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  • Writer's pictureChristy Murdock

7 things that make real estate agents look unprofessional

You might be surprised at how much time I spend looking up real estate agents and brokers online. Sometimes it's to find a current headshot to accompany a profile for Inman. Sometimes it's because I have a meeting scheduled with someone new who has reached out to me. Sometimes it's the follow-up to a friend-of-a-friend, "Do you know so-and-so?" conversation with an existing client or colleague.


Here's what's wild about that: There are many times when what I look up is less-than-flattering. Maybe I look up a website and there's not one single photo of the agent there. Maybe I look at a social media profile and it's outdated and seemingly abandoned.


Maybe I'm looking for details about an agent and I'll find five different profiles with five different sets of contact info and even different brokerage and market information.


Other times, I'm not looking up anyone in particular, but I'll follow back someone on Instagram and see off-brand, low-resolution memes in their feed. These do nothing to make them look like the active and engaged real estate pros I know they are.


In the highly competitive real estate market, where clients and referral partners often know only what they can find online, maintaining a professional image is crucial. As a real estate agent, your reputation can make or break your business. Here are seven things that can significantly damage your professional image and what you can do to avoid them.


1. Old, low-resolution headshot


Your headshot is often the first impression potential clients have of you. Using an old, outdated, or low-resolution photo sends a message that you don’t care about your professional image. Invest in a high-quality, up-to-date headshot that portrays you as approachable and competent. A polished photo can build trust and make you more relatable to clients.


Protip: Look for a headshot photographer who works with actors and theatrical productions. They'll be adept at helping you project a specific attitude and image.


2. Bad bio


Your bio is a crucial part of your personal branding. A poorly written bio, full of jargon, acronyms, or irrelevant information, can turn off potential clients. Make sure your bio is clear, concise, and highlights your expertise and achievements. Use it to tell a story about who you are and why clients should choose you over the competition.


Protip: Avoid cliches that make you sound like everybody else. Yes, we know you care about your clients. But show us what you actually do to make a difference in their lives and transactions.


3. No online presence


In today's digital age, having no online presence is akin to not existing. Potential clients often search online before making contact. If they can’t find you or your information is outdated, they might move on to someone else. Ensure you have an updated website and active profiles on major real estate platforms. Engage with your audience through blogs, social media, and online reviews to build credibility and trust.


Protip: Google yourself (or have a trusted friend or colleague do so) and find out what image you're projecting. Make sure that free profiles on Realtor.com, Zillow and other portals are kept up to date, as well as your LinkedIn and Google Business profile. Their SEO power often means that they're the first thing that comes up when someone looks for you.


4. Poorly organized offers


Presentation matters, especially when it comes to offers. If your offers are disorganized, incomplete, or confusing, clients may perceive you as unprofessional or inattentive to detail. Take the time to ensure all documents are well-organized, easy to understand, and professionally presented. This shows clients that you are thorough and dedicated to providing excellent service.


Protip: If you're not good at manipulating and organizing pdfs, take a little time to work with an administrative assistant at your office or ask your training director to schedule a class on digital presentations.


5. Outdated or underdeveloped marketing


Marketing is a key component of your business strategy. Relying on outdated methods or having underdeveloped marketing materials can make you look behind the times. Invest in modern marketing techniques such as social media advertising, email marketing, and virtual tours. Keep your materials fresh and engaging to attract and retain clients.


Protip: While community-based marketing like school sponsorships and local advertising can be effective, remember that your online SOI has far more reach and potential impact.


6. Outdated branding


Your branding should evolve with your business. Using outdated logos, color schemes, or slogans can make your business appear stagnant. Periodically review and update your branding to ensure it reflects the current state of your business and appeals to your target market. Consistent, contemporary branding helps maintain a professional image and keeps your business relevant.


Protip: There are color combos and fonts that scream 80s, 90s, and aughts. If it's been a while since you've had a branding refresh, it's almost certain that you're projecting an outdated image.


7. Social media with vulgarity, drinking, low-resolution memes, or other off-brand communication


Social media is a powerful tool, but it can also be a double-edged sword. Posting content that is vulgar, shows excessive drinking, or includes low-resolution memes can severely damage your professional image. Always ensure your social media content aligns with your brand and maintains a professional tone. Share valuable insights, success stories, and engaging content that resonates with your audience while avoiding anything that could be seen as unprofessional or off-brand.


Protip: TikTok trends in particular can make you look silly, tacky or out of touch. Even if you're "just having fun," always evaluate your online content through the lens of a potential client or recruiter.


Maintaining a professional image as a real estate agent is essential for success. By avoiding these seven pitfalls — an old, low-resolution headshot, a bad bio, no online presence, poorly organized offers, outdated or underdeveloped marketing, outdated branding, and inappropriate social media content — you can build a reputation that attracts and retains clients. Invest in your professional image and watch your business thrive.

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