If you’re interested in becoming a luxury real estate agent or working in the field in some other capacity, you might have wondered whether you could start your own business. There are a few general guidelines that are important to follow when it comes to starting a business, but there are also things you need to be aware of in terms of starting a real estate business specifically. In addition, a focus on luxury markets will be different from dealing with other types of real estate.
Know the Regulations
The real estate business is strictly regulated, with regulations differing from state to state. What is certain is that in order to become an agent, you need to take certain classes and pass your state’s licensing exam. Consider whether you want to be a buying or selling agent, in other words, whether you want to help people find their luxury homes or sell them. You may assume that once you are licensed, you can then start your own business, but real estate agents are required to work with brokers. If you want to work independently, you will need to become a broker as well. This usually requires a few years of experience as well as additional education. Once you are a broker, you will have the ability to start your own business and hire other agents to work for you as well if you want.
You’ll need to follow all the usual advice for starting a business. One thing that is somewhat in your favor is that, unlike opening a store or a restaurant or many other types of businesses, this is not really a field that you can walk into with no experience. There’s still a learning curve if you’re a new business owner, but it isn’t the learning curve of figuring out a new industry at the same time you’re learning to run your own company. However, the flip side is that this could make you overconfident.
You might be tempted to neglect some of the recommended tasks associated with starting a business, such as researching the competition, creating a marketing plan, or thinking about how to reach your customers, assuming that you already know this. The value of writing a business plan that includes these and other items is that you may actually discover deficiencies in your knowledge or assumptions that can adversely affect your business once you put it all down. Another thing to consider is your funding. There are a number of different sources that you may draw from, including your own savings. You might be eligible for a grant in some circumstances. One option is to look to business loans. This option is often for companies that are already up and running, so this may be something you seek later on rather than at the start.
Developing a Luxury Specialty
You probably won’t start out dealing with luxury homes right out of the gate. When you first get your license, it’s good to focus just on learning the ropes of the business. High-end clients may be more demanding and expect more expertise, so it may not be desirable, appropriate, or even possible for you to leap right in. That’s okay, as there’s a lot to learn in general before you start to take on a particular niche. Plan to spend the first year or even the first several years of your career getting a more general understanding of your local housing market, improving your negotiation skills, honing your marketing ability, and learning how to work more effectively with clients.
There are a few things that you can do to help you break into the higher end of real estate. You may want to find a broker to work with who specializes in luxury properties, or you might want to work with a more experienced agent co-listing a home. While this does mean that you have to split the commission, it can be a great opportunity to network and get guidance and advice from an expert. If you find yourself struggling to break in, one possibility is to seek out clients with homes that have been on the market for a while. If you offer a fresh approach, you might be able to convince them to work with you, and this can help you get your foot in the door.
Other Career Options
On top of the aforementioned real estate career opportunities, there are other ways to get involved in the luxury real estate business. You could work as a photographer or combine photography and staging, helping people prepare and exhibit their homes to make them as desirable as possible. A new but growing niche in the field is interior design, and this skill would be particularly in demand among high-end buyers and sellers. Of course, you could also become an investor, either holding onto properties and renting them or flipping homes. Another option might be working in property management.