Top 7 Rookie Mistakes for Real Estate Agents

If you avoid these common pitfalls, you’ll be ready for a successful and long career in real estate.

When it comes to having a backup plan, if you have one for everything that can go wrong, you can’t help but accomplish your goals. You should approach your real estate sales career with the same go out and get it attitude that many successful real estate moguls possess. If you know the top blunders that inhibit real estate professionals from realizing their full potential, you can avoid them — and take your career further, faster. Here are the top seven barriers that could stand between you and a long successful real estate career.


1. Not Having a Business or Marketing Plan

If you are an entrepreneur and went into business for yourself and approached a bank for a business loan, your bank loan officer would want to see two things: 1) your businesses income statement and 2) your business plan. Well, when you go into real estate, you are going into business for yourself. But many real estate agents have no well-defined goals or timeline for accomplishing their goals. More often than not, real estate professionals who have a written business plan are more successful than people who don’t. If you’re having a rough time writing your business plan, you can copy a sample real estate business plan from Palo Alto Software Inc.’s Business Plan Pro. The same company also offers Marketing Plan Pro.

2. Not Using Assets Available to You

Even if you’re new to the real estate industry, you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Take advantage of all the assets that are available to you — from your brokerage, your co-workers, and professional organizations. Find top real estate agents in your market or other markets and ask them to guide you. All realtors should read each issue of REALTOR® Magazine and use all the assets available at REALTOR® Magazine Online. Every issue of REALTOR® Magazine is bursting with tips from successful practitioners or trainers on how you can become more a more successful real estate agent.

3. Not Maximizing Your Efficiency

If you look at top-producing real estate agents who are selling 600 or more units a year, you will notice that they all have two things in common: assistants and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These agents are assisting their efforts and increasing their output through hiring assistance and through technology. According to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Member Profile, real estate agents who had at least one personal assistant had a drastically higher sales volume than those agents who didn’t. You may mistakenly think that you can’t afford a personal assistant. However, if you can increase your income by increasing your efficiency and the number of sales you can close in a year, you can’t afford not to get a personal assistant. Additionally, your assistant should input all your client’s information into a CRM system to keep track and continue to market to them for years to come as your business grows.

4. Not Earning Titles

Many real estate agents feel that they aren’t making enough money to allocate funds for further education. This is the wrong way of thinking. You take the class to gain the skills you need to increase your sales and earn you more money. The skills you learn and networking with people you meet at these classes will noticeably affect your bottom line and your potential for success.

5. Not Purchasing Equipment as a Business.

Many real estate agents purchase their tablets, laptops, cameras, or smartphones as consumers. This is a HUGE mistake. If the technology stops working or you need help with the device, you will be sent to customer service. When you call customer service as a consumer, you can expect to waste more time than you have in your busy day than you can afford. The next time you purchase equipment for your business, buy it as a business. You can do this by expressing that you are a business when you purchase the equipment in-store, using a business portal site, or using the business-support phone number. When you purchase equipment as a business, your customer service will be much better and less time-consuming. When you need help, you can call a support line that is reserved solely for business accounts. That means you spend a lot less time with a single customer service agent, not several. Additionally, since they know your business depends on this technology, the needed part or parts are sent overnight. Some companies will send you a technician to your home or office to personally fix the problem before it causes your business any significant delays.

6. Not Crafting Your Marketing Message to Prospects’ Concerns.

If you center your marketing strategy on assumptions about what your potential clients want from you, you could be wasting value time & money. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers provides insights into what matters to the average buyer and seller. For example, it may not be sensible to use marketing dollars to promote your resume; according to the survey, the typical homebuyer or seller doesn’t care about your personal accomplishments. However, they do care about your ability to help them find the right house for their wants & needs, negotiate, and accomplish the paperwork. Your marketing message should target their concerns.

7. No Income Buffer, Passive Income, or Savings

What often kills new real estate agents is the idea of lag time. Typically, when you sell a house, you don’t get paid when the contract is accepted. The average time for a contract to be written is 45 days. In a near perfect world, you would get your commission check 45 days from the date the contract was accepted. Nevertheless, in the real world, you don’t always get paid on time. You might ask, what could go wrong? Someone could forget to order the title, get water certification, order a town inspection, request a pay-off letter, survey, bug & termite inspection, or income verification. If you’re selling in a hot market, the title company could be backed up for several weeks. Your clients could push back their closing date by days or even weeks. A successful real estate agent needs a line of credit and a significant financial cushion of three to six months of personal expenses to survive this lag time. As a real estate agent, you need passive income — or income coming in from your investment property so that you don’t have to be desperate to close a sale. Desperation could cause you even to lose deals because clients can sense your nerves. When your commission check finally arrives, don’t forget to put some money aside for your savings account.

Learn from Your Mistakes, Then Move Forward

Usually, it is the simple mistakes that derail a potentially long & successful real estate career, you are the person you are today because of various decisions you have made or did not make. Before you embark on a real estate career — or before you try to move your career to the higher level of efficiency— take a hard look at yourself and see if you’ve been guilty of any of these seven mistakes. Then try never to make them again. Once that decision is made, your path to real estate sales success is going to come to you.

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