Crowd-Sourced Advice for New Real Estate Pros

When NAR asked its Facebook fans to share tips for real estate newbies, they got an avalanche of wisdom.

July 8, 2013

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.

On professionalism:

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

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

On learning:

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.
Anne Meczywor

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.
Robert Holtson

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

On attitude:

Surround yourself with knowledgeable, positive REALTORS® who love to give to help other agents.
Amy Kinser

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."
Rachel Hammer

Smile often; it relaxes others.
Raul Diaz

Forget about getting rich quick.
Susie Schriewer Reneau

Don't take anything personally.
Candace Baird

On communication:

Listen to your client to hear how they really live in their home.
Linda Wadle

Know the answer before they ask the questions.
Beth Tyler

If you have bad news, share it with your clients as soon as you get the information.
Karen Pawlak

Use the most impactful and effective language in the least amount of words possible.
NYC Real Estate with Lena Maros

On sales and marketing:

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!
Valarie Kubacki

Work hard and prospect every day. Expect a lot of bad leads before you get a good one.
Mark Conway

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.
Karen Pawlak

On due diligence:

The devil is in the details. Dates, dollars, preapprovals, documents, mortgage follow-up, "may" vs.  "shall," inspection reports, correct details on listing, all that.
Susan Mangan

Get it in writing!
Steve Knutson

Always go to the building department and pull property cards and check taxes; never go by what's in the listing!
Francesca Mulone

Know your product! Visit homes in the area; preview the types of homes you want to sell.
Lisa L. Brown

On planning:

Formulate a very comprehensive business plan.
Josh Berns

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.
Marty Daymude

Note: Some comments were edited for length, editorial style, and grammar.

Meg White

Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.