Breaking into real estate is about more than getting a license. Here are seven tips to help you thrive as a new agent.

The barrier to entry in real estate is relatively low. It’s not especially difficult to apply for a real estate license, but not everyone can maintain one either.

For me, passing the school and state exams was a very cool experience. I was excited about the opportunities in the real estate world that this license would open up to me.

The managers at the firms I interviewed with were so unlike the interviewers of any steady paycheck job! Typical employment opportunities require layers of meetings and personality tests and detailed discussions about career goals.

Independent contractor interviews were more about how great the firm is, how I should park my license with them immediately, and how well I was going to succeed. I was practically convinced to join each company I interviewed with.

Once I chose a firm, the door was opened and the moment I stepped my feet inside, it was as if my feet never touched the ground. I was falling in the air and the only choices I had were to either keep building my real estate wings and learn how to fly high or quit before I hit the pavement — splat!

After four years in the business, here is what I think you would like to know if you really want to build a brand in this real estate world and stand out:

It’s the same rules everywhere!

It’s that simple! The business has its own fundamentals. Whatever firm you join, whatever that firm takes pride in differentiating itself, the basic rules are still the ones that work. Shiny toys don’t generate business. You do. YOU sell real estate.

The industry is all about the old school principles

This product cannot be added to an online shopping cart. Regardless of all the technology available today, you will still have to focus on meeting with people, prospecting, shaking hands, networking, advertising, encouraging word of mouth, getting recommendations and referrals, creating brand marketing and showing apartments.

Real estate is not a side hustle

If you got your license just to make an extra buck on the side in addition to your full time job, then fuggedaboutit!

Real estate really needs your full attention, effort, care, creativity, energy and constant hustle. You gotta have your hands in it. People will work with you when they know that you are in real estate not just because you’ve got a license, but because you truly want a career.

Don’t expect quick money because it’s not about quick money

It’s all about relationships. It takes time to build a relationship, as well as credibility and trust. Clients need to have confidence in the agent they’re relying on to sell (or rent) their home, and it’s important to recognize that customers have often experienced many emotions as a result of years of celebration, living their own lifestyle and engraving their personal memories.

Your contacts need to be prepared to buy or sell and your responsibility is to help them navigate.  Usually individuals don’t act on such big, serious moves overnight. They realistically might not even be ready to sell or buy now (exploring options), but a year later they will.

Get used to the feeling when the castle of cards you just built crumbles

You will build up your little castle of cards, and a funny thing will make it crumble! You may work on a deal that took you many weeks, or even months, to get everything done, every step accomplished and makes you feel as though you are heading towards the closing table, and all of a sudden the deal falls through!

Very frustrating, I know how it feels. But before you move forward, take a pause, do what you do best in these situations and then come back to it with persistence. Real estate transactions almost always ebb and flow. Be resilient, and most importantly, be a deal-maker. Try to find solutions. Building stamina is very important in this business.

Do it again and again and again

You are competing with thousands and thousands of agents for the same product. Whatever it is you focus on, be repetitive in a productive way. There’s no substitute for relentlessly pursuing your goals.

Personal marketing isn’t a one-time event, it’s all about consistency. Continue again and again and again so people know that you are there, and not fading away. It’s how you let potential sellers and/or buyers know that you are in the game and that you will be there for them once they are ready.

Pursue ‘the fine tune’

You need to find your niche! Identify your interests, your creative passions or your fire that will always make your strive for success and push forward.

The niche is the essential element of your own brand. That may be co-ops, or condos, or townhouses or lofts. It could be rentals or sales or investment properties or development. But concentrate on something that truly captivates you.

Or perhaps being an agent may not be your thing at all, but you could be great as a property manager, or an appraiser or a mortgage broker.

It’s OK if you take time trying to figure out your niche. Know your strengths, and put them to work for you!

Peter Zakian is a licensed real estate salesperson with Century 21 Metropolitan in New York City. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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