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Reflections on My First Year in Real Estate

The Ultimate Rollercoaster: Reflections on My First Year in Real Estate

People arrive at a career in real estate in a million different ways. For me, it was early pandemic realization that there was a lot of potential. With a background in education and professional development and an affinity for meeting and serving people, it seemed like a perfect fit! So my kids went to my mother-in-love’s home for a week and I signed up for courses. With the kids on vacation, I managed to complete the online coursework in 19 days. Though it is a point of pride for me now, 0/10 —don’t recommend blasting through like that. I had a blue light headache for a month!

Looking back on my first year in real estate, I am reminded of the excitement that emanated, obstacles faced, the lessons learned, and the resilience it took to overcome and thrive in this industry. Over the last several years, I have worked with hundreds of new agents as they start and complete their coursework. Their experiences, along with my own firsthand have helped me understand valuable lessons that have attributed to the success of so many new agents! So that’s why we put together our New Agent Success workbook. Whether you decide to purchase it or not, just know we are SO excited for your journey and we are cheering you on!

First, the people— Building a client base is down right terrifying. Without a well-known reputation or an extensive network, it can feel impossible. As a military spouse, I never have deep local roots, so this was especially frightening. Generating leads, cultivating relationships, and building trust take time and effort. I learned the importance of networking, doing things that were uncomfy (like joining the elementary school PTO), attending industry events, and making myself visible on social media.

The variability of income was also something that made me extremely apprehensive. Real estate is an industry where market fluctuations and competition are the norm. During my first year, I encountered periods of insane covid and post-covid market conditions and faced the challenge of navigating through price fluctuations, dramatic inventory changes, and increased competition as more and more agents became licensed. The key to the variability really came down to something much more simple than finance management. It was discipline and time management. Making sure that I was doing consistent lead generating activities no matter what else was happening that day or week. Establishing lead gen goals and hitting them every single day. When your lead gen is consistent, the results will be more consistent.

Entering real estate often requires a financial investment, such as licensing fees, marketing expenses, and overheads, without any guarantee of immediate returns. I put 100% of these things on my Discover (again, I am not recommending this). My husband and I didn’t have the funds to invest in this career right away, so we agreed that if I did this and for some reason I hated it, I had to close one transaction to pay it off. We had to carefully plan and manage our personal finances while I worked on building a sustainable pipeline... and that did not come right away. Setting realistic financial goals and maintaining a disciplined approach to budgeting and cash flow management are key to surviving that initial period. As the money starts to come in after time, make sure to save, yes. Pay your bills, yes. But also, do not be afraid to have a bit of well-deserved fun or re-invest in yourself by leveraging your time. With my very first check, I paid off some debt, took my family out for a super fun dinner, and called the most wonderful lady to come do a deep clean on my house.

The Art of Patience is one I have not mastered, though I am moving beyond Novice level. Real estate transactions can be intricate, time-consuming, and subject to unforeseen delays. As a rookie agent, it was a tricky test for me to cultivate patience within not only myself but with my clients, while managing both our expectations. It required embracing the fact that success in real estate often comes gradually. By maintaining open communication with clients and stakeholders, staying organized, and proactively addressing potential obstacles, I was able to build trust and ensure a smoother transaction process… and build some trust in the process that the patience would pay off.

But the biggest piece of advice I can share to any new agent is this— you will never know it all. You will never even come close. And if somehow you do come close to knowing it all, it’s all gonna change again. Real estate is an ever-evolving field, with new technologies, regulations, and market trends emerging every single day. Adapt to these changes and upgrade your skills during the first year— then make it a habit. Those older agents in your office? Those agents closing insane numbers on your team? Learn from them. Learn what works, what doesn’t. Never assume you have all the answers. Embracing a growth mindset and being open to learning from both successes and failures allowed me to stay ahead of the curve.

Basically, your first year in real estate WILL be a rollercoaster ride, filled with challenges and valuable learning experiences. Building a client base, navigating an ever-changing market, managing your finances, practicing patience, and embracing lifelong learning are just a few of the hurdles that new agents often face. Overcoming these obstacles requires dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. As I reflect on my first year in real estate, I am grateful for the challenges I encountered, as they are the reason that I am a resilient and knowledgeable real estate professional, prepared to take on the future with confidence.

If you’re interested in purchasing our New Agent Workbook…

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