Guide for New Real Estate Agents

Guide for New Real Estate AgentsYou’re a brand new real estate agent, freshly licensed and fully driven to begin a flourishing career.

It’s both a professional and personal accomplishment — and one you’ve worked hard for. Beginner real estate agents looking to capitalize on this momentum have more means than ever to do so. Yet with more methods comes more information saturation — and confusion.

Launch your career with new real estate agent tips and tactics compiled just for beginners. While there’s no shortcut for overnight selling success, there are insights to conducting business like a seasoned industry expert — and closing deals like one, too.

1. Work in the Office That’s Right for You

85% of Real Estate Agents are Independent ContractorsOver 85 percent of real estate agents are independent contractors. With the vast majority working in this employment category, a new agent must first and foremost solidify the ideal set of broker-independent contractor relationships.

The right broker — and by proxy, the right parent brokerage office — can make or break your inaugural years. “Shop around” your area, vetting numerous brokers and companies. This is your opening chance to find a home for your own services, professional development and growth. Use a brokerage office search to assess the following:

  • Prioritize brokers and offices with a good market. Strong listing portfolios are those filled with high-quality inventory in steady markets. Though that real estate market itself is nuanced and ever-adapting, companies and agents alike navigate the trends through portfolio diversification, savvy management and a robust referral network. Your entry into the industry will be decidedly smoother with a brokerage that ticks these boxes.
  • Know their “why.” You entered the real estate business for a reason. So, too, have most brokers. Is there value alignment between yourself and prospective companies? Do brokers communicate a vision and future for the organization that is strategic, clear and compelling — and includes sales agents like you?
  • Learn their enterprise technology. Find out if a brokerage will equip you with devices or programs necessary for an intuitive, dynamic work relationship, such as a work laptop or transaction document-management software. Is there support staff you can turn to when IT issues arise?
  • Research the team. Office dynamics are palpable. Are team members welcoming, positive and helpful, with success a shared rather than individualistic effort?
  • Inquire about professional development and support. Franchise and independent real estate brokers alike may offer formal and informal training opportunities. Mentorship programs are also prized in the industry. Weigh long-term development with other forms of support, such as marketing resources or access to advertising platforms.

For the roughly 5 to 10 percent of agents employed full-time by an agency or firm, the advice is no different. The same goes if you’re starting your own office. Market and inventory health, team atmosphere, business environment, technology and professional support will be essential to starting your real estate career.

2. Develop a Business Plan

Developing a Real Estate Business PlanBusiness plans are for entrepreneurs to set goals and then scaffold real, achievable actions around them.

As a new real estate agent, you are an entrepreneur. This title may come as a surprise. Yet the sooner you embrace this identity — and the spirit of hustling, learning and innovation that surrounds it — the higher your likelihood of success.

Your real estate business plan will structure both the objective and subjective sides of being a new agent. That “business” is to sell properties, yes. But “sales” don’t appear out of thin air. A full real estate business plan will establish goals in the following domains to build a roadmap toward finding, securing and closing deals:

  • Budgeting: Travel expenses, software and hardware purchases, website creation, marketing and advertising campaigns, MLS access — these are budgetary staples in the real estate world. All these must be weighed against what you project to bring in via commission, which should be a tall yet achievable figure.
  • Bookkeeping: Income versus expense tracking can be time-consuming. As an independently contracted real-estate agent, many of your daily operations fall on you to tally. Adopt a thorough system to do so.
  • Scheduling: Outline your work week with brackets of time dedicated to specific tasks. You’ll be more productive and more organized, with hours pre-set for prospecting, networking, digital presence, emails and back-office work.
  • Market research: Researching listings, inventory and property assets in your area is the backbone of your work. Make time in your weekly schedule for deep research. Consider setting procurement, commission or listing goals based on your market analyses.
  • Prospecting and lead generation: Prospecting and lead generation turn passive audiences into loyal followers. They stimulate interest in your business as well as keep you top-of-mind when people think of their area’s real estate market. A business plan should outline initiatives to pull in audiences, especially through advertising and digital marketing.
  • Branding: Creating and maintaining an on-brand website as well as social media profiles has never been more critical for new real estate agents.
  • Press releases: Real-estate PR constitutes anything that gets you out and about in your community. Consider area volunteering opportunities alongside attending professional networking and industry events. These deliver a well-rounded PR punch vital to your reputation.

