Starting a career in real estate on a low budget is not an easy task as with almost any other business. There are no secret magic tricks can bring a flood of listings and home buyers overnight. Your social connections, friends and relatives may give you positive signals before you start but when the time comes they will not be able to provide a stable stream of leads at best or any leads as it happens in most of cases. All of this means that even before starting a real estate career future agents should do some ground work for their future business activities and save as much as they can to have a decent marketing budget and enough money to cover at least 6-9 months of living expenses.
A less risky way of testing the waters and at the same time learning how to be successful in real estate is to find an assistant job for one of the top real estate producers. As a rule, assistants get paid a salary, which reliefs some financial stress. At the same time the work load can be heavy in addition to other preparations you will be doing for starting your own career in real estate after getting a license and learning enough from the best real estate professionals.
What kind of preparations you should be doing considering a very limited budget?
Select your geographical real estate farm (area or areas where you would like to conduct your real estate prospecting).
Get familiar with most common problems that home owners might have in that area then search for solutions to these problems.
Create educational materials, help guides and a directory of the best reliable professionals that may help to solve these problems. This usually takes time and you may have to do a lot of research to come up with really useful information relevant to your particular farm. Many real estate agents have a practice of establishing partnerships with local businesses which cuts the cost of advertising and helps with referrals to both sides.
Before establishing partnerships with these businesses make sure that they have a good reputation among locals and provide quality service to their customers.
Get your own website with a domain name related to your area (not to your name) and start putting information about all aspects of living in that area online.
Learn how to write SEO-optimized articles. Write as much content as you can for all demographic groups. Your goal is to become the most useful and complete source of information for existing and future residents. To achieve this goal you will need to get some feedback from the residents. Think of creating a neighborhood problems paper survey and hand-deliver it on weekends at least to a portion of your future farm. It should be very short – just a few questions about the most common problems they experienced with their property and their rating of contractors who were fixing them.
It all may seem like an outdated door–knocking but without personal interaction you may never figure out what kind of common problems residents are struggling within this particular area.
It could be anything: rotten decks or fences, leaking faucets or toilets, pest infestation, or poor internet connection, etc.
If some of the problems are common you will need to find effective solutions for them because very soon it will be your farm. By providing these solutions to people you’ll be earning their trust and they will remember you.
Starting a real estate career requires a lot of leg work in addition to mastering all digital methods of marketing.
This leg work is a bit different from the old style real estate farming and door knocking. Nowadays realtors don’t need to walk their neighborhood as sales people. Many top producers don’t even talk about real estate at all with people they meet during these walks. Instead, they focus on residents and their problems offering advice and help.
When they are asked by potential clients: “What makes you uniquely qualified to handle my specific problems?” they answer: “Many of the solutions to your problems are already listed on my website which means that I know very well how to solve them”.
This is the most important fundamental secret most new real estate agents miss: your marketing should not be about you, your achievements or all the things you are going do for you client if you will get the listing. It is all about offering solutions to clients’ problems in every piece of marketing material you send, email or personally deliver to them.
Your website must become an educational center and each real estate farming postcard or email newsletter with real estate market updates must contain links or QR codes pointing to these pages.
All of it looks like a lot of work, research and learning and it is, indeed.
Too often new agents completely overlook this preparation stage and go in the battle armed only with business cards, newspaper ad and a few poorly memorized Mike Ferry’s scripts.
This is why close to 80% of them never see any success even after spending tremendous amount of time and money.
Trying to get listings from FSBOs is another popular low budget real estate trick that a few agents have mastered. Starting a real estate career concentrating on FSBOs can be very discouraging for new agents who lack experience and skills to convince potential clients, although it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.
Real estate prospecting postcards could be exactly what new agents need for starting a real estate career with a limited budget. Printing cost for high quality full color postcards is pretty low and the main expense would be mailing the cards although with the latest EDDM option it can be reduced to only 16 cents per card regardless the size.
There are many real estate farming postcards ideas that can be used for multiple purposes like driving traffic to the main website, collecting email addresses, distributing coupons from agent’s partners, informing residents about community events sponsored by Realtor and participating partners and many more. The trick is distribute not only the traditional Just Sold postcards that the vast majority of real estate agents do but use your cards as a bait for residents who are interested in topics related to home ownership but have no intention for listing their properties for sale at this moment. But they will in the future and they have to know you personally and trust you, so at the right moment your name comes.
These topics may include remodeling, different types of structural repairs, decorating, fixing appliances, landscaping, buying a vacation property or dealing with pests, finding a local babysitter, house-sitter or pet-sitter, and others that may depend on specifics of each community.
When people sell their house, hiring a moving company can be a huge problem for many people who do not like reading a fine print. Create a series of very detailed guides and articles about everything related to the process of selling the house including preparation and moving out and advertise those through your real estate prospecting postcards. This will help you in gaining trust and a reputation of an expert among the residents. Helping people always pays off.
Starting a career in real estate without a big budget requires a lot of planning and tedious work. At the same time having a large budget often leads to a failure because of lack of planning. Shelling out thousands of dollars on magazine ads and signing up real estate internet marketing companies is a very poor business model. You have to start building your real estate business yourself and then outsource some time-consuming tasks.
To summarize, when starting a real estate career you need:
- Find solutions to the most common problems in your future real estate farm
- Create educational materials and articles based on these solutions
- Build an automated website with email-collecting capabilities
- Create an amazingly detailed and SEO-optimized content for the website about all the aspects of local communities
- Find local business partners
- Print farming postcards with QR links to different sections of your website
- Start collecting emails via website and your real estate farming postcards