For budding real estate agents, this is a compilation of tips and advice real estate agents have sent us on what they’ve learned over the years that would be helpful for new agents. There is a lot of wisdom here from highly experienced real estate agents, and it’s my hope that you’ll find at least 1 or 2 very helpful tips here and some useful food for thought that’ll help you in your career.
I’ve summarized all the good points that have been made as below, along with links to the full comment:
- Network as much as possible to as many different people you can, including to other real estate agents (link), and be open to everyone you meet that you’re a real estate agent (link). Real estate is a people business (link), so “build relationships and the rest will follow”
- Constantly look for new clients every day (link)
- You may do better focusing on a niche, like working with first-time home buyers, or investors (link, link)
- Have an online and social media presence (link, link, link) and use digital tools like virtual house tours (link)
- Be knowledgeable about the real estate market, and be legitimately helpful to your clients (link, link). That means guiding them every step of the way, knowing contracts inside out, and answering all their questions like a professional
- Similarly, think long term with each client (link). Focusing on what’s best for the client will likely result in much more revenue from them in the long term and is vastly preferable than being dishonest in any way to make a single sale
- Budget your time, and spend more time on clients that are likely to pay off better (link) (where your time is best spent will be clearer when you have more experience)
- Beware of brokerages with over 100 agents (link)
- Don’t buy cheap leads (link)
- Watch and learn from the best in your market – you should not try to reinvent the wheel when just starting out (link, link). It’s great if you can find a mentor or a brokerage with a lot of support (link)
- If you’re self-employed, make sure to factor for taxes, and put away at least 30% of your income for that (link)
- Have a thick skin, and don’t be deterred by rejection or bad clients (link, link)
- Think about what makes you unique and what qualities you have that should make clients want to work with you over other agents (link)
The first thing I'd suggest is to build a solid network in the sector. This includes partnering with other real estate agents to get a headstart. Any client or prospect that you cannot handle yourself can easily be referred to a partner agent who can split the gains with you.
Open houses also help to get the word out and secure some leads. However, we're now looking at a mandatory online presence that should help you expand your business quicker. Build an attractive website, embed great IDX search and offer as much value as possible.
--Raj Dosanjh, Rent Round
It’s important to set aside time every day to prospect for new clients to help grow your business. Sometimes, new agents get so caught up in closing their current transactions that they forget to look for new clients to work with, and they’re left with nothing after those existing deals close. Also, you need to focus on your online presence. Real estate shoppers visiting your website likely aren’t ready to do business on their first visit. An intuitive funnel with retargeting and email will keep you top of mind as the shopper gets closer to a decision. You’re spending money and effort to get buyers and sellers onto your website, but too many agents let those opportunities slip through the cracks.
--William Taylor, VelvetJobs
My tip is to spend as much time and money marketing to previous clients as you do potential clients. Bringing in new clients is usually agents' focus but it's significantly more expensive to find a new client than it is to get repeat or referral business from an existing client. Just checking in with a call/text, small holiday gift, etc is enough. You don't have to go crazy (and likely will annoy people if you contact them too often).
--James McGrath, Yoreevo
Find a niche. Perhaps it is working with first-timers, or investors. It may take a bit to nail it down but it is important. Once you find your niche, excel in it. Be the one! Now this does not mean that you cannot help others with different needs. As a matter-of-fact, I have gained more business over the years in various practices just by centering in on what I do best. For instance, I have a knack with first time home-buyers and renters. And I have built upon that and have gotten many referrals.
--Denise Supplee, SparkRental.com
Leverage your network - If you aren't open and active about being a realtor, your close network may never know about your profession. They may end up searching and using another agent instead of you when they would have much preferred to give you the business.
Get a website - Clients are becoming more and more internet savvy. A lack of internet presence will make it hard for clients to find you.
Stay knowledgeable about the local markets. Nothing is more frustrating than having a realtor that just wants to open doors and play on their phone. You need to provide information to help clients make a good decision.
