How to Plan, Start, & Grow a Real Estate Business: 20 Essential Tips

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Entering the world of real estate is not for the timid. It’s an industry that demands constant engagement – calling up new leads, and networking tirelessly – yet it’s also an industry where a whole lot of hard work can amount to just a few closed deals in the first year. Only the bold survive, and even then it takes everything they’ve got.

It’s often said that the real estate industry is tough, with 75% of agents giving up the game before the five-year mark. But for the brave and committed few, the rewards of starting your own successful real estate business and achieving a seven-figure income are more than worth the hard work and persistence it takes to get there.

Ready to dive into the exciting world of real estate? Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, starting your own business can be a thrilling adventure. But it’s also important to be prepared for the challenges ahead, so you don’t get sidetracked by common pitfalls. We’ve got you covered with some practical tips and tricks for launching and growing your real estate empire while staying on track and focused on success. Let’s get started!

Know Before You Go

20 Step How to Start a Real Estate Business Know Before You Go

For some, real estate is a road less traveled, a new career after already exploring different paths. The lure of being your own boss and increasing your salary may have been too alluring to pass up. But, the definition of freedom for an employee and a business owner differs greatly, and navigating those waters can be a challenge.

The question is … which are you?

If you’re considering launching a real estate business, it’s vital to know that this isn’t your average hobby. It’s a full-blown business venture that requires a strategic mindset to outperform the humdrum salary of the typical real estate agent (which barely breaks the $45k mark). So, before embarking on this ambitious journey, you’ll need to start thinking like a savvy entrepreneur with a solid plan in place.

1. Get a CRM.

At its core, a business is like a well-oiled machine that operates efficiently and seamlessly. Just ask Barry Jenkins, the mastermind behind one of the top-performing Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Teams in the U.S. For Barry, streamlining processes and maximizing efficiency is key to his team’s success. He believes in the power of leveraging resources and working smarter, not harder.

After all, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in the long run. So, if you’re looking to build a successful business, take a page out of Barry’s playbook and focus on creating a system that works for you.

To make his principle a reality, Barry has transformed his CRM into a powerful conversion engine. A CRM is a tool that organizes contacts and delivers valuable insights. Utilizing it effectively means guiding leads through tailored nurture campaigns or even automating transaction processes.

This is a game-changer in real estate, where the buying process is complex and involves multiple agents, leads, and customers over extended periods of time. With a highly-functional CRM, Barry is able to streamline and optimize every aspect of the sales cycle.

The secret behind Barry’s impressive success of selling 240 homes in 2017 lies in his ace use of CRM. But, it’s not just about the fancy front-end stuff, Barry has taken his organization game to an impressive level by automating onboarding drips for his team members using CRM. With everything streamlined, nothing ever falls through the cracks in Barry’s business admin. Trust us, it’s a boss-level organization at its finest.

2. Craft your ideal personal plan.

To achieve more than just commissions in your business, it’s crucial to define your personal financial aspirations first. Sure, getting that bonus check is nice, but what about the luxuries and freedoms you truly yearn for? Maybe it’s sailing the high seas on a 187-foot yacht or simply being able to leave work early to pick up your kids. Don’t shortchange yourself by skipping this step – take time to paint a crystal-clear picture of your desired lifestyle.

Consider the following questions: 

  • What time do you want to start work?
  • What time do you want to finish?
  • How do you want to feel each day?
  • How much money do you want to make?

Imagine the sweet relief of retiring at 65 or sending your kids to college without breaking a sweat. It may seem out of reach, but with some careful planning, it could be within your grasp. Determining how much to save each month is crucial, and by staying on top of your profits and commissions, you’ll have a better handle on reaching those financial goals. So don’t be afraid to crunch the numbers and make your dreams a reality!

3. Write a real estate business plan.

Are you ready to turn your biggest, most ambitious dreams into reality? After mapping out your financial goals, it’s time to take the leap and start crafting your real estate business plan. But don’t just write any ordinary plan – make it stand out from the competition by highlighting your unique strengths and qualities.

