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- Writing a Business Plan
Writing a business plan may seem a daunting task as there are so many moving parts and concepts to address. Take it one step at a time and be sure to schedule regular review (quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) of your plan to be sure you on are track to meet your goals.
Why Write a Business Plan?
Making a business plan creates the foundation for your business. It provides an easy-to-understand framework and allows you to navigate the unexpected.
- A good business plan not only creates a road map for your business, but helps you work through your goals and get them on paper
- Business plans come in many formats and contain many sections, but even the most basic should include a mission and vision statement, marketing plans, and a proposed management structure
- Business plans can help you get investors and new business partners
Source: Write Your Business Plan: United States Small Business Association
Writing a business plan is imperative to getting your business of the ground. While every plan is different – and most likely depends on the type and size of your business – there are some basic elements you don’t want to ignore.
Latest on this topic
NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles ( E ) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.
Defining Your Mission & Vision
Writing a business plan begins by defining your business’s mission and vision statement. Though creating such a statement may seem like fluff, it is an important exercise. The mission and vision statement sets the foundation upon which to launch your business. It is difficult to move forward successfully without first defining your business and the ideals under which your business operates. A company description should be included as a part of the mission and vision statement. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- What type of real estate do you sell?
- Where is your business located?
- Who founded your business?
- What sets your business apart from your competitors?
What is a Vision Statement ( Business News Daily , Dec. 21, 2021)
How to Write a Mission Statement ( The Balance , Jan. 2, 2020)
Company Description ( U.S. Small Business Administration )
How to Write a Mission Statement ( Janel M. Radtke , 1998)
Using a SWOT Analysis to Structure Your Business Plan
Once you’ve created a mission and vision statement, the next step is to develop a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.” It is difficult to set goals for your business without first enumerating your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Evaluate by using the following questions:
- Do you offer superior customer service as compared with your competitors?
- Do you specialize in a niche market? What experiences do you have that set you apart from your competitors?
- What are your competitors’ strengths?
- Where do you see the market already saturated, and where are there opportunities for expansion and growth?
Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat (SWOT) ( Investopedia , Mar. 29, 2021)
How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for Your Small Business ( SCORE , May 22, 2020)
SWOT Analysis Toolbox ( University of Washington )
Setting Business Goals
Next, translate your mission and vision into tangible goals. For instance, if your mission statement is to make every client feel like your most important client, think about the following:
- How specifically will you implement this?
- Do you want to grow your business?
- Is this growth measured by gross revenue, profit, personnel, or physical office space?
- How much growth do you aim for annually?
- What specific targets will you strive to hit annually in the next few years?
What are Business Goals? Definition, How To Set Business Goals and Examples ( Indeed , Jun. 9, 2021)
Six Steps for Setting Business Goals ( University of Notre Dame , Oct. 8, 2020)
Establishing a Format
Most businesses either follow a traditional business plan format or a lean startup plan.
Traditional Business Plan
A traditional business plan is detailed and comprehensive. Writing this business plan takes more time. A traditional business plan typically contains the following elements:
- Executive Summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Service or product line
- Marketing and sales
- Funding request
- Financial projections
Lean Startup Plan
A lean startup plan requires high-level focus but is easier to write, with an emphasis on key elements. A lean startup plan typically contains the following elements:
- Key partnerships
- Key activities
- Key resources
- Value proposition
- Customer relationships
- Customer segments
- Cost structure
- Revenue stream
Creating a Marketing Plan
You may wish to create a marketing plan as either a section of your business plan or as an addendum. The Marketing Mix concerns product , price , place and promotion .
- What is your product?
- How does your price distinguish you from your competitors—is it industry average, upper quartile, or lower quartile?
- How does your pricing strategy benefit your clients?
- How and where will you promote your services?
- What types of promotions will you advertise?
- Will you ask clients for referrals or use coupons?
- Which channels will you use to place your marketing message?
Your Guide to Creating a Small Business Marketing Plan ( Business.com , Apr. 14, 2022)
10 Questions You Need to Answer to Create a Powerful Marketing Plan ( The Balance , Jan. 16, 2020)
Developing a Marketing Plan ( Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation )
Forming a Team
Ensuring the cooperation of all colleagues, supervisors, and supervisees involved in your plan is another important element to consider. Some questions to consider are:
- Is your business plan’s success contingent upon the cooperation of your colleagues?
- If so, what specifically do you need them to do?
- How will you evaluate their participation?
- Are they on-board with the role you have assigned them?
- How will you get “buy in” from these individuals?
How to Start a Rock-Solid Real Estate Team in 2022 ( The Close , May 26, 2020)
Don’t Start a Real Estate Team Without Asking Yourself These 8 Questions ( Homelight , Jan. 21, 2020)
Implementing a Business Plan and Reviewing Regularly
Implementation and follow-up are frequently overlooked aspects to the business plan, yet vital to the success of the plan. Set dates (annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly) to review your business plans goals. Consider the following while reviewing:
- Are you on track?
- Are the goals reasonable to achieve, impossible, or too easy?
- How do you measure success—is it by revenue, profit, or number of transactions?
And lastly, think about overall goals.
- How do you plan to implement your business plan’s goals?
- When will you review and refine your business plan goals?
- What process will you use to review your goals?
- What types of quantitative and qualitative data will you collect and use to measure your success?
These items are only a few sections of a business plan. Depending on your business, you may want to include additional sections in your plan such as a:
- Cover letter stating the reasoning behind developing a business plan
- Non-disclosure statement
- Table of contents
Business Proposal Letter Examples ( Indeed , Feb. 22 2021)
Implementing Your Business Plan Objectives ( The Balance , Oct. 27, 2019)
The Bottom Line
Creating a business plan may seem daunting, but by understanding your business and market fully, you can create a plan that generates success (however you choose to define it).
Real Estate Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
9 Steps to Writing a Real Estate Business Plan + Templates ( The Close , Feb. 12, 2021)
How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan (+Free Template) ( Fit Small Business , Nov. 12, 2020)
The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Real Estate Business Plan + Free Template ( Placester , Feb. 7, 2019)
Create Your Business Plan ( U.S. Small Business Administration )
General Business Plans – Samples, Instructional Guides, and Templates
Guide to Creating a Business Plan with Template (Business News Daily, Feb. 25, 2022)
Nine Lessons These Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew Before Writing Their First Business Plans ( Forbes , Jul. 25, 2021)
Business Plan Template for a Startup Business ( SCORE , Jan. 3, 2020)
How to Write a Business Plan 101 ( Entrepreneur )
Books, eBooks & Other Resources
Ebooks & other resources.
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
The Straightforward Business Plan (eBook)
Business Plan Checklist (eBook)
The SWOT Analysis (eBook)
The Business Plan Workbook (eBook)
Start-Up! A Beginner's Guide to Planning a 21st Century Business (eBook)
Complete Book of Business Plans (eBook)
How to Write a Business Plan (eBook)
The Easy Step by Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan and Making it Work (eBook)
Business Planning: 25 Keys to a Sound Business Plan (Audiobook)
Your First Business Plan, 5 th Edition (eBook)
Anatomy of a Business Plan (eBook)
Writing a Business Plan and Making it Work (Audiobook)
The Social Network Business Plan (eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
Writing an Effective Business Plan (Deloitte and Touche, 1999) HD 1375 D37w
Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions .
The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.
- All templates
Real Estate Business Plan
Having a good real estate business plan is the first step to achieving and exceeding your professional goals. A solid business plan will help you put actionable plans on paper, define your objectives and determine the number of deals you need to close to reach your financial targets. But without the requisite skills, creating a plan can be daunting and time-consuming. And the learning curve involved may be too steep for many real estate business owners.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with an intuitive real estate business plan that offers more than numbers and figures. The business plan template above has been designed in the form of a slide deck. This template features a compact, yet highly versatile slide presentations that allow you to add, hide and edit the slides easily. This way, you can custom your business plan for use in different scenarios. From making pitches that can sell properties effectively, to creating compelling presentations that will draw in more funding. The possibilities are endless!
Why You Need a Real Estate Business Plan
Surprisingly, many entrepreneurs still think that business plans are just for startups , or just another document for loan applications. This could not be further from the truth. The truth is, business plans can do so much more to a business, especially one in the real estate sector where businesses need to be strategic, competitive and recession-proof.
This real estate tool is designed to offer just that. Here are some of the benefits of having a well-thought-out business plan:
See the whole business This tool has been curated to connect the dots in your business, allowing you to get a better picture of your systems. It will help you determine how your strategy relates to your tactics and your business’ strategic alignment. What are your sales expenses? Do they connect with your sales? Are your marketing efforts measurable? What are your metrics? This tool allows you to take a step back and look at the larger picture.
Set priorities Real estate sector can be chaotic, and it’s easy to get lost amidst the noise. This business plan will help you keep track of the most important things allowing you to allocate resources, time and effort strategically.
Manage Change A good business plan will help you track your progress, review assumptions and be on top of market trends for competitiveness.
Track your Milestones and Metrics Think of your real estate business plan as your go-to GPS. It should guide your moves and act as a point of reference whenever you need to review your goals. You can use your business plan to put your numbers and indicators in perspective.
How to Use This Real Estate Business Plan Template
This template has several sections that help you put everything into perspective. These include:
Title Page This is the first page of this business plan template. Be sure to use a captivating image that speaks about your business.
Mission Statement State your long-term mission. Use concise words that will help direct the growth of your business.
Competition This section provides you with an opportunity to analyze your competition. What are their strategies? How strong is their lead generation models? Their weaknesses and strengths? Highlight your strengths and core competencies in this section.
Team Highlight the qualification of your team members. Be sure to include their years of experience and some of their notable achievements. This will go a long way when pitching to prospective investors.