3. Choose a Sponsoring Broker and Mentor Carefully

Early real estate days are made easier with a support team at your side.

Like tutors back in elementary school, both sponsoring brokers and career mentors provide valuable insight into desired growth areas. That could be personal branding, landing more listings, navigating buyer’s and seller’s markets, turning higher profit margins — you name it, they’ve likely experienced it. These personal experiences generate valuable insider information for you.

Brokers and mentors are two different sides of the same career coin. Cover your beginner bases and find two or more individuals who fit these roles to help your career flourish.

Choosing Brokers

The broker-contractor real estate relationship is the backbone of the industry. Selecting from firms and offices to find the right match is one of the most significant and impactful decisions you’ll make in your early real estate days — and it doesn’t center on commission rates.

Never forget that you hold many of the cards here. It’s in the broker’s interest to cultivate ties with a core independent contractor base. The more loyal those contractors are, the easier their sales pipeline and the larger their own earnings. When done right, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Look for the following in sponsoring brokers:

  • National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Affiliation: A sponsoring broker that’s a member of NAR can make your own path to affiliation easier — and mean swapping “agent” for “REALTOR®” in your job title.
  • Technological support: Brokers can supply software and hardware for essential real estate work, such as programs to grow your email list or e-file contract-management systems.
  • Marketing support: Sponsoring brokers may also lend marketing resources in addition to technology. They can give you insight and access into critical real estate prospecting channels like websites, newspapers, magazines, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and more. They can also provide on-brand marketing templates for things like brochures and MLS posts.

Choosing Mentors

Mentors don’t have financial interests in your success. The best simply want to see you thrive, ideally so one day you can turn around and mentor a real estate agent yourself.

This sort of mentor-mentee relationship can be like having a personal career coach, one that — over time — organically affords the following benefits:

  • Learn the ropes. At their cores, mentors give advice. That advice comes from years of experience in growing their own prospect lists, expanding their own networks and riding the waves of expenses and commission.
  • Expand your sphere of influence. Mentors are key to growing your professional network. Introducing you to others in the industry, handing out your business card and attending industry events with you will all help flex your interpersonal career muscles.
  • Avoid their mistakes. Hopefully making your own journey even smoother.

4. Improve Your Digital Presence

Improve Your Digital Presence in Real EstateYour website and your social media profiles are the foundation of your “digital presence” — the face you present to the public online. With 91 percent of real estate agents using social media as part of their business practices, you’re far from alone.

There are entire subcategories of the marketing industry dedicated to perfecting digital presence. Real estate is no exception. You can build upon the profiles you have as well as use additional channels to expand reach within local markets, driving eyes to your listings and feet to your open houses.

  • Facebook: Facebook Ads remain a leading way to advertise real estate listings. For as little as $20 a month, you can advertise strategic listings on Facebook, watching as view and click rates double, even quadruple.
  • Instagram: Instagram’s visual-centric platform makes an ideal pairing for real estate photo galleries, aerial photography, virtual staging and video tours.
  • Twitter: Twitter’s interface rewards pithy, actionable and relevant content. It’s an ideal platform to publish blogs, videos and real estate educational materials along with fun and quirky industry content.
  • LinkedIn: Branded as the most “professional” of social media platforms, new real estate agents employ LinkedIn to bolster their professional acumen and convey greater industry authority. It’s also key to building up your network.
  • YouTube: Video content has soared in the past two years. Visitors will spend 88 percent more time on your website and social channels when they contain video content, as well as boost your likelihood of first-page Google ranking results by over 50 times.

There is one key takeaway to improving your digital real-estate presence — regardless of which social platforms you use or how long your website’s been running, always prioritize what your target audience wants to see, not what you want to publish.

