Ask Dr. Real Estate
How Does A New Agent Get Into The Swing Of Things?
by Dr. Kenneth W. Edwards GRI
I am new to real estate. I have affiliated with a Broker who has an excellent reputation in our community. My problem is that I am having trouble getting into the swing of things. I'm working long hours but I'm not generating any income. Any suggestions on what I might do to actually start making some money?
It is important for you to understand that the first six to nine months are typically very difficult for the new real estate agent. The successful old timers are busily putting transactions together, collecting commission checks, and making it all look so easy. The newcomer wistfully observes, and often develops a severe feeling of inadequacy. Your broker probably went through the same thing. I certainly did. The answer is to recognize it as a common malady with a fairly simple cure. You need to develop a personal career plan and persevere. Repeat: persevere. Here are some specifics:
Know Who You Are: I once received correspondence from a young man who was a waiter in a restaurant. He said he wanted to go into real estate and thought he would be good at it because "I'm not an order taker." That sums up very well your challenge as a real estate professional. On rare occasion a prospect may simply ask you to list a home or to make an offer on a home, but basically you will have to go out and generate business. And no matter how supportive and helpful your broker might be, in essence you are a one-person business.
Training: What you learned in your license preparation course should have given you a good background, but the actual job of listing and selling real estate requires additional skills and knowledge. If your company has a training program, participate wholeheartedly. If there is no formal program, structure one of your own. If you are going to make it in real estate you have to be a self starter and self motivator. There is plenty of material available in the form of books, magazines, courses, and seminars. What you want to do at this point is gain an overview of all that is available, and to choose an approach that you and your broker think has the most potential for you. I strongly recommend joining the National Association of REALTORS®. One of the real benefits is that they offer a series of very useful professional development courses. GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) is the one you should consider after you've been in the business a few months.
Role Models: Some companies have a "big brother/sister" program in which experienced folks take the "newbees" under their wings for the first few months. Whether or not such a program exists where you are, you can learn a lot just by some careful observations and by asking discerning questions. If there is anyone in the company, new or old, with a bad attitude, avoid them like the plague. It's contagious.
Time Management: It will be tempting to spend your time on enjoyable, but nonproductive tasks. Be clear on how you get paid in real estate. You will collect only when a listing of yours sells, or you sell someone else's listing. When you plan each day, it is critical to your career survival that you concentrate your efforts on the "payoff" activities of listing and selling. For newcomers and old timers as well, that means a lot of prospecting. Spend only as much time in the office as it takes to get your administrative chores accomplished. You need to be out meeting people and looking at property.
It's A People Business: To be competitive in the profession you will absolutely have to become conversant with all the latest technological tools, and stay up-to-date.. Remember, however, that first, last and always, real estate is a people business. The best guidance I could possibly provide in this context is to treat others as you would like to be treated. I know, that's not original, but it's about the best single bit of advice I could possibly give you. When I teach my real estate licensing classes, I ask my students to role play that we are a real estate company and I'm their supervising broker. The company name: Golden Rule Realty. No theological implications. Remember also to keep in touch with past clients. If you're doing things right, it won't be long until the majority of your business will come from past, satisfied clients.
Remember Your Roots: Finally, when you become a prosperous old timer, remember how it felt when you were the "new kid on the block." Even folks who were very successful in other endeavors will need help and encouragement in adapting to the exciting challenges of a real estate career.