Market Summary Ideally, this section should help you look back at some of the market shifts, trends, players and changes in market shares. Similarly, highlight some of the opportunities, costs and pricing strategies that will impact your company’s success.
Opportunities This section will help you identify the problems and opportunities in depth. What will make you stand out from the competition? How are your offerings unique and different? How will you maintain consistency? Are there foreseeable challenges that might eat into your bottom line?
Financial This section describes financing needs and financial highlights of your real estate business.
Resource requirement This section highlights your key competencies and leverage, including personnel, technology, finances, distribution, promotion, products, and unique services.
Risk and Rewards How much does it cost to deliver your products? Are you getting commensurate rewards?
Besides being able to put every detail of your business in one place, this template allows you to change its look in a single click, and on the fly. You can embed it into your site using a single code snippet. This will automatically adapt it to the width of your site. It’s also highly shareable. You can send it to your investors, bank manager, accountant or employees at the click of a button.
Most popular templates
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How to Plan, Start, & Grow a Real Estate Business: 27 Essential Tips
Published: January 10, 2023
Starting a real estate business isn’t for the faint of heart. What other industry requires you to cold call dozens of leads every day but only close five deals in your first year (if you're lucky)?
It’s a common adage that 3 out of 4 real estate agents fail within the first five years. But for those who have what it takes, starting your own real estate business can absolutely give you the seven-figure job of your dreams.
Here’s a down-to-earth look at how to start your own real estate business, plus advice for avoiding mistakes that hijack momentum as you grow.
Know Before You Go
For many new agents, real estate is their second, third, or even fourth career. You loved the idea of “being your own boss” while making more than you did at your last job, but freedom has a very different meaning for an employee versus a business owner.
The question is ... which are you?
The first thing you need to know about starting a real estate business is that, yes, this is a business. Whether you’re a solo agent or new to a team, if you have dreams of outperforming the average real estate agent salar y ($44,507 per year), you need to start thinking like a business owner — and that means planning.
How to Start a Real Estate Business
- Craft your ideal personal plan.
- Write a real estate business plan.
- Build a consistent marketing plan.
- Get a website.
- Prospect consistently.
- Nurture leads.
- Have good time management.
1. Get a CRM.
At the end of the day, a business is a system.
Barry Jenkins is the broker-owner of the #2 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Team in the United States. He’s also a guy who hates inefficiency. “I, to a fault, like to make things easy. The reason my business is so successful is that it was built on the core principle of leverage.”
In order to bring that principle to life, Barry uses his CRM as a true lead conversion machine . A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management system that helps you organize your contacts and come up with actionable insights. With it, you can walk leads through relevant nurture campaigns based on lead source or automate the entire transaction process.
This is incredibly useful in real estate because the home buying process is so long with many different steps, multiplied across many agents and even more leads and customers.
Using a CRM to achieve boss-level organization is how Barry and his team sold 240 homes in 2017. And it’s not all about the front end, either. Barry also uses his CRM to send automated onboarding drips to new team members and keep the business admin completely streamlined so that nothing important ever falls through the cracks.
2. Craft your ideal personal plan.
Before you set the right financial goals for your business, you need clear financial goals for your life.
Commissions are great but — let's face it — we all came into this business wanting something bigger and better than what we had.
Whether that’s the 187-foot yacht of your dreams or the ability to leave the office at 2:00 PM so you can pick up your kids from school, take time to think through what your ideal life would look like.
Consider the following questions:
- What time do you want to start work?
- What time do you want to finish?
- How do you want to feel each day?
- How much money do you want to make?
Want to retire at 65? Pay your kids’ college in full? Figure out how much you need to put aside every month in order to make that happen.
It’s so much easier to keep picking up that phone when you know exactly where your profits and commissions are going.
3. Write a real estate business plan.
Now that you’ve put pen to paper to figure out exactly what your biggest, most anti-paycheck-to-paycheck life looks like, it’s time to talk business.
Start writing your real estate business plan, paying special attention to the things that set you apart from other businesses in your area. Give it some real thought. This is where your personal and business identities can really come together to make profit-driving magic.
Start with these questions:
- How does selling real estate make a meaningful difference for you, your prospects, and even the world?
- What are the values and principles that drive your real estate business?
- How are those different from the real estate business next door?
- What are the three to five things you are going to own completely in the business?
- Who will take care of the rest?
Even if you’re just looking to take administrative work off your plate by hiring your first virtual assistant, it's critical to create that big-picture vision to keep your team inspired and avoid repeating unproductive patterns.
Featured Resource: Free Business Plan Template
Download for Free
4. Build a consistent marketing plan.
In the beginning, it was all about passing your licensing exam, selecting your best-fit brokerage, and building up your database without coming across as “ salesy ” to the friends and family in your sphere of influence (SOI).
However, kicking back and coasting as soon as the referrals start rolling in is one of the biggest mistakes growing agents make. Whether your dream is to become the next Facebook ads guru or a master of Zillow conversions, the only thing you really need to know about marketing is that it’s the one part of your business that never sleeps.
Let these questions guide your marketing plan:
- What does your unique approach and personality bring to the table for your prospects?
- What can you offer that no one else can?
- What are the latest buying, selling, and pricing trends in your market?
- What are some creative ways to discuss these trends (including the numbers) with prospects?
First, nail down your unique value proposition. This will drive all your future marketing.
Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template
5. Get a website.
97% of all buyers now use the internet as part of their home search.
This means that no matter how much local marketing you do, you need a web presence to attract and engage online leads. It may cost a little money upfront, but a solid, SEO-focused website is essential to success.
Your site should allow you to integrate internet data exchange (IDX) listings and usher those leads right into your CRM.
Once you have this asset in place, you can start moving toward a consistent blogging and social media strategy to generate more leads.
6. Prospect consistently.
Shiny object syndrome is a big problem in real estate. But the most consistent agent always wins, so choose your prospecting system and stick to it.
In the early days, it’s never a bad idea to optimize your SOI. In fact, the Atlanta-based Graham Seeby Group transformed a list of just 279 contacts into $90 million in home sales in just four years by consistently marketing to their past clients and sphere.
Here’s how co-founder Justin Seeby tells it:
“We focused on the ‘mets’ in our database and it was amazing the volume of transactions we started doing right out of the gate! For example, we did $2 million worth of sales from one couple I hadn’t talked to in 13 years. I mailed them a postcard, because I was afraid to pick up the phone and call them. I didn’t know if they’d know who I was. When they got the postcard, they called me. They ended up spending $1.2 million on a new house and selling an $800,000 house.”
Justin’s prospecting strategy was based on a simple schedule of mailers, emails, and phone calls. A winning system doesn’t have to be complicated, but it absolutely must be consistent.
7. Nurture leads.
If a lead contacts you, they expect to hear from you.
Mike Pannell is a master lead generator and the leader behind Nu Home Source Realty . According to Mike, a follow-up system is crucial to long-term lead conversion.
“I tell my agents that 70% of people are not going to buy for 180.5 days. If you’re waiting on those new leads to buy, you’re only going to close 3%,” he says. “That will make you enough money to survive, but your goal is six months and beyond. You’ve got to follow up to get to those; you’ve got to build that pipeline to get to those people.”
In addition to avid blogging and website optimization, Mike also checks up on the competition to see what's happening on the ground.
“I sign up on a lot of different websites out there. I don’t give them a real name, but I give them a real phone number,” he says. “And I can tell you what, I don’t get a lot of calls."
Be the agent who’s always there, and you’ll automatically beat the herd.
8. Have good time management.
If you’re like most of us, a big part of the dream is to have more time and energy for the things that really light you up.
But most agents who set out to build a real estate business haven’t built that into the plan. They end up with a revolving door of team members and have to outwork the business problem du jour. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For experts in automation, a motivating factor is saving time. By eliminating manual work through automation, you can free up time to focus on the activities that actually drive revenue.
The ability to do marketing automation further underscores your need for a CRM, which ends up acting as the engine that supports your efforts.
Free Real Estate Planning Template
Fill out the form to get your strategy template., how to start in real estate.
- Get a real estate license.
- Find a brokerage.
- Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
- Pay your dues.
- Find a mentor.
- Get crystal clear on who your ideal customer is.
- Build your personal brand.
Once you've created your personal vision, business plan, and unique value prop, it's time to get down to brass tacks.
How do you enter the real estate field and develop as a real estate professional? Here's what you’ll need to do.
1. Get a real estate license.
Obtaining a real estate license is an important first step in your real estate career. The timeline, qualifications, and costs of getting your real estate license are different from state to state, so consult your local real estate bureau to understand what’s required.
Many states require pre-licensing and renewal courses as well. Once you have your license, however, you can legally sell, broker, or rent real estate in the state in which you’ve obtained your license. There’s one caveat here: Most states require you to work with a brokerage for the first two to three years as an agent. So let’s dive into what that means.
2. Find a brokerage.
A real estate brokerage is an agency where real estate agents work. You might choose to work for a national franchise like Keller Williams Realty or a local boutique brokerage in your area. There are also virtual brokerages popping up around the internet, so do a little digging and find out which option best aligns with your goals.
Consider company culture, commission structure, and possible mentorships when you’re selecting a brokerage. Choose where you’d feel you’d thrive, be fairly compensated, and be able to learn from skilled people.
3. Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Want to call yourself a REALTOR®? Until you join the National Association of Realtors , you can’t. A NAR membership will also earn you access to the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) where you’ll be able to search through all of the listings in the network.
4. Pay your dues.
Don’t expect to get your license, join a brokerage, and start selling million-dollar homes.
Digital marketing strategist Hillary Robert says , “New real estate agents need to know that building a business takes time, hard work, and effort. To build a sustainable career in real estate, they need to be willing to put in the elbow grease to build an audience and database of contacts. Then they need to learn how to work it, provide value, and be consistent.”
