Bad Habits for Agents: What to Avoid and What to Do Instead

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Building your own real estate business can feel a lot like driving across the country with a dead GPS. You knew basically where you were going when you set out, but now you’re in totally new territory and no one’s around to point the way.

New entrepreneurs in any field need mentorship, and a big part of that is learning from the mistakes of your predecessors. If you understand these common habits that pull new real estate agents off track, you can avoid them before they get in your way.

1. Not having a business plan

It’s easy to think: closing sales and offering high-level customer service is a full-proof plan for success. And succeed you might, but you’ll go much further if you have a business plan in place.

You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know what your destination is.

First, determine your target market. What will your focus be? 

  • Luxury condos or family homes? 
  • Urban or suburban properties? 
  • First-time home buyers or older down-sizers? 

Once you know what type of real estate you’re going to sell and where, research that market. Know how quickly properties sell in that area and to whom. Then you can develop specific business goals and the strategies to help you meet those goals.

2. Underestimating expenses  

It’s tempting as a new business owner to focus on what’s going well, and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating every sale that you make. But be careful not to confuse revenue with profit!

A new real estate agent has plenty of expenses, many of which aren’t obvious. You have your startup costs, like licensing fees, setup fees for multiple listing services, website creation; the list goes on.   

Then you have ongoing expenses: 

  • Marketing materials 
  • Transportation expenses
  • Continuing education course fees
  • Client lunches

… and so on.

If you forget to work an expense into your budget, you’ll have a skewed view of your profit margins and you’ll be unable to calculate how many sales you need to make to meet your goals.

3. Letting leads get away 

Every good agent focuses on putting the client first, but it’s very easy to miss the mark. On one end of the spectrum, you have the high-potential lead that you only contact once.

Of course you don’t want to be overbearing, but did you know that the likelihood of making contact on the first call is just 30 percent? It takes a staggering 6 calls to get to 90 percent.   

Some of your leads won’t even bite then, because some people just don’t like the phone. Successful agents make use of calls, texts, and emails – five of each within two weeks, to be specific. If you need some tips on best practices for real estate drip marketing, check out our blog on

4. Trying to do it all alone  

Real estate agents often feel like they’re working in isolation, interfacing with buyers, sellers, and lenders without having anyone else to share their load. It’s natural to feel that way, but it’s not necessary! Nor is it particularly beneficial.

Every real estate agent needs a strong network, not only to help them feel like part of a community but also to connect them with referrals and other business opportunities.

Networking doesn’t have to be a time-intensive process. In fact, a lot of it can be simply an extension of what you’re already doing. 

  • Focus on the affiliate and colleague relationships that drive referrals. 
  • Go to conferences and pay attention to what topics, publications, and hashtags are trending. Participate in those conversations. 
  • Update your social media regularly and interact with your colleagues’ pages. 
  • Make sure your contact information is easily searchable on professional platforms. 
  • Be active in your local community. You never know who’s out there with potential referrals.

The Takeaway

Building your real estate business will always be a big job. These real estate best practices will help you to avoid making life harder for yourself and allow you to focus more on what you love – helping people buy and sell property! For more information on real estate marketing best practices, be sure to check out our blog.


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