As “the first lady” of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” franchise — the first and only woman to appear on the show — I’m fortunate to have reached a point in my career where I sell million dollar homes with regularity.
And though I’ve now been in the real estate business for more than five years, some agents work for decades and never realize their dream and potential of selling luxury homes. Well, I’ve got some good news and bad news for you. The good news is: it’s possible. The bad news: you have to work for it. The hustle is real, people.
Unless you come from a real estate dynasty or are a celebrity who decides to break into real estate, you have to work hard to make the move from everyday homes to luxury properties. We all have to start somewhere, and here are a few strategies that worked for me:
1. Network, network — network
When I started out, I worked in hospitality managing exclusive nightclubs in South Florida. The business demanded dependability, hard work, showing up and most importantly, freakish focus on attention to client needs.
I made some incredible contacts and proved my ability to help people, which helped me launch my real estate business when I was ready. I diligently kept track of my contacts and began to build my extensive connections on social media.
2. Get ’em while they’re young
While I was building my social network, I targeted other young professionals like myself. I didn’t shy away from working with 20- and 30-somethings who were first-time homebuyers and renters, no matter how small their budget.
Even now, my company will assist with any and all real estate needs. No job is too small, because, let’s face it — real estate agents are a dime a dozen. If you can’t assist someone with a smaller-scale real estate deal, and prove that you can do a great job, how will they know how awesome you are when it comes time for their next deal?
When you help someone rent a first property, they’ll call you when they are ready to buy. When you help them buy, they’ll call you when they’re ready to sell. They will refer you to bigger and better deals — and all because you were willing to help them when they needed you. I believe in long-term relationships and having clients for life.
3. Invest in your business
As a new real estate agent, I had a wide variety of clients. Some were renters, some were buyers, some sellers. Deals ranged from tiny to small to mid-sized, with a few big sales thrown in here and there.
As we all know very well, real estate income is irregular and unpredictable at best, but you have to get used to that way of life and develop discipline. I had to make tough choices about where to invest my funds to best grow my business.
I could have blown my commission checks on clothes and shoes — and that’s fun from time to time — but instead, I invested in marketing tools that helped me bring in more business.
Those are three of the most important ways I built my business from the ground up. It takes a lot of effort and dedication, but you can do it, too.