This month’s winner randomly chosen among the submissions is Jim Zirbes of Chandler. Congratulations!

The first thing you WANT, is to capture a buyer or seller and have a chance to work with them. The first thing you NEED, is to know what to do when that happens. Building your business will take time, a financial commitment, patience and knowledge. Start with a business planning class. Learn everything you can about the forms you will use. Find a mentor that you can shadow for a few days and stay with through a few transactions; listen, observe, ask questions. Build your confidence through education about building your business and working with buyers and sellers. Be the best prepared that you can possibly be so that your first transaction is a success, and every transaction thereafter continues to expand your experience, increase your conviction in your capabilities, and grow your business.


Laura Kovacs

Always call your broker and ask questions if you are unsure of something (or if something doesn’t seem right), but research the issue thoroughly before calling so you’ll know the right questions to ask. Your broker’s job is to be available to help you, and getting answers from them will keep both of you out of hot water. 

Deb Wells

If you are going into commission-based sales, act as if you need to make a sale quite quickly, even if that is not true. This is because you want to avoid desperation that, in ways obvious and not, may sabotage your success. Too many new agents with a financial buffer of many months often become too lackadaisical as a result. They think they have plenty of money to tide them over BUT then start to panic when the days, weeks, and months flash by and there has been little or no income. In other words – “Carpe Diem” and hustle. This is a difficult business for the overly passive and unduly timid. Don’t wait until you “learn everything first” and/or find reasons to not take massive action, nor wait around for lots of direction and motivation to come from others. Remember – “If it is to be, it is largely up to thee!” 

Jim Zirbes

Find a niche and own it. If you try to do everything, everywhere, you will be inundated with information and most likely fail. Instead, pick one geographical area and one type of real estate transaction, and focus all of your efforts into that. And don’t spend too much time analyzing “which niche is right for me”? Just pick something and try it out for a few months. If you can honestly say you made a sincere effort and got nowhere with it, then you can shift gears and try something different. And remember, there’s more than one type of real estate transaction. Most conversations about real estate are centered around buying and selling homes, but you can also do rentals, commercial transactions, or even land deals. 

Sean Smith

Remember that it takes time to build a good reputation but only minutes to ruin one. Always ask yourself how you would feel if your actions today were the headlines in tomorrow’s newspaper or on-line news site. Never give your buyers/sellers or Realtor colleagues reason to doubt your integrity. 

Bill Johnson

I would advise a new agent to seek out a mentor to work with them through their first few transactions. This experienced agent can help the new agent with answers to those day-to-day questions that they have. The mentor can direct them to training and council them during those first “what-do-I-do-next” times. 

Dawn Rajda

Read and understand the contracts and forms, especially the ones you use in every transaction. Print out sample forms and read them when you have a few minutes. Make a summary or ‘cheat sheet’ if it helps you. I don’t mean that you memorize what section number addresses ‘Warranties that Survive Closing’ (although that would be impressive). I mean if a client asks you what ‘Warranties that Survive Closing’ means you can explain it without having to read it in the Purchase Offer. This will make you a more professional REALTOR® and possibly prevent embarrassment when dealing with clients and other REALTORS®. 

Randy West

I’ll never forget my very first real estate transaction. I wrote the offer for my buyer over Memorial Day weekend of 2004. My clients’ offer was accepted, and everything went smoothly until it was time to close. In the contract was a seller concession to the buyers to provide the buyers with a home warranty. This was great, except for the fact that the house had a pool. I did not realize at the time that the base price of a home warranty only covered the home. I was unaware that pool and spa coverage was separate, and that in order for the pool to covered under the home warranty, it would be an extra fee. Needless to say, this was a mistake that I haven’t forgotten since then. That “commissionectomy” cost me $250 out of my pocket. I have NEVER made that same mistake since that contract closed. In the end, my buyers were happy, got the pool covered, and called me several years later to list their home, which I sold. New agents, do not ever forget to account for additional home warranty coverage fees in the contract. Contact whatever company you plan on recommending to your buyers and ask for their most current pricing brochure. Pay attention to the extra coverage fees, especially for pools and spas. Make sure to add that amount on top of the base home warranty fee to cover your clients! 

Ken Buchholz

When you want to find an office and broker make sure you ask questions and find the one that is willing to invest as much time in you as you are willing to invest in yourself! 

Shelley Ostrowski

Have a long term goal in mind. eg; own your own rental properties. Unless you’re a top producer, there is not enough inventory to make a long term decent living selling homes in AZ 

Peggy Trachtenberg

Have a well organized database that you mine consistently and track your activities so you know where most of your business comes from and what marketing efforts truly work. The more you know about your own business the more you can adjust and refine things to improve it along the way. 

