If you want to start a real estate business to help buyers and sellers go through the stressful and complicated process of one of the most important transactions of their lives, you need to make sure that your business is well prepared.
Here are four of the 11 steps you need to know to start your own real estate business. If you like what you read here, be sure to read the complete 11-step guide at how to start a real estate business.
1. Find your niche
Real estate is a competitive field.
In our definitive guide to how to start a business, we suggest budding entrepreneurs choose a niche for the best chance of success. Here are some real estate niches to consider:
• Resort and vacation homes
• Income properties (houses purchased to generate income through rental or leasing)
• Commercially zoned properties
• Property management
• Rental property
2. Obtain a license
Whether you work in New York, California, Texas, Illinois, or another state, you will need to have the appropriate license for your real estate business.
A real estate license
• There are four basic steps you need to compete to get your license and start working as a real estate agent:
• Take the real estate pre-license course for your state. Each real estate pre-licensing course will cover your state’s laws and regulations, in addition to the federal real estate laws in effect for all 50 states.
• Pass the real estate license exam. In most states, you must answer 70% to 75% of the questions correctly to be successful.
• Submit your real estate license application. Some states may require all real estate license applicants to submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check.
• Find a broker to work for. Having your license associated with a licensed brokerage is required to start working as a real estate agent. This is a critical decision that requires research and careful thought.
A broker’s license
The basic steps for obtaining a broker’s license are the same in most states:
• You will need a building permit.
• Experience. Real estate agents generally need to have at least 2 to 4 years of experience in the real estate industry before they can apply for a broker’s license. Additionally, some states require agents to complete a minimum number of real estate transactions before they can qualify for a broker’s license.
• Education. Candidate brokers in each state are required to complete pre-licensing training, which can range from 45 hours to 90 hours before being allowed to apply for a broker’s license.
• Broker exam. You must pass the broker’s license exam, which is more comprehensive than the real estate agent exam.
• Application and fees. Complete the broker license application and pay all applicable fees. The fees range from $ 150 to $ 200, depending on the state in which you live.
3. Create a strong brand identity
Make a memorable brand identity is a crucial part of the success of any real estate professional.
A brand is how people know you and your business.
In today’s competitive real estate market, a strong brand is more important than it ever was.
Ask yourself these important questions:
• What identity / personality do I want my real estate brand to project?
• Who will want my products or services?
• What can clients get from my services that they can’t get anywhere else?
• What can clients achieve by working with me that they can’t go anywhere else?
• What are the values of my brand?
• What is the most important part of my clients’ experience?
Your answers to these questions will build the heart of your brand. All of your future branding decisions should build on these ideas. Your Company Name, your logo, and your website design should all evolve from the concepts you’ve outlined here.
Make sure you create a unique brand. Too many real estate companies have identical logos and branding. Your real estate logo should be unique (unless you work for an existing brokerage house).
Whenever you make personal appearances, be sure to wear business cards and leaflets for people who want to know more about your services.
4. Build a web presence
According to a to study of home buyers, 90% start their research online and 40% contact a real estate agent after researching the web.
Make that first impression a good impression with a well-designed site.
Make sure your real estate website design truly embodies your brand. Visitors should be able to understand who you are, the services you provide, your qualifications and your reputation.
The design and marketing copy of your website should project the voice and identity of your personal brand or that of your broker. Here are some suggestions:
• If you work as a real estate agent, include a photo and biography. Home buyers want to know the person behind the site.
• Be authentic and avoid marketing “happy talks”. Speak the same language as your customers.
• Include high quality examples of sales you’ve made and be sure to include social proof where possible.
• Provide an easy way for site visitors to get in touch with you.
To learn more about designing great websites, check out Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Best Web Design Practices and 7 modern website design trends for 2019.
5. Join a team
There are two main types of real estate brokerage: franchise brokerage and boutique brokerage.
National brokerage firms
Franchise brokers work under the umbrella of large national companies. These companies grant brokers the right to use their name, branding and business plan. The franchise receives these benefits, and in return the larger company receives a percentage of each transaction that office enters into.
Large companies provide vast resources for marketing and branding, easy name recognition, and a higher percentage of online traffic.
The major downside is the size. New agents, in particular, can find the impersonal nature of a large franchise off-putting, and the resulting lack of mentorship and professional development can make it an additional challenge to break into an extremely competitive market.
Brokerages are generally owned by a small business. They are managed by a single broker and the agents working in that brokerage generally work closely together.
The small size of a brokerage shop increases the value placed on each individual agent. Because the stores are small, every contribution to the brokerage’s bottom line makes a big difference.
Newer agents can benefit from the extra attention and direction given by more experienced agents.
Store brokers are also more flexible with branding regulations. Agents have a creative license to build a brand without so many restrictions, which can help new agents build a unique brand from the start.
The main disadvantage of working with a brokerage shop is that the budget available for marketing materials and other resources is likely to be significantly less than that of a large chain.
Brand recognition may be more difficult to achieve and will generally be limited to the areas served by the store.
And of course, if you have a special license and want to open your own real estate brokerage house, you will have a lot of additional issues including hiring employees, offices, etc. If you need help with employment or contractor agreements or agreements with your suppliers, take a look at Quickly Legal, which offers a simple and inexpensive way to create, sign and manage commercial contracts, with a lot you can start using right away.
The five steps above will give you an edge and help you get started on the path to owning your own successful real estate business.
Amanda Bowman is Branding and Support Specialist at the crowd, one of the world’s leading markets for logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and corporate naming services. Amanda guides crowdspring clients through the process of getting affordable, high-quality custom designs and names for their business. She writes regularly about branding, entrepreneurship, small business and design on the award-winning crowdspring site. small business blog.