Expert Advice: Long Time Agents Spill Their Secrets!
When it comes to starting out in real estate, the best resource you can tap is the agent or broker with years under their belt and a successful business to show for their efforts. We’ve been lucky enough to glean amazing insight and advice from some of the top agents and brokers in the US, Canada and Mexico.
They all had a lot to say about what it means to be a real estate agent in today’s modern and technologically advanced business landscape, and they were happy to share their knowledge with new agents who are just starting out. We are sure their words of wisdom and their unique insights will prove enlightening and invaluable as you set on your own real estate path.
Melanie Press is an award-winning agent who has found great success utilizing all the features and personalization options of her Point2 Agent website. Melanie advises new agents to become a marketing expert.
“Be the best YOU you can be,” she advises. “If you can’t sell yourself and the value you offer, how can you give your clients any faith in who you are and how you’re going to look after them?”
Melanie also believes in spending the time and energy fine-tuning your online presence, recommending new agents “invest in a great website like Point2” because, “you have to have a strong web presence, and Point2 offers many fantastic tools to help you do this.”
“Get as tech savvy as you possibly can,” counsels Melanie. “Easier said than done, yes, but really try to work on it. Finally, work hard, very hard.”
Consistency is critical, according to Amy Jones. A top broker in Chandler, Az, Amy understands the importance of leveraging the power of technology to attract more prospects, but she also knows that real estate is more than just a numbers game. Follow through is just as essential.
“Responsiveness and consistency are the keys to success,” declares Amy. “There are hundreds, if not thousands, of agents on the internet,” she adds, warning, “If you don’t respond to an inquiry quickly – preferably within minutes – the prospect will just call the next agent on the list.”
“If you build it, they will come,” she concludes, “but if nobody’s home when they get there, they won’t hang around long.”
For Amy, the significance of real estate marketing cannot be underestimated. “Always run your business like a business,” she suggests. “When you’re not busy with clients, stop whining and keep marketing, staying on top of new technology while implementing those ideas that excite you.”
“Most importantly,” adds Amy, “If marketing doesn’t excite you, you’ll never do it…so hire someone.”
Hamilton REALTOR® Donna Bacher also believes in the power of a personalized real estate website, cautioning new agents to avoid branded websites because “if you ever change companies, your site doesn’t go with you.” Instead, Bacher believes new agents should, “put on your ear muffs and start working on a site.”
Bacher considers blogging to be an essential part of any agent’s workday. Instead of spending “precious time and money attending expensive ‘sales’ seminars right away or posting to Facebook and Twitter,” Bacher instructs new agents to take advantage of their Point2 blog.
“Blog on Point2…then post that blog to social media to increase you Google-ability,” she advises, adding that agents should spend time previewing new homes as they come on the market and “work[ing] your Point2 website every day.”
Canadian real estate agent Daniel Hartin specializes in offshore retirement investments in Belize and has over a decade of experience using Point2 Agent to market his business online.
Daniel advocates new agents invest in their future, even when it means spending those first few hard-earned dollars on advertising.
“I have always found Point2 Agent’s advertising options helpful when I am looking to increase my exposure and get more leads.”
Kanoa Biondolillo is the Chief Inspiration Officer behind Baja123, a real estate brokerage in Rosarito, Mexico that he began with his father almost a decade ago. Through self-taught online marketing skills, Kanoa has leveraged his website into a powerful lead generating tool. For new agents, Kano believes the key to success involves capitalizing on all the digital tools available.
Kanoa recommends new agents become comfortable with online marketing tools. “Pick one online avenue and become really good at it,” he advises, “Drive all traffic from that avenue back to your Point2 Agent site’s listing pages. Work on your drip campaigns. Brand yourself and your talents to match your traffic’s needs.”
“Today, more than ever before, you have to have the digital tools that will help you keep up with this rapidly changing world,” he says, adding, “You don’t want to be a blacksmith making horseshoes as the automobile is driving by you shop.”
Set goals high, counsels Kanoa, and the results will follow. “You have chosen an industry that will give you huge rewards if you set your goals high enough,” he says.
Setting high standards is just what Sam Kamoutsis of PLANIT Real Estate set out to do when he ditched his job a decade ago and embarked on a career in real estate. He launched PLANIT Real Estate a few years after his initial foray into the business and using his technological know-how and IT background, he was able to create a website that has generated more than 25,000 leads. So it’s no surprise that Sam is a true believer when it comes to the marriage of real estate and digital marketing tools
Sam advocates new agents start by anticipating the new reality of real estate. “The client of the future has changed forever,” says Sam, who goes on to explain, “Today’s clients are not only starting their search online, but client communication is happening online as well.”
“Gone are the days when print magazines and direct mail were effective,” he continues. “The real estate market is now online, and only those who follow the rapid river of change will be in business tomorrow.”
Sam goes on to say, “Every real estate agent and business owner should understand one thing: the communication patterns of the new real estate buyer and seller have changed. In order to succeed in real estate, the modern agent must be present on all platforms being used by the new generation of buyers and sellers.”
“The successful real estate agents of the future will be the ones who embrace this change.”
So there you have it, real, practical advice from agents and brokers who’ve experienced phenomenal success using digital tools like Point2 Agent to expand and enhance their real estate business. Use their words as guidelines and guideposts as you start out on your own real estate adventure. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet, stop by and let us know how these agents inspired and informed you and your real estate career.
Want to hear more? Check out our Point2 Agent Success Stories:
When you’re just starting out as an agent, making sure you’ve got everything you need can be challenging. Just a quick search online reveals thousands and thousands of blog posts and news article filled to the brim with every tip, trick and suggestion imaginable. But when you need real advice, how do you trim away all the fluff and empty advice and find real, practical information specifically aligned with your wants and needs?
