After owning retail electronic stores for 16 years I entered the brave new world of real estate in 1989. I brought a lot of sales and management experience with me so my first year was very successful with 46 closed homes. I am not saying that I made no mistakes, I made a lot of them, but none fatal or the kind that get you in trouble. Now almost 29 years later what can I do to help out new agents find their way. Let's start with the way back machine to the first full year of 1990:
What I should have known then that I know now: It is easy to get sidetracked and work like a crazy person on marketing, open houses, and every kind of prospecting but there is one direction you need to go, continuing education. I would also not limit this to real estate, for sure if there is a good GRI program go for that, you will learn a lot and share information. Also read everything you can on being a business person from budgeting to marketing to what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Did I have doubts? The answer may surprise you but I did not. After dealing with banks, manufacturers, attorneys, CPAs, landlords, and of course the IRS, I saw real estate as simple. You have one on one relationships with a buyer and seller and every successful sale is a victory. Never lose your confidence even when something goes wrong.
Your first broker can make or break you: I got a break on this. My first brokers were honest, hardworking, detailed, and took and interest in my welfare. Don't get caught up with some of the cult like mentality especially with a franchise. It is that main broker you need to focus one. If they don't live up to expectations then leave and find another. One warning, they are not there to spoon feed you, they are there to have your back and mentor you.
The Power of Observation: When I entered real estate I was pretty well broke, Oklahoma City was still in a deep recession, and there were more agents than listings, and sales were hard. I wanted the shortest distance between my start and my first commission so I analyzed the market. I saw that forclosures were in great supply so I sat on open houses on HUD repos for the first two years, sometimes three times a week. Look at your market and know competition is fierce but there is always a niche that is ill served.
Pride and Ego are your enemies: As I stated earlier, I was broke when I got into the business. To get the best open houses I would drive my car to the Murrah Building on a Thursday afternoon around 3 and stay in it until HUD opened the next morning to book open houses. That was the building Timothy McVeigh blew up. We had an honor system and i wasn't the only one doing this. Here I was, someone who had a 7 figure net worth before sitting in an old beater car to get an open house. Pride would have been a luxury and ego will kill any deal.
How do you know you have made it? Most agents are going to fail for all sorts of reasons but let me give you the 30,000 foot view from someone who still has gas left in his real estate tank. I don't need awards even though I have them. I want to help new agents rather than deride them, that is why I teach a lot of real estate classes now. I care about leaving this business better than I found it so I need to do my part with others to make that happen. I understand that in ten years when people may see my picture on a wall they may say Joe Who? The joy is in not caring. For all of you who have joined this brave new world, welcome. Don't expect the road to be easy because there are many potholes along the way. Your great joy will be the journey that you have just begun.