Pursuing a career as a real estate agent comes with a lot of perks: a flexible schedule, hand-picked client list, and unlimited income potential, to name a few. But making your first deal is one thing; sustaining your business and building a reputable brand is another job within itself. As more agents enter the market and more do-it-yourself real estate information is available online, becoming the mogul you imagined can feel a little far out of reach.
To help you carve out your space in the industry, read our tips for finding success in real estate and creating a business of which you can be proud.
1. Build Your Brand
When you enter into real estate, you have to accept and own the reality that you are your brand. Without the reputation of a corporate entity behind you, you have the unique opportunity to shape how you want to be known. While this can be freeing for some, it’s important to keep in mind that clients have a lot of choices when it comes to their real estate agents, and you’ll have to put in some significant work to show them why you’re the right choice.
Make a good impression by dressing well, showing up on time, and being curious, engaging, and knowledgeable. Prospective clients are sure to do their homework, so always stay professional, whether it’s in person or on social media. Once they view you as a trustworthy partner, highlight what makes you different or why you’re the perfect fit for their individual situation (e.g. they’re looking for a family home and you have kids of your own). Since so much of real estate is based on referrals, you want to connect and impress every time.
2. Earn the Right Licenses and Certifications
Every state requires real estate brokers and agents to be licensed. Criteria can vary by state, but they usually only accept candidates who are at least 18 years old, have completed a number of hours of real estate or college courses, and have passed a licensing exam. Check your state’s regulations to make sure you fulfill all the necessary criteria to move forward.
Aside from the general licenses, accreditations, and exams, you can stand out as a top-tier agent by getting your Online Master of Science in Real Estate degree. Earning your MS in Real Estate gives you a comprehensive knowledge of the processes and policies clients will expect you to be familiar with, as well as helping you to identify your specialty. As more and more people get involved with real estate, only a distinguished program can make you stand out and fully equip you for this multifaceted industry.
3. Engage and Expand Your Network
It’s all about who you know, and there’s no other industry where this rings more true than in real estate. First, look within your circle for opportunities: friends, family, friends of friends and family, old classmates, coworkers, and professional organizations can all be great leads for future business. In the beginning of your career, you might not have the luxury of being overly picky—and that’s a good thing! Use the opportunity to gain broader experience, learn different markets, and impress your clients to secure future referrals.
Once you’ve gathered a few contacts, nurture those relationships so they know that you’re invested. Follow up to see how their search is going or offer to connect them to a beneficial resource. Even after those contacts multiply, never stop prospecting. Every new person you meet can open a door to an even bigger opportunity.
4. Find Your Area of Expertise
When it comes to investments as big as real estate, customers like to know they’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re talking about. You don’t need to find your niche right away, but, with years of experience, you can start to develop a specialty that helps you stand out. Whether it’s a type of real estate or an area of town, people will know who to go to when they have a need.
Subscribing to newsletters, attending events, and tracking industry news are all great ways to keep your game sharp. Although there’s a plethora of information available online, nobody can offer the same amount of perspective and experience as a reputable agent.
5. Know That It’s Not Just About the Sale
At the end of the day, your main responsibility is to guide people through an exciting (and often overwhelming) process. Whether you’re selling a home for $100,000 or a high rise for $10 million, your attitude and commitment should be the same. Every story is unique; listen to your client’s needs and goals to find a place that works for them, not for your sales figures.
Responsiveness and personalization are key to building deeper relationships with your clients. Make yourself available to them, communicate through the channels they prefer, and highlight the features that match their preferences. They’ll remember this attention to detail when they’re considering whether to recommend you to someone else.
6. Stay on Top of Technology
Your days are soon to be booked with meetings, travel, and showings, so you’d be wise to automate your process wherever you can. Many agents use various types of software to support their business: client management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), data management tools, and more. Do a bit of research to determine what you need, then test drive different technologies before you commit to one product.
On the less technical side, you’ll want to create a personal website for prospective buyers and sellers to find out more about you. Be sure to include your contact information, specialty (if any), and the best times to reach you. You’ll also need to have access to a smartphone, laptop, and a scheduling tool for your calendar.
7. Find a Mentor
Just like in any career, having a role model is crucial for navigating the ups and downs of the real estate industry, especially in your beginning years. There are some things that only time and experience can teach, but you can always benefit from the insights of a more seasoned professional.
Connect with leaders at local real estate organizations, join Facebook or LinkedIn groups, and attend networking events to find someone whom you admire and whose success you want to emulate. At Yeshiva Sy Syms, for example, we connect our students with industry professionals through the Mitzner MSRE Advisory Board. The board not only provides guidance and insights through the online MS in Real Estate program, but they also invite industry professionals into the fold to further your connections and provide new perspectives.
Master Real Estate at Yeshiva Sy Syms
Before you get caught up in the thought of commissions and closings, it’s time to focus on building a strong foundation. An Online MS in Real Estate from Yeshiva University’s Sy Syms School of Business will equip you with more than the basics—you’ll gain essential skills, hands-on experience, and powerful connections to help you enjoy a long and successful estate career.