Finding what you need in this era of data overload can be overwhelming, so let us guide you with our list of essential tools for every new real estate agent. Our new blog series, “The Right Tools for the New Agents,” we’ll pull back the curtain so that you can begin to understand what it means to be a successful real estate agent and how Point2 Agent can help you achieve your goals. We’ll cover broker/agent relationships, self-promotion and marketing, earnings and commissions, dealing with failure and much much more.
Some learn by doing, others by listening, but all of us benefit from the wisdom and experience of experts in our field. With this cache of valuable real estate webinars at your fingertips, you can now watch these heroes of real estate – men and women on the front lines of the business spill their secrets and give you their best advice for how to succeed in real estate.
Here at Point2, we’re lucky to have a stable full of industry leaders willing to offer advice and impart hard-earned knowledge. Think of them as your roundtable, your pit crew and your Greek chorus.
They’re here to help, and their assistance will help empower you, ignite your business and propel you towards unimagined success.
Watch them in action in this roundup of the 30 best webinars for agents and brokers.
Webinars for Lead Generation and Conversion
- Client retention is an essential part of real estate. Let Terri Murphy lead you through the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly activities you can easily do to secure clients for life and draw more referrals.
- Don’t limit yourself when it comes to generating leads. You need to get social, go global and highlight your knowledge and personality. Learn how with these tips for lead generation.
- There’s so much more to prospecting than cold calls or knocking on doors. Overcome your prospecting phobia with these tips from legendary Michael Krisa and the always fabulous Terri Murphy.
- What if I told you that it’s not more leads you need, just better lead conversion? That’s Verl Workman’s bold advice for agents looking to convert more leads to sales.
- There’s no immediate reward when it comes to prospecting. Turning leads into clients takes patience and persistence!
Organize and Manage Listings
- In order to generate more buyer leads and increase your brand recognition, you must manage your listing inventory. Real estate legend Terri Murphy shares 5 super-secret tips to getting more listings.
- You can make sales without listings. Learn how to grow your inventory and nab the best listings in your area with these best listings practices.
Improve Your Office Tactics
- Bring a semblance of order to your life and see your business grow! Organizational expert Chris Couch shares a few simple life hacks that enhance productivity and profits.
- If you dodged spring-cleaning, there’s still time to get your office in order. Organization will not only save you time, but it will also help you collect and convert listings into sales
- A business plan is only truly effective if you use it to focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. One important piece of the puzzle is finding a way to streamline and amplify your marketing strategies.
- Is it time for New Years resolutions yet? Verl Workman has 13 strategies to make this year your best yet!
- In order to make the purchase, your clients will probably need financing. That’s why it’s important to develop strong business partnerships with mortgage professionals in your area.
- Unsure how to go paperless? Terri Murphy understands your fears. Not only does she have tips and tricks for incorporating paperless technology into your real estate business, she also shows you how dumping paper copies can increase profits.
- You can use your iPad, laptop or phone to secure a deal. The trick is going paperless! Let Garry Wise of The Paperless Agent lead you through his step-by-step process for securing a deal with paperless technology.
- You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to make a great business video. Real estate video expert Michael Krisa presents a jam-packed webinar full of video tips for busy agents!
- The right video can help you stand out from your competitors. Terri Murphy has a 4-week plan that can help you create a strong video marketing campaign.
Turn Agents Into Top Producers
- As a broker, you depend on your agents to help your business flourish. Lillian Montalto knows just how to hire, train and motivate agents to do their best and rake in profits.
- Are you interested in turning your agents into top producers? Bob Corcoran reveals his secrets to a happy, and profitable, broker-agent relationship.
- It’s critical to create a working environment that allows your agents to take ownership and grow their careers. Bubba Mills explains how to develop a stronger team at your brokerage.
Keep Earnings High
- Are you being asked to reduce your rate or not collect your full commission? Terri Murphy tells you how to sell your value without cutting your price.
- “We don’t want to pay commission,” is the phrase every agent fears. Best-selling author Don Hutson knows how to keep sales high, without cutting your bottom line.
- The key to reaching and exceeding sales goals is to focus on dollar-productive activities. Verl Workman, aka “The Freakin’ Sales Animal” knows A LOT about reaching and exceeding earnings expectations.
- Your brokerage will attain success when staffed with motivated and ambitious agents. Learn how to attract, grow and keep top agents with these suggestions from Bernice Ross and Paul Wells.
- Nobody likes a listless sales force. Take your agents from dull to dynamic with these tips from Bubba Mills of Corcoran Coaching and Consulting.
Unleash the Power of Social Media
- Are you struggling with social media? Let guest expert Bernice Ross help you get more leads and more sales through engaging and targeted social media marketing.
- Social media is here to stay, and it’s changing traditional marketing strategies. Terri Murphy and Shaun Nilsson from Cityblast illustrate exactly what you can do to stand out in today’s online consumers.
- Have you been avoiding Facebook? This social media tool can be a valuable resource and a way to turn authentic connections into leads. Here are five ways to use the world’s largest social media platform to your advantage.
Dominate Your Marketplace
- Do people in your neighborhood think of YOU when they think of real estate? Here five things you can do to dominate the market in your area.
- Negotiation can be intimidating, but we’re here to help. With these Top 5 Negotiation Tips, you can close sales and conduct smarter, more productive client negotiations.
