10 Ways to Become a Better Real Estate Agent in 2020

How to Improve Yourself as a Real Estate Agent This Year

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas


A new year, a new you. What better way to usher in the new year— and decade— than with a plan for self-improvement? In this post, we’ll explore 10 ways to invest in your career and become the best real estate agent that you can be.

1. Create Your Goals for the Year

Start the new year with goal setting. What would you like to accomplish this year career-wise? But wait! Don’t just phone-in a generic answer. When setting goals, make sure that they’re S.M.A.R.T.— Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Based.

Let’s say your goal is to generate more leads (no surprise). Make it S.M.A.R.T. by:

  • Writing the goal to be very specific, for example, identifying the number of leads that you’d like to attract or the source you'll focus on for generating the leads
  • Making sure it's actually measureable. "Improving" is too vague; pick a number and track the number of leads that you get and from where. Now you can measure progress
  • Creating an action plan to accomplish your lead generation goal
  • Ensuring that your goal is actually possible and realistic. Challenges are good, but if it's too far out there you'll lose motivation
  • Setting a timeline to execute your action plan with a specific start and target date

Don’t just keep your goals in your head— write them down. This will help you make a plan of action.

Action Plan: Write down your top three S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year and pin it in a visible spot in your office so that you can see these goals every day.

2. Create an Online Presence

We’re now 20 years into the 21st century. You need a website. If you don’t already have a website, this is now your number one priority. And no, your broker’s website doesn’t count. It’s important to have your own www.YourNameHere.com website so that you can control your personal branding. On your website, you can introduce yourself, highlight your listings, and start building your email list.

While there are a ton of different website builders out there, opt for one with built-in IDX search and lead generation tools. Consider real estate-specific website builders such as Real Geeks, Placester, and Zillow Premier Agent.

Action Plan: Sign up for a website builder service.

3. Be More Social Online

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In addition to setting up your own website online, you should also develop a stronger social profile this year. Your goal for social media is to forge real connections, not to shamelessly self-promote.

It’s easy to get on social media and forget that it’s a conversation. A lot of agents jump on Facebook or Instagram and say, “Hey, look at me, I’ve won this award or I’ve sold this many homes last month.”

While that may be impressive, you can’t fill your feed with non-stop self-promotion. Sorry to be blunt, but no one is that interested in you. People are only interested in what you can do for them. Remember to educate, entertain, and interact with your followers on social media. This is how you stay top of mind so that when people need your services, they’ll remember you.

Action Plan: Sign up for a social media scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite and then create a social media calendar for the next month.

4. Share Content

You need to get your name out there. Sure, you can (and should) pay for ads, but you can also do it for free through content marketing. Content marketing is a type of marketing where you create and share valuable content for the purpose of generating new leads and turning them into clients.

Content marketing includes blog posts, articles, ebooks, podcasts, YouTube videos, and checklists. Create content and share it on your website or social media outlets so that you can attract new clients for your real estate business.

You don’t need to write lengthy content. Just be sure that your content is targeted to a specific group of people and provides value.

Action Plan: Make a list of 12 blog post ideas that you can write for your website/ blog over the next 6 months (2 posts per month).

5. Learn Something New Each Day

Resolve to learn something new about real estate every single day this year.

But don't try to tackle too much. Even if you pick up a book on real estate negotiation strategies and can only read one page per day, that's fine. The idea is to be intentional about expanding your knowledge of real estate. #AlwaysBeLearning

Action Plan: Make a list of real estate-related books that you’d like to read this year.

6. Host Open Houses

Is business going slow? Offer to host an open house for a colleague.

Hosting an open house may not seem like a whole lot of fun, but it is a great way to generate new leads. You’ll get a chance to shake a lot of hands and make new connections with prospective leads. These prospects will have real estate needs in the future. Use this open house as an excuse to network.

Action Plan: Offer to host open houses for your colleagues. Plan to host at least one open house event each month. Here are tips on hosting your first open house.

7. Focus on Your Snail Mail Game

So far, we’ve focused on going digital in 2020. And while digital is important, you shouldn’t ignore old school marketing strategies. Do both.

Instead of texting or emailing a former client, consider sending a greeting card or handwritten note. The gesture feels more personal and heartfelt and is sure to win you brownie points and maybe even a referral. This is an inexpensive way to stay top of mind.

Action Plan: Send a greeting card with a handwritten note to all of your former clients on an important date (such as move-in date, birthday, or anniversary).

8. Go Digital With Your Leads

Still scribbling names and phone numbers on sticky notes or other random pieces of paper? Get thee a CRM.

CRM stands for customer relationship management software. This tool will help you organize your contact information so that you can successfully manage leads and clients.

With a CRM, you can keep track of important dates, including follow-ups, birthdays, and anniversaries. You can make note of the type of home a prospect is interested in and how much they'd like to spend.

You can also automate certain tasks. For example, if you'd like to follow up with open house attendees two days after the event, you can program your CRM to send an email that you've pre-written at that set time. Or you can create other auto-response emails that deploy immediately after a new lead reaches out to you.

Because a CRM is digital, you can access it from any device, including your laptop and your phone. This is a must-have client management tool for real estate agents in 2020 and beyond.

Action Plan: Compare top CRMs to find the best option for your needs and budget. Real estate-specific CRMs to consider: Propertybase, Follow Up Boss, IXACT Contact, and Realvolve.

9. Become a Local Expert

A real estate agent should know a lot about the neighborhood. Buyers will ask about the social scene and the way of life. Sellers will ask about the local market conditions and what other homes in the area sold for. You can’t say that you don’t know. You’re supposed to be a neighborhood expert, after all.

During this new year, learn everything you can about the areas where you work the most. Find out the current zoning laws, discover which businesses may be coming to the area, and try out all the restaurants in the area so that you can make recommendations when asked.

Action Plan: Create neighborhood guides for popular areas in your city. Include historical information, top things to do, and points of interest. Avoid anything that may run afoul of fair housing rules (i.e. neighborhood demographics, family status, school ratings, etc.).

10. Keep Up on Industry News

By receiving your real estate license, you’ve demonstrated that you know the basics. Now, it’s time to become an expert. Learn everything you can about the real estate industry, including current mortgage rates, new laws, local and statewide market conditions, and trends. This requires an ongoing, daily commitment. By staying informed about the latest happenings, you can become a better agent and will impress your clients.

Action Plan: Join the email lists for the top real estate industry news outlets, such as Inman, Realtor.com, Realty Times, RISMedia, and Curbed.

What's Next?

Overwhelmed by the size of this list? Don’t be. You don’t need to do everything on this list to be a successful agent in 2020. Even if you only concentrate on a few of these self-improvement tasks, you’re still guaranteed to be a better version of yourself.

Here are a few tasks that you can start today:

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