Becoming a real estate agent takes a lot of work, but the benefits can be amazing.

Because there are so many things to learn about becoming a real estate agent, I interviewed a bunch of Realtors for you.

Here’s the deal:

When you start a business, you need to talk to people who’ve already done what you’re about to do. They’ll save you time, money, and hopefully help you avoid painful pitfalls.

So today:

I’m going to let experienced Realtors share their stories about becoming a real estate agent, getting their real estate license, and more.

Here is the question I asked everyone about becoming a real estate agent:

“What would you tell your younger self just getting started in real estate, and what is your #1 tip for succeeding as a new Realtor?”

The responses are amazing! If you’re just getting started or looking for tips about becoming a real estate agent, I hope you find this as valuable as I do!

Ryan Fitzgerald: Need To Find Leads in Real Estate? Here’s How One Agent In Raleigh Did Just That:

Find a Great Real Estate Mentor.

When I first received my real estate license I saw dollar signs everywhere I looked. I even took a drive down streets where there were multi-million dollar homes in Raleigh and I envisioned my sign in front of them – there may have been one I imagined living in :).

A few months later I still hadn’t sold a home.

I was confused, overwhelmed and wondering why I was running out of money. I reached out to Andrew Fortune, a Realtor who was using an online lead generation strategy I enjoyed and he was having great success with it! Whether it was accidental or intentional Andrew became my mentor.

It was at this point I decided to dedicate myself to the one strategy I actually enjoyed and that was generating real estate leads online. I wanted to have the real estate website everyone went to when they searched for Raleigh Real Estate.

Veteran Agent’s would tell me what I was doing was wrong, and that it would never work. That I should be making cold calls, knocking on doors, and holding open houses. These are proven strategies and they work! They just didn’t work for me.

Embrace the fact that it’s not easy. If it was easy everyone would do it, and you wouldn’t appreciate the hard work you put in. Find a great mentor who is using a lead generation strategy you’ll enjoy. This person will help you stay confident, and point you in the right direction to reaching your goals. Andrew helped me, and I wouldn’t be having the success I am without him!


Andrew Fortune on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | WebsitefAzvKAnq

What would you tell your younger self just getting started in real estate? 

I would tell myself to be confident in my own ideas and decisions. Trust your gut feelings and business instincts. I started with a large national brokerage because I thought they had a lot of experience to offer, which they did. The problem was that their experience was dated and the internet had changed everything since. My gut feeling was that I should be putting many hours into my online presence. I was being coached to try other lead generation strategies first. That info almost cost me my business. I quit after 18 months and my business finally started to take off after I pursued the internet like I originally thought I should. There is a lot of outdated information being sold as valuable advice. Be careful who you listen to!

What is your #1 tip for succeeding as a new Realtor?

Be pessimistic! Don’t think that you’re getting paid just because you have a signed sales contract. It’s the most common mistake that I see new agents make. There are 99 problems that can make your deal fall apart. As a new agent with minimal experience, you won’t know what most of these problems are, even after all of your training is complete. It’s even worse if you start off with a couple of easy deals. You’ll start to think that they’re all like that. Most of them are very complicated. Plan for problems and you won’t be caught off guard. Get ready for battle!

Also, don’t think that the internet is a gold mine for leads. The internet is very saturated and competitive. Many leads that come in through forced registration websites are flaky. Your ability to provide great customer service and client protection is equally as important as your ability to get leads, if not more so. It takes time to build a real business so get ready to work very hard.

Marcia Boston on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


I have been a Realtor for only a year and have learned an incredible amount in that time. There are lots of things I would do differently and many things I can recommend. I have come to realize that teamwork is an odd concept to many real estate agents. That real estate agents are very results oriented. And that if you show you will work hard you will get respect and ultimately referrals.

#1 Get a mentor in your office…beg if you must! I find experienced agents are reluctant to take a new agent on, but if you keep pestering them sometimes they will relent. If they see that you are competent and persistent that might help. Make sure you come to the office every day and be a presence.

