New real estate agents may find it difficult to establish themselves as a local expert in real estate—especially when they’re competing against seasoned professionals. One often overlooked way to gain experience and insight into a local real estate market is to help renters seeking new apartments. If you’re a real estate agent who would like to get your foot in the door with local clients, consider the long-term benefits of providing this service while you’re getting started.
The Experience Paradox
Many real estate professionals get business through referrals from past clients. They also get business through positive reviews online. The more positive reviews online, the easier it is for them to find new clients. The more transactions they complete, the more likely they are to be seen as someone a buyer or seller would like to work with.
New agents do not have old clients who can make referrals and leave positive reviews. Thus, new agents are at a disadvantage. For a person who is trying to become established in the field, potential clients can be few and far between. Potential clients will often like to see that their agent has a good amount of experience, but, to get that experience, an agent has to work with more clients.
Helping Renters Presents a Solution
Many renters need help almost as much as buyers. Experienced real estate professionals often turn away from this work because it’s less lucrative. This leaves a large percentage of renters either looking for an apartment on their own or struggling to find a real estate professional who can help. A real estate agent who is willing to help a renter in need is likely to turn them into a loyal and happy client. If the time comes where they want to buy a home, this client may return to their original real estate agent—the one who helped them find an apartment and helped them understand the area.
Benefits of Helping Renters
Learn and Grow as a Professional
Rental options exist seemingly everywhere. Real estate agents who help renters will see neighborhoods of all types across a wide variety of locations. They can experience showing single-family homes and condos to potential renters.
As they travel from one rental property to another, real estate professionals learn to navigate the market where they work and identify the trends in each neighborhood. In these interactions with renters, real estate professionals also learn how to help clients in various stages of choosing a place to live. The more they interact with clients, the easier it will be to help clients in the future. By gaining local knowledge and insight, agents can confidently engage with potential buyers and sellers. They can present data and stories they have accumulated throughout their apartment-finding journey.
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When people find a real estate agent they like and trust, they may decide to return to that real estate agent over and over again. The agent that helps them find an apartment or rental home one year may be the real estate agent that helps them find a home to buy the following year. Not all renters will want to buy a home in the future, but many will. Some may currently want to buy, but are new in town and would like to test out different areas before making that kind of commitment.
Gaining New Skills and Perspectives
Helping renters find an apartment is an excellent skill that is transferrable to many different markets. Real estate professionals who want to have as many skills as possible can start with renting and grow from there. There’s essentially no downside to accumulating knowledge as a real estate agent. Over time, as more clients turn from renters into buyers, some agents may choose to transition to exclusively working with home buyers and sellers. Some may choose to continue working with renters. Others may even choose to work with investors since they’ll understand what renters in the area are looking for and what kinds of properties/areas are popular.
Getting started as a real estate professional who helps renters is relatively easy.
- Get to know landlords/property managers: Real estate professionals who know the apartment managers and landlords in their area can introduce renters to new properties as they become available.
- Encourage renters to leave feedback: Once a renter has found a home they’re happy with, encourage them to leave feedback on your website.
- Network with other real estate agents: Networking is another way that many real estate professionals grow their business; by getting to know other professionals they become more visible in their market.
- Recommend referrals: Real estate professionals can ask clients to refer friends and family if they are happy with the service they provided.
- Become familiar with leases: Real estate agents who understand the leases that renters must sign can be a greater help to their clients.
- Put in the work: What you get out of real estate is heavily dependent on what you put in.
It takes hard work to start a career as a real estate professional. With patience, diligence and some creativity, agents can establish themselves as one of the go-to experts in their market. If you’re a real estate agent hoping to gain experience and recognition, consider helping renters. You may be surprised by how quickly your business can grow and thrive.
Shawn Clayton is the owner and broker of Clayton & Clayton REALTORS®.