A real estate consulting business can be a lot more than you think. For the most part, individuals and small business owners posing as real estate agents simply make themselves middlemen for buyers and sellers of real estate properties. But a real estate consulting business offers a whole lot more.
A real estate consultant provides advice to clients, to guide them into making the best financial decisions for real estate transactions on property sales and development. The clients may range from commercial investors, financial institutions, property developers, and individuals. The goal is to help them make the most cost-effective decision, with the best returns.
By implication, this is not a business for any John or Jane Doe. Unless you are planning to simply play middleman to people looking for properties to lease, buy or sell, you need industry-specific knowledge to run a real-estate consulting business.
Real estate consulting as a business can include; consulting services where you handle portfolio services, leasing advice, due diligence, and market research; Property development where you help clients to develop commercially viable properties in line with market trends; and Investments where you handle Portfolio evaluation, investment analysis, valuation, appraisals etc.
CHOOSE YOUR CORE AREA/SERVICE
This is the very first step once you decide to do a real estate investment. Survey your choice area of operation and decide what your core service will be. This does not exclude you from providing other services, it only means that you will be focusing on the area you are most competent, or the service that has the highest demand and potential customer base. It could be property development, consulting services, real estate investment advisory etc. You can also choose one or two so that you have a concrete direction to follow.
GET A REAL ESTATE LICENSE AND/OR AN ASSOCIATE BROKER’S LICENSE
If you are going to be the face of the business or the head consultant, then you need to be licensed. You will be tested for a deep understanding of the space before you are licensed. There may be slight variation of the legal requirement from one location to the other, but the crux is that you should not go offering advice in an area you know nothing about. There are industry-specific techniques and terminologies for property valuation, real estate investment etc. You should be conversant with these. Find out the standards of practice and a code of ethics in your area of operation and play by the rules.
If you want to offer both real estate consulting and sales agent services to clients, then you should get an associate broker’s license. This will give you legal grounds to also handle sales as an agent, and get some added revenue.
A realtor primarily sells or leases properties, to get a commission at the end of the successful transaction. Whereas a real estate consultant provides expert financial information and advice for their customers/clients. They do the extensive research and give the client advice on the best real estate investment, while the realtor simply helps to buy, sell or lease.
GET A BUSINESS NAME & LOCATION
You cannot get started with a real estate consulting business, until you have properly registered your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission. Select a suitable name that conveys what your business is about, and the problem you want to solve. After your registration, get a physical location.
Although most businesses today can be run online, a real estate consulting business will require a physical location. Customers are reaching out to you to make enquiries for a physical property. They should be able to have access to you in a physical location. Even if you can pull-off getting started online, you cannot operate that way for long.
PUT TOGETHER A SMALL TEAM
A real estate consulting business provides insights on market trends for clients to get the properties with the best returns. The business also conducts economic analysis to ensure the investment is a sound financial decision for the buyer. Property developers, builders, real estate investors, and investment banks rely on real estate consultants for professional advice. You cannot do all of this on your own. You will need a team for this.
Because you are not making any money yet, the terms of engagement can be completely different from normal. You can have a freelance or commission-based arrangement with a market researcher, a data analyst, a financial expert, a realtor, an estate valuer etc. The idea is to get people who have the expertise you need but do not have. You need to be very attentive to the talents you engage. For instance, the research is used to estimate the risk to the buyer and potential returns on investment. A poorly done research can influence the recommendations from the financial expert, and result in a very poor advice to your client.
GET A WEBSITE & FIX YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Your competitors are actively seeking out and converting customers offline and on the online space. You cannot afford to be absent on the online space. Get your social media handles set up and begin to etch your presence there. If you are unable to decide which social media will work best for your business, read this article to guide you.
In addition, it is important to have your own website. A real estate consulting business is not like several other businesses that you can simply leverage on a catalogue via your social media handles. You need a simple but beautifully-designed website where prospective customers can check you out, see your team, your portfolio etc. Credibility is critical in this business.
It does not have to be a herculean task. There are platforms like Startweb that provide you easy drag-and-drop templates that you can edit with your information and media file. This article explains the steps you can follow to build your website in minutes.
SORT SERVICES INTO PACKAGES
Some business owners will simply go out to start selling their services, but you would not do that because you are a smart entrepreneur. For easy marketing, sort your services into packages based on what you think a client would require. So you can have a package that covers market research, financial advice, and property purchase and portfolio management. You can have another package targeted at people who have the money to make purchases, but are not in the country or do not have the time to oversee the properties themselves. For such a client, you can have a package that covers market research, acquisition and property management. Put these services in a package and tag a fee to it.
The trick to doing this is to first describe your client, then list out the services they would want, and then put these services into a package. It can engender collaboration, so that you collaborate with other businesses that offer complementary services like legal services for instance. It is also a good way to sell more than one service at a time
MARKET YOUR PRODUCTS/PACKAGES
No one will come seek you out in your space. You have to take your products out to those that need it. You can run sponsored posts and other promotions. The important thing in any marketing campaign is the activities you take after the campaign, and how you ensure that your leads become a part of your community, and subsequently, your customers. Here are some tips to create an effective marketing campaign.