The average yearly income for a full-time real estate agent is around $50,000. That is not a huge amount of money, but many real estate agents make well over $100,000 a year and some make much more than that. The difference between the average real estate agent and the agent that makes a lot of money is how they take care of their clients. Many real estate agents are only concerned with selling individual houses so they can earn one commission. To make a lot of money in the real estate business you cannot be focused on earning one commission, you have to be focused on building a pipeline of customers. Successful agents do not focus on one sale at a time, they focus on making their customers as happy as possible even if it means losing a commission. If a real estate agent makes their clients happy, the clients will come back again and again to buy and sell houses. If you make your clients really happy, they will tell all their friends and family to use you as well.
Why is focusing only on sales a bad thing for real estate agents?
When starting out as a real estate agent, it is tough to make sales and make money. The average income for a real estate agent in their first year is around $15,000 a year. This is why it is so important for prospective real estate agents to save money before they become an agent. When you are making very little money, one commission will seem like a lot of money. Many new agents will do anything to get a deal done including pressuring their clients into buying or not acting in their clients’ best interest.
It is very easy for new agents to get caught up in making a sale at all costs, but real estate is not about one sale, it is about building a customer base. Statistics show it is four times more expensive to find and sell to a new customer than it is to sell to an existing customer. If you focus on making the sale and not what is best for your client, you will lose that client. It is much harder to find new clients than it is to keep your existing clients. Statistics also show 84% of real estate customers would use the real estate agent they used to buy a house again. If you only work for that commission, you have a better chance of being in that 16 percent of clients who don’t want to use the same agent.
Treat your clients well and they will tell others about your real estate services
Not only does taking care of your clients give a real estate agent repeat business, the clients you take care of will tell their friends and family about you. Doing what is best for your clients is the best free advertising you will ever get. Most people will value a personal reference from a friend or family member much more than any advertising. Not only are referrals from past clients a great way to get new business, but those referrals will be more likely to buy from you than strangers who saw your real estate sign or an advertisement.
Don’t just take care of the easy clients as a real estate agent!
The clients who know exactly what they want and never complain about a thing are easy to please. A real estate agent does not earn a great reputation by taking care of the easy clients. It is easy to make the easy clients happy and do what is best for them, or at least what you think is best if they never speak up.
The clients that are always complaining, always have a problem and are generally a pain need to be taken care of just as well as the easy clients. It is easy to get mad at the difficult clients and blow off their requests and needs because they deserve it or brought it upon themselves. The easy clients may never remember their real estate agent because there was never a problem or a memorable event. The difficult client will have many problems and many memorable events. They will remember how well or badly their agent treated them all the time. If you make their memories of you good, they will be more likely to tell others about how awesome you are than the easy client who may never remember you.
Buying a house is the biggest purchase most people will ever make
Buying a house is the biggest purchase most people will ever make, and they are relying on a real estate agent to help them with the process. It seems strange to me, but many people do not take buying a house that seriously. They think it is what most people do and it’s not a big deal. It is a very big deal and a very big decision. As a real estate agent, we have to walk people through the process and assume they don’t know what they are doing. You have to use your knowledge to make the process painless for them and make sure they understand the lending aspect, how much money they will need and that house prices don’t always go up. If your clients want to buy a HUD home, you better make sure you understand the HUD system.
What are some ways for real estate agents to go above and beyond for their clients?
- Take a pay cut to get more listings: There are no standard commissions for real estate agents; they are all negotiable, but many agents have specific amounts they charge for commissions. In many cases I will charge a smaller commission to clients who are repeat customers or have multiple homes to sell. Taking care of those clients by charging a little less will make me more money in the long run because they see a value in using me and I will sell more houses.
- Take a pay cut to close a deal: Sometimes a deal is very close to being done, but the buyer or seller can’t agree on a minor issue. It makes sense to lower the commission to get the deal done and earn a slightly smaller commission instead of nothing. Inspections and appraisals can cause a deal to fall apart, but a small reduction in commission might keep these deals together. In the process you can make both the buyer and seller very happy by lowering your commission to get the deal done.
- Don’t misrepresent values to get a listing or a sale: Some house sellers will pick a listing agent because they recommend the highest sales price. Some agents will suggest higher sales prices than the market will support to get a listing. When the house doesn’t sell for that amount, no one is happy. The seller may even fire the agent that gave them the high price and go with another agent. It is always best to be the agent that gave the accurate value that the seller comes back to, not the agent that lost the listing.
- Don’t misrepresent values to an investor: Some agents may misrepresent the value of a fix and flip to get an investor to buy a home. They will say the value of the home after it is repaired will be more than it actually is to get the deal done. If the investor buys the fix and flip, makes repairs and then can’t sell the home, this is a very bad thing for everyone. If the agent misrepresented the possible sale price, you bet that investor will never use that agent again. The investor will also tell all his friends and investor buddies what happened. This could permanently taint the real estate agent’s reputation.
A lot of my suggestions involve lowering your commission, but I am not advocating reducing your commission on every deal there where there is an issue. In some cases a deal cannot be saved or it makes more sense for your client to move on. In the cases where it makes sense to make less money in the short-term to make your clients happy, it will most likely make you more money in the long-term. Trading long-term referrals and clients for one check is never a good idea. It takes time to build a great real estate business, and you must think about the long-term repercussions of all your actions.