- Does the thought of sitting down at the bargaining table make you sweat? Overcome your fear of negotiation and avoid common negotiation mistakes with the tips from real estate negotiation expert and best-selling author Don Hutson.
Inspired and ready to take next step? Try Point2 Agent for free, and let us be your professional partner!
For Jim Wheeler, broker/owner of Wheeler and Associates, Inc in Biloxi, MS, customer satisfaction drives his business by propelling him to the top of the Gulf Coast market. With over two decades under his belt – he started back in 1993 – Jim and his agents enjoy a reputation for outstanding service and valuable real estate “know how.”
Having earned the highest rating on Angie’s List for the Mississippi Gulf Coast has helped Jim distinguish himself from his competitors as a trusted and recommended real estate professional. Recently, Jim began regularly posting on his blog – the Landmark Blog – using it to connect with clients by providing helpful information about all aspects of the real estate market. Jim’s simple, streamlined website promotes client communication on every page, with Jim reaching out to current and prospective customers by encouraging questions and conversation.
By highlighting customer testimonials on his website, Jim is able to nurture existing relationships while also demonstrating to prospects that he can deliver on his promises. Jim also uses his website to direct users to a variety of resources that can help them on their homebuying or selling adventure; including links to MLS listings along the Gulf Coast, a “Dream Home” finder, free market analysis and more!
Jim was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and discuss how he’s used his website and other online tools to grow his business and enhance his marketing strategies.
When did you start using Point2 Agent and why did you choose us?
I began using Point2 Agent some time ago because of the free trial offer. When you live on commissions, you’re always looking for bargains, deals and freebies, and trying it out risk-free seemed like a good idea.
Getting the chance to use Point2 Agent without having to pay for it upfront let me try it out and decide if it was worth paying for in the future. After the trial had ended, I subscribed, and I have been using Point2 Agent ever since.
How do you use Point2 Agent to drive leads?
I take advantage of everything that Point2 has to offer to drive leads. What stands out to me is the fact that Point2 Agent has so many features – like drip emails, featured listings and Handshake – not offered by other sites. I feel like I already have an advantage over the competition just by being a subscriber.
I think the drip email campaign tool is particularly useful for driving leads, primarily because it saves me from spending too much time in front of the computer. With Point2 Agent’s automated email service, I don’t have to spend every minute of my day trying to stay in touch with my leads and prospects. My website does it for me.
Finally, Handshake and Point2 Homes featured listings allow me to extend my reach by connecting me with other agents and homebuyers. In fact, I probably get 3 to 4 leads per month just by using the Point2 Homes the featured ads option.
What is your favorite Point2 Agent feature?
I find that I get remarkable value out of listing syndication because I only have to enter my information once, and it gets sent out to all these other listing websites. Syndication allows me to increase exposure and draw in more leads.
I also like the social media sharing capability because it allows me to expand my marketing plan. The social media integration makes it easy for me to use my Point2 website to place listings on other platforms, like Facebook.
Do you have any tips for agents who are just starting out?
My advice would be to add listings often, and make sure to keep those listing updated. Change up the themes and design on your website so that you can keep it looking fresh. It’s important to blog DAILY, and promote your site using all the social media options available.
Most importantly, follow-up with the prospects that your site generates; don’t just email them and pray that they will email you back. Call them, and do it as quickly as possible. Your actions and your follow-up need to show that you are as good as the impression you make with your website.
Thanks, Jim! Your commitment to your blog and social media marketing are a great example of how today’s online tools can help agents expand their reach and influence.
To start your own 100% free trial of the great real estate marketing tools available from Point2 Agent, just click the button below. You’ll even be able to set up your own mobile-friendly, professional agent website:
Want to hear more? Check out our Point2 Agent Success Stories:
September ends with millions of visits to Point2 Homes and the largest Facebook fan base in Canada!
Point2 Homes, our real estate search website, continues to see steady grow in website visits.
Even as the seasonal traffic slows for fall, Point2 Homes received 2.32 million website visitors for the month of September. This latest number indicates a 62% year-on-year increase in total traffic and a 78% increase in organic traffic. Additionally, Point2 Homes accounted for 26,600 consumer leads during September, a 54% Y-oY increase.
September and October generally see a slowdown in activity in the real estate market, but this increased growth in website visitors indicates that even in autumn, homebuyers and sellers are active and motivated. In one specific example, traffic from Ottawa grew steadily, despite the seasonal slowdown, registering a 6% M-o-M increase and an 85% Y-o-Y increase.
Did you know that Point2 Homes Canada has one of the largest fan bases among real estate websites in Canada? In fact, our social media traffic continues to grow at an astounding pace. The Point2 Homes Canada Facebook page now has over 23,000 fans! That’s almost double the number of followers from less than one year ago, and we expect our fan base to keep on growing! Imagine the having all those potential buyers and sellers viewing your listings and posts each day!
Don’t miss out on these motivated prospects! Check out our tips for fall marketing and make sure you’re using all the available Point2 Agent features to nab leads and enhance your marketing. If you’re a Point2 Agent Professional or Elite member, you should be using the free Featured Ads included with your subscription. If you need help setting these up or want to learn how to get more ads, get in touch with our free and friendly Customer Care team today.
If you don’t have a Point2 Agent account yet, and you want to learn how you can get leads on Point2 Homes, click here.
Happy selling, agents!
While working under the umbrella of a broker or real estate company essentially makes you an employee, the reality is that as an agent, you are responsible for your business. When looking to fill an empty slot with a new candidate, brokers will be looking for a motivated agent with self-discipline and determination.
