I entered real estate in 2003...I completed my licensing course and passed my state exam with flying colors. I securely tucked 25 hours of a post-licensing course with a "major" brokerage under my MONEY BELT and I was ready to start making millions.
I did okay. Not great but the bills were paid, the cupboards were stocked and I floated along. In 2007-2008 we all drifted into the depths of despair...scrambled to learn how to deal with short sales & foreclosures, got suckered by endless "investors"...In 2010, I GOT OUT!
I took 4 years out of real estate, by that I mean I had a full-time job and dabbled in real estate when I needed to for friends and family.
I'll be the first to admit that I missed it. Well, not exactly the "it" that I had pre-2007 but the "it" that I had imagined that real estate should be.
I've had 15 years to FIGURE IT OUT.
I've had 15 years to THINK ABOUT IT.
I've had 15 years to LEARN ABOUT IT.
I'm going to take 15 MINUTES to try to cut the learning curve.
What do you wish you had known the very first year you were in the business that cost you lost business or income?
1. Have reserves in the bank to carry you through your first full year in real estate. Not only do you need funds to live on, you need funds available to INVEST in your business.
Here are just a few of the "extra" expenses you may need to cover:
brokerage office fees
mls membership fees
marketing material (printing, business cards, yard signs, lockboxes, postage)
self-employment tax (yep, go ahead and set aside 30% of each commission check for Ol' Uncle Sam)
Speaking of investing in your business, whether you work for a mom & pop shop or one of the big boys, you need to OWN your own website, email address & CRM.
Yes, it's nice to send people to your email@example.com website but remember that whatever happens @bigboyrealestate.com stays there should you ever jump ship.
Was there ever a time you questioned whether you had made the right choice of being a real estate agent? What events caused you to stick with it and succeed?
I think I've answered this question in the intro but OH HELL YES I have questioned my choice over and over again throughout my real estate career. The joy that I find in helping people find their dream home and the joy that I find in my own life from charting my own course is what has kept me engaged in the business. Even though sometimes I had to distance myself from the heartbreak.
What are 3 things you have learned along the way that have positively affected you and helped you improve your real estate business?
- You will spend 80-90% of your time PROSPECTING for new business. You need to learn how to operate online on various platforms from web development & SEO to social media OR pay someone to do it for you. There are no shortcuts.
- You are RUNNING A BUSINESS. Act like it. Track expenses, hold aside the appropriate taxes and file quarterly returns. Do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. There are no shortcuts.
- YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Be there for yourself and your family. Set aside time for what is truly important EVERY DAY. Don't take for granted that there will be time to "do it later". There are no shortcuts.
I would never discourage anyone from joining the real estate business. It's a great opportunity to stretch your legs and your brain to grow your entrepreneurial spirit.