#2 Offer your services to all the agents in your office for open houses and anything else they might need help with. Send an email to the office list offering your services.

#3 Get familiar asap with all the properties in your area. Go to broker open houses whenever possible. Get to know other agents and network whenever you can. Team up with another agent to go with you and try to get a handle on prices and properties.

#4 Use your family and friends as much as possible. Treat them like your clients and market to them (in a nice way of course)

#5 Follow up on leads by phone AND email. This will work much better. If you are too shy to call, do it anyway…you have to become comfortable approaching people and you get better with time. Practice scripts and write down what you want to say.

#7 Pretend you know what you are talking about…do not appear tentative. I asked a lot of questions when I first started and people began to feel like I was not confident and did not ask me to help them. Just act like you know and then go back and do your research. Save your important questions for your mentor and ask in private. This is really hard when you just start out. Realtors are a hard bunch and judge you quickly.

#8 Read as much as you can about the field, read marketing and sales books as well, do webinars, attend classes and learn as much as you can because once you get busy you won’t have time.

# 9 Get a good website right away, invest in marketing materials and tell everyone you meet you are a Realtor. Be a creative marketer…team up with someone and do events, use Meetup, try whatever you can to get customers. Advertize on whatever channel(s) you choose and advertise consistently, send mailings to a farm area which you choose carefully.

#10 Being a real estate agent is like starting your own small business and you have to look at it that way and invest in yourself and your business at the beginning, build your business and then start reaping the rewards. It takes time and I am still working on it myself.

Bill Gassett on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


Looking back upon my real estate career if there was one thing I wished I started doing sooner it would be creating community pages on my website. For those who are scratching their head and wondering what the heck a community page is it can be best described as a local Wikipedia page for the towns or cities you do business in. To show you what I am talking about have a look at my page covering real estate in Bellingham Massachusetts. Community pages are great because they establish a Realtor as a local expert. If you were located out of state and were not familiar with the Bellingham area would you not agree that a page like this would be super helpful to a buyer? People love doing research on the cities or towns they are considering buying in. Having information like this can be very helpful in making wise decisions.

As a real estate agent with a page like this you can establish instant credibility with both buyers and sellers. The key of course is providing exceptional content. There are no short cuts when it comes to making a page like this. It should be loaded with helpful data including information on the real estate market, schools, demographics, restaurants, local attractions and anything else that makes the community note worthy. Your real estate community page should also give a little something about you as an agent. Why should someone hire you? What is your production like? Do you specialize in anything? Here are five solid reasons to have your own local real estate pages. See why having these pages could be a godsend to your business. From personal experience I know you will not be disappointed.

Once you have created an exceptional real estate page your job is not done! Just like any other page or blog post on your site you need to market your community pages to as many places as possible. Take a look at a few ways to market your real estate community page. Get the word out there as best you can. Always remember to be looking for opportunities to get your local guides the exposure they deserve. If you done an exceptional job with these pages after a while I am sure your phone will be ringing with inquiries from clients looking to do business with you. If it works for me it can work for you too!

Jon Fouse on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


Real Estate is simple but not easy. These lessons learned should help you get out of the gate. Maybe not quickly, but stick with it and your business will grow.
1. Find a lead source that you will do everyday. Ex: calling expired’s, door knocking, open houses, something you can and will do everyday.
2. Learn and practice scripts and dialogs daily. (Knowing what to say and how to handle objections is half the game if not more than half.
3. Find a mentor or coach. This will hold you accountable, and give you great ideas for how to improve your business. You will find that even the most successful agents still use a coach, assuming they still continue to want to grow.
4. In the beginning you will have to focus your efforts on your sphere of influence. People work with those they trust. Your friends and family already know you and hopefully trust you.
5. Learn the local market. Knowledge trumps experience.That’s pretty much it, wash and repeat daily and you will find at least some level of success. Best of luck!

