Can a part-time real estate agent succeed?
As you know, there’s controversy over part-time real estate agents, and I’m sure you have an opinion. You may be one yourself, you may know one you enjoy working with, you may partner with one, or you may be one who thinks they should be banned.
Whatever your thoughts, the question remains: Can a part-time agent succeed?
First, we need to define which part-time agents we’re talking about.
I’ve known quite a few licensed individuals who had no other employment, but were definitely part-timers. Even when they sat in the office on their floor day, they were doing something besides working. One woman used to crochet and/or read romance novels all day. Others played computer games or shopped. Some spent the time discussing movies and TV shows, their diets, their families, or the latest juicy gossip.
These agents did no marketing, attended no classes beyond required continuing education, and read no books or articles about real estate. They took whatever business fell into their laps on floor day, then did the least work possible for those customers/clients.
Those aren’t the agents I’m talking about, because the answer for them is “No, they’ll never be successful.”
So what about agents who are juggling two jobs and actually trying to be successful?
Is it possible? Is it fair to the clients? Could you make it work?
It all depends upon how you go about it.
First is the issue of time. Real estate clients want you when they want you, not just “after working hours.” There are two solutions to that problem:
- Your other job is also self-employment and your hours are flexible. In other words, you can answer your phone when it rings or return that call promptly. You can also make yourself available to meet with your clients at their convenience, and you’re available during business hours to deal with lenders, title companies, appraisers, etc.
- You partner with someone who is full-time. To make this work you have to find the right person and you do have to carry your own weight in the partnership. That might be through your marketing efforts, by doing the research and preparing market reports and CMA’s, or by taking care of routine paperwork that can be done at any time of the day or night. It might be by taking weekend and/or evening duty.
To make it work, you must be good at time management, or “time budgeting.”
Next is the effort that you’re willing to put in on your quest for success, and this is no different for a part-time agent than for a full-time agent.
Commit to striving for excellence. This means learning all you can about real estate in general, researching your own market so you can answer questions intelligently, learning all of the details about the niche or neighborhood you’ve chosen, staying current with new laws and regulations, upholding your fiduciary duties to clients, operating within the Code of Ethics, and taking extra classes whenever the opportunity is available. Thankfully, there are now on-line classes for those who can’t attend in the daytime.
Be honest. If you don’t know an answer, never fake it. Say you don’t know but you’ll soon find out. Then do so.
Treat other agents, lenders, etc. with respect and courtesy, so they’ll be glad to work with you.
Treat your business like a business, in every respect.
Carry that excellence into marketing your listings. Take time to write enticing descriptions – and if writing isn’t your strong suit, hire someone. Take excellent photos or hire a professional real estate photographer. Promote those listings diligently, then follow up on every lead immediately. (Or let the leads go straight to your partner for instant follow-up.)
Market yourself. There is plenty you can do via mail and the Internet, and it IS important. Many of the successful agents on Active Rain say you MUST devote an hour every day to marketing, so don’t treat it like something you can do “When you have time.”
What can you do to market yourself?
Blog. Write about your listings, your community, the local market, and topics that demonstrate knowledge of your territory and/or niche. For instance, if your niche is condos, write about how condo associations operate. If you prefer selling to first time buyers, write about things they need to know before buying their first home, along with how to prepare to meet with a lender, pitfalls to avoid, etc. Whatever niche you’ve chosen, and you should choose one, become the expert and then write about things those buyers and sellers should know.
Prospect. Create capture forms on your website so you can begin email marketing and/or use postal mail to show potential buyers and sellers that you have the knowledge and insight to help them realize their real estate goals. As with marketing your listings, follow-up immediately with every lead.
Since you don’t have an abundance of time to spend writing letters, choose one or more of the 40+ prospecting letter sets I offer here on the Copy by Marte site.
Always send just listed/ just sold cards. These show that you’re doing things, not just talking about it.
Stay in touch with your sphere and your past clients. These can become your gold mine if you never let them forget you. If you’ve fallen behind on this, catch up with this letter set. Then stay in touch in a light-hearted manner with this set.
Become a referral expert. Get acquainted with agents across the country, so you can be in a position to give referrals when one of your sellers or someone in your sphere is moving out of your community. It’s easy to do if you become active on Active Rain.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
“If you deliver excellence right now, that gives you the best shot at the best future you’ve got coming.” ―Robert Forster
“The foundation of lasting self-confidence and self-esteem is excellence, mastery of your work.” ―
One more thing…
Skip talking about being part-time. When you’re working with a partner and the two of you are doing a good job for your clients, there’s no reason for anyone to know that you’re part time. If they ask, don’t lie, but don’t go out of your way to make sure they know they can’t reach you at certain times of day.
What do you think?
I’d love to see your thoughts in the comment section below…
success and plan Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
push excellence Image courtesy of PinkBlue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net