Embrace your personal and professional identities and let them merge to create a recipe for success. Get creative and let your imagination run wild – this is where the real magic happens.

As you venture into the exciting world of outsourcing administrative tasks by hiring a virtual assistant, it’s important to think big and create a vision for your team. This will not only prevent you from falling into unproductive patterns but also serve as a source of inspiration for your entire team.

Remember, nothing fuels motivation more than a clear and compelling vision that everyone can rally behind. So, take some time to envision the future you want and let that guide your hiring decisions!

4. Build a consistent marketing plan.

Starting out in the real estate world meant nailing that licensing exam, finding the perfect brokerage fit, and expanding your network without feeling like a pushy salesperson to your friends and family.

Aspiring agents often make the mistake of becoming complacent once referrals start pouring in. But here’s the thing – marketing is the heartbeat of any successful business and it never rests.

Whether you aim to be the next bigwig in social media advertising or a wiz at converting Zillow leads, knowing your way around marketing is crucial. So, get off your couch and start building your empire one marketing tactic at a time!

5. Get a website.

In today’s digital age, the vast majority of prospective home buyers are turning to the Internet to search for their dream homes. It’s clear that local marketing efforts alone won’t cut it anymore.

A strong online presence is not only important, but it’s also necessary to reach and captivate potential leads. Investing in an optimized website may require some initial funds, but it’s a small price to pay for long-term success in the real estate market.

Transform your website into a powerful lead-generation machine by seamlessly integrating IDX listings with your CRM. Once you have this powerful tool at your disposal, take things up a notch with an effective blogging and social media strategy, designed to funnel more high-quality leads into your system.

6. Prospect consistently.

Don’t fall victim to shiny object syndrome in real estate – it’s a common pitfall. The key to success is consistency in prospecting. While it’s tempting to chase shiny new ideas, the most successful agents have a system that they stick to.

Don’t underestimate the power of your sphere of influence – the Graham Seeby Group turned 279 contacts into $90 million in sales by consistently marketing to past clients. Start strong by optimizing your SOI in the early days and watch your business grow over time.

The power of a postcard is not to be underestimated, as shown by the successful sales strategy of real estate co-founder Justin Seeby. By focusing on a targeted group in their database, Seeby was able to generate a staggering $2 million worth of sales from just one couple he hadn’t talked to in 13 years. Despite his hesitance to make a call, a simple postcard proved to be the key to reconnecting with these old acquaintances. The result? A $1.2 million sale and an $800,000 house sold. It just goes to show the impact of a personal touch in the digital age.

Justin’s recipe for success was a straightforward one: regularly send out mailers, shoot off emails, and make phone calls. While it wasn’t a complex plan, it proved to be the winning formula for him. The key to making it work? Consistency. A strategy that’s dependable is invaluable when it comes to achieving your goals.

7. Nurture leads.

Generating leads is a key component in the world of real estate, and no one knows this better than Mike Pannell, the leader of Nu Home Source Realty. He stresses the importance of a follow-up strategy for converting leads into long-term clients.

According to Mike, 70% of people won’t make a purchase for over 180 days, so waiting around for them to make the first move will only lead to a 3% success rate. To truly succeed, you need to build a pipeline and constantly follow up in order to secure these valuable long-term clients.

Mike takes a unique approach to staying ahead of the game when it comes to website optimization and blogging. He’s not afraid to snoop on the competition by signing up for various websites and using a fake name but a real phone number.

Surprisingly, his sneaky tactic isn’t met with many phone calls. By being one step ahead and always available, you can easily stand out from the crowd.

8. Have good time management.

Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about having more time and energy to pursue your passions? It’s a common desire that many of us share. Imagine being able to indulge in the activities that truly light you up, without feeling drained and overwhelmed by the demands of life.

The dream of a more fulfilling, balanced existence is within reach, and it all starts with reclaiming your time and restoring your energy.

Contrary to popular belief, most real estate agents don’t have a solid plan when it comes to building their businesses. This usually leads to a team of constantly changing members and the never-ending task of solving business issues. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

When it comes to automation, time is money for the pros. The allure of freeing up precious hours by ditching manual labor is enough to make any efficiency enthusiast jump for joy. With automation on their side, they can spend more time on the tasks that bring in the big bucks.

