How to Put Together a Business Plan for 2019

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Because the first years of business often determine whether an agent will be able to succeed in the market, it’s crucial that you have a detailed business plan in place even before you begin interacting with potential clients.

Use software or a template to make writing a business plan more manageable. You don’t need to start from scratch. If you decide against using a template, consider checking your plan against a standard template to make sure you haven’t left out anything crucial.

1. Write an Executive Summary.

This first section of your business plan will outline your available opportunities and detail how your unique skill set positions you for success. What will you do to take hold of your desired segment of the market?

Include overviews of:

  • Your skills (marketing, sales, business) and experience

  • Your business development plans

  • Your target market and your assessment of the housing market in your area

2. Assess the market you’re planning to work in.

This second step will help you determine your “farm area.” This real estate term draws a parallel between the seeds a farmer sows and the fields he harvests and the leads you’ll generate through your work and advertising choices.

As a new “farmer” of a real estate territory, you should try to meet with a few experienced, successful brokers or agents who are willing to help you as you research your farm area.

You’ll want to find out:

  • Information about your competition in the area

  • How long a home in this area typically stays on the market

  • Home sale and rental prices

  • The “average months of supply”

  • Population demographics

3. Create a complete list of contacts in your sphere of influence.

As a new agent, you’ll begin your career by marketing to people who are already within your sphere of influence. This includes your friends and family members, people you’ve met through former jobs, and business contacts you’ve made.

Reach out to these people and share that you’re now a real estate agent. Placing personal phone calls is always recommended, but you can also use email and social media to reach out.

4. Detail your lead generation and lead nurturing strategies.

Because the strategies that will work for you will depend on your personal strengths, your target demographic, and the market in your geographic area, you’ll want to research lead generation strategies and choose several that seem like a good fit.

Once you’ve settled on your lead generation strategies, decide how you’ll turn leads into clients. You’ll be reaching out to contacts repeatedly, so you’ll need a system in place to manage and organize them coherently.

As you evolve and grow as an agent, this list will change. You’ll discover which of your strategies are strongest and which are less likely to lead to positive outcomes. Keep this portion of your plan active and fluid.

5. Develop a concrete, realistic financial plan.

The first step toward setting accurate financial goals involves cataloguing and predicting your expenses. Because your cost of living is the bare minimum you’ll need to cover, it’s important that you’re accurate about your spending.

If you don’t already have a comprehensive personal budget, this is a great time to review your spending over the last year to create one. Adhering to your budget will be vital to your financial stability while your business is in its fledgling stage.

Now think about your personal financial goals. Do you want to save up for a new car? A home or apartment? A vacation? Write your goal down and calculate how much income you’ll need to make it happen.

Operating a real estate business involves a number of business-related expenses. The exact annual figure will be specific to you, but should include:

  • The cost of business-related technology (phone, computer, internet, professional software)

  • Transaction fees and commission splits

  • Lists of homes that are For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

  • Printing costs (business cards, signs, flyers, and mailers)

  • Your desk fee

  • Dues you’ll pay to professional organizations

  • Licensing fees

  • Cost of a professional wardrobe for each season (these items should be crisp and current)

  • Client-related expenses (meals and drinks)

  • Travel expenses and vehicle-related costs

  • Continuing professional education

  • Marketing fees

  • Multiple listing service fees

6. Calculate the number of deals you’ll need to close.

Because you’ve already determined the average prices for rental homes and real estate in your area, it’ll be easy to calculate this step accurately.

Normally you’ll be earning one half of the real estate commission by representing either the buyer or the seller. This is usually 3%. Use this percentage to calculate how many deals you must close to break even. Finally, calculate how many deals you must close to reach your financial goal.

The Takeaway

The process of crafting a high-quality business plan will help you clarify your direction for your first active years.

Be sure you are continually working to maximize your exposure and network with other agents. Choose a few reliable mentors you can depend on for guidance with your business plan. Being able to refer back to your plan when you feel stuck will guarantee that you always have a plan of action for success.