Prepare to roll up your sleeves, do the hard work networking and supporting more seasoned realtors for a few years, and don’t expect to be bringing in the big bucks right away.
5. Find a mentor.
Learn from those around you. Is there someone in your brokerage who specializes in for sale by owner (FSBOs) or has a knack for running Facebook ads?
Schedule time to grab coffee with them once a month, see if you can shadow them for a day, or offer to help with a project they’re spearheading.
Spend time and build relationships with people who are good at the things you’d like to be good at. It will pay dividends in the years to come.
6. Get crystal clear on who your ideal customer is.
Working with first-time home buyers is vastly different than working with retirees who are downsizing into an active adult community. Both of those groups are different from second-chance home buyers who are entering the market again after recovering from foreclosure.
Not only does each of these subsets require different considerations and industry knowledge, but they’re also different audiences. This means they do not share the same needs, concerns, or goals.
If you want to resonate with prospects, you must understand their pains, problems, desires, and triumphs. The first step toward doing that is to create a buyer persona .
This exercise can lead to information and perspective that will inform your marketing efforts, your messaging, and even how you present your personal brand.
7. Build your personal brand.
One thing that seasoned real estate agents know to be true is that real estate is a lead-generation business. You should always be building your personal brand and expanding your network.
You can do this by building a personal real estate website outside of the one you have on your brokerage’s site. Create a social media presence for your professional brand. And host happy hours and networking events that will get your name out in the community.
Read on for even more tips on building your personal brand and lead generation engine.
How to Grow Your Real Estate Business
- Leverage your sphere of influence.
- Start networking.
- Learn how to use sites such as Zillow to your advantage.
- Check the cost for Google Ads in your area.
- Run Facebook ads.
- Optimize your website for organic search.
- Start blogging.
1. Leverage your sphere of influence.
When you’re just starting out, you won’t have much of a lead generation engine outside of your SOI, so make sure that your sphere knows that you’re in the industry if they need anything.
Many real estate agents worry about being too pushy with family, friends, and acquaintances, but if you avoid spamming and only work your profession into conversations organically, you won’t have an issue. This is a big part of your life, and they should know about it.
2. Start networking.
Your sphere is as powerful as its size, and you don’t want to draw from the same well over and over again. One way to widen your SOI is by going to networking events and interacting with other business owners in the community. After all, they might also be potential home buyers.
Just keep in mind the Law of Reciprocity, making sure to give in these situations just as much as you take. The more you interact and engage, the more your name will stick in their minds. You definitely want that in case they ever need you in the future.
3. Learn how to use sites such as Zillow to your advantage.
Zillow and similar sites have more authority and larger audiences than you, so it only makes sense to use them as tools for growing your business.
Many of these sites allow you to create an account, connect your listings, add contact information, and more. Should someone stumble on one of your listings or your profile, they’ll be able to connect with you.
4. Check the cost of Google Ads in your area.
Because real estate is such a competitive industry, especially in metro areas, Google Ads may not be a cost-effective strategy. However, it doesn’t hurt to check the cost for Google Ads.
Remember people are taking to Google at the beginning of their home-buying journey. Google Ads is one of the quickest ways to drive traffic to your website, so if the cost per click isn’t too high for your target keywords, it is a viable option.
Featured Resource: PPC Planning Kit & Templates
5. Run Facebook ads.
Sixty-nine percent of adults in the U.S. use Facebook. Chances are that your audience is on this platform. By running location-based ads, you can increase your brand awareness in your area and get highly targeted views on your ads.
Featured Resource: Facebook Ads Checklist
6. Optimize your website for organic search.
Search engine optimization takes a while to work, especially in competitive industries, but if you’re going to have a website, it should be optimized for search. Make sure that each page has a purpose, is crawlable by Google, and contains keywords you’d like to be found for.
7. Start blogging.
Since Google ranks pages, not websites, one way to get more search engine visibility is by blogging. Choose topics that your target audience wants to read, and be sure to also promote each post on social media.
Featured Resource: Blog Post Templates
Once you’ve leveraged business and marketing strategies to your advantage, you’ll begin to see the fruits of your efforts in the form of leads, sales, and revenue.
Common Professional Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them
1. losing momentum..
You’ve put in the work. Early mornings and late nights following up on leads, arranging showings, and putting out purchase fires have yielded the desired result: consistent sales.
The problem? For many agents just starting their careers, it’s easy to get caught up in this initial rush of success and start relying on their laurels instead of pushing forward. While this may work for a few months or even a year, the loss of momentum can be devastating over time.
To keep sales flowing, it’s critical to keep your foot on the gas and keep looking for new leads.
2. Making social media mistakes.
Connecting with prospective clients means using social media. But the scale and scope of this platform mean that any faux pas — no matter how small — can negatively impact your reputation and your business.
To help reduce the risk of mistakes, follow these three rules.
First, be clear and concise. Don’t use 50 words when 10 will do. This limits the chance of a social media gaffe.
Next, only speak about what you know . This means that if you have a property that’s potentially coming up for sale, don’t post about it until you know for sure. This helps engender client trust and improves your reputation online.
Last but never least? Apologize if you get it wrong. Despite your best efforts, everyone eventually makes a mistake on social media. When it happens, don’t minimize it or pretend it never happened. Instead, own it, apologize, and move on.
3. Trying to do it all alone.
When you start your business, chances are you can handle the workload on your own. As you start to see success, however, you’ll want to scale — and this means bringing in help.
At first, this could be someone to help with sales and purchase documentation or to provide assistance finding and calling leads. Eventually, it may lead to hiring another real estate agent along with a larger complement of office staff.
The takeaway? As success scales, so does complexity: Get ahead of the challenges by bringing in help sooner rather than later.
4. Prioritizing paper.
Despite digital advancements, many real estate processes remain paper-based. But this doesn’t mean your business has to follow suit.
Here, robust CRM tools are a great way to ensure you’ve got access to the data you need, when you need it. While you’ll still have to handle paper reports, you can reduce the risk of lost or duplicate data by digitizing these documents and adding them to your database.
5. Thinking short-term.
Success in real estate means thinking about what comes next — the next client, the next sale, or the next purchase.
The problem? This can lead to short-term thinking that ignores what got you success in the first place: your clients.
As a result, it’s critical to forge a relationship with clients you’ve helped in the past. Not only does this increase the chances that they’ll come back to you if they choose to sell their current home or purchase a new one, but they may also refer you to their friends and family.
Let’s Get Real
Success in real estate is not simple — or easy. With the right approach to business planning, service marketing, and lead generation, however, it’s possible to build a real estate business that helps you achieve life goals and establish a firm financial future.
Best bet? Know why you’re getting into the industry, be prepared to put in the work, and learn from your mistakes.
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The Ultimate Real Estate Agent Business Plan
Do you have your own real estate agent business plan?
Let’s be honest, starting a career in real estate is like launching a new business. As an agent, you are your own brand. You have to find your own leads, nurture your own clients, and you’re ultimately responsible for the production and financial success of your business.
The problem is that standard real estate courses don’t teach agents how to be business owners. Did your real estate courses help you craft your own real estate agent business plan? Mine certainly didn’t!
And that’s a real shame because planning is a key component of a successful real estate business! This isn’t an industry you can muddle your way through. You need to create a roadmap to success. A path to show you the way forward when business gets tough.
And that’s what this post is all about: creating The Ultimate Real Estate Agent Business Plan to help your real estate business succeed!
Quick note: this article was originally published in 2019, but was updated in 2021.
Before You Jump Into Your Real Estate Agent Business Plan
Before we get started, you should decide how you’re going to document your real estate agent business plan.
- A physical notebook: Putting pen to paper can be a powerful motivator! If you’re a notebook-keeper, grab that notebook and start writing.
- A doc: Of course some of us prefer the paperless route. You can just open a blank Google Doc or Word Doc and start typing.
- A ready-to-use template: You can find inexpensive business plan templates on Etsy. If you’re looking for a template that perfectly mirrors the steps in this post, check out The Ultimate Real Estate Agent Business Plan by Key Real Estate Designs .
There’s no right or wrong way to document your real estate agent business plan. The important thing is to pick whatever method feels natural to you so that you can actually complete this critical business planning process.
Word of warning: this is going to be a longgggggggggggg post! We have a whole lot of ground to cover. For easy reference, here is an outline of what to include in a real estate agent business plan:
Branding Know Your Client Get Clear on Your Offer Transform Your Offer into a Vision Finance Performance from the Past Year Projections for the Upcoming Year Income Goal Tracking Long-Term Planning Marketing Know Where Your Leads are Coming from Schedule Your Marketing Activities Add New Marketing Activities Each Year Track Your Results Operations Services Supplies and Vendors Your Team Lead Follow-up Building Referrals
Let’s get to it!
The branding chapter of your real estate agent business plan consists of 3 main sections:
- Knowing Your Client
- Getting Clear on Your Offer
- Transforming Your Offer into a Vision
1. Know Your Client
Step Number One is all about knowing your audience. Starting the branding process from your clients’ perspective will help keep your real estate agent branding focused on your clients’ needs. So let’s pinpoint your ideal client first, then we’ll figure out how to attract them with branding.
Choose Your Niche
Don’t be that agent who tries to appeal to all buyers and sellers in your area. By trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll never stand out to anyone. You need to niche down so that you are a perfect fit for the clients you most want to attract.
Many agents are hesitant to choose a niche because they don’t want to leave potential clients on the table. But there’s a big problem with being open to all clients: you’re competing with all agents.
But, if you niche down, you’re only competing with a handful of other agents in your niche. Yes, the pool of potential clients is smaller, but the odds of securing those clients are far greater. Would you rather catch 1% of 1,000 fish or 25% of 250 fish? Go for the higher conversion rates by sticking to a niche and becoming the go-to agent for that group.
