The 7 Habits of Successful New Real Estate Agents

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You have a shiny new license in hand and are ready to conquer the real estate landscape! The median age in real estate is now 57 years old, which may cause young agents to have a difficult time getting clients or referrals – or being taken seriously by peers. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a couple of years into the profession, these are the seven habits you’ll want to adopt in order to be perceived as a driven professional with longevity.

1. Always, always, always take notes
Learning should be your top focus, and a great way to be successful at this is to take notes – on everything. Jot down bullet points on how to process vital client paperwork. Mark down the steps on invoicing. Keep a list of your clients’ favorite restaurants. Write down the steps on how to work the office coffee maker. Also, if you’re talking to someone you should be taking notes. It doesn’t matter if it’s Google Docs, Evernote, your iPad or a trusty pen and paper – find a way to write stuff down.

2. Choose your brokerage firm wisely
Spend some time looking into a brokerage firm that’s right for you. Get a sense of the overall culture – talk to as many other agents in each firm you’re evaluating as you can. Keep in mind that a big named company might not always be the answer. Ask yourself – is the firm focused on growth? Or are they content with what works now? Likewise, make sure you are assigned the right mentor. In the end, align yourself with an organization and mentor that will support your success and goals.

3. This isn’t the “Devil Wears Prada”…
But this isn’t a Sandals vacation either. Appearances do matter. Sure, that C-level exec may march around the office in a salmon-colored polo shirt and cargo shorts, but that doesn’t mean you should. Fair or not, your clothes, your hair – it all makes a difference. As a junior-level employee it really matters. Not just for how others see you, but how you see yourself. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You’ll take yourself and your job more seriously when you dress better than your current job requires.

4. Stay curious and be motivated
If you aren’t motivated to do your best, you’re wasting your organization (and your clients’) time as well as your own. Ignored phone calls, deals that fall-through, losing out at the negotiation table – these are all things that can happen almost on a daily basis. It’s easy to beat yourself up and fall into the dark hole of apathy. Remember – don’t be too hard on yourself. Approach each experience with an open mind and see it as an opportunity to learn.

5. Talk less, listen more
When you’re in the company of others, listen more. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Be present and in the moment, whether you’re out with your boss or with a client. Keep your ears open – opportunities and ideas can often time spring out of nowhere.

6. Network
This is an incredibly powerful tool. Pick 2-3 times each month (or a week if you’re really a go-getter!) to attend a networking event in your city. While you’re there, keep your elevator pitch handy; however, just speak to people as you normally would. Let the conversation flow naturally. When you feel like an interaction has reached its end, don’t be afraid to politely excuse yourself. There’s nothing wrong with telling the other person “I’ve really enjoyed chatting and I’m short on time, so I’m going to make my way around the room before I go. Let’ grab coffee next week, so we can dive deeper into how your grandmother’ property is driving her bonkers.”

7. At the end of the day, just be patient
You can hold yourself in a confident manner. You can be organized and dressed professionally. You can be an expert at communicating with clients. You can have the right mentor at the right firm. However, at the same time, you’re still young. There may be times where you’re overlooked for a promotion or a new client. It’s not fair but it’ll happen. You can’t control how you’re perceived but you can control your reaction. Wear a smile, put in the work, be gracious and opportunities can – and will – fly your way.

[New Episode, S1:E3] Commercial Real Estate: What I Know Now and Wish I Knew Then

In a time where the commercial real estate industry is as fast-paced and as dynamic as ever, having helpful insight and advice about what’s important and what’s working (or not) can help anyone learn as they go. We’ve launched an all-new series with – “Commercial Real Estate: What I Know Now and Wish I Knew Then.”

This week Bill spoke with Nick Kalm, Founder and Partner of Reputation Partners. Reputation Partners is a public relations firm that focuses on strengthening, protecting and rebuilding corporate reputations and their brands – especially in times of crisis. Watch how Nick shares his office relocation experience and lessons learned along the way.

Bill is leading this monthly series and explores the dos and don’ts for business owners when seeking commercial real estate. Coming from those who have been there and done that, this show seeks to inform those who will be seeking space for the first time or even those who already have gone through the process but could benefit from someone else’ successes and failures.