Maximizing your marketing efforts has never been easier with the power of automation at your fingertips. But to truly excel and drive results, you need a trusty CRM to act as the engine that supports your efforts. Don’t just stay relevant – stay ahead of the game with the dynamic duo of marketing automation and CRM.

9. Get a real estate license.

Embarking on a career in real estate is an exciting venture, but before you can hit the ground running, it’s crucial to obtain a real estate license. The road to licensure can vary from state to state, with factors such as timeline, costs, and qualifications coming into play.

It’s essential to turn to your local real estate bureau for guidance on what’s required, allowing you to confidently take that first step toward success.

Are you dreaming of becoming a real estate agent? It’s important to know that the path to success in this industry isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Before you can start selling, brokering, or renting properties, you’ll need to complete pre-licensing and renewal courses.

Once you’ve obtained your license, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running, right? Well, not quite. In most states, you’ll be required to work with a brokerage for the first two to three years as an agent.

It may seem like a hurdle, but don’t be discouraged! This initial period can be a valuable opportunity to gain experience, build your network, and establish yourself in the field. So, are you ready to take the first step toward a career in real estate? Let’s dive in!

10 Find a brokerage.

Embarking on a career in real estate? Exciting! Now it’s time to decide where to hang your license. Do you want to join forces with a national giant like Keller Williams Realty or opt for a charming local boutique brokerage? And don’t forget the virtual options, with a plethora of digital brokers cropping up in cyberspace. Take a deep dive and investigate which path is the perfect match for your aspirations. Happy hunting!

Selecting the right brokerage can make a big difference in your career success. To find the best fit, it’s important to consider factors like company culture, commission structure, and mentorship opportunities. Do you want to work somewhere that values teamwork and collaboration? Or maybe you’re motivated by a high-earning potential? And don’t forget the importance of learning from experienced professionals who can help you develop your skills. By prioritizing these elements, you’ll be setting yourself up for a rewarding and fulfilling career in real estate.

 11 Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Unlock A World of Possibilities: Only REALTORS® May Enter

Becoming a REALTOR® requires more than just a title. It demands dedication, commitment, and most importantly, membership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

This prestigious affiliation opens the door to a myriad of exclusive benefits, including access to the coveted Multiple Listing Services (MLS).

With the MLS, you’ll have unparalleled access to every listing in the network – an invaluable resource for any real estate professional. Join the ranks of the elite by becoming a NAR member and unlock a world of possibilities.

12 Pay your dues.

Becoming a real estate agent is no easy feat, according to digital marketing strategist Hillary Robert. It’s not just about getting your license and jumping right into selling luxurious million-dollar homes.

It takes dedication, time, and effort to establish a sustainable career in the industry. As a new agent, you have to roll up your sleeves, put in the work, and start building your own audience and database of contacts.

And most importantly, you need to learn how to work your contacts effectively, consistently provide value, and never give up. Get ready to dive in and get your hands dirty in the world of real estate! It’s time to put your networking skills to the test and lend support to experienced realtors. Don’t expect to become an overnight sensation, though.

You’ll need to hone your craft and build relationships over several years before the big bucks start rolling in. But with the right attitude and work ethic, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful real estate mogul in no time!

13 Find a mentor.

Unlock the secrets of success by learning from those around you. Whether it’s a colleague in your brokerage who’s a specialist in for sale by owner properties or a mastermind of Facebook ads, take note of their expertise and apply it to your own strategy. Embrace the power of observation and let the skills of others inspire you to reach new heights in your career.

Explore opportunities to connect with your professional mentors by inviting them out for a monthly coffee chat, requesting to shadow them for a day to learn from their expertise, or volunteering your support on a project that they’re leading.

Seizing these changes can lead to deeper relationships, meaningful learning, and impactful collaborations. Don’t miss out on the valuable opportunities that come with fostering a strong mentorship network!

Invest in the key resource that will never depreciate – people who excel in areas you aspire to master. By nurturing these connections now, you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. Because let’s face it, success isn’t a solo sport.

