5 ways to invest in your most important asset: Yourself

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Whether you are just getting started in real estate or are looking for ways to freshen up your career with a commitment to personal and professional development, investing in yourself is always a good bet, according to new Inman contributor Tina Lapp, head of local brands for Colibri Real Estate.

In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.

There are so many ways to invest in yourself as a working professional in real estate. Today, let’s cover five ways to develop professionally, from upskilling to being active in your local real estate association, earning a designation, choosing a mentor in the business world and getting involved in your community.

No. 1: Learn a new skill

Learning new skills is one way to expand your career pathways and demonstrate agility as a working professional. It is also essential to stay relevant in today’s workforce.

According to the 2023 Workplace Learning Trends Report by Udemy, 2022 saw a 49 percent annual increase in time spent learning technical skills. And upskilling has a significant financial impact in real estate. According to the 2022-2023 Income Guide by Colibri Real Estate, real estate professionals who invest in their professional development earn an average of $72,474 more than those who don’t.

With the median amount spent on professional development for real estate agents estimated at $680 a year, investing in your own learning has an impressive return on investment.

No. 2: Get involved in your local real estate association

Did you know that the National Association of Realtors is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.5 million members? You can join on the local level along with other real agents and brokers to access trainings, lobby the government, and obtain market research and MLS listings. But don’t just pay your dues and not participate.

Getting involved looks different for everyone, so take a test drive around the various activities and determine what appeals to you – advocating for legislation, attending events and conferences to stay up to date on the latest trends, and so much more. Consider joining a committee to make it easier to stay engaged and committed.

Getting involved in an association is also a great way to network and build relationships with other real estate agents. 

No. 3: Earn a specialization or designation

Real estate agents who focus on one or more specializations or designations earn more than agents who don’t associate themselves with a particular specialization. According to the 2022-2023 Income Guide by Colibri Real Estate, the most profitable specializations are green or environmentally-friendly properties, foreign investment and luxury real estate.

Taking the extra effort to earn a designation can really pay off. For example, real estate professionals with a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation earn nearly four times the average salary of luxury professionals without this designation.

Consider where you want to go in your career, and dive in to one of these or the many other ways to hone your knowledge of real estate.

No. 4: Choose a mentor in the business world

Everyone benefits by learning from others, and they don’t have to be in your industry to provide significant value to you. As you advance in your career, make a list of business topics that you want to better understand, and match those topics to people in your network.

Mentorship does not have to be formal, either. You can learn a lot from a single coffee meeting with someone. A structured mentorship program is another way to commit to the practice of learning from others and asking for help. There is even a National Mentoring Month program to help people take action in getting a mentor. 

No. 5: Get involved in your community

Real estate isn’t just about buying and selling houses; it is selling communities, too. It is understanding what makes a home valuable as part of a neighborhood and a collective group of people and places.

Every community has areas that it wants and needs to improve, from housing affordability to infrastructure, transportation, the environment, recreation and so much more. In 2022, local government search data showed an increase in searches by residents and employees for things like “electric vehicles,” “water conservation,” “microgrid” and “stormwater infrastructure.”

Major efforts are underway to create better communities for the growing senior population as well as connecting to youth for everything from jobs to public transportation and citizen engagement.

Helping your community helps you gain credibility as an expert in the community to better serve your buyers and sellers. While you are helping all the people around you, you are also developing a great way to find prospective homebuyers and sellers, too.

Whether you are just getting started in real estate or are looking for ways to freshen up your career with a commitment to personal and professional development, investing in yourself is always a good bet.

Tina Lapp is head of local brands for Colibri Real Estate. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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