Anthony West | Find On Twitter | WebsiteScreenshot 2015-02-11 22.59.44 copy

So you’re getting your start in Real Estate huh? You’re young, full of energy and ideas, passion and personality, ambitions and goals. I hear you have got your first year mapped out to a “T” on how you will get your first piece of business and market yourself for the whole world to see! With guns blazing right out the gate, you for sure are headed to the next season of “Million Dollar Listing”. You cannot fail! Your plan is fool proof and it can only take you up from here. Or so I thought; as a fresh 21 year old entering an industry that proved to be more challenging than I ever imagined.

No one ever told me how long it could take to get my first transaction and the fact that joining a team or group is a safer bet to insure I would at least have income coming in early on. I guess that’s what I get for being a first generation Real Estate agent. “Baptism by fire” as my broker likes to say. I was in a unique position (as were/are thousands of other professionals in this industry facing similar circumstances); yes there are mentors at our agencies (or competing ones) that we have the fortune of collaborating with and looking to for advice (thank goodness for them), but when you don’t really know someone (like a family member or longtime friend) who has been in the industry and can guide you on what to do and what not to do in your first year, the only true way to learn, is by learning your craft like the back of your hand and being fearless of making mistakes because in the first year, it should be simply about going to the knowledge bank.

If there is anything I would tell my young naïve self during my first year in Real Estate, it would be would be what my broker “John Moffitt” has told me: Real Estate is like playing basketball; you have to practice to be good, but those that put in overtime are the true professionals. Your success should not be measured by how many transactions you closed, but by how much knowledge and experience you gained and how confident you feel going into your second year and the many more to come.

Mark Ferguson | Find On Twitter | Websitemark

What is my number one tip for new real estate agents?

Becoming a new real estate agent can be very scary. Most have no guaranteed income when they start in the real estate business and must sell houses quickly to stay afloat if they don’t have a large savings. It is hard to mention just one tip when starting in the business, because there are many things a new agent must consider. I don’t have much space, so I will focus on the positive and how to generate income here. If you want to know how much you need to save before you start check out this article.

The number one tip I can give any new agent is focus. Do not try to make money with eight different types of marketing, by working in commercial, residential, high end, low end, investment, short sales, HUD and REOs. It is fine to sell those types of deal if they fall into your lap, but you can’t market to everyone. If you try to market to everyone you will become a master of nothing and mediocre at everything. No one wants to work with an agent who is okay at ten different aspects of real estate. They want to work with someone who is awesome at one thing; the type of real estate transaction they need help with.

While you may hear multiple streams of income is what you need to strive for, you can’t create those streams at once. You need to focus on a couple of different types of marketing and no more. If you master one type of marketing and find great success, then you can think about branching out.

If you want more detail on what to focus on. Focus on your sphere of influence. You will hear this term a lot and there is a good reason for that; it works. Before you get your license you should be marketing yourself to your friends and family and creating a database for anyone you contact. Real estate is about relationships, not paying for leads. Build relationships and you will have your own lead generator.

Wade Webb | Find On Twitter | Websitewade on becoming a realtor

After 22 years in this business, I wish I would have read the answers to this very important question. Hands down the #1 tip for succeeding as a new realtor in my mind is to find someone who will hold you accountable.There are various disciplines you need to succeed in this business.They are: prospecting, following up with leads, qualifying prospects, and listing presentations.That mentor needs to assist you in implementing systems for your business and keep you consistent every day. There are so many distractions that may bombard you.

Tammy Behnam | Find On TwitterWebsite

Be a good listener and do their fiduciary responsibility to the fullest. Get the trust of their client.