Get to Know a Parks Agent: Irene Leonard

13 Years of experience
13 Years with Parks

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Irene started with Bob Parks Realty at the Hunt Club in Gallatin in November of 2004. In the fall of 2006, she decided, with her husband's support, to continue her education at Trevecca Nazarene University to obtain a Bachelor of Arts Degree. With three children at home and one away at college, Irene was determined to learn and excel in her new real estate career during the day at go to school at night. She completed her degree in 18 months.

With a strong background in the travel and airline industry, television media, and as an educator, Irene has a broad and diverse range of experience. She has moved with her family to multiple locations, including England, California, and Texas. Each relocation was made an adventure, and she has a greater appreciated for new homes and new friends. She currently calls Sumner County home. 

Apps You Can't Live Without:
Messages for texting

One Thing You're Happy to Splurge On:
Fresh flowers

What Would Your Dream Home Include?
A gorgeous view of the mountains and/or water

Your Motto
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. - Cicero

Favorite Place to Grab a Bite in Your Community
First Watch

If You Hadn't Gotten Into Real Estate, What Would You Be Doing?

What Is the Key To Success?
A positive attitude and patience

What Gave You a Magnificent Life in 2017?
I was given time to travel and share experiences with my husband and 4 adult children

What Word or Phrase Do You Overuse?
"Excuse me"

Biggest Lesson Learned from 2017
To live every day to the fullest!

Your Spirit Animal

Your Favorite TV Show to Binge Watch
The Hallmark Channel

Favorite Real Estate Trend Right Now
Crisp, clean lines in design

What Emoji Best Describes You?
Heart eyed emoji

Buyside - Capture More Sellers

Parks agents, you’re going to love the new marketing tool you have at your disposal! Buyside, offered free to all Parks agents, is a system that aggregates the activity potential buyers generate online, in real-time, from sources such as Zillow, Centralized Showing and our Parks website. This data is then used by you to capture seller leads, win more listings, and close more sides.

How does it work?

Buyside uses your potential buyer data to address the two most important questions every potential seller has: What is my home worth? And do you have buyers for it? Integrating seamlessly with the Parks website, Buyside will provide homeowners with 3 valuations along with insight into the number of buyers actively searching for a property just like theirs – providing a powerful new way to generate and capture seller leads. 

Buyside helps Parks agents dominate every listing appointment by arming them with the ultimate differentiator: BUYERS. Parks agents will stand out by showcasing to homeowners a list of buyers actively working with your brokerage, who are a perfect match for their home. With Buyside, you’ll have the power of real-time buyer data to help you crush the competition every time.

Buyside matches more buyers to your listings, helping you close more transactions. Listings get promoted intelligently to agents with a matching buyer, selling faster. Buyers get the inside track on hot new properties, including Coming Soon Listings and Quiet Exclusives that they can’t find anywhere else. Buyside puts your Parks networking effects on steroids, helping you close more sides for greater profits!

Check out a preview of the Buyside dashboard:

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When you log into your Buyside dashboard, you will be able to see your all of your current buyers and listings, as well as all your valuation attempts, leads, and monthly reports from the last 30 days. 

Parks agents will also use the dashboard to access their customized “Home Valuation Site” and “Buyer Market Analysis” report generator. 

Look at a preview of the Home Valuation Site:

Your home valuation site will provide a seller with home value estimates, a buyer breakdown, and recent nearby sales.

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Automated home value estimates can give sellers a rough estimate of the value of a home, which can be a useful starting point when they come to a Parks Agent for more information.

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Using a proprietary algorithm, buyer breakdowns provide sellers with the best way to get a feel for the market and show them how many people are looking for homes like theirs.

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Recent nearby sales tend to give sellers the edge in understanding what to expect when selling their home.

Check out a preview of the Buyer Market Analysis page:

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Using real-time buyer data, Buyside can gather information and generate a Buyer Market Analysis report within seconds to show to your sellers. The BMA will include home value estimates, a buyer breakdown, and recent nearby sales.

If you haven't already, log into Buyside and try things out for yourself! If you have any questions, Buyside offers amazing online customer support through their live support chat.

How to Get Business in the Fall and Winter Months

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Once the school year starts, the mad dash for a house in that perfect neighborhood suddenly slows down to a walk. Before we know it, the holidays come around - one after another, and the housing market loses that sparkle in its eye. And as if that weren’t enough, the winter weather moves in and decides to really take the hop out of the housing market’s step. 

