Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
Getting started in real estate is not easy. Whether you’re a fresh-from-school rookie or a seasoned professional ready to begin a second career in real estate, there’s a lot to learn.
It can feel like there’s a dearth of resources at first, but sometimes asking for advice is the best move. That’s what Heather Elias—director of social business practice at the National Association of REALTORS®—did one recent morning on NAR’s Facebook page. She got more than she bargained for in response.
“I asked what one piece of advice our members would give to a new REALTOR®, and was overwhelmed with comments,” says Elias. “I think it speaks to the willingness of members to help each other.”
Among the more than 250 responses, there were some common elements. Communication was a big one (five separate people wrote the exact words, “answer your phone,” but there were many more answers about staying in touch with clients and colleagues alike). Education also ran through many answers as a theme, though the sources of knowledge included classes, mentors, coaches, colleagues, and more.
Here are some of the innumerable comments from real estate professionals who chimed in with helpful hints for newbies. We hope all practitioners—both new and old—enjoy this list, and invite you to add to it in the comment section below.
Lawyers don't give law a "try." Doctors don't give medicine a "try." Don't give real estate a try. You've chosen a career, not a job. Conduct yourself accordingly.
—David Dale Johnson
Note: You might have to log in to Facebook in order to see the profiles linked beneath each quote.
Act as if your clients can see and hear you by hidden camera at all times.
—J Philip Faranda
Be honest and thorough. You're only as good as your word.
—Cindy Stewart Penkoff
Take advantage of networking opportunities and classes and webinars. Get involved in your local association. Above all, listen and follow the habits of experienced, reputable agents and brokers. They are your best teachers.
Most agents (including me) hate rentals, but they're a great way for new agents to learn neighborhoods/markets. You also will be able to familiarize yourself with real estate lingo/language/terms as you handle rental paperwork.
—Lori Wahl Villas
Don't hang with rookie REALTORS®. Find the agent who's doing the most deals and hang with them.
Find a mentor who understands the importance of technology and the handwritten note!
—Susan Stephanie Shaw
Make education a constant. Not just at CE time.
—D Scott Smith CCIM
Surround yourself with knowledgeable, positive REALTORS® who love to give to help other agents.
I say this to all new REALTORS®: "If you haven't cried at least once in your first three months, you are not working hard enough."
Smile often; it relaxes others.
Forget about getting rich quick.
—Susie Schriewer Reneau
Don't take anything personally.
Listen to your client to hear how they really live in their home.
Know the answer before they ask the questions.
If you have bad news, share it with your clients as soon as you get the information.
Use the most impactful and effective language in the least amount of words possible.
—NYC Real Estate with Lena Maros
No matter how busy you are, never stop prospecting for new business or you'll hit a slump once your current transactions close. It's called the REALTOR® roller coaster!
—Noreen Connors Urbanski
Keep your own e-mail address and Web site and market yourself as your brand, not as a national brand. If you ever decide to leave a company, you leave with all your hard work intact!
Work hard and prospect every day. Expect a lot of bad leads before you get a good one.
Don't be pushy; it drives clients away.
—Darcy West Harmsen
Become friends with all the agents in your office. My first few deals were business that they didn't want.
The devil is in the details. Dates, dollars, preapprovals, documents, mortgage follow-up, "may" vs. "shall," inspection reports, correct details on listing, all that.
Get it in writing!
Always go to the building department and pull property cards and check taxes; never go by what's in the listing!
Know your product! Visit homes in the area; preview the types of homes you want to sell.
—Lisa L. Brown
Formulate a very comprehensive business plan.
Build your business like a company and don't neglect your personal life. Consistently make time for yourself and loved ones.
—Angela Kristen Taylor
Set some of that commission check aside for use come tax time.
Note: Some comments were edited for length, editorial style, and grammar.