How to Succeed as a Real Estate Agent in Your First Year
Table of Contents
Having a defined plan and goals that the real estate agent wants to reach will help establish guidelines for working. Specific goals will, for example, have a huge impact on how much a new agent works, how they get new business, and the overall desire to network or interact with others.
Having an end goal will also help new agents set minor goals as well. For example, imagine a new agent would like to make a certain amount of money per year. To do that, they need to decide how many properties they need to sell. Once they have that information, they can determine how they will make those goals a reality.
New real estate agents should be careful to set realistic goals. Setting a goal to sell 50 houses in the first year, for example, is not realistic given that the average real estate agent closes about 12 sales in a given year.
Going along aimlessly will not only be less motivational, but it will not allow for the creation of a good foundation at the outset—which is absolutely required for successful real estate agents.
Build a Network
Having access to the right people is extremely important to the real estate business. In fact, most real estate agents receive just under one-third of their business from referrals, so having a strong network is good for business.
A new real estate agent's network should extend beyond those who can give referrals, however. It should also include a variety of professionals who can provide services, information, and more. Examples of these individuals might include:
- Home inspectors
- General handymen
All these people have an important role in buying or selling real property, and having the right connections can make a real estate transaction easier. Creating a network can be intimidating, but taping into resources that are already available can be a big help. Become active in the community, attend networking events, and reach out to individuals that may become good resources. Simply being social can go a long way.
Work Regular Hours
Some new real estate agents make the mistake of only working when they want to or only working when convenient for them. Ultimately, real estate agents need to be available when convenient for their clients, and many clients expect that real estate agents will have set hours. When a real estate agent meets expectations, that can be very helpful to create a good environment for buying and selling. Simply being able to communicate clearly, regularly, and effectively is a vital skill.
Having regular work hours also makes a real estate agent, particularly those in their first few years, seem more professional and experienced. A new agent who shows that they are treating this new role as a full-time job requiring full-time attention is more likely to attract and retain clients.
It should also be noted that real estate agents are not required to work full time. However, keep in mind that if an agent does not work full time, they likely cannot replace their full-time income with part-time effort in real estate.
Build a Presence
Being an active member of the community will help real estate agents get referrals. However, an agent's "presence" should extend to specific marketing efforts as well. For example, creating a presence on multiple platforms keeps the agent at the forefront of people's minds when they are ready and willing to engage in a real estate transaction.
An online presence, such as through a website and social media, brings a real estate agent's services to the attention of those who need that type of assistance. It helps with marketing and networking.
An effective online presence also provides a more professional air that indicates that the agent takes their job seriously and has the experience buyers and sellers need to complete a transaction successfully. In creating this presence, agents should consider what they have to offer that is unique or different compared to other people. Capitalizing on what sets the agent apart will help create an effective presence that clients will remember.
Listen to Clients
Some real estate agents, especially new agents, tend to make judgment calls about what their clients actually want or need — rather than listening to what the client is telling the agent what they want or need. Unfortunately, this is a huge mistake. When an agent doesn't listen to their client, they aren't showing their client the respect they deserve. Avoid judging clients' motives or desires based on personal standards. Instead, simply try to meet the needs that are being conveyed.
Listening to clients also creates generally better working relationships compared to interjecting unsolicited opinions. Clients are more likely to continue to work with an agent if they feel heard and understood — just like any other business or personal relationship.
Go Above and Beyond
Clients remember real estate agents that did amazing work for them. When a real estate agent goes out of their way to keep their clients happy, those happy clients are likely to refer them to friends or family who may be looking for an agent.
Agents should always aim to deliver the best possible service to their clients. However, keep in mind that service needs vary by client. Some clients need a lot of "hand-holding" as they work through finding the right house or selling their current one. On the other hand, some clients only need an agent to point them in the right direction and help them close the deal without much other involvement. Knowing the type of client the agent is dealing with will help agents deliver the best service possible.
Even though a new real estate agent has learned a lot through the licensing process, they can always learn more. Learning about the real estate market in general or how to connect with people, especially as real estate agents are just starting, can help create the foundation for a successful career in real estate.
Examples of learning opportunities that real estate agents can use might include:
- Attending seminars
- Reading articles
- Going to full conferences
- Taking extra real estate classes
Building a base of knowledge will show clients that their agent is dedicated and knowledgeable. Conferences and seminars (or even additional classes) can be a great way to network in the real estate field, as well.
Showing some creativity in learning can also be helpful. Home shows or garden shows, and other similar events can also help real estate agents keep up with trends in homeownership, for example.
Never Give Up
A career in real estate can be extremely rewarding. The first year can be tricky, but throwing in the towel before an agent has given it everything they have is not a good idea. It is imperative to stick with it to see what true success can really be like.
Be patient in the first year. It takes time to see real progress. Income may be slow in the first year, but that does not mean giving up is a good idea. Just be aware of the risks and pitfalls now, so they can be addressed as they come up.
The first year in a real estate career is both exciting and terrifying. If agents take the time to do things right, they can set themselves up well to thrive well into retirement. Dedication, knowledge, patience, and perseveration are all virtues that will serve new real estate agents well in their first year.