Why Do Real Estate Agents Fail? (2024)

Research shows that most real estate agents fail in their first year, and for various reasons. The most common mistakes that agents make is inadequate prospecting, failing to market properties in ways that lead to fast sales, and not following up with their contacts so that strong relationships result in returning clients. Other factors that could effect the success of a real estate agent include their level of motivation, the economy in which they operate, and their ability to weather the early days as they learn the industry and build a client base.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most real estate agents fail in their first year, according to research.
  • Three common mistakes that agents make is inadequate prospecting, failing to market properties in ways that lead to fast sales, and not following up with clients.
  • Real estate agents must be motivated because generating leads and marketing listings takes creativity and hard work.
  • To ensure ongoing clients and business, agents must build and maintain relationships with clients.
  • Word of mouth is a powerful way for a real estate agent to build a reputation as a skilled agent.

Understanding Why Real Estate Agents Fail

There are some crucial aspects to succeeding in real estate. If certain tasks are not well executed, a real estate agent will not be able to compete in the competitive real estate market. Three key functions of a real estate agent are prospecting, listing properties in an appealing and dynamic way, and building relationships with clients.


Real estate prospecting refers to outreach and marketing strategies that generate new real estate clients. Rather than waiting for the phone to ring, a real estate prospector picks up the phone (or emails or texts or knocks on the door) to initiate contact with their potential clients. For some agents, cold outreach, or cold calling, can be humiliating and seem like hard work for little reward. However, learning how to prospect in real estate can be one of the most important tasks of an agent's job.

If there are no leads, there will be no business. Many agents dedicate a certain portion of their day to prospecting or lead generation to ensure long-term business. There are digital solutions that take the grunt work out of prospecting that are data driven. These solutions offer data on owner demographics, buyers and sellers, current and expired listings, for sale by owner sellers, school information, and local amenites, among others. Some software also has automatic calling to streamline prospecting. Other outreach tools include automatic emailing to curated lists and social media blogs and postings.

Showcasing Listings

Marketing listings in an appealing way is crucial for property sales. Listings must look their best during showings, in marketing materials, on websites, and on social media. Attractive photos and virtual tours are popular tools for showcasing listings. Open houses are another tool that agents can use to market a listing, and some agents use unique and unconventional methods to draw attention to a listing, such as themed open houses where a specific type of buyer is the target.

Client Follow-up

An axiom of business is that the fortune is in the follow-up, particularly when it comes to purchasing something as significant as a home or building. Leading agents develop lasting relationships with buyers and sellers by following up with them after a transaction and staying in contact. A long-term relationship is built on trust, and agents who engender trust will see clients return when they need the services of a real estate professional. If a real estate agent succeeds in building strong client relationships, they will also generate business through word of mouth.

Special Considerations

The real estate industry has changed rapidly as digital technology has advanced. Online real estate platforms are providing increasing options for buyers and sellers in terms of property search, finding lenders, and choosing agents. Repeated direct action in the three areas discussed above, combined with a knowledge of the latest solutions at the agent's disposal, is the best way for a real estate agent to ensure success as the industry evolves.

Why Do Real Estate Agents Fail? (2024)
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