So what’s an agent to do? (Don’t worry, it’s not a rhetorical question.) The trick is to not slow down. Take advantage of this time to put a little more oomph into your marketing and lead generation while you have a little extra time. This not only keeps leads coming in during the slower parts of the year, but is setting yourself up for extra success come next spring! 

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite, tips, tricks and ideas:

Give That Individual Attention. 

Perhaps most wholesomely, take advantage of the slower seasons with less clients to really pour on that customer service. Do everything you wish you could do during the spring and summer months to make a client happy … and then add a little extra. By taking their experience above and beyond (more than you usually do!) you’re not only marketing that you’re best agent out there, but you are! Word of mouth spreads fast and your happy clients will be marketing for you! 

Do a Little Fallanthropy.

Do something good for the community and for your business. Set up a drop off area for a canned food drive or coat drive in a popular public spot. Set up information about you as an agent along with festive apple cider or hot chocolate to encourage people to stay for a minute and talk. 

Host a Fall Themed Event (or Activity).

Take advantage of people’s absolute, die-hard love of fall, and host a fall event in the community. Sound daunting? It’s not. Picture a bare bones tailgate themed cookout at a local popular park where someone just has to drop a business card for a delicious hamburger or hot dog form your grill. Not into food? Try setting up a carving table at a local pumpkin patch. Free carving tools and the works, sponsored by you. The best part? Conversation will certainly be had in the time it takes to carve that perfect jack-o-lantern.

Be the Source for “Winter Ready” News.

Keep audience you already have (via email list or social media) engaged by being their most helpful source when it comes to getting their home ready for winter. You can even provide lists of trusted vendors for different services with the promise that those vendors share your articles, as well.

Sponsor a Winter Event. 

While sponsoring an event is always a good way to get your name out there, they can often be way more money than you’re looking to pay. Thankfully, the market for sponsorships gets a little more competitive around the holidays when there’s a huge influx of holiday events. Negotiate your way to a sponsorship or two, and be strategic about what types of audiences you’re going for! 

Anything with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

Think about what people go absolutely nuts for during the season, and work with it. In the fall, think - Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Host a no-extra-work-required social media contest for a free Pumpkin Spice Latte. Think: $5 Starbucks gift card for however many leads. The odds are in your favor! Do the same when winter is in full swing, only mix it up with the favorite hot chocolate spot in your town. Have fun with it! 

End of Summer Pop-By Gift Ideas

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A quick pop-by gift can help real estate professionals maintain strong relationships with their clients and, potentially, foster additional leads going forward. The summertime provides the perfect opportunity for agents to do so. One popular type of pop-by gift revolves around being outdoors, according to Fit Small Business. Gardening tools often prove to be quite popular with newer homeowners in particular, because they might not have had much in the way of lawn or garden care tools when they moved in. These gifts cost very little and really add that personal touch allowing agents stand out in the minds of their new client. 

A nice potted plant may also do the trick - such as a cactus or flower, welcoming new homeowners to their neighborhood. 

Pastry or Snack Items

Locally made baked goods or candies can also be a big hit with new owners. Especially at this time of year, when many people are hosting parties and attending cookouts, a sweet pop-by gift will go over well with recipients along with their friends and family. 

Another great gift at this time of year - specifically because of those barbecues and other get-togethers - is a fancy bottle opener. This clever gift keeps the agent at the back of the client's mind every time they host a fun social event. 

A Little Bit of Branding

For agents who wish to go above and beyond, investing in some branded summer giveaway gifts, such as sunscreen bottles that come with the agent's name and contact information affixed to them, according to LRE Social. This can be given out in addition to branded hand sanitizer bottles, but the idea is more or less the same: Every time these common items get used, they will be a quick reminder of the good work an agent did when helping homeowners through the real estate sales process. 

This is also true of branded refillable insulated travel cups and mugs, which can be left in the freezer or fridge at this time of year, then used whenever a cold drink is needed. Plus, that insulation also serves a purpose when winter rolls around and people want to drink hot beverages as well. 

When agents add a little extra creativity in selecting their pop-by gifts, not only does it make a great impression, but it reminds their clients of that extra valued service which thoroughly guided them through the process of making one of the best and most important purchases of their lives. 

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click