5 Essential Skills for Real Estate Success

Real Estate Success

Narrowing your focus is all the rage among business and productivity gurus these days, but does it apply to all professions across all industries? Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel refuses to listen to his managers if they attempt to discuss anything beyond their top priority for the quarter, but this approach would never work for real estate professionals. After all, you wear too many hats! And while it’s impossible to master every imaginable skill, identifying your weak points and gaining proficiency in those areas could greatly improve your bottom line.

Tech Literacy: Feel free to skip this section if you consider yourself a techie (or you’re a millennial who sent your first email before you could walk). As for everyone else? Remember, everything new seems overwhelming at first—from driving a stick shift to posting on Facebook. Thirty years ago, could you even imagine yourself reading a digital newsletter article on the World Wide Web?

If you lack basic computer skills, take a look at LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, or another one of the many online training sites. Once you master the fundamentals, it’s a lot easier to learn the more advanced concepts you use on common programs and platforms, from MS Word to the MLS!

Whatever you do, don’t let fear hold you back. As a real estate professional, you’ve become an expert in a field that bewilders most outsiders. We’re all newbies in the beginning, and you’d never chastise a first-time home buyer who didn’t understand how FHA loans work. Learning something new takes patience and persistence, and technology will open the door to opportunities you never knew existed.

Basic Bookkeeping: Did you know that most self-employed professionals significantly underreport their expenses? Basic bookkeeping is simple, and you could probably master a program like QuickBooks after a few hours of training. Again, many websites offer simple tutorials.

Another great option is FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting solution that lets you manage accounting from your computer or mobile device. You can take pictures of receipts, upload bank and credit card statements, review your “cash on hand,” etc.

Organization: It’s not very exciting, but implementing a simple system for organizing your task list and your appointments will reduce your stress level and increase your productivity. There are tons of different systems you can use to get organized and manage your time, including Instagram-worthy bullet journals, simple spreadsheets, or apps like Evernote or FocusList.

Of course, if jumping in with both feet seems daunting, you can always find a seminar that teaches basic organization techniques. The bottom line is that you need a system, and some very clever people have already done the hard work for you. All you need to do is learn a system and stick with it until it becomes a habit.

Negotiation: If you like to make people happy (and most real estate professionals do), you might find negotiation a bit challenging—even if you’ve been in real estate for years! It’s important to remember that negotiation is a normal part of doing business, and your clients are relying on you to hash out the best deal possible.

There are a host of well-documented techniques that give you leverage in your negotiations. Negotiation seminars abound, and if you can afford it, Karrass offers some of the best in the world. For a less expensive option, you can always explore Amazon for the highest rated books on the subject. Or check out our blog for a quick guide on how to negotiate like a pro!

Marketing: You likely have the sales side of your business down—making connections, demonstrating your unique selling points, and closing deals. However, if you’re not properly marketing yourself, you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle. Make sure you’re tapping into all the marketing channels available to you (e.g., blogging, social media, community outreach, various types of on- and off-line advertising, and marketing newsletters). Your website should be attractive and easy to navigate, and your listings should include enticing photos and powerful descriptions.

Marketing is largely about brand awareness, and in this case, that brand is YOU! That’s why Old Republic Home Protection offers over a dozen free marketing tools for real estate agents, including customizable newsletters, farming tools, open house door hangers, and more.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, there’s a good chance that you could improve on at least one of these skills. With a little extra time and effort, gaining proficiency in technology, bookkeeping, organization, negotiation, and marketing could take your business to new heights.