Where to Spend Money in Your New Real Estate Career

You've made the decision to switch to real estate. You've had the training, you're sure that representing home buyers / sellers is right for you and you're determined to stick out the leaner early years. After the lean times you may be seeing, be willing to spend money where it will help you most: on the tools that an agent needs.

  • MLS access
  • While pricey, it is the main cannon in your arsenal. You will spend a lot of money on this, but without it, you are never going to be able to compete with the agents who do have it.

  • Cell phone
  • You need a plan that gives you a lot of minutes a month. Do not underestimate how much time you're going to be doing talking to clients, colleges, other real estate professionals and, because you're going to be on the road a lot, your own family. Consider a SmartPhone or BlackBerry, as they can handle a lot of information and are great for emails on the go.

  • Laptop
  • There is no end to what this can do for you. In addition to a comfortable keyboard, the laptop is also great for holding business software, doing research on the Internet and working on your marketing.

  • Client-friendly car
  • You're going to be on the road a LOT. Get a car that is good on fuel and that is going to be convenient for clients to climb into if you're ferrying them to and from homes. A two-door SmartCar is not going to cut it.

  • Professional attire
  • If you are a professional, you should dress the part. You should aim for at least business casual. Without, of course, you're specializing in bicycle home tours or something. Even then, your clothing should be clean and in good repair.

  • Marketing
  • Get a website and either spend some time finding out how to make a good one or hire a company to do it for you. Your website is your window to the world. It should have an easy URL, like "PleasantvilleHomeSearch.com" and you should have it on every single piece of correspondence you send out, on your business cards and on your social networking profiles. Make sure you have good, professional looking business cards. Choose a font that is clear and easy to read. When in doubt, black on white or off-white is always an excellent choice. Sometimes it's smart to stick close to home. Network among your family and friends for leads. Start a website or newsletter about your niche market or community and use it as "free" advertising.

Like most people breaking into a new career, you are not likely to start out learning 6 figures a year. However, the value of carefully placed expenses can not be overlooked. While you can not bank on regular income for some time yet, make sure that you have enough money to cover your business's needs.