Why Realtors Fail

Before we can discuss why Realtors fail in their Real Estate Careers we need to define success.  I believe that success can be defined as three things;

  1. Meeting your clients needs in a timely & professional fashion.

  2. Meeting your production goals, provided they are in excess of a minimum production standard, and make a profit.

  3. Having a rewarding and fulfilling life away from real estate.


Why these things?


I think every realtor needs to consider production as a measure of their success, be it income or number of units sold if you aren’t making a good living selling real estate, in my opinion you aren’t successful.  It’s not only about money coming in but also about what's leftover.  A Realtor’s profit is their take home income, that can be very different than their gross income. That said my success level can be very different from yours.  If I want to to make $100,000 and only succeed in making $50,000 and you want to make $50,000 and do it - I’d say you are more successful than me.


Too many realtors put their business before everything else.  As a result their personal lives suffer, their health suffers and their overall quality of life suffers.  If you make $250,000 a year but in the process lose the ones you love, your relationships are only those with your clients and they end when the transaction is over and you spend a lot of time money at your doctors you aren’t really succeeding.


Most importantly, in my opinion are your clients - if you commit to a client by signing a listing or buyer agency agreement with them you must uphold your end of that commitment.  In my opinion you need to sell every listing you take and find a home for every buyer you agree to help.  100% rarely happens but 98% should, there will always be the listing you can’t sell or the buyer you can’t satisfy but those instances should keep you up at night and you must leave those situations knowing you did everything legal and moral to help that client achieve their goals.


So why do Realtors fail?


  1. They Lack a Plan - Many Realtors fly by the seat of their pants, they chase deals and have no direction to their business.  As world famous real estate coach Brian Buffini puts it they have a “Honey Bee” business bouncing from place to place, looking busy but unlike a Honey Bee with not much accomplished.  You need a plan - how will you generate business, where will you do business, what does your ideal client look like and how will you service them.


  1. They Lack Business Systems - in Real Estate we do a lot of things over and over again.  Having systems to handle these processes makes you more efficient, when listing a home agents need checklist of what happens and when.  Like a pilot flying a plane checklists make sure of passenger safety and arrival at the destination point.  Your business systems guarantee your success and arrival of you clients at a successful conclusion of their real estate transaction.


  1. They Lack Focus - In the modern world, in a major centre like Ottawa gone are the days that a Realtor can be all things to all people.  Realtors need to focus their business.  They can do this by geography (work in Kanata), client type (first time buyers), building type (suburban homes) or type of real estate (condominiums).  But a focus helps guide their daily activities and directs their advertising, marketing and lead generation activities.


  1. They Don’t Lead Generate - This is probably the most significant you can lack a plan, business systems and focus but if you generate enough leads you can still succeed, it might be more difficult but with enough leads you can reach your goals.  This is also probably the #1 reason that realtors fail.  Most new and experienced agents have a good understanding or what they need to do, they can evaluate a property, they can find suitable homes to show a buyer, they can hold an Open House and they can write a contract but without leads and clients these skills become pointless. In Real Estate is you wait for business/clients to find you you will starve, you have to go out daily and find people who are thinking about buying and selling (leads).  Once you have found them you will need skill and value to convince them to do business with you and only then do you get to use your other skills to help them meet their needs.


Real Estate is a rewarding and exciting business but too many people, spend too much money getting into real estate and starting their real estate business only to fail. Take some of these points into consideration and if you are looking to succeed in Real Estate i’d be happy to talk to you about how Century 21 John DeVries Ltd has 40 years of experience helping new realtors succeed.


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David Armstrong

David Armstrong

Broker of Record
CENTURY 21 John DeVries Ltd., Brokerage*
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