Making A Smarter Agent Episode 8 – Tinka Ellington-Hooper


A real estate agent’s welcome to making the smarter agent. Your program to find out old tips and trends as told by the great ones in real estate. What’s a great one. Someone was able to make money and still keep their head on straight. Let’s face it this is a tough business. We interview tough people who seem to make it look easy.

Okay. It is great. Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas everyone. This is making a smarter agent. Your program that is made for people in sales particularly people who work in real estate sales to learn from the winners of real estate. And I have here today my on again off again partner in crime.

More on than off his fabulous beautiful

Tinka Ellington: Oh thank you.

Wonderful professional singer Ellington we love her despite her scary sounding voice so think take a welcome. Welcome to making a smarter agent.

Tinka Ellington:  Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Before we begin why don’t we want to just summarize.

Just tell everyone about who you are and what you do to her.

Tinka Ellington:  So my name is Tinka Ellington. I worked for and was Douglas Elliman Real Estate. I’m out of the Boca Raton office in South Florida. And as some of maybe your listeners know you and I’ve been working a lot together I have a small team we service the coastal area between Fort Lauderdale and Delray as well as some inland Boca. And in parkland areas and my expertise and my forte is on the waterfront side. I sell many homes and condos and single family houses on the waterfront stretching from where to where I’m from kind of the northern end of Fort Lauderdale all the way to Delray Beach.

I live in Deerfield Beach and I’ve lived in Lighthouse Point those are kind of my little enclaves that I love and and feel very fondly often. Del Rey the same thing but sort the more coastal areas kind of my hood your hood.

God I didn’t know you were so urban. That’s awesome. OK. So. So you have your hood your Douglas Elliman agent. You had it. You and I are fairly neck and neck with our gear. We won’t get so much into your personal business but we’ve both had pretty good years.

Tinka Ellington: I earned one hundred and twenty dollars more than you.

OK. Which which. So long as you’re right. You know honestly that’s going to. I’m going to cut this podcast right now and go find someone to rent something. Holy shit we got to do something interesting. Yeah. It was very close.

Tinka Ellington:  Different approaches to our business and yes and some very similar and some very different. And yet we are very much alike in our production and also in our style and good friends which I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for you and I think you know it’s interesting. I love doing business with you and by your side.

Well thank you. And the feeling is mutual. But you know what. Let’s let’s let the listeners in on this. This is obviously for people who sell and as I said particularly people in real estate. But it’s not just that it’s people who sell what has been what do you think you’re winning ways. What is it about you that makes you win when so many other people fail in the industry.

Hint This is a time for you to brag so it’s not bad to brag here.

Tinka Ellington:   I think the main thing the main two things about me is that I am I care a lot about my clients and I do feel that my clients realize that it’s not all about the money from me and that’s a reputation sales people and any industry can very easily that they’re just out to make a buck. And I think that my clients realize that I really care. It’s not as bad as it is a multimillion dollar deal or one hundred thousand dollar deal. I treat my clients the same and treat them with respect and with care and I really am in the areas that I work.

I am an expert and I’ve gained a really good amount of knowledge where they feel that I’m taking really good care of them. It is an almost psychologically and yet and also. In a.Professional Manner.

Sure. Would you consider yourself I mean you named your territory a couple times here. Are you a farmer. Are you farming that area.

Tinka Ellington:  Not yet. No I have really been fortunate that I’ve gotten a lot of business just from networking from friends from neighbors from other agents who know that I know this area better than they may know it. And through networking also with an element up north.

I did not do any true farming in the typical real estate sense and I’m planning on doing that in 2020 because I’m trying to look a little bit into different marketing plans and marketing strategies but I really didn’t do any marketing any advertising any farming at all until next month

Until next month. Okay, what’s plan for the early January?

Tinka Ellingto :I signed an agreement with a local magazine for 2 areas where will be placing ads. In parallel to that, I am going be sending postcards about 1800 homes every single month for also a year and I have some special events I will be participating in that same area with magazine and also postcards.

Okay, so let’s break this down particularly for the mailing. There’s a lot people say one agent told me You Mail you fail. He’s wrong!Because I know a lot of people that have made money off mailings. Can you tell us about. Do you have a budget for the mailing. About.

Tinka Ellingto : A thousand two hundred a month.

OK. So 15. Less than 15000 thousand a year. And what’s the kind of content that you’re putting out for your target area. What are they looking at.

