I decided to become a real estate agent 25 years ago when my wife and I chose to have our weekly date night at real estate school and pursue this new career path together. We hunkered down, studied hard and got our licenses.
Once you have passed the exam and chosen a brokerage to place your license, it’s a great feeling. But then, what’s next?
Many new agents ask me what I did during my first year to build the foundation for my career. Below are some tactics I found successful during those first few years as a new agent, as well as some that I have seen other agents do to pave the path to success.
Whatever avenues you take, just know that your first year will be your toughest, but all the hard work and determination will pay off in the long run.
1. Make a list of goals for the day
No matter if you are entering the profession from a structured corporate job, are still working part-time, freelancing or have other responsibilities to attend to each day, it’s important to stay on track to make sure you advance in your real estate career.
Setting goals is unique to each individual. I find it best to make my list of goals for the day achievable within the parameters of time constraints, but also set goals that will keep propelling me forward.
I like to highlight tasks on my list as opposed to strikethrough them. That way, I can look back at the end of the week and see clearly what I accomplished.
2. Connect with your new colleagues
If you have decided to align yourself with a brokerage that has a unique culture and spirit of conducting business like we are so fortunate to have at The Agency, you will be able to mix and mingle with top producers that should only be too happy to take the time to mentor a new agent.
We all remember what it was like to be a newly minted agent and would be delighted to take some time to shed some light on an issue you may be facing or letting you in on some best practices, and giving you tools for success.
Your sales manager and brokerage staff are also great resources, so make sure you connect with them and form a relationship. Ninety-nine percent of the time people are happy to help and will find joy in watching others succeed.
3. Ask questions
There is no such thing as a silly question in my book, especially when it comes to learning the real estate business. Should you have found yourself in a position where you have access to top producers, use your connections.
A lot of the skills that you will need to be successful you will not find in the pages of a textbook. It’s the skills learned in the field and on the job that will take you to the next level.
Know an agent that has done a complicated deal? Call them or send them an email and ask them how they did it. See an agent successfully dominating a market? Ask them how they started out. To my first point, people are typically only too happy to help.
4. Hone your elevator pitch
What’s your history? Why are you in real estate? What is it that you offer that is unique? Why should a client trust you to help them buy or sell their home?
Your elevator pitch is really that simple, but it has to be good and you need to be well-versed. Hone your pitch, practice it, and make sure to be using it each day as often as you can.
The pandemic made it difficult for real estate agents to do what we do best which is finding new business through networking opportunities. However, being a real estate agent you quickly learn that you always have to be thinking outside the box.
Social media sites like Clubhouse are proving to be a great tool to connect with people and as the world starts to open up, ease yourself back into the networking scene safely and comfortably. Some of the connections I made in my first years in the business remain as trusted friends and clients to this day.
6. Make a budget and stick to it
As real estate does not provide a guaranteed salary, you need to make a budget and stick to it. Perhaps you are keeping a part-time job as you find your feet in real estate or you have saved up some funds to make your dream a reality.
Whatever your approach, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It is difficult to outlay large sums of money to hire a coach, build a website, shoot and edit videos, have a robust campaign for door knockers, postcards and the like, host elaborate and eye-catching open house events, place advertisements in the media, and invest in sponsorships.
Start slow and build over time and take advantage of what your brokerage offers. Social media is a great way for agents to showcase their work style, personality and expertise — and it’s free. Once you start making deals, be sure to invest back into your personal brand and slowly but surely you will have all the bells and whistles of a top broker.
7. Don’t beat yourself up
Starting any new career comes with its own unique set of challenges and a profession in real estate is no exception. Be kind to yourself and celebrate the successes as they come.
Each day in real estate is different from the last so when faced with some adversity, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from the situation and know tomorrow is a fresh new day.
Mauricio Umansky is the founder and CEO of The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.