What I’ve learned from 10 years as a Realtor

learned to take the dog to Schneider's Flats

This is my tenth year in real estate. I’ve learned a lot over the past decade. Also, the real estate industry has evolved and grown and changed a lot in a short time, so I’ve adapted too.

One thing I like to say about real estate is that it forces you to become who you really are. Sure, there is a high ‘fake it till you make it’ quotient, but those guys are easy to spot. Copycats are always easy to spot. I remember myself in my first year in real estate, getting tripped up at Open Houses with questions that I should have known the answer to.

Everyone is over-confident and incompetent when they start.

Socrates said: “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

I knew when I started that I had lots to learn. I’ve learned from my own mistakes and I’ve learned from the mistakes of others. I’ve learned through experience and I’ve learned by reading and writing about real estate. I watched and questioned the seasoned realtors and I challenged the sales trainers sometimes knowing that their methods wouldn’t work for me.


So what have I learned?

1. Struggle is good

Real estate is a tough business. It has terrible hours. You never get two days off in a row. You struggle with the weather. You are out showing houses in ice storms, struggling with frozen lock boxes, in the dark. Your clients will be late. You will be waiting in your car outside a house that has multiple offers knowing that someone else’s client will win the deal. But it is all a process and struggle is part of the process. If it was easy, anyone could do it. Most new realtors are out of the business within two years. Near 70% are out of the real estate business altogether within five years. Nobody believes it is as hard as it is.

2. Qualify your clients

Time is a busy realtor’s most valuable commodity. Many realtors work hard to build out their databases with future clients. Then they put their ‘futures’ on a ‘drip campaign’ sending them listings, checking in with computer generated emails, cards and calendars at Christmastime…There is nothing wrong with this approach, except it takes a lot of time and wastes a lot of resources.

I personally think it is better to work with people who are actually in the market to buy or sell a home soon or sometime soon. There are a lot of shoppers and dreamers and future clients out there, but where are the real clients?

3. Don’t work with people you don’t like 

Buying and selling a home is really a relationship business. And it takes time. It’s a marathon not a sprint. There will be something that comes up where you are going to have to have a meeting of the minds. Clients and their agents have to respect and trust and like each other.

4. Learn every day

There is always something new to be learned about real estate. I’ve seen some old time realtors continue to do things like its 1999. But I don’t see them very often any more.

5. Keep a journal

I shouldn’t admit this, but I keep notes on other realtors and their brokerages. Know your competition. Get to know what they are like and you will know how to best deal with them.

Record your own thoughts too. When I write things down I find clarity in my thoughts.

6. Don’t care about what people think

Although real estate is set up in the spirit of cooperation, there is lots of conflict between realtors when doing what is best for their clients. We have a job to do and we should take ourselves out of the equation. Clients come first.

7. Lead the way

In real estate, you have to carve a niche out for yourself. Once you find your spot, work on dominating that category.

8. Be nice

You have to be assertive and aggressive in real estate, but you can still be nice.

9. Rest before you get tired

You are going to burn out otherwise. There is always tomorrow. There is always more to do when you are self-employed.

10. Don’t assume and don’t judge

You never know in real estate how things are going to go. The players and the homes and the market is always changing. It’s always a new ballgame.


Times flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

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