Aspiring Real Estate Agents - NO! You Do NOT Need a Website (yet)!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

I recently released two newsletter mini-clinics especially for aspiring real estate agents - that is - real estate agent wannabe's who are not yet licensed, but hope to be someday. The first is called "So You Wanna Be a Real Estate Agent" and was created to help people decide if real estate is a good career for them, and the second - "So, You're ALMOST a Real Estate Agent" is about helping pre-licensees (those currently in real estate sWebsitechool) figure out what they can be doing NOW to prepare for that happy day they hang their bright shiny new real estate license on the wall of their new office.

Anyway, since I released the two mini-clinics, I've been contacted by several aspiring agents asking for my advice on the whole pre-rookie experience. Guess what the number one question is?

"Should I start putting together a website?"

My answer is always the same (I tend to be predictable that way). I say NO (although I do advise them to get a domain name for email purposes).

Here's why.

Brand new real estate agents have a lot to do. A LOT. They need to be learning about their real estate market. They need to be mastering their contracts and disclosures. They need to become intimately familiar with their MLS and their contract software. They need to understand how the buyer process works from showing to offer to contract to closing. They need to put together a plan to market their listings and decide how to structure their fees. They should be shadowing other agents on showings, inspections, appraisals and closings. They should be creating their team of great lenders, inspectors and handymen. They need to be reconnecting with their spheres of influence and creating transaction checklists. They need to learn about short sales and foreclosures. They need to learn how to properly price homes and create coherent, compelling, persuasive CMAs. They need to choose a contact management system and learn how to use it.

PLENTY to do.

Now, if there were unlimited hours in the day, unlimited dollars in the bank and unlimited energy in the proverbial gas tank, then sure, let's add "creating a website" to that list. But the reality for most new agents is that there is not unlimited time, an unlimited budget or an unlimited supply of energy, so a little triage is necessary.

(By the way, if a new agent is finding that they DO have plenty of time on their hands, something is WRONG! Take a look at that list above and determine what it is you aren't doing... and do THAT).

Your website can wait. For now, just sign up for your broker-provided site, do the minimum required to not look like a slacker, and focus on creating a great product (that would be YOU) so that when the time comes to Create Your Website, you actually have something compelling to say about that great product!

The moral of the story - rookie agents - mark "Create My Website" off your list of Things to Do Today. Whew - one less thing!



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Nancy Pav
Century 21 Redwood Realty - Ashburn, VA
Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor

I think it's should definitely be on the bottom of the list.  Learning the market, knowing your contract, as you mentioned, are far more important things to do at the very beginning of your real estate career.

Oct 01, 2011 02:35 AM #1
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

I would have to agree with you.  Creating a website isn't easy and everyone will be trying to "help" take money out of your pocket.  My websites is where I have made many monetary mistakes in a big way.  When I first became an agent, I thought, "I must be on the web so people can find me".  Well...if you don't know what you are doing with a website and know zero about SEO...folks aren't going to find you anyway and you are just dumping money down the proverbial black hole :)!

Besides..most new agents get a web presence on their company website and can just use that for the time being.  Great post Jennifer :)!

Oct 01, 2011 02:37 AM #2
Collette Sarmento
Cameron Real Estate Group - Wakefield, MA
781*258*9718--Your Agent For Life

Thanks for posting that!  It should be on the bottom of the list they have so much to learn out in the field!

Have a great day!

Oct 01, 2011 02:43 AM #3
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Okay, I beg to differ. Your list of new duties was amazing and intimidating. There is a lot of stuff to learn and you made that point wonderfully. However, in that long list there wasn't a "join ActiveRain" to start learning about blogging. If a rookie agent had to give up every tool at their disposal except one, I would recommend ActiveRain. There is so much fantastic information here and it's such a good place to practice blogging that I would put this above almost everything else for a beginning agent. They don't just get words of wisdom from one broker and a few agents. They have access to some of the best brokers in the business who are sharing their tips daily. 

They are going to find out that having a good website, blog, and IDX really shouldn't wait too long. Rookie home buyers in Gen Y are going to be looking for rookie agents with hustle and a good attitude who understand them. They're going to find them online.  A rookie website that includes a funny blog about learning real estate is going to be a sound investment. 

Oct 01, 2011 02:55 AM #4
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

Jennifer can I agree with you and Dave Roberts? Becoming a good listing agent is very important but I would encourage new agents to:

#1 learn the buying side

#2 figure out if you are going to work with a SOI alone or create a web presence

#3 learn short sales and foreclosures

#4 become a good listing agent

New agents have no clue how much they must master to do well in the business.

Oct 01, 2011 03:41 AM #5
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for the comments - pro and con... And to clarify, I'm not sayin' a rookie agent will never need a website - they probably will (although it's not the cure-all many believe it will be). But in the first month or two of a new real estate career, there are so many OTHER things that need doin' - and, being the recipient of dozens of emails every day from newer agents, that message isn't getting out. So many new agents are spending hours upon precious hours trying to develop a website before they really have much to say, aside from the typical boilerplate nonsense that makes up 90% of agent sites.

