Thinking about getting started as a real estate agent? Or are you looking for tips in creating and developing your own real estate agency?
With the real estate market ever increasing, the demand for real estate agents is on the rise.
If you have a passion about the property market, or have some experience in the field of sales and marketing, you may be considering a path as an estate agent.
This short guide aims to help you get started as a realtor.
- Finances and budgeting
- Local market expert
- Responsive website
- Online presence
- Photography and video marketing
- Patients and drive
- Diverse clients
- Learning and comfort zone
Estate agent Planning
Before you begin anything, the most important first stage of starting out as an estate agent is to construct a well thought-out business plan. Your plan should include everything; From objectives and strategies to marketing, sales and finances.
The plan should also include a SWOT analyses (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and your underlying business principle of what you can offer that will attract new clients.
Real estate agent licensing
While licensing is not formally required to begin working as an estate agent in the UK, other countries, such as the USA require that you are a licensed estate agent to begin work.
However, in the UK, estate agents which are members of the ARLA property mark are viewed as more trustworthy – which could be a make or break point to potential clients.
That said, having qualifications in sales, marketing, business, property law, civil engineering, surveying or planning can be advantageous when showcasing your agency upon launch.
Financing as a realtor
This point is usually undertaken during the construction of your business plan, however it is an important step and therefore requires highlighting.
Ideally, you should have sufficient funds to last 6-10 months to live off and spend on marketing and advertising – don’t expect to be making numerous sales and commission from the get go; Business may be slow and leads may be few and far between for the initial few months.
Further to this, organizing your budget with a long term view is of importance. Just because you’ve closed numerous sales one month does not necessarily mean the next month will be the same. Stay ahead of your finances and don’t overspend.
Local realtor: market expert
When first starting out as a new estate agent, it would be logical to target the local market to begin with, as you’ll be able to gather clients and compile case studies/reviews for your brand recognition.
Ideally, when targeting a small, local market, you should have expert knowledge of the local market. i.e. knowledge of each neighborhood, school locations, public transport, local cuisine, and leisure, etc.
Similar to the above point, specializing in one type of property, to begin with (residential, commercial, land) would be a sensible idea. This way you are able to completely learn and understand the dynamics of the market you are working in.
Again, once you have built up a good reputation within the market and have numerous reviews and case studies to showcase to prospective clients, you can then diversify into other market types and locations.
Estate agent training
Depending on your strengths/weaknesses, you may benefit from some training courses. For example, if you are from a sales background, you may not be 100% confident in the financial or regulation fields and would therefore benefit from a financial/property law course.
Even if you have a good background which covers all aspects of the role of an estate agent, you still may want to brush up on some skills such as negotiations and marketing.
Experienced realtors: Mentors
Obtaining an experienced mentor within the real estate sector can be extremely advantageous to you, especially if you are opening an agency by yourself.
If you have a family member or friend who has worked as an agent or have worked with an agent yourself, these would be the best first choice, as they’ll usually help you out with advice for free; mentors/business advisors can be found online, however, will charge for their time.
High quality, responsive agency website
In order to remain competitive with your online marketing, you should ideally have a well-built website designed by an experienced web developer.
Your website should be designed with speed and responsiveness (pages that automatically resize to fit mobile and tablet screens) in mind.
Along with a fast and responsive website, the site should be structured so that it is simple for users and search engine crawlers to navigate around efficiently – this will contribute to increasing your search engine rankings.
During an age where a large proportion of transactions are started from online correspondence, ensuring you have a strong online presence is vitally important.
As stated above, you’ll require a well-built website, which will contain all of your content; the properties which you are selling/letting, your contact information and office location and a whole host of marketing content.
Incorporating content marketing into your online presence is one of the key factors which can convert a prospective client into a paying client:
Showcase your knowledge within written articles, such as discussing the local market, case studies, price predictions and investment opportunities which prospective clients can benefit from.
Further to this, you’ll need to ensure that your for sale and rental listings are marketed in various online sites in order to gain interest from prospective buyers and tenants.
Making use of free property advertising websites, such as EMC2 Property can be advantageous to you, as you’ll increase your online presence and in turn generate leads and build a client/contact list at no extra monthly cost.
Another point to note is to create a GMB account (Google My Business). This will display your agency contact details and location on the front page of Google when prospective clients search your agency name, thus boosting your local SEO.
Photography and video marketing
Gone are the days where a few simple snapshots of the interior and exterior of a property were sufficient in marketing. You should consider hiring a professional photographer – they will ensure that your properties are showcased to their optimum capabilities.
Video marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years and is expected to increase in popularity.
By video marketing, what we mean is that you should create virtual tours of properties which you are selling/letting. The professional photographer which you hire may be able to also produce video tours.
CRM (Customer relationship marketing/management)
Marketing as an estate agent
To really make your agency stand out, providing extremely prompt email replies will show prospective customers that you are eager and on the ball. Further to this, if you miss a call from a prospective client, ensure you call them back as soon as possible – within the hour when possible.
If you have collected and built an email contact list, it would be beneficial to send out weekly/monthly newsletters – clients need nurturing in order to convert to a commission.
Management as an estate agent
Management of past and future clients is highly important. Similar to above, you should respond to your past/current client’s queries promptly, and also include them within the recipient list of your newsletter.
This will solidify your agency awareness among many people, thus broadening the possibility of generating referral and returning clients, whilst also receiving 5-star reviews.
Patience and drive of estate agents
The initial start up of your agency may seem slow and tedious with little traction. Don’t expect to open your agency for business and have the clients come running – you’ll need to do significant marketing and advertising in order to slowly build and develop a network of clients and contacts.
However, although the initial start up may seem difficult, ensure that you remain focused and motivated and have the patience to follow your business plan through;
Once you start to generate clients, referrals, reviews and case studies, you will hopefully see some growth in your agency.
Diverse agency clients
It would be advisable to not only target one type of client, but rather a spectrum. This way you’ll be able to gain experience in many different scenarios, whilst also having the opportunity to write case studies on different types of property, which in turn will attract more new clients.
However, it should be noted, you should remain the same regardless of whether you are dealing with a deal worth £50,000 or one worth £50,000,000 – treat all clients with the same, professional respect.
Providing excellent customer service to each and every client you take on provides a much higher chance of gaining more business from the same client further down the line.
Learning and comfort zone
Whether you have worked as an estate agent prior to starting your own agency or not, there is always more that can be learnt. Each client and transaction may present new learning curves to you, while some may also be difficult, however you should always be prepared to stray out of your comfort zone.
Having said that, if you have the drive and passion to thrive in the property industry, then giving it a shot at developing your own agency can be extremely rewarding.