1) Get a mentor; someone who will give you some of their leads to get started. Some agents have more leads than they can handle or will let you work with some of their potential buyers.
2) Keep in touch with everyone you know in your old corporate world. Keep that old address book and phone list from the old career. Most real estate agents do their first deal with someone in their sphere of influence. Keep a database and call people every so often just to talk. Then occassionally remind them that you are in the real estate business and ASK FOR THE REFERRAL OR SALE. Don't be shy!
3) Don't pay for leads. In fact, try to get as many real estate tools and as much technology you can for free. Everyone and their brother wants to sell you a "magic wand" so be careful about how you spend your hard earned money.
4) Choose an area to farm and specialize in. Make sure it is an area that you are familiar with and any advertising you do should be targeted towards this area.
5) Get on Active Rain by going to this link: http://activerain.com/action/referrals/navelinski and sign up for their free service. Active Rain is a blogging platform especially for real estate professionals. It is a great way to get started without having to pay for a website. It also gets a lot of attention from google. This is a great technology tool.
6) Setup a craigslist account. When combined with other technology and online tools, this can really boost your visibility on search engines.
7) Setup a Twitter account and make sure you link it to your Active Rain account.
8) Get a URL that you can forward to either a website or your Active Rain account. Make it something easy to remember and put that on your vehicle and use it on your business cards.
9) Don't spend a lot of money on signs up front. Generic open house signs are fine, get a few of those. Depending on what company you go with, they may or may not provide you with panel signs.
10) Come up a unique reason why a potential client should choose to do business with you. It needs to be specific and something that is unique about yourself or your business. Make it your "mission statement" and put that on the back of your business card and on all of your marketing materials.
Check out my website http://www.PattiAnnKasper.com and my Active Rain http://activerain.com/blogs/navelinski and my online eMagazine http://www.mnhomeinfo.com/ and you'll see some of the tools I use.
There are so many things that are important to a beginner. Choosing the right company and finding a mentor are the 2 biggest keys to success. Make sure the person you choose to be your mentor has a vested interest in doing a good job of mentoring you and at least has a working knowledge of internet technology and tools. And make sure they aren't trying to mentor too many people at the same time. For example, I plan on mentoring 2 agents this year and if you ask me, that is plenty.
Good luck and welcome!!!
That list is awesome, my friend. The only thing I will add, which she did not, would be to me personally the most important consideration: the company you work for.
I have for many years heard agents tell me, "It doesn't matter who your broker is. I am branding myself and they will want to work with ME, not my company." This is 100% false. I could go on and on for hours about this but won't.
Let me preface my one and only point by saying that I have high respect for many agents out there. Pattin Ann is highly respected, yet without clicking on her profile I can honestly say I don't know who she works for. But I am an agent, not a customer. But going further, so noone misunderstands, I also know that if I am around for 30 years and swtich brokers 3 times, my client that has purchase 3 homes and sold 3 homes with me, will truthfully and most likely follow me. I am specifically here, Mplsrealtor, dealing with you STARTING OUT.
Now that we have established that . . .
Pick a good company that matches your M.O. I would suggest interviewing lots of brokers and getting a lot of information. You need to know what kind of training and support they will give you. Do they have weekly sales meetings? Do they have training sessions and motivational meetings? Do they have good strong corporate legal counsel so you can get straight answers? And even more important, do YOU have access to the legal counsel? Some brokers will not allow the agents to talk to their legal counsel, it is up to you to retain an attorney and pay for it. And I can tell you that after 8 years in this business I call our legal council at least once a week and sometimes more. I need that.
I need to know the culture of the office and know if I am going to be all alone out there, or if I sit down with an experienced agent and ask for some advice if they are going to be kind and share with me. That was HUGE to me.
But at the top of your list should be technology. We are in that world now, and you need a lot of it. Find out what they offer with their website and if you get one. If you do, how do they drive traffice there. How about the electronic transaction and CMA software? How about accessing all of your records (i.e. personal, production, sales, goals, etc.)? To me this was one of the most important factors for me. And I had to have major technological advantages over my peers with other brokers. But besides this, and maybe more imporant yet, was the role of this technology in taking care of my clients. I needed access to everything, and have it all in one place. You can go out there on the web and finde just about anything. And you can pay $5000 a month to have it. I have everything I need in one place and they constantly are staying on the cutting edge of it. So they keep blowing me away with new stuff and I am happy as can be.
Welcome to an industry in transformation. The good news is, you don't need to change your existing practices! The bad news is much more is required of a real estate professional to properly service the needs of home owners, buyers, investors, and those ensnared hopelessly in this financial mess.
It is incredibly important to understand Catherine's comment. You can develop your skills to be a marketing and real estate genius, but if you fail to present an acceptable public image...you have created a obstacle you really don't need. Get am image and profile completed. I interpret your lack of effort to be..1. Disrespectful to the Trulia audience from who you are seeking comment 2. Failure to realize small oversights equal complicated and delayed closing. The public, when observing such omissions may add one more...3. What's being hidden?
Although, many understand the mechanics of real estate involve analysis, time management and locating and showing homes, success in real estate depends on lead generation as Brad pointed out. If you don't know where your clients are coming from, (the whole touch and turn process) you need to retool. It's not magic. It is hard work, with very rewarding outcomes for those who can adapt to constant change.
As Mack suggested, find a community with the number of transactions needed to allow you to pay your bills, and start solving problems.
Talk to everybody you come face to face with... "Are you thinking about buying, selling or renting property" ??? Do you know anyone that might be? Work with rentals to get your feet wet.... Getting from showing to move-in is fairly quick and easy.... Renters and Landlords become buyers and/or sellers....
Neighborhoods? Pick ONE!
Now. Go out and look at every available listing in that neighborhood. When you leave, see what details you remember: How many "bedrooms" are adequate for sleeping? Do the baths and kitchen need work? What are the floor surfaces, and what condition were they in? What kind of windows does the place have? Heating system? Has the electrical been updated? What kind of roof does it have, and what kind of siding does it have?
Do that for four hours a day. Devote one hour to making calls to people you already know, telling them you're in real estate. You can even tell them about the great house you just saw that day.
Go out and hold an open house every Saturday and Sunday.
Talk to five people a day about real estate, and see ten houses a day. You'll do fine.
Start with your banker or the place you must usually do your checking and savings. Met the loan officer/mortgage consultant of the bank do bussines.
At Kaplan classes they recommend to send a post card to every contact you have, friends, classmates, ex coworkers, etc, etc, etc.
As other mention, you might need a Mentor, which in some cases it will take a referal fee for teaching. I will recommend it if you get some short sales or buyers interested on buying short sales and foreclosures.
Also, read, read, read every page of a contract and learn it since some will ask and request an explanation.
Maybe buy some Internet leads, some are expensive but it depends on the quality.
Also the choice of broker/firm can be key if you wish to specialize in a certain area. Mentoring with the right people can be key to success in this market.