Sound Off: Advice for getting started in the world of Bay Area real estate

Q: “What advice do you have for someone considering getting their Real Estate license? And what advice/warnings would you offer about looking to get started in the Bay Area?

A: Want to be your own boss? Make your own schedule? Earn as much money as you want? Then becoming a real estate agent in the Bay Area might be the right career for you but it doesn’t come easy. A career in real estate takes hard work, commitment, and a passion to serve. It’s a daily hustle to make new connections, promote yourself, and learn everything there is to learn about the real estate industry, professional marketing, the cities and communities you specialize in.

After you’ve received your real estate license you should join a company that offers an “earn while you learn” training program. There’s no better way than jumping right in and making money right from the start. Prospecting will be your new full time job and you don’t stop until…well, you never stop prospecting. Next, get your hands on some current real estate reading. There are some good books out there that will get and keep you motivated. Finally, if you’re broke and have fire in your belly, get out there and knock doors and leave an introduction at every house in the city. Introduce yourself as the new neighborhood real estate specialist and don’t stop until you have enough repeat clients and referrals to sustain the comfortable income you desire.

Real estate isn’t unlike having your own store, restaurant, or other business. It commands dedication, constant promotion, and discipline. With the right attitude to serve and the stamina to work hard everyday, you just might be a perfect candidate for a career in Bay Area real estate.

Karin Cunningham, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Realty, (650) 438-3504,

A: Be scrappy and show up. Start by doing some mental housekeeping. Adopt an attitude of optimism, professionalism, and creative problem solving. You will experience rejection, so you must grow thick skin.

Align yourself with successful agents and emulate them. Be available and useful to them because they can offer you real world training. Take them to lunch, volunteer to host or co-host their open houses and don’t be picky. You need experience at this point in your career, so embrace every opportunity to be in front of buyers and sellers, showing properties.

Ideally, have a cash reserve of six to 12 months of living expenses. You must operate from a position of abundance. Focus on providing the best value for your clients and not for yourself. Your clients will know that your full attention is on serving their best interests and they will love working with you.

Within the first 30 days of getting your license, organize all of your contacts into a sortable database, including name, phone number, email and mailing address. Find the platform to organize your “sphere” and set goals to grow your database. Contact everyone in the first 30 days to let them know that you in the business; then provide valuable insights to them every month thereafter. The money will soon follow.

John Solaegui, Paragon Real Estate Group, (415) 738-7232,

A: Becoming a real estate agent is a truly exciting and sometimes scary decision. For many it’s the best career in the world. It might be for you too. Keep in mind that it’s not really a job. You will be starting your own business. You’ll be a warrior. You’ll be an entrepreneur and congratulations, you’re the boss. Hopefully, you get along with the boss.

To achieve success and greatness you will need to follow a proven system or path. For champions, greatness starts with an idea and a burning desire for achievement that is backed by right ACTION. Most people become real estate agents and begin with paralysis of analysis. They tend to get ready to get ready and plan themselves right out of the business. Instead, immediately surround yourself with success. Join a top real estate company that will invest in training for your success. Get into your office every day early and listen to what success looks, feels and sounds like. Volunteer to help a top agent. Get a mentor or join a winning team. Like a true warrior make the commitment that you will succeed or die trying. That’s what champions do. That’s what I did. Being a top agent feels so damn good.

Regarding being an agent in the Bay Area. Buyers and sellers are very sophisticated. The stakes are higher and so are the rewards. Learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. Know the market trends and know the inventory. Become an expert. This is always true anywhere. Yet, in the San Francisco area you won’t last if you don’t bring your A game. We’re used to champions. It’s your turn next.

Frank Castaldini, Coldwell Banker, (415) 846-1899,

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