Amanda and I started selling real estate in Fort Wayne in January of 2009. We were high fiving all of the agents that were on their way out while we were on our way in. Everybody told us we were crazy to start our careers in a down market, and we couldn't agree more. We were crazy. But we knew that if we could learn to thrive in a tough market that we would be sitting pretty when the market turned. We had our challenges, but we made it, we thrived, and we improved every year.
Recently we moved our team over to Century 21 Bradley Realty and took on a few new agents. I am currently training a brand new agent. It's challenging and refreshing at the same time. Here is a list of the advice I have given our brand new agent...
Join a team or find a mentor. Learning this business on your own is TOUGH. We had very little guidance in the beginning and found ourselves spinning our wheels more than we should have. Being a member of a team or finding a mentor is key to a new agent's success.
Have money in the bank. The odds of a new agent flying out of the starting gate and making money hand over fist is very low. Make sure you have enough funds in the bank to carry you for at least six months. We learned this the hard way! :)
Two ears. One mouth. God made us this way for a reason. If you are new to real estate, please... SHHHH. Listen. Learn. Take it all in. Be careful who you are listening to though.
Pay your dues. We sat in open houses almost every single weekend. We sat at booths at the Three Rivers Festival. We did floor time. We took donuts and coffee to the new employees at the local GM Plant. We did anything we could to get our name out there and get our face in front of people.
Spend some time each day on ActiveRain. The community here is full of some incredible minds that love to share their experience and knowledge. I can't tell you how many things I have learned from the folks here. Oh, and I have snagged my fair share or referrals too!
Pre-screen EVERYBODY. I once got a call from a guy that was sitting outside of one of my listings. He wanted to see it RIGHT NOW. I was new and eager, so I dropped what I was doing, raced across town, and let him in. He said "I'll take it!" OMG I WAS SO EXCITED! MY FIRST SALE!! Then he asked me how much rent was. I told him it wasn't for rent, it was for sale. He said "Oh. Well crap. My credit is terrible and I have no money to put down. Think they'll rent it to me?"
Don't just take a listing to have a listing. If the home is full of 1,800 wicker baskets and has purple and yellow carpet and the seller won't make changes and wants to price it at 150% of market value, RUN. Not all listings are good listings.
Beware of real estate gurus. I made this mistake early. I kept seeing these real estate ads with slick and smiley guy that was promising me that I could sell eleventy billion dollars a month BY MYSELF AND IN MY SPARE TIME. I'm going to give it to you straight here newbie agent... There are no shortcuts in real estate. Put your head down, be humble, and work your ass off. Success will come if you do those things, not give some dude X amount of money a month to be awesome. You can't buy awesome.
Get thick skin. I was so rattled and offended and emotional my first few deals. The other agent on my first deal ever was rude, crass, and offended me many times. I'm competetive and it got the best of me. I found myself trying to one up him and get the best of him. Not these days. I can take a punch and it doesn't phase me. My focus is on doing my job for my client, not one upping the other agent.
Take some time off. Remember to take care of yourself! (I am still lacking in this area!!!)
So there is my short list of advice to new real estate agents out there. Any of you have advice to add to this list?