This post by Mel Peterson was originally published on ActiveRain. Mel is a real estate agent with Real Estate Cafe LLC, serving Southern and Central Oregon. You can contact Mel through her website here.

Over the course of 15 years of selling real estate, I’ve made some mistakes. It’s easy to do when you don’t have a “how-to” manual or a mentor to guide you. I thought I’d share a few of my blunders … just in case there’s a newbie out there who could benefit.

1. Branding your email. The first brokerage I worked for was Windermere. I picked a cute name for my email address: Big mistake! Three years later, I left Windermere and moved to Re/Max. An agent at Windermere quickly snatched my old email address and benefited from my SEO. I learned my lesson and started branding my “virtual” email to my personal URL (

2. Discovering your success. When I moved to Southern Oregon, I didn’t know a soul. I got my real estate license and hit the ground running. My principal broker asked, “How will you get business?” I’m going to buy a website, I replied. He said, “That will never work.” He told me I needed to knock on doors, so I listened. I canvassed a neighborhood, passing out chocolates and business cards. After eight hours of sweating, and lots of melted chocolate, I got zero leads! After that, I bought a website ( Within weeks, my phone started to ring!

3. The art of persuasion. There have only been a handful of times in my life when I didn’t trust my gut. As a newbie Realtor, I was offered a position as a buyer’s agent for a successful broker. She was stylish, fast-talking and very convincing. I was new to the area, and her fear-based persuasion told me I needed her. Five months later, and numerous arm-wrestling matches in between, we parted ways. I knew we were ill-suited from day one, but I allowed fear to guide me. From then on, I followed my heart!

4. Assuming too much. I learned pretty quickly that buyers are like wild ponies. After expending much time and energy, not to mention several tanks of gas, a few of them galloped out (without me) and bought a FSBO. Oops! I assumed they knew I could help them with FSBOs, too. However, I made a huge mistake in not communicating that to them. After a couple of lost deals, I created a fact sheet describing my services, which I began providing to my clients at the first point of contact. I haven’t lost a buyer to a FSBO after that. Never assume your clients can read your mind!

5. Saving for a rainy day. It’s easy to spend big when you’re making big. 2005 was my best year in real estate, grossing over $450,000. If I knew I was going to lose my skirt in the coming years, I would have set aside more of my earnings for a rainy day (more like a seven-year storm). Business is cyclic and down times are inevitable. Saving is a smart thing to do no matter what your profession. I’m happy to say that I’m getting smarter in my “wiser” years.

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