My best advice for a new Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Zion Realty

I began my Real Estate career in 1998. A lot has changed in that time. Economies have crashed and been rebuilt. New technologies have allowed home buyers to take more control of their own home searches. Mobile devices and electronic signatures have revolutionized how business is done. Some advancements have been positive and some have had their drawbacks. No matter what changes come to the industry one constant remains; We help people buy and sell homes.   

There wasn't social media back when I got licensed 17 years ago other than AOL chat rooms (if you're too young to know what AOL and chat rooms are then you don't know how good you have it). Dial-up modems were still prevalent. High-speed Internet connections weren't available in most places. We did business the old fashioned way. We talked to people. I know that sounds like such a foreign concept to anyone under the age of 30 but it's true. We actually went outside, met people face to face, introduced ourselves, and asked how we might be able to help them with purchasing or selling a home. 

When you're fresh out of real estate school you have a crisp new license but no idea what homes are worth or the reasons why buyers should purchase a property in one neighborhood over another. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I first entered real estate was to go on as many home tours as possible so that I could learn neighborhoods, markets, and price points. However, since the creation of the MLS and dozens of National real estate portal websites, home tours are barely a blip on the radar anymore as anyone with an Internet connection can search for homes on-line. 

The other bit of guidance I received as a new agent was to find a seasoned veteran or mentor in your office that would be willing to look over all of your contracts and paperwork before you turned it in to your broker. This would minimize any embarrassing slip-ups or corrections that would need to be done and also be a good learning experience for you as you honed your craft under someone much more skilled than you. But office environments have changed since I began my career. Very few agents even go in to a designated office on a daily basis. The advent of the home office and mobile technologies have almost made a traditional office a thing of the past. It can be difficult for a newly licensed agent to track down a learned sage to have a true mentor-ship. 

If you've been tracking with me so far you've hopefully found the common thread in my musings to this point. Everything has gone on-line. For better or worse most business is now conducted in the virtual realm. Aside from showing up to a listing appointment or taking buyers out to view properties I could perform an entire transaction without even meeting my clients face to face. Marketing and advertising yourself can all be done across a website, social media, blogs, and other forms of on-line communication. But because of so many technological advances what many new real estate agents fail to understand is the foundation of any successful real estate career begins with interacting and meeting people. No, I'm not talking about texting, Snapchatting, Facebook messaging, or any other form of impersonal interaction. I'm talking about shaking hands, making eye contact, and being in front of a real live human being. 

My advice for new real estate agents goes completely against the grain and direction of society. Put down your phone, walk away from your computer, go outside, and talk to people. Are electronic forms of marketing and communication a bad thing? Absolutely not. They are a necessary part of the shifting landscape of doing business. However, it can be a stumbling block to a firm foundation. Real estate is a people business. Inherently our customers and clients want to know that we are genuine, trustworthy, and professional. You can't get that feeling from an on-line persona. 

Business professionals and individuals can pretend to be anything they want to be on the Internet. It's extremely hard to fake it when you're face to face. Your true personality will show through. This goes for clients as well. There will be some people who you will choose not to work with because of how they acted when you were in front of them. 

It's a great big world full of real, live, walking, breathing men and women who need assistance in purchasing or selling a home. Go meet them. Get to know them. Have conversations and ask questions. Let them tell you how you can help them. The best part about it is that it's free. It doesn't cost you anything but your time. You'll be inundated with emails and phone calls from companies telling you for a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars a month they will send you leads. First of all, you will find that the overwhelming majority of these paid leads are D.O.A. Secondly, as a new agent you won't have the money or resources to afford such useless services. 

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety curmudgeon the younger generation has started to lose the ability to have meaningful and personal relationships. Well, that's what real estate is all about. We help people buy and sell homes but we invest in their lives along the way. When you get your license, start making the investment in to people and the return you get will be immesurable. 


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 11/07/2015 05:00 PM
  2. Calvin Lai 10/23/2015 10:58 AM
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Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Nicole, I agree with your advice for new real estate agents. Your post says everything a new agent needs to know to get started. There is nothing like face-to-face. Glad to see your post featured! 

Oct 23, 2015 06:07 AM #31
Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I love this and you make a ton of excellent points.  Nothing will ever replace one on one communication.

Oct 23, 2015 08:09 AM #32
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

I'm applauding this one - going against the grain is the way to go!  Years ago, we were overburdened with mail and got excited when an email came through - nowadays emails are annoying, and a hand written card is appreciated.  A people business indeed.

Oct 23, 2015 09:44 AM #33
Mark Piscitelli & Theresa Ziebro
Remax Trinity - Brecksville, OH

Hard to imagine how real estate was done before the Internet!

