Building a Solid Foundation: How to Create a Real Estate Business Plan That Works

A killer real estate business plan isn't just about setting a goal to hit 1 million in sales next year. (It would be a lot easier if it were!) 

A truly great real estate business plan defines exactly what drives your business, where you're headed, and how you'll navigate the market's unpredictable currents. It should be a razor-sharp action plan to scale your real estate empire. 

So, how do you craft this master blueprint without getting bogged down in the details? 

If you’re ready to join the cast of Million Dollar Listings—or if you just want to grow your modest real estate business—we can help.   

We’re going to break down how to create an actionable real estate business plan in just six steps. Your future self, with a thriving real estate portfolio, will thank you. 

What Should a Real Estate Business Plan Include?

A real estate business plan is a comprehensive document designed to help you navigate the ups and downs of the real estate industry and plan for long-term growth. 

TL:DR: A great business plan serves as a complete roadmap to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. 

What Should a Real Estate Business Plan Include - Close

So, what should your real estate business plan include? The best plans include these eight sections: 

  1. Executive Summary: A concise introduction to your real estate venture. Highlight your primary goals, the niche you're targeting, and your unique value proposition in the real estate market.
  2. Business Description: Discuss the scope of your real estate operations—whether you're focusing on residential sales, commercial properties, rentals, or a mix. Also, mention the regions or neighborhoods you're targeting.
  3. Market Analysis: Delve into housing trends, regional property demand, and average property values in your selected areas. Study growth patterns and forecast potential shifts in the market.
  4. Marketing and Sales Strategies: Explain how you'll attract listings and buyers. This might include leveraging MLS, hosting open houses, using digital marketing tactics, or networking at community events.
  5. Service Offerings: Detail the range of services you plan to offer. This could include buying/selling, property management, consultation, or even staging homes for sale.
  6. Organizational Structure and Management: As a solo realtor, this might be about your role and responsibilities. If you have or plan to have a team or build a brokerage, describe team member roles, responsibilities, and expertise.
  7. Financial Projections and Strategy: Outline anticipated earnings from property sales or rentals, operational expenses, and commissions. Factor in marketing costs, licensing fees, and other industry-specific expenses.
  8. Growth Plan: Since real estate is as much about scaling and expansion as it is about individual sales, describe how you plan to grow—by expanding into new areas and niches, or by adding more agents to your team.

Keep in mind—these sections are suggested, not required. If some of these sections don’t make sense for your business, feel free to drop them. Maybe you want to add something else? If you’re not sure where the heck to start—that’s where this list comes in handy. 

Why Do I Need a Real Estate Business Plan?

Honestly—you don’t have to have a business plan. If you’re feeling good about your business and happy with your growth, feel free to click away. But, if you’re not closing as many deals as you’d like or if you’re just not feeling great about your business’s direction, you might want to stick around. 

In addition to increasing your sales, an effective business plan can help you: 

  • Gain a Competitive Advantage: The world is full of real estate professionals. To succeed in this industry, you need an edge. A real estate business plan gives you an advantage in the market because so few competitors will create one. You'll know the exact steps to take to grow your business. Case in point: a well-crafted business plan can boost your chances of success by 12 percent.
  • Mitigate Risk: Every new business venture is a risky proposition. Back in 1994, nobody thought Jeff Bezos could sell books online. Now, Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, and Mr. Bezos has a cool net worth in the $150 billion range. While your real estate business plan might not help you hit the billion-dollar range, it will help you mitigate risk by helping you identify potential threats and weaknesses.  
  • Gain a Deeper Understanding of Analytics: Drowning in data? A great business plan will outline your goals and campaigns, and help you track the metrics that really matter. You can look at your plan in a year and assess your progress toward your goals, and adjust your approach accordingly. This will help you eliminate poor tactics or destructive behaviors and double down on what works for your business.

A business real estate plan also gives you something to celebrate. When you hit the milestones in your plan, reward yourself with a fancy dinner or pop open a bottle of champagne. Treat yo’self. Then get back to selling! 