Switching to this audience-first mindset means sharing posts, photographs, articles, videos and more that fundamentally makes others’ lives easier. You become the resource to answer buyer and seller questions, protect their interests and mitigate their concerns. You’ll reap the rewards with branded expertise, followers and — ultimately — expanded market share.

5. Be Ready to Help

Helping clients in the real estate world comes down to one essential concept — selling versus consulting.

Consider the connotations of these two words. As a new real estate agent, it’s imperative to see yourself as a consultant — a source of mental and emotional guidance for home buyers and sellers alike. Compared to rote selling, consultants immerse themselves in their clients’ concerns, align with their interests and seek tailored solutions.

The selling versus consulting mindset plays out in nearly all your daily agent operations. Consider those social media profiles mentioned above. Managing active accounts means publishing accessible resources, tips and insights, not just pumping out serial posts of one house listing after another.

Other tactics to curate yourself as a real-estate consultant rather than a seller include:

  • Go the extra mile — literally. Drive to meet prospects at coffee shops, cafes, even their own home to establish a real connection in their most comfortable setting. Personally shuttle customers between listings to see multiple showings in one day. These extra steps go a long way to establish authenticity and trust.
  • Engage in two-way communication. Engage with your audience online just as you would in person. This means liking and commenting on industry professionals’ pages as well as responding when others do the same on yours. It may also mean being available to “chat,” using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s direct messaging features to converse with prospects and leads in real-time. Just make sure you’re responding promptly!
  • Publish diverse digital content. This includes articles, blog posts, videos, photos, 3D tours, interesting tidbits and factoids about listings, local markets and general real estate. The richer your content, the more leads and traffic it will drive.
  • Break the nine-to-five box. Real estate agents should probably not expect a “typical” nine-to-five workday five days a week. Making yourself available as a consultant means hours adapted to your clients’ needs — and timelines.

6. Become a Student of Marketing

Become a Student of Marketing in Real EstateOver half of buyers found their home using Internet-first searches. The next highest search tactic was to contact a real estate agent directly, leading to consultations and eventually property showings. Nearly 30 percent of buyers take this route.

These two homebuying paths emphasize the importance of marketing. More specifically, how strong real estate marketing campaigns and strategies fuel an agent’s business growth.

Prospect pipelines, lead nurturing, social media ad campaigns, robust web design and continual content creation are today’s recipe for an expanded market radius. Each of these marketing vehicles is also copy- and image-focused, meaning that new agents committed to making the most of their marketing efforts should highlight visual-first materials.

There are plenty of resources to do so. New real estate agents can adopt any of the following for better professional branding, better listing presentation and overall better marketing savvy:

  • 3D Matterports: Matterport is a 3D software tool that lets viewers get an immersive, dollhouse home tour online. Viewers literally “enter” the home, clicking as they “walk” through actual rooms filled with actual features and furniture.
  • Virtual staging: Virtual staging takes the empty rooms from a traditional real-estate photography session and fills them with realistic furnishings. You select which rooms to digitally stage, then let viewers click through images containing lived-in, homey touches.
  • Walkthrough videos: Property videos give another attention-holding vantage into a home or commercial space. The medium allows you to highlight rooms details and features better than static photos, plus lend a deeper home exploring experience. The same can be done for entire neighborhood tours, growing in demand as homebuyers rate neighborhood atmosphere just as important as variables like work commutes and school districts.
  • Custom property flyers: Fully designed, professional property flyers enhance the digital materials you use to promote listings. Together, you have a full marketing toolkit for quicker, keener listing turnarounds.

The Sky’s the Limit for New Real Estate Agents — Pick a Visual Media Partner to Give You Wings

Sky's the Limit for New Real Estate AgentsPhoto and video real estate media are skyrocketing in demand — as are the opportunities for new real estate agents who maximize them.

Launch your success with visuals that capture leads, convert prospects and sell your properties faster. This is where Real Estate Exposure’s full-service of photography and digital-media solutions excels.

Let’s talk to see how visual media can ignite your new career today.