Oct 23, 2015 11:41 AM #34
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Thanks for sharing your insight and advice to new real estate agents.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Oct 23, 2015 11:47 AM #35
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

I will never forget one class I took Nicole.  The instructor was mocking a previous Realtor for wanting to continue knocking on doors.  I finished the class, having paid, yet little he had to say carried much weight with me.  For the very reasons you state in this excellent post.  Make it a great weekend.  Mark

Oct 23, 2015 02:16 PM #36
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert your post reminded me of 'Back To Basics'!

Fundamentals remain the same, tactics change - stick to fundamentals! Talk to people, go face-2-face (not on skype,!)

Oct 23, 2015 03:29 PM #37
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Nicole.  Very interesting blog about the changes in 17 years.  I started in 1972.  I was 11 when I started

Oct 23, 2015 08:47 PM #38
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Excellent advice for new real estate agents, and even for some who are not so new!  Congrats on the Feature!

Oct 24, 2015 12:42 AM #39
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Pamela - Plus it's just more fun meeting people in person than on the internet. 

Paula - The internet has made it easier to connect but it's not as genuine and personal.

John - I've noticed the past year more and more people going back to handwritten marketing. I know there's programs that will print out letters that look like handwriting but I can still tell the difference. 

Mark - You just went out and met people. You cold called. You door knocked. You passed out your card at the mall. Anything to get in front of people. 


Oct 24, 2015 01:18 AM #40
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Lou - Thanks so much Lou!

Mark - I stopped door-knocking years ago for safety reasons but it was one of the best ways to get business back in the day.

Praful - No matter how much technology we have it's still some of the old ways that are best.

Conrad - Were you selling lego condos to your friends back then? 

Sharon - It's good advice for new agents and a good reminder for seasoned ones not to get too caught up in technology. 

Oct 24, 2015 01:22 AM #41
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Nicole, I do miss the days when human contact was the norm and not the exception. I love all of the high tech ways we do our jobs, but I'd much rather talk on the phone than text or email. I'd rather meet face to face so that body language and facial expressions can be included in the communication. We have many pluses today, but there are a few minuses too.  Sage advice here.

Oct 24, 2015 07:12 AM #42
Sharon Lord
Maracay Homes - Peoria, AZ
New Home Advisor

WELL SAID, NICOLE!  I was licensed in 1997 in TN, and there was not a computer-version MLS yet there - it was black-and-white photos in a weekly magazine - unless you were a super-big spender and splurged for the color cover/back.  

Technology is both a blessing and a curse; it's definitely making our industry less personable and leading customers to think they can do it without us....scary!

Oct 24, 2015 10:26 AM #43
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

I remember seeing the first version of the MLS. It required a human guide to interpret it. Now, so much is available to the consumer that it would seem that agents are less needed. So why do I feel that real estate requires more knowledge now than at any previous time? The contracts are more wordy. The disclosures are more complicated. The options are more varied. It's one more example of technology bringing with it a complicated set of parameters that renders crucial the consultative nature of the business. Clients need agents and agents need mentors and a peer network just as much now as in times past. That's may long-winded way of saying I agree. 

Oct 27, 2015 01:23 PM #44
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Nicole, what's that old saying?  Real estate is a contact sport.  And thanks so much for taking part in the October Challenge. 

Oct 30, 2015 06:25 AM #45
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Mike - Technology has made us closer and driven us farther apart all at once. 

Sharon - Yes! That is a big problem. We used to be such an "in-person" contact business. The further away we get from that the more our clients and consumers will feel like they don't need us. 

Chuck - I have been and will continue to beat the drum that it should require far more education to be a real estate agent. Finding houses on-line is easier for the consumer but the legalities of each transaction have increased tremendously since the days of the triplicate forms. 

Patricia - It was a great contest! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post!

Oct 30, 2015 08:56 AM #46
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Loved that this was featured because you are absolutely right.  Anyone can open a door or fill out a contract (well most anyone) but it's the relationship you have with your clients that will keep you in this business. 

Nov 02, 2015 09:11 AM #47
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Insightful, skillfully written advice with a look at the changes happening in the real estate industry, and at the meaning of what this career is about.

Nov 04, 2015 11:01 PM #48
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

Kathy - Referrals are a huge part of our business model. Without establishing real relationships with our clients we won't get that much needed referral business.

Steffy - It's about people at the core of what we do. Make it about them and success should follow. 

Nov 04, 2015 11:04 PM #49
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Nicole. Talking to people is always the best way to get business or anything for that matter.

Nov 07, 2015 09:38 PM #50
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