David Feldberg | Find On Twitter | Website184055622 (1)

The first thing I would tell myself is the first couple of years you are going to work your tail off and you probably won’t be hitting home runs just yet but be patient.  Real estate is about relationships and people trusting you with their largest investment and that doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes lots of blogs posts, social media posts, referrals, positive reviews, happy clients, etc. Those first 25-30 clients will help you build a long-standing business if you treat them like they are your friends or family and you want to do right by them.  Don’t worry about the money it will come!  Do good business, focus on number of transaction not size of the deal, (try to market to higher value neighborhoods) but help everyone if its going to be a big check or little check as you never know where you next referral is going to come from!  Be honest and ethical.  You never will have to worry if you aren’t hiding everything. If you know the fact that the house backs up to a major street is going to be a turn off to lots of buyers tell your clients! They will trust you more if you are honest with them. As for what my number one tip would be to anyone who wants to be successful in real estate, is tasks with manageable goals.  If you want to make it a point to talk to 10 new people every day make yourself a checklist and do it.  Have quarterly and annual goals for revenue and number of transactions. Whatever your goals are make a check list and cross out the items as you do it.  I love doing real estate.  I feel great about the work that I do and I love my clients.  I make a great living, but I work hard.  Whatever your goals are they can be achieved, but you have to make a plan and stick to it.

Kyle Hiscock on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


The biggest tip I can give to new real estate agents is to not underestimate what exactly it takes to make it in real estate. There are many things that people need to consider before getting their real estate license.before getting their real estate license.

There are many traits real estate agents need to possess in order to be successful. Many agents under estimate what it actually takes to be successful in the business. The first thing that a new agent needs to realize is that it’s not normally a profession that can be part-time. To be successful a new agent really needs to be able to devote “Full-Time” hours to their business. It’s also important that new agents realize that real estate isn’t “easy-money.” A common stereotype that exists is that real estate allows flexible schedules while yielding a high income. High income is absolutely a possibility, however, the time and effort that needs to be put forward cannot be minimal.

After weighing all of the pros and cons to becoming a real estate agent, I strongly suggest to new agents they have some type of CRM program, such as Top Producer or Realty Juggler. These programs allow agents to stay organized, keep track of their transactions, and also setup drip campaigns and after-sale follow up programs. Repeat business and referral business should be one of the biggest sources of a real estate professionals year to year business. With no follow up plans or drip campaigns in place, many agents fall out of touch with their past clients and when the time comes to buy or sell, they have forgotten completely who their Realtor was.

Karen Highland on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


If I was just getting started in real estate, I’d tell myself to start treating it like a business immediately. Start building my brand and my business, don’t wait for my broker or Zillow to give me leads. I’d start right out with a custom website, learn some basic SEO, and start blogging like a machine. I’d get out and network, meet people and get my brand out there. That’s what I’d tell my younger self.

My #1 tip for succeeding as a new Realtor is to understand that you are in a business, not a job. You’re not just helping people because you like houses. You are a Realtor, yes, but you’re also the CEO, the paralegal, the marketer, the chief technology officer,…and the list goes on. Don’t take things personally, be ok with rejection now and then, get up the next day and shake it off. That’s what you have to do when you treat it like a business.

PS: To see some great real estate slogans ideas, check out our post on it!

Anita Clark on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


I would tell my younger self, or anyone just getting started in the real estate business, 3 primary things:

1.     Have enough funds to sustain you for the next 12-months. This includes living expenses (if being an agent is your only source of income), marketing funds, and money set aside for business emergencies (car breaks down, cellphone quits, etc.). It is tough to generate new business your first year so having funds readily available will help keep your motivation high, and your thoughts on creating new clients, not worrying about how you will pay the bills.

2.     Start cultivating your sphere of influence immediately. Whether you have a customer contact management system or track your contacts some other way, it is critical to have a system that allows you to enter as much information about each prospective person as possible and track your correspondence with them. Developing a system early on in your career will help keep you organized as your sphere increases and you start turning those prospects into clients.

3.     Interview all the local real estate brands before deciding which brokerage you will hang your hat with and ensure they offer a robust training plan and mentorship program. You will learn in real estate school enough to pass your state real estate exam, but nowhere nearly enough to help consumers buy and sell homes. Working in a brokerage that provides quality training (both required and supplemental), and gives new agents an opportunity to shadow a seasoned professional, are providing the real estate tools necessary to set that newbie up for success.

