New agents face a variety of challenges when starting out, according to The Agency’s Santiago Arana, but they can be overcome using simple methods to build your network and increase your skills. Here’s how to break through as a newbie.

This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.

This post was last updated April 17, 2023.

It’s true what they say: Nothing worth having comes easy. Real estate is an industry with unlimited earning and growth potential, but it’s important to be realistic and to know going into it that success won’t happen overnight. Especially when you are starting out, it can feel like you are encountering more rejection than people saying yes. I believe being challenged early on makes you work harder to achieve your end goal.

Real estate requires connections, a strong network and a skillset that is honed and developed over time. I know firsthand that this does not happen overnight.

When I came to America, English wasn’t my first language, I didn’t have any family connections in the business, and I had to work hard to get to where I am today. It’s crucial to have a thick skin in real estate, especially as you are starting out, to ensure you are set up for long-term success and the ability to overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Here are five challenges I faced — and that you’ll face, too, as a new real estate agent.

The lack of money

Rather than being on a fixed income, real estate is an industry primarily based on commission, which means each month is never the same financially. Whether you’re new to real estate or a world-famous real estate agent, your salary will be affected by numerous variables. When you are starting out in real estate, the first few years can be slow in terms of income, so it is essential that you are very strategic with your finances and save money to fall back on.

Solution: I recommend using an app like Mint, which is a free budget tracker and planner that keeps you accountable for your finances. I also recommend hiring an accountant to talk through any questions you have and to help with your taxes.

The lack of a network

When you’re looking up a notable real estate agent, you might be shocked at how many listings they’ve sold and question how they grew their network to be so vast.

People understandably do not buy and sell homes carelessly as it’s one of the biggest life decisions. While someone might not be ready to sell their home this year, or even next, perhaps they will a few years down the line. If you have created a notable reputation for yourself and stayed in touch with your clients, contacts and referrals, you will hopefully be the first in mind to advise them in their home search when the time does come.

When I first started in real estate, I didn’t know anything about the business or have any connections. I made it a priority to follow up with all of my clients, many of whom I have worked with numerous times over the years to sell a handful of their homes. I also made it a high priority to learn everything about the market I served, so people would associate my name with being a knowledgeable expert.

Solution: Door knock! It’ll improve your people skills, force you to better understand a specific market, and will be the first step in creating a network and name for yourself. I also recommend agents attend conferences like Inman Connect to learn, network and grow.

Learning to sell yourself

As a real estate agent, you will have to cold call a lot of people, a tactic that requires a lot of patience and the ability to handle rejection. Cold calling is crucial as you immerse yourself in real estate and is a way to let the community know that you are now a licensed real estate expert.

Solution: Create a script for yourself and make sure your pitch is convincing and you are coming across as knowledgeable, confident and reliable. Also be sure to research the prospect you are reaching out to in advance so you can make a connection, even through the phone.

Real estate will kick you out of your comfort zone and allow you to better your selling skills. At the end of the day, if you can’t sell yourself, how do you expect to sell a home?

Creating structure

Most jobs you hear about have a set 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, where you can log in to work in the morning, and when you leave for the day, you are checked out. Real estate is a completely different industry as your career often does not have set hours, and you will need to be available to your clients at any hour of the day and especially on weekends

Solution: Make sure to create a routine for yourself to keep you on a schedule. For me, I rise very early and prioritize my mental and physical health to kick start the day. I work out in the morning, generally going for a morning swim in the Pacific Ocean, and meditate before I even look at my emails and to-do lists.

This creates a productive routine and brings normalcy to my busy day-to-day life. As I’ve stuck with it, I’ve learned to look forward to my morning routine every night before I go to sleep. It’s the best part of my day.

Adapting to technology trends

Technology today is not what it was yesterday, the month before, or even last year. It is constantly adapting and as there continue to be more real estate platforms and websites, it’s important to be tech-savvy so you can properly market your homes and prospect your team and clients.

Being up-to-date with new trends and technology is essential. Your clients looking to sell their homes are likely familiar with all the different ways to market a home, so you need to be, as well.

Solution: Work with an IT expert who can minimize errors in transactional apps, guide you with tech advice, build your website, and more.

To conclude, your first few years in real estate will require complete dedication to your business, where you will focus on building lasting relationships, networking, making calls and learning how to sell yourself.

Although real estate is not an easy career that anyone can succeed in, if you put the time and effort in you can thrive and all your hard work will pay off. Be sure to have patience, and I promise you that you will not regret it.

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