You Passed Your Real Estate Exam … Now What? Part I
This might be a question you asked yourself when you first got into real estate and it’s definitely one I get asked a lot by new agents or soon to be new agents. Real estate is unique in that studying for your real estate exam and then passing it teaches you nothing about actually running your real estate business. It teaches you enough to stay out of trouble and obey the laws but, beyond that, you’re going to walk out feeling great that you passed your exam and feeling uncertain about what’s next.
If you haven’t already you’ll want to start interviewing brokers. Many of us, myself included just signed on with the first broker that we talked too and that’s a mistake. Meet with different brokers – by different I mean big, medium, and small officers along with companies that have different business models. A broker is an agent who has years of experience and has taken additional courses and tests to verify that experience. There’s a laundry list of different commission models available but, as a new agent don’t focus on the commission. It won’t matter if you never learn how to get a client. Focus on a broker and an office that can mentor you and teach you how to not only obtain clients but, how to properly service them and build your business. Ask questions about the office culture, mentoring, education, fees, and availability for support.
Brand name real estate brokerages may or may not be the route to go. There’s no right or wrong answer to this as each office varies. That’s why it’s important to meet with the broker and see if you connect with them. I’ve been with multiple big-name brokerages and never found it meant anything to my clients, they followed me wherever I went. What matters is how you treat your clients, treat them right and your name will spread. As a new agent, you’re going to have a ton of questions, you’re swimming in the sea of unknowns and having someone you can always rely on to train and mentor you is priceless.
Another first step is to create a budget. You’re running your own business now and that requires a budget and a business plan. Your commission split is just one piece of the financial puzzle. You’ll have expenses to join your local association, MLS, E+O insurance, and lockbox access. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I recommend a new agent have at least 6 months of reserves. Real estate isn’t a job you get paid to show up for. In most cases, you won’t earn a paycheck until you close your first deal and in the meantime, you’ll be spending money on building your business in addition to your personal expenses. Having financial software such as Quickbooks is beneficial to create a budget and track expenses but, you can also create a spreadsheet to save on costs.
Stay tuned for part II of You Just Passed Your Real Estate Exam…Now What? We’ll be diving into what you need to do to start attracting clients.