9 Expert Tips on How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent

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From this article you will learn how to be a successful realtor, regardless whether you are a newbie agent or you have already been in business for a while but are still struggling.

We at Real Estate Bees reached out to experienced and successful realtors asking for tips to becoming a successful real estate agent, and the experts graciously shared their insight with us.

Read on and find out what makes a successful real estate agent.


9 Tips to Becoming a Successful Real Estate Agent

Based on the experts’ answers, we listed the following nine key points:

  1. Develop a strong network. Be in contact with other real estate professionals and help them when you can. This allows you to have a constant stream of referrals from them.
  2. Be around like-minded people who have a positive and winning attitude and are all about supporting and building their peers up.
  3. Become an expert in your field that clients trust. When you have a good relationship with your network of buyers, sellers, renters and colleagues, these people can be the best source of referrals that can help grow your business.
  4. Make sure to establish a balance between networking and working. Cultivate relationships with your peers, while making sure that you are focused on meeting the needs of your clients.
  5. Never stop learning. Take advantage of courses, trainings and books, so that you will become more knowledgeable in your field. Get out there and learn from other professionals. Successful real estate agents are the ones who constantly continue to develop their knowledge.
  6. Find a good mentor that will guide you and provide a wealth of business advice, especially if you’re just starting out. Partner with a mentor who will keep you accountable and help you stay on the right path.
  7. Commit to your work with full-time effort. It is not enough that you show up. You have to work full time and do everything possible to make your business stable, i.e., building your database, generating more leads, setting client appointments, and focusing on closing your deals.
  8. Build a good reputation in the industry. Be fair and honest in your business dealings.
  9. Give yourself time to develop the habits of success. Being a successful real estate agent doesn’t happen overnight. Celebrate even the smallest of feats and be grateful for them each day.

Note: you may also want to know about the signs of a bad realtor. This will help you avoid delay on you way to becoming a successful professional. And if you are at the very beginning of your real estate career, read our article I Passed My Real Estate Exam, Now What? to learn how to prepare yourself for the most effective start.

Now, let’s dive into the details.


How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent?

Lynn Richter, KW Commercial Real Estate, LLC

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Lynn Richter broker

There are all sorts of answers to the question “how to become a successful realtor?” However, one constant is networking. You cannot sit and wait for business to come to you. You have to develop a strong network.

My overall network helping me with commercial real estate marketing is over 1,200 professionals and businesses, both B2B and B2C. Why B2C when my commercial real estate (CRE) brokers are B2B? Because the individual consumer who uses a residential real estate (RRE) broker may in fact own a company and has to move their offices, thus using a B2B CRE broker.

If you cultivate relationships with RRE brokers, you open up a network for you, as well as providing the RRE broker a good resource to refer CRE business.

Within that large network, have a close-knit circle of B2B professionals, i.e. the furniture salesman, the business development person with a phone company, that CRE attorney, that lender, etc.

Make it a point to get together or at least communicate on a regular basis to exchange leads. If their clients are your clients, you need to be chasing not only the same companies but the same industries as well. Watch movement in different industries; watch for growth and for downsizing.

Do not be afraid of the small deal. I moved a new business out of the basement of the owner’s home. That was 25+ years and over a dozen deals ago, with not only that original parent company but its subsidiaries as well.

If I had discounted a request for 1,500 SF, I would have lost out on all of that future business. Think about it, that 1,500 SF grew to 6K, then 12K, then it split off to 3K and that 3K grew to 30K, etc. Those leases needed to be renewed, moved, split, expanded, etc.

As a commercial real estate broker, you have to think outside of the norm, and that goes for your networking as well.

The key to being a successful real estate agent is to balance networking with work. You do not want to be doing more networking than work, but if you find yourself doing more work than networking, you need to find a balance and a way to continue reaching out to your network while busy with clients because client requirements have an ending.

If you are not paying attention to networking and that pipeline of leads, you will find yourself looking for work when the client’s work is completed. Keep your pipeline full. I value every lead, once I know what their requirement is. I convert it into an income value broken down into months.

When my pipeline gets off that 30-month level, I step up my networking. Once, my pipeline dropped to 18 months and I hit the panic button, I stepped up my networking with some B2C and B2B meetups and within a couple of weeks, the pipeline was over 40 months.