--Tiffany Heathman, TopHoustonRealtor.com
Find the niche that works for you
When I first started as an agent. I received three invitations to join a team before I was through my first month. Ultimately, I declined them all. If I joined a team, I’d get leads from the team’s database and marketing: Consequently, those leads would be more likely to be the kind of person who clicks with the team leader's personality or who responds to his style of marketing. To be successful, I'd have to adapt to people who might not be the kind of people who I might naturally attract. I wanted to stack the deck in my favour: I'd rather find the niche I'm best suited to work with and discover how best to sell to them. Accordingly, I started off solo and cast a wide net. I found I had a strong affinity for developers and multi-residential investors.
Budget your time
Budgeting my time was my biggest challenge. When I started, I didn’t know what a promising prospect looked like. Consequently, I spent a lot of time working with people who were still deciding whether they wanted to invest in a property.
I found that my time was best used working with people who were focused not on whether to invest in a property but on which property to invest in.
That said, a good investment agent can offer a lot of value to people who aren’t as far along in their decision process. It’s worth spending time with them. I’ve developed several loyal clients because of the advice I provided early on.
Focus on the value of the relationship
Think long term. Focus on making every relationship as profitable as you can. Never focus on the individual sale opportunity.
You can maximize the profitability of every relationship by maximizing trust and demonstrating irreplaceable competence.
The best way to maximize trust is to focus on what's best for the client, even when it's at the expense of your own interests. Eventually, your client will see that the advice you provide is aligned with her interests even when it's contrary to your own. Once the client clearly sees that, you will have maximized trust. I have such a relationship with a client who is in the market for an investment property. He recently remarked:
John, I trust you. Tell me what to buy and I'll buy it.
--John Castle, johncastle.ca
The reason why most agents fail is because they don't have clients. In order to attract the right clients who are serious and a good fit, concentrate on two things:
1. Build solid relationships with the people you know
2. Meet more people
It's not that deep. Don't waste your money on buying leads or time and energy memorizing scripts and cold calling. Real estate is a people business, so start with the people. Build relationships and the rest will follow.
--Janis Benstock, janisbenstock.com
Try to avoid the brokerages that seem like they just want to collect as many agents as possible. Research the brokerage and if they have more than 100 agents than move on and look for a smaller one. As a new agent, you will just end up getting lost in the mix and you wont be able to expect to get much training or direction. You will also get almost no phone duty time as those will likely be distributed out to the more senior agents.
--Robert Carrillo, Century 21 Haggerty
The first and best bit of advice I share with new agents is to watch and learn from the best in your market. Copy the dress, practices, and even the speaking patterns that the top producing Realtors in your area use to be successful. In residential real estate, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when you start your career. Instead, see what the best do, copy it, master it, and then tweak it to best fit your personality and preferences, which is where you'll stand out in time.
The next bit of advice I give is to treat your real estate practice as a business. This means acting, dressing, and being businesslike when you are working to get people to buy and sell real estate with you. It also means thinking about what activities are going to get your business to where it needs to be. This business-like focus and seriousness that you approach in your real estate career will show and will attract new clients.
The final bit of advice I give to new Realtors is to save at least 30% of their income for taxes. We are self-employed people and the paychecks we earn can be quite considerable. The temptation to blow a first big commission cheque can be huge, but trust me, the pain of having no money to pay a huge tax bill at the end of the year is worse. Save your money!
--Mike Stewart, Mike Stewart Real Estate
Real estate agents can spend years learning the tricks of the trade and the best agents rarely share their secrets. I'll share with you 3 tips that will dramatically set you apart from the competition.
#1 Know your value. Write down and study what makes you unique and incorporate those characteristics in your elevator pitch, biography, and listing presentation.
#2 Get to know what the best agents do well and what they don't. Some of the top agents in your market might spill their secrets in interviews or podcasts.
#3 Don't take rejection personally and get used to being told no.
--Marc Anthony, marcanthonyestates.com
Here are my top 5 traits that I will preach to my agents daily until it becomes second nature.
1. Communication - There are no assumptions in Real Estate, and there are no bad questions in Real Estate. I've heard the term in the past fake it until you make it, and that can't be further from the truth when dealing with contracts, timelines, emotions, and the liabilities that exist buying or selling a home. New agents must read and understand the contract inside and out, and then communicate that to their prospective buyer or seller in a clear and concise manner so that all expectations are met. Never be too proud to ask another agent, your broker, or consult the real estate legal hotline to get the assurances you need to represent your clients properly.
