Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Michael Opyd, a broker with Americorp Real Estate in Chicago, on how new agents can succeed.
Besides a handful of individuals that from birth are real estate agents, most find themselves in the field after switching from another career. For me, entering the field after working in the business world was extremely intimidating and frustrating. There was so much I needed to learn, and most of it was not covered in my licensing classes.
Looking back, there are many pieces of advice from others and lessons learned from personal experiences that I think are important for new agents to know.
9. Find a Mentor – I am lucky enough to have had five mentors throughout my career, and each one provided me with a vast array of knowledge from their own unique experiences. Plus, having a person on the other line to help you with any questions is key when you do not know anything!
8. Ask MANY Questions – I knew next to nothing when I first started, so I was constantly asking questions, and not only to my mentor, but also to anyone in my office who would listen to me – and I continue to do so today. Do not be afraid to ask. There is no such thing as a dumb question when you do not know the answer.
7. Do Your Research and Study the Field – Many of the questions I had could be answered by simply looking them up. Real estate is a very popular topic, and by using an Internet search engine, you will likely find an answer to your question (as well as a wealth of related information). A good tip is to bookmark real estate websites as you find them, so you can refer to them quickly if needed. Another tip is to do your research through the MLS. Learn the price ranges of areas, what types of properties are common in areas and what those properties sell for.
6. Keep Reading – This is something that is so important, and I cannot stress this enough. I read constantly, and I have since the first day I got my license. Books, blogs, articles online, I read whatever I can get ahold of. The market is always changing, so you need to be on the top of your game and know exactly what you are talking about in order to best support your clients. I would recommend signing up for newsletters. With newsletters, other writers do the work for you by gathering articles and putting them all in one place. A good tip is to make sure your reading about everything, not just real estate! Stay up to date on current events, and know what’s going on in city as well as across the world. The more you know, the better conversations you can have with anyone. You never know where and how you might meet a future client.
5. Create a Database and Market It – Do this immediately! Make a list of everyone you know (friends, family, etc.) and start reaching out. Put a marketing plan in place to reach out each person 20 or more times throughout the year. I have an Excel spreadsheet with my marketing plan of how I’m going to reach out to my database for the full year (down to the exact date), and I adjust it each year accordingly. Your database contains the people you want to make sure know you are in real estate. You want them to think of you when they or someone they know has a real estate related question. Make sure you are always adding to this database, especially past clients, considering they will be your best referral base for future business.
4. Set Goals – Write these down at the beginning of each year and refer to them constantly throughout the year. I look at my goals for the year on a daily basis. Plus, I also have daily goals I must achieve each day, or I can’t sleep at night until I do. Having these goals will keep you focused throughout the year and motivate you when things are difficult, but keep you humbled when things are good.
3. Want to Be Successful? Work Hard – If you are not ready to work your tail off, then do not bother wasting your time in this industry. I know this sounds harsh, but it is the truth. A Realtor does not work a 9 to 5 job, and is not a salary employee. If you want to be truly successful, you have to motivate yourself to succeed. There are always going to be ups and downs in this career, but hard work will get you to your goals at the end of the year.
2. Be Confident – I know this might be tough when you don’t know anything, but people feed off of one another’s emotions. If you are confident, then your clients will feel more comfortable with you and will trust you. Trust is so important in this job. If your clients trust you, then they will refer you to their friends and family who will refer you to their friends and family and so no.
1. Lastly but the most importantly… Always Remember that Your Clients Come First – Let me repeat, YOUR CLIENTS COME FIRST! Without a salary safety net, it is very easy to lose sight of this when it comes to making suggestions. Sometimes, the right decision is to walk away from a deal and start over. Yes, you lose the potential commission, but your clients will thank you for being honest and keeping their best interests in mind.
Mike Opyd is a broker at Americorp Real Estate in Chicago. A top producer, he was part of Chicago Agent’s Who’s Who in Chicagoland Real Estate in 2015.