There are more than 10,000 agencies competing for business in the Australian real estate industry, so you need great skills and plenty of support if you want to start a real estate agency from scratch.

Often, agents with aspirations and the confidence to start their own business are high achieving salespeople or property managers, but they don’t usually have a management background or a well-developed business plan before leaping into the abyss. That’s why such a large number of agencies fail each year.

To begin with, starting an agency takes a considerable capital – much more than just the cost of a real estate agent’s license.

So, what sorts of steps do you need to take to start your own real estate agency?

starting a real estate agency


  • Become licensed
  • Research markets and competitors
  • Develop a business plan and decide on your business structure (Sole trader, Partnership, Company)
  • Decide whether to have a business partner or go it alone
  • Decide if you want to be independent or join a network
  • Register your business with Government authorities
  • Securing finance
  • Locate and secure premises
  • Design a brand
  • Office signage
  • Breakthrough the noise of competitors
  • Build a property management rent roll
  • Hire quality staff
  • Create a brand that people trust
  • Craft a marketing plan that engages with local community

Covering the cost of an office fit-out and launch marketing plan frequently costs in excess of $200,000. Plus, countless unpaid hours will go into administration over your first few years.

Websites, computers, customer relationship management systems, online advertising systems, employment contracts, marketing collateral and property management systems are complicated and expensive, even though these days many are cloud based and come with monthly contracts – but those costs can be also be hard to keep track of, and run the risk of rapidly spiralling out of control.

Ultimately, there’s so much to consider – in addition to the challenging task of staying focused on dollar-productive activities – that many top salespeople or property managers simply drop the ball on the most important tasks – listing and selling or renting properties!

That’s where a franchise or cooperative real estate network can really make a difference.

The major network’s offer systems and support that have been tried and tested, saving you hundreds of hours of research and the risk of making the wrong decision. Plus, the backing of a well-recognised and trusted brand certainly gives consumers the confidence to choose you over competitors.

starting a real estate agency


However, franchises can really restrict your capacity to tailor your identity so that it suits the region you plan to work in. Plus, you’ll typically pay between 7 and 10 per cent of your sales and property management fees and usually have to sign a contract that will keep you locked in, whether the franchisee supports you adequately or not, for at least a period of five years. The real downside here is that when you’re a success and your profits really start to rise, so do your franchise fees – substantially.

So, is there a genuine alternative? Do other models really offer similar or exactly the same level of support and recognition?

Well yes actually. There’s just one Australian brand that truly operates in the interests of real estate agents; one that was set up by real estate agents with a not-for-profit administration, so it delivers maximum value for money. It’s First National Real Estate.

As a not-for-profit cooperative, First National Real Estate delivers everything you need to set up your first real estate agency without breaking the bank. Because we’re focused entirely on your success and profitability, not ever-increasing corporate profits, every cent of your membership fees goes way further than imaginable in a franchise. We’re a member-driven organisation and this makes an enormous difference.

Every member of First National Real Estate is assigned a Business Growth Manager (BGM), whose role is to help you develop a successful business plan, guide your through well-proven checklists, and help you at every step of the way. Unlike a franchise with vested interests, your BGM is free to help you make whatever software/systems decisions are in your best interests.

Importantly as well, we don’t ride you to produce more profits for us, and we’ll never threaten to place another member in your suburb if you don’t increase turnover. Ask any other franchisee what happens should your business be met with lower turnover periods and you might be surprised to find how little patience is shown.

One thing that we’re absolutely certain of at First National is that even the highest achieving agents say they always benefit from the support of other agents. So, while we offer Australia’s best training, products and support, sometimes the greatest favour we can do you is just introducing you to our other members. They remember the help they received from others when they were trying to get on their feet. We’re big on that!

You see we really do expect members to cooperate when they’re approved to join our cooperative. We expect members to work together for mutual benefit, and we leave them to contend with who they really should be competing with – our competitors!

So, while starting a real estate agency might seem like an overwhelming challenge, we’ve done it thousands of times and are here to help you find the right path to profitability. Talk to a First National Real Estate Business Growth Manager today and we’ll explain how and why we’re different, and how that makes the world of difference to you.

We put you first.

Thinking of starting your own real estate agency?

You’re the most ambitious salesperson in your team and you’re thinking seriously about opening your own agency.

We know. We get it. You have the confidence and you need your own space, so it’s time to spread your wings and leap into the future.

There’s just one important fact you should also consider – there are more than 10,000 agencies competing for business in the Australian real estate industry!

Your ability to sell is beyond doubt, but you’re going to need leadership skills and plenty of support if you want to start a real estate agency from scratch. That’s the sort of support you can get from a network but are you wondering if a network will be too restrictive for what you have in mind? You might want to think again…

Have a chat with us.

You might be pleasantly surprised at how effectively our designers can help you style your identity to unlock the agency of your vision. We’ll show you how our members have developed First National brand profiles that resonate in entry level markets, aspirational markets, and premier property arenas.

You’ll definitely be impressed at the standard of training, human resources support and the marketing strategies we’ve deployed to put our agents at an advantage. You won’t find better anywhere, and when you see what’s on offer, you won’t believe you ever considered going it alone.

Call today to arrange a confidential briefing.


Related articles:

How do you break into a new marketplace?

8 things to consider before starting a real estate agency


The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.