11 mistakes most new real estate agents make
photo: Chad Jones
New real estate agents just don’t know where to get started. It seems like so many of the training classes available are outdated, and teach you so many time wasting techniques. My first year in real estate was really bad, because I didn’t know what to do. The other problem is, I didn’t know what NOT to do either. I wasted countless hours trying different marketing techniques that failed miserably. So here is the list of what NOT to do when you first get started in real estate.
11. Floor time. Unless you work at an office that has an unusually high number of incoming calls, floor time is wasted time. I like to think that if you have time to sit there waiting for the phone to ring, you have time to be marketing. I suppose you can get away with this one if you are working on marketing while you are handling floor time, but for me personally it wasn’t the best choice.
10. Spending a lot of money on marketing. Many brokerages will allow marketing companies to come in and pitch products to their agents. Postcards, flyers, newsletters, etc… If you can’t easily afford these things, don’t purchase them. You need to stretch your money as far as possible right now, and there are other ways to get clients that cost less money.
9. Hunting down FSBO’s. If you are driving around town, knocking on doors with for sale by owner signs out front, you are wasting a lot of time. Your time is valuable, so I suggest finding a more efficient marketing approach.
8. Open houses. Unless the property is an easy to reach location, or priced extremely well, don’t waste your time on an open house. If you do have a hot property and decide to hold an open house, have a sign in sheet at the front door, and simply say to each guest “Thank you for stopping by, please sign in”. Now you have a list of leads!
7. Not getting a buyer agency contract. This is a huge mistake. What if you show the buyer 20 houses, then they write an offer with a different agent? Before spending a lot of time working with someone, make sure they have the same commitment to you.
6. Not following up on leads. Treat every lead like gold. If the person is not ready to buy for three months, schedule a monthly follow up phone call with them to check their status. You want to be the one that is there when they are ready to buy.
5. Not having proper business systems in place. As business picks up and you start getting more clients, you need to know exactly how to handle each transaction. I suggest creating checklists of everything you do, so you won’t ever miss a step.
4. Taking impossible to sell listings. Most new agents jump at any chance to list a house, but do you really want to take a listing you know is grossly overpriced and deal with the sellers complaining every week it sits on the market?
3. Not explaining your process to your clients. Many buyers and sellers are not completely clear on the real estate purchase or sale process. It goes a long way to just sit down with your clients and talk to them about each step. They will feel much more secure that you know what you are doing, and it will save you a lot of phone calls later on.
2. Being late. Many new agents still have another job, and are only an agent part time. Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to get to your appointments on time. You don’t want their first impression to be a bad impression. If you are going to be more than two minutes late, call and apologize, and you better have a good reason for it!
1. Answering a question when you don’t know the answer. There is no easier way to get in trouble than to answer a question just to try to look smart. What if you are at a listing appointment and the seller asked “How much will the closing costs be?” Perhaps you have a good ballpark idea, but didn’t do all of the research. You could gamble and give them the ballpark number, but what if you forgot to include transfer tax, or title insurance? The best approach is to make a note and tell them you will get them an answer to that right away.
I hope this list helps you stay away from some of the time wasting activities that are out there.