Tinka Ellingto :  Well it’s coastal it’s waterfront so I will be of course presenting the typical content of homes that have lists of domes that I’m selling and then have sold but I’m also toying around with the idea of doing more coastal content like timetables or information about the coastal area.

What’s a timetable?

Tinka Ellingto :  Timetable is when the water rises and and things you know every 12 hours it goes up and then it goes down again. And that is really important for boaters. Because some boaters can get their lives down to their boat into the water if the tide is too low. Other boaters can get under a bridge if the tide is too high. So. You know as boaters we live by the timetable more so than they are

You know every time I have someone in your seat and I interview I learn something that’s brilliant it’s brilliant. No it’s it’s a really smart. It’s something that people will want to keep. Are you the only agent doing that?

Tinka Ellingto : I haven’t seen it so far.

OK. OK.So agents listening. Use your unique something unique something that you do. I mean I’m country clubs and you’re the waterfront. And I think that that’s you know people when they say to me Do you have waterfront experience I’m like oh my got so much waterfront tanker and its tanker.

And as a result I’ve gotten some.

Tinka Ellingto :  And vice versa.

And that’s and that’s a wonderful thing and I think collaboration is a really good thing. But I thought that that was great. So that’s I mean we can’t send that every month timetable

Tinka Ellingto :  because it changes daily. Of course you could send it every month. Of course it would be the time of the timetable.

So that’s my middle school science classes escaped me. So yes it does change on a constant basis and I think that would be great. You have a Web site?

Tinka Ellingto : No I do not. I utilized the Douglas Elliman profile page. I don’t have any other Web site.

OK. Social media.

Tinka Ellingto : Yes. Facebook Instagram. Not as much as Facebook and. LinkedIn and have. A need to get a little bit better at that.

We’re we’re sitting here with different not too little characters. I’ll describe it to you. For those of you for those of our Christian friends you will know the Elf on the shelf it’s a little guy dressed in red with kind of a shit eating grin I guess it looks like it looks like he’s up to no good.

And take a what do you do you leave him around the house

Tinka Ellingto :  When my kids were a little older and they now have unfortunately figured out the the elf and what the elf is real. Of course he is.

We take seriously we get children listening here and thinking What the hell. Let me read that anyway.

Tinka Ellingto :  The elf travels at nighttime and goes back to Santa and reports on the kid’s behavior. And then in the morning he comes back home and he lands wherever he lands and every morning he lands somewhere else in the house because he was traveling all night. And then it’s a great fun every morning for the kids after run around and find diesel. And that’s where he can be very mysterious. You can get into the cookie jar or make crazy printer pictures of his little tiny and he does all kinds of nasty stuff.

Wow. Wow. Andy King of the fan and he’s hanging out freezer. He’s hanging out right now you can’t see this with the mensch on the bench. So just not to be undone. We’ve got Judaism and Christianity here and it’s actually a lot of fun I don’t know why I brought that up in the podcast here. But but we do. Oh yeah. Here’s why. Because it leads me into holiday marketing and holiday events. Now I just got a box of pears from someone who had done this was when I just got a bottle of wine.

Are you spending money on that is it? Talk to me about this.

Tinka Ellingto :  Yeah it’s been quite a bit of money on it. I send a very delicious looking chocolate cake to each and every one of my clients and a couple of people that I work with outside of being just clients and I send in student arrives not right on Christmas but around a week before so that it can be either used for Christmas Hanukkah or any holiday. And it’s very well received. People are always excited to get it. It’s you know it’s it’s in total. It gets pretty expensive. But one by one it’s not completely breaking the bank and yet it’s really it’s a nice focus for talks

With them and it’s interesting stuff with regard to the actual cost of marketing and I see a lot of agents falling into this trap. Great. I’ve got the money coming in. You know it’s gonna go on forever. They don’t think that they have to continue to market Fortunately you’re not one of those it would. What do you anticipate in 2020 your overall marketing budget will be

Tinka Ellingto : about 20,000.

Okay so the mailing is a big part of it handing us.

Tinka Ellingto :  Yeah. Because like I said I was I’ve been really fortunate in my life key to my success from the very beginning has been networking and I’m a fairly social person you know. Yes I a lady at the airport and she’s from Ohio and she wants to move to South Florida. So we ended up chatting I handed my card and she already texted me and and wants to call me when she comes down again. Airports are great. Yeah I’m just going to Canada. I met my friends through through my networking in the past and really didn’t have to do a whole lot of marketing and this year just for 2020 I set a certain goal for myself.

