It’s a big step to pass the real estate exam, get your license, and start a new business. The excitement of becoming a new real estate agent can be easily overshadowed by underestimating expenses, overestimating income, and making assumptions about how your career will progress and where opportunities will come from. In this article we are going to take a look at some areas that can make a difference in your first months as a real estate agent.
Carefully choose your agency team. When you are starting, make sure the agency you choose has a good reputation and good credentials. Their reputation and credentials will be yours when you are first starting out. Learn about and recognize the talents of everyone in the agency, talents such as marketing, technology, or paperwork efficiency. Tap into these resources and ask for help.
Think like a small business. Most real estate agents are independent contractors. You are not an employee, but rather a small business owner. As a small business owner, your success depends on a good business plan: invest time in relationships, work towards long-term goals, and learn what you can about real estate agent marketing. Don’t forget to take time to understand your market and the customers.
Develop the tools you will need to be successful. Identify what sets you apart from other real estate agents. Educate yourself on any skills that you currently lack. While you are growing a prospect base, have a well thought-out plan of how you will grow your business.
Be willing to be mentored. There is much to learn as a new real estate agent. Find a successful agent or broker who is willing to mentor you. Consider offering your time to assist them in their current or next transaction—you will need to have experience gained from a few real estate deals in order to learn about documents used in real estate. You will also experience basic buyer and seller questions and learn how to research and answer them. It’s a good idea to ask for past transaction folders where you can study documents and process. If you don’t want to or can’t find a mentor, consider finding a broker who has a good training program.
Remember that selling is just part of the equation. Good sales tactics are important for real estate agents. Think of yourself as a consultant, rather than just a salesperson.
A common saying among real estate agents is, “If you don’t list, you won’t last.” You can diversify your business income by building your skill sets in listing and working with buyers. This will allow you pursue multiple strategies for earning income in your market throughout the year.
Focus on soft skills, like people skills, problem-solving, and self-motivation. For example, having excellent photograph skills and being able to write a compelling description about listings will go a long way to sell properties.
Work on building your “sphere of influence.” Throughout your career, you will become associated with buyers, sellers, investors, appraisers, loan officers, mortgage brokers, inspectors, title companies, and others. Consider hosting open houses, or volunteering to host some for your fellow agents. Open houses provide a great way to meet buyers and other agents. Put your contacts and prospects you meet into a good contact management system that you can use to efficiently locate their information.
As you are building presence, call, mail, and email every person you know, and you might land a deal sooner than expected.
Learn to use technology. The internet will be an integral part of your real estate business, and you’ll need it if you’re going to market in the real estate world. New agents need websites and social networking to become established with today’s buyers and sellers. Talk to other agents about what to budget for a web presence. Consider hiring an expert who has experience in creating real estate agent websites.
Know your budget. Many new agents focus on immediate successes, like getting the first client. It can be tempting to spend beyond your means to jumpstart the business, but that mindset can quickly erode your cash flow. When you work for yourself, you have to be able to cover your business and personal expenses.
Seriously consider having enough money saved to make it through six months without a commission. If that isn’t possible, you may need to keep your day job for a while as you build your business. You have to be able to meet all your financial obligations while you are building your business.
If you haven’t already, create a spreadsheet that includes your mandatory and discretionary living expenses. Your income goals need to be able to cover these goals as well as your business costs, growth, and emergencies.
Never make assumptions. Always be asking questions, observing, and learning. When you make decisions about how and where business will grow, always ask the question, “Is this a fact or assumption?” If it is a fact, outline your decision, create a plan, and map out expected outcomes to measure against. If it is an assumption, STOP, do your homework, and make decisions that are fact-based.
For example, don’t assume that telling your family and friends about your new career will jumpstart your referral business. Nor should you think that a new relationship with a single broker, your new website, or a brochure will generate new business you need. However, you may find spending more time in a brokerage office will give you the chance to meet more prospects. Consider taking on shifts from others. Every walk-in is a potential client. Or, focus on building your online presence.
About the the author
At CBC Mortgage Agency, we offer Nationwide Down Payment Assistance in the form of second mortgages through the Chenoa Fund program. We offer five different second mortgage products, each with their own individual underwriting requirements and guidelines, in an effort to provide options to borrowers of any income and most DTIs. Our options include products for both FHA and conventional loans; some of our products include 0% interest rates and no monthly payments.