Real estate can be a booming business if you know how to operate correctly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most successful real estate agents make more than $162K a year. Not a bad haul for such a comfortable job. There’s nothing more satisfying in this career than receiving a commission and seeing your hard work pay off.
Real estate agents also enjoy a very comfortable work environment. Although most work 40 hours per week or more, including weekends and evenings, they can technically choose their own hours. They’re not tied to a desk, and if they need to go out of town for a day or attend a kid’s soccer game, a flexible schedule makes it possible. It’s not exactly an easy job, but it is comfortable with the potential for excellent pay.
However, if you work with an agency, you won’t experience quite as much freedom as you may have hoped. You’ll owe the agency certain dues every time you sell a house, and you usually won’t get to take credit for the sale. The agency name will be slapped on the sale, and people won’t know to associate your name with your hard work.
That’s one reason that many real estate agents start their own agency. It takes time and effort to build up an established real estate agency that can successfully compete with others in your city, but it can be done. As you get started, consider following these essential steps.
- Get Your Education and License
The first step is getting licensed. You’ll need proper education before you can claim your license. Look for courses that work for your schedule and will help you become a more effective agent. Research real estate educational opportunities both online and in your community, and invest yourself into learning and growing in this profession.
After you’ve completed the designated number of hours in a real estate course, get your license. Most states require that you have a license within their state, which requires passing an exam. Look into the exam options near you, and schedule your exam early so there’s plenty of time to prepare.
- Write Your Business Plan
All new businesses should have a written plan that acts as a kind of road map to a successful business. Your business plan will outline goals, strategies, growth projections, capital requirements, and other concrete details.
Not only will a business plan delineate the path to success, but banks usually require a written plan before they’ll fund your venture. They like to see that you have a solid plan for their money so they know they’ll get it back.
- Get Certain Entities on Your Team
When starting a real estate agency, you can’t possibly do it on your own. There are a dozen entities you can use to provide the ultimate home buying and selling experience for your clientele. Here are some of the most important business entities in the profession:
- Other real estate agents
- Property managers
- Mortgage brokers
- Escrow officers
- Marketing specialists
- Subcontractors (cleaning, maintenance, renovation, etc.)
- Office managers
- Insurance agents
Although these contractors don’t have to work directly within your office, they should be on retainer to provide services when you need them.
- Set Up Shop
Although you might operate out of your home when you’re just starting out, it’s better to have a professional business location where clients can confidently visit and discuss their home purchases. Open your office on a busy street in town where people can see your brand and recognize it.
Decorate the office with contemporary, but homey styles that will bring buyers and sellers peace when they step into the office. If you want to maintain a competitive advantage over the more established real estate shops in your city, your office must express total professionalism and a fresh style.
- Market Your Business
Use online mediums like social media, listing sites, and advertisements to market your property. Since 90 percent of homebuyers go online when searching for a property, you’re more likely to get traffic on your website if you market online. Do research on these marketing opportunities and find the ones that work best for your objectives.
Real estate agents can also gain a lot of ground with traditional local marketing efforts. Branded “for sale” signs in the yards of homes you represent help clients recognize your business. Billboards, signs around town, radio advertisements, local television commercials, and other traditional advertising mediums can go a long way in promoting your new business as well.
But the best way to get the word out about your business is through word of mouth marketing. More than two-thirds of people use the opinions of others, even complete strangers, to influence their purchasing decisions. If you sell homes and positively represent buyers, word will spread quickly that you’re an effective business, and you’ll gain clientele this way. It’s the fastest way to grow your business and stay afloat in a competitive market.