Since hitting a trough in the years following the 2008 mortgage meltdown, the number of real estate agents in the United States has grown steadily, reaching almost 1.5 million by the end of 2020, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. This upward trend has been helped along, no doubt, by the record-setting pace of the pandemic-fueled real estate market. That means that many agents have never worked in a “normal” market and may have launched their real estate careers during a time of unprecedented demand.
If you have recently started your real estate career, you may be wondering how to keep the good times going and ensure you are poised for long-term success. These ten tips are designed to help you navigate both good and bad market conditions so that you can continue to build a robust and resilient real estate business.
1. Stay ahead of the curve
Success in real estate is often a matter of being in the right place at the right time with a keen instinct for new developments. This means you need to be future-focused in your analysis of the economy at large as well as your local market. While it may be difficult to keep up with the news when you are busy serving clients, you should be forward-thinking in order to get ahead in your career.
2. Study market trends and statistics
One of the best ways to stay ahead of market movements is by studying the trends and statistics released by your local and state associations. Find out what types of homes are trending, which neighborhoods are suddenly hot, and where the next new commercial development will be. Use this information to inform your marketing strategy and start important conversations with your sphere of influence.
3. Hone your branding identity
When you’re first starting out, you may spend most of your time learning the ropes of contracts and negotiations. However, once you’ve established yourself, you need to define yourself for the marketplace and create a brand identity that resonates with potential clients. Focus on a logo, color scheme, and professional headshots as well as a website to serve as a home base for your digital marketing.
4. Market consistently
Marketing should not be a product of need but of habit. You can’t wait to market until you need a client. Market at all times so that there is always a steady stream of new leads beating a path to your door. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a big budget for paid marketing, focus more on free options like social media, emails to your leads and sphere, and professional networking.
5. Cultivate post-sale referral sources
It costs far more to develop a new lead than to keep a happy client. Stop chasing cold leads and start paying attention to those with whom you’ve already worked. Ask for testimonials and reviews and keep in touch to find out what their current and future real estate needs may be. Ask for referrals and let them know how to reach out if they have a friend or family member who needs your service.
6. Prioritize education
Your real estate education shouldn’t stop with the completion of your licensure or your annual renewal requirement. Take time to seek out opportunities to learn about potential niches, new strategies, and changes in your local market. Check for webinars, online courses, and continuing education opportunities at your local or state association. Attend a conference or become part of a mastermind group to take your newfound knowledge even further.
7. Look for mentors
Get to know more experienced agents and brokers on your team, in your brokerage, or at your local association. Have conversations with them and learn from their observations and insights. Seek out opportunities to collaborate or assist so that you can gain valuable knowledge and expertise. Don’t limit yourself to real estate mentors—anyone who has built and sustained a business has the potential to offer valuable assistance as you grow.
8. Implement a geographic farm
Becoming a specialist in a specific market may be the key to setting yourself up for future success. Seek out a street, block, or neighborhood where you’ve already helped a buyer or seller, and work your way out from there. Use a combination of direct mail and targeted social media messaging to create consistent, ongoing impact.
9. Explore and preview regularly
Your job is to be the expert on the homes in your market. You can’t do that if you’re only seeing the houses you’re selling or the ones your buyers are looking at. Attend broker open houses in your area and study your MLS feed for new, expired, or reintroduced listings. Find out what is going on with new developments and new construction, and learn the latest about the local job market. Be curious about the neighborhoods you serve so that you will know what impacts them.
10. Keep an open mind for the next phase of your career
You may have launched your real estate business by helping eager buyers in your area. Now may be the time to shift your focus to seller representation. You may have come into the market during a time of unprecedented growth in demand and home values. The years ahead may have you working with distressed homeowners. You may have started your career in a suburban market. Your next phase may have you working in rural land sales.
What lights you up? What gets you excited about real estate? Keep your eyes open for a niche that will have long-term appeal and growth potential. There are so many ways to create a career in real estate. Don’t limit yourself by thinking you have to do what everyone else is doing or that you have to do the same thing year after year. Switch it up and find new paths and new challenges in the years ahead.