7 min read · September 2, 2022
Real estate is an incredibly competitive field, with more than 3 million people holding active real estate licenses across the United States. Of course, there is no need to worry about all of them, as every agent operates in a specific area. But, no matter if you’re just starting out or have been working in real estate for years, there are certain mistakes that you can avoid to stay on top of your game and ultimately be THE real estate agent or realtor in your community. We have compiled a list of pitfalls, all of them completely avoidable.
Are you friends with a fellow real estate agent who’s CONSTANTLY complaining about their brokerage? The brokerage doesn’t pick up the phone, forgets to share meaningful information, and still has the gall to take a huge cut. Your friend is definitely not alone, as agents in all 50 states love to gripe about how they’d be better off without the brokerage. So, why do so many stick to the one they signed with years ago? Especially when there are so many options (including boutique brokerages and cloud-based real estate brokerages) to choose from.
It all comes down to certain misconceptions real estate agents have about what might happen when they switch brokerages. Let’s break them down.
Misconception #1. Agents believe that they will lose their commission if they don’t close their listings with their current brokerage.
This is a very common myth, and, at least in the state of Texas (remember, rules vary state to state), it’s simply not true. Even if you have open listings, you can change your brokerage. If the listing is currently in escrow, it will close with the current broker, and they are required to pay you your commission in any case. And if a certain listing is not in escrow, all you usually need to do is complete a Listing Transfer Form. Many brokerages will have simple online forms allowing you to do that in a few minutes.
Misconception #2. I’m tied to the email address I have at my brokerage.
It’s easy to get used to having @OldBrokerage.com as your email handle. More than that, over the years our inboxes become an extension of our memory, with every imaginable contact and past client interaction available at our fingertips.
Luckily, today you can export the ENTIRE content of your inbox in minutes. Most of the brokerages are using Google or Microsoft Outlook as their email providers, and migrating all of your data from either is pretty easy (here’s how to do it for a GMail-based account, and here’s how you do it for Outlook).
After that, you can set up a personal Gmail/Yahoo account or even order a custom email address tied to your personal website. And by having the contents of your old box at your disposal, you’ll hardly notice that something has changed.
If you’re on good terms with your old brokerage, you can also ask them to set up an auto-responder that will share your new contact information with anyone reaching out using your old email address.
Misconception #3. It’s impossible to transfer my CRM records
Just like your inbox, your CRM records shouldn’t go to waste, when you switch brokerages or decide to go a more independent route. While migrating between various email providers is fairly straightforward, CRM records are a bit more complex, as there are so many different CRM systems, each following its own logic.
If you intend on using one of the common CRM platforms (like HubSpot), exporting the data and then plugging it into a different account should not pose any trouble. You can always ask your new brokerage what CRM they’re using to see if you can simply plug your data in.
In cases where you find that the old and the new CRM don’t match, you can always use the services of a CRM Migration Consultant.
Misconception #4. The brokerage’s brand provides additional value
Back in the day, homebuyers might have cared about if their agent worked for Keller Williams or RE/MAX. They also would probably go to their downtown office to start the whole process of buying a home. Today, there are more brokerages than ever, and the average homebuyer doesn’t really know what’s different about them. Their agent is the main and only Point of Contact, and absolutely all interactions happen between them and the agent.
Why would they care what brokerage you are with? For them, the brokerage is purely a back-end operations type of deal. It’s akin to, let’s say, a bank’s internal IT system. Does a customer really care about it, provided that it works?
The typical gap between moving homes across the US varies between 8 and 16 years. So, technically, your past clients are not likely to be needing your services in the near future. And when they do decide to change houses, chances are they’ll be moving to a completely new neighborhood, town, or even state. Still, even if they never return to being your clients, they can drive business your way for years to come.
That’s why you shouldn’t lose touch with your former clients. It doesn’t cost a dime to send them an email once in a while. It’s not just about staying top of mind, it’s also about being a decent person.
In addition to regularly checking up on your clients, you can become a treasure trove of information on things they need. If you let them know that you can recommend them the best local services (from electricians and plumbers to home security companies), they’ll definitely come to you. And in today’s market, there’s nothing more valuable than being the go-to person.
As with everything in life, it takes time to become a real expert in a certain area. If you’ve been operating in a particular neighborhood for more than a few years, you probably know it in and out. Not just the basic information about schools and HOA rules, but even the tiniest things, like “which cafe is open from 7 AM” or “which bakery has the best croissants”.
Switching areas too often means losing all that knowledge and having to learn a whole new neighborhood.
Being hyperlocal and knowledgeable about the area has its additional advantages as well. For instance, you can up your geotagging game on Google Maps and generate more leads from search traffic. Here’s a 5-minute tutorial on how to precisely that:
Your closest network can help you grow your business. After all, we’re talking about friends and family – people who are rooting for you. Still, some people disregard their networks, losing out on so many opportunities.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with separating your personal and professional lives. In fact, no one likes people who only talk about their job. However, as real estate professionals, you have so much to tell people that it would be a shame not to share!
You shouldn’t feel bad about letting someone at a dinner party know about the latest development in the neighborhood, for example. That’s not something that gets reported by the media, after all. And being the source of information on all things real estate will surely make people remember you when someone else asks them for a RE agent to recommend.
The same goes for social media. Some people think that posting about their work is “too self-promotional” and that it will “get one others’ nerves”. But think about the massive amounts of information everyone consumes on a daily basis. The average American looks at a screen at least 7 hours a day. That occasional weekly post from you will definitely not be a source of annoyance. If anything, it might help someone make a more educated decision regarding their home purchase.
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