Getting into the real estate business can still be a lucrative way to earn a living and achieve financial stability. While digital tools have changed the way that buying processes work, it will not make them obsolete.
However, your career development strategy may need to evolve as technology continues to do the same. What are some career planning steps that you can take to keep up in an industry that is changing rapidly?
1. Embracing Technology
These days, you have to be familiar with basic technology such as computers and the Internet. You will also need to become familiar with social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Depending on your networking goals, you may also want to be on sites such as LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Pinterest and Instagram are great for showing pictures of homes that you want to sell or helping clients learn more about what their dream home may look like. Twitter and Facebook are perfect for building a following and communicating with those people regularly.
While you won’t sell to everyone on that list, it provides a forum for you to show that you are an expert in your field.
2. Be Involved
No matter how much technology changes the home buying and selling process, property buyers and sellers still need a buyer’s agent to represent them until the transaction closes. This is because they may not know the rules and the laws surrounding buying or selling a home or what it takes to get financed.
Staying involved and attuned to the needs of your clients will make you a trusted source that will have staying power in your field.
3. Continue Your Education
You can never have too much real estate training. Whether you decide to go back to school for an advanced degree or decide to gain an additional certification, you can only help your career prospects by continuing your real estate education.
It will also show clients that you aren’t afraid to learn something new and that you are able to adapt to meet their changing needs.
4. Always Be Available
In the digital age, you should never be too busy, too tired or too involved with something else to be available to your clients. Even if you just take a moment to reply to a text message or a message on social media, you never know when you will find a lucrative new client just because you took a minute to answer a question.
When working with a client who is paying you to represent him or her, it should be your sole focus to meet their needs even if you have to give up on some of your own.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Take on Clients at All Price Points
You should never turn down a client just because the commission check isn’t as big as you want it to be. The person who is buying a $100,000 house today may want to buy a $1 million house in the future.
That person may also know others who need help with their real estate search and would love to send them your way.
If you are new, you should never risk sullying your reputation by thinking that you are too good to turn down a client. Even if you have a full client list, it never hurts to have a pipeline started in case business slows down a bit.
6. Collaboration Can Win You New Business
There are times when you may not be able to close a sale on your own. This means that you may need to contact another agent in your area or someone else who you have a good relationship with.
While this may mean that you lose a portion of your commission, it also means that you help your customer find what he or she needs.
Remember, your reputation is your ability to earn in the future, so make sure that you put your clients first if you want their repeat business.
7. Build Your Own Brand
Don’t forget to stop and build your own brand by maintaining your own website or blog. What do you want to be known for?
For instance, you could specialize in first-time buyers or those who are looking for vacation rentals. By branding yourself appropriately, you tell potential clients about yourself in a more succinct manner.
Showing what you can do or what you have done is always easier and more effective than just talking about what you may be able to do.
8. Marketing Properties is Your Job Now Too
Don’t think that you can just list a property and that it will sell quickly. While people may be able to find a property online or may drive by a property and develop an interest in it, this may not be enough to generate offers and close a sale. You will need to list the house on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to cast as wide of a net as possible.
Holding open houses is another great way to market a property and generate some buzz for it. If you aren’t talking up a property whenever you get the chance, you are doing a disservice to yourself as well as to your client.
9. Start an Affiliate Program
A great way to generate referrals is to start an affiliate program and give a portion of your commission to the person who gave you the referral. This is a surefire way to keep those leads coming in on a regular basis.
If a client has a lot of people who are looking for a home, knowing that they may be entitled to $200 or more can give them extra motivation to send that client your way.
While you can limit how many referrals that you will pay for, an unlimited program is ideal, and you can accept referrals in person, online or however else is easiest for you.
10. Be Familiar With All Housing Programs and Loan Types
Finding a house is easy. Helping a client find financing can be a difficult and complex step. While a real estate agent doesn’t handle the finance portion of the transaction, he or she
should know about as many different loan programs as possible. This can make it easier to find your client a mortgage lender or broker that best fits their needs and move one step closer to finishing the transaction. Even if your client doesn’t necessarily need help with finding a lender or getting a loan, having this knowledge only makes you more effective as a real estate or buyer’s agent and as a professional in the field.
In today’s economy, it isn’t enough that you know how to get into property market. Once you are there, you need to know how to market a property, market yourself and prove that you have what it takes to be a resource to a buyer or a seller.
In a digital era, you need to be comfortable with technology and comfortable dealing with people at the same time. If you can fulfill both of these criteria, you may find that you will have a long and successful career in the real estate industry.