Starting a Real Estate Business in New York
Congratulations on getting your New York real estate license. Now it’s time to get started. While you’ll be working from the office of your supervising broker, you’ll probably be an independent contractor. You’re actually going into business for yourself. Are you excited? Real estate is an interesting, rewarding industry in which you get to help people’s dreams come true, but it requires a commitment of effort and funds to get started.
How to Start a Real Estate Business in New York
Success in the real estate biz has a lot to do with hustle: the amount of effort and smarts you put into your business will have a direct impact on how successful you become. New agents need to:
- Develop expertise
- Advertise via multiple channels
- Work your sphere of influence
- Commit to hard work
- Have confidence
- Be a people person (or act like one)
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Pick Your Market Wisely
In 2013, there were an estimated 27,000 licensed salespersons and brokers in Manhattan. That’s a lot of competition. Do a ton of research and learn as much as you can about the real estate markets in different counties so you feel poised to make an impact.
Pick Your Broker Wisely
Your sponsoring broker is your mentor, guiding and supporting you in your new career. He or she is invested, personally and financially, in your success. When looking at different companies/brokers, consider their values, vision, standard commission splits, location, resources, quality of the inventory, and training opportunities.
Do Your Research
All of the information you need is out there on the internet; all you have to do is find it and harness it. You often don’t know what you don’t know, so taking advantage of every learning opportunity is crucial.
Research everything you can about the national and local market, your brokerage policies, regulations, marketing, digital tools, types of transactions, house styles, and open houses. Don’t forget to tap into the resources and knowledge of your colleagues in your brokerage office.
Learn from the experience and mistakes of others. The other part of this is your business plan, which will define where you're going, how you're getting there, and what it'll take to succeed. Agents with a written business plan are more successful than those who don’t. Set clear, measurable goals and identify the number of leads, listings, contracts written, and contracts closed needed to pay the bills and turn a profit.
You Gotta Start Somewhere
Rookie agents often start out representing residential buyers and then work their way into listing the property. Some suggest a rental transaction is quick way to earn a commission. It’s also a great way to get experience in the local market and generate leads for home sales. When that renter you helped decides it’s time to buy a house, who is she going to call?
The New York real estate market is tough and competitive so you have to prepare to wait a while to get your first commission check. During this time, you’ll have racked up expenses in just the day-to-day operation of your business.
This is why an income buffer is crucial. Save up a good chunk of funds so you can survive until business picks up. If you’re a full-time agent, you’ll need at least six months of savings to cover living expenses as you grow your prospects.
Get Signed Agreements
You want to get paid, right? Particularly with renters and buyers, some consumers may expect you to help them for free. Have them sign an exclusive agreement to secure some kind of fee.
Always be Prospecting
You may not have paying clients all the time, but they're always opportunities to prospect for clients and build up a lead database. Get your name out there in the local market online and on the street. Join groups, take seminars, volunteer, attending open houses – anything that gets you talking with other agents and future clients.
Create a personal business website and Facebook page, join LinkedIn groups, fire up your Twitter account, populate your email list, and start blogging. These are becoming standard prospecting channels in the 21st Century. So, there’s a lot to do and a lot to learn. But the solid foundation you build now will support success in the future and establish opportunities to grow your real estate business for years to come.