I learn lessons every day in the real estate business; It’s a fast-paced, constantly changing, crazy and exciting industry. Still, these post-pandemic years have been the wildest of them all, and I experienced a lot of brand-new highs and lows in 2021. This past year brought a mix of record-breaking sales, amazing comebacks, and unforeseen setbacks; Here are the five biggest lessons I learned.
1. Good Agents Create Markets.
When the housing supply dwindled to next to nothing and we found ourselves in a low-inventory market, my team and I didn’t wait it out. Good agents don’t “wait out” a market—they go out and create one. We knocked on doors, we broke out our contact lists, we met with buildings (old and new), we flew to new cities (sometimes countries), and we worked our relationships with developers and other agents. Some days I was flying to Florida in the morning for a single meeting, and back home in New York City by night. If you have hustle, you can create a market anytime, anywhere.
2. Branding is your #1 tool.
A lot of agents think of branding as something they’ll get to later, when they’re more successful and they have more time. That’s a huge mistake. My personal brand is what got me a foot in the door, way back before anyone knew who I was. By putting the time and money into successful branding, I now generate leads while I sleep. No, really: If you build out a brand the right way, it becomes your 24/7 representative in your community, on social media platforms, and in all the places you can’t be at once. It’s the single most important investment a real estate agent can make, and the only true way to make yourself stand out from the competition.
3. Delegation is a process, but it’s necessary.
When I decided to launch my own brokerage, I knew I wouldn’t be taking on every client and showing every apartment. As anyone with a team knows, you have to hire good people, and you have to step back and let them be where you can’t be (p.s. Where you need to be is building the business, working on expanding the brand, and closing the deals that only you can close). It’s always been hard for me to “let go,” but that’s a necessary part of growing your business.
4. A “No” now means “Yes” later.
The average American buys or sells a home only once every 13 years—that’s why it’s so important for agents to stay in front of leads and make sure that you’re the one they think of when they’re ready. I’ve heard “No,” so many times—from clients, from developers, and even from Bravo (they turned down my home renovation show idea when I first pitched it). But I make sure to stay on top of every lead by creating consistent content (on my website, through my newsletters, on my YouTube page, and on my social networks). Eventually, those clients will be ready, and if you’ve done your part by holding their attention in the meantime, that “No” becomes a “Yes.”
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5. Always be investing.
If you’re a new agent just starting out, don’t worry about investing—worry about budgeting. But once you’re making enough sales to have extra income left at the end of the year, don’t be passive with it. Here’s why: Nobody becomes a top broker by saving money—you do it by investing money. Invest every year into branding, marketing, apps, courses, expanding your team, and maybe even eventually starting your own brokerage. Keep funneling your excess income back into the business if you want to see it grow.