new real estate agent who is frustrated with their career and thinking about quitting.

By Karen D. Friedman | 10.26.20

If you’re not careful, you can fall into the trap of becoming a statistic–an agent who quits real estate in their first year.

The last thing you want to do is get a California real estate license just to leave the industry a few months into your new career.

If you’re not aware of how to deal with issues that come with being new in the real estate industry, it can happen to you. 

The best way to keep this from happening is to know what to expect going in and learn some preventative measures. 

Let’s discuss 10 reasons why most new real estate agents fail in their first year and how you can avoid the same fate.

#1: Lead Generation

You’ll hear this many times in your career and from those that are successful in real estate. The most important thing that you should focus on is lead generation. 

This is where your business will come from, so if you are not diligent, guess what? You won’t have any business. 

When you’re brand new to real estate you will have to create the business. You can do this by creating a game plan.

Who will you contact? You can focus on niches like first-time homebuyers or renters. If you network with investors, that would be a great place to start.

How will you generate leads? Think about all the options that are available and decide how you will proceed. 

Do you want to have a presence in your own neighborhood? You can cold call or door knock. 

Are you looking to reach a wider audience? Social media is another way to generate leads and build trust.

#2: Network Growth

New real estate agents will start growing their business with people that they know. This is called “sphere of influence.”

This is important as you start out.

What you don’t want to do is become complacent and stay within this group of people for business.

If you want your career to progress, it’s important to expand your network of people.

The more people you reach out to, the more your database will grow. 

Make sure you step out of your comfort zone and reach beyond your sphere of influence. Make it a habit to talk to people wherever you are to develop network growth. 

#3: Self Management

One of the reasons most people like real estate is because it gives them freedom. As an independent contractor, you have no boss or schedule.

You can work whenever, wherever, and for as long as you like! If you’re not disciplined, the very same reasons can be your downfall.

You can prevent this by using proper self-management. 

Creating and following a schedule is the start of good working habits. For instance, wake up at the same time each day and have a plan for what you’ll be working on. 

Your day should include constants like lead generation, network building and database growth.

You can achieve this with time blocking and good time management so that you get more done in less time.

Great self-management leads to consistency and that will lead to success. Poor habits will lead to poor business performance.

#4: Your “Why”

A common misconception about real estate is that it’s all glamour.

The onslaught of real estate reality tv shows doesn’t help either. People believe that all real estate agents are selling multi-million dollar homes and making an easy living. 

Who suffers? Those who start a career in real estate thinking that the business will come to them. If the motivation is simply to “make a lot of money” then real estate is not the right career for you. 

If you are not willing to do the work, you are destined to fail.

Knowing why you started a career in real estate is key to your success. If new real estate agents genuinely want to help people and enjoy being a self-starter, then they will go far. 

#5: Budgeting

Another reason why most people fail in their first year in the business is that they run out of money. Knowing how to budget your money is essential. 

Remember to lead with revenue in your first year. 

For instance, don’t spend money on items that won’t yield a return, like buying leads. There are plenty of ways to meet people for free. 

Remember to plan ahead. When you close your first deal, set aside funds to cover your living expenses over several months. 

This will carry you until you close your next deal.

Poor financial planning may lead to a 9-5pm job to make ends meet. There is nothing wrong with a salaried job but that’s not why you got into real estate. 

You pursued a career in real estate to maintain your independence.

new real estate agents who are sitting on a bench in a glass hallway overlooking a city's skyline

#6: Secret Agents

Let everyone know you are in real estate.

It sounds simple but most new real estate agents are not in the habit of making this an everyday occurrence. 

Real estate is a numbers game so increase your odds by talking to everyone you know and meet.

This shouldn’t feel forced. You should be excited! You started a new career in real estate. Think about conversations you have had with people you know and even strangers.

It’s common to talk about what you do for a living. 

So don’t be a “secret agent”! Whether you advertise, talk to everyone you meet, or use social media, spread the word that you are in real estate and available to help.

#7: Goal Setting

This is crucial because goal setting gives you direction on where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. 

Without a plan, new real estate agents will waste time and energy. They won’t focus on the actions that lead them to their goal.

The best way to approach this to have an annual goal like selling 12 houses a year. Work backward to figure out what it would take on a quarterly basis. 

Then break that down to monthly and even daily goals. Start by setting realistic and achievable goals. 

Use the S.M.A.R.T method:

SPECIFIC | MEASURABLE | ATTAINABLE | RELEVANT | TIME-BOUND

For example, the goal of “making calls every day” is too vague. 

S.M.A.R.T method goal: Make 25 cold calls a day leading to 1 appointment a week

SPECIFIC – make cold calls

MEASURABLE – qty 25

ATTAINABLE – possible daily

RELEVANT – lead generating

TIME-BOUND – daily calls, 1 appointment a week

This will structure your calls with a specific outcome of getting the appointment. Apply this to all your goal setting and you’ll see that this will allow you to set new and more ambitious goals.

#8: Fearing Failure

Most people fear failure. It can stop you in your tracks and keep you from moving forward. 

Most new real estate agents quit their first year because of the emotional toll of “fear of failure” and rejection.

Nobody likes to feel rejected. 

Rejection is part of the job but remember that people are not rejecting you. They are rejecting the notion of buying or selling at that time. 

It’s not personal. Separating yourself from the “rejection” will help you survive your first year of real estate when it can feel the most challenging.

The bottom line, the fear of failure is a self-fulfilling prophecy. True failure is inaction.

#9: Attitude

Attitude is everything. Having the right attitude from the start will get you everywhere. 

Embracing the whole process of being a real estate agent will keep you in the game for the long term. That means being “all in” when it comes to training and lead generation.

If you come into this field with a negative attitude, you will become one of the many that quit.

#10: Self Doubt

For some, the killer of their real estate career is self-doubt. Sooner or later, new real estate agents start to wonder if they made the right decision. 

But self-doubt is misleading. When everything is going great, no one questions their ability as an agent. These feelings come at times when things get tough and confidence is low. 

When you start to understand what self-doubt represents, you can learn to combat it and leave it at the door. 

Be confident in your training, education, and skills that got you your license in the first place. 

#11: BONUS TIP – Your Training

If you are reading this and not licensed yet, this will be of value. It’s important to choose the right real estate school.

This will give you a strong foundation to base your real estate career on. 

Many real estate schools will offer the courses qualifying you to get your license. 

Look for schools that offer additional support and training that you can take advantage of once you’re licensed, like CA Realty Training.

CA Realty Training has trainers who have experience in the real estate field. 

They bring their unique perspective while teaching and can offer real-world examples on how to apply concepts. Having them as an “unofficial mentor” will give you an advantage.

Another great resource that CA Realty Training provides is their YouTube channel for on-demand learning. 

This video library is filled with real estate terminology, best practices, and information you’ll use when you are a licensed real estate agent.

Final Thoughts on Why New Real Estate Agents Quit 

If you don’t fall into these common traps, you can avoid being a statistic and have an amazing first year in real estate career.

Part of the battle is having the knowledge to identify what can bring you down. Winning the battle is having the tools to deal with the obstacles. 

Do you feel ready? 


Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, we would love if you could share it with a friend who you think would get something out of it.
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