How do you succeed in real estate? The answer to that is varied and highly individualized. However, there are certainly mistakes that will chip away at your ability to achieve success. Here are active measures you can take to avoid failing as an agent.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

The list of things we should be doing to improve our real estate business is seemingly endless — but sometimes, the things we shouldn’t be doing make an equal but negative impact on the health of our business.

Do you want to increase your success in real estate? The following is a list of the top three things to stop doing right now if you want to enhance your business and outdo the competition.

Stop being a secret agent

The biggest fear I hear from Realtors (especially new ones) is that they don’t want to come across as “salesy” to their friends, family and other contacts. A solution to this fear in the industry seems to be for agents to simply leave the fact that they are practicing real estate out of the conversation: They become a secret agent.

This absolutely is a huge cap to the success of your business, but almost more important is the harm it can cause your contacts. If you are good at what you do, wouldn’t you rather those contacts be with you than another agent or non-professional? Wouldn’t you take better care of them than any other agent could?

Here are the essential ways to ensure you are reaching your contacts and not operating as a secret agent:

1. Consistently update your database and pipeline

Be honest with yourself: Do you regularly review your database? Do you even have a database? Consistently updating your contacts is vital to ensuring that the right people know you are a real estate professional.

At minimum, set a recurring monthly appointment to review your database for accuracy, categorize your contacts by priority and ensure you are having regular communication with your database list. Equally as important, have an up-to-date pipeline of active and potential buyers and sellers.

All agents should be checking this pipeline weekly (at minimum) to ensure the list is updated and that they are on top of communication with each potential lead in their pipeline.

These regular check-ins will increase conversations with your leads and ensure that potential business does not slip through the cracks.

2. Get social

According to the most recent Nielsen ratings, HGTV is the fourth most-watched cable network in the United States, averaging more than 1.3 million viewers overall. People love to watch real estate, and social media is the perfect way to capitalize on that and let those who already know, love and trust you see what you do.

Don’t be obnoxious — use the three-pronged approach of posting two personal posts followed by one business-related post each week.

Personal stories of client successes and interesting home features are exciting ways to remind your contacts of what you do for a living.

3. Get a plan

Far too many agents make the mistake of letting their business run them, instead of them running their business.

They don’t set boundaries, they don’t have a consistent plan for their actions, and they don’t track their wins and loses to promote successes to their contacts and accurately decide how their business can best operate in the future.

Doing these things is essential to a real estate agent’s success and longevity. Keep it simple, and add the following plan to your business to increase your success:

Stop operating as an island

You have likely heard the saying, “You are who you surround yourself with.” This statement could not be more true in the real estate business.

Keep watch in the following areas to ensure you are surrounded with connections that fuel your business:

1. Activity breeds activity

There is a growing trend to mobility in this industry. Being increasingly mobile absolutely adds to an agents’ efficiency, but it can also have a negative side effect: operating as an island.

Being around other successful agents on a very regular basis creates a huge advantage to the probability of continued success in this business. This interaction promotes opportunities to learn from other agents by observing what they do right (and wrong).

Furthermore, it creates a tremendous networking opportunity for upcoming inventory and business opportunities.

Working in a traditional real estate environment makes going into the office on a daily basis simple.

Are you an independent agent or part of a less-traditional real estate model? No problem, simply make a point of meeting up with colleagues on a regular basis to learn and breed activity among each other.

You can attend Young Professionals Network meetings, go to meetups, work at coworking spaces that other agents frequent or even create a group of your own.

2. Avoiding change is not an option

Change has become inevitable in our industry. The rise of technology demands that nearly everything involved in our profession changes on a far-too-regular basis. Many agents are completely opposed to change, and they stick their heads in the sand to avoid it.

This avoidance technique can become a huge issue: As the real estate world evolves around you, the inability to adapt to new and widely used technologies can create inefficiencies that actually cost you business.

Embrace the change, it is unavoidable.

3. Old dogs need new tricks

As agents become more experienced in this business, they can develop a complacency that can hinder their development potential.

Michael John Bobak said, “To stop learning is to stop growing. Always remain teachable.” This quote could not ring more true for our industry.

Just because you have had success in this business, or you do something well, does not mean you can’t grow from learning from someone else.

Put a regular appointment on your schedule to take a newer agent, consumer or highly respected coworker out to lunch, and pick their brain on how you can get better at what you do.

You will learn new tricks and tools to implement that will grow your business in the future.

Stop getting out of your lane

Agents often step out of their lanes without even realizing it, and it can cause headaches and even legal issues. The tips below will help you avoid major missteps in your transactions:

1. Know what you don’t do

Agents should strive to be as good as humanly possible at what they do: servicing clients and helping them accomplish their goal of buying or selling properties.

However, too many agents tend to get out of their lane and experience a bit of an identity crisis. What’s just as important as knowing what you do in this business? Knowing what you don’t do.

We are not inspectors, we are not appraisers, and we are not contractors. Be extremely cautious about getting out of your lane in your business: Giving advice as if you are an expert in one of these areas can land you in big trouble.

Advising a client on items that are outside of your scope of expertise can not only be harmful to them, it can also be a huge liability to you and your business. Do the right thing, and have your clients consult the experts so they get the best possible advice.

2. Keep your emotions in check

We all know what it is like to deal with those agents; the ones you dread negotiating with because everything becomes personal. They yell, they accuse others of not being knowledgeable, and they constantly insert their own emotions into the transaction.

Getting emotional does not help your client, and it does not help the transaction. Our job as an agent is to create as smooth of a transaction experience as possible for our client and get them to their goal.

Making things personal or inserting emotions does not make others want to work with you, and it can shut a deal down quickly. Be professional, take a deep breath, and take the emotion out of your transactions.

You will be happier and pleasantly surprised how much smoother your deals go when you treat other agents how your would like to be treated.

Lynn Wheeler serves as 2nd Vice President and Branch Manager for The F.C. Tucker Company Keystone office. 

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