10 Lessons Learned First Year REALTOR® 

Hi, I’m Stephanie Saunders with sellyourhousewithsteph.com and I’m a REALTOR in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I’m about to come up on my one year anniversary of being a real estate agent and I wanted to share with you some things that I've learned in my inaugural year. And maybe if you're new to the business, or if you just like to learn about real estate, it'll be helpful to you.

In my first year, which has also been during Covid 19, I’ve closed three deals, over $1.5 million in real estate! And it was quite a learning experience. Nothing can prepare you for the actual transactions, because things are going to come up you are not prepared to handle. You don’t know what you don't know! So you learn as you go and I think that you retain these experiences in your brain and you basically say, "I'm going to handle this situation the same way every time, this really worked." Or you're going to go, "Wow, I'm never going to do that again!" Or you say, "I need to learn more about that topic." Basically, everything is a learning experience and it's very humbling.

I still feel like this business is so nuanced and everybody always says that you're never going to do the same deal twice and I certainly think there's value in that advice. So what else have I learned? I've learned that you need a great mentor or you need to be on a team. It’s like a phone a friend, and there's so many things that you're going to need help with and you're going to have questions. So just like a great real estate agent always answers the phone for their client, when you're a new real estate, having someone that you can trust, that you can trust to take your calls and call you back. I've been so fortunate to work with people that have been consistently available to me and I couldn't have done it without them. Shout out to Nancy & Christine! So just like in life where the people around you matter the most to your success, the same thing goes for putting yourself in a solid position to win at real estate.

The next thing that's important is getting on some kind of system. I know it's very expensive to get into this business and it's a lot of money upfront and I promise you will make it back once you start closing deals. But you're going to need a system. So hopefully your brokerage has some kind of a training program, or you can do some kind of a coaching program through say, Tom Ferry or Brian Buffini. I did Brian Buffini, Peak Producers and it was a fantastic system that I continue to use and I listen to Tom Ferry podcasts as often as I can. And I think that when you're learning a craft, and salesmanship is a craft, you can always get better at it, you can always learn more. You just need to collect a lot of different tools for the toolbox. And you're not going to use all of those tools, you're just going to use what you like and what works for YOU. But I think it's very important for you to learn some systems, whether that's scripting or how you're going to qualify people to even work with them as their agent. You can’t be everyone’s perfect agent, some personalities just don’t mesh! In regards to the transactions, how is your process going to work, how are you going to manage your CRM, how are you going to manage your paperwork? Get systems. Get organized. It’s the only way to scale long term! I’m currently enjoying Moxiworks for CRM, Real Scout for lead nurturing, Dotloop for paperwork, and Google Office Suite.

These are all things that, I think, you're going to have to try a couple of different systems and find one that works for you. Or basically just cherry pick your favorite parts from different systems and create your own system. There's no one way to do this, everybody's going to have an opinion, so you just got to figure out what works for you.

The next thing is that this is a full-time business, it's impossible to do this successful part-time. I was very fortunate to have my first three deals during the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020 and I thought I was dead in the water. I was like, "I can't believe I choose this time to start this new career for myself." But people still needed to buy and sell, and people still needed somebody to steer the ship, to coach them, and to guide them through the home buy/sell process. And that felt very true and right. And I persevered, I didn't put my head in the sand. I went to work. And I worked hard everyday.

That's another thing too, consistency, showing up. And it has to be full-time, you really need to be at the office early (even if the office is in your house). It's very true, most of the real estate happens early in the morning and then all day I'm prospecting or working on growing my business. And then in the evenings, when people get off of work, they connect with you, and then my God, all weekend long you are showing homes and hosting open houses. For example, I feel like I've been working every day for two weeks straight and I thought, "Today I'm going to take the day to myself." And that has been about two hours, maybe, at the gym. But even at the gym, I got a Zillow lead and I was responding to text messages from clients. And as soon as I got home, I had to research three homes, set two appointments. And now I'm basically on my lunch break going to get my dog at daycare. So even on my day off, I mean, you can just forget about those at the beginning. Work hard everyday. Period. It’s worth it.

You're just going to have to be okay with that and know that if going to the gym in the morning is important, make time for yourself. Be available, but you have to make time to take care of yourself. And I think that's another thing too. Your nutrition, your health, that's what makes you well, that's what makes you able to handle so many different aspects of this business, because you're not just an agent, when you're first starting out you are a transaction coordinator, you're your admin, you're the showing agent, you're the ISA, you’re marketing, you’re licking envelops, you’ve making calls, you're every single part of YOUR business. I'm nowhere near at a place in my business where I can afford to hire those people to do the work for me. However, I have joined a team recently so now I get the benefit of team staff! So that's another thing, make sure your brokerage has somebody to back you up with these things if you’re not on a team with support staff. Ask, is there a transaction coordinator? Are there graphic design folks? Who puts the signs in the ground? Who cuts my checks? What kind of a support system are YOU going to have starting out? Because you're going to need it, you're just one person. Also, time management is an extremely important part of your success. Find a system if it’s not natural to you. Google calendar works for me. If it’s not in the calendar, it’s not going to happen. Know thyself. Oh, and respond to all emails and texts when you get them. You will never go back. Or mark them unread. It’s a life saver.

Let's see, what else have I learned in my first year? It's harder than it seems, it's not an easy business. Some of that is getting over yourself and just getting the confidence to succeed. I mean, until you've sold your first home or listed your first home you can't possibly have the confidence of having done that activity. So now that I'm over that hump, my confidence is ... I feel like I'm out of my own way, like, "Oh, I can do this!" And so it's a really wonderful experience to move past my uber-newbie stage. I still have tons to learn, but there is a different swagger once you survive your first few deals.

Also, you really need a great support system at home. This is an emotional business and there are a lot of times when you think that the deal is going to fall apart and it's heartbreaking because you put so much into it. And sometimes it does and sometimes doesn't. You are wrong at times and then miraculously things come together as they're supposed to. (HAVE FAITH!) But you do need someone at home who can support you on that emotional roller coaster, especially your first couple deals. You're so reactive on your first couple transactions, because you don't know any better. Like I said, you don't know what you don't know. You must build that thick skin and you must build up that resilience. And you must build up that confidence that everything's going to work itself out and that you don't need to worry or panic. But your partner is going to see some of the stuff behind the curtain, that your clients don't see. And so they have to be able to weather that storm with you, so a really good support system is super important. Thanks Nick!

You know how when you're first getting started in real estate and they say, "Oh, make sure you have X amount of money saved." That is so true, even though you're making money eventually, when you're first starting out your splits are pretty ... they're pretty chunky, you have to pay your dues, literally and literally. After you pay your brokers, and pay your mentors, and pay your REALTOR dues, and pay your taxes, that money shrinks up real fast so you really got to watch your spending.

So that’s it for now! I hope you have a great day and thanks for reading my ebook! I'm wishing you success, I'm wishing you wealth. If you have any questions, reach out to me. Any referrals, I'd love to help them. And any agents that want to connect, I'm down for that too. Email me at [email protected] or join me on Instagram or Facebook @sellyourhousewithsteph. Let's all grow and be successful together. Now go crush it!

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