Advice for new real estate agent

14 Replies

Hello! I will soon have my Real estate license ( I will have it by the middle of January beginning of February) and as a new agent with no prior experience I am looking for some advice. What do you seasoned agents wish you knew before you started? How long did it take before you sold your first home? What tips would you give in regards to selecting a broker to work? What is one of the best ways to sell your first house? Thank you so much for replying!  

@Paul Aqua A few tips: 

On average, it takes the new agent 90 days from new license to first paycheck, so be sure you have the means to survive startup - this is where most agents fail.

Working part time in real estate is a slow way to build at best.  I strongly recommend going full time if you can manage it.

If you're going to focus on working with investors, you'll want an investor-friendly brokerage. You can determine that when you interview just by asking.

Look for a brokerage that offers good training and preferably a mentor.  That's the fastest way to learn the ropes.

Set up a budget. There are a lot of expenses you'll have to pay for. Business cards, sign riders, much more gas, marketing, CRM, E&O, MLS, possibly NAR.

Look for a brokerage with low desk fees.  Commission splits are of secondary importance if you're getting good training and support.

Be prepared to deal with disappointment.  Deals fall apart, clients will lie, appraisers will kill deals - it's all part of the business.  

Be dedicated to learning your craft. Study negotiating tactics and strategy. Know your market. Be able to produce valid comps quickly, so you can recognize a good deal when you see one.

Be certain that you're comfortable with the E&O your broker provides, or if they don't provide it, buy your own. Even a frivolous lawsuit can be horribly expensive to defend. (I provide a $1M E&O for my agents)

That said, good luck!

@Paul Aqua I'm in the same boat as you are :) Taking my license exam sometime in January! I'll send you a message. Maybe we could get coffee sometime

I jumped into the real estate game five years ago without doing much research about the business. Looking back, I wish I had known more about marketing. 

My first sale was a referral from my mentor about six months after I started. 

Talk to all the different brokerages big and small. Find the one that best fits your strengths and weaknesses. 

You need to have clients to work with. Be it buyers to sell property to or sellers to list their properties, either way you need to get in front of people and let them know what you do. 

Marketing yourself is the key. Open house, social media, blogging, talking to friends and family, door knocking... Once you get the basics of marketing down explore more advanced methods, Facebook ads, Adwords, website SEO and on and on. 

My advise is to stick with one marketing method and master it. Only after you master it should you try another method. I wasted so much time bouncing between different marketing never really mastering one, just being mediocre at many of them. One last piece of advise, never buy shopping cart ads. Branding and marketing are not the same thing. 

Best of luck.

Full disclosure - I have been with Keller Williams for over 20 years.

Ahhhh to be back in that time, sitting in class soaking it all in.  I couldn't wait to get my license.

I interviewed 3 brokerages in my area, but found that Keller Williams (By far) offered me, as a new agent, the most support, training, tools for success, professional presence, and online resources out there.  Period.  And mind you, KW was a brand new entity only having been in AZ for 6 mos prior to my interview, so they weren't a big mega-location company in AZ yet.  In yet, their business plan, their profit share model....they are second to none.

I had my first client in escrow within 2 weeks of being licensed.  

It really comes down to the training and support.  When meeting with brokerages, ask them what kind of training they offer you to launch your career.  What tools do they give you to market yourself, give you an online presence, and manage your business?  What support do they offer you for questions or guidance along the way?  IMHO, you will not find another company that will answer those questions with absoultion like Keller Williams.  Their IGNITE program is incredible, and will help you take the first step, and the next and the next.  

When the market between CA and AZ was hot, I got my license in CA, and took my test in Oakland/East Bay.  What surprised me most about CA licensing is that the materials and the test really had very little to do with practicing Real Estate!  I passed the test the first time, but I feel as though it was only because I had been an active Realtor in AZ for 7+ years prior to licensing in CA.  The test is written by RE attorneys, and doesn't really focus on best practices....anyway, that was my impression of the test, so be aware.

Anyway, all that to say.... interview different brokerages, but ask them all the questions I gave you above, and compare the answers.  Ask for specifics.  Because every brokerage will tell you they have good training and support, but what do they mean specifically.  WHAT type of training, and what are the expectations after the training is complete?  What type of support?  How accessible is the broker?  Who is IN the office that is available with an open door policy for questions or to guide you through a contract and such?