The job of an agent involves being the intermediary between buyers and sellers. That means brokers want someone with excellent communication skills who can quickly explain the intricacies of property purchases while also tactfully and skillfully negotiating between all parties involved in the transaction. These communication skills extend to marketing as well, so a prospective agent needs to be able to demonstrate that they are not only able to sell properties, but are equally able to sell themselves and the brokerage.
A common term in real estate is curb appeal. You want your listing to present its freshest face to the public in order to charm potential buyers. What you may not have realized is that curb appeal also applies to you. Presenting a likable and professional appearance and character helps you connect with clients and create a rapport with colleagues and referrers. Once you don that jacket and start putting up those signs, you’re a walking/talking representation of the brokerage, so make an effort to be well-groomed and pleasant.
Brokerages and real estate offices are busy workplaces that value efficiency and organization. You can demonstrate that you’ll fit right in by emphasizing your efficient time management and your exemplary focus and initiative. Let them know you are an expert juggler, accustomed to constant motion and committed to never letting the ball drop.
Five Ways to Sell Yourself
Prepare for any initial interaction or first meeting with a broker or real estate company in the same way that you would prepare for a job interview. Using some guidelines from Monster.com, we’ve come up with five ways to sell yourself when you’re first starting out in real estate
- Show Them You’re The Solution
Any company looking to hire new employees is hoping that they can find individuals able to provide a solution to a new or longstanding issue. When it comes to real estate, most brokerages and offices want agents who can contribute to lead generation and making sales. Prepare yourself by becoming familiar with the market in your area, taking special note of any areas that are underserved or not being exploited effectively. Arm yourself with details and strategies to present a compelling pitch as to why you should be their top choice!
- Be Specific
As stated above, it’s not enough to say you’re the best candidate, you have to prove it by stressing your skills and experience. When launching into generalized talking points, like “I work well with others” or “I take initiative,” be prepared to elaborate on your claims with concrete examples. Tell stories, prepare anecdotes, anything to bolster your assertions and stand out from other candidates.
- Talk a Good Game
Come up with a few standard replies or statements that quickly and succinctly summarize your skills, experience and ambition. Try to prepare a catchy soundbite or memorable phrase using industry terms and action words. Begin by listing some of your greatest accomplishments in either the workplace or while in school, and find a way to show how these successes make you stand apart. Once you have a set “story” about yourself, you can easily answer pointed questions and elaborate on the content of your resume.
- Keep an Eye on Body LanguageNonverbal language can communicate a lot about your frame of mind and confidence level, so pay attention to how you present yourself. Make sure your posture is on point, sit up straight and don’t fidget. It’s also important to maintain eye contact while answering questions, and your handshake should be firm, but not overly aggressive.
- Stay PositiveWhenever possible, present yourself positively. Focus on the ways in with you project optimism and capability. Don’t complain about former bosses or working situations. If you must address something negative, keep it short and sweet. Less is more when the topic is unpleasant, so try to avoid elaborating on anything undesirable. Always spin it as positively as you can – if you quit your job, rephrase it as “looking for better opportunities” or “I needed more of a challenge.” If you were fired or let go, simply state “it wasn’t the right fit” and move on.
Above all else, try to remain calm and collected. The most useful approach to selling yourself to brokers or real estate agencies involves highlighting personality by behaving authentically and enthusiastically. Do your research and stay focused on the task at hand. Ultimately, a real estate agency or broker is looking for someone who is the right fit, not just in terms of experience and skills, but also in terms of temperament and a willingness to work.
Just starting out? Let us know what challenges you’re facing and what aspects of the job you’re most looking forward to in the comments.
Good luck everybody!
Click here to find out more about this series, including links to other posts.
Ready to take next step? Try Point2 Agent for free, and let us be your professional partner!
Your Relationship With Your Broker
Whether you just need a handy spot to “hang your license”, or you’re looking for a generous commission split, one of the most significant business relationships you will have as an agent is with your broker. Perhaps you’re looking for a sounding wall or cheerleader, or maybe you just need the desk space. In the end, the ideal situation will be one with give-and-take, fair compensation and adaptability. As part of our ongoing series, “The Right Tools for New Agents,” we’ve broken down some of the basic elements that comprise the agent/broker relationship so that you can balance your expectations and find the situation that works best for you.
The Importance of Compromise
Any agent/broker relationship requires cooperation. Each side will have needs and expectations, mostly about earnings, and so it’s important to balance the hopes and desires of all the parties involved. As a new agent, it can be challenging to stand your ground when you are first establishing a rapport with your broker, but it’s important never to secede too much in the beginning. Adaptability is key. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable adjust and develop as your career evolves.
As we explained in our recent post, Compensation, Commission and Salary: A Starter Guide for Real Estate Professionals, there are several different ways that agents earn income. How much you earn will depend a lot on what your broker is willing to offer, and when you’re just starting out your negotiating power will be minimal. Nevertheless, it makes sense to be aware of traditional compensation setups as well as whatever new options may be available.
The dominant compensation split set up has the advantage of allowing the broker to assume the risk of giving a new agent a chance while also allowing the agent to manage – and expand – earnings based on effort. On the other hand, a 100% commission fee arrangement, a commission cap or even the salary option all have their pros and cons.
In the end, it will be up to you to decide what works best for your situation. If you are willing to forgo steady income for the possibility of a big payout, then you will want to negotiate for a commission split that leans closer to 50/50 or more. If you feel like stability is paramount, then salary or a commission cap may work out better in the long run.
To Desk or Not to Desk
Historically, agents took up desk duty in an office presided over by a broker, but that modeled has continued to evolve and change. The latest technologies, including the increasing influence of online tools and paperless documents, have pushed agents outside the office and into a busy, outcome-oriented sales atmosphere where clients continually push for immediate responses and zero-hassle transactions.
