1. Have a backup income source & reduce your cost base
You should have enough money saved up to make it for at least some months without a commission, or have support from your partner, or keep your day job for a while.
At White Mountain we do things slightly differently to the rest of the market because we provide a basic income for the first 6 months before we review things and repeat if required. Usually by that time you will have had results anyway so it is more of a reserve to take the pressure off.
However, it is good practice not to take on expensive credit, phone contracts or loans if you about to embark on a real estate career for the first time. You need to minimize your monthly outgoings. Lack of cash flow can kill a business & it can kill a budding career.
Becoming a real estate agent part time may not have been your plan, but you may need to have the ability to pay your bills while you get started so depending on your responsibilies, this might be an option for you. Unless you have some family members or friends ready to buy a home, you can go for some months without an income until you build a pipeline of income. I always advise against relying on these ‘inside connections’ as they rarely end well, or at all. The majority of agents who fail do so in their first year in the business because of cashflow. Those that get past that usually succeed into a rewarding career.
2. Get a mentor or choose a company with good training
The position isn’t what you need for success when becoming a real estate agent. You need a lot more to make this business a success. Find a successful broker for a mentor, or offer to assist them in their deals. There is much to learn about the process, and it’s not all about “selling.” In fact, sellin is a small part. Skills such as being organsied, following up on things, organizing your day/week/month, communicating, conflict resolution, problem solving, interior design, finance & credit, You’re going to need to understand and explain surveys, valuations, rental yield, repossessions, terminology such as POT, CUT, land book registers, the difference between Extravilan & Intravilan land and more. You’ll feel much more capable if you’ve at least seen these documents in the course of a few real estate deals.
3. Start building your “book of contacts”
Some call it working your “sphere of influence”. Becoming a real estate agent is just the first step in a long career of working with buyers, sellers, investors, valuers, notaries, banks, mortgage brokers, builders, inspectors and others.
Start by using a good Client Relationship Management system, or contact database, in which you’ll enter all of these contacts and prospects. You’ll need to follow up over time, and you’ll need an efficient way in which to locate information you’ve filed away on prospects and contacts. Sloppy use of this system will prevent you from harvesting the data later.
4. Start out right with technology and the Internet
No matter what some of the “old-hands” may tell you, you need the Internet to market in today’s real estate world. While some with many years in the business can continue to succeed due to referrals and past business over the years, that is a dying art. You’ll need to use your website and social networking to get a foothold with today’s buyers and sellers. Factor in a good web presence, including linkedin profile, clean facebook profile, and comments on various related blogs & forums. Your web presence will become your credibility in the end.
5. Becoming a Real Estate broker isn’t just getting a job
For most would-be real estate agents, the courses and the training for the domain turn out to be less fearful than they anticipated. The rude awakening comes later when they don’t find that easy income in the first couple or three months. They thought they had a family member or friend all lined up, but they are taking their time, not buying or listing when the new agent thought they would.
Having a plan, some money saved, or another income will smooth your entry into this competitive business.
Budget for several months without any large incomes, perhaps even six or more in some cases. Budget for enough money to begin a website and online strategy to build business down the line. However, lots of contacting of people, and beginning your prospects list by the old methods will help you to get started while the slower online process builds. You can call, email, meet every person you know, and you just may pull a deal out of the hat sooner than expected. This will keep you in the game while you build your marketing efforts and business.
Learn from peers, your mentor or your company about all of the important documents involved. Try to avoid being asked basic buyer or seller questions you can’t answer, as it could cost you the prospect. Spend time once per week on reading blogs. Make a list of the areas you are lacking experience in. Either ask for past transaction folders and study the documents or ask to assist an experienced agent in their next transaction.
There’s no substitute for actual deal experience.
The real estate business can be fun, exciting, bring you a lot of freedoms and be a very satisfying career. However, you have to make it through that first year or two to make it all happen down the road. Have a plan, build a database of prospects, and work hard to find the keys to success at becoming a real estate agent.
At White Mountain we take a lot of care in selecting our team, & just as much care in coaching the staff each step of the way. If you think you have what it takes to become a broker, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.