When I was a little girl, I used to see all of these well-dressed women driving fancy cars and putting up For Sale signs in my neighborhood. So, I got this idea in my head that real estate is just putting up a few signs, checking out a few homes, holding and attending a few open houses, and waiting for the offers to pour in.
The funny thing is that this same perception is still around today. The good news is I didn’t get into real estate because it looked like a glamorous career choice. In fact, I started helping my husband’s real estate team with paperwork and marketing. That eventually snowballed into getting my real estate license, founding an independent brokerage, and creating two companies that provide administrative services to real estate professionals. Once I got into the trenches, I saw there is a lot that nobody tells you about selling real estate.
The Shocking Thing About Real Estate
Here are the 5 things that seem to shock new agents when they get into “the business”:
- Real estate is, in fact, a business. First and foremost, while you may work in a brokerage, you are running your own micro-business. If you plan to actually earn a living representing buyers and sellers, you need to generate your own leads, manage your own systems, and be responsible for making sure that the transactions get to the closing table. This means that you need to show up at least 5 days a week and put in a good 40 hours.
- Good systems are vital to your success. Since real estate is obviously not just putting up a few signs, you have to put into practice good systems—using the best productivity tools and apps. Systems and products that slow you down or are ineffective can get in the way of your success. It’s great to be able to quickly manage leads, clients, and paperwork from your mobile device in the field, and you have not established your own efficient processes, you’ll be up into the middle of the night and feel swamped.
- You have to control your day. There’s nothing worse than getting geared up to make a few calls and generate some new business and then you learn that the key is missing from the lockbox or a water pipe broke at your new listing. Attending to stuff like that can completely derail your day. In order to stay on task, it’s important to set daily targets and make sure that you complete those tasks first.
- You cannot take anything personally. One of the newer agents in my office commented that she couldn’t believe how involved she got in the details of people’s lives. “I never thought,” she said “that I would have to spend so much time worrying about the details of each transaction.” To be a successful agent, you cannot take anything personally. The very best way to become more objective is to put more leads and prospects in your pipeline. The busier you are, the less time you have to sweat the small stuff.
- You must always sharpen your saw. Twenty years ago, real estate agents had limited access to Internet and corded car phones; lead generation meant mailing items at the post office, and calling Expireds, FSBOs, and your geographic farm. That’s obviously not the case these days. As agents, when the next new thing comes our way, we have to be ready to sharpen the saw and make changes accordingly.
There are a whole slew of other things that surprise me about real estate. But the best part is the adventure. No matter how many deals you’ve closed, each one is a whole new animal—with its own set of people, personalities and problems. But if you’ve got a lot of deals in your pipeline, you’ll worry less and enjoy it a whole lot more!