There are lots of ways to niche down, and you can combine several of them to carve out your unique niche. As you consider niches, ask yourself what type of client you most enjoy working with. Here are a few ways to niche down:
- Buyer or Sellers: You should specialize in one or the other, but stay flexible when your sellers are also looking to buy and vice versa. By the way, buyer/seller is not a niche by itself; it’s just the starting point of focusing on your niche.
- Specific Neighborhoods: If you have a geographic farm, that’s your niche.
- Specific Price Points: Do you focus on luxury estates, starters/fixer-uppers, or somewhere in between?
- Life Events: You could help first-time buyers, downsizers, or people looking for their “forever home”.
- Occupations: If you have a military base nearby or a large employer in town, you could specialize in helping those members/workers get settled in a new home.
- Property Type: How about focusing on agricultural land, condos, or multifamily?
This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: protected classes are not niches. It’s never acceptable to niche by race, religion, age, etc.
Create Your Client Avatar
Once you determine your ideal niche (like first-time military vet buyers, for example), you want to learn everything you possibly can about that group. Remember, these aren’t just clients. They’re real people with very real dreams, fears, preferences, and motivations.
Creating an avatar (an imaginary persona of your typical client) forces you to focus on what your ideal clients need from you and how you can best serve them. And how you can best appeal to them through your real estate agent branding.
There are lots of factors to consider when creating your client avatar. Here are some of the most important:
- Goals (by the way, buying or selling are never the goals; consider why they want to buy or sell)
- How much your clients know about real estate (transactions in general, and the local market in particular)
- General demographics (age, gender, familial status, profession, annual income, formal education, etc. – again, you’re not filtering clients by any protected class, but you do need to have an idea of your average client’s demographics because that will factor into some of your real estate agent branding decisions)
- Where your client hangs out, online and offline
Just to reiterate, saying that your client avatar is a 30-year-old, unmarried female buyer doesn’t mean you’d ever discriminate against families with children. This avatar is simply an amalgamation of your typical client for the purpose of appealing to your target market with your branding efforts.
2. Get Clear on Your Offer
With your client clear in your mind, you can start to clarify your image, tailoring it to meet the needs of your client avatar.
Your Origin Story
We all know real estate agents are just superheroes without capes. And every good superhero has a solid origin story. What’s yours?
How did you come to be a real estate agent? What hurdles have you overcome to get to this point in your life? Which accomplishments are you most proud of? And how does that fit your client avatar’s expectations?
If you’re a native local, great! Part of your origin story is that you were born and raised in the area, so you know everything and everyone.
If you’re a transplant, great! San Diegan by birth, Angelino by choice. Still a great start to your story.
Write down your origin story. It’ll make a great addition to your professional bio !
Why are you doing what you’re doing? What drives you to hustle every day? And, again, how does that fit your client avatar’s expectations? Your personal mission should be meaningful to your clients.
Now’s the hard part: verbalizing your uniqueness.
Which of your prospective clients’ needs can you meet better than your competitors? That’s your differentiator.
Here are a few differentiator ideas:
- best list-to-price ratio in your niche
- best online presence
- biggest professional network of investors
- most experience with VA loans
- only local agent who speaks Spanish
And if you’re really struggling to find your differentiator, how about offering something no one else is offering? Like:
- professional staging included for all sellers
- new home photo shoots included for all buyers
- or complimentary annual property tax reviews to make sure your clients are never over-taxed (and if they are, you can offer your property tax appeal services on a contingency fee basis!)
There are a million ways to differentiate yourself. Figure out what’s going to make the biggest difference to your prospective clients.
Your 5 Magic Words
To fully cement your professional image, choose 5 magic words that best describe you and your brand. These 5 magic words will guide all your real estate agent branding. If you look at your business cards, website, or marketing materials, and they don’t SCREAM these 5 words, then you’ll know something needs to be changed.
Your differentiator may immediately bring a word or 2 to mind. So might your client avatar.
Then you’re looking for words that convey an idea or emotion you want to resonate with your target audience.
These 5 words are going to be your 5 magic words. So own them and live them!
3. Transform Your Offer into a Vision
Now that you have a better understanding of your offer, you can turn it into a vision.
In this step, your unique real estate agent branding will really start to take shape!
Choose Your Brand’s Name and Tagline
Naming your brand is harder than most agents expect, mostly because many of the best names are already taken. You need a name that you can “.com” for your website, but that name also has to be available across all social media platforms. Here are a few pointers to simplify the process:
- Keep it under 15 characters. Otherwise, you’ll have to abbreviate your Twitter handle, which dilutes your branding.
- Think lifestyle and location . MB Luxury, Venice Living, or Living in the OC for example. These all focus on the lifestyle of your target audience.
- Never incorporate your Broker’s name. Because 1) it’s probably trademarked and 2) you don’t want to tie your brand to your broker because then you’re in trouble when you decide to part ways.
- Check to see if the domain name is available for your website. If you type your idea into GoDaddy’s domain search, it will tell you if the name is available.
- Then check to see if the name is available on social media platforms. Is there already an @VeniceLiving on Twitter?
If you’re struggling with this step, don’t let it prevent you from moving forward. When in doubt, use your name. If you have a unique name, it could be your brand name by itself. Otherwise, you could incorporate your name with your lifestyle or location. OC Estates by Sarah, Sean Sells Santee, or Lilly’s Life in LB.
Then you can craft your tagline. Skip the cheesy rhyming taglines of the last century. Instead, explain your differentiator in just a few words. That’s a much more powerful tagline.
Create a Mood Board
The best way to start visualizing your brand is to create a mood board. A mood board is basically just a collage of images with a cohesive look that reflects your idea of your brand. These could be patterns, lifestyle photos, design elements, and color swatches.
Here are a few examples:
Your mood board should be a visual reflection of your offer. If you offer fun and fresh service for first-time buyers, your mood board should scream fun and fresh with bright colors and trendy designs. And if you offer home-grown expertise in agricultural properties, your mood board should whisper farmhouse chic with natural colors and materials.
Want a shortcut?
If you don’t have time to scour the Internet looking for mood board images, just enter “Mood Board” or “Branding Board” on Pinterest. You’ll find tons of professionally curated boards to inspire your personal mood board.
But one quick word of caution: you could get stuck at this stage for weeks because there are so many engaging boards to see. My recommendation is to set a timer for 20 minutes. Browse away, pinning the images that really speak to you. Then use 10 additional minutes to narrow down your selections until you have a brand board you love.
Choose Your Official Brand Colors
One of the reasons I love the Mood and Branding Boards on Pinterest is that they usually come with a beautifully coordinated color palate.
Choosing colors is difficult for most of us because there are so many shades and it’s hard to know which colors best complement each other. Using the colors from a professionally designed board ensures that your colors all work together perfectly.
If you see a color you love, but can’t figure out exactly what color it is, here’s a quick and easy way to find out:
1. Save the image to your computer.
2. Upload that image to imagecolorpicker.com .
3. Click anywhere on the image to get the details for the color you want from the image.
You’ll be able to use the HTML code or the RGM code to get your colors just right on your website, marketing materials, and social media posts.
So you’ll always have perfectly matched brand colors!
Decide on Your Font(s) and Any Design Elements
It’s generally best to stick with 2 fonts: one bold, and one for easy readability. Your bold font will go on your headers, titles, and logo, and your readability font will be everything else.
Like with colors, you want your fonts to complement each other. There are lots of resources online to find font pairings. Here’s an example of some front combinations from Inkbotdesign.com :
Just make sure you have access to your chosen fonts on all the platforms you use (your website, your marketing design software, etc) as some platforms only offer limited font selections.
If you’re going to have any custom design elements (stripes, brush strokes, patterns, etc), now is also the time to select those.
Create Your Logo
Finally, it’s time to choose your logo.
This is another step that stalls lots of agents. But we have a shortcut to help you get this done quickly and easily.
Head to Etsy . They have lots of personalized logo packs at great rates.
Some Etsy sellers even off custom-designed logos. If you don’t see an existing logo pack, you can just contact those sellers with your fonts, colors, brand name, and any of your unique design ideas, and they’ll get you set up in no time.
Before long, your target audience will start to recognize your unique real estate agent branding. They’ll know what you and your brand stand for. And they’ll know how to reach you when they’re ready to buy or sell!
The finance chapter of your real estate agent business plan consists of the following sections:
- Performance from the Past Year
- Projections for the Upcoming Year
- Long-Term Planning
1. Review Your Performance from the Past Year
To know where you’re going, it helps to know where you’re coming from.
Reviewing your financial performance from the past year will give you an idea of what to expect (in terms of income and expenses) for the coming year.
A quick note about expenses: As an independent contractor, you have more than just personal expenses to consider. You also need to consider business expenses. We’ll discuss both.
If this is your first year in real estate, your prior year’s data won’t include relevant business expenses or reliable income figures. You’ll just need to spend more time researching average income and expense data in Step 2. But you will still benefit from reviewing last year’s personal expenses so you’ll know how much to budget in those categories for the coming year.
Most agents find it helpful to look at the expenses first when reviewing their financials. When your income is uncertain, starting with your expenses lets you know exactly how much income you need to make to cover all your needs. So we’re going to follow that method by listing expenses first.
Now, I like to start with personal expenses since many of these are essential to your life, regardless of the current state of your business.
Personal expenses include:
- Personal Vehicle
- Personal Care
- Debt Payments
- Savings and Investments
- Charitable Giving
All you need to do is list all your personal expenses and assign an amount to each. You may find it helpful to list both the annual total amounts and the average monthly amounts .
Then you can move on to your business expenses.