Most homebuyers begin their search online, meaning time spent waiting for walk-in traffic is squandered, but sometimes parking at your desk can have unexpected benefits. For example, you can learn a lot from your colleagues, and the ability to bounce ideas off one another and network is invaluable. Additionally, your broker will be available to review your paperwork and guide you through unexpected challenges including demanding clients and surprise setbacks.
Ultimately, only you can decide how much time you need to spend in the office to be productive. When choosing a brokerage, make sure your expectations align with what the broker requires. Some of you may want flexible hours and the ability to make your own schedule. Others may find it more beneficial to have a set schedule that allows you to easily prioritize tasks and plan your day.
The Right Relationship
You and your broker are linked, by income and ambition. Your broker depends on you to bring in clients, close transactions and supply the negotiated compensation. In truth, brokers want good agents and are often competing with other firms to seize the best candidates.
Brokers are not so much your boss, as your business partner. In many circumstances, the broker is assuming some, if not all, of the financial risk. In return, agents are expected to uphold their end of the bargain. However, as the marketplace changes and the balance of power shifts, agents are gaining more control over their destiny. As you advance in your real estate career, you will likely interact with all types of brokers. Your priorities will shift, and your values will change, and you will begin to understand exactly how to balance your needs with the opportunities and mentorship provided by your brokerage.
Energized and ready to learn more? Here’s a collection of our most recent blog posts with quick tips and tricks for new agents:
How is your broker/agent relationship?
Ready to take next step? Try Point2 Agent for free, and let us be your professional partner!
When you’re just starting out as an agent, making sure you’ve got everything you need can be challenging. A quick search online reveals thousands and thousands of blog posts and news articles filled to the brim with every tip, trick and suggestion imaginable. But how do you trim away all the fluff and empty advice and find real, practical information specifically aligned with your wants and needs?
Finding what you need in this era of data overload can be overwhelming, so let us guide you with our rundown of essential tools and information every new real estate agent needs in order to succeed. In our new blog series, “The Right Tools for the New Agents,” we’ll pull back the curtain so that you can begin to understand what it means to be a successful real estate agent and how Point2 Agent can help you achieve your goals. We’ll cover broker/agent relationships, self-promotion and marketing, earnings and commissions, dealing with failure and much, much more.
Here’s a list of a few of the posts we have planned for the weeks ahead. Remember to check back regularly as we update and content.
Week 1: Your Relationship with Your Broker: Brokers are not so much your boss, as your business partner, your mentor and so much more!
Week 2: Selling Yourself to Brokers: When looking to fill an empty slot with a new candidate, brokers will be looking for a motivated agent with self-discipline and determination.
Week 3: Compensation, Commission and Salary: A Starter Guide for Real Estate Professionals Curious how your earnings as a real estate agent fit into the larger picture? We’ve got the lowdown in our guide to agent compensation.
Week 4: The Pros Weigh In: When just starting out, the best resource you can tap is the agent or broker with years under their belt and a successful business to show for their efforts. We’ve been lucky enough to glean amazing insight and advice from some of the top agents and brokers in the US, Canada and Mexico, and they have a lot to say about what it means to be a real estate agent in today’s modern market.
If you don’t have a Point2 Agent account yet and want to learn how you can get leads on Point2 Homes, click here.
Happy selling, agents!
What Do Agents Earn?
You love your clients, you enjoy connecting buyers and sellers, and we know there’s nothing better than handing off that perfect piece of property into the hands of the right customer! While it’s certainly not all about the money, it sure helps when your income is high, healthy and on par with colleagues and competitors.
In order to ensure you’re on track with your earnings, it’s important to know what other agents are grossing and how brokers handle commission, salary and businesses expenses. Nobody likes to talk about paychecks – except maybe billionaire playboys and hotheaded venture capitalists – but the taboo we place on sharing earnings information isn’t doing anyone any favors.
We know that to manage and capitalize on your earnings expectations and ambitions, you need to know how you fit into the larger picture. That’s why we’ve compiled this starter guide. We’ve done some of the groundwork for you – consulting studies and reaching out to our own Point2 Agents – to present this guide to compensation, commission and salary for real estate professionals.
The average agent in North America earns a base income of just over $38,000 per year, earned via a basic commission rate of 5-6% of the total property sales price. Recent numbers from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) indicate a wide income gap between brokers and sales agents, with brokers bringing in $65,300 in 2014 and agents earning just under $34,000.
Based on information gathered during a 2011 poll of NAR members, the typical real estate agent works on a commission split that varies widely based on how many years of experience that agent has in the businesses. New agents tend to work with a 51-55% commission split while those agents with 16 years or more of experience fall into a 70-75% commission split range. And don’t forget those extra business expenses, including office overhead, health insurance, transportation, marketing, technology, continuing education and industry dues.
Compensation Models and Fees
Real estate agents can earn income in the following ways:
- Standard Commission Split: Broker and agent split gross commission based on agreed upon percentage
- 100% Commission: Agent keeps 100% of commission but makes a monthly payment to the broker as a “desk fee”
- Referral Commission: An agent can earn a percentage of the gross commission from a sale when they refer a buyer to another brokerage or agent
- Commission Cap: An agent pays a standard split on commission until a limit (or “cap”) is reached on what the broker gets, at which point they earn 100% on commission for the rest of the year
- Salary: An agent is paid a set salary per year by the brokerage, sometimes with a small commission bonus added
In addition to split commissions and desk fees, an agent may also be required to pay a percentage fee “off the top” to the brokerage for each commission earned. Major franchises will often take a 7% franchise fee from the gross commission before any other splits or payments are deducted. If an agent has received a $10,000 commission, for example, $700 would be paid to the franchise before the rest is distributed to the agent and brokerage.
