Congratulations! You passed the test and you are a licensed real estate agent. Life is sure looking good, huh?
Unfortunately, it is no longer 2004 (thank God) and while real estate agents still have incredible earning potential, your future clients will expect you to have a lot more than just a piece of paper that says Realtor® on it.
Today’s Realtor® must understand the potential pitfalls in any transaction and be a trustworthy moral compass for their clients, abiding by the Code of Ethics and demonstrating professionalism at every turn.
For many agents, obtaining a real estate license is their first foray into entrepreneurship and the discipline that comes along with it. As a Realtor® you are your own boss, and you are on your own to learn the market and develop your business. You build your own network, market yourself and your business, handle the entire sales process (from prospecting to closing), and manage your own administrative tasks. Unfortunately, many new real estate agents fail to recognize how much work it takes to be successful in the field.
Further, competition is fierce. Now, real estate agents are not only competing against each other for business but also against technology; Redfin and Zillow are disrupting the industry in ways never seen before, acting as virtual brokerage houses and building soup-to-nuts “search to transaction” offerings that support buyers and sellers throughout the entire process.
So, how can you make the most out of your real estate license, set yourself apart, and gain a competitive advantage?
Find a Real Estate Business School
While there are no silver bullets to succeeding as a Realtor® (except hard work and dedication), there are clear paths to success.
First, it is important that every agent develops the level of business acumen expected by their clients. An MBA is not necessary, but a real estate business school program dedicated to continuing education and training can provide the equivalent of a real estate MBA in much less time.
These schools cover a wide range of topics that Realtor®s need in order to be successful, including:
- Sales, marketing, and social media training: How to prospect for new leads and build a database of potential customers
- Customer service strategies: What to say to sellers and buyers so they hire you
- Bookkeeping and accounting: What technologies you need to learn
- Networking: How to find people who want to sell or buy real estate
- Production best practices: What are the attributes of a successful Realtor®
- Investing principles: How to create your own retirement income
Grow Your Network
In person: Marketing yourself might be the single most important factor for succeeding in real estate. Reach out to friends, family, acquaintances. Attend industry networking events and neighborhood meetings and hand your card to everyone you meet. You never know, even your next date could be a prospect!
Online: Don’t just “be” on social media, “DO” social media.
As a new business owner and entrepreneur, you can’t waste time idly scrolling through Instagram; you are now the content provider.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Nextdoor offer robust platforms for connecting with people, but they don’t work without engaging content. House tour videos, recaps, professional photos, blog posts, and even the occasional targeted ad all provide a competitive advantage on these platforms.
Many cities have invite-only Facebook groups only for Realtor®s to collaborate, provide insights into different clients and properties, and share leads. Find and use them.
Customer Relation Management (CRM) software, emails, and your website:
Develop and use your website as a hub for client engagement, information, and outreach. A CRM that plugs into your site will work wonders for ongoing outreach and vital reminders. Many brokerages offer their own CRM solutions that you can tap right into, or you can opt to utilize one of the many software platforms available independently.
Stretch Every Dollar
Typically, the first year of real estate means more money out than money in, and real estate agents should look for opportunities to save wherever they can. Learn to use one picture in ten different ways — for listings, brochures, Facebook, posts, etc.
Invest Your Profits
Getting mileage out of each dollar doesn’t end when the money starts coming in; just the opposite, in fact. Real estate agents should be actively investing in the very product they sell — real estate — well before they make their first million. After all, the wealth in real estate is in owning it, not listing it and selling it to someone else.
Realtor®s are constantly exposed to unique opportunities to acquire income-producing properties, but most fail to learn the skills that enable them to capitalize. The most successful Realtor®s know how to conduct a financial analysis to determine risk and value, read and analyze property pro-formas, write LOIs, write contracts, and obtain financing. This is where the real value of a real estate license manifests itself.
A career in real estate can be incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately, more than 80% of new Realtor®s fail to make it past their first couple of years in the business because they don’t realize just how much there is to do. It is much, much more than showing houses and writing contracts, and those looking to do it “part-time” or halfway often fail.
It takes dedication, work ethic, some luck, and a whole lot of discipline.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.