One’s first year as a real estate agent can be tough—unlike many other jobs, you’re given virtually no time to learn and are instead immediately pushed into the world of contracts, leads and closings.
But while most first-year real estate agents brim with enthusiasm about the job, the statistics say something else. A large majority of new real estate agents will struggle to stay afloat during their first year or two in the business.
So what can a new agent to do to adjust to the job as quickly as possible? Inman asked some seasoned real estate professionals to give their top advice for newbie agents. Here’s what they said.
1. Don’t be too picky
In the early stages, you should be focusing on building a wide base of diverse clients of all income levels.
“Work your sphere like your livelihood depends on it, and surround yourself with mentors you trust,” said Keller Williams Success REALTOR® Kiel Lynch.
Everyone loves the rush that comes after closing on a multi-million dollar home, but the best agents know that it’s the numerous smaller and loyal clients that will keep you afloat when times get tough.
“Do not be above doing the work!” said J. D’Ann Faught, a Washington, D.C. REALTOR®. “Rentals pay bills.”
2. Expect to lose money (at first)
You might not immediately start raking in the sales—and that’s OK. You will need time to set up a base of clients.
Lara Gabriele, a REALTOR® and founder of HomeWayz, advises setting aside enough money to live for a few months. That way, you will not be worried about paying the bills when you’re already struggling to learn the ropes in the industry.
“This is not a job. It’s your own business,” Gabriele said. “You need a budget and a plan.”
3. Pick the right broker
The right broker and brokerage can make the difference between a dream job and a miserable time. Weigh your options carefully, and do not automatically say yes to the first opportunity that offers you a place.
“Choose a broker based on value, not price,” said Joseph Rand, a managing partner at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.
4. Take time to train
Some brokerages have official training classes that all new agents are required to complete. Lindsay Dreyer Osterman of City Chic Real Estate shared what her brokerage’s looks like. (See image, right)
5. Never stop learning
Now that you’ve officially passed your real estate licensing exams, it can be easy to throw away the books and start looking for sales.
In reality, you should always be looking for ways to expand your industry knowledge—this could mean listening to real estate podcasts, taking side classes in everything from marketing to blockchain, reading up on the industry and learning from more experienced colleagues.
“Take as many real estate classes that interest you upfront,” Job Hammond, Austin Board of REALTORS® Director, told Inman. “Once things start moving, it is difficult to find time for education, and the information is so important.”
6. Get a mentor
Numerous agents suggested surrounding yourself with as many seasoned professionals as possible. This could be as simple as shadowing someone in your office on closings, or if your brokerage doesn’t have a mentor or shadowing program, just talking to experienced agents on a regular basis.
“The license lets you sell homes, but experience teaches you how,” said Virginia real estate agent Steven Wynands. “Find good mentors.”
7. Get a CRM
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a software system that stores data about your clients and sends you reminders about various events in their lives.
Although learning how to use it might be tricky to master at first, numerous agents told Inman that it is invaluable in not allowing sales to slip through the cracks.
8. Do the grunt work
By far, the most popular bit of advice was to get your hands as dirty as possible.
“Do not outsource,” advises Oregon agent Jordan Thomas Marx. “Do everything yourself for the first 18 months.”
Go to closings, talk to clients, knock on doors, attend networking events, and just surround yourself with as much real estate information as possible. Eventually, it will start to pay off.