• Staying on the path to knowledge will keep your skills sharp and relevant.
  • Your priority should be developing your real estate education and foundational competency.
  • Budget properly beforehand for maintaining this foundation.

Tell your sphere of influence you’re a real estate agent, host open houses for other agents, build a business plan, set up a Facebook business page …

Yeah, yeah. These are all good things to do, but they are specific techniques.

New agents need to focus on their foundation. And your foundation is all about building and maintaining your knowledge.

The following is an actionable list of how to construct a foundation to grow a thriving real estate business.

Schedule and attend the GRI Course

Congratulations! You’ve completed your state-mandated real estate courses! You now know the difference between erosion and avulsion!

If I had a Ferrari for every time that information came in handy, I’d … still be driving my Ford Fusion.

You need to learn actual, real-life, applicable knowledge. You need to get your GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) Designation.

The GRI course is broken up into three four-day courses (finance, brokerage and marketing) for 12 days total.

You will learn about the Code of Ethics, contracts, good business practices and everything else that you actually need to know to be a good agent.

It is not cheap — about $325 per course, $1,000 or so total. But you keep the GRI designation for life (no annual dues), and the education is everything they should have taught you getting your license.

I attended the GRI as a first-year agent. Afterward, I discovered that I often had a better understanding of the contracts and process than the other agent on my transactions, even agents who had been Realtors for more thn a decade.

When I own a brokerage in the future, having the GRI training will be obligatory for all my agents.

Attend your state Realtor association convention

I live in Texas, and I’m going to our Texas Association of Realtors convention even if it were being hosted in El Paso, 10 hours away.

You have no excuses! (Thankfully, it’s in Galveston this year — only a four-hour drive).

The conventions have an immense amount of free, current information about the industry. Often you can knock out your continuing education requirements for free.

When I attended the Texas convention in Dallas last year, I met some real estate agents whose insights completely changed how I do business.

Attending the convention is a great way to more exposure to your chosen profession. And it’s just fun! Go!

(Bonus points for going to the National Convention.)

Download the Podcast Addict App

Or iTunes, or any other app where you can download and listen to podcasts. Podcast Addict is what I use on my Samsung phone.

And then — download and listen to podcasts!

Podcasts are 30-to-90-minute discussions or interviews about a particular subject.

Unlike articles, there is a back-and-forth, and the information is invaluable. Most of the best real estate podcasts feature interviews with top-performing agents, coaches and professionals across the country, with insights into the techniques that make these agents successful.

Some examples of podcasts I listen to right now are: Super Agents Live, Real Estate Uncensored, Real Estate Coaching Radio, Real Estate Rockstar and Master Mind Agent (Master Mind Agent is the only one that is not free, but it is also one of the best and most detailed).

I actually look forward to longer-ish car rides so I can listen to a podcast. While exercising is another good time to tune in.

Start a website

“Duh!” you’re thinking. “Everyone knows you need a website.”

Yeah, but think it through a little. If your goal is to have a website that generates leads, you probably will need to “own” your website.

What does that mean? It means not simply having an agent page on your broker’s website. It means not paying an all-in-one service for a website.

It does mean having your own site, hosted on a platform such as WordPress, Placester or Websitebox.

Even if you don’t have the tools or resources to pour into an online strategy at this moment, starting a website early has tremendous advantages when coming to SEO (search engine optimization). Google rewards older websites.

My experience with a website was frustrating — improving and building a better and better site, but still being outranked by lousy, older websites by my competition. As my site ages, it will do better and better in the search rankings.

Find a mentor

You don’t necessarily have to spend $1,000 per month on a real estate coach.

When starting out, I would instead recommend looking around your office at some of the top-producing agents. Identify agents who share your personality type and desired business model.

For example, if you want to build an online lead-generating website, connect with the agent who has the best web page in your area. I would ask my broker that question directly: “Based on what I’m trying to accomplish, who in our office should I be modeling?”

It doesn’t even have to be in the same brokerage.

“But I’m their competition,” you think? Maybe they won’t open up and share with you?

Maybe not. Offer to swap something of value — like helping to host an open house.

Build relationships, and most agents will let you look under the hood at what has made them so successful.

You can take it one step further and become a buyer’s agent or licensed assistant for one of the top agents in your area. Not only will you get exposure to the methods and techniques that are working for that agent, but you will also have a more steady income as a new agent.

Get an accountant

“I will, I will. Once I start making money.”

Hint — no, you won’t. In reality, you will get an accountant when you’re doing your taxes, realize your files are a mess, wondering what untold number of deductions you are missing and losing an entire weekend in April — one of the busiest months for Realtors.

Save yourself now. Get an accountant now. They aren’t as expensive as you think. Ask your broker and other agents for a recommendation and then make it happen.

Subscribe to Inman

I wandered for more than a year in the wilderness when I first became an agent, oblivious to my industry trends and important real estate news.

Then I discovered Inman, which had great articles and resources for agents and brokerages, on topics ranging from technology, to big industry movers and shakers, to how to do an open house or prequalify buyers.

This was what I was looking for! But darn it, the best articles were behind a paywall!

After I month, I ponied up — and I haven’t looked back.

There is no comparable site I’ve found that is as well-informed and helpful a resource to me and my business.

Yes, the state and national association magazines are good reads, but only Inman delves regularly into the new technologies and trends that will make or break your business in the years to come.

Subscribe. Read. Learn. Apply. Your business will reap the rewards.


Unfortunately, not everything on the list is free. But if you are serious about finding success in this field, it is money you will need to budget for before jumping into this occupation.

These are not optional. Go do them now. If I were to do it over again, I would have done all of the above in my first week as a real estate agent. Instead, it took me nearly two years to figure it out.

Don’t be me. Start on your foundation on day 1.

Brian E. Adams is a real estate agent with StarPointe Realty in Fort Hood, Texas. Follow him on Facebook or YouTube

Email Brian E. Adams

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