How to Start a Real Estate Business
- What you need to know about real estate
- Step 1. Pick a niche
- Step 2. Study your competitors
- Step 3. Develop a marketing strategy
- Step 4. Get a license
- Step 5. Estimate your startup costs
- Step 6. Acquire new clients
Starting a real estate business from scratch is a tricky task. However, with a thorough planning, smart marketing and effective networking, you have all chances to build a successful career in this challenging field. We’ve developed a step-by-step instruction that answers the most common questions that beginning entrepreneurs might have.
What you need to know about real estate
Real estate is a highly competitive field. To build and maintain a healthy business, you need to work hard for months. Among other things, you need to study your competitors, find the best niche, create a strong personal brand, and come up with a unique proposal that will resonate with your clients and meet their ever-growing needs.
According to statistics, the annual income of a US-based real estate agent working 21-39 hours a week amounts to $46,458. At the same time, an agent working 60 hours a week makes up to $145,347 a year. Keep in mind that building a career in real estate is a long process that takes plenty of hard work and patience.
Step 1. Pick a niche
Pick a market segment that you’re going to focus on. Your choice will define your future career, so be sure to address this issue will all seriousness. Here are some criteria to narrow down your focus:
- type of real estate (apartments, summer houses, offices, houses for rent, etc.);
- geographic location;
- categories of clients (expats, students, VIP clients, etc.);
- type of services (daily rent, sale, subrent, real estate consultations, etc.)
When identifying your market segment, take into account your business qualities and personal interests. Along with professional skills and expertise, you need to be passionate about what you do. These questions will help you find the right niche:
- What skills do I have?
- What are my strengths?
- What categories of clients do I want to work with?
- What do I like to do most?
- What is my goal?
Important! Don’t be afraid to change a niche afterwards. If you feel that you’d be happier working in another market segment, go ahead and change it!
Step 2. Study your competitors
Now that you’ve found the suitable niche, you need to get acquainted with your competitors. Browse through their website and client testimonials. It’s a good idea to make a table that contains information on each competitor:
- price range;
- key strengths;
- weaknesses/room for improvement;
- your advantage over them.
Step 3. Develop a marketing strategy
At this stage, your main task is to separate your business from the crowd. This is where a unique selling proposal comes in. A strong personal brand can take your business to a entirely new level. A personal brand is made of your expertise, professionalism, reputation, communication style, and other crucial qualities and skills. Working as a real estate agent is not only about searching for the right apartment or house. It’s also about showing your clients that you care about them and their comfort.
To define the essence of your brand and outline a strategy for attracting your target audience, answer the following questions:
- What message do I want to communicate to my clients?
- What value do I offer?
- What is my approach to working with clients?
- Who is my average client? (Identify their age, social status, needs, problems, goals, etc.)
Step 4. Get a license
The first step to starting your career is to get a real estate license. To do that, you need to do special courses and take an exam.
The cost and duration of a license vary from country to country. For example, in the USA, an aspiring real estate agent must work as assistant to a licensed agent for 2-3 years.
Step 5. Estimate your startup costs
Luckily for novice entrepreneurs, launching a real estate business doesn’t require significant investments. In addition to a licence cost, consider the following expenses:
- rent (if you’re going to rent an office);
- brand identity design (logo, business cards);
- marketing (website, advertising).
What is the largest sum that you can afford to invest in your business? Will your own funds be enough or will you have to borrow money from a friend or bank? Keep in mind that raising additional capital may take months.
Step 6. Acquire new clients
Online promotion and word of mouth are the main tools for attracting clients in the real estate market. Let’s zoom in on each of these methods.
Website and socials
When looking for accommodation, 93% of users visit websites of real estate agents. Your website is responsible for the first impression that you’ll make on your potential clients.
- Your website must reflect your brand message and unique selling proposition. It must communicate to your visitors who you are, what types of services you provide, and how to contact you.
- Launch a SEO campaign to push your website to the top of search results.
- Pay attention to the visual content on your website pages. Be sure to use high-definition images and videos. According to studies, 73% of clients tend to trust real estate agents who are using video content to present themselves and their services.
- Tell your audience about yourself. Dedicate an individual page of your website to your biography, professional accomplishments, and personal photos.
In addition to a neat website, create business accounts with major social platforms. Use them to showcase your expertise, share useful content, and forge relationships with your audience.
Word of mouth
When choosing a real estate agent, 41% of customers rely on verbal referrals from their friends, family, and coworkers. The best way to get high-quality referrals is by providing your clients with the best possible service.
- Trust. Always put quality over quantity. Make sure your clients have the best experience working with you. Find an individual approach to each person. Make your clients feel that you sincerely want to help them.
- Care. Get back to your clients a few months later and ask them whether they’re happy with their newfound home or office. This tiny gesture can mean a lot to a person.
- Testimonials. Don’t be shy to ask your clients to leave feedback on your website or socials.
A successful real estate business relies on a savvy analytical approach and strong personal brand. Prepare to work hard to gain the required expertise and win over the trust of our clients. One step a time, you’ll make your dream a reality!