There are also plenty of nontraditional brokerage/agent models out there, including fixed-fee systems. Additionally, while an agent may avoid paying brokerage or franchise fees, that agent will still be responsible for additional business costs. Those costs can include office expenses, marketing, training and other services typically provided by the brokerage or franchise.
Working for a Broker
Real estate agents working for a broker are compensated via a split in the gross commission, with the broker receiving a set percentage of the final commission paid. For example, if the gross commission of a transaction is $25,000, in a 50/50% split both the broker and the agent would earn $12,500, with different percentages yielding different payouts. The rate the broker receives on any sale is predetermined and based on the services the broker provides to the agent, as well as how much business the agent brings to the broker. If the broker and the agent have agreed a 100% commission split, the agent will pay a monthly office fee to the brokerage while keeping the entire commission amount themselves.
In a broker-dominated business model, the broker is in charge of all aspects of the company and assumes much of the risk and initial outlay of capital. Depending on whether the office is “broker-centric” or “agent-centric,” the broker provides the majority of leads to agents or agents are left to develop their own prospects. In a broker-centric model, the broker usually manages how those leads are handed out to agents, while an agent-centric setup makes agents themselves responsible for lead generation and follow up.
Sometimes the broker provides office space for agents, along with all the equipment and staffing required to run the business smoothly and efficiently. Essentially, the broker is the boss; distributing assignments and earning income based on a percentage of each agent’s commission while the agents keep some control over their destiny. Other business models also exist, including profit-sharing and agent-participant structures, and some real estate offices include vendor-related additions like lending, title and escrow services.
Some controversy exists as to which office system – broker-centric or agent-centric – offers the best opportunity for real estate agents. Experienced agents with a track record of closing transactions and a steady and robust lead generation strategy will most likely do well in an agent-centric office. For new agents, the lack of mentorship and guided direction could leave them floundering if they haven’t developed the skills to succeed. For those just starting out, the guidance and nurturing of a broker-centric office may be a better fit. For a 100% commission split, new agents may struggle to pay the monthly fee, especially during periods where they have failed to complete any sales transactions. Ultimately, the commission split and estimated earnings must always be considered when making your decision. Equally important are intangibles without fixed monetary value, like extended training, excellent support staff and a proven marketing framework.
According to REALTOR® Magazine, only about 5% of real estate agents work as salaried employees. This small percentage is due, in part, to the limit a salary places on the amount an agent can earn in a good sales year. Of course, during years when sales may not be abundant, salaried agents can feel secure in the knowledge that their pay will remain steady.
For brokerages, the value of keeping a stable of salaried agents is contingent upon their ability to exert more control over agent activities and nurture inexperienced salespeople who may need some extra help starting out. Salaried agents are also less likely to jump ship during slow sales periods, thus reducing turnover and the additional expense associated with hiring and training new employees.
For agents, the security of salary comes with a trade-off: salaried agents cannot earn more money during boom times. In a salary model, everyone is paid at similar rates regardless of the individual effort expended by each agent towards generating leads and closing deals.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re on a commission split, a commission cap, or some salary agreement, in the end how much you earn as an agent depends almost entirely on the effort and discipline you apply to your business. Continued training and networking will provide you with the tools you need to continue advancing in your profession, and you should never be afraid to try new ways to learn and grow as an agent.
Keeping up to date on the latest marketing strategies and technologies will give you a head start and propel you into success and satisfaction. In this modern real estate marketplace, it’s essential that you have access to a killer website and up-to-date marketing knowhow like those available through the Point2 Agent software suite. Consult with your colleagues, grab a mentor and make the most of all the tools and marketing tactics available to make sure you are earning what you deserve.
Sidebar: Compensation Tips for Brokers
When running your brokerage, it’s always important to make sure you are managing compensation for your staff in a way that motivates and mentors them. REALTOR® Magazine provides some great tips to follow, including:
- Don’t pay your managers so poorly that they have to sell. A manager’s role is motivating and mentoring the sales staff, putting them in competition with each other is a lose-lose situation.
- Do pay managers a bonus or percentage of commission to provide incentives for increasing productivity.
- Do link incentives to more than just sales volumes; set bonuses based on the overall profitability of the brokerage so that managers will not neglect the important job of controlling expenses.
- Do be sure that your salary and benefits—health, pension, etc.—are on par with your competitors.
- Don’t pay all managers equally, pay them based on the difficulty of their managerial role. A manager charged with opening a new office requires a different compensation structure from one operating an established one.
Interested in reading more about compensation and agent commissions? Let us know what topics you would like to know more about!
As a real estate agent, your clients expect you to guide them through the process of buying or selling a home. With new mortgage rules rolling out in the U.S. on October 3rd, you’re sure to get a lot of anxious phone calls from buyers and sellers concerned about how these new changes will affect them. Those of you in the U.S. have probably been following the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) carefully, waiting to see what will happen once the rules are in place.
Now that it’s finally here, you may be wondering whether you’re adequately prepared to address all your clients’ questions and concerns. To help you navigate this transformed lending environment, we’ve created this quick guide to “Know Before You Owe.” We’ve included some basic background information, as well as a list of resources you can refer to as you begin to incorporate the TRID rules into your business and marketing strategies.
The History Behind the New Rules
Previously, consumers applying for a home mortgage were supplied two different disclosures forms. The first form was based on Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the second on the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA). Both forms included similar language and inconsistent information, and the forms were heavily criticized for confusing borrowers.
