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Starting a career in luxury real estate is exciting—you get to spend time looking at beautiful properties, meeting interesting people and you get to run your own business.

And, just like starting any business, you’ll need to budget for your expenses along the way. In fact, knowing how to manage your real estate budget is one of the most essential skills for luxury real estate success.

If you’re coming from the traditional real estate market, you might already have an idea of what a real estate budget for your business looks like.

However, breaking into the luxury real estate market may take a little more planning and capital than the traditional market. Fortunately, there are some expenses that can wait until your career gains more momentum, and many of the up-front costs tend to have a quick return on your investment.

1. Focus on Buyers If Your Real Estate Budget Is Tight

After your education, one of the most important expenses in your real estate budget is for marketing. Not just marketing yourself, but also putting up capital to market luxury listings as well. You’ll need a budget for paid advertising, mailers and other marketing materials to get your listings sold, and to keep yourself top of mind with prospects in the process.

As you can imagine, a new luxury real estate professional may need a few thousand dollars saved just for marketing before they’ve even closed a transaction.

The good news is, if you’re willing to start out as a buyer’s agent, you won’t need as big of a budget. You’ll still want some money to spend on marketing yourself, but you won’t need to worry about the cost of marketing listings since you’ll be helping buyers find a home, rather than helping sellers sell their home.

There is a tradeoff, though—buyer agents don’t typically have as much scheduling flexibility since they have to work around their client’s time to look for homes, and the income is a bit less predictable.

At the same time, it’s a more affordable way to break into luxury real estate if you don’t have a huge real estate budget until you can afford to take on some listings.

2. Know Which Marketing Tools Are Worth Investing In

As a new or aspiring luxury real estate professional, it’s easy to get “shiny object syndrome” when it comes to fancy marketing tools or even investing in a nicer car to show up to meetings in.

The truth is a lot of those “bells and whistles” are unnecessary when you’re first starting out. As far as priorities go, your real estate budget is best spent on things like:

– Automating your email marketing so you’re always nurturing new and existing prospects

– Social media management (if you’re not interested in keeping this up yourself and your brokerage allows for outsourcing this task)

A professional website—even if you plan to do the majority of your prospecting in person or through an online real estate portal, since a professional-looking website can help build credibility at a glance

If you can find space in your real estate budget for these in your first three to six months of your career, you’ll have most of what you need to start fine-tuning your brand and presenting well with prospects.

3. Prioritize Training and Luxury Real Estate Designations

If you’ve listened to our Estate of Mind Podcast or kept up with any of our Institute Member Spotlights, you might have noticed many top producers in the luxury real estate market attribute their success to ceaseless learning. In other words, it’s true that “the more you learn, the more you earn.”

Becoming a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (The Institute) is the first step to earning the internationally respected Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ designation, which not only helps you stand out from the competition, but also gives you access to ongoing world-class training in luxury real estate.

The sooner you can budget for your training and designation, the sooner you’ll be on your way to bigger and better opportunities in luxury real estate—and of course, a bigger and better real estate budget!

The Institute Can Help You Grow Your Career on Any Real Estate Budget

The Institute also offers a wide range of resources for you to invest in yourself at any stage in your luxury real estate career—even if it hasn’t begun yet.

– Subscribe to our Estate of Mind podcast and/or Estate of Mind video series on YouTube for monthly deep-dives into specialized luxury real estate topics with industry experts.

– Take our Luxury Livestream or Luxury Online training to qualify for The Institute membership and its many member benefits.

– Visit your Membership Portal for brand-new training sessions, as well as our book, “Rich Buyer Rich Seller: The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes,” which is available for free to all members of The Institute and also available on Amazon.

Diane Hartley is the president of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, the premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market. The Institute’s Designation, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™, is recognized around the globe as the gold standard in luxury designations. Institute training and membership is open to all real estate agents, regardless of firm, experience level or brand affiliation.