Entering the Real Estate Business? Hope You Don’t Mind But I Have Tips

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977

Entering the Real Estate Business?

I Hope You Don’t Mind But I Have Some Tips

 

I still remember getting the word I had passed my real estate licensing test and was ready to start in the business about 15 years ago, back in the Boston area.

 

I had been in the corporate world for 16 years in a number of jobs and was ready to live my dream in the real estate business. And while giving up the security of full time employment, a regular salary, and benefits, was scary, it was time for a change and something I really wanted.

 

RE/MAX Destiny Office Cambridge MAAnd this career change was sorta forced on me, since the online marketing company I worked for in Boston went Chapter 11 following the dot com melt down, and I had no job other than our art gallery my wife and I started, which was only minimally profitable. But that’s another story.

 

I had been a homeowner 6 times by that point, with 2 major relocations, so I thought I knew it all. Ha, that was my first mistake – and don’t you make that mistake either. However, I can say, quite confidently, that having had experience buying and selling a home does help when you are getting in the business since you understand in a general way what happens in the process for buyers and sellers and the emotions involved, but there are plenty of good agents who don’t have that experience.

 

I already knew what broker I was going to work for (RE/MAX Destiny in Cambridge MA - photo above), having already had 2 transactions with him and another agent – a purchase and a sale while I was still in the corporate worl. Most new agents are not that lucky, and I would urge any new agent to be very thorough in your investigation, think long and hard about the things that are important to you personally (mentoring, training, access to the broker and those who can AND will help you, trust, style) and the kind of environment and culture you want, and interview brokers thoroughly and carefully.

 

My first broker was an amazing mentor and it made a huge difference. Another piece of unsolicited advice - never underestimate the value of a good mentor to guide and support you.

 

Decisions to makeYou may be coming from a formal office type of role, or not, so going into the office may not be your thing…or you might relish it.

 

I can say that it worked for me in terms of developing a consistent schedule so I could plan, but also being around other agents that I could listen to, talk with, question, and learn from. And of course they could get to know me as well.

 

And for me personally my daily presence in a store front office in Harvard Square in Cambridge with great walk-in traffic allowed me to volunteer for floor time which led to a series of transactions…also another story. I won’t tell you it will be the same for you but it was a great side benefit, and a financially lucrative one, of being in the moment every day during the week and sometimes weekends.

 

And that of course also allowed me the chance to interact more with people face to face and on the phone, and become more confident in talking general real estate stuff and the specific of the market and listing inventory.

 

So what do I wish I had known the very first year I was in the business that cost me lost business or income? 

 

revenue in real estateI don’t think I realized how important it was to follow-up on every lead…every one. You just never know where a lead might, well, lead, but you also develop a habit of good follow-up in doing so. And when you have no business, well, the answer is obvious. You need leads, and there are many ways to find them. A lost lead could be lost revenue!

 

The other thing I recall is that, while I told a number of people about my change from corporate Human Resources to real estate, I did not do a very good job of being in touch with everyone possible about this. That was a huge mistake and no doubt there were lost opportunities.

 

Was there ever a time I questioned whether I had made the right choice of being a real estate agent? And are there events that caused me to stick with it and succeed?

 

I can’t say I have ever questioned the decision entirely, but there have been times when certain unpleasant transactions or a lack of business made me wonder if this was the right thing to do. I got past that quickly, especially by not focusing on my emotions at the moment, but there are times ones can get disheartened.

 

Know that there WILL be difficult people to deal with (buyers, sellers, lenders, others in the business) and challenging transactions. It's the reality, like it or not. If you are expecting pie in the sky you are in the wrong business, my friend. But there are so many rewards and wonderful people you will work with and that’s what you will appreciate most, plus the involvement in people’s life decisions

 

What are 3 things you have learned along the way that have positively affected you and helped improve your real estate business? 

 

It’s hard to say there are just 3, but for what it’s worth the following have really helped.

 

listen to your cients1. FOLLOW-UP. I cannot stress this enough, and when we so often hear about lousy customer service, doing a great job of following up is essential. Others expect it, need it, and appreciate it and you benefit in your business, and referral business, by being good at it. Not to mention not jeopardizing a client’s transaction by lack of follow-up, creating tension and anxiety.

 

2. LISTEN TO YOUR CLIENTS. You need to listen, carefully, to what they are saying, but also to what they are not saying (not only face to face but in emails, texts, and voice mails). Don’t interrupt when they are talking, and be sure to truly show you are listening, not thinking about something else you want to be doing or readying an answer for them pre-emptively. I think I have always been pretty good at this, especially having learned while in Human Resources, but it’s something I have continued to need to work at.

 

3. AVOID NEGATIVITY. This is your own, oh, especially your own, in all situations, but steer clear, when you can, of those who are negative or are naysayers. You may find prospects who are that way, or agents in your office. You don’t need the negativity to add more stress to your life or to impact your attitude or have you second guessing. And you certainly do not want to come across that way with clients, no matter how challenging they may be.

 

 

Know that you CAN choose who to work with, as tough as that might be especially when you do not have much business. And as a wise agent in the business share at a seminar I attended some years ago…get the jerks out of your life!! That's true, of course, outside of real estate.

 

Good luck, and have fun, too. You will have the ride of your life…roller coaster and all…with an opportunity to play an incredibly important role in people’s lives and decision making.

