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Friday, July 20, 2018

A Successful Real Estate Agent

Carlie Back Phoenix Arizona Realtor Keller WilliamsThe life of a real estate agent is intriguing to many, especially now that it is reflected in several popular television shows that document “real life” agents doing their jobs. The topic of these shows range from profiling agents who work with first-time home buyers, to agents selling multi- million dollar properties to the rich and famous. The requirements to become a real estate agent are relatively easy and inexpensive, however the success rate is extremely low for those who get into the business. I remember years ago in real estate school, the teacher said “look around the room, one in ten of you will still be in the business a year from now.” Over the years I have seen agents succeed and agents give up, I will share some of the factors I believe determine success or failure in the profession of real estate.

The most important thing is having the right mindset. Many agents are excited once they have completed the required hours of schooling, and have passed the state exam. This is a minimum requirement to practice real estate in Arizona, but it does not prepare one for success in the business. Real estate school does not cover the day-to-day activities necessary to sell real estate. A real estate school graduate should be prepared to invest time and money in training on how to learn thebusiness side of real estate–I see many new agents treating it like a hobby and not a business. The best book I recommend to new agents is “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” by Gary Keller. This book is the guide to setting goals, making a business plan and outlines the integral components to be successful in real estate business.

The foundation to success according to Keller is the three Ls: Listings, Leads and Leverage. Many new agents get into the business and expect buyers and sellers to come find them to buy and list homes. It does not work that way. In order to have a business you need buyers and sellers to work with. Getting listings–homes to sell–is the most important component of the real estate business. A listing is the inventory that will give an agent something to attract buyers and sellers. If a listing is handled properly, it will bring an agent more business or leads, the second L.   Buyers and sellers do not come looking for an agent, they are looking for homes to buy and homes that are for sale in order to determine what their home might be worth. Agents need to make a plan for how they will attract listings and leads. Buyers and sellers find agents through homes and the agent that is attached to the home they are looking at usually gets the business– in other words, the listing agent.

The “Leverage” part is very important and is the L that most agents don’t plug into early enough or ever. Agents believe they can do everything. Real estate is a business that includes: lead generation, lead conversion, contract writing and negotiation, transaction management, database management, website management, budgeting, finance, bookkeeping, paperwork management, technology, customer service, marketing, advertising, human resources, time management and more. One person could not possibly have the time or the talent to manage all of these things, let alone do them well. This is where people and technology come in. To be a success in the business, an agent must determine what it is they do best. In most cases it will be the income-generating activities like lead generation/conversion, contract writing and negotiation. The transaction and almost everything else, can then be managed by an assistant. Technology is available to make sure all of the details are addressed; there are also virtual assistants available for hire, technology allows a virtual assistant to manage transactions from anywhere in the world and they are very affordable and free the agent to do the important activities that generate income. Outsourcing is a great way to leverage. Some examples are companies that design and manage your website, companies that take professional pictures of your listings, install the sign and the lockbox and staging companies; there are companies that will stay in touch with your clients for you through email or newsletters and much more. Leverage is important to achieving success in the business. A plan should include the team of people and outsourcers that it will take to get it all done, so that the agent can focus on getting business and selling real estate. It is interesting to me that in other businesses it is common practice to hire an assistant, but in real estate, most agents attempt to do it all, and either fail in the business or end up working 24/7.

My advice to an aspiring real estate agent is to invest in learning the skills and practices of other successful agents. Investing in classes, seminars and books is a great way to ensure success. Working with a successful agent is another way to learn the business. Real estate is a business and not just a sales job. The business should be set up right from the beginning. Consult an attorney and accountant to determine if your business should be a Limited Liability Corp or a Corporation. Get a bank account just for the business and get set up on a program like Quick Books from the start to track and see where your money is going and hold your expenses accountable, make sure you are getting a return on your investments. Most real estate agents are independent contractors. It is very important to get set up to put aside money to make quarterly estimated tax payments so that when tax time comes it does not come with a big surprise tax bill. I have seen too many agents fail to do this trap and end up in a bad position with the IRS.

Real estate is an exciting and rewarding career. There are a lot moving parts that are not glamorized on the popular reality television shows. Getting the license to sell real estate does not prepare one to succeed in this business. Going into it with a plan and investing in education is the best way to succeed in real estate. If you are thinking of a career in real estate, begin by investing time reading “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” by Gary Keller, “Client’s First “and “Super Agent” by Joseph and Joann Callaway. These books will shed light on exactly what it takes to succeed in the business.

Written by Carlie Back.  More information at carlieback.com

 

 

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