2. Be in the Game - Don't leave your clients hanging. Know the market, study the market and always be ahead of the other resources your clients may be using. With technology becoming more prevalent, buyers and sellers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. Agents need to be quicker and better than the technology to prove their knowledge and worth in serving their clients. There is nothing worse than setting a potential buyer up for a home search, and having them call you the day a new home is listed in their favorite neighborhood to inform you because they saw it on Zillow or Redfin, before you even knew about it. Realtors have access to that information early for a reason, don't let those companies beat you to the punch.
3. Social Media is a must - New agents need to let the world know they are open for business. While they may not have years of transactions under their belts, they still have friends, family, and others that know their character and would trust their opinion and services. Unless you let your sphere of influence know this is your new career, you are relegated to paying for leads, or door knocking which really limits your exposure. I've seen it with my own eyes, and have watched my agents post something on social media that go so much attention a future deal was born from that one post. Having an online presence is the future of Real Estate and any new agents should make that a priority.
4. Utilize a CRM (customer relationship management) program. - This is a database of everyone you know and all the new people you meet who could be prospective buyers, sellers, or referral partners. Starting as new agents and learning how to use this is so beneficial for the future. This system will remember birthdays, remind you to make calls, follow up with clients and keep you relevant in their lives. Everyone appreciates a special anniversary note, or birthday well wishes, and this ensures you never miss those dates.
5. Serve others with no expectations - Real Estate Agents, Realtors, and Brokers are here to serve the best interests of their clients. That means this business is about relationships, not commissions. If you think of your clients in terms of dollars, you aren't serving your clients properly. A test of where your heart is at would be the following: How would you react if you were helping a friend try and buy a home, and at some point they had another friend, colleague, or other approach them to buy their home without using an agent? At first instinct that would sting, but in reality, if that was in the best interest of your clients, and you cared more about their best interest than your commissions, then you should feel a sense of joy for them and their new home. I try and teach my agents to think in those terms, and thus their hearts will be in the right place to serve their clients appropriately.
--Brandon Brown, BayBrook Realty
After more than ten years of being in the business, the number one advice I would give new real estate agents is to innovatively use digital tools, now more than ever, to generate great leads and to help sellers and buyers sell or buy real estate.
There is more to succeeding in the business that just all-day networking, cold calling, and working open houses. From virtual tours, SEO, to social media, the internet has revolutionized the industry. This gives modern RE agents ready tools to strategically grow their business, make the most of their time, take better care of their clients, and build a loyal customer base.
--Connie Heintz, DIYoffer
I've only 1 SERIOUS advice for all real estate agents. NEVER buy CHEAP leads.
Being a real estate agent, I used to get tons of offers for cheap leads from marketing agencies.
Who doesn't like cheap leads? Honestly, I don't like them because those leads are just useless. Let's say each lead costs you $1. So far, all fine. The real problem is, this lead has been shared with 100 other agents. These leads are not exclusive to you as you think—your chance of converting the lead as a client down to 1/100.
As simple math, you need 100 such leads for getting a client, and you end up paying $100 for a single client.
My advice: Hire a dedicated freelancer or agency who can generate leads for you. Never buy shared leads again.
--Chris M Remaley, ToolsPatrol
The number one tip for new agents is to pick up the phone and make calls. Call leads, call your sphere, call referral partners, call your neighbors. Making the calls even when you would rather be cruising social media separates the winners from the pack in real estate.
--Mark Washburn, Coastal Neighborhoods
As a licensed real estate agent for more than a decade and as a content writer and specialist in real estate and personal finance, here are my three tips for new agents:
1. Start with a plan: There are plenty of cliches about needed a map to get where you're going and the same is true for a career in real estate. As a new agent in this industry, your success will boil down to building long-term relationships and developing good work habits, so start your planning with these two basics in mind. And don't worry if things don't go according to plan. These initial plans rarely work; it's about creating a goal and then modifying the steps to that goal, based on your learned experience and outside circumstances.
2. Be confident and be yourself: The real estate market is highly competitive with many agents and brokerage fighting for their piece of the pie. To stand out, focus on one or two attributes about yourself that help you shine. Whether it's your impeccable attention to detail, your astounding customer care or your incredible work ethic, focus and 'sell yourself' based on these attributes. Eventually, clients who care about these facets will find you and refer others to you, which guarantees you a regular flow of clients (and meets the need for long-term relationship building).
