What Nobody Tells You as a New Real Estate Agent
When I first began as a residential agent, I had quickly realized I had it all wrong. After listening to brokerages give you the highlight reel of what they have to offer, you'd think it was a cakewalk! Watching other agents on social media, they look consistently busy, always smiling, and just like they have life figured out. I suddenly began to feel pressure to start my day at 5 am in order to be one of the super-productive people and that I needed to adjust my personality in order to seem "professional" to others. It stressed me the hell out.
The most common answer from new agents as to why they became an agent is that they wanted to make up their own schedule and financial freedom. The myth is that you can work a few hours out of the day and show a couple of houses and the moment you announce on social media that you've become licensed and are now an agent - you're suddenly going to have clients. That's just not how it works. (although it would be nice right!?)
This job is hard. It is a difficult industry to be in, no matter how much experience you have under your belt. The fact that you are now in charge of your own schedule is often the first thing that becomes an issue for newer agents. This requires discipline. And for someone of you out there that isn't an issue. For me, it is a constant struggle to stay on task. Still today, 6 years into my career, it can be easy at times to slack off and not be consistent. YOU NEED A PLAN. Simply waking up and sitting down at your laptop feeling ready to conquer the world is not enough.
**Suggestion - at the end of every afternoon/evening write out your plan for the next day. How much time tomorrow will you spend on prospecting, marketing, and education. Stick to it.
Another thing I didn't realize is how little of this job is about the actual house. I am a problem solver. A builder of trust. The service you provide your clients is 90% of the battle and will ultimately set you apart from other agents. Yes the house matters, but your clients have to be able to trust that you are protecting their interests and are knowledgable. Which brings me my next suggestion.
**Suggestion - Take classes. ALL THE CLASSES
How can talk to a first time buyer and qualify them if you cannot talk intelligently about general loan information and what it takes to qualify? Do you have someone to refer them to? Do you know a roofer, an electrician, a general handyman? This stuff matters and makes agent life A LOT easier. When I started I was a renter, so no I didn't know jack sh*t about how to qualify for a mortgage or a single repairman. Title companies give all sorts of classes for free. Take advantage of it - AND THEY FEED YOU 😁 (most of the time) Ideally your broker will have educational opportunities for you as well.
Here are my top 10 things to know/do when going into real estate:
1. Get comfortable with rejection. Don't take it personally if your cousin, nephew, aunt or uncle do not use you to buy or sell. Sometimes they don't want to mix family and business.
2. Do some financial planning. You will need some savings or a backup plan going into this. It takes a while for the $ to start rolling in.
3. If you want to "invest in yourself" invest your TIME and be a real estate sponge. Hang out with other agents, ask questions, listen to podcasts, do all the free things. That is the investment that will pay off faster than designations. No point in buying leads if you have no idea how to talk to them.
4. Be yourself. You will find your tribe. Your personality should always come through when talking to people. If they feel that you are being genuine and truly care about them, that builds trust, and trust leads to clients.
5. Learn your market. As soon as you are able to, schedule tours of homes in your area and at different price points. Also, pay attention to the areas that have had the most activity in the last 6 months. Pay attention to days on market. This is the nuts and bolts of what your actual job is - TO BE KNOWLEDGABLE.
6. Do open houses. Yes, the fun wears off quickly when you spend a couple of hours in a house on the weekend and not a single sole walks through, but it is a numbers game. Plus it helps you practice talking to strangers and get over feeling awkward.
7. Do not buy leads fresh out of real estate school. Learn how to talk to people with confidence. That is first. Learn how to handle objections AND rejection like a pro. Find a partner to practice with if needed. Personally, I can tell you that my dog Milo knows everything there is about real estate as he was my practice buddy for months.
8. Have a plan for your day. Know the difference between prospecting and marketing. Scrolling through social media and liking comments and posts is not prospecting. Prospecting/lead generation starts with a goal. Decide how many new people you want to add to your CRM per week and work on that.
9. Have a CRM. Just do. I could go on for pages about why it's important. Don't fret over which one. If your broker provides one - start there. The best CRM is the one you use consistently. My biggest mistake was not using mine for the first 4 months of being an agent.
10. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you are giving it 100%, that's all you can do. It can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging at times. That is something all of us experience no matter how long we've been in the business. You are playing the long game here. Know that and stay consistent 👍 Eventually you will find your pace and everything sort of falls into place.