I’ve also started having more of a team this year and 2019 and so that’s why I decided to to farm and to do more advertising and to be able to get to that next level that I want to get to and I will analyze it at the end of 2020 if I’m I’ve gotten close to or to the Golden Age of set then great and if not then quite honestly I will go back to what I know and do well which is networking and and meeting people and gaining business that way.

What’s your biggest stumbling block right now in business and it’s something that other agents might be able to learn from what’s been your Achilles heel if you will.

Tinka Ellingto : I think being organized I think that is really really hard. We get so many leads from so many sources from Zillow from Zillow from  from within Elliman from clients from signage from cold calls we I do sometimes cold calls and I think the overload of leads and then sorting through them and and figuring out which is a good lead which is not so good lead. Who do you follow up with. Do you stay on top of them top with top line on top of.

But it sounds good you stay on top. OK. That’s not this kind of podcast. If you want that kind of podcast go to like call her daddy. But this is not that. This was a g rated podcast. He’s only 30 now. G we’ll keep going with that.

Tinka Ellingto : Alpha’s just watching us a such a naughty look that good good anyway. So. Where were we. So yes. I feel that being organized is really really hard in this business. And as you know I have a fabulous. Administrator or executive assistant who keeps me as much organized as possible. And we’ve started using the new Elliman system back end system which I hope will really help us out. And so that to me is a daily struggle of how you know how to not use a good lead and how do we really make sure you utilize on the leads that come in.

Sure sure.

Tinka Ellingto : And kind of ironically when I wasn’t a real estate agent I’ve always been in sales and marketing but when I wasn’t in real estate and I was looking for a house myself and I called all these agents and nobody would ever call me back and I just thought my gosh what flex and what idiots. And I really couldn’t believe people when I was a really qualified buyer would let other people you know wouldn’t let these leads go. And now I realize how overloaded we are and with all these Web sites and all these third party providers I just feel it’s hard to really dissect what is good and you know what are the good and the bad.

It was very very tough. It’s tough for all of us. Fortunately there’s more robots now predictive analytics and different things that could actually respond for you. But if you won’t they’ll never take total human element out of this. Right now it’s been floated that they will somehow do a deal with Uber where Uber will have a super key and they’ll be able to take the client around and open them up open up homes. Now they have to pass it to legislation and they have to be able to make. He’s not showing the property he’s giving you access and but it’s it’s kind of a scary prospect that you know you make the arrangements and the broker is literally doing the whole thing by remote control.

So. You know that’s for a later time we could talk about what’s going on with that there are a couple of things that I do want to mention before we go on here one on February 18th. I’m having a wonderful event at St. Andrew’s country club starting for 30 in the afternoon my guests featured guests we’ve got Howard Lauber CEO of Douglas with Salomon and the vector group and we also have toll CEO of Toll Brothers real estate we’re going to be talking about real estate. The cost of admission. Friendship. I just want you in if you want to come.

Just let me know we have a limited amount of space. People must RSVP we must get you on the security list. So please do let me know. One other thing I want to talk about and we’d be neglectful if we didn’t talk about it. Think you and I are championing running. We have a group called REIGNation real estate information group network. It meets currently every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern time and we have agents from around the country talking about business. How that affected you. Let’s talk REIGNation for a little bit.

What are your thoughts on this year and REIGNation and people we’ve met?

Tinka Ellingto : I love REIGNation. I mean you and I came up with that. Three years ago two and a half three years ago and we’ve designed a couple of maybe not even a handful of times. We’ve had this meeting every single Wednesday and I feel that it’s really catapulted our business to another level. We we are definitely more known within the company because of it. And you in particular through your social media because you’ve posted more so than I do. But we’ve gotten needs from it within those business from that other agents have closed business from being members of this of this weekly meeting that more so than that I feel that oftentimes being in sales and being in real estate can be a really lonely business.


Tinka Ellingto :  And so you know I feel that every Wednesday morning this is a little bit art therapy session. We learn a lot but it’s also camaraderie. Now when I leave that meeting I always learn something new every lead truly hands down every single time we hang up. I feel like OK cool I learned something new yet again. Sure they always feel more motivated and when we’re finished and I always feel like I’m part of something greater.

And that’s something that I really enjoy and appreciate the side that we’ve done a good amount of business that has come our way from referrals that I am this is something that I’m really really happy with. And I think it brings people together and it’s tied us also to the company because we we want to stay with an Elliaman because of being known there and running this group.

