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your first year in real estate

Before I tell you how to “crush your first year” in real estate, I feel like you should know a bit about me and how I’ve gotten to where I am.  When I entered the real estate world professionally I began as a builder rep & marketing/recruiting manager for a local builder.  I was selling model homes, creating marketing materials and campaigns, and recruiting new agents to the brokerage.

I found out quickly that I loved new construction and that representing builders and clients in building their dream homes was something I wanted to do; so I got licensed and jumped ship to Edina Realty.

Two reasons… I needed more training than I could get with a small brokerage and my Mother was an experienced agent at Edina Realty already.

The broker of Edina Realty had been our family Realtor since I was a small child so I trusted him with the future of my career and having my Mother as a built in Mentor was absolutely the tipping point for me.

The rest is history; of which you’ll hear lots more of throughout my site and course but let’s dive into what you came here for!

Get a Mentor

Most of your real estate knowledge will be gained only after you’ve gotten your license and taken on your first client and in this business you learn lessons the hard way most of the time.  Having a mentor to guide you through your first few transactions can make or break your career.

I personally leaned on my mentor for lots of things including: understanding, filling out, and reviewing contracts; what to spend my money on; how to run the brokerage’s in house software; and advice during negotiations.  A good mentor is simply invaluable and completely necessary.

Ask your broker if they have a mentorship program in place and how to get involved.  If your broker doesn’t have a program in place, seek out an agent who’s success and business style matches your own.  Check out this article if you need some help with how to approach your prospective mentor.

Something you should know is that most mentorships come with a timeline or transaction, and compensation agreement.  It’s completely normal for your mentor to receive a portion of your first 3 transactions, as long as they’re fulfilling their duties and helping you through those transactions.

Choose your tribe wisely

Who you decide to surround yourself with is who you’ll become so make an effort to be selective of who you hang with.  I love this article on how to find your tribe.

Skip the “business beers”

It won’t take long for you to figure out who’s who in the office and there’s always those agents that go out for lunch and a beer seemingly every other day.  You can of course write this off as a “business lunch” but ain’t nobody talking business at noon with a beer in their hand.

I’m going to give you a piece of real world advice and I want you to heed it.  Limit yourself to one agent outing per week, TOPS!  Just trust me on this one.  If you need more proof, take a look at the production of agents who go out for lunch everyday.  Is their production where you want to be?

Pop in on top producers

Instead, I would love for you to seek out agents in the office who have production levels and business models that match your goals.  Pay attention to what their schedule looks like and how often they’re marketing, doing open houses, have clients in their office.

Some of these agents won’t have as much time to devote to you but popping into their office for a quick 3 minute greeting a few times a week can form a relationship and create an environment that makes you more comfortable asking them for advice every once in a while.  While you’re visiting them, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them out.

Don’t hang with the other rookies

You heard me.  You’re a rookie and there are others in your office but that doesn’t mean the blind should be leading the blind.  You don’t have much to learn from another rookie; not as much as you could from a seasoned agent anyway.

I’m not saying you should ignore the other rookies; but limit your time with them and make the top producers your main focus in terms of networking and building relationships.

Pack your lunch

Eating out adds up quick and early on in your real estate career you’ve got a tight budget to stick to.  Not only will packing your lunch save you money, it will afford you more time to build your business.

While the “others” are out having lunch and beers, you can be a good little rookie and eat lunch at your office.  Here are a few things to do with this added hour of your day:

  • Take someone’s floor time that they couldn’t cover
  • Send off 10 Facebook messages to people in your database
  • Write a hand written note to someone in your database
  • Read over the buyer representation and agency contracts 3 times each

You can’t keep up with the Jones’s

It’s hard but I want you to not compare your first few months in real estate to someone else’s 10 years of hard work and experience.  You simply cannot spend time putting yourself down for not owning the type of business they’ve had so much more time to build.

Going out to buy a luxury car, the newest laptop, or spending crazy amounts on marketing just isn’t going to go well for you.  Your business simply cannot support those expenses at this point and that’s okay.  You’ll get there… if you don’t blow it while you’re new.  Be patient with yourself and have a business plan to keep you on track.

Set goals the right way

I’ve done it all when it comes to goal setting but one game changer for me was to reformat how I set, tracked, and celebrated my goals.  Read more on how I tripled my commissions by making one small tweak here.

Here’s my magic formula for goal setting:

  1. Set a goal for the year
  2. Break it down into monthly goals/action steps
  3. Break those down into weekly goals/action steps
  4. Break those down into daily goals/action steps
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each yearly goal you have

Work your sphere

As a new agent your sphere is the ONLY viable marketing campaign that you have at your reach.  It’s also the most cost effective way to get a few quick sales and build a strong referral business that will last for many years to come.  In my first year as a real estate agent 100% of my sales came from my sphere.  100% people.

That’s because I knew what the hell I was doing, (ahem Mentorship) and I worked the heck out of my sphere!  The only way to fully take advantage of your sphere is to first know who’s in it.  I’ve created a list of ideas for you to get your sphere (aka database) started.  Download it now and get going!

Dress for the appointments you want

The reality is that when you’re starting out in real estate you definitely won’t have the number of appointments lined up as you’d like but dressing as if you have a day packed with showings and listing appointments will do a few things for you.

  • You’ll be more inclined to go out to meet with prospects
  • You’ll look more professional to the other top producers in the office, garnering more of their trust
  • You’ll be ready for floor time or last minute showings
  • It will boost your confidence and you’ll find yourself speaking and behaving in a more professional manner


Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale

Jenna Martindale teaches online courses and workshops for new + experienced real estate agents who want to enhance their skills, grow their business, and live the life of their dreams.She believes it’s always the right time for coffee and that if there's a heaven it's a pool filled with golden retreivers.
Jenna Martindale