So, networking is just as important as working because without one, the other would not exist.

As for the leads, I suggest that you read our articles:

How to Find Motivated Home Sellers
Types of Motivated Sellers
What Is a Motivated or Distressed Seller in Real Estate?
How to Find Free Motivated Seller Leads

Agents who are only developing their own ways to generate leads and who aren’t getting a constant flow of leads yet, have the following quick solution.

Look into using our highly-converting leads for real estate agents and motivated seller leads until you get consistency in your own lead generation.

— Kimberly Anderson, Senior Creative Editor at Real Estate Bees

Jeffrey D. Jones, Advanced Business Brokers, Inc.

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Jeffrey Jones broker

As a commercial real estate and business broker, I am responsible for training new agents. Upon hiring, I tell them that for becoming a successful real estate agent in this industry they need to do the following:

  • Commit to a full-time effort. In residential brokerage, real estate agents can obtain some success working part time, but in commercial and business brokerage, it takes a full-time effort to be a successful real estate agent.
  • Join and become active in trade associations such as NAR, TAR and HAR, TABB, and the IBBA.
  • Take educational courses offered by these trade associations to become knowledgeable in your specified field.
  • Find a mentor who can monitor your activities and provide business advice.
  • One of the most important things a new agent needs to do is develop a referral network as quickly as possible. Your referral network should consist of accountants, real estate attorneys, bankers, industry suppliers, past clients, friends, and relatives who can and will provide you referrals of potential buyers and sellers. This is what will keep you in the real estate business for the long term.

Referrals are always the best source of motivated buyers and sellers. It is important to stay in touch with your referral network. Take the people in your referral network to lunch, send them emails and news releases, and, where possible, refer business to them.

Someone who has been referred to you will see you as an expert because you were recommended and they seek your advice rather than just a salesperson trying to sell them something.

Every sales agent will initially need to make cold calls, do direct mail, join community organizations such as a church, golf club, political organizations, chambers of commerce, and non-profit organizations to become well known in the community.

However, these activities are time consuming and can be expensive but necessary to launch your career. These activities will also help develop your referral network which will generate profitable business and keep you working for the long term.


Jim Fite, Century 21  Judge Fite Company

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Jim Fite Realtor

Secret #1: Show Up

The vast majority of agents want flexibility in their career. For the first time in most agents’ careers, they do not have to go to work, no one is calling them to say, “Where are you?”

However, flexibility does not mean they can succeed in 15 to 25 hours per week. In reality, owning your own business means longer hours and less pay until you build your database and have grown your business.

Real estate is a career, not a job! You invest in a career daily for long-term success!


Secret #2: Work When You Show Up

Whatever you perceive real estate brokerage is before you start, chances are, it is entirely different. Real estate brokerage is sales! It is building a database, real estate agent lead sources, setting appointments, closing, and FOLLOW UP!

Keep in mind these ingredients of what an agent should put into any given sale: 15% product knowledge, 30% selling skills, and 55% attitude! (There is a 100% pie of product knowledge where the 15% is captured for an individual sale.)


Secret #3 You Are What You Think About

Refer to Secret #2. If you think you can succeed or think that you cannot succeed, you are right either way! You must put good stuff into your brain! You must believe in yourself and must do things that are not “comfortable.” As Zig Ziglar puts it, “Do 4 things you don’t want to do every day… this builds character.


Jennifer Welch, Amazing Realty

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Jennifer Welch broker

New agents often try a little of everything and quickly become discouraged when they don’t see immediate results.

To be successful as a new real estate agent, surround yourself with supportive, positive people, make a plan and stick to it! Don’t bounce around trying every new shiny thing without first trying something consistently for an extended period of time (generally 3 months).

Focus on the people you surround yourself with, so be around positive people because they yield positive results. Remain consistent to the plan you build by dedicating time each day to do the activities needed to reach your realtor goal.

Most importantly, give yourself some grace and some time. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself the time to build the habits of success and look for the small successes that happen every day. Even if it seems small, celebrate each success.


Shelly Walzel, Walzel Properties

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Shelly Walzel Realtor

As the real estate world changes and evolves so quickly, one thing will never change. This business is a relationship-based business. No longer does it matter what brokerage you are with.

Your business will grow organically when buyers and sellers see you as an expert in the industry. They will hire you because they trust that you put their interest before all else.

