Top 6 Business Expenses You’re Going To Have To Pay For As A New Agent
Today I’m going to share with you the top six business expenses that you’re going to have to pay for when you become a brand-new agent. So what I’ve learned after having coached and employed hundreds of real estate agents in my real estate brokerage is that agents, while still entrepreneurs, don’t operate with the same entrepreneurial mindset. In other words, a traditional business owner understands that they’re gonna have to invest thousands if not hundreds of thousands or potentially millions of dollars in their business before they even see a dollar of profit. Real estate agents get involved in the profession and what they try to do is they try to skimp. In other words, they try to spend as little money as possible in their business, and the truth is it’s not gonna work. So, I’m gonna cover the top six business expenses that you truly cannot get around. As a brand new agent, if you’re starting your career you’ve just got your real estate license there are some tools that you’re going to need in order to succeed. I’m gonna make sure that I cover those tools with you.
Business Expense Number #1
MLS Access, now for those of you that don’t already know and you probably do, the MLS stands for the Multiple Listing Service.As a brand new agent, you’re going to have to have MLS access, period. Now, I understand that the industry could shift and the industry could change, and you know ten years from now we may not be using the traditional MLS system that were used to using right now, but you’re going to have to join the Board of Realtors so that you can have MLS access, so that you can upload your listings and so that you can see all the listings that are currently active on the market. Now, understand that some boards aren’t going to reciprocate. And so what that means is is that you may not see all of the listings that are out there. Now, I realize that there are things, in for instance California like the Carets, Multiple Listing Service, which allows us to share information. But there are still some boards that don’t reciprocate, so just get used to the idea that number one you’re going to have to pay for MLS access. You can’t get around this now I’ve seen newer agents and what they’ll try to do, is they will go and they’ll share their passwords or they’ll share their user ID. Understand that is a violation, and you can’t do that. So just make sure you nip this in the bud, you go down to your local Board of Realtors and you join, and you join the MLS board as well, so that you have MLS access. You’ll thank me later.
Business expense Number #2
You’re going to have to get a Supra key. The Supra lockbox is the tool that we use in the industry, and again I realize that it could change five years from now, but for now what we use are Supra GE lock boxes, they’re these blue boxes. These boxes go on the homeowners door when they have a property for sale, or on their gas pipe, or any other access point and you essentially use your supra key on your phone. Now, it’s a bluetooth-enabled key which means that you’re gonna have to go and you’re gonna have to use your phone and you’re gonna unlock the box and the key pops out and you’re able to go out and you’re able to show that property. Now again, in the past I’ve seen agents share supra keys, but now that supra keys are on your mobile devices, you can’t be sharing supra keys anymore, so you need to make sure that you register and you get yourself a supra key, and have it on your smartphone.
Business expense Number #3
Digital signatures. Now I happen to use a tool called DocuSign. I know that there’s zip logics, I also know that Adobe has their own format, as well and there may be others that are missing. The point is, you want to make sure that you embrace technology and that you use these tools so that you can send these documents out to your clients. They can digitally sign them, they can do it with their phone, they can do it on their laptop, they can do it on their desktop they can literally do it wherever they’re at. I mean I will tell you that from personal experience there have been times where I was at Disneyland, much to the chagrin of my wife, filling out contracts, emailing them to my clients having them sign in and opening escrow all within a matter of 45 minutes just because I was using a digital signature tool. So just make sure that you use it. You’ll thank me later, it will save you time. Is there an expense? Of course there is, but trust me the time saved is worth more than the cost of the expense of this tool.
Business expense Number #4
Open house signs. Now as a broker owner, I can tell you that we have lent out our open house signs, are generic open house to our agents. I will also tell you that while other companies may say that they have systems in place to keep track of the signs, and the checks, and they have people making deposits and signing in and signing them out. I can tell you that it’s not worth the headache. As a brand new agent, go out and get your open house signs, okay? If I was a brand new agent today, and I had absolutely no business, I would find one of the busiest agents in the office I would ask them what their listings are and I would sit there and work from their listings conducting open houses Monday through Friday. That’s what I would do. Make sure that you have your own open house signs. Again, I realize it’s a business expense, but you’re going to need them. You don’t want to be borrowing or chasing them down later on. At least they’re yours. Keep them in your trunk, so that at any moment’s notice you can go to a property and you can hold an open house, right? So make sure that you get your own open house signs.
Business expense Number #5
A website with IDX service. Okay now, listen I do trainings on search engine optimization and on digital marketing and on marketing yourself on the web. I know that there are going to be some people that are going to tell you “just use a template website, it’s so much easier, you pay a flat fee you play and pay a initiation fee and then you’ve got it.” The truth is most of those sites are never going to be found on the Internet. I’m going to suggest that you get your own site, get your own domain, get your own self hosting and then get a wordpress site and make sure that it has IDX. That’s what I’m going to suggest. Now again, I’m a bit biased, but I’ve gotten pretty good at learning search engine optimization. You cannot get around this, and the truth is where do buyers go and look for real estate these days? They go to the Internet, right? You know that and I know that. So you need to make sure that you have a good presence within your local community.
I know that some people are gonna say “well you know what I don’t really need a website I went out there and I’ve created a Facebook business page. I’ve gone out there and I have my Zillow profile page,” and while those things are great. Understand that I’m going to suggest that you never build a business on someone else’s platform in other words if you’re relying on Facebook’s business page or you’re just relying on your Zillow profile page and they decide that they’re gonna change the terms and conditions of how you run those pages or how they allow you to run those pages that could impact your business if you own your own website and you build it up and you build it some web presence and web power so that people find you on the Internet you’re gonna have much more control over your own destiny versus relying on a facebook business page or a profile site somewhere else so I’m going to encourage you I’m going to strongly encourage you that you go out and you get your own domain, you get your own web hosting, you get your own website, and you did take what your future is gonna look like.
Business expense Number #6
Always Be Learning, I’m gonna throw in a bonus as well, here is an additional business expense that most people overlook but you need and I’m going to talk about continuing education and I’m not talking about continuing education to make sure that your license stays active I’m not talking about CES I’m talking about attending seminar so I’m talking about attending conferences I’m talking about coaching this this falls in line with that as well so a lot again many real estate agents get involved and they want to spend as little as possible on their business and then later on they’re not understanding why they’re not seeing a return for their investment because you invested so little you got so little back and when you go to conferences and you go to seminars and you’re constantly improving your game and you’re constantly adapting to what the market does you will stay ahead of the curve versus the other agents that really still want to live back in 1988, okay?
So make sure that you budget and you create an expense for a budget for an expense of your education and and going to these conferences and maybe even coaching but I’m going to tell you that you will be far better off if you start to embrace this as a culture of continuously improving yourself versus the people said that’s a you know I already got my license I don’t need to go learn anymore there’s nothing more that I could possibly learn don’t be so naive to think that the market won’t change on you. In my career I have seen the market shift at least three times on me already and each time I’ve had to adapt I’ve had to learn how to shift from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market to the to the REO market back to a hot seller’s market back to the Internet and I’d have made adjustments and I couldn’t have made those adjustments personally had I not gone to any conferences had I not learned about how to handle what was happening in the shift so keep your ear to the street find out when these events are taking place and make sure that you participate on a regular basis.