Plus, KW has one of the best exit strategies in the buisness.  :)

If  you would like to explore KW, let me know and I can suggest a good office for you, and even arrange for a meeting if you'd like.  I am happy to help. And to you too @Meredith L

Thank you @Charlie MacPherson @Ken Konecny   and @Cara Lonsdale for answering my questions. I really appreciate the insight coming experienced agents. Do you guys recommend going with a traditional brick brokerage or with a fully online one offering better commission splits? I am not to worried about finding my first client, I have already compiled lists of potential clients as well as combing FSBO lists for expired leads. One thing that I want to know is what did you do to separate yourself from other agents who had previously approached your client? Also do you guys handle multiple listings at once or do you focus on one home at a time? Thank you again for answering all my questions everyone and hopefully I end up being as successful as you all!

@Paul Aqua I would just strongly resist an old fashioned agency that makes you sit for "up time" at the front desk, requires in-person attendance at daily / weekly office meetings, etc.

That's what brokerages stuck in the 1980s do.

When  I did my first 10 months with Weichert, I did 320 hours on the front desk doing unpaid secretarial work.  ZERO leads from walk-ins or phone calls.  An utter waste of time.

Look for minimum hassles, low fees, good splits, good training and support and you'll do well.

@Paul Aqua Your clients are going to run into other agents, it's inevitable. As long as you are delivering value to your clients you shouldn't have to differentiate yourself or worry about other agents. However, you will loose some "clients" to other agents, it's just part of the business. If you are worried, have your buyer clients sign a buyer broker agreement.   

Differentiating yourself is most important in your marketing, when trying to acquire new clients, not so much with existing clients.

I handle multiple listings at once. You have to be prepared to handle multiple listings and escrows at the same time. Otherwise you will be constantly referring business away, losing 75% of the commission. You will learn through experience what you can handle. Your goal should be to build systems that will allow you to take on more and more business.  

@Cara Lonsdale I would love an introductionto an keller williams agent in the Sacramento area!

Originally posted by @Paul Aqua :

@Cara Lonsdale I would love an introductionto an keller williams agent in the Sacramento area!

 I am happy to make an introduction.  Can you PM me your contact info?


I am with KW in El Dorado Hills, I would be happy to chat with you and give you my opinion of the pros and cons of each local office.

Hope you had a nice Christmas. I used to be an agent but let my license expire and now flip homes in the Bay Area. The two biggest things I can say that will make you successful are first you are not an agent you are marketing expert, become the best marketer there is. Second get your business cards and let everyone know your an agent. Two approaches, saying it outright and right out the gate or working it into the conversation after speaking with them for a few minutes. But before you leave a conversation that person should know you are an agent. And one more, don’t give up, if you truly love this you will be successful. Have a Happy New Year.

A lot of good advice here. I will just add, as the saying goes "80% of success is just showing up". This sounds easy, but I have seen many people who were very successful in the corporate world fall on their face when trying to become a real estate agent. There is no boss who is going to yell at you for being late, and it's very easy to decide to lay on the couch and watch TV instead of working. If you don't show up, somebody else will do the deal. One more thing, answer your damn phone! I can't tell you how frustrating it is for potential clients when they can't get ahold of "secret agents". This is why 10% of agents do 90% of transactions.

#1) Read “Never split the difference - negotiating as if your life depends on it” by Chris Voss. (As soon as you start interviewing brokers, the rest of your career will be negotiating in some form)

#2) Take the start up costs seriously. People always say save 3 months, 6 months or more of expenses. Think about this before quitting whatever income stream you have right now. Look up your local Realtors association and figure what it will cost you for the year to be a member and then decide how much extra you need to live worry free while you dedicate yourself to real estate. The less you have to worry about rent/bills in the beginning, the better you can devote yourself to learning your business. I would suggest at least the years worth of fees paid and a minimum of 6 months living expenses in reserve.

Good luck in your adventure!

Thank you everyone for your advice and those of you that have PM me as well. I take my exam next month and I believe I will do well, I have already started purchasing things like business cards and I am currently working on getting my website up and running ( I don't want to do a website through a broker and end up leaving the broker and losing my website, marketing materials etc.) I am looking forward to the success this new year will bring me, I am positive I will be wildly successful in this field if I listen to the great advice you all have given me as well as work hard and smart. Thank you everyone!

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