Buyers and sellers can find their home online. They can look at the pictures, research the schools and area. They do need you to prepare the contracts and advise them along the way.

The agent that will thrive in this business right now is the one that understands that trust and knowledge are essential in building relationships through professional and personal contacts.


David Mussari, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty

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David Mussari Realtor

Becoming a successful realtor requires the same fundamentals as building any other successful business. You first lay a strong foundation using long-term vision and planning, combine it with depth of knowledge of the industry, and then have a deep understanding and appreciation of your clients.

The building process requires perseverance, grit, and self discipline, all balanced by a high level of compassion and understanding.

The most successful agents in this industry understand that for a majority of their clients, they may not work with them directly again for another decade, but if they nurture their relationships and build trust, those clients will be the best source of referrals to grow their business.


Unjoo Azbill, Greater Houston Real Estate Partners

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Unjoo Azbill Realtor

I tell newbie agents that they have to really want to learn. I usually have them start off by driving to new communities and talk with salespeople to learn about the building process, what stands out with that builder, learn the positives about the area, etc.

They also need to learn the contract, how to fill them out, what disclosures need to be added, and so on. I also like them to hold open houses, so they get the nerves out and learn to prepare for buyers by studying a home and its features. I recommend shadowing a seasoned agent on listing appointments.

When they have nothing to do, they should be learning and putting together their real estate listing marketing plan and other marketing strategies. I also highly recommend starting a real estate agent CRM, so they can start marketing to their sphere of influences and learning how to work by referral.


Eric Martin

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Eric Martin Realtor

There are many definitions of the word “success”. I’m old school and believe in such things as character, integrity, keeping one’s word, honesty, reputation, just to name a few.

My mother taught me long ago about the meaning of one’s reputation. It can make or break one in the world of business, as well as one’s personal life. I believe that if one keeps a good reputation in their business dealings, making a living (money wise, etc.) will follow.

In this world of instant media, one can become known quite quickly. So, it only follows that one’s reputation (good or bad) can become known. Having these inner core principles can help guide one on the path of trying to be fair and honest in their business dealings.

One will find that he/she can’t always be perfect in the pursuit of these core principles. That’s to be expected. It’s just as important to strive to achieve these ideals as I believe it helps keep one on the right path. May success follow your journey.


Barry B. Bounds, KW Commercial Real Estate

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Barry B. Bounds Realtor

Establish a budget, lead generate, and be in a constant state of learning about the commercial industry. I also highly recommend the CCIM courses. Find a real estate coach or mentor to help you in the early stages of your career.


Brooke Daniel, Hippo Realty

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Brooke Daniel Realtor

Find a mentor to guide you. Real estate is a hard business and there’s a lot you need to learn. Find someone who can share knowledge with you and provide encouragement!


Kenneth Cox, DFW Urban Realty

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Kenneth Cox Realtor

I would tell new agents it’s important to do research on how to choose a great broker to work for. Then find a top real estate brokerage near you that provides personalized training along with a steady supply of leads.


Where to Start Improving Your Business?

When you begin to follow these 9 effective tips recommended by successful agents while avoiding some of the most common mistakes newbie realtors make, you will see a huge progress in your real estate business!

As Jeffrey Jones, Brooke Daniel and Barry B. Bounds advise above, it’s important to find a mentor. Oftentimes, you can get good training by an experienced professional when joining a real estate team. Some real estate teams offer effective mentorship programs. In the article written by our expert Joe Boylan, a realtor with 20-year experience running his own company, you can find wise advice on how to join a real estate team.

As mentioned by Lynn Richter and Jeffrey D. Jones, networking is imperative for a successful real estate agent career. You need to be open for referrals from potential partners. You also need to be visible to your potential partners and clients looking for a local realtor online. You also get to learn something from these connections that you can apply to your business, which is one of the benefits of being a real estate agent.

Take the first step to advance your career right now by adding your business to the Real Estate Bees free directory for real estate agents. It’s used by home sellers and buyers looking for top-rated local real estate agents.

Other real estate professionals, such as real estate investors, developers, or mortgage brokers also use it to find top realtors in their area to partner with and refer business to each other.

Creating a free profile takes just a few minutes but it can be your next step in becoming a successful real estate agent.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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