So, you are about to make the plunge or perhaps you have dipped your toes in the real estate water and you are wondering if what you’re doing is keeping you on the right track. To becoming a successful real estate agent - you know, the kind of Realtor that clients want to work with and are eager to call.
These days, being a real estate agent is a lot different than it was 30, 20, or even ten years ago. So, if you’re relying on long-time agents for advice on how to get through that first year, some of those nuggets of wisdom might be a bit outdated. However, some are always safe and will never go out of style.
So, below we’ve compiled a list of tips we think will help you make a mark on the real estate industry in your town and will help you decide whether this is the right career for you.
Focus on the people, not the sale
When you’re starting out, receiving commission will become all you think about, especially if you previously worked in a career that included a weekly paycheck. Unfortunately, however, clients can surmise when you’re money-focused and not people-focused, so be sure to show them that you care about them and want what’s best for them. That doesn’t mean letting them walk all over you, but it DOES mean taking the time to do what you need to do to help them; i.e. setting up appointments, helping with paperwork, checking in with them after the sale. Customers want to know that you have their best interest at heart.
Work with a Broker who is accessible
During your first few years of working as a Realtor – especially in the very early days – you’re going to need a lot of advice and guidance. You need a good, successfully mentor, so find an agency with a broker who’s willing to spend time with you and help you be successful, too.
As an alternate, you can also look for a more experienced agent who a mentor and take you under his/her wing. You might even consider working as an assistant to a highly successful agent for a short time, just until you learn enough to do it all on your own.
Either way, you’ll feel less alone and will be more apt to write some successful deals right off the bat if you have a mentor. That said, it’s also okay to take some chances and step out on your own, even at the beginning. You might make a few mistakes, but – as the adage goes – you’ll learn from them.
Build the best website
Face it. The first place many people turn to when shopping for anything these days is the internet, even houses. So you need to make sure you have the best website for the area in which you’re operating. Build your online presence as soon as possible. If you want to tackle website building yourself, then use Wordpress and find a good real estate theme, then you can add IDX to your Wordpress website through a vendor like Diverse Solution. If you want to hire a professional website builder, then look no further than Real Estate Webmasters, while they aren't cheap they are the best.
If for example, you are a Realtor in Hometown, New York, you want to have the best realty website of any agents in Hometown, so eventually, you will become “THE” Hometown, NY Realtor. Show that you know your locale by including not only home listings but also guides to the community, tips about places like restaurants and other retail establishments, info on schools, and anything else someone might want to know if they’re considering purchasing a home in your neighborhood.
Additionally, social media is here to stay, so you may as well use it to connect with customers and potential customers. Get used to posting photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and don’t hesitate to network with others through sites like LinkedIn. Even if you’re an older first-time agent, these are things you’ll need to spend some time learning about, even if you’re feeling a bit resistant.
Admit your shortcomings
It’s okay to let clients know that you haven’t been in the business very long. If you show sincere interest in helping the client, most will stick with you. However, you may find yourself spending a lot of time saying, “I don’t know, but I can find out for you.” That’s okay. You may need to go to a more experienced agent – or your Broker – to get the answers to some questions, but once you’ve asked them, the answer will be in your cache of knowledge from that point on. Again, clients won’t mind your lack of knowledge if you seek out someone who CAN give them the answers they need.
What’s worse is making up answers. Sound absurd? It’s not, because there are people that do it for fear of looking “stupid” or inexperienced. So, always be sure your information is correct before you share it with others.
Drive your route for showings
If you’re heading out to a particular area for the first time and aren’t familiar with the streets or neighborhood, then drive the route ahead of time; this is something I still do even after 15 years of experience. On the drive between properties, I am chatting with a client, and I am not paying close enough attention to view the street names. Nothing makes a new buyer lose respect for an agent more than having to watch him/her deal with maps or fiddle with a GPS. They are looking for someone who KNOWS the neighborhood in which they seek to buy. Appearing clueless as to where the location of the showings does little to instill confidence. After all, if you don’t know the neighborhoods and the houses of them, how can you recommend the right home for the client?
Treat it like a business
In real estate, even if you have a broker to whom you pay fees or a portion of your commission, you are largely in business for yourself. You should set up bookkeeping to keep track of your assets and expenses, and you should also learn to stick to a budget, especially since you won’t be receiving a regular weekly paycheck. Examine programs such as Quick Books, which is ideal for self-employed individuals. From Quick Books, you can keep track of your bank accounts, make payments, accept payments, and more. Also try to make short and long-term financial goals, which will motivate you to do the tasks it takes to be successful.
Do not let the word “no” get you down
As a first-year agent, you’ll probably hear the word “no” more than you’ve ever heard in your entire life. As a matter of fact, the word “no” will likely continue as you advance your business. It’s just the nature of the beast.
Not everyone you encounter will be a serious home buyer. Some people will just be lookers; they’ll have you out showing them houses for six weekends in a row, and then they’ll decide not to buy, or they’ll buy from someone else. Also, you may not get listings because of your lack of experience, but you can’t let that get in your way. If you throw enough mud on the wall, some of it will stick, right? So just keep doing what it takes and, before long, you’ll be playing with the big boys and become a real estate rock star!