Why New Mortgage Rules
The TRID rules are designed to provide a clear enumeration of all the costs and terms associated with a home loan. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) determined that the previous forms were ineffective and needlessly complicated, leaving borrowers baffled and saddling lenders with tedious, sometimes repetitive, paperwork. The new mortgage rules have been revamped to streamline the mortgage process and provide consumers with clearer information as well as enough time to review the total costs of their mortgage before signing.
The TILA/RESPA Integration Disclosure Rule (TRID)
In June of this year, the CFPB announced the TRID rules would go into effect October 3, 2015. The new rules require one 5-page form designed to simplify the mortgage process and better inform borrowers of all their rights and responsibilities.
Under the TRID, the four disclosures that were previously required have been replaced. Mortgage companies will now only need to supply borrowers with a loan estimate and a closing disclosure. The loan estimate must be posted in the mail no ore than three days after the consumer’s completed mortgage application is received. The closing disclosure, which outlines the final loan transaction, must be supplied to the borrower at least three days before completion of the loan transaction.
Three Day Review
Under the new rules, lenders are required to give borrowers three days to review the Closing Disclosure. Any potential changes to an initial loan offer – like a modification of interest rates or a change in loan type – will restart the three-day review. It’s conceivable that these mortgage review requirements could push the waiting time between offer and closing to seven days or more. In anticipation of longer wait times, some agents advising customers that closings could take up to 45 days.
The New Loan Process
Under the new disclosure rules, the basic mortgage process will proceed as follows:
- Preapprovals and pre-qualifications will proceed as usual
- A loan estimate will initiate the application process
- The loan estimate must be provided by the lender within three business days of the loan application
- The borrower must give formal notice to the lender that they accept the terms of the loan
- After ten business days, the lender is no longer required to honor the terms of the original offer if formal notice has not been received from the borrower
- The Lender cannot request prepayment for any mortgage fees prior to loan processing
- The borrower must obtain the final Closing Disclosure at least three days prior to closing
“Know Before You Owe”
Some confusion and disarray should be expected as the mortgage industry adjusts to these new, stricter, loan compliance procedures. The biggest impact will be felt regarding the closing date, as the three-day waiting period and notification rule will affect the overall processing time.
The best way to deal with this uncertain climate is to keep the lines of communication open with your clients. Emphasize patience and make sure you have more than enough to time to complete all the necessary paperwork. Make sure your customers are aware that these new rules are designed to make the mortgage process more straightforward for consumers and assure them the industry will quickly adjust to these changes.
Resources for Agents
If you still need more information, the CFPB and the NAR have established an online toolkit for agents. Additionally, the National Association of REALTORS® has a survey of what other agents are doing to prepare for the new disclosure rules. You can also view an NAR webcast to learn about what you can expect with these changes, and the Mortgage Bankers Association has an online guide with loads of information for consumers and agents. The CFPB also has a website devoted to answering consumer questions about the new “Know Before You Owe” disclosure rules. Click here to learn more.
Are you ready for “Know Before You Owe?” Tell us how you plan to update your marketing strategies and client outreach in response to the TRID rules.
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Happy selling, agents!
With the school year in full swing and summer a distant memory, the start of fall conjures up images of tawny leaves, pumpkins on doorsteps and “sold” signs dotting the neighborhood.
It’s true: a recent study found that average home prices are almost 3% lower in October, making fall the perfect season for buyers looking to make a deal. So why not make this autumn extraordinarily successful by deploying a targeted email marketing campaign to capitalize on this season of selling?
Know Your Market
Before you send out any emails, you must first take a moment to analyze the state of your farm and adjust your marketing accordingly. Understanding how the market influences the needs and concerns of your clients will help you better promote your properties. Knowledge of your area will allow you to modify your pitch more effectively and take a more personalized approach.
When assessing available properties and possible prospects, it’s important to determine whether your buyers or sellers have the upper hand. For sellers sitting on unsold properties, a dip in price may not be enough to discourage a sale. Some clients may be willing to sell for less than their listing price if their property has been on the market for a while, or they are anxious to leverage their equity into another purchase. For buyers in areas where inventory is scarce, and home values have remained on a relatively stable upswing, even a slight reduction in price might be enough to persuade them to make an offer.
Once you decide if it’s a sellers market, a buyers market or something in between, you’ll know who’s got the advantage. Armed with this valuable knowledge, you’ll be better able to promote your available listings to the right audience.
Use Emails to Target Hot Prospects
Once you’ve earmarked some potential listings and clients, the next step is deploying a targeted email marketing campaign. Using a system like Point2 Agent’s drip email campaigns – which allows customers to specify the property attributes they prefer – you can connect with clients and keep them updated on available opportunities. The ability to send out customized emails to specific prospects based on criteria they’ve earmarked will help you stand out in a sea of generic and generalized advertising.
As you already know, setting up a drip email campaign will keep you top of mind with prospective clients who have indicated some interest, but perhaps are not yet ready to take the next step. With a drip email campaign, your missives arrive branded with your name, company logo and a link back to your website, letting prospects know you’re watching the market on their behalf. And because these email campaigns are automated and generated based on the information clients provide during their initial visit to your website, you can use this type of targeted marketing to follow up automatically on new leads.
Unleash the Power of Customized Emails
Customized emails make all the difference when it comes distinguishing yourself from your competitors. Part of any successful marketing strategy involves building and maintaining awareness of your brand and forging strong relationships with potential customers. Drip email campaigns are a powerful tool for keeping in touch with past, present and future clients.