6 Steps to Create an Effective Real Estate Business Plan Fast 

Now you know what your real estate business plan should include and why they matter. Cool. Now it's time to actually create that killer plan that will help your business grow. Ready? Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a proven plan of action you can use to grow your business.

1. Start With Your Story

Who are you as a real estate professional? Are you a master of landing the right deal? Love helping families find their forever home? 

All good business plans start with a story that explains who the individual or company in question is, what they do, and the business goals they want to achieve.

To accomplish this, make sure your business plan includes:

  • An executive summary: A sentence or two that summarizes what your business does.

Example: "I sell homes to middle-income buyers in the greater Denver area."

  • Your mission statement: A few sentences that explain why you do what you do.

Example: "At Smith Real Estate Group, we strive to provide our clients with amazing experiences they'll remember for the rest of their lives. Buying a home is a monumental responsibility. Our goal is to make the process simple, fun, and stress-free for our clients so they're delighted with their purchases."

  • Your vision for your business: A couple of sentences that illustrate what the world will look like once you've achieved your mission. 

Example: "Eventually, I want to be the most trusted name in Boise real estate, effectively serving a range of clients who come to me to get the highest possible price for their homes."

  • The SMART goals you want to achieve: The individual objectives you'll work to accomplish, i.e., "Sell 15 homes next year," or "Make $150,000 annual salary." Remember, the best goals are SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Example: "I'll start making $150k a year (or more) within 36 months. To accomplish this, I'll invest in new marketing techniques to promote my services so I can sell 15+ homes every year."

2. Research Your Target Market

Which area of the real estate market do you specialize in? Do you sell high end luxury condos? Help businesses find the right place to expand? Maybe you’re all about helping folks find tiny homes. 

To answer this question, I suggest a fair bit of research—especially if you're brand new and don't have an established client base. Look for sections of the market that are growing and ones that are slowing down.

It's important to look at data for the location you’re serving. Nation-wide trends are useful to a point. But you really need to know what's happening in your corner of the world.

Also, research your city's other agents, brokerages, etc., as you'll compete with them for potential clients. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to differentiate yourself and achieve your short and long-term goals in the real estate industry.

3. Identify Your Ideal Clientele

Now it's time to zero in on the specific people you sell to.

There are plenty of options. You could be a condo specialist and only engage new leads who want to buy condos in your area. Or focus on real estate listings for new home buyers. Or work in the top end of the market and help wealthy individuals settle into their second homes. You do you. 

The specific demographic you choose to serve should depend on the local market, your unique skill set, and your passions. Find a balance between these three things.

When you know your ideal clientele, take a moment to define buyer personas.

Not familiar with the term? Don’t worry—it's not as weird as it sounds. A buyer persona is a fictional person you invent to represent your real-world target market. Feel free to get weird with it—your persona could be Fred the Family Man, or Suzy the Soup Maker. Just be sure to include personal details, such as goals and pain points to make it useful. 

While it may seem silly, a buyer persona keeps you focused on your ideal clientele so you can ensure your marketing efforts always match the people who want to help. 

4. Perform a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis helps you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and find the opportunities and threats in your chosen real estate market. Think of it like a battle plan to help you conquer your real estate market. Here's a quick example:

  • Strengths: Maybe you have amazing people skills, so you host open houses for your clients on a regular basis. This helps you meet potential buyers and sell clients' homes. It also acts as a terrific lead generation strategy. Or, maybe you’re really, really good at staging older homes. 
  • Weaknesses: Maybe you hate social media, so you never use platforms like Facebook and Instagram—even though other agents use them to close deals. This would be a weakness, but it doesn’t mean you need to change things. Instead, acknowledge it and adjust your strategy accordingly. 
  • Opportunities: If most of the real estate professionals in your town focus on low- to mid-priced real estate listings, you could target the small collection of luxury buyers in the area.
  • Threats: Are there a ton of other real estate agents in your area? Maybe a nationwide brokerage is opening a new office and threatening to take your knees out with a bat. (Who knew real estate could be so brutal!) The point is: being aware of threats helps you target your services effectively so you can become a real player in the game. 