But it’s also non Ellimans agents. I think it’s important that obviously we’re open.

Tinka Ellingto : Yeah we’re open to everybody have some kind of a book of business and can teach everyone something and can serve and can be supportive. And I know for a fact that people appreciate it. And the proof is in the pudding right. We have the same people coming back year after year week after week month after month and they wouldn’t be giving up half an hour on a Wednesday morning if it weren’t for the fact that they really like it as well. Sure. So I think. It’s a great thing.

And to add to that we’ve got people that participate. They can’t participate every week but they. And it’s a hop on hop off bus. I like to say and some of the folks like Paul’s we’ve been top producer in New York who’s also been a guest on making a smarter agent. And Terry Thompson can’t tell you. I mean one of the legendary in her area Terry Robeson in Brooklyn. All these people are. And then there’s others that are just making a living. It’s not just killing it.

And that’s fine because I think that what we get out of this so whether it’s REIGNation  or some other group I personally think that we all need that kind of support. And it’s terrific and if you want to find out about REIGNation please check us out on on Facebook.

REIGNation and you could also e-mail me or reach out as well so that’s that’s really good. OK so so moving forward here we just have a little more. Well how are we doing.

Are you happy. Am I asking you anything offensive yet. OK OK. Well I’ll try and we might edit that out.

But but you know going. Going through here was this year better than last year at least financially financially.

Tinka Ellingto :  Yes it was. It was slightly better. It wasn’t a humungous better but it was slightly better than last year. I did a lot more deals than last year 32 to be exact.

Wow you did 32 deals this year. I know I was a little bit surprised to expect a lot of deals.

Tinka Ellingto : Yeah the total. Number I had less high end deals than the year before so I had to do more to get to a similar level. And that’s what I’m trying to change in the coming year. But the sweet spot in the market right now is not the multimillion dollar properties. And so I’ve been very happy with the bread and butter deals that are under a million. And you know it’s nice to sprinkle in the high end stuff in between. But my clients that have lower budgets or the homes that are. On the lower scale or on the lower end of the spectrum they sell so quick and they and people are so appreciative when you do a good job for them. And I’ve really really enjoyed selling those types of properties this year.

Mm hmm. That’s that’s that’s great. Have you been. Well let me ask you this what what’s what’s the make up of your deals buyers sellers by percentage.

Tinka Ellingto :  I would say it’s two thirds sellers one third buyers.

OK. So you’ve got a good. And how many listings you have right now.

Tinka Ellingto : Sixteen.

Sixteen listings 16 listings one of which or a couple of which I guess is little harbor. Can we talk about that. Sure. So so. So tell us about little harbor is a. Well tell us what a little harbor is

Tinka Ellingto : So Little River Estates is a beautiful neighborhood in Deerfield Beach on a deep water canal which is I think about three hundred and fifty feet wide. So it’s really more lake than it can now. It’s direct access to the Intracoastal into the ocean. And L’Arche builders has purchased eight different loss in this community in this neighborhood and we are building high end luxury homes in this community. Either we build a spec home which is a gourd really drop dead gorgeous 5 bedroom home that’s over 7000 square feet and total that will also custom building.

So anybody who would like to be on the water who wants deep water access who wants to be have no fixed bridges and who wants to be able to duck a big boat can tell us what’s what what type of home they want what style of home and. And L’Arche builders will build it for them.


Tinka Ellingto :  Yeah it’s a great community and what I’m excited about for a little harbor is that so the neighborhood is called little harbour. The homes rebuilding run under the name of the harbor estates and you can look it up at w w w w a little harbour estate .com

which you’ll give to us and we’ll put in the show notes as well.

Tinka Ellingto :  Great. Great. And then of course you can look it up on the MLS and on Douglas Elliman on the website. But what I’m excited about for a little harbor and for Deerfield Beach in particular is that this is a project where the neighborhood is changing because of what we’re doing. And I’m very involved in Deerfield Beach and the community and and volunteering and in really kind of changing the the quality of life in Deerfield Beach. And I feel that little harbour is this little beautiful gem that has kind of been forgotten until we came in last year and it was it’s a it’s a sixty three home community only one street in one street and one exit and one exit out and there wasn’t really much going on in there.

And it’s it’s this fabulous waterfront community that nobody knew about not even to your feelings knew much about it not even Deerfield Inn.

Yeah that’s a word Deerfield diets fields the deer’s fields like that.

