It’s no small undertaking when making the shift to real estate as a career, and now that you’ve passed the real estate license exam, you’re more than aware of the sort of re-education you’ve committed yourself to going forward. We’ll get into that later, but for now, let’s discuss some basics you’ll need in order to set up your business and start recouping some of your education costs.
Passing the license exam is just the start...
Now that you’ve passed the state real estate licensing exam, you should be very familiar with the players and their roles in the industry, but you should also be familiar with the connections between all of them. So we won’t go into that here, other than to say that you do have options with your own business… namely how private you want it to be.
Most agents go in with the mindset that they want to be their own boss, but the truth of the matter is that everyone has a boss, no matter how they set their business up… whether it’s a client roster or your inner dialog or the tax man, we all have higher-ups. So as you are making the transition into RE as a career, you have to ask yourself, "Can I afford to make mistakes, or should I get paid to learn to avoid them?”
Why? Because that’s ultimately what it comes down to when weighing the option of a broker-relationship versus going it out alone as an independent real estate sales specialist. We’ll get into the latter later, but first, let’s explore the more realistic (and recommended) path for you: finding a broker to sponsor your in-the-field job training. Let’s dive in...
Find a sponsoring broker or be an independent agent?
As you enter into the housing market as a newly licensed real estate agent, you can actively opt into finding and working under a licensed real estate broker. We’ve discussed this briefly in other articles discussing the testing process, but in short, a broker is incentivized to take you under their wings and provide a basic pool of leads along with some pointers to get you headed in the right direction.
But, as with most things in life, you’ll be expected to work with what (little) you’re given and only then, once you’ve demonstrated your drive, will you begin to see the real pool of leads and resources. Ultimately, however, it will be your own leads that you bring to the table that help make your RE business thrive in this housing market. This is why we suggest offrs.com when it comes to real estate lead generation for new agents. But we’ll get into that later.
This is all to say that yes, working under a broker as a new agent will provide you some leads, but if you’re expecting them to hand over their hard-earned gold to every rookie agent seeking free leads that walks through their office, you’re going to be disappointed. Instead, go in with realistic expectations around what you hope to see in a relationship with a broker: experience and guidance. This will be something you can pick up in spades.
We mentioned that brokers are incentivized to bring you into their fold and this is true in most cases. While some brokerages will hold out for seasoned, numbers-based performers in order to protect their brand and bottom line, most will be seeking fresh energy and enthusiasm to drive the numbers in their office. If you feel that you’re the sort of agent that can leverage that slight push, then finding a broker (the ideal path forward) may be the ideal path for you too.
But… you do have the option to go it alone if you have considerable resources and faith in your ability to perform your duties as an RE professional (step-by-step) without a single hiccup. What are the benefits of this path? Well, certainly control. But most agents with the likely number of previous career paths behind them know that real, tangible success resides in planning and activities that reduce reliance on luck.
So, beginner’s luck… is for beginners. And while you may be new at being an agent, you’re likely seasoned in life. Seasoned-enough to know that you’ve already taken considerable risks entering into this career as an agent and you may, therefore, want to take your first few steps under the close guidance of a veteran producer.
Make connections and find real estate groups
You may be asking yourself, “how competitive is the real estate industry as an agent?” After all, there’s a lot of houses on my block that are up for sale! Well, the answer is… very. As you now know, the commissions are rewarding, but so much can happen to make each deal fall through. But... the competitive nature of the business may also provide a hidden advantage (or two) to you as a new agent. Here’s how...
- No one expects you. Remember, your competition has likely been working your area for a while now and they’ve seen a lot of people come and go without much staying power. At this point, their guard will likely be lower now than later (when they discover your brand’s presence working all hours of the night in what was once their space). Take advantage of this “cover of night” entry and come in swinging hard!
- You’re not alone. So, you passed the real estate license exam. Now what you need to do is network, network, network. As you’ll remember from your tests, there are several types of real estate agents working around you. Partnerships such as friendly referrals for other types of RE services you don’t yourself offer will go a long way to building your own brand! A lot of “outliers” can band together to form a rather imposing force to be reckoned with!
- You have a secret weapon. Your competition doesn’t know about the offrs.com exclusive lead generation solution, which can not only level the playing field by increasing your connections with homeowners in the area, but can also provide you with a significant edge up on the sheer number of residents you are able to connect with in such a short period of time! With exclusive services like offrs predictive analytics, Smart Data and lead generation, you can dominate your region from the start.
The real estate business is highly competitive, but as shown above, this can actually give you some advantages that others in more comfortable circumstances may not have. Many martial arts masters will taut that starting from the ground (with the Earth at your back), can give you significant advantages over an opponent with only the air behind them. So go in strong and hit your territory hard. Be trustworthy, know your stuff, creatively network and you’ll do just fine.
What should your marketing budget be?
You passed the real estate license exam’s business finance sections, so you’ve likely already set up some preliminary personal finance goals for your own real estate business itself. With that in mind, we’re not going to go into depth on the financial considerations required to actually required to sustain a profitable business (the daily stuff), other than to provide this helpful rule of thumb when it comes to defining a real estate marketing budget… “in real estate, you have to spend money to make money.”
Okay, so you’ve heard it before (many times), sure. But you need to keep hearing it, because if it doesn’t hurt now, it may very well down the road. At some point in your budding career as an RE professional, you’re almost inevitably going to have to make the hard decision as to whether to pay your car payment, your phone bill or your inbound source of leads (real estate lead generation providers that help you keep a steady flow of business).
The nation’s top-performing agents (those that have survived long enough to make the list at all) spend a significant portion of their budget on marketing. So you have to ask yourself going into a career as an agent, how much are you going to spend on marketing? Do you plan on going in hard or soft-footed?
Let’s say that you want to just put your toes into the water (that you’re not concerned about profit for the next few months or year). If this is the case, then a 10% budget is a nice, even-keeled marketing threshold you might plan for (here’s a great article on marketing budgets for new agents), but ultimately, “budgeting for marketing” requires a “budget for marketing,” so either way (going in soft or hard-hitting), you’re going to need to plan!
So, at the start of this article, we discussed continuing education for real estate. Our industry requires consistent continuing education and re-education. So many laws get updated, county lines shift, codes change… and all of these are very significant to the clients you’re going to be servicing, especially given that this may be the single-largest financial investment they’ll make in their lives!
Each state’s requirement for continuing education will vary, so you’ll need to check your local resources to verify that you’re in compliance in order to maintain your license as a certified agent in your state or county. Check in with your licensing school or facility (where you received your training) to see what information they may have regarding how you keep your license and what fees are involved each year.
Once again, congratulations for having passed the real estate license exam, now what needs to be exercised is some research, planning, brand-building, humility and patience. We want for you to leap into your career with the same vigor you went into your testing process with, but at the same time, entering the field of real estate with the wrong tools or worse… the wrong mindset, could be devastating to your success as an independent REALTOR® or licensed specialist in the area.
You’re doing great by reading articles like this one here. Keep up the pace by reading more about the industry as a whole at www.offrs.net and be sure to check out all that offrs has to offer your business by going to www.offrs.com. Remember, we recommend research, finding a suitable broker that can take you under their wings and show you the ropes, locking down a wealth of homeowner leads (Smart Leads) and hitting it hard.
You’ve got this!
Getting Your Real Estate License:
- Requirements for a Real Estate License
- Real Estate License Test Prep
- How to Pass Your Real Estate License Exam with Flying Colors
- What to Do after taking the real estate license exam
- You passed the real estate license exam, now what
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