So, you have just set out on your first year working in the real estate business. Congratulations! Your first year is an exciting time, but it can also feel overwhelming. If you are feeling a bit stressed, take a deep breath. Plenty of successful veteran realtors and brokers have been in your shoes, and experience has revealed some best practices that can help you start your first year on the right foot. Here is a guide to thriving in your first year in real estate.

Develop Your Time Management Skills

Don’t assume that time management is just a bit of resume fluff. Being an agent means working long hours, scheduling meetings and open houses, and always adapting to the needs of the client. Missing an important meeting with a client or passing by an opportunity to reach out to a lead is anathema to a real estate agent. Get used to checking and double-checking your calendar on the regular. 

Know Your Financial Goals (and Make Sure They are Accomplishable)

Draw up an estimated budget for the year, factoring everything from meals, to utilities, to transportation. You should also have a solid understanding of your employment status—if you are self-employed, you may need to set aside up to 35% of your income to cover insurance, licensing, and taxes.

Working in a growing municipality like Boise can be costly, and you want to have a good handle on your expenses and the income you will need to stay afloat. Be realistic about your financial goals—it’s not uncommon for agents to work multiple jobs their first year. This doesn’t mean you have to shoot low, but make sure that you understand your local market and are prepared to work hard for success.

Find Your Specialty

It’s hard to market yourself without any special skills, knowledge, or qualifications. Setting your sights on a niche in the real estate market can give you a head start with your mailing list, audience outreach, and marketing strategy. A competitive market with a lot of growth (don’t forget that Idaho saw the largest year-to-year home price increase in the US last year!) is a prime opportunity for specialization. New residents are not all alike—from buying and selling, to home management, to veterans’ needs, there are always opportunities for you to build your skillset and build your audience.

Develop a Plan

You are ready for the long hours; you have viable financial expectations; you have a niche you want to develop—now you need to make sure you have a viable plan to meet your goals. There is no one-size-meets-all approach to building your annual plan, but there are some elements you should always consider:

  • Your Budget: Know how much you plan to spend on your marketing and operations—not only for the whole year but month-by-month.
  • Expected Leads: Develop a projected number of leads that you want to get in contact with; monitoring whether you are reaching enough leads can help you determine if you need to change your strategy.
  • Listing Contracts: Know how many listing agreements you hope to have over the year—listing agreements promise sales and, of course, income.
  • Closing: Know how many sales you want to achieve by the end of your first year.

When you create a clear, concrete, and quantifiable plan, you can measure the effectiveness of your outreach strategy. Writing out a decent plan can also help you think long-term: will you need to adjust your budget next year? Change your expectations? Do you need to set aside some time and resources as you work towards that designation or certification you hope to get? Your skills, preparations, and expectations should all go towards developing your plan for the year.

With the appropriate time management, budgeting, and plans for specialization, you will not only start with an excellent first year in real estate but will develop the necessary skills to thrive and grow as you continue your career.

Know the Law

Finally, it’s important to stress that a good realtor—whether a newcomer or a veteran—should always comply with the law. If you are unsure whether a practice or plan could infringe on the law, research it. It’s never a bad idea to educate yourself and refresh your knowledge of city, state, and federal laws and best practices. That’s what Continuing Education is all about!

There’s always time to start looking towards the future and considering the next steps to grow your real estate business. Take a look at Boise Real Estate School’s course listings to plan out your future curriculum, prepare your education budget, and identify your ideal specializations in the Idaho real estate market!