OK. So.

Tinka Ellingto :  So I’m just really proud of how we’re I don’t want to say turning the community around but we’re really upgrading this community. You know it used to be a community with single family one storey homes that were older. And now we have sales in there ranging from three and a half million dollars to six and a half million dollars. And that is going to have a very positive impact on the city you know the taxes the city brings in. On the quality of life on the on the neighbors. And I’m really excited about it.

It sounds like you got a lot to be excited about so and again keeping in mind the audience of agents who are thank God. I’d love to get a developer as a client. I’d love to get the phone to ring. What makes your phone ring. I mean I know we named networking I know now doing spending fifteen thousand mailings this year I know that but you know what. Thirty two deals. Is that your business? I mean that’s a real agent. That’s not someone who’s like messing around here. What makes the phone ring? You know be a few things you want.

Tinka Ellingto :  It is a few things. It’s a healthy mix. I would say when I started I had no business of course. I had no experience no business and I focused on calling physios from their signs I would see signs in the neighborhood and you always joke about my story of riding my bicycle because I love riding my bike. And I saw his bow on the Intracoastal two million dollar home and I called that lady for months and she finally gave me the listing and that was really kind of my big breakthrough because once you have a listing and once you can put a sign outside a house that sign will bring you traffic that sign will bring you leads and that sign will bring you closings 100 percent unless you’re someone who never calls anybody back and then you should not be a real estate agent to begin with.

But if you are in a community and in a neighborhood where you can put signs up where your face can be seen you will gain business from it. And that’s really that’s really how my business got started. It was worth having calling first because getting a couple of listings out there and then getting calls from those signs. And that’s really even this year. Again I did three deals from people who saw my signs called on that property and didn’t end up buying that particular property. But I was able to sell them a different property and that’s what you need to obviously my loyalty is to my sellers.

And I will try everything to get their property sold first but if that doesn’t work out then I’m able to take them somewhere else. And that’s that’s a huge thing. The other thing that I did that really has made my phone ring is I went to New York and Long Island and Connecticut and networked in the different offices there I gave a presentation on the Florida market to the Douglas Elliman offices.

Different Douglas offices. Yes. Thanks for clarifying. And and and that you know we have three hundred and twenty five thousand people are expected to move to Florida every single year for the coming for the foreseeable future. And that’s a that’s a no. That’s that’s a public number that was put out there by the Census Bureau. And a lot of them we know are coming from Canada from the north east meaning New York Long Island New Jersey Connecticut and from California. So luckily with Douglas Elliman we’re connected and all those markets outside Canada where we’re connecting all those North American and and so that networking in those markets I get calls at least once a month.

And I know you do too from agents in the north east or in California saying hey I have a client for you. Can you take him out. And and I think wherever you are if it’s Florida or in any other market you need to know where your clients are coming from and you need to market there and how your market is up to you and you need to stay authentic and true to yourself and true to your wallet as well. But I think if you analyze where the client is coming from and then put yourself in that position to find that client that’s how you get the business for it.

For Deerfield and pompano and Lighthouse Point I found the last two years a lot of people are coming from Parkland which is a city 20 minutes west of where we are very family oriented city and in Parkland we have all these empty nesters now that have decided to sell their homes and come to the to the beach. And you know I that’s I saw so much traffic from that particular city that I really started trying to started networking and trying to network and connect with people out there as well and I hired someone onto my team who lives in Parkland and works in Parkland because I see that that’s where the traffic is coming from.

That’s how I get my phone to ring.

What we need to revisit the whole notion of teams. Yeah it’s not it’s not for the Christmas special today it didn’t feel very much like a Christmas special other than having mentioned that dot dot dot dot dot dot. Now I need to like a little shaky bells or something but I’ll take this has been terrific.

Thank you so much for being on. Making a smarter agent if you have story ideas for making a smarter agent please reach out to me.

The information is right there I’m highly Googlelable you can google me easily Edmund Bogan Google but you could also reach out to take it Ellington again her information is in the show note Merry Christmas as I said Happy New Year and I look forward to having you back so your choice.

Thank you for listening to. Making a smarter agent do me a favor if you like making a smarter agent please go to Apple podcast or any of the podcast services you might be listening through and give me five stars.

I look forward to seeing you next time. And remember connect with rain nation that REIGNation  on Facebook. It’s part. Think tank part group therapy for realtors all coaching and it’s affordable. Please tune in again next week to listen to another exciting episode of making a smarter agent.