Mistake #1: Not having a business plan
A Real Estate Agent is considered an Independent Contractor. Essentially this means you are starting your own business. Majority of Real Estate Sales Representatives have no clear goals or timelines and this is the reason why so many fail. Without a business plan or even a marketing plan, agents will spend way too much time and money doing things that do not add value to their business. By creating a business plan and reviewing it often, it allows you to identify your short and long term goals and how you plan on achieving them.
As Tom Ferry says “if it is not written down, it does not happen!”
Mistake #2: Expecting success to come immediately
Most Real Estate Agents come in to the business thinking that they simply get their license, tell their friends and family and then success just falls in to place. WRONG. It’s a very harsh reality coming in to the business – you may even learn a hard lesson about who your true friends really are. Good things take time. It can take a few months to make your first sale and may even take a couple of years before you can make a comfortable living.
Mistake #3: Not having money prior to starting – no income buffer
Just like any other business owner, you need money to build your business. Just becoming a Real Estate Agent costs money in education and licensing fees. Agents may need to work part time at first, take out a loan or ask a family member for money. It is recommended to have at least 3 months worth of savings in the bank before becoming a full time agent. Brokerages should never encourage a new agent to go full time right away. It is better to make the transition from a part time agent to a successful full time agent – you still need to pay the bills and it could take a few months before you even receive a pay cheque.
Mistake #4: Not marketing in the right areas or underspending on marketing
Sometimes real estate agents will start overspending on real estate marketing in the wrong places such as newspapers, post cards, real estate magazines etc. thinking they will get their name out there to hundreds of people. While these can be great marketing tools if used the right way, it has been proven that majority of your business will come from your sphere of influence (family, friends, co-workers etc). The first thing we suggest when getting in to the business is writing down the name and contact information of all the people you know and putting them in to your database. Sending out an introduction mail-out to these people is the best thing you can do for your business in the beginning. Focusing on building your referral network in the beginning of your career will have strong results and does not cost very much.
Mistake #5: Not using the resources available to you
When entering the real estate world, you are essentially on your own. Take advantage of any resource that is around you whether it is your broker, your sales managers, your colleagues and other professional organizations and coaches. If possible, set yourself up with a mentor in your office. Your broker should be your best resource and their purpose is to help you be successful – ask questions, attend any seminars or webinars that they would suggest and read any articles that come your way. Knowledge is power!
Mistake #6: Choosing the wrong brokerage for the wrong reasons
The most important decision a real estate professional can make is choosing the right brokerage. The brokers purpose it to give support to their agents and guide them to have a successful career. A lot of agents are more focused on commission splits and monthly fees than they are on the training and support they will receive from their broker. We have seen it too many times where agents chose to go with the brokerage that offered them “100% commission with no desk fees” but they received no access or support from their broker and then they end up going to the brokerage that may charge more but offer more to their agents as well.
As the saying goes “you get what you pay for”… When it comes to your business, agents should choose a brokerage that cares about their agents success and treats them as a business partner. Some other brokerages will charge nickle and dime for paper, printing, private offices etc. and that’s how they run their business. This is more like a landlord/tenant relationship. The also learn the hard way and receive a very large bill at the end of the year owing their brokerage thousands of dollars.
Choosing the right brokerage is essential and can absolutely have a big impact on your business.
Talk to a career advisor.
Mistake #7: Not asking the brokerage the right questions
Every brokerage is different in what they will offer you whether it be their commission splits, their training, expectations or their culture. As mentioned, most choose the company based on their split and this usually isn’t the best route especially when you are new to the business.
Ask the right questions when you first meet them... for example:
1. What type of training do you offer your new and experienced agents? Does this cost extra?
2. Do you offer front desk services to your agents? Is this an extra cost?
3. Are there options to join a team or do you have to work individually?
4. What is your market share?
5. Do you have a contract? Ask to see their contract and have it explained to you. Is it easy to get out if you are not happy. Are there penalty costs for breaking the contract?
6. Do I have to pay extra for printing, telephone, paper, envelopes, staples etc?
7. Do you help me with listing and buyer presentations?
8. How do I get a hold of my broker of record? Do they take personal calls?
9. Does my broker of record or management staff sell homes too?
10. What does my commission split include?
11. How many agents are in the office? How much one-on-one time would I get with my broker?
12. Will you help me with marketing?
13. What can you do to help me be successful?
There are some ideas of questions to ask...
Contact our Career Advisor to set up your private meeting!