It’s easy to understand why starting a career in real estate is appealing to many. You can work as an independent contractor, giving you control of your own business. You work directly with people and you travel a lot instead of being stuck to a desk all day. Plus, the money can be quite good once you get the ball rolling.
So, if you’ve ever found yourself considering a career in real estate, but don’t know where to begin, here are the basic steps to consider:
There’s not much you can do without a real estate license, so that’s the starting point. Research the licensing requirements in your state or province, complete the required coursework and pass the licensing exam. The fees and length of the licensing process vary from one region to another.
Join a Brokerage
Once you have your real estate license, you should find a brokerage to work with. A real estate brokerage is a company that facilitates real estate transactions and ensures that its agents follow all legal and ethical standards. Additionally, joining a brokerage has many other advantages: the managing broker can offer mentoring and you can get a head start by affiliating yourself with a known brand.
Depending on what you negotiate with the managing broker, you might be required to pay a flat fee to the brokerage you work under, or a percentage of every sale.
Keep Track of Budget and Expenses
Besides the start-up costs of getting your license and joining a brokerage, you will also need to pay for desk fees, business cards, signage, lockbox fees, MLS memberships, real estate headshots and other marketing materials. It is important to factor these in your budget planning when considering a career in real estate.
Plan for and track expenses just as you would for any business and keep track of paperwork for tax purposes. Since you’re working independently, you won’t have taxes taken out of your commissions.
Create a Network of Contacts
Networking is a huge part of becoming a successful real estate agent. Make sure you always have business cards with you and hand them out as often as you can. Spread the word to your friends and family about your new career and ask them to share the news with their own contacts. Chances are, when they hear of someone needing a real estate agent, they’ll refer them to you.
Develop a Marketing Plan
Don’t rely solely on word of mouth to generate leads. Invest in a quality agent website and other online marketing tools. Try different marketing strategies and see what works best for you. Make sure to also use social media to grow your real estate business. This will increase your online exposure and with 90% of home searches starting online, that’s where you need to be.
Learn and Improve
Once you start meeting clients, closing transactions and earning commissions, you’ll get a better idea of what works and in what areas you need to improve. Most brokerages offer continuous learning courses and there are plenty of real estate-oriented workshops and conferences you can attend.
Optimize your marketing and budgeting tools and strategies until you achieve the best results. Set up some daily habits that will drive your success and watch your business grow.
Of course, these are just the general starting steps towards a career in real estate. There are plenty of laws and regulations to learn, contracts to understand and industry insight to develop before you start to see significant returns, but a real estate career can be quite lucrative if you’re willing to put in the hard work.