With Point2 Agent drip email campaigns, you can create your own email campaign matrix or use one of our 15 default email campaigns designed to quickly and efficiently guide you through the process. You can customize your emails, including different greetings and closings, and alternate content for each email. If you prefer to build a campaign from scratch, you can follow our easy guidelines that make setup a breeze. With just a few clicks and a few pieces of information, you’ll be ready to go! More importantly, your website can continue to work for you even after your initial contact with a prospect.
Using drip email campaigns as part of a targeted marketing strategy will help you cultivate and nurture brand awareness. Maintaining regular contact with prospects will translate into stronger connections and more sales because when these potential customers are ready to take action, your previous outreach efforts will make you their first choice.
Seize Opportunity and Highlight Your Strengths
As your inventory shifts due to demand and availability, targeted email campaigns are a way to show your potential customers that you are on top of all the latest developments in your local real estate area. Seize the opportunities fall provides by focusing on potential price fluctuations and targeting buyers and sellers that are eager to make a deal.
Inspired to hit the fall selling season hard? Here are some more helpful tips and tricks:
- 3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents
- Schedule, Script and Sell for High ROI this Fall
- Halloween Marketing: Seasonal Decorating Ideas
- Halloween Hot Tip: Celebration, Event and Marketing Opportunity
Ready to make this your best autumn yet? Let us know how you plan to update your marketing strategies for the fall season.
Let Point2 Agent help you enhance your online marketing. Start your 30-day free trial and get access to drip emails right away!
We’re excited to introduce you to Sam Kamoutsis, a broker from Toronto who is living in the future. Sam has found a way to automate lead generation and modernize his real estate business for the past 10 years. Using all the online tools at his disposal, Sam’s website has generated more than 25,000 leads for his brokers and agents…along with a phone that rings nonstop!
Sam has a keen interest in and understanding of how technology is changing the needs and strategies of today’s agents and brokers. Always on the lookout for the latest real estate tools and resources, Sam has found new ways to connect with prospects, and he’s able to provide them with detailed and accurate information quickly and efficiently.
Not content to rest on his laurels or maintain the status quo, Sam is planning ahead and casting an eye on the future of real estate. With access to the best technology and marketing tools available, Sam feels prepared to handle whatever new developments may come his way, and he feels sure that while “the client of the future has changed forever,” his brokerage will be around for a long, long time.
I started in real estate in 1998, buying properties, renovating them and flipping them for profit. I loved the real estate profession so much, I decided to quit my job in 2005 and get involved in real estate full time. After a couple of years, I left the large brokerage model and launched my own Brokerage: PLANIT Real Estate.
When did you start using Point2 Agent and why did you choose us?
I started with Point2 Agent in 2006 because it offered the most advanced systems to date. Having an extensive IT and technical background, I realized the benefit of deploying not one but several Point2 Agent websites. Point2 offered all the tools I felt I needed to excel in the real estate business, drive traffic to my websites and produce leads for my company.
What do you do to drive leads to your site?
The truth is that any system you use in your daily real estate business will work when it is configured properly. Even though many other real estate website providers have surfaced since, our company still maintains our Point2 Agent website because it generates a very large number of leads for us… and I mean lots! To this day, it has served its purpose well and has paid for all the costs associated for years to come!
Point2 allows our website to appear on the first page of Google directly or indirectly through Point2’s syndicated network of websites. We drive a lot of traffic with minimal to no effort and without spending an extra dime on marketing. We keep our advertising budget minimal but produce huge results for our marketplace.
What kind of traffic or results do you see?
We have collected more than 25,000 contacts in our Point2 Agent database over the years. Because more than 50% of our prospects prefer to call us, instead of contacting us over email, our phones ring nonstop every single day.
Point2 lead generation and management methodology has allowed us to organize by enabling our agents to leave lead generation in the hands of technology, focusing instead on converting leads into clients.
I truly believe in the virtual real estate model, and this is where Point2 shines. The real estate agent of the future needs to be able to virtually connect all their systems through all their devices in order to:
- Generate leads
- Convert leads
- Manage leads and
- Generate income from the leads
In my opinion, virtual real estate is the way of the future. You can see an image of my homepage below:
What is your favorite Point2 Agent feature?
The Handshake and syndication features are two of things I love best. Point2 Agent is the best system in Canada, and it drives leads to our listings while adding exposure we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. The system is very easy to configure, and the dual feature of a listing and a page for the same property works miracles for us.
We drive hundreds of thousands of targeted views and thousands of leads every year to our listings through the Point2 syndication network. I have yet to find another system that offers the same.
Do you have any tips for agents who are just starting out?
I would like to share one simple observation that has changed the way I, and my company, conducts business: the client of the future has changed forever.
The “authority of information” has replaced the “authority of a real estate agent.” Today’s clients are not only starting their search online, but client communication is happening primarily online as well. Gone are the days when print, magazines and direct mail were effective. The real estate market is now online, and only those who follow the rapid river of change will be in business tomorrow.
Every real estate agent and business owner should understand one thing: the communication patterns of the new real estate buyer and seller have changed. In order to succeed in real estate, the modern agent must be present on all the platforms being used by the new generation of buyers and sellers. The successful real estate agents and brokers of the future will be the ones who embrace this change.
Thanks, Sam! Your modern approach and thoughtful insight will really empower and inspire all of our Point2 Agents.
To start your own 100% free trial of the great real estate marketing tools available from Point2 Agent, just click the button below. You’ll even be able to set up your own mobile-friendly, professional agent website:
To see more Point2 Agent Success Stories, click here.