Shaun Osher’s ‘The RED Report’ examines all things real estate from resales to new development, offering opinions, analyses and forecasts from his point of view.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet some of our newest agents and share with them my experience in the business. And while I started in real estate over twenty years ago, the keys to succeeding today are no different than back then. Real estate is not easy, but the formula to success is simple.
1. Hustle – This could be points 2-5 as well. You have to get up ready to work EVERY DAY. There is no paycheck coming every other Friday. You have no HR team handling your health care and 401K – it is you. It is ALL you. And while your brokerage can support you, work on your PR and marketing plans – they cannot get you the business. That you have to do for yourself. And you have to hustle for that business every single day.
2. Absorb – Discover something new about your business every day. Go to an open house in the neighborhood. Tour a new development property. Read the trades and the business sections to see trends and anticipate market conditions. Shadow a top broker. Ask to help at their open house. Watch what they do and learn something new every day. Take a class on small business finance. Hire a great accountant and attorney to set up your business right. One thing every day.
3. Connect – It is likely that you will do your first deal with someone you know. Maybe it’s a rental for a friend or family member. Don’t’ stop there. Look at your entire community. Everyone you touch on a daily basis. Let EVERYONE know that you are an agent. With social media it’s easier than ever to connect to your community. Reach out and then stay connected. Send hand written notes, Facebook updates of your listings, Instagram posts of cool neighborhood spots or new buildings, Tweet out interesting new items or trend pieces. Engage with your community – and engage often.
4. Plan – Money. Real estate agents supposedly roll in cash. Fact: The average agent in the city has a GCI of around $55K. After taxes, you are taking home about $30K. That will not pay for your rent in Manhattan. The biggest fault of an agent is sitting on the laurels of their last deal. Plan ahead. Plan that you might not close a deal for another six months or that the deal you counted on to cover rent just fell though. What is your back up? And taxes – yeah, those will need to be paid. And it’s at least half your commission. What do you do with the other 50% – save half for a rainy day or for that closing that just got pushed back another three months.
5. Respect – Respect yourself. Respect your client – and the landlord, the doorman, your fellow agents, your firm, your co-brokers. You will need all these people again. You have nothing in this industry if you don’t have respect. Be ethical, be kind and be thoughtful and responsible for what you do, what you say and how you say it. Your job is more than running around sorting out paperwork and unlocking doors. At the end of the day your real job is helping someone find their home and that is an incredible responsibility and privilege.
The point of all this? It ain’t easy. Being an agent is not for the lazy or faint of heart. It can be totally devastating and incredibly rewarding – and a whole lot of in between. It’s hard work, but hard work that can make you very successful and very wealthy. And for the most part – it’s all up to you. So the question to ask yourself – Are you ready to bring it?