 

You will have endless opportunities to learn about yourself, to educate yourself every day, and to work with a myriad of different people and personalities.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ron Barnes 02/11/2018 06:52 AM
  2. Ginger Harper 02/12/2018 01:48 PM
Topic:
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Groups:
Certified Residential Specialists
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San Diego Realtors®
Tags:
tips for new agents
jeff dowler crs
new real estate agent tips ad advice

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thank you Dorie Dillard  It was fun to write about, and to think back to those days...and there was so much more that could have been said, but it was getting too long!! LOL

Jeff

Jan 16, 2018 12:24 PM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Jim Cheney  Indeed it is. No one really likes walking away from business but there are times when it is just not right.

Totally agree Lisa Von Domek  I suspect there are many agents getting in the business who are not prepared for what it entails. I wasn't.

Jeff

Jan 16, 2018 12:27 PM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker 

What a wonderful commentary, and compliment, and thank you for the update on Lindsey Haden . I have followed her and will stop by to welcome her, too. No doubt she really appreciates your support and encouragement.

Jeff

Jan 16, 2018 01:58 PM #17
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Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Jeff Dowler   I've said for years there needs to be a required class (or three) on the reality of starting a real estate career.  Of course, that might scare some people off and then NAR and local boards wouldn't have those dues paid in...

Jan 16, 2018 05:12 PM #18
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Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
Front Gate Realty ~ 601-991-2900 Office

Jeff, this is a very well-written article with excellent advice for those considering getting into the real estate business. Your advice is spot-on! You deserve a gold star for this!

Jan 17, 2018 02:56 PM #19
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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I had to laugh when you said not having enough business made you question if it was the right decision.  I think we've all been there and are that it made it better agents for it.  I really enjoyed your take on this contest and think you gave great advice.  The always following up is certainly key.

Jan 25, 2018 11:40 AM #20
Rainmaker
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Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Oh my, follow-up really is so important. It's no fun to see someone has listed or purchased a home and then find out they forgot you were in real estate! That's our fault if people don't know what we do!

This was a useful post for both new and experienced agents as well. Thank you!

Feb 09, 2018 04:11 AM #21
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Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
Front Gate Realty ~ 601-991-2900 Office

Look at you! Congratulations on being one of twelve posts selected to be among the best by the ActiveRain staff. Well deserved!

Feb 10, 2018 02:54 PM #22
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Kat Palmiotti 

It's a tough lesson to learn and I bet most of us have been there! Thanks for the kind words!

Jeff

Feb 10, 2018 04:39 PM #23
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

What a nice thing to say Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS 

It was fun to write and to reflect on when I started...and a nice treat to have it recognized by others!

Jeff

Feb 10, 2018 04:40 PM #24
Rainmaker
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Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

Great post Jeff. A lot of us get forced into real estate. It's liberating and scarey!

Feb 11, 2018 06:53 AM #25
Rainer
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Muhammad Mushtaq
Weichert, Realtors® - SBA Group - Fall River, MA
Broker/Realtor

Real estate business is not for every one. If you are serious it can take you to the heights but if you do it on the fly you are wasting time.

Feb 11, 2018 09:06 PM #26
Rainmaker
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Jared Wangsgard
Better in Utah Team - Aubrey and Associates Realty - East Layton, UT
REALTOR - Utah Real Estate Sale SLC to Ogden

I left the business for awhile and then came back. The biggest mistake I made was not staying in touch with my SOI while I was away. It's been really difficult trying to reconnect with old relationships. 

Feb 11, 2018 09:32 PM #27
Rainmaker
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Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Excellent advice here.  David Dukes  make sure you follow Jeff Dowler !

Feb 12, 2018 06:36 AM #28
Rainmaker
286,034
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL

Jeff,

Excellent post! Many great points for those contemplating entering the world of real estate......to evaluate and consider. I would like to add a few comments based on my own experience.

Over the years, I have observed many individuals who entered this business, with the thought in mind, they will be "off and running" within a short period of time. My recommendation for all newbies, consider your efforts and participation to be a THREE YEAR commitment. About two years into this period of time, one will have gathered enough "real life" experience and level of knowledge, to ascertain whether real estate, in the long run, is their calling.

During the third year in business, one finalizes his or her "mode of operation. Such things as identifying area(s) of specialization, expanding one's sphere of influence and building a network of support will solidify, to a point, where it provides the momentum going forward.

In closing, if one is considering real estate solely for monetary reasons........don't waste your time!   

Feb 12, 2018 07:42 AM #29
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Ron Barnes  - there definitely can be some scary times in our business, such as no money and no business.

Muhammad Mushtaq  - an excellent point!!

Jeff

Feb 12, 2018 07:49 AM #30
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Jared Wangsgard  - welcome back. That WOULD be a challenge. Not staying in touch can be a big problem and impact our business dramatically.

Jeff

Feb 12, 2018 07:53 AM #31
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks for the kind words Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC 

Those are excellent points to keep in mind Sharon Miller Thanks for stopping by!

Jeff

Feb 12, 2018 07:54 AM #32
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Alesha A. Wilson, M.Ed., MRP
Buy and Sell Oklahoma LLC - Edmond, OK
Buy and Sell with Confidence

Excellent tips Jeff Dowler!  Hopefully your post will welcome new comers to Activerain.  I feel fortunate to have discovered this community during my first year (:  Congratulations on the Feature!!

Feb 13, 2018 10:22 AM #33
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks so much for the kind words,  Alesha A. Wilson, M.Ed., MRP 

How fortunate you discovered AR early on!!

Jeff

Feb 13, 2018 12:00 PM #34
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