The real estate industry can be difficult to navigate for new agents: The reality is that about 90 percent of agents fail within their first five years. That means nine out of every 10 new agents can expect to fail in the industry.
Admittedly, part of being a successful real estate agent simply comes down to luck, and no one can control for that, but there are some strategies newcomers can use to increase their chances of making a long-lasting career in this exciting and ever-changing industry.
After three decades of experience in diverse real estate sectors, selling more than 6,000 properties, providing relocation services for major Fortune 100 companies, and connecting entrepreneurs to billions of dollars in business resources, there are a few pieces of advice I would give my younger self about thriving in the real estate ecosystem.
Below are the top three tips I think any nascent real estate agent needs to increase their chances of making it to be among that 10 percent.
1. Educate yourself
Real estate is more complicated than a glamorous sales job, and it’s helpful to educate yourself.
Earn a four-year college degree in other fields, such as business economics, construction, finance and law. Each of these topics are relevant to selling and buying a property, so it’s pivotal to have foundational knowledge in each of these fields to power your job performance.
Always be ready to pivot to adjust to big industry changes. Be prepared to adjust to new laws and tax codes, novel technology developments and emerging market trends. Be ready to harness emerging technologies to manage properties, process applications and synthesize data, so that you can free up your time on better helping clients. Find out how you can leverage these new developments now so that you can stay ahead of the competition.
For example, have you learned about the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain? These emerging technologies are changing the way real estate businesses operate and interact with their customers and clients.
Blockchain, a distributed digital ledger system, promises to make property data more secure and accessible to the public, and it will make transactions efficient and safe. This increases accessibility of data integral to home buying and selling, and ensures independent industries are held accountable for sound business practices.
Both AI and blockchain are helpful tools for helping agents and brokerages serve their clients with the utmost care and efficiency.
An integral part of learning is always asking questions. When you are tasked with performing any task in the line of business, always ask why you are doing it. In doing so, you’ll understand the logic and purpose behind the things you do. As a result, you’ll develop a better grasp on the real estate business system in general and contribute your own insights on how to improve it.
2. Realize that you’re a business owner
You are not only a real estate agent but an entrepreneur who owns their own business.
Real estate is a business. So it’s important to think like a business owner. In fact, 86 percent of real estate agents are independent contractors, according to the National Association of Realtors‘ 2016 Member Profile, so the law and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) consider you a business owner and you will be treated as such. You have sole responsibility for your business interests, but that does not mean you have to do it by yourself.
Part of being a successful business owner is being a well-versed planner to juggle your multiple responsibilities as you are accountable for sales, expenses and marketing. Build a business plan and a great team that can help you carry out tasks and share in opportunities. You won’t be able to do this alone, so make sure you have people you trust to carry your business when needed.
Further educate yourself as a business owner and independent contractor by making use of the resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the IRS.
Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) is proud to be one of only 11 of the SBA’s partner resources for women-owned small businesses, and we provide countless resources and consulting services to help you achieve long-term success.
3. Be passionate
One of the keys to success in real estate is warm and trustworthy human interaction. You’re dealing with someone’s sanctuary, foundation and investment. To an individual or family, a home is a place of personal freedom, security and comfort and a source of financial stability.
Real estate agents are still an integral part of the real estate transaction process. Clients look to us as dependable sources of knowledge, advice and emotional support as they make their homebuying and selling decisions.
Agents should be adept at handling hiccups in the buying process, such as when a client suffers a traumatic loss, loses their job or gets cold feet.
There might be moments when things do not go as planned, or you make a mistake, but that’s life. Nothing is ever perfect and you can’t please everyone, so remember to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses … but do try to differentiate yourself from the crowd. In return, clients and peers will respect your authenticity.
People who make it in this business are those who are passionate, care for others and their needs, and create social impact.
As they say, what goes around, comes around.
Desirée Patno is the CEO and president at the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB). You can follow Desirée on LinkedIn and NAWRB on Facebook.