No. 1 RE/MAX team reveals 6 tips for agents to excel in 2024
Industry watchers are hoping for a turnaround in real estate this year, but no matter the market, there are several ways agents can excel in 2024 and beyond.
While hopes are high that the real estate landscape will improve this year, no one is forecasting a complete turnaround. But — with apologies to Charles Dickens — whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, some agents always manage to flourish.
The more than 180 agents in The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage in Nashville are among those fortunate and dedicated enough to do just that. "Our market is down 25 to 30 percent with transactions closed, yet we finished 2023 just about even with 2022," said Debra Beagle, managing broker and co-owner.
As the No. 1 RE/MAX team globally for the past four years, The Ashton Group has a pretty good grasp of how to navigate any market. Beagle, along with co-owner and team leader Gary Ashton, agreed to share their not-so-secret recipe for success and the six things any agent needs to excel in 2024 — and beyond.
1. Prioritize education
At The Ashton Group, new agents will have 200 hours of continuing education under their belts in the first two-and-a-half weeks. That's 110 hours in addition to the 90 hours required for licensing, Beagle says.
And it doesn't stop there. "When the market gets hard, that's when you have to double down on education," Beagle says. Every agent with The Ashton Group completes additional educational requirements each year.
And with every certification or designation, the team produces a graphic to include in social media — that helps clients feel confident that the agent they are hiring has the expertise to successfully navigate their home sale or purchase. "The consumer of today wants a trusted real estate advisor," Beagle says. "The agent has to be the best equipped with the knowledge, experience, and utilization of the top resources and partners."
2. Understand the power of a team
Beagle and Ashton are big believers in the team structure. "The power of the team is the resources you can provide," Ashton says. "As an individual agent, you may be a fantastic real estate agent. But what we do is leverage the team to provide the client with the best possible service, from contract to close."
As part of a large team, agents with The Ashton Group have access to an enormous knowledge base. "If somebody's got a question, we have an expert on the team who can answer it."
Agents should let clients know they'll have a whole team working for them. "It's not just the one agent they're hiring," Ashton says. "It's all the resources that come along with that in terms of experience and connections and contacts."
Teamwork is also key at the leadership level, with Ashton focusing on finding new leads and Beagle on making sure they have the capacity to deal with the new opportunities.
Beagle says the idea of a team has changed in the last few years. People used to treat them as a "training ground," she says. "But a lot of teams now are a collaborative effort. We're just stronger together."
3. Maintain consistent branding
"Over the last 10 years, our team has been consistent with our messaging," Ashton says.
Building equity in your brand can help carry you through a down market.
"Brand awareness, brand recognition and the best services at the highest level will see you through," Beagle says.
4. Build strong relationships
Whether it's potential clients or strategic partners, relationships are the key to real estate.
For any service its clients could need, The Ashton Group has a relationship with a reliable vendor. Whether it's mortgage, title, HVAC or plumbing, having trusted providers available can give you a leg up with clients.
And don't be afraid to leverage that to get your clients the best possible service and price. "For some vendors, we're probably the biggest source of income they have," Ashton says. Don't be afraid to negotiate a high-volume discount for your clients.
5. Embrace an unwavering work ethic
"Don't stop working," Beagle says. "That's how we win." During the holiday season, for example, many agents take extra time off on the assumption that no one wants to move. But that's not always true.
"December is a strong time for us," she says. "People will make moves when school is out. … The consumer is looking when the consumer needs to look."
And when business is slow, that's the time to keep doing the things you couldn't always find time for when it was booming. "Our agents are all over social media right now," Beagle says. "All those people sitting on the fence, when they come flooding back in, our agents will be top of mind."
6. Be adaptable
Consistency with branding and effort is important, but so is recognizing and adapting to change.
"You're not going to survive unless you are committed to being on top of all the changes in the market," Beagle says.
She analyzes the team's spending weekly: "If you're spending money on things, are you getting a return or at least breaking even?"
But the analysis isn't just about cutting expenses, she says — sometimes it's about finding areas where you need to invest more. "Do you need to hire in certain areas?" Beagle asks.
"In the past, we were like a swan," Ashton says. "All you could see was that we were floating peacefully, but under the surface we were paddling like crazy."
In today's market, that's changed. "We have to make sure people are aware of what we're doing and the knowledge and expertise we bring," he said. "That's what makes us professionals."