Whether you’re already in your first year as a real estate agent or thinking about a career change, you’ve probably had an image of agent life in your head.
Whatever notions you might have about life as a real estate agent, it’s important to manage those expectations and build a solid foundation for your business.
Here are 5 things to do in your first year to make sure you’re building toward a successful career:
1. Prepare – mentally and financially – for a slow ramp-up
A big part of real estate work is building your own personal client base, so your first weeks, months and even years are an investment.
The selling, buying and closing processes take time, so even when you feel busy, you may not be getting money in the bank right away.
Consider keeping your other job, budget for a slow start, and don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to generate leads.
Remember: Happy clients will refer you to friends, so your sphere has the potential to grow exponentially. And after a few years, you may start getting repeat clients. It’s all about slow, steady commitments to growing your reputation and client base.
2. Get the word out in your own network – and build your network!
When you hear experienced agents talk about their “sphere of influence” (SOI), they’re referring to the people they know.
Your circle of friends, your extended family and even your Facebook friend network is full of people who might buy or sell homes – or who probably know people who will.
Let them know – over social media, through the mail, over the phone, however you can! – that you’re a real estate agent now. You need to build up a base of people who will vouch for you, and working with friends and family is a great starting place.
Friends and family already have a foundation of trust with you. They know you’re working for their best interest, and they want to support your success by referring you. If you don’t have a wide local network, consider joining a team or brokerage that can help you out – and ask if they have Homesnap Pro, which will send you leads for free for all your listings!
3. Invest in marketing up front
After reaching out to your existing SOI, you need to expand it through marketing. Agents have differing opinions about direct mail: It’s expensive, but it can be really effective for getting your name and face in front of your target audience.
Digital marketing is helpful, too. For example, with Homesnap Pro+, we can verify and manage your Google business profile — which is your digital business card. Your profile appears in Google search results, helping you generate more leads and build your reputation.
Investing is tough when you start off. It will feel counterproductive to see the cash flowing outward instead of inward at first, but it’ll pay off!
4. Seek out all the trainings and new learning you can
Often people will go with a more experienced agent because of their extensive understanding of all the forms, contracts, timelines and endless logistics that come with the selling or buying process. But clients will still feel confident with you as a new agent if you can demonstrate expertise.
It’s important you learn through training opportunities, reading, real estate agent Facebook groups, free Homesnap webinars, and any resources your brokerage offers.
Plus, you might find yourself picking up on cutting-edge approaches that more experienced agents may not have adopted yet.
5. Find mentors
If you work for a real estate brokerage with other agents, find an experienced agent you get along with. They’ll be full of tips for new real estate agents, and you can turn to them with your questions.
You might also consider partnering with an experienced agent to share some of your commission – or ask if you can shadow and support them for free. During any unpaid time you put in, you’ll pick up all kinds of tidbits and nuggets of expertise that will pay off later.
You might also want to find Facebook groups and message threads where agents pose questions for each other.
The more people you can find to help you develop your own expertise, the better off you and your clients will be.