We’re aiming to bring you two new videos each month and will be sharing each episode with you as they appear. For more information and to see other great content, visit

Want more tips and tricks? Check out episode 2 here.

New Webinar Series: Real Estate Dumbed Down

Episode 1: Investing in Multi-Family Real Estate

A popular investment option is real estate. Like the adage says, “they’re not making any more of it!” There are a variety of classes of real estate that one can invest in, including retail strip centers, office buildings, warehouses, and farm land. The most common for the individual investor, however, is residential and multi-family real estate.

Bill is leading this new series and will cover the basics of commercial real estate as well as leasing from the landlord and tenant side, with an emphasis on investing in commercial and multi-family real estate. The series kicks of Tuesday, May 12 at 3pm CST.

To purchase the course and for more information, visit:

Ditch the Drama: 6 Tips for Smoother Real Estate Transactions


When you’re pursuing your dream of buying a commercial building or leasing office space, it’s easy to get caught up in the one thing you really want to avoid: drama. From loosely inspected properties to ambiguous leases, the journey can be anything but simple. As you move into your next real estate venture, keep these tips in your back pocket to avoid some common nightmare scenarios:

1. Always know the person you’re dealing with
First and foremost, make sure the seller is 100% certain the property is up for sale. Which brings up another point – always make sure you’re speaking with the owner (and not someone who’ renting the space) in the first place.

Steer clear of small-time commercial landlords who refuse to work with your broker. Their refusal to allow you fair representation prior to even signing a lease can be a warning sign that they will try to take advantage of you in other areas as a tenant in the future.

2. Beware of buyers without boundaries
Whether you’re moving in or out of a property, the process is both exciting and stressful. People moving in are eager to make the place their own ASAP, and it’s not unheard of for new tenants to begin the moving in process a bit early. Before anyone starts bringing in boxes, office equipment or sets up utilities – be sure the ink is dry and the deal has actually closed.

3. Also”… beware of fraudulent buyers
Even with a “proof of funds” from a brokerage firm, signatures can be unfortunately forged. Always verify proof of funds and pre-qualification letters. Evaluate the buyer. Pick a realtor or broker who can manage the deal for you. If you hear “Oh, I’ll be sure to get that over to you”…” time and time again – you may need to field other offers.

4. Know exactly what you’re getting
Take tours of the property, inspect thoroughly, get the full history of the property, and find historical data. Once you have a lease for the property you want, it is best to use a real estate attorney to review it. General attorneys or attorneys who specialize in other areas (IP, corporate, trusts and estates, etc.) may very well be excellent in the areas they know, but if they don’t have extensive experience in commercial leases, they will often end up focusing on the wrong points to argue and unnecessarily stalling/interfering with the process. Many brokers have attorneys they have worked with in the past – you should trust their judgment. Try to avoid a general attorney you may know personally – this is business.

5. Vet the broker you’re working with
The vetting process is imperative to having a successful real estate transaction. Ask your trusted advisors – attorney, accountant, banker, etc. about potential brokers they know. Don’t simply go with the first one who cold calls you. Treat this process as the major expense that it is. Also, be weary of leasing agents who say you don’t need a tenant rep broker or try to represent you as well.

Leasing agents represent the landlord – not the tenant. The leasing agent will get a bigger commission check if the tenant doesn’t have representation.

6. Ask questions
Real estate is an expensive business. Whether you’re leasing or buying, you have to be 100% certain in the property. No questions should be off limits. Even if you’re concerned about something seemingly small, don’t be afraid to ask. The phrase you’ve heard hundreds of times – “There are no stupid questions” applies to this process. Anything from ventilation, to square footage, to taxes are questions that your realtor/lender/attorney have heard hundreds of times. If you come up with questions and notice that many are left unanswered – don’t stop. Remember that it’s a major investment and every answer matters.

By having a trusted broker, banker, and attorney, you should feel better about avoiding these nightmare scenarios. However with potentially millions of dollars on the table, small mistakes can become catastrophic. Follow these steps to try and minimize risk when selling, buying, or leasing a property.

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