BusinessHow to get started as a real estate agent

Mary ChapmanOctober 24, 20198 min

There are more than 120,000 members of the Canadian Real Estate Association. In Greater Vancouver, the number of agents increased by 23% in the five-year period of 2012-2017. In Toronto, there is one real estate agent for every 96 adults under the age of 70.

More Canadians are starting careers in real estate than ever before.

Part of the appeal is no doubt due to the portrayal of realtors on TV shows. Some people think real estate agents sell a couple of properties a year and make tens of thousands of dollars in commissions.

The truth is that new agents find the industry hard to settle into. The brokerage fees and start-up costs can be substantial. In fact, many new agents leave the industry within their first couple of years.

But if you are dedicated and persistent, you can have a successful career in real estate. Here are some steps you can take to get your business off the ground.

Get a real estate license

To be eligible for a real estate license in Canada, you must be at least 18 years old, have completed high school and be a Canadian citizen.

You need to take a real estate licensing course that’s approved in your province. During your first two years, you may also need to do some articling courses.

Join a brokerage agency

Next, you’ll need to find a brokerage that will sponsor your provincial real estate license application.

You want an agency that has a reasonable fee structure and suits your work habits. It’s best to sit down with a few real estate agents to find a good match. Ask about their agency setup andfee structure.

Make sure you like the staff and the work environment, too. You’ll likely be here for a few years.

Get errors and omissions insurance

To be a licensed real estate agent, you’ll need to get errors and omissions insurance through your province’s real estate association.

Basically, this insurance will protect you against damage or mistakes that might happen during your career.

Have realistic income expectations

The number one reason new agents fail during their first two years is lack of income. Now, that doesn’t mean you should set your expectations to zero income. Just be realistic.

Do your research. Ask established real estate agents to share with you what their income was during their first year. You can also plan your income with the funnel approach.

Then, once you have the money figured out, it’s time to develop a marketing plan to get you clients.

Develop a marketing plan

At the top of your marketing plan is your website. A website is inexpensive and can be a powerful tool in your arsenal.

Your brokerage may offer a basic website. If it doesn’t wow you, it’s probably best to create your own and get brokerage approval to use it instead.

But a website, even an incredible website, isn’t enough. Your marketing plan should include paid and organic social media advertising, as well as print and online advertising.

There are many free resources online to help you create an effective marketing plan.

Keep in mind that the best type of marketing is relationship marketing. When people know you, they are more likely to trust you enough to give you their business.

So, go ahead and spend time becoming well-known in your community. You could host a community BBQ, sponsor a sporting event or a junior team, and even go knocking on doors with a free fridge magnet.

Find a mentor

The real estate industry is a tough nut to crack. It can be helpful for new agents to have a mentor.

You’ll likely find a mentor at your brokerage. But a mentor doesn’t need to have an official title to take you under his or her wing.

It can just be someone who has plenty of years of experience and wisdom to help keep you on the right path. A seasoned agent that is going to give you advice and a pep talk when you need it.

It still won’t be easy. But having someone on your side can make all the difference in whether or not you stick with it for your whole career.

Thoughts? We’d love to hear them. Post them in the comment section below.

Mary Chapman

Graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honors BA English Specialization and has completed several publishing courses at Ryerson University. She is a proofreader, editor, and content writer based in London, Ontario.

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