Probably the most asked question I receive is “how do I make money in real estate and is it hard”. Well that really depends on how much you want to make and what you consider hard. Personally I work 12 hour days and have been in the business for over 10 years and make well into the 6 figures. I don’t consider my job hard, in fact I don’t even consider it working at all because I love it so much. If someone would come up to me tomorrow and tell me that I was doing such a good job that the government wanted to take 50% of my pay after taxes then I’d probably continue to work in real estate and work harder and harder. To me the joy is working in real estate. When I got my real estate license it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t make money. I started out the first year thinking I would make millions (actually made just under $70K).
What makes you happy? Sounds simple? I mean, what makes you really happy. For me making money is real fun, meeting people and helping them find a home makes me real happy. The reason why finding homes makes me happy is because I know I can sell them and make money. I guess the money part of it is what makes me the happiest. Are you more of a people person or one that would rather take the back seat in conversations?
When people ask me how to make money in real estate I don’t have the magical answer but I can help you try to make more.
Real Estate Helpful Hint #1 “Find your own niche”
Start with a small area. I personally started with a small sub-division where I owned a home. After 5 years I knew the names of over 50 people in and around my home and was very active in all the association events. Once they found out I sold real estate I started getting calls. Then when I started advertising they had a face with the name. To me that is what real estate is all about. It isn’t sitting around waiting for the phone to ring but going out there and making sure people know who you are. I’d rather dominate a small sub-division in Orlando, FL then try to sell to all of south beach.
Real Estate Helpful Hint #2 “Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals”
I’ve heard people mess this up 1000 times over. When you meet people at the mall or at a social gathering and they ask what you do go ahead and tell them and then ask them if they know of anyone trying to buy or sell a home. Referrals are the best way for you to gain good quality business. Name dropping is something I love to do.
Real Estate Helpful Hint #3 “Work for an independent broker first”
This is hard to do when you first get started but when you work for a larger broker firm you tend to be a number and you either sink or swim. I personally would rather get the experience with a smaller broker and then move on to becoming a broker yourself in the future.
Real Estate Helpful hint #4 “Stay on task and dedicated”
When you wake up in the morning you should know exactly what you need to accomplish for the day. Who do you need to call? What tasks do you need to do? As a real estate agent you need to control everything in your life and that starts with a good plan. Without a good plan you will just waste the day away. Also be sure you have goals. How many new clients are you going to have this week?
Real Estate Helpful Hint #5 “Be unique in your field”
In my opinion this is one that probably weighs more than any of the other helpful hints because this is the one that will make you stand out in the crowd. What makes you so unique? What makes you better than any of the other agents? It could be a simple as you are honest and trustworthy. Could be you send a letter and candy after every sale. Could be you give money away for referrals. Customers consider us thieves that take 6% of the closing cost just for showing a house to a customer.
So the bottom line is after you get your real estate license there is no golden path that you need to take to make money in real estate, but what you need is a good plan and a driving force. Donald Trump once said that it doesn’t surprise him that his competition isn’t that good because he only sleeps 3-4 hours a night and while he works his competition is sleeping.
Image and Style is Everything in Real Estate?
In the real estate community it is all about image. Let’s look at the industry closer and you tell me who YOU would like to deal with. Let’s say for example a potential buyer of a home you call an agent’s sign after seeing it in your neighbor’s yard. When you call you get a voice mail and leave a simple message to detailing you would like to buy a home in a new area of town. Ten days later the agent calls you back for a meeting. Instead of the agent coming to your home he wants you to meet him at a satellite office. Thirty minutes late your new agent arrives looking like he has been in the New York City marathon driving an old beat up Buick. OK STOP! Do you get my point yet? Everything in real estate is about details and image. As a real estate agent you need to treat people as if they are the last home buyers in the world. I really hate getting e-mails from agents who never think they have time for a client. If you don’t have time then you are either the busiest real estate agent in the world, you need extra help, you are juggling too many clients or you don’t know what your doing ( I lead to the you don’t know what you’re doing part most of the time).
Take it slow: Your attention to detail needs to be at the highest. Do you own an old car? If so you really should think about leasing a nice one, something that you would like to be riding in the back seat of while you show clients homes. This is an investment that I can’t stress about enough. People trust you to find their dream home and a rusted car doesn’t scream dream to me.
Dress to kill: If you are a male wear a suit. If in the heat you can at minimum wear a shirt and tie. Enough with the polo collar shirts with your brand logo on it. Not only does this look cheap but it makes you look like a normal Joe. Females can also wear professional dress, no high skirts. I realize that some markets in California this might be a common practice but I can tell you that you will immediately make buyers wife very upset if you are wearing something that you should be wearing to the club on Saturday night.
Be on time and do something special: Never and I mean never show up late to a meeting, never be unprepared and always do something that will leave a lasting impression. Give them a few dinners to a local restaurant as a gift or better yet send them a gift basket so when they arrive back home they get a nice card. If it is a higher end sale and you have been working on finding a home for a client for weeks send them a note stating “I want you to worry only about how to enjoy this basket and let me worry about finding you a home. One will come around that will be perfect for you.”
The bottom line to all of this is play the part. If you are new to the real estate industry don’t fall into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing. Have a good mentor that can show you the correct way of doing business and grow from there. I always would sit back at the end of the day and think to my sell about every major decision or meeting that took place and think about ways I could have done it better or think about if I were wearing the shoes of someone else would I like “me”.