My top tip for succeeding as a new Realtor is to develop a niche. Become the local real estate expert on a particular process (i.e. short sales), type of client (i.e. first-time buyers), community/subdivision, etc. When you combine that expertise with a solid blogging plan that includes the use of social media (remember that SM is social and you need to engage), you are building a strong foundation that will generate new prospects, leads, and clients for years to come.

Mark Solomon on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website

mark becoming a realtor

There are two things that you can do in order to be extremely successful in Real Estate. These two things will assure you success now and in the future… “Lead Generation” and “Time Blocking!”

Lead Generation: Fill the pipeline first thing in the morning (8am-11am). That time should be spent finding new business. Phone calls to expired, canceled listings, for sale by owner, calls to your sphere of influence or calling a neighborhood should be what you do first thing every day when you come to work. That is the “work” in this job. Do this consistently and daily and you will never be at a loss for business. Spend each morning being deliberate. Do not just run your business by default. Work this job like you have every other job (at least a full 8 hours) and you will end up with a career you love. After lead generation, do whatever you want. The hard work is over for the day.

Time Blocking: Block that lead generation time in your calendar and guard it carefully. You should also time block your calendar for family/personal time. Make sure your personal life is handled as deliberately as your business. Block your personal time and protect it as much as you do your lead generation time. Lead generation and time blocking; those two simple things will enable you to be an extremely successful business owner and individual… and a happy one at that!

Connor MacIvor on becoming a real estate agent | Website | Twitter 


Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it! There are a lot of naysayers in the business, who have a purpose to keep the flock as “thin” as possible.

Some will tell you there is not enough business for you to survive. They may also talk about the insurmountable obstacles that an agent may experience as to a thwart your intentions. If you have started the journey to be a full-time real estate salesperson, you have already proven you have the “right stuff” to succeed. Keep focused and live by your schedule. That will be the reason you succeed or fail.

When we started in real estate, in 1998, there was a lot of this type of banter provided by agents that had spent more time at lunch than we had in the business of real estate. Looking back, I’m glad that we did not stop, no matter what difficulties arose. BTW – I don’t believe in luck, Luck Favors the Prepared… So go and prepare, then execute!

Sandra Valladares on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


Great!!! You just got the Real Estate License, Now Lets look for that company where your will put your talent to work, but before you do that and if you have a daily job…A WEEKLY INCOME….If you are working right now, “Do Not Quit Your Job Yet”. Peace of mind is imperative in this business. The company you want to hang your license, should be proud of training their Realtors before to tell them, this is your office, this is your extension # and “Good Luck”….

Lisa Bailey-Harper on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


If I had to tell my younger self how to get started in real estate today, my #1 tip would be to look for a Brokerage that would nurture me as a Realtor and a Business Owner and not to just jump at the 1st company or 2nd company or even the 3rd company to start my career just because I recognize their brand. It’s not about their brand, it’s about mine within the confounds of theirs. Do your homework and find out what the company can do for you. You are new so you’re not sure what you can do for the company. Without the right company behind you and with you, you are set up to fail and not grow without the training and the support needed to help you be a successful Realtor!

I would set myself up to learn how to invest in the very business I work in. No one ever taught to me nor told me about that side of the business and not only can I help sellers and buyers but I can help myself as an entrepreneur. Who better to buy real estate than me? Who better to invest in real estate better than me?

Thirdly, I would have been looking to grow a team hence growing my business into another dimension. I love what I do and I wish I would have done it better earlier!

RE Hudson Valley on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


Building a database is very important. When you first get started in real estate, you may find out you need to kind of beg all your friends, family, and everyone you know for business. Those are the first people that you need to enter into your database.
You may find out not enough of your friends and family will be buying a house. That’s when you need to spend either money or time for marketing, and just go out and network and meet more people in general. But what are the chances that you catch people exactly at a time when they are buying and selling a house?
That is why building a database is so important – most people move every 10 years, which means it is not a high chance that you will talk to someone right when they’re moving. But if for every person you talk to and meet, you get permission to add their email address or mailing address into a database, you can now send them a monthly email or mailing. Now when 10 year moving mark comes around, it will be much easier for them to remember you.

