REALTOR® income is up for the second year in a row, according to the 2017 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Member Profile. The median gross income of a REALTOR® jumped from $39,200 in 2015 to $42,500 in 2016.
You know what that means: A new crop of real estate agents is trickling onto the scene. Real estate agents are in one of the nation’s happiest industries and cite many reasons to love their jobs. Cities like Detroit and Jacksonville are already seeing an influx of new agents as the market rebounds and income rises.
Let’s give those folks some pointers, shall we?
Tip #1: Be Kind
Agent Kris Wales: “People first. Always.”
Real estate is a service industry. Agents are constantly in service to their buyers, sellers and fellow agents. That means agents must possess the following:
- Good listening skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Solid work ethic
The takeaway? Mavericks need not apply. If you’re not prepared to put the needs of others first on frequent occasion (which could mean answering the phone at 2 a.m., helping your clients move or helping counsel military buyers and sellers through a VA loan), real estate may not be the field for you.
Tip #2: Thrive on Self-Motivation
Agent C.J. Johnson: “Write and follow a business plan. Run your desk like a business. You and only you control your success.”
Teamwork is an important part of life as a real estate agent. Agents are in constant contact with clients, other agents, lenders, title agents and a litany of other professionals.
And while it’s essential to work well on a team, agents must prepare for one harsh reality: The “team” isn’t going to pay your bills.
Agents typically work as independent contractors and are paid by commission. To succeed in this field, agents must be self-motivated.
Find ways to stand out. Real estate agents with knowledge of the VA home loan program can better serve military homebuyers by more smoothly guiding them through the VA homebuying process. By simply asking your clients “Did You Serve?” you may be able to help them utilize their military benefits to buy a home. Learn more about the benefits of using a Veteran-friendly real estate agent or how to become one.
You can’t expect business to fall in your lap simply because you have a license. Will you make cold calls without being prompted? Are you willing to learn a new skill without it being a requirement? Are you asking “Did You Serve?” Are you constantly prospecting / networking / researching?
If so, expect your “pipeline” to be properly “stuffed.” Which brings us to Tip #3:
Tip #3: Stuff the Pipeline
Agent Stacy Kelly: “Keep your pipeline stuffed so that when a deal falls through, you haven’t put all your eggs into that basket for the month!”
Say good-bye to a regular salary. Watch those regular office hours fade into the horizon, and get ready for the unpredictability of life as a real estate agent. Seemingly-perfect deals do fall apart on closing day, and commission checks will slip just out of grasp.
Don’t ever assume a deal is going to go through. Don’t make financial decisions based on an anticipated closing. Assume the worst, hope for the best, and don’t forget tip #4.
Tip #4: Save for the Lean Months
Agent Lori White: “Have 6 months of expenses budgeted, in savings.”
Yet another financial reality of real estate is the lack of benefits.
According to the NAR, only 4 percent of REALTOR® members receive health insurance through their brokerages, and nine out of 10 are independent contractors with their firms. So don’t forget to build up savings to pay for:
- Payroll taxes
- Health/dental/vision insurance (if necessary)
- Advertising materials
- Brokerage / licensure fees
…and perhaps most importantly, save.
Fiscal crises have a way of popping up when you’re least prepared to handle them. Pocket at least 6 months of living expenditures to get through the lean months and any financial emergencies.
Tip #5: Rest
Angie Rogers Nishnick: “Make sure you take a real day off and pick a time to call it a day. It’s easy to get wrapped into working 7 days a week. Your clients will understand because they don’t work 7 days a week either. The business will be there, but if you burn out you won’t be useful to your clients.”
Showings. Open houses. Botched deals. Real estate is a stressful (and busy) industry.
So don’t forget to recharge your batteries regularly. It’s easy for real estate to become a 24/7 gig, especially if you don’t set boundaries. So follow Angie Rogers Nishnick’s advice:
A stressed, harried, exhausted, barely-there real estate agent is of no use to anyone. Not to a client, not to a family member, not to a friend.
So make yourself useful. Go get some rest, would you?
What Advice Do You Have for New Real Estate Agents?
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Photo courtesy rachelvoorhees