Business expenses include:
- Work Vehicle
- Work Cell Phone
- Office Space (if not covered by your Broker)
- Website Hosting
- Membership Dues
- Client Gifts
- Federal and State Income Taxes
If you’re new to real estate, you’ll need to account for a few start-up costs as well:
- Licensing fees
- A real estate website ( a must for today’s serious agents )
- Any onboarding fees charged by your broker
- Business cards
- Initial self-promotional marketing
If you feel like your expenses are too high in any category, ask yourself if it’s reasonable to cut back on that expense in the coming year. If so, great! And if not, at least you’ll know to budget enough for that category in the coming year.
The bulk of your income will, in all likelihood, come from real estate transactions. But this shouldn’t be your only source of income.
Savvy agents are diversifying their income streams to recession-proof their businesses and reach financial independence. Check out our massive list of 55 Ways to Make Money in Real Estate for some income ideas that will compliment your real estate business.
Just like you did with your expenses, list your income sources from this past year and the amounts earned from each source.
Your income minus your business expenses equals your profit.
How did you do last year? Are you satisfied with last year’s profit? Or do you need to lower your business expenses, increase your income, or both to reach a profit you’re happy with in the coming year?
Your income minus your total expenses (personal and business) is your cash flow. This shows how much more money you make than you spend.
As long as you’re including savings and investments in your expenses (which you absolutely should be, otherwise those will end up neglected!), your cash flow number doesn’t need to be large. You just want to be sure you’re making more than you’re spending.
If there’s anything you don’t love about your financials from the past year, don’t panic. Instead, focus on what you want to do differently in the next 12 months. That’s what we’ll do in Step 2.
2. Plan Your Financials for the Coming Year
Now it’s time to create your real estate agent financial plan for this coming year.
- How much do you plan to spend?
- And how much do you plan to earn?
Using last year’s expenses as a guide, write down your estimated expenses in each category for the coming year. You may have to do a little research to get estimates on some figures if this will be your first year incurring that particular expense.
The most important thing when estimating your expenses is to be as accurate as possible. Many of us have a tendency to think our numbers should be lower, so we underestimate our expenses, and subsequently end up breaking our budget.
A good rule of thumb is to budget high. If you come in under budget, great! You’ll have more money at the end of the year to invest in business expansion.
With your expenses calculated, you now know exactly how much money you need to make this year to cover all your expenses.
How does that number line up with last year’s income?
Do you expect this year’s income to be similar?
Again, accuracy is key. Your income goal should be achievable , but it should also be difficult enough to really make you work.
By the way, in the next step, we’ll create a plan to make your income goal a reality. That step will be a good litmus test to see if your income goal is reasonable.
Assuming you hit your planned expense and income figures this year, what will your profit be? Again, it’s just income minus business expenses.
How does this projected profit compare to last year’s profit? Are you happy with this profit? If not, now’s the time to review your projected expenses and income to see if you need to make any adjustments.
When you subtract your total expenses from your projected income, are you still at a positive number? Because you need to be!
3. Create a Plan to Meet Your Income Goal
Now that you have an income goal in mind, we need to create a bulletproof plan to hit that goal.
To do this, we need to answer 2 questions:
- How many homes do you need to sell this year to meet your income goal?
- How many leads do you need to reach to sell that many homes?
Let’s look at each question in turn.
How Many Homes Do You Need to Sell?
Here’s the formula to calculate the number of homes you need to sell:
(Average Home Price x Your Average Commission Percentage x Your Commission Split)
For anyone not algebraically inclined: we’re just figuring out your after-broker commission from an average sale. Then dividing your income goal by that number.
As an example:
If the average home price in your niche is $250,000, the average commission per agent is 3%, and your split with your broker is 50%, you would need to sell 27 average homes to generate $100,000 in gross income. ($250,000 times 3% = $7,500 x 50% = $3,750. So you make $3,750 on each average transaction. And $100,000 divided by $3,750 is 26.666 houses, rounded to 27.)
So, what’s your magic number?
Now, how are you going to meet that sales goal?
How Many Leads do You Need to Reach?
First, let’s break down your home sale goal by month so it’s less daunting. Divide your magic number by 12 to figure out how many homes you need to sell each month on average.
Now, how many leads do you need to reach each month to sell that many homes?
To figure this out, you need to know your conversion rate. How many leads does it take on average to close a single deal? For seasoned agents, this is a matter of tracking your leads and your closed deals to know your personal conversion rate. For new agents, 100 leads for every 1 closed deal is a safe estimate in most markets. This number will improve as you gain sales experience and establish yourself in the market.
Here’s the formula for calculating your monthly lead requirements:
number of deals needed x number of leads required to make one sale
That number may seem high. But let’s make it more manageable by figuring out how many leads you need to generate each day. To do that, divide your required leads per month by 16. Why 16? Because life happens, and you can’t reasonably expect to prospect every day of every month. So we’re figuring 4 workdays for 4 weeks per month.
As long as you commit to hitting your prospecting target 4 days per week, there’s no reason you shouldn’t hit your income goal!
4. Tracking Your Finances
This is one of the most often ignored steps in creating a real estate agent financial plan: tracking.
How will you know if you’re on track to stay on budget and meet your income goal if you don’t track your finances through the year?
Unexpected expenses and sales droughts can completely derail your financial plan. It’s important to catch these in real time so you can adjust your plan as needed to get back on track as quickly as possible.
Keep a monthly log for expenses, and one for income. And actually use them! That’s the tricky part. It’s a good idea to schedule 15-30 minutes each week specifically to log your income and expenses from the previous week. Put this recurring appointment in your calendar to remind you to build this financial habit.
5. Long-Term Planning and Tracking
The final step to creating your bullet-proof real estate agent financial plan is to create a long-term financial plan.
Long-term financial planning is difficult for real estate agents. It’s hard enough to plan for a single year. How are you supposed to plan 5-10 years (or more!) into the future?
No one expects you to accurately forecast your income and expenses for the next 10 years. But there are some long-term financial plans that wise agents track.
You don’t have a 401(k) or a pension plan. So you must plan for retirement.
A Solo 401(k) is a great option because it allows you to contribute more each year than IRAs.
The key to retirement savings is to start early and save consistently. Compound interest will work its magic from there.
Aim to set aside a full 10% of your gross income for retirement. But start slowly if 10% sounds like too much for you to spare. Start with 3% of every transaction for the first year. Then 5% the next year. And keep increasing until you hit 10%. If you’re starting retirement savings later in life, you may need to save more. If you have other income-generating assets, like rental properties, you may be able to save less. Talk to a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) if you need help figuring out your retirement plan.
It’s sad that most of us put such a low priority on our dreams.
How many of us desperately want to travel, or open our own brokerages, or start a non-profit for the community? And how many of us never do these things because we just don’t have the money?
Make your dreams a priority by building them into your financial plan every year. And tracking your Dream Fund finances over the long term.
What do you want to leave for the next generation?
You certainly don’t need to leave an inheritance for your children, but you may want to help your children and/or grandchildren with education expenses as your legacy. Maybe you want to create a family business to leave behind? Or build a community park for future generations to enjoy. Or establish a non-profit to assist those that come after you.
If you want to leave a legacy like these, you’ll need to include them in your long-term financial planning.
Your Net Worth
Tracking net worth year-over-year is one of the most rewarding financial exercises you can do!
Net worth is the best indicator of overall financial health. It’s a comparison of your debts to your assets. Think of it like this: if you sold everything you owned and paid off all your debts today, how much would you have left?
To calculate your net worth, start by listing all your assets and their present-day values:
- Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts
- Retirement Accounts
- Investment Accounts
- Real Estate Holdings
Now, list all the current balances on all your debts:
- Student Loans
- Credit Cards
- Business Loans
- Personal Loans
And finally, subtract the debts from the assets. The result is your current net worth.
The more assets you accumulate, the more your net worth will skyrocket. Especially if you acquire assets that appreciate, like real estate and financial investments (stocks and bonds).
Invest the time in calculating your net worth just once or twice per year. The motivation to improve your finances lasts long after you complete this small task. And as your net worth grows, you’ll find that you’re actually excited to calculate your new net worth and see how much your financial health has improved since the last check.
Marketing builds on some of the foundation work you did in the branding and finance sections of your real estate agent business plan. With your financial goals and target market in mind, you can build a marketing plan to suit your audience and earn you enough leads to hit your goal.
The marketing chapter of your real estate agent business plan consists of:
- Knowing Where Your Leads are Coming from
- Scheduling Your Marketing Activities
- Adding New Marketing Activities Each Year
- Tracking Your Results
1. Know Where Your Leads Are Coming From
Do you know where your leads are coming from?
Online? Geo-farming? Cold-calling the Expireds? Somewhere else?
To know where your marketing dollars are making the most bang, you need to know which marketing methods are working for you.
If you don’t have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that automatically tracks the return on investment for your leads, you can create a basic spreadsheet to handle this task. Just list your marketing methods in a column on the far left, then add columns for the:
- annual cost of each marketing method
- number of leads generated every year by each method
- cost per lead (annual cost divided by the number of leads generated)
- number of closed deals
- net profit from those closed deals
- ROI of each method (net profit divided by the annual cost)
(By the way, The Ultimate Real Estate Agent Business Plan on Etsy includes a ready-made template for you.)
If you’re brand new to the business and don’t yet have any data to analyze, don’t worry. Start your marketing strategy with 3-5 cost-effective marketing methods. My recommendations for most new agents in most markets are:
- Social Media Marketing: you can create professional profiles and post for free (check out How to Create a Lead-Generating Social Media Calendar for tips). And if you don’t have the time or design skill to create your own social media posts, sign up for DRIP by Key Real Estate Resources ! You’ll get fresh social media posts and a new social media calendar delivered to you each month!
- Content Marketing: adding blog posts to your website to boost your search engine rankings so buyers and sellers can find you online.