Adam Lesner on becoming a real estate agent | Find On Twitter | Website


I think the #1 most important thing in this business is confidence. There are so many seasoned pros that “know it all”, but the reality is, the market is constantly changing.

We all learn something new every single day. Don’t wait until you take “one more class” before you’re comfortable with telling the world what you do. Be flexible, and be a sponge. If you are confident in yourself, everything else will fall into place. You will always find a way. You will always figure it out. This isn’t some motivational, self-help garbage. This is reality.

The 2nd piece to focus on is the marketing piece. Use the amazing tools online to get your name out there. There has never been a better time to be in this business. Anyone with ambition can make a name for themselves if they want to. Use social media, video, blogging, and other internet tools to your advantage.

Why use online resources? Well if you’re reading this, you already know the answer…

When you put serious effort into building a solid online presence, you put yourself in a position to be selling 24/7. Now everything changes. You don’t have to tell every single person you meet what you do for a living. You don’t have to be Mr. Slick, handing your card out to people at all times. No. Find a niche you like, and start creating content about it consistently. People will start calling you because you offered some valuable insight online which prompted them to pick up the phone and call you for your expertise. YOU, of all people! Imagine that.

Be different.

Don’t be like everyone else. Find someone you like, and do what they do. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know personally, or even in the same state as you. It can be a real estate pro you found online that stands out to you. Follow that person. Mirror their craft, and then make it better.

Larry Lawfer | Find On Twitter | Websitebecoming a real estate agent

Find your system early, talk to the experts and follow their lead. Find your one thing and stick to it. Be patient and consistent with your efforts. Do not be discouraged and do not listen to people who are negative. Should you follow these few steps at the beginning you will be more successful faster and with less pain. As you go along, continue to apply these same rules and your success will continue to grow. Give back and keep smiling, this is an awesome business for those who follow these simple steps.

Bob D’Ambrosia | Find On Twitter | WebsiteBobD'Ambrosia_0017HiRESIZE2

Do not give up! The Real Estate business is the best around. When starting out have a plan, stick to the plan and be disciplined. Your week month and year should be planned out. Make sure you have scheduled breaks and vacations planned as well. As you time block your calls, marketing and administrative work make sure 60% is Green (Money making) time and 40% or less for non money making time. Find a mentor and model them. Remember the business has ups and downs. You cannot adjust the wind but you can adjust your sail. Stay focused and do not give up and it will happen!

Deborah Winters Chaney | Find On Twitter | Websitebecoming a real estate agent

I would have told my younger self, 15 years ago when I just getting started in Real Estate, that I needed to expect it would take several months before being paid a Commission check. I’d tell myself to be financially prepared. I would make sure I understood, being a Realtor is absolutely a service industry — not a get-rich-quick job. And finally I would make sure I knew, being in Real Estate was a long-term goal, a job that gets better with time, and one that is completely tied to one’s good reputation. #1 Tip? Your word is your bond. Always tell your Clients the truth and represent everyone as if they were your own family…people you deeply care about.

Jim Mader | Find On Twitter | Websitebeginning in real estate

The first thing I would say is “don’t chase commissions”, rather SERVE your clients and the commissions will take care of itself. Secondly being a Realtor is not a job, it’s a business. You have to consider yourself an entrepreneur and invest in your business and in yourself with training, education, and marketing. Be prepared to invest money as you can, when you can, in this new venture. One idea to consider to find new clients to work with is ask listing agents in your office permission to sit an open house at one of their nice listings. It’s a win for both of you, they get their listing shown and you get to pick up buyers.

Lee Davenport | Find On Facebook | WebsiteDSC_2827

What would you tell your younger self just getting started in real estate, and what is your #1 tip for succeeding as a new Realtor?

In real estate sales, the number one thing you need is a constant stream of clients. Yet, I constantly see agents frustrated with how to actually GET clients.

