Practical advice to new real estate agents
You already have a plan… or not. Or you just asked the person sitting next to you in class about reputable brokerages in town and now you put together a list of brokers you want to interview. Chances are you are in one of the following scenarios:
- Your job sucks and your friends say you are great with people and should sell real estate. You already quit your job, and after your 63-hour course and exam, which I’m sure you passed on your first (or second) try, you are ready to rake in those thousands of commissions dollars, like next week!
- Your kids left home for college and you’d like to take on a new adventure in life. Yes, the spouse works, but you just want to make a few extra bucks you can spend anyway you want.
- You worked at a real estate office as an assistant and now ready to venture out on your own.
- You have a friend already making tons of cash and he/she invited you to join forces and start a team. (no! run! I’ll explain later)
- Or a dozen other scenarios, but it doesn’t matter…
…What matters is your very next step. Your first activity as a licensee will be forever etched in your memory and I really hope one day you can look back and smile because you made a good decision.
Being your own boss is not easy but doable
You will have to join a broker and once you hang your license there, it’s up to you to make sales happen. There may be training and some help at a cost of your commission. Your broker may provide paperwork assistance and floor time. But training and floor time will not get you far. If you are in it to win it, get ready to hustle, cold call, solicit every relative and friend you have, reach folks on social media and knock on your farm’s doors. I did and disliked all of these, but if your skin is thick enough, there will eventually be result, it may take a few month and over a year before you get on your feet financially. It may be easier if you were in real estate related business like lending or insurance where you can prospect to your client database. Still, it will take time for them to trust you in your new field.
To make money as an independent agent you will need to have cash to invest before seeing any of it come back. In addition to “old school” prospecting, buying leads, zip codes on Zillow and Trulia and hosting other agents open houses will be your good options.
Are you a team player?
If you are not too keen on cold prospecting and spending thousands of dollars to generate quick business is not an option, you will have to consider other scenarios.
Joining a team is different than becoming a partner. Unless it’s with your spouse, business partnership should only be considered if you know the person well, duties and responsibilities are written in stone and possible exit scenario is well discussed and documented. Additionally it’s desirable if both partners are bringing a book of business to the table. As a new agent you simply will not have one. A new agent becoming a partner will often see failure within months.
Joining a successful team, on the other hand, is a great scenario. Find a few successful agents with a team in your market and pursue them. You may start as a buyer’s agent, team assistant or office manager. If the team rocks, so will you. Hustle hard, don’t mind low commission splits (you are learning after all) and build relationships with vendors and clients.
If you decide to go solo, be willing to pick up other agents “unwanted” business. Take tough clients, lower end buyers and offer to host open houses. Remember, your local community will bring you business, so volunteer for events and take part in non-profit activities.
After five years in real estate I was surprised how few of the vendors wanted to build a relationship with me. We like to gage success with dollars. Ok, so what if I told you the highest ROI I’ve ever had was from a cup of coffee? Simply building a relationship with a prospective client on social media and then asking if I could buy her a coffee? Simple as that. Those clients are now most loyal. Many of them have become friends too. Stop thinking money and ROI, start thinking about building genuine relationships with people you want to do business with. My suggestion – in your first year never eat lunch alone. Who’s the most successful agent in your brokerage? Offer to buy him/her a burger and pick their brain! And if it’s coffee with a potential client – they already know why you are inviting them, so don’t say a word about business! They will ask you.