3. Be professional: This goes beyond what you wear and, in fact, focuses more on the overall image of who you are, not what you wear (or drive). To be a professional, you need to clean up your image: Get rid of the Facebook posts of you drinking at college dorm parties; remove items of clothing that no longer represent you, the trustworthy adult who helps people finalize the biggest decision of their life. You don't have to rent a Beemer and sport a Rolex, but you do need to keep your car clean and go for regular haircuts. This is about taking pride in your appearance, not presenting a false image of yourself.
Truth be told, new agents will make mistakes along the way. The successful ones will stumble, course-correct and keep working at it and, eventually, have a very successful career.
--Romana King, Zolo
One: accompany and listen to your peers in action, which includes other agents, lenders, appraisers, home inspectors, builders, and managers. When you're new to the business, it is very important to watch, observe and listen because that is how you learn. All of these people provide you with new perspectives and lessons. You never know when those lessons will help you in the future.
Two: Listen to your clients' needs, research the market, present to them your findings and what you think best meets their criteria, whether Buying or Selling. When you fully understand your clients' needs and the market, you can make the best recommendations to ensure their happiness.
Three: Guide your client through the Buying or Selling process. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip, but it's important to remember that you are the expert, and your clients are looking to you for the answers. Make sure to teach them about the process as you guide them through it because this will provide them with a positive experience, which is always good for business.
Four: If you don't know something, say so, and get back to them when you have the information. It's okay to not always have all the information, but the best real estate agents acknowledge that and know who to contact to obtain the answers they need for their clients.
Five: Bottom line, always be respectful. Respect covers a lot of areas; professionalism, punctuality, honesty, good work ethic, efficiency, being prepared, accessibility and communication.
--Barbara Venincasa, Casa Realty
A few tips for new agents:
1. Even though you are an independent contractor and make your own hours, you are also a business. As such, you need to be prepared to have some capital available to get started. You'll need to invest in all sorts of things from new technology, to training, to coaching, to signs and business cards among other items. Also, it may take anywhere from 3-6 months to get your first sale; so it helps to have a solid nest egg.
2. Be prepared to put in long hours at the beginning. There is a lot that goes into working on your business in addition to In your business at the beginning (coining phrases from Gerber's The E-myth Revisited). You've got to set up all your online profiles, your CRM, your direct marketing, your email newsletters, all of your social media sites, and your website among other things. A new agent that wants to get off the ground quickly may spend up to 60 hours per week getting started with this new venture.
3. Seek a mentor--someone who has closed hundreds of deals who you can shadow, who is available to you via the telephone whenever you need it, and who can support you in those first negotiations.
4. Find a brokerage with a lot of support. Right now, during COVID-19, lots of brokerages are cutting back on support staff. Make sure to find one where you will get the support and training that you need on forms and contracts, policies and procedures, etc.
5. Being successful in real estate requires having thick skin. If you are going to get offended and hem and haw everytime an acquaintance, friend, relative, or neighbor hires someone else, then this is not the business for you. All of your energy needs to be put into productive transactions that will close and sustaining good relationships. Negative attitudes and crying over spilt milk will take away from your ability to be the best that you can be.
--Melissa Zavala, Broadpoint Properties
There is no silver bullet.
Every marketing strategy works... but not every marketing strategy will work for you.
Focus on finding marketing and prospecting strategies that work for you. You don't need to do "everything" to be successful and you don't need to do things the exact same way as someone else did in order to be successful.
Each real estate agent's personality, strengths, and weaknesses provide a unique DNA for the marketing & prospecting strategies that will uniquely work for them.
I recommend trying out strategies and tactics that appeal to you when you hear about them. Give them a solid effort for 2-3 weeks, but don't expect results in that time. Instead, ask yourself the question "Could I do this for the next 6 months to 1 year, even if it doesn't produce an immediate deal, and not want to pull my hair out?" If you can answer "yes" to that question, then it's a strategy you can get behind.
The key to success isn't any specific tactic or strategy, it's consistency and momentum. And you only get there if the strategy you're using is something that you can feel good doing.
--Zach Hammer, Real Estate Growth Hackers