity to do work.  Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy."  

My clients  know that I am truly committed to them and that I will do everything in my power to help them achieve their real estate goals.  I hope clients understand that at any one time, I could be in an appointment, on a phone call, or there could be 5-10 clients with inquiries or advice ahead of them.  I’ve had clients who wish that I could always take their call at any time of the day.  I think there is a heavy expectation in this business that a real estate broker should answer every call and email immediately, but this is just not realistic.  One of my goals throughout the day is to clear my email and voice messages.  I am competitive with the drive to achieve results.  Trust is the building block of any relationship, and once this exists, the sky is the limit.

How is one broker different from the next?

By law a real estate agent needs a broker to “sponsor” his/her real estate license.  In order to sponsor the agent’s license, the agent must pay a portion of his/her commission called a “split” as a royalty for affiliating with that company.  That being said, most brokers also offer training and educational opportunities.  Some make this mandatory while others are more relaxed.  Some are very enthusiastic while others direct you to online training.  Many agents regularly switch brokers because of offers of free advertising, marketing, or office space fee specials.  In the eyes of the customer, it should not be about the broker.  It is really about the customer represented by an individual agent, nothing more, nothing less.

What is Hamann Sense, and how have you branded your business?

Hamann Sense is common sense for real estate.  When planning for your retirement, it makes sense to speak with a financial advisor.  When you are sick, it makes sense to consult with a physician.  It only makes sense, “Hamann Sense,” to consult with a real estate broker who knows the business.  Hamann Sense is a boutique brokerage designed to work with a specified group of clients at a time.   I have branded my business to be the customer specialist who is not willing to compromise on mediocrity.  I am fortunate to be in a place in my real estate career where my time and energy can yield the best results for my clients.

Please describe a client who will get the most from Hamann Sense?

This client is cooperative and trusts in my expertise.  He/she/they are not micromanagers and are willing to follow my lead as I help navigate them through a very competitive process.  Trust and empowerment are essential.  As I work with a number of different personalities, it is hoped that the client will understand that my role is to help them.  The ideal customer qualities include someone who is flexible, optimistic, and excited while open to ideas and feedback.   I am always open to your feedback!  Those who are team players will encourage positive results.

What should a client have in place make to help the process move smoothly?

A client should have access to a computer for communication, showing feedback, and the ability to sign via “DocuSign." The real estate business can be very phone heavy.  It helps to have regular access to email.  This is the best way to reach me to set-up a call, arrange showings, or to answer questions.  Finally, it is strongly advised that a buyer have a pre-approval or proof of funds letter available before the process begins.  It would be a shame for someone to fall in love with a home only to discover that they were not approved to purchase.

What can I expect from your real estate process?

Clients should expect a very thorough, detailed process, with lots of questions to best understand their needs.  Buyers tour 8-12 homes on average before making a decision.  Some buyers only need to see a few homes and others require more time.  I have never shown more than 30 homes to a buyer, but in the end, they have always found their home!  Sellers should have their homes clean, presentable, and ready for the “ultimate showing experience” when potential buyers tour.

Could you describe some of the basic challenges you face?

Real estate is a business of “circumstance.”  Buyers and sellers are looking for a move based on something that has occurred or they are planning to happen in their lives.  A couple may be relocating to the Midwest as the result of a job transfer.  Sellers might be selling because their kids have left for college.  Buyers may wish to purchase a home because of its walkable location near their friends.  Whatever the reason, this is a business of circumstance.  Each client brings their own challenges to the table.  Clients bring their own personalities, understanding, and expectations to the process which can sometimes cloud judgment.   When a home is closed, however, those challenges hopefully made it worth it for all parties.

Please describe ways in which the real estate business could improve?

Communication from agents must improve.  I have achieved many great things for clients with the assistance of some fantastic agents on the other side of the table, but in general, communication is sorely lacking.  Even seemingly seasoned real estate veterans have quite a bit of trouble reaching out on time-sensitive matters like communicating offer responses or that a home has received an offer. It makes sense for a seller to secure the highest price possible and giving my buyer the opportunity to revise our offer is a strategic move.  Communication is lacking, and I will never take the path of least resistance.  I will always take the extra step to ensure clients are well-represented.