- Calling FSBOs and Expireds in your niche: these people are actively trying to sell! Get out there and talk to them. In fact, consider hosting a FSBO seminar where you give real information about the home selling process. When sellers see what’s required to get top-dollar, they’ll probably list. And they’ll choose the agent who gave them the real info they were looking for! No time for a seminar? Offer a free FSBO guide instead.
- Mailers: mailers may be old school, but they’re still a low-cost way to generate leads in many markets.
- Open Houses: while open houses aren’t effective for selling in all markets, they’re often effective at generating new leads .
2. Schedule Your Marketing Activities
Armed with your chosen marketing methods, it’s time to decide exactly when you’re going to take action.
You know that if it isn’t on your calendar, it won’t get done. Other tasks, like showings and inspections, will inevitably take priority because they are more urgent. Don’t let the urgent tasks keep you from the important tasks. And since your business doesn’t exist without a client pipeline, marketing is possibly the single most important task you can complete to keep your business growing. So schedule it!
Grab your calendar now and decide when you’ll:
- launch your website (if you don’t already have one)
- write and publish your blog posts (one per week is ideal)
- post to social media (several times per week on your focus platforms, and at least once per week on the other major platforms). By the way, if you don’t have time to create your social media content, consider a service that creates the posts for you. DRIP by Key Real Estate Resources offers plans starting at just $9/mo.
- call Expireds and FSBOs (daily! – so what time will you carve out every day for distraction-free phone marketing?)
- send mailers (at least quarterly)
- attend networking events
- order any print media ads
- launch any social media ad campaigns
- etc, etc, etc
3. Add a New Marketing Activity Every Year
The real estate industry is always changing. What works one year might not work so well the next. And next year, you may find new marketing opportunities you weren’t even aware of this year.
Innovative agents experiment with new marketing technologies to keep their businesses growing.
In a hot market, you want to target FSBOs. When homes sell quickly, people think they can save on commission by selling themselves. So you need to show them what it takes to sell for top dollar.
And in a down market, you have a few options. One effective marketing activity to add in a down-market is to target renters. Home prices are lower than average, interest rates are favorable, and rents are increasing. Show these renters how to get a low down payment FHA or VA loan so they can use the market to their advantage! To really boost your leads, try creating your own Renter-to-Homeowner Program .
Another great example (albeit a more ambitious one!) of a new marketing plan for a down-market is to expand your services to include the property tax appeals service we mentioned in our discussion about your Differentiator. Most agents don’t even know this service exists, but it can provide you with a whole new income stream while simultaneously generating new leads and nurturing your relationship with past clients. And it’s far easier than you might imagine!
All you have to do is explain to the county that your client’s home is worth less than the value on their tax bill (which is very often the case in a down market). You do this by running comps, like you already know how to do. If the county agrees, they’ll lower your client’s property taxes, and you get a cut of that reduction. You’ll be able to pitch this service to all homeowners in your niche and gain some serious exposure for your real estate business! Learn more by reading How to Make Money With Property Tax Appeals .
There are tons of creative marketing strategies that most agents never consider. Trying a new marketing activity each year will keep your business growing in any market!
4. Track Your Results
To know what works you need to track your results.
Back in Step 3, we looked at where your leads are currently coming from, as well as the return on investment for each marketing method. Without tracking your leads, you’ll never have this valuable data to help guide your next marketing move.
Every time a new lead comes in, record the marketing source that drove them. If you have a fancy CRM database, you can record the information there. If you’re just keeping your leads in a simple spreadsheet, no problem! Just make sure you have a column to record the source. And if you don’t currently have a system, consider spending a few bucks on a done-for-you CRM template .
Last section! The operations chapter of your real estate agent business plan consists of 5 sections:
- Supplies and Vendors
- Lead Follow-up
- Building Referrals
Let’s take a closer look at each…
Here’s a question most agents never think to ask themselves: What services should I offer?
Most agents think the answer is obvious. You sell real estate, right? What’s to ask?
This is a HUGE missed opportunity.
There’s so much more to real estate than sales. What other services could you offer to 1) diversify your income, 2) recession-proof your real estate business, and 3) best serve your clients?
Not sure what I mean? Here are a few examples of services that would complement your existing real estate practice:
Property Tax Appeals
We’ve mentioned property tax appeals a few times already. It’s just such a perfect fit for real estate agents (who already have about 95% of the knowledge and skills required to make money in property tax appeals), but surprisingly few agents are capitalizing on this homeowner need! Again, to learn more, check out How to Make Money With Property Tax Appeals
New Home Photo Shoots
If it isn’t on Instagram, it didn’t happen. Millennials and beyond want to show off their new home on social media. And they’re willing to pay for quality photos of themselves in their new place.
If you have photography skills (or you partner with a professional photographer for your listing photos), you can easily add this service to your real estate business.
Offer photoshoot packages to your buyer clients. But don’t stop there. Ask your colleagues if you can reach out to their buyers as well. Then promote your photoshoot services online. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy new income stream!
And the best part: your clients’ social media pics become free advertising for you. Not only will this boost your photography services, but it can also bring you new buyers and sellers!
Read more about the benefits of offering new home photoshoots .
If you want to land more investor clients (and wow them with your services!), offer property management services.
You know, tenant screenings, rent collection, maintenance requests, renewals, etc.
In most markets, property managers can command a 10-20% commission on the monthly rent for property management. It doesn’t take many units to add up to a substantial income stream.
Not interested in taking on ongoing property management work? Simply helping property owners screen new tenants can earn you a commission of around 50% of the first month’s rent, then the day-to-day management can be handled by the property owner until they need new tenants. It’s an easy way to land a quick paycheck!
There are tons of other ideas for additional income streams you can add to your real estate business. Check out 55 Ways to Make Money in Real Estate for more ideas!
2. Supplies and Vendors
Once you know what services you will offer, you can plan for your supply and vendor needs.
As a service business, your supplies should be minimal. Here are a few supplies to consider:
- Marketing Materials
- Software Subscriptions
Not much to it!
Depending on the services you offer, you may need to utilize the services of several vendors.
On the real estate sales side, you have the standard players:
- Escrow Officers
- Transaction Coordinators
- Marketing Publications
Then consider your other income streams. If you’re offering property tax appeals, you may want to hire a virtual assistant during appeal season to research assessed values and handle your data entry. If you’re offering new home photoshoots, you may want to partner with a professional photographer.
Ask yourself two key questions:
- Would a vendor boost the quality of my business?
- Is it worth paying someone to complete certain tasks so I can focus my energy where it will have the greatest impact?
If the answer to either question is yes , you should absolutely use a vendor.
3. Your Team
For many real estate agents, you’re a team of one! You do everything yourself. But many agents want to grow a larger team: admin, buyer’s agents, listing specialists, etc.
Technology has opened many opportunities to help you grow your team. For example, your first team addition might be an inexpensive virtual assistant. You can hire a freelancer to take care of all your data entry, social media engagement, appointment setting, and even blog writing! And you don’t have to pay a full-time salary or offer benefits to a freelancer.
Tech has also introduced new challenges. Managing a virtual admin is very different from having an assistant in your office. You don’t get the face-to-face communication, and you don’t have the level of control that you would have over a full-time, in-office employee.
What works best for you? You can always try hiring a freelance VA for a short time to see if you’re comfortable with that arrangement. And if not, you can post a job ad on Craig’s List for a part-time (or full-time!) in-office assistant. This position is generally paid hourly. Depending on your market, this could be a $12-$20 per hour position.
Then you can branch out into specialists. The order of your hires will depend on your personal strengths and preferences. If you love listing and you’re great at it, you don’t need a listing specialist; focus on getting a buyer’s agent, marketing coordinator, and operations manager instead.
Be honest with yourself about which tasks you just don’t enjoy, and which tasks you struggle with, then hire people with those as strengths!
Just remember to give yourself time to grow. You don’t need to go from 1 person to 10 people this year. It takes time to build an effective team. Give yourself 6-12 months between each hire to avoid the worst of the growing pains.
Here’s an example of an org chart for a full real estate team (the numbers indicate a recommended order of hire):
4. Lead Follow-Up
First, schedule time every day for your lead follow-up. Every workday, you’re going to sit down at a designated time, open your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), and follow up with your leads. Statistically, the best times to reach people are 8-10 am and 4-6 pm. So for the best chances of success, your follow-up should take place during those hours.
Studies have repeatedly proven that you don’t convert a lead to an active client in a single follow-up. It typically takes 7-8 touches for a lead to become your client. But that’s just an average. If you really want to boost your production, you need to follow up with every lead until they become your exclusive client.
What if your lead ends up listing with another agent? They’re still a lead. Contact them every few weeks to make sure they’re satisfied with their agent’s performance. If that listing expires, who do you think is going to land the new listing?
Here are some tips to increase your conversion rates from leads to clients:
- Put every single lead in your CRM. Every seasoned agent has been surprised by a lead they thought was low-quality. If you don’t log the lead, you lose them.
- When a new lead comes in, aim to reply to them within 5 minutes. The sooner, the better! Auto-responders can buy you a little time.
- Schedule your next follow-up immediately after every follow-up.
5. Building a Referral Business
What is your plan for after the deal closes? Is your current plan resulting in repeat business and referrals? If not, it’s time to re-think your post-close plan.
Lucky for you, I have a tried-and-true plan, ready for you to implement today!
Here’s a simple 3-step process for building a referral business:
Step 1: Showing Genuine Gratitude
Some agents are bucking the trend of closing gifts. They have already provided quality service, so they don’t see the need to spend part of their hard-earned commission on a closing gift.
But failing to give a closing gift is a huge missed opportunity.
First, many clients expect a closing gift because of the tradition of closing gifts. And your goal is always to exceed expectations, never to disappoint your clients.
