When you step into a new field, it's pretty common to have someone you can turn to for advice and support, even if they're not officially your 'mentor.' They could be your supervisor, manager, or just a more experienced colleague. We all need that person we can ask questions, vent to when things get frustrating, and seek guidance from. In the world of real estate, having a mentor isn't just a bonus – it's practically a must. Real estate classes might get you a license, but they won't teach you the nitty-gritty of selling homes. For that, you need seasoned agents to show you the ropes. In this article, we're diving into why having a mentor is so crucial for anyone looking to make it as a real estate agent. We'll explore how they provide guidance, boost your confidence, keep you on track, support your mental well-being, and connect you with other professionals in the industry
In the real estate industry, it is difficult to get started without such a person.
We hear it all the time - the real estate class you took to get your license doesn’t actually help you conduct your business. As someone who has their real estate license, I can tell you, it’s mostly true. While the real estate class is important, it doesn’t help you with the actual practice of selling real estate very much at all. No, for the intricacies of selling real estate, you need other agents to show you the ropes.
For most people, when they buy a house, they are making the biggest financial decision of their life. As an agent, you want to ensure that you are helping your clients make that decision to the best of your ability. Having your license is simply not enough to do that. The real estate class doesn’t teach you how to sign a client. The real estate class doesn’t teach you how to negotiate a purchase and sale contract, or even how to really write one.
No, in order to learn these skills, you must have someone with more experience than you, who you can rely on.
Here are some reasons why having a mentor is crucial to your development as an agent.
Guidance and support
When you’re a new realtor, there are a lot of moving pieces. You need to learn how to talk to customers/clients, write contracts, conduct showings and open houses, take listings, use the MLS, negotiate, market yourself, and so on. Rather than recreate the wheel, it is helpful to have a mentor that you know, like, and trust, to show you the ropes. It will save you a lot of time to learn from someone who has already been through the ringer.
There is so much to learn as a realtor, and rather than trying to build yourself from the ground up, it’s much more efficient to learn from others. Find a mentor who will let you shadow them. A mentor who lets you listen in on their conversations with consumers and clients alike. A mentor should be able to guide you through every step of the transaction, and answer the many questions you SHOULD have as you go through it, the first five, ten, twenty times.
No two transactions are alike, and having a mentor can increase your confidence when things do not go as smoothly as hope. Quite often you may find that there will be setbacks in a transaction that are out of your control. The title company might find a problem with an undisclosed lien. The inspection company may uncover a latent defect. The client may be difficult and have lots of objections, and you just don’t know what to say to them. Having a mentor who can answer your questions and guide you through difficult situations will significantly decrease your stress level. Odds are, your mentor has been in the same, if not very similar situation, if they’ve been in the business long enough. If they aren’t able to directly help you solve your problem, they’ll at least know what resources you can use to solve it. Having your mentor as a safety net when matters get tough will increase your confidence, and therefore give your clients a better experience.
As a realtor, you’re now your own boss. Sometimes this freedom can be a bit much and you’ll find you’ll have periods of time where it is difficult to focus. Your mentor can be someone you ask to hold you accountable. Set up goals with your mentor and ask them to check in on a regular basis. Maybe you tell your mentor you are going to set one appointment a week or sign one listing a month for your first year. Have your mentor check in with a meeting or even a simple text to keep you on track.
This industry can be taxing on your emotional state sometimes. Things will go wrong at some point. Deals will fall apart, you end up cobroking with a jerk, or you go through a slump where you’re just not selling. Having a mentor as someone you can vent these feelings to is very important. Most people in the industry experience these negative thoughts and feelings at some point. A good mentor will be able to keep you sane and keep you feeling motivated. They’ll be able to lift you back up when you start to feel down.
A mentor will be able to introduce you to other professionals in the industry. Networking is such an important part of the real estate industry as it takes a village to get to the closing table. Most times it’ll take lenders, title companies, inspectors, appraisers, insurance agents, and the occasional contractor or two. A mentor who has been in the business for awhile will be able to connect you to their trusted professionals. Having a good team behind you is imperative for the client experience during the home buying and selling process.
Now you know the ways that a mentor can help you, but what makes a good mentor?
