The past two years introduced an influx of new buyers, as interest rates dipped to record lows and annual existing-home sales peaked. However, while the number of buyers increased, so did the number of real estate agents.
We’re giving you our favorite tips for establishing yourself as a new agent in a sea of competition, including:
- Supplementing your expertise
- Amping up your social media game (plus examples of great Instagram accounts!)
- Playing the long game
But first, let's jump into some real estate industry trends and why higher home prices actually hurt real estate agents.
The Downside of Higher Home Prices for New Real Estate Agents
As pandemic housing prices skyrocketed, so did the number of real estate agents in the United States. From January of 2021 to 2022, “how to become a real estate agent” was the top job-related search on Google. To quantify these searches, the number of REALTORS® in the nation jumped from 1.45 million at the end of 2020 to just under 1.6 million as of September 2022 according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
It’s easy to see why people were jumping at the chance to become a real estate agent during a housing boom. As we were bombarded with the news of houses selling for thousands over asking before they even hit the market, people flocked to the commission-based industry. This influx of new real estate agents isn’t exclusive to the pandemic, but rather a pattern that we see with each housing bubble. For example, when housing prices tripled during the 1970s, the number of REALTORS® increased sevenfold.
While new agents are drawn to the promise that high commission means a high salary, this dream rarely plays out. In fact, many agents actually earn less when prices are high. Hsieh and Moretti explored this phenomenon in their 2002 study, finding that when housing prices increase, a typical agents’ salary remains unchanged while their productivity decreases. But, during these same times, the amount of competition increases as new agents flood the industry.
The discrepancy between active listings and the number of licensed real estate agents is at its worst during market booms, but the past two years have been particularly harsh to new agents. The low housing inventory, reaching an all-time low in December 2021, can be attributed to a few factors:
- The drop in new home construction during the 2008 recession which has yet to self-correct
- The critical demand for homes from first-time buyers as millennials and Gen Z strive for homeownership
- Increased competition from investors willing to purchase homes sight unseen
These circumstances have created a difficult path for new agents to navigate, especially as sellers seek the most well-known, high-performing agents. Newer, lesser-known agents are exhausting themselves with lead generation, burning out as they try to make a name for themselves.
So how can new real estate agents establish themselves in a saturated industry?
1. Continuously supplement your expertise
Market knowledge is a telltale sign of a qualified real estate agent. In addition to building your knowledge of the real estate industry and current state of the market, neighborhood expertise goes a long way. Even if you’ve lived in a neighborhood for your entire life, becoming a local expert is a different story. Connecting with local business owners not only provides you with credible recommendations for roofers, plumbers, and other tradespeople sought by buyers, but you will also be the agent they recommend when asked.
Although, the best way to learn is by doing, and what better way to become a local expert than showing the homes in your neighborhood? Showdigs Agents can show rental properties to prospective tenants without even leaving their own neighborhood. Bonus: when these renters are ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind when they need an agent!
2. Amp up your social media game
As a new agent, you’re likely not able to rely on word of mouth just yet. Social media is a great way to appeal to a wide range of people while showcasing your expertise and building your brand. And, when those client referrals do start flowing, the first thing buyers will do is Google your name. The best thing for them to find is an established social media presence that embodies your knowledge, past listings, and highlights of your personal life!
Take a look at some of our favorite real estate agents’ Instagram accounts:
- @wahomeswithhannah — Hannah Miller, a real estate agent from Tacoma, WA, is a great example of a well-rounded social media presence. Her highlights feature her open houses, tips and tricks, and clients, while her posts offer a peek into her personal life while remaining professional and real-estate focused. In her 5 Things I Love About Tacoma post, she takes the opportunity to tell us more about herself while encouraging engagement by asking what her followers love about the area!
- @realestate.staceylange — Stacey Lange is a real estate agent in Seattle and Phoenix, and she does an amazing job showing off both cities while maintaining a balance of personal posts, tips and tricks, and homes! Her feed is aesthetically pleasing with a cohesive color scheme that ties everything together. Linktree is a great place to showcase your resources without having to deal with Instagram’s pesky limitation of one link in your bio, and she utilizes her Linktree perfectly with blog posts, featured properties, and other relevant resources.
- @denisse_anaya — Denisse Anaya is a real estate agent in Denver, as well as a Showdigs Agent! Her highlights are complete with buying tips, selling tips, and most importantly, her multiple 5-star reviews from past clients! Her feed is a mix of travel photos, happy clients on closing day, and her current listings. One of our favorite things about Denisse’s Instagram is her reels — clicking through photos of staged homes can become monotonous after a while, and reels like hers shown below can do wonders for the home if produced well!
3. Play the long game
As we mentioned earlier, Showdigs Agents show properties to renters rather than buyers. However, many of our Agents find it lucrative to leave their business cards with prospective tenants in case they know someone looking to buy or sell. Networking with local residents is always a great idea, and you know what they say, today’s renters are tomorrow’s buyers!
Learn more about how you can build your neighborhood expertise and contact list while earning supplemental income during your downtime.