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Why new real estate agents fail

Posted by Jesse Garcia on November 7, 2018

Approximately 80% of real estate agents fail in the first year. Even after that, the odds don’t improve much. 

While no magic solution exists to the question of why most real estate agents fail, here are four common pitfalls to avoid in order to set your team in the best position to succeed.

1. Poor preparation

Being a real estate agent is different from having a regular office job. 

The freedom can be a good thing - agents generally can set their own hours, unlimited earning potential, but this is also a challenge for the uninitiated. You need a plan to train your agents in the fundamentals of their job and the real estate business. Including:

  • How to structure their day
  • Where to get leads
  • How to market yourself as an agent
  • How to grow a network
  • How to manage clients
  • How to set goals (or set them for them)

2. Poor communication skills

Real estate is a people-oriented field. 


This applies to the buyers and sellers who seek agents out for their services as well as to the other real estate agents in your area with whom you’ll have to interact to make transactions happen.

If your agents are not pleasant to work with for whatever reason--unfriendly, unprofessional, frequently late, poor communication skills--a client can easily find another agent who is, and other agents are likely to go out of their way to avoid you.

Take steps to run your new agents through basic communications expectations and set the bar for ideal performance.

3. Lack of motivation

Psychology plays a big part in how well agents do in the real estate industry. 

If they don't operate as though they believe they can be successful, they will likely find themselves to become what they believe. Managing motivation, expectations and learning to keep a positive attitude will require some mentoring and preparation through strong goal setting and coaching.

4. Burnout

All that scattered effort often leads to burnout in a competitive industry like real estate. It kicks off a vicious cycle by leading to clients feeling neglected, which leads to dwindling referrals, which leaves a burned out real estate agent feeling even worse.

Skip the cycle by coaching your agents to manage their time well (which may mean scheduling themselves silly until they get the hang of allocating enough time for different tasks), nurturing new and ongoing relationships in tandem so they always have something in the hopper, and consider adding an assistant or another agent to help mentor and guide them.

It’s also important to know if real estate is actually the right fit. Some agents just are not suitable to the line of work, and this is a call you will have to make together. 


Agent failure can be lowered through careful planning and sufficient support. Expect that new agents will experience a learning curve and accommodate this with planned training, coaching and mentoring.

Read more: Best practices for top performing real estate teams


Jesse Garcia

Written by Jesse Garcia