You're licensed, locked, loaded, and ready to go, but may find yourself wondering where to from the beginning, how to brand, start generating leads, and inevitably you're likely to run into some mistakes, we're here to give some guidance and tips on how to avoid common mistakes that new agents make when emerging into the real estate industry.
1. Not selecting the right Calgary real estate brokerage.
Armed with your fresh new RECA License, the first step (and often first mistake) is not considering your options for a brokerage! In Calgary there are MANY options for brokerages, from your staple brands including Re/Max, Century 21, Maxwell, CIR, and Royal Lepage to emerging brokerages like Charles Real Estate, Redline Real Estate and Renzo Real Estate new agents are equipped with many options and opportunities to serve their professional real estate needs.
One of the most common mistakes new Calgary Real Estate agents make is simply going with what they know, or a recommendation from someone in the industry. While those routes may not necessarily be wrong, it's important that you shop around your brokerage, like your clients would shop around for a mortgage provider. This is a mutually beneficial relationship, and your brokerage should align with your needs as an agent and align with your business plan.
Some top things to consider when choosing a Calgary real estate brokerage
- What are your long term goals? This could include growing a team, branching out to other cities, etc. If so, is your brokerage 'team friendly'? Do they have a national or regional presence for expansion?
- Not all brokerages are created equal, with many differences taking into account, the cost, the location (if there is one), the experience, the support, and the stability.
- Do you need office space? Your home work station might provide too many distractions in the early weeks and an office environment not only provides a space with less distractions, but also lends room to mastermind, and learn from top agents and teams within your brokerage.
- What type of software and technology does the brokerage provide?
- Is there ongoing training and support?
- What does the conveyancing department look like? An often after thought, but vital part of your business. Paperwork, and following proper procedures is vital, without a solid conveyancing department, your cheques could come in much later than expected as well as a whole host of other issues.
- Will the brokerage allow you to meet / talk to other agents in the brokerage? If not, this is major red flag and warning, a brokerage should be proud of their agents and not worry about candid conversations.
- What's the culture like? You don't want to join a brokerage shrouded in secrecy and generalities, policies should be clear and upfront, in print. Consider how the brokerage approaches and interacts with all agents, is it a 'we' mentality and is that important to you?
When choosing the brokerage we've partnered with (Re/Max First) there were many factors that came into play. First and foremost, the Re/Max brand is unmatched in the industry providing our clients with a brokerage they can count on and trust. At our brokerage there's a defining 'we' mentality, and you see it throughout the day, whether it be new agent training, brokerage training sessions, or just hallway chat, you're surrounded by professionals and top teams in the industry who are willing to share, and provide invaluable advice. Above and beyond this, our brokerage offers the office space we need to facilitate our growing team, technology and equipment to further propel our business offerings, we have large meeting and educational boardrooms for clients and team meetings, and a leadership team that we believe is unmatched in the city.
2. Lack of funds
Starting out in real estate isn't cheap. Plain and simple. The Calgary real estate market is competitive and with over 5,000 licensed agents in the city, you're competition is tough!
Websites, business cards, flyers, post cards, lead generation, client gifts, marketing material, gas, vehicle expenses, licensing costs, brokerage fees, the list goes on and on.
New agents need to be prepared for these costs and have savings ready for the inevitable ups and downs of the industry.
Often new agents are advised to have roughly 45 to 90 days worth of reserves for both personal and professional expenses on hand as you often won't hit the ground running, and ultimately deals can take time to close (and commissions be paid out).
3. Not having a business or marketing plan in place
Many new agents don't consider their marketing and business plan when starting out, often riding gut feelings as to how to market, and generate business, this can often lead to disappointment.
Identifying your niche, building and growing your sphere of influence, targeted marketing efforts, consistency and nurturing clients is no easy feat, having plans, goals, targets, and objectives in place is vital to beginning your career in real estate, this does not mean what you're doing has to be expensive, or over complicated, it simply means you need to have a set out game plan, and to execute it.
4. Time Management
Many agents in the beginning try to take on way too much, stretching themselves thin, and typically they're unable to do any one thing really well.
The golden 80 - 20 rule or Pareto Principle should be considered when starting out your real estate journey. 80% of business will come from 20% of your marketing efforts.
Getting caught up in social media, door knocking, SOI growth, online lead gen, etc which are all vital pillars into growing your business can also be detrimental to your overall success and managing your time effectively. The bottom line is that as an agent you're responsible for driving your business, and you must focus on the pillars that will generate you the most amount of income, if you're not a fan of social media, you suck on camera, and hate the platforms, why force it? If door knocking is more in your realm and aligns with your talents, you're better served to focus on door knocking and growing your talents within that environment.
5. Indulging the unnecessary
One thing you'll learn quickly as a real estate agent is that oddly enough, there are hundreds, if not thousands of companies, platforms, crms, lead generators, marketers, directories, etc that all can "Make you the top Calgary real estate agent" and quite simply it's not true. Yes there are resources out there that will grow your business, but once you've found a mentor or other experienced agents (who are experts in their lead generation methods) ask them for their advice.
Often new agents who are promised the world with the latest and greatest marketing platforms, fall short and come out behind as their money is ineffectively utilized or is outright not what was promised.
Keep in mind, when you're starting this journey, there are many opportunities to grow, but just as many that will take your money and provide zero results.
Sound off in the comments below, what are some of the biggest mistakes you've made as an agent when beginning your Calgary Real Estate journey?