We all hear fantastic stories of how “Suzy Sells-A-Lot” never has a dry spell in selling homes because of ABC, XYZ technique that she uses.  Unfortunately, many hopeful agents then try to duplicate those same techniques with zilch or very minimal results.  Why?

I have been a long proponent that one must sell based on the strengths of one’s personality.  So “Chris The Closer” may be very outgoing (DISC Profile: Influence) and may only have to network at community events to keep his sales pipeline full while “Suzy Sells-A-Lot” is very conscientious (DISC Profile: Compliance) so she has an awesome response time when it comes to online leads and, thus, successfully closes a significant chunk of the online leads she receives.

Once we as Realtors understand our personality types, we can more easily and effectively add complementary lead generation techniques to our arsenal. Rather than following the spaghetti method of trying every sales technique under the sun and throwing it to see what sticks, we can be more strategic by understanding our personality and the corresponding ways to build our sales.

If I could take my younger self out for coffee, here is what I would share:

Once upon a time, there was a ”green” Michigan business school grad, who thought she was ready to take on and defy the sage advice of twenty-plus year real estate veterans.  Ms. Novice, we will call her, forged the beginning of her career in real estate by purchasing various real estate properties in hopes of building a real estate rental kingdom.  As a wide-eyed newbie, she followed one prevalent (albeit fallacious) school of thought that it was more optimal to use OPM (other people’s money) than to use her own supply because “Cash Is King”. This ideology was in stark contrast to the proverbs of her mentors that had built their estates with minimum, and in some instances, no financing.  

Beginning in 2004, during the real estate boom, she made investment after investment with OPM.  But little did Ms. Novice know that being highly leveraged would not lead to one being crowned queen (at least not to a lasting empire) but would rather make it more and more likely to become a resident of “pauper-ville”.

Then one day, the town criers announced that a financial famine had hit the land.  It was 2007 and Ms. Novice, over-confidently broadcasted, “I can just sell, take the profits and wait out the crisis”.  But tried as she may, she was not able to sell any of the rental properties because property values were plummeting to record lows.  

Absurdly optimistic, she concluded, “Well, I can still continue to rent the homes and wait for the crunch to pass because how bad can it really get?”  To Ms. Novice’s chagrin, it did get bad, much worse than many had anticipated.  The financial famine was so distressing that many of her tenants began to lose their jobs and no new tenants could justify paying the rents she need to cover the OPM payments.  What a conundrum!  

Ms. Novice realized she, like many other businesses prior to The Great Recession, had never created an effective contingency plan and did not use leverage as a short-term bridge (its more proper use) but it became an expansive gulf and long-term crutch that crippled her financial conquests.  She had tried to continue her family’s real estate dynasty on a fairytale, a housing bubble, that was unsustainable.

The moral of the story is credit (although an intermittently useful/risky tool of leverage), if used to undergird one’s ENTIRE real estate foundation (whether you are an investor or sales agent) will be a shaky, collapsible structure that is swayed with every changing financial wind.  It can be like the foreboding game of Jenga, where you do not know what block (once moved) will cause the entire structure to crash but you can be certain that the unsteady infrastructure has only so far it will grow.

As the real estate market continues to improve, although I cannot change my past, let us all change and protect our futures.

Shannon Jones | Find On Twitter | WebsiteAAEAAQAAAAAAAAN3AAAAJDViNDM0Yzc1LTg3YjQtNDgwYi04ZjUyLTVhYWY1ODMwZDdmOQ

The biggest thing I would tell my younger self is create a database and enter everything in it. I’ve got notes from transactions and clients going back for 17 years and I can’t count the number of times that information has been invaluable.

The #1 tip for succeeding as a Realtor is to show up every day and connect with as many people as you can. That’s tied with my other #1 tip which is to educate yourself as much as you possibly can on every aspect of the business — from marketing to the contract to the process to providing amazing customer service.

What do you think?

Did you find this useful? What’s the biggest thing you learned about becoming a real estate agent? Be sure to share what you’ve learned in the comment section below!