They're frustrated about their inability to create meaningful content (because they don't have much to say YET), but believe that website development is among the highest and best uses of their time.

LEARN YOUR CRAFT... then, and only then, focus on marketing yourself.

Oct 01, 2011 03:52 AM #6
Stephen Proski
RE/MAX Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale Homes For Sale

Jennifer great suggestion for someone wanting to jump into the real estate business.  A website is nice to have, however a website does not guarantee you business.   If you are wanting to be a real estate agent, try talking to all your family, friends, former co-workers, sphere of influence, this is the easiest way to start your business and make some money

Oct 01, 2011 04:02 AM #7
Ken Brandon
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC) - Jacksonville, NC
Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC

I absolutely agree with you. Give some thought and purchase a domain name (or a few) but there is no need to rush in with a website. A website is just a billboard in cyber space unless you have a strategy in place to direct people to it. In my experience, new agents are better served working their sphere immediately and learning how to properly deploy a website that creates results. (not hits...not visitors...not stickiness....not views.... but RESULTS like appointments!)

Oct 01, 2011 06:38 AM #8
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I started on a really good comment, then decided I could probably get a post out of it, so I won't hijack your post with it...suffice it to say, I agree with you -- trying to get business before you even know what to do with that business is nuts.

Oct 01, 2011 09:05 AM #9
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Not so sure.  I think that the sooner you create the site - the better.  After all, most sites are in the sandbox for some time. Longevity matters. So the sooner you set it up, the better.

Oct 01, 2011 04:28 PM #11
Chiara Petro
eXp Realty - Angie Cody Team - Knoxville, TN
Your KEY to Home Sweet Home - Knoxville TN

I can't stress enough how important it is to learn your market. Being a less than a year rookie agent, I can say no one harped stressed to me so much about learning my market as Jennifer has, and I'm so glad she did. (that is a whole other post or two)

But, I am still up in the air about the website thing. Some brokerages in my area do not provide a corporate website, some do. I happened to land with a company that does. And, since joining AR, I have focused much of my posting on localism, particularly neighborhoods. Where, then do I send people (hopefully consumers) other than to the pubilc version of my MLS, to see what is on the market in a particualr neighborhood, since adding specific pages to my corporate site is impossible to do. That definitely reduces the chance of converting an internet lead.

On the other hand, I agree that having a deal or two or three under your belt, before launching (or upgrading) that website is important, too.  Once through a few deals (and even a few deals that fall through -- ie learning to hold together a deal), one will have a much better idea on writing to reach and inform consumers.

Oh, and I wish, wish, wish, I had found the advice to get my own domain name BEFORE accepting the corporate email. If you have the corporate website, your own domain named email will set you just a little apart from the other agents.




Oct 02, 2011 01:28 AM #12
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR

I agree. I certainly did NOT have anything to add to the same boilerplate that comes along, tout me as an "expert" when I certainly was not!   Chiara has very good insights, especially the last paragraph. If you leave, your email is still branded, and NOT for you particularly, even if you have your own email and want the agency's name in it somehow.

Oct 02, 2011 11:53 AM #13
Adam Todd
LeadTrader PRO - Miami Beach, FL

When I started I spent a LOT of time building a kickass website that had all kinds of custom goodies, including a hand drawn cartoon style map of the area and almost 100,000 words of content about the local area. It got no traffic at first so I started paying for Google Adwords to send visitors there.

At the same time I bought a standard template IDX website and started sending traffic to that from Google adwords too and much to my dismay found that the template IDX website generated way more leads than the custom site did and the leads were better quality too! It was as if the content on the custom site just distracted people.

So I would suggest to newbies that they get an IDX website and advertise it on Google Adwords because it's quick and easy to do and is more effective than having your own website anyway. You can switch Google Adwords on and off like a faucet as and when you want it as opposed to the long haul of SEO for a custom website which costs more, takes longer to do and is less effective.

Oct 08, 2011 05:49 AM #14

 Jennifer, Can you clarify what you mean by getting your own email? Do you mean buying a domain and just using the email that comes with? Thanks.

Oct 09, 2011 03:09 PM #15
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Shelley - yes - that's exactly it. Get a domain name - e.g. www.shelley. com and then just create an email for yourself with it - e.g. shelley@shelley. com.

Oct 10, 2011 12:26 AM #16
Anne West
Coldwell Banker - Chicago, IL
Your Guide to Real Estate on Chicago's North Shore

I'm a little late to the party, but I partially disagree. I DO agree that you need to do all those things like learn the market, systems, contracts, etc. Absolutely! BUT, somewhere into my first year I decided to build a web site. I figured that I would never have as much time to do it as I did right then. I know a lot of agents who never get around to getting a decent web site becasue they are too busy managing their business. I thought, "best to lay the groundwork before I get too busy."

And it has paid off. I get good leads that already feel like they "know, like and trust" me because they have been reading my blog for some time. AND I have gotten to know a lot about my market that I may not have because I am always on the hunt for content. I have met more business owners, know all the events taking place, know the schools and neighborhoods more intimately - BECAUSE I was writing about them.

It's not for everyone, but it has worked for me.

Oct 19, 2011 05:06 AM #17
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