Believe it or not, we’re living in the golden age for self-made millionaires. While the best time to plant a tree may have been 20 years ago, the best time to become a millionaire is today.
No, really! Forget the doom and gloom you read in the news. The number of millionaires in the world has increased by a staggering 155% since 2008. Just think of the amazing technology and knowledge you have access to literally in your back pocket right now …
That’s why we decided to put together all the incredible advice on getting rich we’ve been given by the hundreds of top producing real estate agents from Manhattan to Beverly Hills we’ve interviewed.
Here are the top real estate agent tips that Rolls Royce driving, private jet flying, all around real estate ballers have given us over the years.
1. Cultivate a Growth Mindset For Every Aspect of Your Business & Life
If there’s one thing we found in common with every super successful real estate agent we’ve interviewed, it’s a growth mindset.
Still something of a buzzword in management training circles and often misunderstood as just being positive (though this does help!), growth mindset is actually the brainchild of former Harvard psychology professor Carol Dweck.
In the most basic terms people who cultivate a growth mindset understand that the attributes that help them succeed like intelligence, drive, or talent, are not fixed traits. Instead, growth mindset teaches us that all of these personal attributes can be cultivated and grow as you learn and experience more in life.
If you want to learn more about the growth mindset and how it applies to real estate, check out our in-depth article on growth mindset here.
2. Move to Where The Money is
OK, there’s no nice way to say this so I’m just going to come out with it. Almost none of the millionaire agents we know worked in low income areas. In fact, the vast majority both lived and worked in or near the most affluent cities in the country. So if you only follow one of the real estate agent tips we outlined here, let it be this one.
The logic here is pretty self-evident. Wealthy people move just as much (if not more) than lower income people. Since the number of transactions one agent can feasibly close in a year is relatively fixed, selling $1,000,000 homes is going to get you a much higher GCI than selling $100,000 homes.
Yes, there are notable exceptions like Ben Caballero (ranked the No. 1 agent in the country by Real Trends for two years in a row), but exceptions to the rule do not prove the rule. If you go down the Real Trends 500 list, you’ll discover that the vast majority of highly successful agents work in wealthy areas.
3. Realize That Every Successful Agent Buys Leads
One hard lesson that many real estate agents never learn is that a lead is a lead is a lead. In reality there is no such thing as a “bad lead.” Whether or not you can eventually earn a commission from a lead is entirely dependent on you, not the lead. Hell, even tire kickers with terrible credit can sometimes refer you to great clients down the road.
As a real estate agent your main role is not to sell houses. It’s to cultivate relationships with people who will eventually buy or sell a home, or connect you with someone who will. Remember, real estate is a numbers game. Imagine if you could communicate once a week with every single person in your city. What would you tell them?
The answer to that question is what separates the great agents from the merely good agents. Given the same access to such a large audience, they will be able to close 10x as many deals as a newer agent can. The trick is to get in front of them in the first place.
That’s why startup brokerages like Kendrick Realty in Orange County California spend a whopping $155,000 per month on paid leads. They know how to turn even “bad” leads into commission checks.
Or, if you want to grab some buyer and seller leads today, BoldLeads offers exclusive buyer and seller leads from your farm area. Even better, since they merged with Propertybase they have a killer CRM system to help nurture and close those leads too.
4. Take Branding & Marketing Seriously
One broker that I know who sold his brokerage to NRT for north of $10,000,000 didn’t mince words when I asked him the secret to his success. Build a brand, and carve out a place for that brand in your local community.
Of course, building a great brand isn’t easy, and can end up costing you an arm and a leg. In most markets the competition has already learned this lesson so standing out can be a challenge.
If you want to learn the rudiments of brand building for real estate, check out our guide to real estate branding here, then follow up with our guide to real estate company names, our guide to real estate logos, and finally our guide to real estate slogans here.
5. Automate Anything That Can be Automated, Hire for the Rest
One of the worst kept secrets of real estate marketing in 2019 is that anything that can be automated will be automated. Think those friendly chats with your bank have a person behind them? Think again. AI chatbots have become incredibly lifelike these days, and early adopters in real estate and beyond are making money by the truck full using them. So automate everything you can and hire professionals for the rest.
Even switching your Facebook marketing efforts to messenger can get you open rates that are 242% higher than email. No, really. Check out our guide to Facebook Messenger advertising for real estate here.
The only caveat about all of this game changing real estate software is that it changes faster than many people can keep up. That’s why you need to put on your nerd cap and constantly stay ahead of the ever evolving real estate technology landscape.
Or, you can sign up for a Salesforce-based CRM, automated marketing system and IDX provider like Propertybase and let them keep you up to date by continually updating their software. With the current iteration of Propertybase, you can send out bulk texts, sophisticated drip campaigns, and more.
That’s why we named Propertybase as our No. 1 real estate CRM and IDX website provider for 2019.
6. Build Relationships, Not Just Leads
We weren’t kidding when we said that almost every successful agent we’ve met said that building relationships is far more important than going after leads. Those who didn’t mention this specifically just build relationships naturally. It’s second nature to them so they don’t even notice it.