5. Set a Clear Marketing Strategy

You might run the best real estate brokerage in the United States. But if nobody knows about your real estate team's supreme skill set, you’re not likely to make many sales. Which won’t be an issue if you’re running a mob front—but if you actually want to make a profit, marketing is crucial. 

Fortunately, you've defined your target market, ideal clientele, and personal strengths and weaknesses. So, building an effective marketing strategy should be easy. 

Think about your target audience: how can you reach these people? Social media is probably your best bet if you serve young, first-time homebuyers. If you serve an older, more affluent crowd, in-person meetups and cold-calling techniques might be a good option.

Consider your competitors, too. What channels do they use to connect with new leads? Use another approach to differentiate your services better.

Finally, take a hard look at your abilities. Just because a marketing plan works for one person or company doesn't mean it will work for yours. Since you're building your business, you need to assess your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you implement strategies that suit your skills and disposition.  

6. Make a Financial Plan

Yes, we gotta talk about money. Adding financial details to your real estate business plan gives you a strong starting point to drive growth. 

How much will you spend on licensing, lead generation, and a real estate CRM? Remember to budget for everyday expenses while working, like gasoline for your car and meals while traveling. (Just no two martini lunches!) 

You should also include the amount of money you want to make after expenses and taxes and the number of deals you'll need to close to make the numbers work together.

Most people shy away from their finances. Don’t make this mistake. You need to know what your operating expenses are to know what your cash flow is. If you don't know that, you won't know if you're on track to reach your short-term or long-term goals.

One more thing: make sure your financial plan is realistic. Dreaming of million-dollar closings might feel nice, but those numbers won't help you. Do your research and input proper cost estimates. 

3 Tips to Create a Real Estate Business Plan That’s Actually Useful 

BOOM! Now, you know how to create a business plan for your real estate business. Go you. But to make sure your plan is top-notch, keep these three best practices in mind:

KISS: Keep it Super Simple

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds and wind up overwhelmed. Don't overcomplicate the process.

Your real estate business plan doesn't need to be professionally designed unless it’s being shared with business partners or investors. You can write it in Word on your laptop computer. Or scribble it on a napkin while you sip a cocktail at the bar. Whatever feels good to you. 

The most important thing is that you actually create a plan for your real estate business. The way it looks is less crucial. Don't get caught up in the details. 

Differentiate Yourself

What makes you special? No, not just in the “My mom says I'm special!” way. Like, what really makes you stand out from the other real estate agents and brokers in your local area?

Ask yourself questions like " What can I do better than everybody else?", “Why would clients want to work with me over another agent?” or "What am I willing to do that my competitors aren't?"

Did you come up with a few things? Good, now add them to your real estate business plan.

Being average is boring—so figure out where you stand out. Then, infuse it into every aspect of your business, from your website to how you engage with clients. That way, people know what sets you apart.

Revisit Your Plan Regularly

One more thing: your real estate business plan should be a living document. In other words, you should revisit it regularly to make sure it's actually benefiting your business.

Did you choose the right market? Are you serving the right clientele? Is your marketing plan actually working? Assess your business quarterly to see what's working and what isn't. Then use the takeaways to adjust your approach. That way, you can “always be closing” more deals. 

Pro tip: when starting out, use a business plan template. This gives you a starting point and makes it easy to edit your plans at any point. 

Level Up Your Real Estate Business 

If you want to build a successful real estate business, you need a plan. Luckily, you’ve already got one. 

Once you create your plan, you'll have a clear vision you can implement systematically to grow your business faster.  

Know what else will help you succeed in this industry? A solid CRM software with proven contact management, cold calling, email marketing, and sales reporting features.

Sound good? Give Close a try. We make it super easy to track leads, follow up with prospects, generate referrals, and turbocharge your real estate business.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial today to experience the power of Close!


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