Every year, thousands of eager new real estate agents enter the industry. But despite the lure of creating your own hours, selling million dollar listings and being your own boss – becoming a real estate agent is hard work. With the typical salary for first-year agents under $15,000, just surviving can be a struggle. So whether you’re coaching new agents, re-entering the industry or starting your career – here’s our advice for getting started as a real estate agent.
Find a Mentor or Coach
It’s important to start your career on the right foot. Find out what formal training/coaching options are available through your brokerage and associations, and take advantage of everything that’s available in your price range. More importantly, find a mentor that’s experienced in your local market. There’s nothing more valuable than seeing an experienced agent in action, plus they can help you learn the peculiarities of your local market. Make sure to look for a mentor that matches your learning style, and whose career you’d like to emulate. Offer to help them with open houses or marketing efforts – this can be a great way to learn from the best and get your your feet wet.
Learn Your Market
Study your local market to the point of exhaustion. Understand the key selling points and downsides of different areas – including neighborhood profiles, demographics, school info, taxes, public services and even average commute times. Learn market data on prices, average days on the market, number of homes for sale and pricing trends. Your local association will have historic market reports that will be invaluable.
Expand Your Professional Network
As a real estate agent, you’ll work with lawyers, appraisers, mortgage brokers, home stagers – the list goes on! See if your office has recommended providers, and start making contacts. Relationships with these professionals will help your clients through the buying or selling process – and get you to the closing table faster! Better yet, mortgage brokers, landscapers, painters and other home service professionals can be a great lead source. Curate a list of home service professionals that you can share with clients – it’s a great way to add value and differentiate yourself.
Get Your Marketing in Place
Building your brand and actively marketing yourself will always be part of your career as a real estate agent. When you start out, decide what your unique value is – how will you differentiate yourself from other agents? Get your headshots, design your slogan, handcraft a killer bio and get your logo in place. Then set up your website, lead capture system, blog, client newsletters and social media pages – and learn how to use them!
Start Building Your Client Base … Yesterday!
Building a client base can be the most difficult task for any new agent, but it’s definitely one of the key determinants of your success. First, let your friends, family, past colleagues, community connections, etc know that you’ve made a career change. Explain why you’re passionate about real estate, and ask if you can send them updates on market trends in their area. Get involved in your community, attend networking events, support local businesses, distribute your print advertising and get your name out there. Allocate time every day to building your client base and reaching out to your contacts – real estate agents in business 16+ years get over 60% of their business from repeat clients and referrals!
What advice do you wish you had when you started out? As a new agent, what’s the best advice you’ve received?