So put your social skills to work and build meaningful bonds that will empower you to reach new heights. Trust us, time spent building relationships will yield abundant rewards.

14 Get crystal clear on who your ideal customer is. 

In the world of real estate, there are three distinct types of clients: the eager first-time home buyers, the savvy retirees looking for an active lifestyle, and the resilient second-chance buyers who are giving the market another shot after a foreclosure.

Each group brings its own unique needs, desires, and challenges to the table, making for an exciting and ever-changing landscape for real estate professionals. From guiding newbies through the home-buying process to helping the experienced rebound from past setbacks, the sheer diversity of clients keeps the job interesting and rewarding.

Each of these subsets has a unique set of demands, a distinct audience, and a diverse range of industry knowledge. It’s like trying to satisfy the cravings of multiple people with different taste buds – one size doesn’t fit all.

You can’t assume that what works for one subset will work for others. Each requires a tailored approach, customized to their unique needs, concerns, and goals. It’s a challenge, no doubt, but with the right strategy, it’s a puzzle worth solving.

Do you want to connect with potential customers on a deeper level? It’s crucial to truly comprehend their struggles, challenges, aspirations, and successes. The key to achieving this level of understanding is by crafting a buyer persona for your ideal customer.

This persona will provide you with invaluable insight into their mindset and preferences, allowing you to form an authentic connection with them.

Immerse yourself in this exercise and unlock valuable insights that will elevate your marketing strategies, messaging tactics, and even your personal branding. Embrace this opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and discover game-changing information.

 15 Build your personal brand.

For successful real estate agents, the key to long-term prosperity lies in their ability to generate leads. This means that they are constantly hustling to build their personal brand and grow their network of contacts.

After all, the more connections they have, the more opportunities they will have to help people buy and sell properties. So, for anyone looking to thrive in the real estate industry, it’s essential to prioritize lead generation and invest in yourself as a brand.

Looking to boost your real estate game? Ignite your brand with these tactics: craft a killer personal real estate website that highlights your unique talents and approach; dazzle your followers on social media with your expertise and panache; and shake things up by organizing happenin’ happy hours and networking events to cultivate strong connections in your community. Don’t blend in with the crowd, stand out and soar!

Learn how to craft your personal brand and generate leads like a pro with these insider tips. Take your business to the next level by mastering the art of brand building and lead generation.

Keep reading for expert advice and actionable strategies that will transform your approach and supercharge your success. Start building your brand and generating fresh leads today!

16 Leverage your sphere of influence.

As a newbie in the industry, your lead generation engine might not be running at full throttle just yet. However, there’s one powerful tool you can leverage, your sphere of influence (SOI). Make sure they know that you’re now part of the industry and that you’re always ready to help. Who knows, they might need your expertise sooner than you think!

Maximizing your career in real estate doesn’t have to come at the cost of strained relationships with loved ones. While some shy away from discussing their profession with family and friends, there’s a subtle way to incorporate your passion into any conversation. Avoiding spamming and pushing your services is key, but naturally integrating your work into casual chats can help them understand the importance it holds in your life. Don’t be afraid to let them in and witness your journey to becoming a successful real estate agent.

17 Start networking.

Looking to expand your business empire? Don’t rely solely on your sphere to bring you success – it’s all about networking! Attending community events and rubbing elbows with fellow entrepreneurs can open doors you never even knew existed. Who knows, you just may meet the perfect home buyer in the process. It’s time to step outside your comfort zone and let your sphere grow to new heights.

Don’t forget about the golden rule of reciprocity! Whether you’re networking or just making friends, be sure to give as much as you take. The more you put yourself out there and engage with others, the more memorable you’ll be. Who knows? That person you met at a party might end up needing your help down the line, so make sure they remember your name.

 18 Learn how to use sites such as Zillow to your advantage. 

Think of Zillow and other similar websites as your own personal boosters for your business. With their massive audiences and established authority, it would be silly not to use these tools to your advantage. Take advantage of these powerhouses to help your business grow and succeed.

