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How to open a real estate agency in Australia

Promoted by Entry Education
05 June 2024 | 6 minute read
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Explore the essential steps, from licensing and marketing to operations and team development, for successfully opening a real estate agency in Australia.

Looking to take the next step in your real estate career?

For many successful real estate agents, opening their own real estate agency is the logical next step in their career.

For some, it’s about holding onto more of their gross commission income (GCI), for others, it’s the challenge of building and developing a team while managing the day-to-day operations of a real estate business.

Whatever your motivation, it’s important to do your due diligence.

From mapping out your business plan, to meeting legal and licensing requirements, there’s a lot to consider. Whether you’re one foot out the door at your current job and looking for guidance, or simply looking to understand the process, this guide provides the framework for opening a real estate business in Australia.

Research and prepare

Before you slide your two weeks’ notice under your boss’s door, let’s start with some research and preparation.

On paper, starting a business is easier than ever. With the advent of digital and online meetings becoming common place, you don’t even need an office to start running your own agency.

And while it’s now easier than ever to get going, starting a successful real estate agency requires more than a bit of planning and preparation.

Start with an honest self-assessment.

Do you have the skills and network to start an agency from scratch? If the answer is no, is there someone in your network that you could join forces with? Many of Australia’s most successful agencies were born out of a partnership agreement – and for good reason too.

Remember, being a successful agent and a successful agency owner aren’t always the same thing. Those sales skills that you’ve honed and sharpened in the field don’t always transfer across to the back end of a business.

If you choose to go for a partnership, then make sure that you and your partner have complementary skills. If you choose to go it alone, then begin prospecting employees who can help to fill in some of those gaps in your skillset from the outset.

Identify your competitive advantage

There’s no shortage of real estate agencies in Australia. Some are household names, others are boutique agencies that service a specific market or clientele.

Before you start, it’s important to understand how your agency will fit in (and set itself apart) from other agencies already in the market. The differentiation could stem from the way that you market, a niche market focus, streamlining the process, or your customer service. Whatever it is, it’s important that you establish a unique selling proposition (USP) that guides that business.

Focussing on your competitive advantage not only attracts clients but helps to build a strong brand identity in the market. It’s about understanding your positioning, leveraging your unique strengths, and attracting customers who identify with your values.

Financial planning

Financial planning is a critical pillar in every successful real estate agency. And while you don’t necessarily need a lot of capital to start your own agency, it’s important to create a roadmap. Start by planning your costs, expected revenue streams, operational expenses, and anticipated revenue.

Effective financial planning also means setting aside finances for unexpected expenses. In most cases, your agency won’t be profitable from day one, so having a roadmap ensures the financial viability and sustainability of the business in those early days of the business.

Understand licensing regulations

Running your own real estate agency in Australia is considered a high-risk endeavour. To ensure that agency owners understand the landscape, they must meet strict licensing and training requirements. These region-specific training courses are provided by licensed RTOs and vary depending on the state’s legislation.

Each state and territory not only specify different educational pathways but also has unique continuing education and professional development requirements to maintain this license. Agency owners are responsible for ensuring that they stay up to date with licensing requirements and that staff hold the correct level of accreditation for their job’s role.

Marketing & branding

When it comes to starting a real estate agency, the importance of branding and marketing cannot be overstated. In almost every metropolitan area of Australia, the competition is fierce for real estate agencies.

Remember, branding and marketing are two separate endeavours.

Setting yourself apart with a unique brand identity that communicates your agency’s value, expertise, and unique value proposition will help to distinguish you in a saturated market. Develop a brand personality that resonates with your target audience. Whether you’re going for professional, luxurious, or approachable – your agency’s personality should be uniquely ‘you’ and consistent across all communications.

For effective marketing, think digital. Yes, social media is valuable, but when it comes to winning listing’s and creating long-term market presence, it’s important to have all bases covered. Building a professional website, investing in content marketing that can be syndicated across multiple channels, and networking in your area are all key considerations for a new agency.

Hiring & talent development

Behind every successful real estate agency in Australia is a thriving, motivated team. In the early days, you may need to go it alone to cut down on expenses, however, as your agency builds, it’s essential to invest in building a team. Each employee should have a roadmap and career profession plan that keeps the engaged and aligned with the long-term vision for your agency. Regular training, generous incentives, and a performance-oriented progression model ensures retention and internal growth.

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