The gap is not only huge but also very telling.
As with any industry, the top 1% to 10% earn significantly more than the remaining 90%. While we can attribute this to several factors (location, access to HNIs, network), there’s no question that the top real estate agents are doing some things that the rest aren’t.
There is no secret formula to success in the real estate market. You have to put it in the hours and grind like every other successful real estate agent. At the same time, having a framework to follow makes it easier to achieve your goals.
Whether you are an up-and-coming agent or you’re looking for one, it is very likely that the one thing on your mind is “How much will I be making?” or “How much will I be spending?”
Top real estate agents can be costlier, but they help their clients to save money on repairs in the long run. This way, people pay more for the realtor’s time, but then pay significantly less when it comes to repair costs.
That being said, a top agent should always be one’s go-to. But, what exactly gives them the “top” status?
Today we will talk about the 9 most important characteristics that make the top real estate agents successful. But we should also remember that there is no shortcut to hard work. If you want to make it big in the market, you have to be ready for the sacrifices.
1. Negotiation Skills
Let’s address the elephant in the room before going into ancillary factors. Negotiation skills are life skills. Everyone from the President of a country to a homemaker needs negotiation skills.
In the now famous book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, international hostage negotiation specialist Chriss Voss explains how negotiation skills can even save lives. The book espouses the idea that a combination of emotional intelligence and intuition can help you negotiate better.
Never Split The Difference is not the only book on negotiation skills. For decades, entrepreneurs and life coaches have focused on the importance of negotiation. If you have an otherwise comfortable life, you may slowly forget the art of negotiation.
As a real estate agent, the ability to negotiate is essential – you cannot go anywhere without it. You will have to negotiate with sellers, buyers, construction workers, lawyers, accountants, and a host of other people. Unless your negotiation skills are top-notch, moving forward in the real estate market will be difficult, if not impossible.
Here are some tips on how to be better at negotiation:
- Create win-win situations: When you are negotiating with another party, they would not want to come out of it as the losers. Arrive at a settlement where both parties have something to win.
- Use the right words: If your ideas and schemes sound confident and evoke trust, you would be much more likely to land a deal. Choose your words carefully.
- Use bargaining power (when you have it): In some deals, the power dynamics would give you the bargaining power. In some deals, the other party would have the bargaining power. When you are in a favorable place to negotiate, use your bargaining power to get the best deal.
- Set boundaries: Negotiation should be professional and entrepreneurial. There’s no place for personal attacks and insults in a negotiation. Establish these boundaries beforehand, and don’t worry about walking away once they are breached.
- Coinage: Coinage is something you may not notice much, but it means a lot to the other party. You can keep coinage for the final part of the negotiation by learning about the other side’s motivations.
2. Tech Literacy
If you were a real estate agent 2 or 3 decades ago, you could have done fine without knowing anything about technology, particularly the internet. Today you can’t do anything without technology.
As a real estate agent, you need to be updated with all the latest innovations in your sector. Look for fintech companies trying to break into the real estate market. See how investing apps are bringing real estate to the consumers. Examine crowdfunding projects and whether the public trusts them or not.
To do any of the above things, you would have to be tech literate. Real estate agents also have to use a lot of tech products to maximize productivity. Be it a meeting scheduler or a virtual home tour service, there’s a lot you can do by maximizing tech.
You should never let a client down, even if it means losing your own money. It’s possible to earn money back, but once your integrity is gone, other people will have a hard time trusting you.
Having integrity is closely linked to being honest. You can’t be honest without having integrity, and vice versa. To put it in simple words, keep your word at all times. Bail out of situations where you cannot keep your word or promise.
All top real estate agents are known for their integrity. Integrity is different from morals and beliefs. You can have integrity of character no matter what your beliefs are.
4. Problem-Solving Skills
Every profession requires problem-solving skills to some extent. As a real estate agent, you should look at problems from an optimistic perspective. There are dozens of problems that you will come across each day. If these problems bog you down, you can’t succeed in the real estate market.
Here are some tips on being better at solving problems:
- Keep calm: Stay calm and composed whenever you encounter a problem. If you panic, you cannot arrive at a good solution.
- Break down the problem: Look at the different factors that are causing the problem, and look at them in isolation. Then you can come up with solutions that address each of those causes.
- Have different perspectives: A unidimensional perspective can make even a simple problem seem much more complex.
- Seek help: If you cannot come up with a solution on your own, don’t be afraid to seek help from experts.
5. Pay Attention to Details
Attention to detail is an underrated skill for real estate agents. Not only is it useful to understand customers and clients, but also to understand properties.
Start paying close attention to anyone you talk to and anything you see. Take notes and come back to them later. Paying close attention to details is about practice. If you do it enough times, being attentive will become muscle memory.
We often underplay the power of paying close attention to details. That alone can differentiate the top real estate agents from the rest.
6. Present Yourself Well
Presentation matters a lot. We consciously and unconsciously react favorably to a good presentation. For real estate agents, it goes much beyond dressing sharp (which is also important).
Everything from your brochure to your website should look professional. This means you have to find the best printing services, web development services, and maybe even a stylist. When you put in the effort to appear professional, other people have an easier time trusting you.
No matter how you feel about hustling and working hard, looking sharp while being at it is crucial for success in the real estate market.
7. Communication Skills
Communication skills refer to how you talk, write, persuade others, and pitch yourself. It also means how well you listen, since interpersonal communication is all about listening and responding.
In the real estate market, you would need communication skills for a wide range of scenarios. You need to convince clients, negotiate the best rates, retain long-term clients, and pitch yourself to investors. To succeed in each of these areas, you would need great communication skills.
Working on communication skills is the first thing you should do even before entering the real estate market.
8. Knowledge of the Market
Now we are coming to hard skills from soft skills. How much you know and understand the real estate market depends on how much you study it. However, that doesn’t mean you need to have a college degree in housing markets and economics. If you pay close attention to the world, you will learn a lot on your own.
Having said that, you need to learn from experts to get to the top. Dedicate a few hours every day to learning about the market. You will find plenty of resources online, but also consider meeting up with market veterans and learning from their insights.
9. Create a Network of Contacts
Real estate professionals who are successful have a broad range of connections in the market they cover. Other realtors and agents, prospective clients and sellers, and any other participants in the real estate market, such as evaluators, building contractors, and mortgage loan executives, should be a part of your network.
Having a wide network is the key to success in most industries, especially in real estate where word-of-mouth marketing has the highest value. It would take some time to build a strong network, but it’s well worth the effort.
We hope these tips and ideas will help you succeed in your real estate endeavors. You should remember that it’s not a necessity to possess all these characteristics to be successful in real estate. The idea is to learn from them and execute the best practices.
Remember: A good realtor makes good money while helping his clients save money at the same time.