I’ve seen a lot of friends on Facebook get their real estate license, update their status, and (I’m guessing) kick their feet up and wait for the deals to roll in.
I’ve also seen a lot of friends let their licenses expire, and let all that hard work and monetary expense go to waste.
So I wanted to share some thoughts that hopefully helps new agents, things that I’ve learned from personal experience, from talking to friends and from being in this industry for 15 years.
- Set goals. I jumped into real estate in 2003 without any real expectations. I think I saw some big time agent like Teri Foster or Wendy Lister and thought, I could do 100 deals a year, no problem. Little did I realize I would do 3 deals in my first year (more on that later). What I should have done is align myself more with other new agents similar to myself.
- It’s different from most jobs, where you know what you’ll be doing on a regular basis, and how much you’ll be making on a regular basis. But the beauty of it is that the potential for growth is much higher.
- And even if being a traditional agent doesn’t work out, there are so many opportunities in the industry. You can go into commercial real estate, or property management, or manage a real estate office, and so on.
- Once you become a real estate agent, you are essentially your own company, your own brand. You get to pick out your own business cards, website, email address, what to drive, how to dress, what expenses are important, and so on. Make a to-do list and tackle everything one at a time. Someone else isn’t going to make those decisions.
- Set aside funds to pay your taxes. When you have a typical job where your company pays you, they take the taxes off each paycheck. When you’re a real estate agent, you are in charge of withholding your own taxes and paying them at the end of the year. Don’t let this amount surprise you!
- Set a marketing plan and budget. It’s important to reinvest in your business. I can’t stress this enough. You can spend time (and/or money) creating postcards to send to friends and family, buy ads online, create partner relationships with other people in the industry and so on. You won’t believe how many people don’t use you as an agent because they just forget. It’s important to be constantly reminding people that you’re in real estate (and finding that balance between persistence and annoyance is tough).
- Create a pipeline of leads. My partner Mitch Greenblatt and I use CRM software (there are even free editions available out there). It helps organize your task list, your leads/contacts, and your deals. We can get a quick summary at a glance and be reminded of specific deadlines. We have also partnered with dozens of sources to help potential clients get their real estate questions answered (thus generating leads). This keeps us fresh in the minds of potential real estate clients.
- The reason I was only able to crank out 3 deals in my first year is because each deal took roughly 3 to 4 months, and I wasn’t doing a good job of managing my pipeline. I would work on one client at a time before moving on to the next.
- Get techie. Use technology to work in your favor. A blog, website, CRM software, Google Voice number, we use tools like these on almost a daily basis. We can’t afford to sit around and wait for the business to come to us.
Now all of this doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the best real estate practices.
This includes being kind, courteous, giving anyone who takes the time to reach out to you your full attention, being honest and transparent, and working hard to represent your clients well and to do things that are in their best interest.
The focus is and should always be on customer service.