If you have just begun this wonderful journey into real estate and you have no idea where to begin or what to do as you start this new career, you are not alone!

It may seem you are very much alone! There is nothing worse than to study like crazy, pass your exam--get your license and even interview for a desk with a leading brokerage firm and then find out you are on your own---totally on your own. There is no one to help you, except for the rare available agent who will tell you where things are and what you need to do to get answers. And unless you are with a firm like the one that sponsors me, there will not be a class to help you to assimilate to the everyday things that you must do just to stay in business. 

Until you have clients and customers to call you need to seek out those who you may be able to get information from with very little fuss. Get to know those who may be willing to help you out.


Here are the five things you need to do with haste:

  1. Introduce yourself to every agent in your office---I always made an action plan--a hand written sheet of things to do everyday until it becomes like brushing your teeth. Keep that list like a diary and let the established agents know that you may need help. 
  2. Be friendly and warm, never needy or cranky! Get to know them as much as you can by asking the following:   How long have you been in the business? Do you have any listings that I can look at? Do you mind if I ask you questions if I have any--"I don't want to be a bother but I am new and may need some help in the beginning." This will open the door and you will know who is willing to be helpful to a Newbie and who will not. Try not to take too much of their time and just walk away from an agent who seems too busy or preoccupied with other things.
  3. Learn quickly how to find open houses in your area and go to all of them. Get a list of open houses and go to as many as you can everyday there are open houses. Go to as many as you can. This will get you into the habit of going to view properties. Gather information about them and review at night until you know the house inside and out. Commit to doing this because this is the beginning of your career and you need to become an expert on as many properties as you can. You must also become proficient at opening houses, turning alarms off and on, turning on lights and turning them off when done. keep control of keys no matter where they come from and always return them as per instructions. Never, ever be careless with these key activities or the owner of the houses will be all over you and may not trust you to show their property when you do have a buyer or a tenant.
  4. Practice your searches for a property--Pick one area or neighborhood--For practice purposes search for a 3-4 bedroom house with a pool....check out all available properties and even go to see some if you can. Do another search on a 5-6 bedroom property, etc...keep practicing until you are comfortable enough to go drive by them---good way to get your "sea-legs" with the different areas.
  5. Get a customer by your company's up-board. That is a devise that is in your office and it has all the agents names on it--An AA is in charge of the board and names go to the bottom once they get a call. This means you MUST spend a great deal of time in the office, at least as a new agent. Get there as often as you can--never miss a day until you get your first up-call. It is critical that you get your self organized; perhaps better than you have ever been since you are now dealing with the homes of people you barely know. Never disregard this responsibility--it will make or break your reputation and nothing is more important now than your reputation.

Because this business of real estate is one that deals with the place where a person lives (usually) it has a degree of sensitivity that must be in the front of your mind at all times.

Never, ever make light of a home situation like a run-down home, or a person who may have a problem with saving too much stuff. Simply state to the owner that there are things that help to make a house sell faster...and then tell them what they need to do to make that happen. Tell them the basics in a friendly tone:

A Good First Impression is crucial. Clutter NEEDS to go.  Clean, Clean, Clean and Clean some more!

Sensibilities can be lacking in many agents; try not to be one of them! People remember friendly and nice behavior.

Always make yourself available to answer questions--It is your job to inform and to aid both buyers and sellers in their processes. Answering their many questions and informing them of an area they like or want to buy in will give you a value that you can't get any other way.

Watch for Part 11 in this series for New Agents!! Please ask any questions you may have in the comments below and the members here on AR and I will make every effort to answer them for you.




