8 Common Challenges to Selling Real Estate in Your 1st Year

Avoid these road bumps as a new real estate agent...

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

Jacqueline Kyo Thomas

You already know some of the major benefits of being a real estate agent. Instead of the monotony of a 9 to 5, your days as a real estate agent are always unique. Instead of punching a clock, you can create a schedule that works for both you and your client. Instead of being locked into a fixed salary, you have an unlimited earning potential. You’re able to live the American dream and help others do the same. A career in real estate is rewarding on both personal and professional levels.

However, anything worthwhile also comes with challenges, and real estate is no different. As you build your real estate business, there are a few obstacles that you should be prepared to meet. In this post, we’ll identify the most common challenges that you’ll face in your first year as a real estate agent and how to deal with them successfully. Let’s get started.

Challenge #1: You Must Sell Yourself

While you don’t have to be the world’s greatest salesperson to succeed in real estate, you will need to sell— and not just property, you’ll also need to sell yourself. Selling yourself is definitely the harder of the two.

To sell yourself, know what you do best best and play those up. No real estate agent is strong in every aspect of the game. Some are better at negotiating, others are better at technology. What are your skills? Turn them into your competitive edge.

This idea can seem foreign or uncomfortable for people used to 9-5 jobs. In those jobs, you rely on the company to sell itself. You don't need to market yourself. But in real estate, you're in business for yourself. No one will market for you!

So if the idea of selling yourself sounds smarmy, shift your perspective and think of it this way: You have the skills and know-how to help your client achieve their objective. They need to know that you can help them. Because you’re new to the game, how else will they find out unless you tell them?

Can you be a rockstar real estate agent and an introvert?

Challenge #2: You're Paid on Commission

One of the best parts of becoming a real estate agent is also one of the hardest parts of becoming a real estate agent. You are in charge of how much, and when, you get paid. But this means that you only get paid when you make a sale… And it may be months before you make your first sale. Once you get your business set up the skys the limit, but in the meantime, say goodbye to that comfy twice-a-month paycheck.

Don’t let that scare you, though. Just be prepared. You will need to financially support yourself when you first start out in real estate. There are several ways to keep the lights on while you’re building your real estate business:

You can continue working full time while doing real estate on a part time basis. However, part time real estate isn’t ideal for the long run. That’s the quickest way to burn out. Have a plan to transition to a full time agent. Here's how to be a successful part time real estate agent.

Depending on your market you can work in rentals, which have a quicker deal cycle and will get you earning commissions quicker.

You can start saving before becoming an agent. If possible, try to put away several months of living expenses (for your rent/mortgage, utility bills, food, and gas).

And when you finally do earn your first commission, don’t blow it all at Red Lobster. Remember that every dollar that you earn in the first year should be invested back into your business. It’s essential that you create a financial plan. Learn how to create a plan for your money here.

Challenge #3: You're a Complete Newbie

Being a newbie stinks. You must humble yourself and start from scratch, which isn’t always easy when you’re ready to make million dollar deals. If you're changing careers this might be a major challenge.

You will make mistakes. You’re probably going to embarrass yourself. You won’t know all the answers. But you’ll be in good company. Every real estate agent was a newbie at some point. The smartest thing you can do as a newbie is to find a mentor. That way, you can learn from your mentor and hopefully bypass some of the mistakes that they made.

If your broker doesn’t partner you up with an experienced agent, you can find your own mentor. It doesn’t have to be a formal relationship. Simply befriend an agent whom you admire. Ask them out for coffee. Pick their brains. Offer your help with whatever they need (for example, offer to host an open house). But not every mentor is a great mentor— even the ones assigned to you by the broker. Don’t be afraid to get a different mentor who can help you build your business and your confidence.

Challenge #4: You Need to Know How to Market Online


We’re already a quarter of the way into the 21st century. Online marketing is essential to success these days. You’ve got to know how to create your own website, optimize said website for search engine traffic, and buy social media ads to promote your real estate business.

If you don’t know anything about online marketing, your challenge will be learning everything you can as soon as you can. Start with these posts:

Challenge #5: You'll Need to Manage Your Time


Because you’re not working a traditional 9 to 5 job, your schedule will be all over the place, from mid-morning meetings to early evening showings. No one is telling you when to work, so it's up to you to be disciplined with your time. You're in charge of your work schedule, for better and for worse.

While you do make your own hours, your clients will also determine when you work. Most agents work whenever their clients are available, which usually means evenings and weekends.

If you’re into routines, you may find the lack of consistency to be a challenge at first. But you can overcome this by setting your own routine.

Create a flexible daily schedule for yourself that enables you to accomplish your most important tasks (cold calling, business servicing, etc.) while staying available to your clients.

New Real Estate Agents, Here's How to Schedule Your Day

Challenge #6: You’ll Need to Manage Your Clients' Expectations

Most of the time, your clients won’t know anything about real estate except for anecdotal stories they’ve heard from others. They’ll throw around the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market” all willy-nilly without having a clue what any of it means. Sellers will want to price too high. Buyers will want to lowball, asking an insulting amount.

You’ll need a heaping dose of patience as you educate your clients and help them meet their real estate goals.

Challenge #7: You Will Deal With Difficult Personalities

In addition to managing expectations from clueless but otherwise good-natured clients, you’ll also need to deal with nightmare clients. Most of your clients will be lovely, but work for long enough and you'll eventually run into a difficult person. Perhaps you don’t share the same communication styles. Perhaps your personalities clash. Perhaps they’re know-it-alls who oppose you at every turn. Or perhaps they'e just a jerk. No matter what the root cause is, eventually, and it might be soon, you’ll encounter a difficult client.

It can be madness to deal with a client who doesn’t respect you as the expert in the relationship. Just remember that you can fire a difficult or disrespectful client who’s wasting your time.

Challenge #8: You Might Experience Fear

Perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll face in your first year as a real estate agent is fear of rejection. Unfortunately, there’s no way to sugarcoat this: You’re going to hear the word “no” a lot as a real estate agent. Get comfortable with it. And also remember that “no” may mean “not right now.” Instead of feeling rejected, focus on building a relationship with as many contacts as you can. Even if they aren’t ready to do business with you now, they may be ready in the future. Your first year in real estate should be about growing your network.

Never let fear stop you from seeking a client. Go for it!

Additional Resources

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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