If you are a newly minted real estate agent, or if you are considering getting your license, this book is for you. The Real Estate Field Manual: An Official Selling Guide, by Barbara C. Nash, is full of the same practical information you would learn by working alongside any experienced agent. This book is an ideal beginner’s guide for those in need of guidance. Consider this your surrogate mentor!

This is not your typical overly verbose textbook. It is concise, approachable and easy to comprehend. The tone is nimble and light, with a generous dose of cartoons and active language to keep the novice agent engaged. Nash, a Minneapolis real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, conveys her excitement about her job, infusing her readers with this same level of excitement. This guide is written from a national perspective, but places significance on skills real estate agents can use in every locale, including California.

The Real Estate Field Manual is a perfect reference tool. As the chapters are non-sequential, the reader can easily locate and brush up on the issue concerning them. The book features pragmatic content such as:

  • scripts for talking on the phone with new clients;
  • creating a professional voicemail message;
  •  soliciting new clients; and
  • writing and submitting an offer .

Nash includes some basic real estate vocabulary and a thesaurus to keep your advertising fresh and accurate. Also included are checklists to help you stay organized despite an agent’s frequently unconventional work hours. Further, these lists are fully customizable on the CD-ROM that accompanies the book, allowing you to tailor them to your personal practice.

A majority of the book sticks to the fundamental principles of real estate practice. However, Nash occasionally strays into territory beyond the basics, tossing relevancy to the wind. For instance, did you know between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. is when your pain tolerance is highest? Now you do, because this odd little tidbit is included in the book. Another weaker moment is the chapter on becoming “computerized,” which is outdated. Nash devotes too much space commenting on the importance of email, which is certainly not going to inform a majority of readers.

Further, Nash is guilty of a non-productive bias: strongly favoring working with sellers over buyers. According to Nash, buyers are unpredictable, contradictory, confused and feel no loyalty to their agent. Nash’s bias harms an agent’s chance for success by making it seem like a chore to work with buyers, who can provide lucrative opportunities for a newly licensed agent. [See first tuesday Form 103]

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Nash only strikes a few flat notes, as a majority of the content is indispensible for new agents. The Real Estate Field Manual includes a section on working with senior clients is especially meaningful for new California agents, as the Baby Boomer demographic looks for more manageable property to replace their large suburban homes in the coming years. Boomers may very well be the drivers of the nascent real estate recovery, and Nash provides helpful commentary to cater to this crucial demographic.

Can the Real Estate Field Manual sufficiently replace the knowledge gained by working alongside an experienced agent? Not entirely, but it’s a good place to start if job shadowing isn’t available to you. If you’re new to the business, or struggling to make a living and think you could benefit from a re-tooling of your approach, the Real Estate Field Manual is a worthy addition to your library. The Real Estate Field Manual shines most brightly as a resource for the greenhorn real estate agent; easy to understand, straightforward, with plenty of cartoon frivolity.