Then there’s also the fact that closing gifts give you the opportunity to express your appreciation for your clients’ business. Without their business, you don’t survive as a real estate agent. So cultivate that attitude of gratitude and show your thanks with a thoughtful closing gift.
Lastly, closing gifts are an opportunity to make a lasting impression. A thoughtful closing gift helps your clients remember you. And a carefully selected closing gift can even generate referrals! Check out our list of 20 affordable closing gifts guaranteed to impress your clients .
Step 2: Providing Ongoing Value
Most agents consider the job done when the deal closes. Savvy agents know that a little ongoing effort pays off HUGE in referral and repeat business.
How can you help your clients after the sale? First-time homeowners are pretty clueless when it comes to home maintenance. Maybe you can send them a friendly list of home maintenance issues to tackle each season.
Offering property tax appeal services is a great way to provide value to your clients every year! Surprise and delight your clients by conducting a “complimentary property tax assessment review” every year. All you have to do is compare the assessed taxable value to the market value.
- If the assessed taxable value is lower than the market value, you can send the client a letter to let them know that you’ve confirmed that their property taxes for the current year are fair and ready to be paid in full.
- If the assessed taxable value is higher than the market value, you can let your clients know that your calculations indicate they are being over-taxed, and you’re happy to file a property tax appeal on their behalf to try to lower the taxes for them. (you can download a done-for-you letter template from our post on property tax appeals).
You should also send custom value estimates to your clients every 6-12 months to let them know how much their home has increased in value (just in case they’re thinking of selling).
Step 3: Maintaining the Personal Relationship
Don’t just rely on blanket marketing to stay in touch with your former clients. Schedule some personal touches as well to make sure your personal relationship is maintained.
Here are a few examples of effective personal touches:
- Send a Happy Housiversary Card every year. And maybe a small gift for that first year (if you really want to wow your clients!)
- Host an annual event, and invite all your formal clients. A simple party at home is nice and personal. But it’s certainly not the only option. Hosting an outdoor movie night is perfect for families. Offering a “Hidden Gems” tour of your city is great for areas with lots of non-natives. And renting out a boat for a sunset cruise with drinks and live music would be ideal for luxury market clients.
- Check in out-of-the-blue. Send a quick text just to say, hey I was just thinking about you and wondering how you’re doing. Anything new and exciting going on? These messages are great because there’s no agenda. You’re just reaching out to an old friend to see how they’re doing.
With these personal touches, you’re not just staying in front of clients, you’re building on your personal relationships with them!
Congrats on Completing Your Real Estate Agent Business Plan!
Whew…I know that was a long read (or a long scroll, anyway).
But if you follow the steps outlined in this post, you’re going to end up with a complete real estate agent business plan to provide direction and accountability to your real estate business.
You owe it to yourself to complete your real estate agent business plan and set yourself up for a career full of success.
All the best to you and your business!
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Stop dreaming of the real estate business you want and start planning it! This 40-page workbook will take you through the process of dreaming, planning, and executing. Refer back to this workbook throughout 2020 for your most successful year yet! What is included: Vision Workbook -Discover your dream business! 6 pages included Goal Planning Workbook - Determine the steps needed to create your dream business. 7 pages included Business Audit Workbook- Review your current online pages and build a game plan. 6 pages included Marketing Plan Workbook- Put pen to paper and create an actionable marketing plan for 2020. 12 pages included. Branding Workbook- Visuals are important! Determine your style and vibe of your personal real estate brand! 8 pages included ----This is a PDF you will get at the time of purchase. This is not a Canva template!---- -------------------- // TERMS + AGREEMENT // Your purchase licenses you to use this template for personal use, i.e. to create and distribute a flattened end-product via your personal website, e-mail marketing platform and/or social media channels. This template CANNOT be resold or redistributed. The sale of this template is not affiliated with Canva in any official way. Due to their digital nature, all products are non-refundable and non-returnable, with no exceptions. © Copyright Elevated Agent | 2020 real estate marketing, real estate, listing presentation, real estate guide, real estate branding, realtor marketing, real estate listing presentation, lead magnet template, real estate checklist, lead magnet, buyer presentation, canva templates, ebook template canva, realtor checklist, real estate marketing templates, real estate presentation, home buying checklist, real estate templates, real estate market update, listing presentations, KW, Keller-Willams, Remax, Better Homes and Gardens, Coldwell Banker, real estate canva, realtor branding, realtor, real estate, open house, real estate open house, real estate newsletter, pre-listing packet, listing packet, real estate business plan
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10 Things Your Real Estate Business Plan Needs (FREE Template)
From the moment you receive your real estate license, you’ll learn that having a business plan is key to your success. But what does a real estate business plan actually include?
In this blog post, I’ll cover 10 essential items that every real estate agent’s business plan should have. Plus, I’m giving away a free template so you can get started right away!
So read on to learn more.
Real Estate Business Plan Template
The real estate market is constantly changing. The only thing you can control is your actions. Having a well-defined plan will not only set you up for success but also give you a sense of peace knowing there is some order to the typical chaos in the real estate industry.
With my free business plan template available for download below, you’ll have everything you need to start creating your real estate business plan.
Below, we’ll go through each tab of the spreadsheet.
Real Estate Business Plan Goals (Executive Summary)
The first thing you should do for your real estate business plan is to make a list of goals. This could be in bullet format or a written paragraph.
This is your executive summary. I like to think of it as my napkin presentation. If someone asks what I’d like to do this year business-wise, I should be able to explain everything on one napkin. Your executive summary will do this for you.
A business goal can include your: finances, transactions, social media, target audience, client relationships, marketing strategy, education, or personal development.
Your goals need to be specific and measurable. Below is an example of my recent goals:
Sales Transaction Backlog (Commission Tracker)
Maintaining a transaction backlog of the deals you close is key to achieving your goals. Additionally, knowing what you’ve already done is crucial for forecasting what’s possible in the future.
If you don’t have one to two years of your transactions tracked already, gathering this data may take some time.
If you are a brand new real estate agent , this tab will be blank until you start closing deals.
The COGS column stands for “Cost of Goods Sold.” Use it to document referrals you give to another real estate professional or if you have to give back some of your commission on a deal.
If you enter your name in cell “T3”, then anytime you type the agent name as your own in column D, the spreadsheet will automatically assign the commission to either your personal or real estate team income.
Gross Commission Income By Year
In a new tab, transform all the data from your transaction backlog into a table. This involves an advanced spreadsheet skill called Pivot Tables.
You’ll notice in my table I separate “Team Income” and “Personal Income.”
Below you can see the same Pivot Table broken down into months and quarters. Breaking your data down into smaller increments can help you focus on the months and quarters that are most important for your business.
Gross Commission Income By Source
This tab allows you to analyze the effectiveness of your efforts and track your return on investment with different sources, such as Facebook Ads and referrals.
Once you’ve used this spreadsheet for a couple of years, you’ll be able to click the “+” sign to expand your data and compare your sources year-over-year, like in my example below.
Volume By Lender Tab
In this tab, you’ll find your transaction volume sorted by the lender that closed the transaction.
Having this data is important to track which lenders you are working with the most. This could help set up co-marketing agreements.
You’ll most likely want to filter out the listings since you are not typically referring business to the lender as the listing agent. To do this, click on the Pivot Table and go to the right-hand side of the spreadsheet to filter by buyers and listings.
Profit and Loss Planner
Keeping track of your income and expenses is not just important for tax deductions , but also for business planning.
You can use the “P&L Planner” tab within the Business Planning spreadsheet. Or use a separate program like Quickbooks Online to track your income and expenses, and create a Profit and Loss statement.
Some of the most important expenses to track include:
- Marketing and advertising
- Your real estate agency fees
- Supplies and equipment
- Technology expense
- Labor (contractors and employees)
- Training and Dues
Using Quickbooks Online
If you are using Quickbooks Online to create your profit and loss statement, the first thing you’ll need to do is create your chart of accounts. Your chart of accounts is simply the different categories of income and expenses you make in your business.
For more information, check out my post on Quickbooks for real estate agents .
Annual Real Estate Business Plan
The “Business Plan (Annual)” tab is where you’ll analyze and forecast all of the most important sales and income metrics for your real estate company.
The left column holds all the actual numbers for your business in the current year. If you are using Quickbooks Online, you can copy over your information here. Otherwise, you’ll need to go through bank and credit card statements and categorize your expenses before manually inputting them.
The spreadsheet consists of editable green data cells and white data cells, which indicate numbers that have been calculated by the Excel formulas. You don’t need to change the data in the white cells unless there’s a specific reason.
There are five main categories included under the Business Plan (Annual) tab:
- Lead Generation Sources
- Net Profit/Margin
- Met/Haven’t Met Database
If you want to include other categories, you can add rows into the spreadsheet, but keep in mind this could interfere with the formulas the spreadsheet is using.
Met and Haven’t Met Database
Your “Met Database” includes all the people in your personal and professional life who already know and trust you, like current and past clients and referral sources.
On the other hand, your “Haven’t Met” database consists of people you either haven’t met or seen in a very long time. This includes internet lead generation , past acquaintances, and people you haven’t met yet but who could be an ideal client.
What you do with your “Haven’t Met” Database is up to you. There are many ways you can reach this target market. You can create a marketing plan, call them periodically, or try taking them out to lunch or coffee.
Of course, as more people become your client the number of contacts in your Met Database should ideally go up.
Organizing Your Databases
I like to break up my database into these two categories because I know that my conversion rates for these two primary lead generation sources stay about the same year-over-year. For example, I typically close roughly one transaction for every six people in my “Met” database.
Keep in mind that the conversion ratio for your “Haven’t Met” database can vary widely depending on the sources of your lead generation.