Christy Walker

Realize it is not an easy business. You are accountable for all your actions, and need to understand the contract and keep up your education. Social media is no substitute for integrity in your discussions with sellers/buyers. Starting now with the pandemic makes it much harder. I don’t envy anyone just starting! 

Shane Cook

Don’t buy a darn thing & attend as many webinars, seminars or informational get togethers that you can – every one will bring you knowledge. 

Jan Leighton

As a new agent myself, only 7 months in, I wish someone had told me that every day is a day to try a new challenge! And not to forget that a smile and a follow up call make all the difference! 

Aisling Campbell

I am still fairly new to Real Estate, been full time for only 7 months now. So I can freshly attest to how difficult, yet rewarding this industry is! It took me almost 5 months to complete all coursework then pass my test on the 4th time at the school and 2nd time at the testing facility. That should tell you right there how the path is going to start once you are licensed! No one really explains all the fees you have to pay upfront and when you have to pay them, or how reoccurring they are with this organization or that broker, etc. Once you are with a broker you think, YES! I did it! Oh how wrong you are… This is where the hard work and dedication really starts! Now it’s time to jump on the phones because cold calling random strangers is the quickest way to build a data base and generate your own leads. Then when you are completely burned out from spending 4 hrs + a day on the phones, you have to start incorporating another avenue to generate leads and fight to get a client who is going to be willing to use you to buy or sell their home. Social media, Marketing, Ads, Calls, Open Houses, Networking w/ other Entrepreneurs, trying to find attorneys, financial planners, CPA’s, etc. then you have lenders coming at you and title companies…. This isn’t to scare you, this is to get you to open your mind to the endless possibilities there are to go out and get business!! But just know that you are on your own, and no one is going to do this for you! YOU have to do your own pushups so to speak. Then when you get your 1st buyer/seller under contract, it’s a cause for celebration! But not too much celebration because now you have to get the title company, lender, your client, the cooperating agent, their client, and anyone else who is involved in your 1st transaction to all get on the same page! This is where your training and preparation and proper expectation setting up front falls into place. This is where you gain experience and momentum! However, you can’t forget during this time you still have to make time for lead generation and marketing and networking, etc… Real estate is a roller coaster ride that will at times frustrate you and test your patience and mental fortitude, then you will be riding high celebrating your victories and things will be falling in place from all your hard work, then they will be thrown off course for a few days, only to get back on track because you knew how to handle the situation and save a deal! It’s the craziest ride I have ever been on and I’m only 7 months into the journey, but I can promise you there is nowhere else I would rather be and nothing more I would rather be doing then seeing the fruits of my hard work, dedication, passion for helping people, and never giving up pay off with 5 different deals closing all within the next 2 weeks! Good luck and work like no one else, so that one day, you won’t have to work like anyone else! 

josh Sinacola

Have a good mentor!!! Follow, watch, listen, read AND then have them go out with you on your first few visits with buyers or sellers. Never say “I don’t know”. Always say that you will look into whatever is in question… 

Dawn Zimbelman

Don’t spend all your commission as soon as you get it. Set a budget and pay yourself a salary. It’s not fun to find your self owing taxes in the double digits and you don’t have it…. 

Lori Webster

Slow down!!!!! This job is not a race but rather a marathon. Find a knowledgeable full-time agent with at least 10 years under their belt and shadow them for at least 6 months to a year. Education is primary and so working on your GRI right off the bat is essential. Details are paramount so developing a solid process of listing and/or selling will benefit you from the start. Follow the steps and don’t deviate. Don’t pretend you know it all and be willing to admit that you don’t, but that is where the ‘experienced agent’ that you shadow can come in. Ask questions all the time. Learn from your mistakes and don’t make that mistake again. Follow your instincts and listen to that little voice inside your head. Be honest in all that you do and remember the golden rule. 

Pat Leahy

I would recommend that a new realtor set up a CRM database right away so you are organized from the beginning. I would also recommend that you find a good CPA and setup a PLLC for your business which will save you money down the road in income taxes.

Karin Hansen

Most people come to real estate from a “job”. With a job, you get paid to show up. When you are a Realtor® (a.k.a. a business owner) you only get paid to produce. Find a mentor who who will train you to take the actions that will actually lead to business. 

Butch Leiber

Get every bit of training you can, starting with the GRI courses. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know but I’ll find out.” Attend AAR, WCR and NAR meetings to understand the broader perspective. Get involved with RAPAC. 

Joeann Fossland

List your property under the correct ‘dwelling type’. -Read, and comprehend the MLS listing before calling the listing agent. -Move your listings out of active once you have a contract, don’t put ‘offer accepted’ in private remarks. -Verify your HOA information BEFORE you fill out the HOA Addendum, and know your seller’s community rental restrictions. -Learn how to us ‘ShowingTime’ properly to be more effective. -Answer your telephone. 

George Wanner