One of the most difficult aspects of being a real estate agent is surviving your first year. Most real estate brokers will tell you, and the studies show, that about 50% of new associates don’t make it to that first anniversary.
As a manager of a successful real estate brokerage, I’ve noticed some clear patterns in the behavior of inexperienced agents. Here are the real estate agent mistakes I see most often:
Real Estate Agent Mistakes: Running Out of Money
Any new business takes capital. Being a Realtor is no different. You need to have some way to support yourself financially for the first six months. Not to mention the start-up funds you will need for dues, fees, insurance and marketing. And don’t forget to plan for the lag time between the contract and the closing. You may sell a home in your first week as an agent, but it usually takes 30-45 days for that commission check to hit your bank account!
Not Following Your Broker’s Advice
This one is such a no-brainer that you’d think that all agents would do it. Not so. Many agents either think they can do it their own way, or that they can pick and choose the advice they are going to follow. Take advantage of what your broker has to offer, and apply it. It will work! Also don’t be afraid to ask the experienced agents around you. Most agents will be happy to give you tips on how to be successful. They remember what it was like to be a newbie too!
No Business Plan
Again, sounds basic right? Unfortunately, many agents start working without a clear goal, and an actual plan on how to achieve it. In my office we give all of our new agents a class on Planning and Prospecting, complete with daily activities that they can measure.
“When you first start, it’s not just about getting your name on the board for a new listing, it’s about meeting your goals and following your business plan,” says Lee Kearney, broker at SPIN Real Estate.
Skimping on Tools and Technology
You wouldn’t open a shoe store without having a system to track inventory, would you? It’s the same with real estate. Having a fully loaded smart phone, an updated laptop or tablet and downloading the scores of software programs you will need is an absolute necessity. Don’t forget to have a good quality printer and a real digital camera. Yes, the camera on your phone will work in a pinch, but most sellers will want to see professional style photos on their listings.
Not Being Flexible
One of the reasons new real estate agents get into real estate is the flexibility it offers them in their daily life. Working for yourself means that you can make your own schedule. Right? Sort of. I’ve seen too many agents use that flexibility as an excuse for not accomplishing their daily goals. Yes, you might have to take your mother-in-law to the airport, and it’s fine that you had Pilates class, but don’t forget that being a Realtor is a job. You should approach it like any other job and make sure you put in the hours.
Just being aware of the common real estate agent mistakes can help you keep your eye on the ball and create a winning strategy as a new agent.