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Every real estate agent remembers that amazing feeling they felt when they received their first commission check. You probably felt like you’re set as far as finances go. After all, you just have to keep doing what you’re doing and the commissions will keep rolling in. However, for many, it’s easy to forget that there are good months and bad months, and that you have to make each check last. Here are a few tips to make your commission last through 2018!

Not knowing how many transactions you will have in a year makes it challenging to set forth a budget. Try to get an estimate by examining your last two or three years in real estate. Determine what your average annual income was each year, how many leads you generated, how many appointments you booked, how many lead sources you used, what your conversion ratio was per lead and appointment, and how many homes you actually sold.

Do your numbers stay consistent year to year? Which of the above factors may have influenced changes you see in your annual commission? Take these into account to generate a realistic prediction of what your income will be. If you end up having an exceptional year that smashes your expectations, all the better!

If you’re still new to real estate, know that 59 percent of REALTORS® who have two years’ experience or less made less than $10,000 in 2015, so you may need to supplement your income for a while.

Daily Expenses
Remember your essentials: food, shelter, electricity, clothes, a car, entertainment—these are all things you need even if you have a slow month. Figure out how much it takes to maintain your household at a comfortable level and at an emergency level. Once you’ve done that, create a monthly budget to run your household at a comfortable level, and make sure you maintain enough savings to last at least a few months at your emergency level, in case you run into business hurdles.

Emergency Savings
An emergency savings fund is one of the best ways to make sure your commission lasts all year. Set aside a portion of each commission to cover unexpected expenses, such as car repairs and healthcare co-pays.

Real estate agents need vacations too, especially after a year’s worth of careful budgeting. Take some stress off your wallet by budgeting the cost of your vacation into each month’s commissions.

Being a real estate agent is amazing, but there may come a day when you’re ready to retire, and as Linda McKissack says, “The day you sell your last house is the day you make your last dollar.” So inflating your cash flow with passive income can add to your financial security now and in retirement.

Now that you have some budgeting guidelines, go forth and blow your commission out of the water! How? Find out in our free monthly webinar series, Secrets of Top Selling Agents! Our first webinar in 2018 will feature Tom Ferry sharing proven strategies from his latest book, “Mindset, Model, & Marketing.” Register for the Jan. 31 webinar here!

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