Congratulations on passing your real estate agent’s test. The first thing you want to do is hang that license and any business license that you have in a very conspicuous place. Now, it’s time to start bringing in clients. You’ve been thinking about real estate day and night while studying for your license. By now you should have decided if you want to focus as a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. If you’ve decided to become a listing agent, here are a few ideas to help find your first listings.

A few are “true, trusted, and proven” with unique methods included for your consideration. Whichever of these you decide to go with, it’s up to you to nurture the seed to fruition. That involves tailoring the methods to your local market as well as marketing and personality styles.

1. Launch a website. This may just be your profile on your broker’s website, or you could start with a Facebook page, or create your full-blown website. Whatever method you decide, capturing the contact information of visitors is a big deal. Don’t just ask them to leave their telephone number or email because most will not. What you want to do is offer them something in exchange for their contact information. Below on this list is a suggestion for a presentation that you give to new leads. You can make that same presentation available to your website visitors when they provide their contact information. Another idea is providing a special report they will find useful. Something like, “7 tips BEFORE You List Your Home” or “Proven Tactics to Sell a Home with an Expired Listing.” The point is that you want to give them something in exchange for their contact information.

2. Give a free seminar. People only sell a few homes during their lifetime. Often eight or ten years pass between homes. The rules change, the market changes, marketing methods change, and a lot of other things change. You can create a seminar that shares what has changed for sellers, what is current, and what is effective in today’s market. This is your chance to highlight what you have recently learned while earning your new license. As with everything about real estate, this is a time to focus on your local market. Places to look into holding your seminar are at the local library, community center, or a booth at a street fair. You’ll need a signup sheet to collect contact information and you can send them away with a copy of your presentation that has your business card attached.

3. Host an open house. You may think that you must already have a client to hold an open house but there are other ways. Open houses are as much about finding new leads as they are about selling the house that people are visiting. If you don’t have a client for an open house, you can offer to stand in for another agent or to be an “agent in training” to help another agent. You will want full access to the signup sheet so that you can use the list to grow your network of leads. Have a plan for an email blast or telephone follow-up for that list of contacts.

4. Reach out to friends and family. This is a tried and trusted method because it works. A good way to start this is through social media to let them know that you are a newly-licensed agent looking for clients. You may not have many friends and family currently looking to sell but when their friends ask for a recommendation, your name will come up. It’s also an effective way to build a following on your social media pages.

5. Old expireds with a new twist. Asking to relist expired listings is a common technique for many agents, experienced and new alike. The twist is that most agents are trying to relist the most recently expired listings. But there can be gold in listings that expired months ago and even years ago. Sellers become tired of keeping their homes in showcase condition and dealing with lowball offers. When a listing expires, they want to take a break. Or they want to keep the listing off the market during the winter and holidays. But four months, six months, or even a year down the road, they are finally ready to list again. Don’t talk to these leads about all of the negatives of why their house didn’t sell the first time. Don’t bash the previous agent or tell them that the price was too high. After six months, the market has changed and the price they want could well be the price you can sell it for today. Let them know that the place to start is with a fresh market analysis. If they seem open to the idea of making a few changes, do an analysis from an inspector’s point of view that suggests a few repairs or improvements to make the home more attractive to buyers. Ask to look over the old marketing materials and look for a better way to market the house that will be more effective.

6. Build a repeatable process. You’re going to have successes and failures gaining your first several listings. Take careful notes about what worked and what did not work. After a month or two, take a moment to reflect and identify what worked for you at each step. Refine and repeat what is working well. One of the most important things you want to do at this point is negotiate hard for the sellers of any listings that you have landed. Also, nurture warm leads that have not listed their home yet. It can take time to bring them on board. After all, people are trusting you with one of life’s most important decisions and their biggest financial assets.

Always continue looking for more and creative listing opportunities. Other hot opportunities are people delinquent on their property taxes, late on their mortgage payments, divorces, vacant houses, and inherited houses. It will take more work for you to find these opportunities but there will also be less competition when you find them. And always look for unique opportunities in your local area. People will be ready to list beach houses in Florida shortly after the hurricane season and people with mountain cabins will be ready to sell after shoveling snow for another winter.

Please share your insights by leaving a comment.

Also, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries, or article ideas to [email protected].

Tips on How New Real Estate Agents Find Listings