For the rest of us, this is where the growth mindset comes in. You can, and should, work on developing your interpersonal skills to help build the relationships that will help you retire at 50.
There are two classic books here that have helped millions of successful entrepreneurs and business people develop interpersonal skills: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene are classics of the genre for a good reason.
7. Always Keep Learning & Apply What You Learn to Your Career
In economics there is a theory called the sunk cost fallacy that explains why so many people fail at real estate in under two years. It’s what happens when people insist on pushing forward with a system that just isn’t working. They put in a ton of time, money, energy or worse—all three—and just stubbornly keep at it even when they know it won’t work.
So don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a long time making it. Barbara Corcoran started out recording videos of vacant apartments and keeping a VCR and tape library in her office. She put a ton of money and time into it and it ended up failing. Big time.
Instead of doubling down, she licked her wounds and moved on. Eventually perfecting a model for a brokerage she would later sell for $66,000,000.
Of course the hard part is knowing when you’ve passed the point of no return. This is no mean feat, since almost everything from buying leads to advertising on Google takes time to get right.
If you’ve been struggling with something for months or even years with little to show for it, it’s time to start over. Luckily there are a ton of very smart real estate coaches, websites, and courses you can take to find a new system that will offer a better ROI.
8. Have a Great Website
Another thing that all great agents have in common is a great website. Unlike social media, this is a platform that you can have complete control over. When it comes to defining your brand and generating leads, controlling and owning the platform is essential.
A great website is also one of the few marketing tools an agent can have that will keep growing even as they switch from brokerage to brokerage. Since so many CRMs and advertising plans are unique to each brokerage, having a “home base” to build as you grow your career is one of the smartest things you can do to retire early.
Luckily there are a ton of platforms out there that promise turnkey real estate websites with IDX, integrated CRMs, and other bells and whistles to get and close more leads.
Here’s a quick run-through of some of our favorites :
DIY WordPress Websites
If you have the tech skills and time to build your own WordPress IDX website, you’ll be able to lower your monthly bills, and hopefully have something that will grow with you during your career. The only issue besides the learning curve is that you’re still going to have to pay an IDX provider anywhere from $50 to $99 per month to get fresh listings on your site.
Turnkey IDX Real Estate Websites
For most agents these days, a turnkey IDX website that is basically done for you will probably have the best ROI. All you need to do is supply the branding and create some basic articles or videos to offer to your buyer and seller leads.
Here are a few of our favorite turnkey IDX website providers that have integrated CRMs:
Placester offers sleek, good looking IDX websites for free to NAR members, as well as more sophisticated sites with an integrated CRM, advanced lead capture and more.
Real Geeks offers sophisticated IDX websites along with a powerful CRM. Lead capture, landing pages, and text messaging are available as well.
With their Salesforce-based CRM and gorgeous websites, Propertybase is also an excellent choice for agents and teams looking for a highly sophisticated lead capture and nurturing system to back up their site.
The best choice for agents on a budget, Incom offers some pretty good looking sites and a CRM that gets the job done without all the bells and whistles.
9. Get Serious About Saving
Since your goal here is to retire instead of simply get ahead, you need to really, really double down on learning all you can about saving and making yourself a strict budget.
Taking advantage of compounding interest is one of the most powerful ways to generate wealth there is. So make a budget, stick with it, and sock away as much as you can. No one got rich or retired by spending their money frivolously.
While saving your money wisely could fill a book, planning a weekly and monthly budget is something all agents should be doing. Mint is an easy and free app that lets you create a budget, set savings and spending goals, and track your progress to stay accountable.
A traditional or Roth IRA, or a solo 401(k) is another tried and tested way to maximize savings and ensure decent returns down the road. Here’s a quick primer on the different kinds of IRAs available to real estate agents.
Of course since you want to retire early, smart investing is probably a faster route to building the capital you’ll need to retire.
10. Get Serious About Investing
If you had bought $1,000 of Netflix stock in 2009, it would be worth more than $60,000 today. If you bought just $100 of Bitcoin 10 years ago, it would be worth more than $125,000 today. After saving, smart investing is the key to creating true wealth. “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton Malkiel is an excellent introduction to the basics of investing.
Investing in real estate is also an extremely common thing almost all wealthy people participate in. That said, if your goal is early retirement, you might be better off renting in some circumstances and then buying once you’re ready to settle down someplace more affordable.
This is why one of the best real estate agent tips to retire early is to invest, invest, invest, and then invest some more. Of course we’re not advising agents to dump a year’s commissions into the cryptocurrency flavor of the week, but by studying the market and taking calculated risks, you will see great returns that can help you retire early.
11. Understand That Success Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone
Taking calculated risks is another trait that almost every successful real estate agent we’ve met has. The keyword here is calculated. Sometimes wild risks can pay off in spades, but more often than not, people end up getting burned.
So treat learning your craft as if you were in basic training for the military training to face life and death situations in a war. When it comes to retiring early with a healthy bank account, your life will be pretty much nothing but learning and grinding.
Over to You
Have a great tip for real estate agents who want to retire at 50? Let us know in the comments.