What’s it like to be a brand new agent in the real estate industry? We examined the highs, the lows, and all the details with Luke Rutherford of Century 21 Hi-Alta Real Estate here in Asheville. He also spoke about his thoughts on buying vs renting a home.
Luke was born and raised in Asheville,which is not something you see every day. In a town full of transplants, Luke uses that fact to stand out. He got into real estate because it’s practical and hands-on. Also, the sky’s the limit for income!
Luke previously worked in the media industry, doing marketing and social media content creation. However, he wanted faster income growth. He has combined his skills for creating media content with real estate, and hopes to return to the media industry in the future.
For a hopeful new agent like Luke was, the real estate industry seemed pretty intimidating. The number of pros and experts leading countless teams in Asheville made him hesitate, but a family friend encouraged him to do it. He took the real estate license exam and passed the first time, then started working full time almost immediately.
Advice For New Agents
- Don’t believe the hype. “It’s nothing like they told me.” Luke says they’ll tell you real estate sales is straightforward, to do the math, and that it takes x number of sales per year to succeed. That’s misleading, as it takes time to build momentum. For Luke, it took 6-8 months to build up to a good sales flow, when he began negotiating closings regularly.
- You start from nothing. It’s scary. Real estate isn’t for everybody, and you need to build contacts and find resources actively. Every day.
- Look for the agency that’s right for you. After getting his license, uke shopped around and visited agencies. Many were large corporate offices, and he felt ignored. He wanted the small family feel, so he chose Hi-Alta. But you may enjoy the larger team and being able to fly below the radar while getting started.
- The future is unknown. Despite current success or big sale, you may crash in the near future if you coast, rest on your laurels, or stop hustling.
- Be patient. Don’t expect lots of consistent sales until your second year as an agent.
Building And Branding
Luke has embraced the changes that his firm recently went through, transitioning to a Century 21 franchise. The additional marketing tools, materials and resources they couldn’t afford as a small agency and boosted brand awareness has been incredibly positive. The shift also increased their number of leads dramatically.
However, Luke doesn’t just use the branding his firm provides. He’s ultimately independent, and relies on his name and image as his own personal brand. Luke strives to differentiate himself from others and be a household name in the Asheville real estate industry.
Instead of spending lots of money on leads, Luke wants to grow in a sustainable way. He aims to be a wealth of information for the community to earn trust (and eventually, sales). Luke is taking the slower route, strategically managing his sphere of influence to create a solid database. Although he still buys some leads, he knows he’s playing for forever by creating online digital content. He is finally seeing some payoff now, but the first 8 months were all building. This is where that patience comes in.
But his approach has shown big success. Luke went from struggling to cover bills to closing a $1.2 million deal in his first year as an agent.
So what is Luke’s personal brand? He’s an Asheville native looking to give back to his community at every opportunity. With this image, he hopes to launch from brokerage to creating affordable communities through building and development, investment and rental opportunities. Ideally, he’d help give everyone the opportunity to have a stable home. Everyone deserves equal representation no matter their income level or status. Because his community has provided so much to Luke, he feels the need to repay that support.
For more on his thoughts on Asheville’s housing market and whether it’s better to rent or buy, listen to his chat with Rodrigo on our podcast.
Currently, Luke is excited to purchase his first rental property, heading for the goal of 30 doors by 30 years old. Google Luke Rutherford and connect on social media!