A real estate business plan is an essential strategy document that ensures that your business is equipped to survive and grow. It ensures that your time, energy, and cash are being spent efficiently in pursuit of your goals.
However, unless you went to business school or are an experienced entrepreneur, it can be hard to know where to begin writing your business plan. That’s why we developed a detailed real estate business plan worksheet that you can start using today! Download it below and follow along as we walk you through the seven easy steps to creating a killer real estate business plan.
Do I Really Need a Business Plan?
Yes. Yes, you do. Even if you’re a solo agent with a supportive broker. Statistically, businesses with a plan do better than those without a plan. Here’s why:
Your business plan is your roadmap, your blueprint. It will help you reduce risk, identify threats and weaknesses early on, exploit every opportunity, and fortify every strength.
A killer business plan forces you to think through your goals and objectives, as well as your budget, so that you have a real chance of success right from the beginning. It keeps you realistic and establishes a way for you to clearly monitor and evaluate your success.
We know business plans sound dull and boring, but we’ve put together a comprehensive worksheet so all you have to do is conduct the deep thinking for the answers and pull it all together. It can actually be a pretty fun exercise. So get ready to dream big, think creatively, plan strategically, and establish yourself for real success.
Our Free Real Estate Business Plan Worksheet
Ready to get started? Our plan has all the essentials you need to set your business up for success this year and into the future.
Each section provides space for a thorough self-assessment. You’ll get a chance to nail down exactly what services you offer, who your customers are, and how your business will serve them. Our business plan worksheet is the perfect launchpad: a necessary step to take your real estate business to the next level.
Next, we’ll walk you through each step of the template.
Write a Real Estate Business Plan in 7 Easy Steps
1. Tell Your Story: Identify Who You Are as a Real Estate Agent
The first step to successful real estate business planning is always self-evaluation. Who are you, why are you in the real estate business—and maybe most importantly—what do you do?
We call this section “Who You Are,” and ask you to develop your:
- Mission statement (your reason for being in real estate)
- Vision statement (what the world looks like once you’ve achieved your mission)
- Executive summary (one to two sentences that summarize what you do)
Need a little more coaching on creating perfectly powerful mission and vision statements? Check out our article on how to make the most of these crucial blocks of your business foundation.
2. Analyze Your Target Real Estate Market
In this section, you’ll examine every corner of the market: which sections are hot, which have slowed down, and most importantly, where the opportunities are. We suggest taking your time and really digging into the MLS and your local Realtor association’s data to figure out exactly what the numbers reveal.
Don’t spend too much time examining numbers on the national or even state-wide levels. Real estate is a local pursuit; what matters most is what is happening on the street level of your community.
As you’re looking at your local market, also consider your competition. What are your fellow agents doing that’s working? How have they differentiated themselves? Where is the market underserved?
In our worksheet, we ask you to examine and record:
- General trends (days on market, typical commissions, average sold price, etc.)
- Market opportunities (observed imbalances in supply and demand)
- Market saturations (where is there too much and of what)
- Local competition (who’s out there, and what are they doing well; where are they lacking; are there gaps in services)
3. Identify Your Target Client
Now that you have deep insight into your market and have identified potentially underserved niches, consider how you will fill this need and what type of clients you want to target.
Perhaps you’ll be a condo specialist? Maybe you’ll focus on first-time homebuyers. What about the vacant land game? Think long and hard about what you are good at, what you are passionate about, and what the market needs. Once you have an idea of the hole you can fill in your market, you have a good idea of who your customers are.
Once you know who you are targeting, understand them as best you can by creating a client persona. What are their specific needs and concerns? How can you best market to them? Start to understand their stories and you’ll be able to solve their problems.
4. Conduct a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats—analysis is a common tool in business plans, and is especially important in our real estate business plan worksheet.
Here, you evaluate each of these categories using what you’ve discovered about yourself and your business as you’ve been writing. Think of it as a summary-thus-far.