What makes a good mentor
You want your mentor to have a good amount of experience in the real estate industry. I would say a good mentor will at the very least have three years of experience, but I personally would go for at least five. They are likely someone who is doing more than ten transactions a year and stays actively engaged in their community. You want this person to have a sufficient amount of transactions behind them to be able to guide you. Having someone who has been in the business for a longer time is also nice, as they may be used to shifts in the market more so than someone who has fewer years behind their belt. The more time and transactions a person has, the more experience they can share with you and the more you can learn.
Personality and Business Style
When you're looking for a mentor, it's important to find someone whose way of doing business matches your own. For instance, if you're a sociable, people-loving type who enjoys in-person interactions, it makes sense to team up with a mentor who's the same way. On the other hand, if you're more of a detail-oriented, numbers-loving person, you'll find it really beneficial to partner with someone who shares your love for facts and figures.
Connecting with mentors who have a similar personality and business approach can help you figure out where your strengths shine. This goes beyond just getting clients and leads; it's also about deciding what area of real estate suits you best, whether it's residential, commercial, mobile homes, or single-family homes, and so on. Ultimately, the key is to find a mentor whose work style matches yours. When your approaches align, it'll boost your journey toward becoming a successful real estate entrepreneur.
Your mentor is someone you'll spend quite a bit of time with, so it's essential that you genuinely get along with them! You will regularly be shadowing this person and they will be your go-to for all your burning questions. It's crucial to feel comfortable in their presence and not be intimidated or too shy to ask even the silliest questions. Real estate can be pretty complex, and you need to learn without feeling discouraged if you're unsure about something. Plus, it's a bonus if your mentor genuinely likes you because that can open up more doors for you.
In the beginning, you'll probably be assisting your mentor with their transactions, and they might co-broker with you on yours. So, it's vital that you feel at ease sharing clients and collaborating closely with them. Building a strong working relationship is key to your success in the real estate world.
Now that you know what to look for a mentor, how do you find one? Keep reading to find out.
Ways to find a mentor
There are a few ways that we’d recommend finding a mentor. It may take some time to find the right fit, but deciding on a mentor is a big decision for the trajectory of your business.
Ask your broker/coach/leadership
One great way to find a mentor is to reach out to the leaders in your brokerage. If you have a broker or coach who's actively engaged with their agents, chances are they've heard of agents keen on helping newcomers like you to grow. Alternatively, you can have a chat with your broker or coach and ask them to keep an ear out for someone who might be a good match for you. It's also not a bad idea to connect with fellow agents you meet along the way. You know what they say, "Ask, and you shall receive." Once others know you're on the lookout for a mentor, you'll have more people keeping an eye out for the right fit alongside you!
Take people out for coffee - good practice even when not looking for mentorship
A great strategy to find a mentor is to take agents you admire out to coffee. In the seacoast region of NH, I’ve found that most agents have a collaborative mindset and are happy to go out to coffee with new agents, because well, they’ve been in their shoes before! There are several ways to go about asking an agent out to coffee. You can ask a mutual friend to connect you and the person you are interested in getting to know, or you can find most agents’ contact information online. Look for people whose business you admire and would like to emulate and take those people out.
Taking other agents out for coffee is a good strategy throughout your real estate career. Your fellow agents are working the other side of the deal, and the better relationship you have with them, the more likely your client is to have a smoother transaction. Talking to other agents is also a great way to learn. This goes back to not recreating the wheel and learning from others!
If you don’t have a strong connection with an agent (or even if you do!) you may want to offer incentive for an agent to mentor you. This can come in several different forms, you just want to find what works best for you! Sometimes an incentive for a mentor could be monetary. Perhaps you give them a percentage of the first five deals they help you with. You could offer your services and be a showing agent for them, during the first few months of mentorship. Oftentimes mentors are busy with their own business, and so it might be difficult to devote their time to helping out a new agent. It’s a lot of work to mentor someone, so you’ll want to make it worth their time.
In conclusion, finding the right mentor in the real estate industry can be a game-changer for your career. The guidance, support, and expertise they provide are invaluable, helping you navigate the complexities of the field and boosting your confidence in the face of challenges. The personal and professional connections you forge through mentorship can significantly enhance your business network and, ultimately, your success. So, whether you're just starting out or looking to take your real estate career to new heights, remember that a trusted mentor can be your most valuable asset on this exciting journey. Seek out that mentorship, learn from those who've walked the path before you, and watch your real estate career flourish.