By factoring in your conversion rate (in the example above its 6.8%) and your desired net profit (in the example it’s $200,000), you can figure out how many people you need to have in your Met Database to reach your goal. Excel will do the math for you, but you will need to have it recalculate if your conversion rate changes.
The auto-generated column in the middle will show you the number of people you need in your Met Database. In the example, it’s 533. That means you will need to add 107 new potential clients into your Met Database to meet your goals.
As you enter the new year, dedicate your efforts to meeting that number, if not surpassing it.
Forecasting Your Real Estate Business Plan
Once you’ve entered your data from the previous year, go to the “Next Year (Auto)” column. For this part, you’ll input your goal “Net Profit,” and Excel will calculate all of the other metrics and show you which ones you need to reach your goal.
Next, go to the “Next Year (Adjusted)” column. This is where you will take the automatically generated numbers and adjust them manually if the number seems unreasonable or you know there will be some major upcoming changes to your business goal. You can leave the auto-generated column alone as a reference.
For example, if you know you plan on hiring an assistant next year, you can manually factor that into your costs. Or if you know that your brokerage fees will go down, you can adjust for that as well.
Keep in mind that if you change a number manually, you’ll have to adjust the other numbers as well.
Your real estate marketing plan should include your overall marketing strategy, including lead sources, your marketing calendar, and your marketing budget.
Getting clear on what lead sources you’re going to focus on for this year is crucial. As I mentioned earlier, think of lead generation in two ways. You either need to increase your met or haven’t met database or both.
Potential lead sources could include open houses, expired sellers, Google PPC, real estate investors, and so many more. But simplicity is key. Choosing one (or two) lead sources to focus on until you’ve mastered it, will help you get further faster.
Your marketing calendar will help you plan out your marketing events, marketing campaigns, and marketing touchpoints. Usually, I like to set my marketing calendar six months in advance.
My marketing budget forecasts what I expect to spend on my lead generation. This also is where I can track my return on investment over time.
Real Estate Business Plan Monthly
Under the Monthly Tracker tab, we begin to break down your number of transactions, gross commission income, expenses, and profit by month. Ideally, you’ll want to use historical trends you’ve noticed in your business to create a proper forecast.
For example, a real estate agent tends to sell more in the summer months than in the winter. Therefore, your summer months should show more transactions and commission income than the winter months.
This tab, as seen below, will keep track of your progress towards goals as you follow your real estate agent business plan throughout the year.
The goal you want to reach by the end of the year is on the right-hand side under the “Total” column. Take this number and divide it by twelve to come up with an average monthly goal. Then go back and adjust the numbers a bit for seasonality.
At the end of each month, come back to this table and fill out how you did in the rows marked “Actual” so you can compare numbers and see where you are with your goals. The row below each “Actual” input will track how much you exceeded or missed your goal.
Breaking your goals down into smaller monthly or quarterly chunks is easier to manage and will help you stay focused on what’s at hand in your business.
Often, as agents earn more money they spend more money, causing them to stay on the hamster wheel indefinitely. To prevent this, you need to have a defined income goal.
To create a complete real estate business plan, I’ve found it beneficial to incorporate your personal finances.
Understanding your monthly living expenses and what you need to save or pay in debt will ensure your goals align with your personal goals.
When it comes to logging personal expenses, I recommend a tool called You Need A Budget (YNAB).
If you don’t want to sign up for YNAB, I’ve included a tab in my business plan template spreadsheet that will allow you to categorize your expenses and get a better understanding of your personal finances.
Personal Net Worth (Financial Plan)
Tracking your net worth is one of the most important metrics for your overall financial plan. A greater net worth will help you increase your passive income. As your passive income increases, life seems to get easier until the point where you can retire.
Most real estate agents can forego a traditional Balance Sheet since real estate professionals generally don’t have many assets or liabilities within their business. Instead, a Realtor mostly operates on cash flow (income and expenses).
That said, tracking your personal assets and liabilities, including any real estate investment, is vital. Your net worth will give you the ability to slow down and retire one day.
You can use YNAB to track your net worth or use a financial plan spreadsheet like the one included in my real estate business plan.
The only way to increase your net worth is to either increase your assets or decrease your liabilities.
Knowing what you would like your net worth to be at the end of the year will help guide your real estate business plan.
Final Thoughts on Real Estate Business Plan
Your business plan is a living document that’s continuously updated and improved upon. If you’re like most agents, your real estate business plan has likely gone through several iterations as you’ve learned more about the industry and what works best for your large or small business.
The end result of this process should be a well-rounded professional marketing strategy that includes everything from monthly budgets to annual goals – be sure to grab mine below!
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Premier Agent Toolkit
How to create a real estate agent business plan.
In this article:
Why agents need a real estate business plan
How to write a real estate business plan, free real estate business plan template.
Every agent needs a plan to succeed. A real estate business plan keeps you accountable and on track. An optimal business plan for real estate agents includes firm goals, but it’s also fluid — you’ll want to update your real estate business plan as you grow and the market evolves.
A real estate business plan allows you to stay current with market trends and ahead of the competition. It also helps you track results over time, test lead generation strategies and develop new marketing approaches. Zillow’s Bret Calltharp, a former training leader for a large brokerage group, saw his agents’ business increase by an average of 27% when implementing a business plan for the first time.
Here’s what a good real estate agent business plan will show you:
- Where you are today
- Where you want to be
- How you’ll get there
- How to measure your performance
- When and where to make a course correction
The benefits are clear, and you’re convinced — but where do you start? Here are our recommended steps for creating a business plan for real estate agents:
Write an executive summary
Real estate business planning should always start with a summary of who you are, what services you offer, where you operate and who you serve.
Define your mission statement
Your mission statement is the foundation that supports your entire real estate business plan. It should clearly state your guiding principles and goals.
Create a team management summary
If you’re working with a team, include all members who contribute to your success and how they help. Create a table that shows their roles, responsibilities and time frames for specific tasks.
Know your target client
Determine who your target client is and figure out their story. The more personal you can get, the better you’ll serve your clients.
Who, specifically, is your target client? This could be a first-time home buyer, a home seller, a renter — or a more specific subset like retirees or investors.
What is your target client’s story? Ask your clients specific questions and create a strategy based on their answers. Where do they want to live? What is their annual household income? What do they want from their home?
Outline SMART business goals
Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely — in other words, SMART . Once your real estate business goals are SMART, break down each goal into objectives. These should be the specific tasks and activities required to accomplish the goal.
Map out your keys to success
Every real estate agent business plan template should include a table that lists the top three ways to achieve business success — and more importantly, the actions required to fulfill them.
A critical part of real estate business planning is determining your breakeven point. What average commission rate do you need to achieve per unit to break even each month? How many homes must you sell at your average commission rate to break even by your target goal?
Understand your market
It’s crucial to stay on top of your target client’s market. A successful agent will know how the market has behaved in the past few years, as well as where it’s headed (and why).
Segment your market
Let’s look at a target client in a sample real estate business plan.
Suppose the target client is a first-time home buyer. How can we segment that market further to include even more detailed and relevant information? Here are two potential market segments for our first-time home buyer:
- First-time home buyers, single family
- First-time home buyers, multigenerational
Plan for market growth
Map out how much growth you anticipate in your market, and use it to forecast the number of potential clients over the next few years.
Track market trends in your real estate business plan with a table listing possible outcomes on the right and trends on the left.
Track market trends
What market trends do you foresee impacting your business and market segments? Here’s a real estate business plan sample that projects a possible outcome for a rise in multigenerational living:
Develop a SWOT analysis
Every business plan needs a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Some sample real estate business plan SWOT questions include:
- What sets me apart from my competition?
- What skills need improving?
- Are there any opportunities I’m overlooking?
Recognize your competition
Who’s your primary competition in your target market, and what makes them your primary competition? How will you outperform them?
Create a marketing strategy
Every real estate business plan template needs a marketing strategy table. Highlight your resources and key features, like this sample:
List ways to generate leads
Always keep a list of effective methods to generate leads , and always update the list when new strategies come up. The lead generation list in your real estate development business plan is as simple as this:
Project yearly sales forecast
Use market growth, trends and other real estate marketing strategies to predict your annual sales for the next three years. Here’s an example table from our real estate business plan PDF:
Outline your personnel expenses
Knowing what you’ll spend in a year will help you determine your breakeven point and set reasonable expectations for growth. A simple expense table, like this one from our free real estate business plan, allows you to project your personnel expenses through the next three years:
Measure client experience
Keep track of all the services you offer — and measure how quickly you deliver them. This is crucial in any real estate business planning document, as it helps you build a strong client relationship and track the results over time. Here’s an example for measuring response time:
Use a client relationship management (CRM) tool
There are many CRM tools out there, so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. Do you want to track analytics? Use it for email marketing? Keep track of property and listing details? Automate your marketing efforts?
As a Zillow Premier Agent , you can use a CRM to manage all your leads and connections, along with their progress through the real estate journey. You can prioritize leads who are actively looking, submitting offers and under contract. Jot down other tools you’re using, especially transaction management tools and their specific functions.
Calculate your business plan performance
The final step in your real estate business plan template is measuring the plan’s performance. Track performance-related questions and how you’ll measure them. Here’s a sample question and measurement example that many agents use for real estate business planning:
Our customizable template helps you create a real estate business plan that outlines what success looks like — for you and your clients — so you can have your best year yet. This sample real estate business plan gives clear examples and allows for complete customization to your personal goals and your real estate market. Jot down your real estate business goals, clarify the state of your finances, profile your target customers and track other data that’s vital to successful real estate business planning.
Best of all — you can get started today! Just download our free real estate business plan template and add your own goals, projections, expenses and data. Don’t forget to update it regularly to accurately track your progress, evolve with the market and stay current with your target client’s needs.
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