Then, combine that knowledge with what you know about yourself and how you work. For instance, maybe you are strong in analysis but weak in cold calling. Maybe there is no brokerage that focuses primarily on millennials (opportunity). Maybe your target market is heavily focused on new construction and there’s a construction slowdown forecasted (threat). Generally, strengths and weaknesses are internal, while threats and opportunities are external.
The SWOT analysis is a great document to keep nearby even after your real estate business plan is complete. In fact, we know several top-producing agents who make a copy of this section and tack it on the bulletin board in their office, just so it is top of mind every day.
5. Establish Your SMART Goals
In this section, you’re going to lay out a variety of different goals for your business: financial, expansion, and more. Use the research and analysis you’ve completed to solidify your goals into measurable statements you can come back to and evaluate periodically.
The key to making this section valuable is to make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Here are some goals you might want to think about:
- A specific gross commission income
- A targeted number of transactions in a specific location
- A certain number of leads in a given time
- Hiring an inside sales agent or assistant within a given time
- Spending a certain amount of time working vs home with the family
6. Create Your Financial Plan
The penultimate section of your real estate business plan is all about getting the math to pencil out. While financial planning is not everybody’s strong suit, most of the work has already been done for you thanks to the careful investigation you’ve done in the previous sections of your real estate business plan.
In this section of our worksheet, you’ll take account of all your operating expenses, including all your marketing and lead generation costs. You will also be able to calculate the number of transactions required to make the numbers come together. If you’re just starting out and don’t have set expenses yet, don’t worry. This will give you the opportunity to set a budget!
💰Pro tip: Remember to separate your personal and business money. You should never draw cash from the same place to buy milk and Facebook ads. Not separating these two sources will make taxes a nightmare, plus it’s easy to go over budget. If your starting assets don’t meet or exceed your startup costs, you’ll need to go back and adjust your strategy until they do.
7. Revisit Your Business Plan to Monitor & Evaluate
Finally, don’t forget to complete the follow-up section at the end. It may be tempting to get started right away on the plans you’ve made, but you need to plan to revisit your strategy.
Your real estate business plan is a living document, not something carved in stone. We suggest a quarterly check-in to see if the strategies you chose are advancing you toward your goals.
Chris’ Tips: 3 Strategies for Improving Your Real Estate Business Plan
You’ve got your real estate business plan worksheet, and we’ve walked you through exactly what you should expect every step of the way. But, before you start putting pen to paper, we’ve got three tips you should remember when building out your plan of attack.
A common misstep in real estate business planning is building a business around your specific skills, resources, or talents before understanding whether your community has a need for them.
For instance, if you identify in your SWOT analysis that you’re fantastic at face-to-face, cold lead interaction (you love to door-knock), but you’re working in a community that’s almost exclusively partially occupied vacation homes, you’re likely not going to get the success you desire.
Start by identifying the needs of your real estate community first, then examine how your skills will meet those needs.
But don’t throw out those things that make you special! Spend time thinking about what you do better than anyone else and use those abilities to tackle community needs. Creating a business model that looks like everybody else’s is a recipe for mediocrity. The better you explain your unique value to potential clients, the more likely they are to become actual clients.
Your real estate business plan is about setting goals for yourself and your career. But you’ll never reach those goals if your short-term, day-to-day habits don’t support them.
As you plan and strategize your future while creating your real estate business plan, make sure you’re setting realistic goals that your time, talent, and resources will support. There’s nothing wrong with being aspirational. But don’t set yourself up for failure by creating goals you don’t have the resources to reach.
Bringing It All Together
Creating a killer real estate business plan is a crucial step, one that is often overlooked by individual agents. But with some deep thought, careful analysis, realistic planning, and hard work, you’re sure to create a strategic document that will support and inspire you in the lean times and keep you on track in the excellent times.
We want to hear from you. How is your real estate business plan coming together? Have any tips? Questions? Let us know in the comments, and let’s keep the conversation going.