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How new agents can strike it rich in real estate

Three tips for new agents that will set them up for success.

In January 1848, James W. Marshall saw something shiny in Sutter Creek that would spark a chain of events known today as the California Gold Rush. Hardly two years later, more than 100,000 had people flocked to California with dreams of striking it rich. By the mid-1850s, that number had swelled to 300,000.

Since the beginning of 2019, 193,959 people in the United States have rushed to their local real estate Commissions in hopes of cashing in on the current real estate boom. Fortunately for these individuals, the trek was not quite as arduous as it was for 49ers.

Today’s rush is most evident not in the Golden State, but in the Sunshine State. In 1855, one in every 90 people in the United States was panning for gold in California. In 2021, one in every 102 Floridians is selling real estate. In August, there were 37,482 active listings in Florida, down 32.4% from the previous year, while the number of real estate agents in the state had increased by nearly 10% in the same period. As of September 30, there was on average just one sale for each of the 210,923 agents in the state.

This trend can be seen nationwide as the total number of NAR members across the country has increased 7.73% year over year. As more real estate professionals vie for the same sale opportunities, the questions facing each agent becomes more visceral: “Why should a client choose you and how can you differentiate yourself from the competition?”

Here are three tips from our proven system for business development to help you answer that question and strike it rich:

Join the strongest team in your market

Approximately $2 billion of precious metal was extracted during the Gold Rush; however, most of that wealth was concentrated among relatively few miners. (More wealth was actually created by merchants—such as Henry Wells, William Fargo, Levi Strauss — supporting the miners than by the miners themselves!)

Market share is becoming increasingly concentrated among the top firms that have the brand, support, and resources to earn the trust of more clients. Since 2018, the United States has seen an increase in the number of teams as well as the production of those teams. According to RealTrends, between 2011 and 2017, the nation’s top teams increased their business nine times faster than the nation’s top individual agents. Specifically, the top agents increased their collective transaction count by 13%, from 45,000 to 51,000 while the top teams increased their share by 115% from 61,000 to 133,000 units.

National Association of Realtors CEO Bob Goldberg noted that, “Real estate teams are an increasingly popular business model in response to consumer demand for a wide range of specialties from their Realtor.” As clients expect not only better service, but also more services to maximize the sale of their home, an individual agent is hard pressed to deliver what a large organization can. An individual agent, on the other hand, has to wear all the hats. With limited time and resources, such a difficult task becomes even more challenging if an individual agent grows his or her business.

The quickest and most sustainable way for an agent to maximize income growth is to leverage the support and value proposition a team conveys to focus solely on revenue generating activities. And, as that agent accelerates the development of his business, through the team’s support, he is able to maintain that consistent level of service for all of his clients.

Be on the cutting edge, don’t get cut by it

Competition in the Gold Rush prompted the development and subsequent adoption of techniques such as sluice-boxing, hydraulic mining, and dredging. Today, if you want to strike it rich, you also must innovate or be left behind holding an empty pan.

Those who effectively identify and implement the most impactful technologies will beat the rest to the punch. According to NAR, 73% of recent buyers and 77% of recent sellers contacted only one agent before selecting their agent. It pays to be the first one on the scene, and technology is the means by which you can reach more potential clients before the competition and after the competition has given up.

Dig hard and smart

R.U. Darby, a Marylander who caught “Gold Fever,” journeyed out west and struck gold, but after a few carts the gold vein disappeared! He persisted and continued to drill in desperate search of locating the vein again. Without any luck and having exhausted his funding, Darby sold his mining equipment for $200 and returned home.

Darby, like most prospectors, had no mining experience or expertise. Neither did the man who bought the machinery; however,  he called in an engineer to locate the vein, which had been just three feet from where Darby had been digging. By aligning with any industry expert, a “junk man” became a multi-millionaire.

Many people get their real estate license thinking that it’ll be quick, easy money. This is exacerbated by the fact that the barriers to entry for getting your real estate license are admittedly low. It seems many have the subconscious presupposition that because it’s so easy to become a real estate agent, it must also be easy to make a lot of money. In reality, it takes hard work, industry expertise to really achieve the promising income so many seek.

Residential brokerage adheres to the Pareto Principle in that the top 20 percent make an outstanding income, but that is because they are the ones willing to do the work that the other 1.3 million agents aren’t. You need to make it your mission to get a piece of business every single day. You should leverage the experience of industry experts to avoid paying the dummy tax because, like with R.U. Darby, one mistake could cost you millions.


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