                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 14 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • March 14 2018 06:13PM


Great advice Paula. I know when we first started in RE, we got quite a few leads doing floor time.  Not sure if it's as lucrative these days, but I like all of your advice. The tips should help a new agent realize success sooner. D 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) about 1 year ago

Debb: thanks! I remember too, how difficult it was to get started in the business. Thank goodness for those who were so helpful to me! I do find that asking is one thing that agents dont like to do but help is there if you feel your way around and find the right person to ask for help.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Paula,
This is an excellent post.  I must have missed it because I was on the golf course Friday.  LOL   Having a good relationship with other agents in the office and the MLS is very useful.   I am also a BIG proponenent of doing everything possible to know the inventory.  Get out and see as many properties as possible.  It not only helps learn the inventory but also builds a natural instinct for pricing. Having a pulse on inventory and market activity also builds self-confidence when talking to prospects and in general conversations.

If I were going to add anything to your post, it would be to watch the market statistics.  This is powerful stuff in random conversations when people ask "How's the market".  

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) about 1 year ago

Hi Carol: Great suggestion...most offices have a weekly meeting as,well where topics include whats happening. So that needs to be added; never ever miss an office meeting!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 1 year ago

These are all excellent ideas for new agents!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, 10 months ago

Hi Kat!

Thanks--I always like to share what I know with new agents...I have another post coming on the matter--just got too busy to do it now...

Thanks for your input!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

These are great tips for new agents. I did all these things as a new agent, with the exception of an "up-board". That used to be called floor duty or phone duty. Now there are very few calls that come into the office. They either go directly to the listing agent or are "sold" to the highest bidder.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) 10 months ago

Hi Paula 

What a helpful guide for new agents, especially those who find themselves in an environment that is not oriented toward on-boarding new agents. Finding a good mentor early on is a big help when possible. I had a tremendous broker when I started - it made such a difference since, as we all know, real estate the school does NOT teach you the business of real estate.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 10 months ago

Hi Pat: How times have changed, huh? We literally still have an "Up Board" with each agents name on it--they names go tto the bottom as they get an up call....very primative! We don't get walk ins like we used to either--that is almost unheard of anymore! Thanks for reading and commenting, Pat!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

Hi Jeff: Thanks for reading and also for your comment---the mentoring thing is still going strong in our office. The big difference now is that the "top agents" have taken over the mentoring and it is just a way to get an assistant--which is ok but there are some top agents who do no training whatsoever..they just take advantage of a new agent until said agent up and leaves because of the the miss-treatment. Ususally it means so many hours doing clerical work, doing open houses and basically just filling in for the top agent as she/he goes about making the money. I like to mentor someone who can quickly do the mundane stuff but then moves up into a position that requires more knolwdge and responsibility--that is the best way in my humble opinion.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

Thanks for the excellent tips, Paula.  I wish I had this information when I first started.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 10 months ago

Hi Gabe: Thanks for reading and commenting! I thought of that as I was writing the post: "What is it that I would have find helpful as a new agent?" That is what I based these posts on and I will say that my own learning was aided tremendously by Steven James since I began my career in Manhattan...He was amazing as my first sales manager  and his experience was so helpful to me--he shared all his experiences wth all of the agents at 575 Madison Ave....a tremendous way to begin as an agent! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 10 months ago

Wonderful tips, Paula and I'm shocked this one doesn't have a gold star beside it!

This question is asked over and over again in the Q&A section by newbies and they should be directed here.

One excellent point that you made is learning how to set up a search and familiarizing yourself with MLS and searches. No one thinks of that but, when you do anything in life for the first time, it's best NOT to be on the hot-seat when doing it (aka, a buyer waiting on you to get a search set up). There's nothing more frustrating than not knowing how to do something and having an audience awaiting your 'performance' when you haven't even read the script!

Sage advice, for sure! Hope you have a great week ahead!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 9 months ago

Hi Debe: Thanks for the comment and compliments too! This was one of a series of 3 posts for new agetns...none of them were featured so I guess that let's me know that it is not a priority to inform new agents of just what it is they must do to become successful in this profession---at least that is the message I got! I kind of lost my mojo when it comes to informing new agents of that which we already learned from our years in the business! Thanks for recognizing the importance of sharing this vital info!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) 9 months ago