The resiliency of the U.S. real estate market has been a beacon of hope during the pandemic, prompting many people to become Realtors in order to get in on the action, and Atlantans are no exception.
According to local industry veterans, Atlanta has seen a flood of new agents as the pandemic’s disruptions have caused many people to reevaluate their lives, pushing fence sitters to finally make that leap. While pursuing one’s dreams is commendable, three agents who spoke to Atlanta Agent magazine cautioned that becoming a successful Realtor is not as easy as it may seem and provided some tips for those hoping to break into the industry.
Patience is a virtue
One of the main traits a Realtor needs to succeed is patience, Norman & Associates founder and CEO Jeremy Norman said.
“That’s all real estate is about, and if you don’t have the patience to develop your business and understand that you may have to go through a couple of offers on a house, you’re not going to last long,” he said.
Patience is especially important in today’s breakneck market, where competition for limited inventory is intense, Norman said. Would-be buyers can grow desperate when facing the shortness of supply and overextend themselves just to win a bid. A successful agent is patient enough to get these clients to take a breath, think things through and avoid making a bad decision in the heat of the moment, Norman said.
“We have to be great agents and protect our clients because sometimes our clients, they’re panicking, and they’re going all-in on these houses,” he said. “If you know that it’s not going to appraise, and they’re going to want to pay $50,000 over, and it’s not going to line up, you’ve got to give them that advice.”
PalmerHouse Properties branch manager and broker Sandy Bray agreed. Most listings nowadays will have multiple offers and bidding wars, but oftentimes the winning deals with “crazy terms” fall apart, leaving saner offers that weren’t the seller’s first choice to get a second look.
“I advise buyer agents to ask the seller to take yours as a backup and keep on moving,” Bray said. “When the seller comes to you, then you are in the driver’s seat.”
Take the onboarding ramp
While not necessarily under a new agent’s control, meaningful onboarding is critical in today’s market, according to Coldwell Banker Realty managing broker Caroline Wilson.
“In years past, agents had time to create a game plan, learn the ropes, absorb and internalize the technology and lingo,” she said. “Onboarding is the key to streamlining the introduction of marketing tools and technology keeping agents organized so that they do not feel overwhelmed.”
The current market also presents a good opportunity for new agents to assist seasoned ones in open houses, where they can meet buyers and potential clients, Wilson said.
Build relationships, get the word out and keep learning
Wilson’s suggestion dovetails with Norman’s emphasis on relationship building, another key to success.
“Strong relationships will get you through any kind of real estate [market] we go through,” Norman said. During the financial crisis of 2008, many agents who had depended on internet leads and not personal relationships were left high and dry and are no longer in the business, he said.
Getting your name out there is also important, the agents agreed.
Bray suggested establishing a routine or system for reaching out to existing contacts to let them know you have a real estate license and are open for business. Norman said that in today’s competitive market, new agents need to be prepared to spend a little money to advertise.
The current market, with bidding wars, houses not appraising at contract price and other issues, brings a unique set of complexities. Wilson said the key to navigating this fast-changing environment is staying up to date on the latest contract changes, stipulations, trends and cycles and taking advantage of continuing education opportunities.
“Always be a student of the business,” she said.