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Learn from fellow FORCE agents, who are willing to share their wisdom to help new members avoid business blunders.

 It is said that, “Wise men learn from their mistakes, but wiser men learn from the mistakes of others.” For agents who are wise enough to learn from the mistakes of others, we asked a few FORCE members to share some of the most costly mistakes they’ve witnessed agents make.

Here is their advice:

Find a Mentor

Every year we see real estate agents, full of ambition, ready to start a new career. Novel agents can be assets to have, since motivation can bring success, but they can also bring mistakes that a veteran agent would not make. A lack of educating oneself is a huge error that agents can make early in a career. Trying to make it on your own as an agent just starting out is never a smart idea. You should take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn. Continue taking classes and find someone who has been in the business for a while, who you can listen to and take advice from.

Tim Collelo, with Tim Collelo Realty, LLC writes: “Most new agents can’t find a mentor or don’t realize how valuable it is to have one. That causes a trial by error that can also be effective but there is so much time wasted and many agents get out of the business before they succeed.”


Gain Experience

Douglas Martin, with Progressive Realty Group says, “Agents need to gain experience, confidence and knowledge. The best way to do this is to go out and get a listing. By doing this they will learn all facets of the real estate transaction from listing to sold. In addition they will create a residual stream of income by meeting potential purchasers to work with now and in the future. Listers last because they create a residual income stream to keep themselves and their assistants busy and working every day. “


Create Checklists

One of the most costly mistakes an agent can make is to come into the game without a plan of attack. As an agent you must set goals for yourself; create timelines and checklists of how you want to achieve these goals. You are essentially working for yourself now, and a business strategy is a must have.

Art Garrison, with Advance Equity Group writes: “Agents need to create checklists for all client related activities as both a buyer’s agent and a listing agent. A few of my new agents have found themselves in a bind by not meeting critical deadlines or not providing the proper paperwork. These mistakes can put a client’s earnest money at risk, cause a contract to terminate, or pose a liability to my company. These slip ups can be avoided by using a checklist specific to each transaction.”


Answer the Phone and Stay Organized

Jim Marks of Keller Williams Realty in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was quick to answer:

“Not answering the phone – you get properties from answering the phone.” (In fact, he took our call while he was at lunch.)

A second costly mistake new agents make, according to Marks, is not managing their expenses.  “Managing your expenses is critical. Manage your expenses, or you will fail.”

Marks urges new agents to get a good software to organize expenses and tasks. Without a good system in place, things will begin to slip through the cracks when you build up inventory, according to Marks.


Keep Cold Calling, and Be Unique

Douglas Martin of Progressive Realty in Westbury, New York, said ours was a “pretty easy question.” “They do not cold call,” he said. “New agents need to continually cold call.”

He also advises new agents to find a creative way to connect with people. “Everyone needs a unique niche. New agents, unfortunately, get a set of business cards and are told to go hand them out; and that’s not enough.”

“Go after for-sale-by-owner properties and new buyers. Go get that first listing; everything comes from that,” Martin says.


Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind

Betsy Morgan, of Coldwell Banker Mattox McCleery Realtors in Mansfield, Ohio, says the mistake she sees new agents make that has the potential to cause the most detriment is “running out to show a complete stranger a vacant house.”

“I am a firm believer in agent safety,” she says. “It’s not a good idea to run out alone to a vacant property. Take someone with you. Have the client come to the office first, and let the office know where you are going and what time.”

It’s also a good idea to have a code word with the office for safety, she says.

Make sure you take the time to provide yourself with as much knowledge as possible. There are countless opportunities for success, yet new agents tend to fail at a higher rate. Continue learning; find a helpful mentor, set goals, answer the phone. Nothing will ever be perfect, but avoiding early mistakes will put you ahead of the curve.