You’ve probably been told this a hundred times, but it bears repeating: compliance is an essential, non-negotiable part of being a real estate agent.
However, I know from experience that it’s likely not the most fun part. Compliance in real estate can become complicated very quickly and impact all aspects of the job, from how you bring in clients to managing contracts to maximizing profits. While many understand this, few realize its importance – and what could happen if you’re not compliant.
While compliance as a new real estate agent feels daunting and anxiety-inducing – what if I get something wrong? What if I get in trouble? – there’s a rhythm to it that you’ll pick up on in no time. Here are some tips and tools to help you out as you learn.
Compliance and Career Management
Compliance is the biggest advantage you will have when it comes to managing contracts. This is the part of the process that can have a big impact on your client’s satisfaction with their purchase, your profit margin and so much more.
When you do your job right by marketing properties correctly, finding the right properties for your client, coordinating the home inspection, negotiating the best price for your clients and handling all the contracts, you are then at an advantage to set your own fees and commission. Real estate fees are not regulated by law, so when negotiating finances and pricing, don’t forget to include your own hard work in the math.
When I was a new agent, I wanted to micromanage all aspects of my clients’ home buying process. I’m sure you are eager to be hands-on every step of the way, too. However, there comes a point in our career when you cannot market, negotiate, manage contracts and also have that personal relationship with your customers without experiencing agent burnout or something falling through the cracks.
When this point comes – and it will, I guarantee it – consider delegating the contracts. A delegated supervisor can assist in complying with the Real Estate License Act and Commission rules and help take some off our plate while we focus on what is really important, our customers. You will then be able to remain not only compliant with the regulations of your profession but maximize your customer’s satisfaction.
Many professions have been disrupted by technology and real estate is no exception. Buyers turn to sites like Zillow and Trulia instantly when starting their home search, and apps like DocuSign are making contract signing between parties an electronic process. The industry will continue changing, forcing real estate agents to adapt.
I know that can seem scary, especially as a new agent, but there is plenty of information to be found and used that isn’t on the Internet and needed during the home buying and selling process. For starters, there are criteria home buyers have in mind that aren’t included in online listings – everything from local amenities to the best neighborhoods for each family’s unique need.
You know the local market, what the best schools are, and the best neighborhoods in the area are for your clients. You probably even have knowledge of pending commercial developments and other neighborhood insights. Your client’s perfect home goes far beyond a white picket fence and granite countertops, and no online database can ever replace your intrinsic knowledge of the market.
Perhaps the biggest advantage in our clients turning to us, the agent, is finding those hidden gems not posted on MLS. There are plenty of reasons a homeowner might not want their home on for-sale sites, and many real estate agents have pocket listings, or listings only they are allowed to sell. By building up your connections with other agents and builders, you can create an internal database of these types of listings to share with our clients, weeding out the need for technology to remain the sole way for buyers to find their dream home.
The first year as a real estate agent can be a tricky one, but understanding the regulations of the profession and standing behind a core set of values can lead to crushing it early on in your career. Stay compliant, use your knowledge to your advantage, and watch your income soar.