Published by Kartik Subramaniam
So you finished real estate classes, you’ve chosen a broker to work with, you’re sitting at your desk and thinking: Now what? to buy a home right now. Sure, they know that they want to and that special day may very well be on the horizon. But they could also be waiting for a job transfer to come through, or for more savings to hit their account. They could even be trying to improve their credit - a process that certainly isn't going to happen overnight.
For most of the students that go through our real estate school, the potential for unlimited income played a large role in the decision to get licensed. Truly, there is no limit to how much you can earn thanks to the commission-based structure that the real estate industry provides. This, coupled with the fact that real estate agents can set their own schedules and the added satisfaction that comes with helping people achieve their dreams of homeownership, creates something of a perfect storm in the best possible way.
But at the same time, the chasm between becoming a Realtor and becoming a successful Realtor is a deep one, indeed. Rising to the status of the latter is something that takes an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance - often more than people are expecting when they begin their first day on the job in real estate.
In fact, the first 30 days as a real estate agent are critical for setting the tone for everything that transpires afterwards. Because of that, making sure that your career launches properly is mission critical to your long-term success in our business.
Standing up the logistical tools needed to get your real estate career started might seem obvious but they are worth mentioning. Simple items like ordering your business cards, getting your Board dues paid, making sure you have MLS access and Zipforms should be done in the first week at most.
Some companies may hold your hand through this process of onboarding but many real estate companies have so many new hires that these items could slip through the cracks. Take things into your own hands if needed and get them done quickly.
You also will want to write a professional bio, get your headshot done, as well as update all your social media profiles. Registering and creating profiles on sites like Zillow, Yelp, LinkedIn and Facebook won’t take long but they need to be done. If someone should Google your name, you want the first thing to come up to be a professional bio (complete with that previously mentioned headshot) to instantly give off the impression that you mean business and have social proof that you’re in the game.
I’d also recommend gathering the names, addresses, emails and other bits of contact information of everyone you know - this will act as the new sphere of influence that you will slowly build from over time.
Once that database is complete, you'll want to create a short letter or email to send out to every last name on it. The goal is simple: you want to let as many people know that you're now in the real estate profession and it isn’t just a hobby. Unless you hit this list, you’ll never know whether they're looking for a house right now or whether they're considering selling at some point in the future. The worst feeling is seeing one of your friends post on social media that they are selling or buying and would have done the deal with you had they known you were an agent.
This is also the period when you'll want to make an effort to truly understand your market. There are a lot of real estate agents who know how to help someone buy or sell a home. The key to your competitive advantage will be your ability to do so better than anyone else and become the local real estate expert in your community - which is why you need to do research, and lots of it.
Venture out into the area and show yourself around a few homes on the market. Test out that eKey, get comfortable with the process. Drive by homes that are for sale in your MLS. Not only will this help you get more familiar with the area you'll be operating in, but it'll also help you get more comfortable with the very process itself.
Speaking of the MLS, use the first 30 days as an opportunity to run real estate market reports to make sure you're aware of all current market conditions. At any given moment you should know how fast homes are selling, the average prices they're going for, the list-to-sales price ratios and more. You could also consider offering free home valuation reports to all of your friends, to both get comfortable with the process and to show as many people as possible how serious you are about your new career.
Your first month as a Realtor will also be one where networking with other agents is critically important. Plan on attending every open house that you can and preview plenty of properties listed by other agents. Ask to shadow a seasoned veteran for a day. It doesn't matter - connect with as many people as possible, because you never know who will be able to help.
You should also draft a business plan to set some straightforward goals (not to mention a budget) for your first 90 days and beyond. Make an effort to set realistic goals for each week over the next few months, both to make sure that you're always moving in the right direction and so that you avoid feeling too overwhelmed.
Finally, you need to understand that even beyond your first 30 days, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow as a real estate professional. Take classes with your local Association of Realtors. Determine and understand what your unique selling proposition is and be able to communicate why someone should care about it. Attend any new agent orientations you can find. Review as many real estate contracts as you can get your hands on and write some of your own. I remember when I was just starting in the industry, I would draft purchase contracts on random houses at night just so that I could learn the contract.
If you're able to find time for all of the above, you'll have done more than just make excellent use of your first 30 days. You'll have created a rock-solid foundation that the rest of your career will be built upon.
Are you ready to get your real estate license?