Get discovered by potential contacts and grow your network with the help of online listing sites. Create a personalized account, link your listings and add your contact information for even greater visibility. Don’t miss out on any opportunity to connect with others and build valuable relationships. Your next connection could be just a click away.

19. Check the cost of Google Ads in your area. 

Navigating the cutthroat world of real estate can be tricky, especially when it comes to advertising your business. If you’re thinking about using Google Ads to boost your online presence, think twice before investing.

Some experts suggest that in highly competitive metro areas, the cost of Google Ads may outweigh the benefits. But don’t let that stop you from doing your due diligence – it’s always worth checking out the potential cost before making a decision.

As you begin your exciting journey of searching for your dream home, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Millions of people just like you start by typing their queries into Google, hoping to find helpful resources and guidance.

That’s where Google Ads comes in – it’s a powerful tool that can rapidly boost traffic to your site and get your name in front of eager homebuyers. Of course, keeping costs down is always a concern, but if you can find the right keywords and strike a balance, this approach just might be the key to unlocking your real estate success.

20 Optimize your website for organic search.

To make the most of your website, it’s important to get it optimized for search engines. But let’s be real – this isn’t a quick fix. If your industry is competitive, it might take a while to see results. However, if you’re going to have a website (and you probably should), it’s definitely worth investing in SEO.

To do this effectively, ensure every page has a clear purpose and can be easily crawled by Google. And don’t forget to sprinkle in those juicy keywords that you’d like to be found for. Trust us, your future visitors (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.

Common Professional Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them

All your hard work has finally paid off! The early mornings and late nights spent following up on leads, arranging showings, and fixing purchase fires have led to one thing: consistent sales. But beware, many agents starting out often get caught up in the excitement of early success and become complacent, failing to push forward. Even if it seems like you’re soaring high, don’t forget that losing momentum can be catastrophic in the long run.

 Making social media mistakes.

In the world of business, social media is your gateway to potential clients. But one wrong move, even a teeny-tiny one, could spell disaster for your online reputation. That’s why it’s crucial to stick to these three golden rules.

Number one: keep it short and sweet. No one wants to read a novella on their newsfeed. So, be clear and concise in your messaging to avoid any communication hiccups.

Because let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Let’s Get Real

Creating a successful real estate business may seem like an insurmountable task, but it’s certainly not impossible. By implementing a well-rounded approach involving strategic business planning, savvy marketing tactics, and effective lead-generation strategies, you can build a thriving enterprise that aligns with your life goals and provides a stable financial foundation. The secret to achieving this feat? Knowing you’re “why,” putting in the effort and being open to learning from missteps along the way. With determination, dedication, and a willingness to learn, the sky’s the limit when it comes to building a lucrative real estate business.

Thinking short-term.

To be truly successful in real estate, you need to look beyond the immediate future of your next client or sale. Focusing solely on short-term gains can cause you to neglect the foundation of your success: your clients. That’s why it’s essential to establish meaningful relationships with those you’ve already helped. By doing so, you not only increase the odds of retaining them as clients for future transactions but also open up the possibility of referrals to their inner circle. Remember, in real estate, building strong connections with your clients is key to lasting success.

3. Trying to do it all alone.

Starting a business on your own is an exciting journey, but as things start to pick up, you’ll need to think about bringing in some backup. Whether it’s someone to help with the paperwork or to answer the phones, outsourcing some of the work can make a big difference. As your business continues to grow, so will the complexity, making it important to hire more staff to keep up with demand. The key takeaway? Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed – bring in help sooner rather than later to ensure that your business continues to thrive.

Blog Post Conclusion 

Congratulations, you now have the essential tools to start a successful real estate business. Hard work and an eye on your ROI can help you grow. Starting up any kind of business is never easy, but it’s worth it to see it through. Taking a chance on yourself and investing in your own venture shows ambition and drive that could one day manifest into huge successes. The most important thing is to trust yourself and those who are willing to help you along the way. With proper planning, the right connections, and the willingness to learn — you can do anything. At the end of the day, if there’s something that drives you or excites you about real estate, now is your opportunity to explore it in detail and build something amazing with it!

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