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Disrupting Philadelphia Real Estate with Brian McCann

As a part of my interview series “Real Estate Professionals Making an Impact” I’m highlighting real estate industry professionals to watch. These are people who are shaping the real estate industry in cities across the United States in a positive way. Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian McCann.

Brian McCann is a Philadelphia realtor who focuses primarily on the Riverwards, Port Richmond, Old Richmond, Northeast Philadelphia, Lower Moreland, Yardley, Newtown, Huntingdon Valley and various parts of Bucks County. His experience ranges from real estate development, to consultation, to sales and marketing. Originally from Northeast Philadelphia, Brian McCann became a realtor in 2019 after a career in media sales with brands like Philadelphia Weekly, Sports Radio 94 and Talk Radio 1210. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate and currently attends Rutgers Law School where he learns about contracts and property law. He currently maintains his real estate license with Keller Williams Philadelphia. 

Thanks for participating in this interview! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about what brought you to this point in your career. Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that? 

Real Estate has two distinct parts as I see it. One part is the marketing, which is incredibly challenging. To put it simply, it’s efficiently acquiring buyers and sellers. That can be done though a variety of ways, but usually it involves throwing money at it until you see a return. The second part, which maybe the public doesn’t see as much, is the skill of being a realtor. Realtors work just starts when you find a house you want to buy or decide to sell your home. The general public thinks it’s an easy job, and great realtors make it look that way. But, the reality is – these are complex legal transactions that include a lot of paperwork, very important financing decisions, and sometimes stressful negotiations. On a personal level, I’ve started to see a tipping point on my skill side as I’ve been navigating really complex deals and learning a ton. Now, I’m ready to expand and make that jump into higher dollar and higher volume business. 

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you began your career? What lesson did you learn from that?

I once had a seller who engaged me as a realtor to  list his house and decided to simultaneously list the house for sale for $10,000 less on craigslist. Keep in mind, he didn’t tell me. The lesson I learned is – be very explicit about customs and expectations before engaging in a listing contract. That was my first deal, and it fell apart. At the time, I thought my career was doomed. But, they’re all important lessons you learn as you progress. 

What do you believe makes someone “good” or “skilled” in real estate?

There’s no right or wrong answer. But, I think empathy is the best trait a realtor can have. Empathy, not so much is “feeling” what everyone else is “feeling”; but empathy as in being able to put yourself in the  shoes of the other participants of the transaction and look at a situation from their likely perspective. As a buyer’s agent, sometimes thinking about the facts that could be impacting the seller’s agent or the seller is a great resource and vice versa. 

What is something you think is a “unique differentiator” to prepare properties for open house events?

Open houses more or less got decimated as a custom during the enduring Covid 19 pandemic. Still a great tool, but it also highlighted the need for digital tools that do the same thing. 3D tours, matterport cameras, video walkthroughs. Eventually, you’ll be able to pop a VR headset on and tour homes as if you’re really there. 

What do you find is the hardest part of showing a home to a client? 

The hardest part is usually the logistics. Think about it. It’s a Thursday night and your client wants to see 5 homes, an average of 1 mile apart and they have 2 hours total to do it. You have to get showings accepted, pick them in the correct order and space them out appropriately to give the client time to assess, but also stay on schedule. It takes preplanning. 

What information do you think is the most important when you’re creating a new listing on the MLS?

Think like a buyer. If the home doesn’t have outdoor space, mention that. If the home will be getting a new fridge prior to closing, mention that. List all the rooms in the photo captions. Take every angle that makes sense to give them a 360 idea of what they’re looking at. Best to have a distilled, informed smaller group of people going through than a ton of people who aren’t in the market for what you’re selling. People want information at their fingertips, so it’s best to give them what they want. 

How do you define “Real Estate Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is a quality in all aspects of life. Behave ethically, treat others how you want to be treated and have empathy for other people you interact with. It’s as simple as that. 

What do you think are the most effective ways to advertise real estate properties to prospective buyers?

The MLS is still king. But, you’re doing your seller a great disservice by not taking advantage of every tool that Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, Trulia, Nextdoor and other offers to realtors to help promote. Use the tech, and it’ll produce better results. 

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Very early, but currently in talks to help a major developer bring an exciting transit oriented residential and commercial development accessible to public transit to the market for presale. I’m currently confined by non-disclosure agreements, but keep an eye on mccann.realestate for more information. 

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started my Career in Real Estate” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1 – The paperwork is hard. There’s documents on top of documents. You have to prep your client for that. There’s no getting around it. Just be upfront and honest. 

2 – Business is hard to acquire at scale. At first, it’s friends and family, the it becomes friends of friends and friends of family. But, at some point, you have to pay to scale. 

3 – It’s less pressure to have a buyer than a seller. If you have a buyer who is qualified, either with cash, or strong financials, you drive the deal. You have all the leverage. Buyers take a lot more time and cost more to transact because of gas, transport, etc. But, it is in some ways more fun. 

4 – Being a listing agent can be really stressful. Seems easy – take pictures, make a listing and it sells. Not usually the case at all. It’s a lot of stress and the seller is usually absolutely astounded when it doesn’t sell immediately for over asking price. That rarely occurs. The key is to set goals, notate those goals and stay calm. Getting the highest and best price is a process. Trust the process. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

MccannPhilly on facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On the web at mccann.realestate

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

I am an avid traveler and loves writing. I love writing about beauty and fashion. When I am not traveling or writing, you'll find me modeling.

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