There are many reasons why people choose to become real estate agents. They want to be their own boss, have a flexible work schedule and, of course, make a lot of money. Fact is, most real estate agents drop out within three years. If you’re thinking, “Not me; I’m not a quitter!” then you have already mastered the first of nine habits of highly successful real estate agents: Having a positive attitude.
Habit #1: Look at the Bright Side
Real estate is tough. Especially for new agents. You can spend six months showing a prospective client homes and not close the sale. That’s okay! Get in the habit of looking at the positive side. You will learn something from every interaction if you actively seek the lesson. When in doubt – self talk is very useful. Count your blessings, remind yourself how awesome you are, and keep trying.
Habit #2: Keep a Schedule
Highly successful real estate agents understand there are only 24 hours in a day – and they want to make the most of them. Set aside time for prospecting, paperwork, social media, email, and meetings. Obviously, you need to be flexible, but operate within a framework.
Habit #3: Take Advantage
A chunk of your commission goes to your broker to cover office space, errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, utilities, administrative assistants, advertising, and more. Use the resources that your broker may offer, like training courses and transaction coordinators. One broker schedules new real estate agents to handle walk-ins. A set of brochures and open house flyers are set out in front of the brokerage. When someone stops by to peruse, the agent asks if they can help. At the very least, they can hand out their business card. Ask a broker to explain what resources they offer before you sign on. Then take advantage of them!
Habit #4: Respect Your Time
When you’re a new real estate agent you don’t want to miss out on any possible business. Early in her career, an agent spent a year and half showing a client and his wife homes in San Diego. They finally bought a house – with another agent. She could have spent that time prospecting. One California broker has a rule: If a buyer doesn’t enter into a sales contract after three home tours, she drops them. Rather, she refers them to another agent for a referral fee. Respect your time and learn to identify the time wasters. Then drop them like a bad habit.
Habit #5: Evaluate Prospects
There are ways to gauge how serious a buyer is. Require a pre-qualification letter from their lender before you schedule a home tour. If they don’t have one, ask them to sit down with your company’s preferred mortgage lender. You want to make sure you are showing them homes in the right price range. Also, ask them to sign a buyer-agent agreement. They are not enforceable – it’s just an opportunity for a buyer to show how serious they are. If they refuse, refer them to another agent who doesn’t mind spending time with an unvetted client. Get a referral agreement — typically 25% of the other agent’s commission.
Habit #6: Always be Prospecting
Half of buyers found their home on the internet. Yet most of them worked with a real estate agent – 87 percent. In fact, this has increased from 69 percent in 2001. (National Association of Realtors.) There are thousands of people out there who need you. You just need to find them. When you are out and about always have a business card on the ready. Keep in touch with past clients regularly. Ask for referrals! You don’t want it to be the first and only thing you say, but before you head out the door, make sure to leave your card and ask for the business.
Habit #7: Always be Learning
Real estate is complex. There is a lot to learn. Passing the real estate exam is just the beginning. Continuing education and professional development courses are available online to help you expand your real estate know-how. Successful agents ask for help when they need it. One agent in Texas was new to commercial real estate. When she landed a buyer looking for a small shopping center, she partnered with an experienced commercial real estate agent. They split the commission 50-50. She learned enough to do the next deal on her own and pocket the full commission.
Habit #8: Go Local
Highly successful agents learn everything they can about their community. They know which neighborhoods have the best schools. They keep on top of current events in the local area. Is there a new highway coming? Is a large employer moving to the area? Know what’s happening so you can educate your clients.
Habit #9: Build Relationships
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 74% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others. Relationships are built on trust. Successful real estate agents make a connection with their clients. They will go above and beyond for them. There is an agent in Dallas-Fort Worth who helps clients who are moving find homes for their dogs. Smart agents develop a solid network of contractors they can recommend to help their clients get their homes ready for sale. It sets you apart from other agents and earns you the trust of your clients. Happy clients tell others what you did for them.
Reap the Rewards
Real estate is a rewarding career for those who keep a positive attitude, manage their time well, and build relationships. Expand your knowledge – and your business – by taking continuing education and professional development courses. Learning good habits will lead to a successful career in real estate!