What are your office hours?

To best serve my clients, my office hours are from 10 AM – 7 PM daily with my day off on Thursday.  Time sensitive items will always be addressed no matter the day and time.  Answering the phone at late hours in a non-emergency or non-critical situation is not likely to occur.  

Have you ever regretted taking a break from work on a holiday?

No.

What is your relationship like with other brokers in the business?

I have been honored to be part of many excellent broker relationships.  Many agents are big into conversation, which can be enjoyable, but my job is to be the most efficient for my clients.  Real estate agents should build rapport, but my prime responsibility is to my clients.

Tell me a little more about stress levels of being a real estate broker.

Stress levels can vary greatly depending on the situation.  I have experienced clients asking to terminate a transaction on the night before closing!  Some of the more stressful situations have involved purchasing and selling within months, threatening lawsuits, discovery of airborne asbestos or mold, or involvement in triple offer situations.  I’ve had showing requests on all major holidays.  Needless to say, the plate is usually full, and time-blocking is essential.  Enlisting my assistance will greatly increase your odds of success.  I once read an article that real estate brokers have the #2 most stressful career in America.

How does a real estate broker earn an income?

A real estate broker earns an income through a commission, which is a percentage of a sales price paid for by the seller at closing.  The term “salary” in this business is basically non-existent.

How are you different from other real estate brokers?

I take the most-efficient, dedicated, no-nonsense approach to assisting my clients.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my wife and family.  We love to travel, play games, cook, watch movies, and bike together.  We are big supporters and loyal season ticket holders for the Butler University Men’s Basketball team.  I just completed a four year term on the Butler University Young Alumni Board where my final two years were as Vice President and President.  I also enjoy coaching Butler University business students.

How is a real estate broker able to take a vacation?

Good question.  This takes quite a bit of planning and adjustments.  I will never miss a beat.  I typically refer those clients who are the most time-sensitive to another broker so that items can be handled.

Which do you prefer, email or phone communication?

This depends on the situation.  I usually see generational-preferences on how communication takes place.  I have the strongest preference for email communication for a number of reasons. 

1.) It keeps me organized as I keep a very busy schedule. 
2.) It is a written record so that I can refer back to any of your home selections or questions later on. 
3.) An email can be answered in situations where I cannot answer the phone. 
4.) Emailing saves time and makes the process more efficient when setting appointments. 
5.)  It is very difficult to gauge at times the length of a phone conversation. 

Clients find that they get a much quicker, more thorough reply via email.  Phone conversations are essential in time-sensitive, advice-seeking, and clarification situations.  The best communication of all takes place in-person with you receiving guidance first-hand.

Why did you decide to leave a major brokerage and start your own?

I have respect for my former brokerage.  It was a financial decision, but other than that, not much changed.  My clients did not notice a difference either.  It did not make sense for me to continue to pay my broker for an office I did not use or for clients that it did not refer.  All agents within a brokerage are independent contractors, and the “team concept” can be a little deceiving.  It is possible that several agents from the same firm are competing for the same clients.  On the financial side, though, I was spending significant dollars on office expenses in two markets. Simply put, I was and always have been the source of my own clients.  I am branding myself no matter where I am working.  I believe that my “sphere of influence” will follow me.  Brad Hamann is Brad Hamann whether he has a Century21, Keller Williams, or Re/Max sign in your front yard.  I just prefer a “Hamann Sense” sign!  I have all of the same capabilities of any agent in the marketplace.  I have been blessed to have an amazing clientele who have trusted me for nearly a decade.  Thank you!

What is your future with Hamann Sense, LLC?

The future is very bright with an outstanding client base and more flexibility to focus on them.  The business is exactly where I thought it would be at this point.  In some ways, it has beaten expectations as I turned my Illinois business from full-time to referral-based.  The future of Hamann Sense will allow my clients the opportunity to enjoy maximum efficiency and effective communication in a competitive market.  This brokerage is not volume-based like most, but instead, it is a boutique brokerage meaning that it will continue to be personalized and tailored to the client, for whom this is all about.  I also anticipate more time invested into land, income-producing properties, and potential property management.

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