How to Be a Top Real Estate Agent

Being successful in the practice of real estate isn't about passing a licensing test.

Too many would-be real estate agents obsess over the licensing test, then fail in their first two years because they didn't develop a plan and follow it for success in becoming a real estate agent.  They passed the test, but failed to understand the business, to develop a budget and a business plan, or to learn the ropes that aren't taught or covered in the test.

These are not just tips, but tools to help you to go into the business with a plan in place to be successful.  Learning about the pace of the business, the costs of doing business, and getting to the right prospects is critical.

Basic Checklist for Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Mature woman standing with couple in front of Open House sign
Andersen Ross/Digital Vision/Getty Images

This article prepares you for the others to follow.  Here you'll learn the major points to consider in becoming a real estate agent and starting your business in the right way.  Keeping these tips in mind will help you to use the others that follow to set up a plan that you can follow, but even more important, believe in.  A realistic start and plan will give you the confidence to go out and make it happen.

There are too many real estate professionals who entered the business for what they perceive as easy big money commissions.  They find out the hard way that there are monetary costs and a lot of work is required to be successful. More

Reasons for Failure After Becoming a Real Estate Agent

New real estate agents in majority.
Most agents too new for experience in a down market. (c) Photo:

Knowing why others have failed, and a large percentage do, will be an important factor in keeping your new real estate business plan on track.  Most successful people in any business will tell you that they are successful not only because they studied ways to be successful, but that they also studied the failure of others in order to avoid the same mistakes. More

It's a Business - Know Your Expenses Before Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Real estate sphere of influence.
Increase your real estate business by increasing your sphere of influence.

How much are your personal expenses?  You need to know, as they go on while you're trying to kick off your new real estate career.  Becoming a real estate agent doesn't stop the rent, food, clothing and other expenses.  Here's some help in making sure you have a handle on those expenses and a plan to make sure that they're paid while still allowing you to devote time and budget to your new business.  There's even a spreadsheet at the link that you can download to estimate your personal and business expenses. More

Planning Income With a "Sales Funnel" Approach

Prospects feed into the top of the funnel and commissions come out the bottom. Jim Kimmons

Becoming a real estate agent requires that you know your present and future expenses, both personal and business.  However, that's just half the puzzle.  What about your income?  Sure, it's sales, and who knows how well you'll do at first, or how many deals you can get done in your first couple of years?  You can develop an income budget just like an expense budget, and you'll get a spreadsheet and a step by step process to come up with a realistic estimate of what you can expect for income the first year or so. More

Develop a Marketing Budget When Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Stretching Marketing Dollars
Stretching Marketing Dollars. ©iStockPhoto

Now that you've gone through the steps for estimating expenses and income, you can develop a budget for your marketing efforts.  You probably thought about this in the income funnel approach, as the number of leads you'll get from direct mail will be based on the number of mailers.  So, you know how many you want to mail, and can determine that expense budget item as well as others in this article. More

Choosing a Broker When Becoming a Real Estate Agent

New strip mall.
New strip mall. iStockPhoto

Choosing your first broker to carry your license could be the difference in success and failure when becoming a real estate agent.  Making the right choice requires an understanding of your needs, both income and training related.  While one broker may seem to be offering more leads with floor time, are you going to get the training you need to do a good job with those leads?  Learn in this article how to work toward a decision, including considering both anticipated income and expenses. More

Income Splits & How The Money Is Divided - Broker Choice

Real Estate Sales Funnel Spreadsheet
Find out how many prospects you need to enter the top of your sales funnel in order to get the desired commission income out the bottom. Jim Kimmons

While "splits" can weigh heavily in your first broker selection, they shouldn't be the only criteria.  Learn here how the money is divided up between all of the parties involved, including franchises.  Keep in mind that the initial split can get better once you show your broker that you're going to be a deal generator.  So, don't make your broker decision based only on splits. More

Fast Track Your Prospect List When Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Cost per prospect from a pay per click campaign.
It's hard to argue with a low cost per very focused prospect. ® Photo: Jim Kimmons

In this article you'll learn proven ways to get a jump on building your "sphere of influence" or prospect database.  Many are the old "tried and true" ways others have used to get started.  They're here because they work.  Take this step in your business plan seriously, and you will see income sooner, and may be able to go into your income funnel spreadsheet and make positive adjustments. More

Basic Checklist for Using Technology and the Internet

Real Estate Tech Tools
Real Estate Tech Tools. © iStockPhoto

You just learned about some "tried and true" methods for getting a fast start on building prospects for your new real estate business.  But, the new reality of marketing in this business is the Internet and technology.  Starting early in planning and building an effective Internet presence will make a huge difference in the long run.  Becoming a real estate agent who is highly successful will require the Web. More

Choosing a Marketing Niche for Your Real Estate Business

Rewards and risks of real estate investing.
Know the many ways to invest in real estate, and choose based on your capital and tolerance for risk. (c) Photo

While it isn't something you need to do right away, and you may never do it, consider studying your market area in order to specialize in a niche market in the future.  Learn in this article some of the most successful niches chosen by others.  Congratulations on your decision, and good luck and success in becoming a real estate agent. More

Make a plan and stick to it.

Passing the test gets you the license, but it's far from enough knowledge to be successful in becoming a real estate agent for the long haul. Learn the top ten things you can do to help assure that you'll make the cut.