Working from home is a great way to create a balance between your professional and private life. Some jobs are now seen even by employers as ideal for telecommuting employees, after independent agents have proven for years that they needn’t be tied to an office.
The real estate business is such a sector, where there are more and more realtors working from home, either independently or as representatives of a company. Many people now choose to join this profession because they are attracted not just by the potential to earn significant commissions, but because they want to leave the corporate environment and work from home.
If you are one of these people, you need to understand that working from home as a real estate agent has some challenges. For one, you will not have the advantage of going through the incoming demands of assistance either from buyers or from sellers, but must go out and scout for those clients. For another, you will have to work harder to build your professional image and find creative ways to win your prospects’ trust.
These are the top tips we’ve obtained from other professionals in this business working from home:
1. Offer Your Customers a Personalized Experience
You cannot offer your prospects the image of a professional corporate office with leather chairs and a business suit. But you can offer them something more valuable: the human touch in dealing with them. You can achieve this by offering to meet them at their home or in a quiet café nearby and discuss everything in a casual and friendly manner.
In a world dominated by corporate policies which tend to create a uniform army of employees, it is great to be different and to treat your customers in a manner which does not feel like it originates from a company handbook.
2. Find a Niche Where You Can Be the Best
As a home-based real estate agent, you may not compete with the large companies downtown, but you can shine in a specific niche. For instance, some realtors specialize in identifying and negotiating lease conditions for clients with pets or small children. Others are really good at hunting down bargains in the market of foreclosed properties or youth studios.
It is important to identify the market you can serve best in your local community and to build your expertise in it.
3. In Numbers Lies the Strength: Collaborate with Other Independent Agents
In companies there is almost zero cooperation, because each agent is trying to be the star of monthly sales and get the highest commissions and bonuses. But independent real estate agents working from home know that they do not have a giant umbrella covering them and bringing customers and reputation by association. Their own chance of survival on the market is collaboration among each other. There are many local professional associations of independent realtors, clubs, business accelerator hubs and other public forums which you should attend and meet other professionals like you.
“But, aren’t they my competition?” Not directly. You will certainly find realtors operating in another area than yours or specializing in a different niche. On many occasions they will be able to refer to you customers they cannot serve and vice-versa.
4. Go Out and Prospect the Market
Working from home as a realtor does not mean staying at home. While you will get some business from online listings, email marketing and your website, as a home-based real estate agent you have the freedom to go out whenever you want, look at properties for sale and evaluate their potential to be on your list, and leave business cards in your local community at colleges and other businesses where people may inquire for housing options, etc.
Always bring a personal touch to your approaches, such as inviting prospects for coffee and delivering your card and presentation leaflet in handwritten envelopes.
5. Invest in the Best Internet and Mobile Phone Plans You Can Afford
Real estate agents have to be on the phone and checking their emails and real estate listings all the time. This is why you need to upgrade your current plans to business level ones, where you get as many minutes and internet traffic at high speed as you can. You need to be reachable by customers at all times during your business hours, so you should also invest in modern and reliable equipment (mobile phone, laptop, etc.).