As Real Estate Changes, Here are 20 Truths That Have Stood the Test of Time

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The market has changed. How you do business has changed. Change is all around you. Successful agents are not only surviving through these changes, but adapting and thriving through the uncertainty.

On this week’s Walkthrough™, host Matt McGee says there are plenty of constants all around you. From accountability to marketing, to setting expectations and how you treat other agents, here are 20 real estate truths that have stood the test of time.

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Links and Show Notes

Full Transcript

(SPEAKER: Matt McGee, Host)

Maybe, just maybe it’s not a good idea to start a podcast season by reading to you. But stick with me, here are some recent headlines:

“Industry Disruption: 10 Ways Real Estate is Changing.”
“Five Ways Technology is Changing Real Estate.”
“Real Estate Agents are Facing Unprecedented Levels of Change.”

I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like that. Heck, I am sure you don’t need to see headlines like that. You know it’s true because you are living it. The market has changed, how you do business has changed. I get it.

Everybody wants to talk about how real estate is changing, but you know what? We have this thing we do on this podcast, this principle you’ve heard me say in every episode: stand out from the crowd. So today, in the middle of all this change, some reminders about real estate truths that have stood the test of time because we could all use a little bit of certainty right now.

This is “The Walkthrough™.”


Hello. Hello. My name’s Matt McGee. I’m the managing editor of HomeLight’s Agent Resource Center. Welcome to “The Walkthrough™.” My gosh, it is good to be talking with you again. Very, very excited to get Season 3 started today.

Since we spoke last, we have hired a podcast producer. Her name is Lisa Johnson Smith. Some of you have met her already. Many of you will meet her in the future. And Lisa and I have some big, big plans for Season 3 and the future. Very excited to get things rolling.

Couple of things that haven’t changed. This is the show where you’ll learn what’s working right now from the best real estate agents and industry experts in the country. At HomeLight, we believe in real estate agents. We are here to explore how great agents grow their business, stand out from the crowd, and become irreplaceable.

Couple of quick reminders, then we’re gonna dive right in. If you wanna get involved in the show, you can find me in our Facebook mastermind group. You can find Lisa as well. Just go to Facebook, do a search for HomeLight Walkthrough™. The group will come right up. You can leave a voicemail or send a text. The number is 415-322-3328. Or send an email to walkthrough[at] If you missed any of that, I will give it out again at the end of the show.

I wanna start Season 3 by practicing what I preach. You just heard me say it: stand out from the crowd. So I’m gonna zig while everyone else zags. No guests today, no interviews, just me and you. And hopefully, some welcome and perhaps much-needed reminders about what hasn’t changed in the real estate business, about what it takes to survive and thrive while so much around you is changing.

Be sure to stick around to the very end of the show. I’m gonna share some news about a Walkthrough™ experiment that we’re starting next week. But if you’re ready, let’s dive right in. Here are 20 real estate truths that have stood the test of time.


Real estate truth number one: Trust is everything. Just about everything we do as humans is based on trust. The people we let into our lives, we trust they’re not gonna hurt us. The cars or products we buy, we trust that they’re not gonna fall apart. So, how does this play out in real estate? Have you ever said, “I don’t trust that person, so let’s hire them?” Of course not. No one says that.

You work with lenders and closing services that you trust to get to the finish line. So, everything you do, and I mean everything, should be done with the goal of creating trust. You’ve heard it a million times. People like to do business with people that they know, like and trust. As you listen to the rest of today’s truths, this “trust is everything” idea, it’s gonna come up a few more times starting with truth number two.

Don’t underestimate face-to-face communication. I know it’s faster and easier to text, or call, or even email. And you need to communicate in the way your clients prefer, but nothing builds trust like face-to-face communication. One single conversation can create more business than 100 Instagram posts. You talk to someone in person, they start to know you, like you and trust you. They do business with you. Then, they refer friends and family to you because you’re great.

All of a sudden, you’ve got a cycle of repeat business that started with meeting a new lead for coffee. This is why door-knocking and open houses can still be effective. And it’s not just about creating new business, but also about saving and preserving business. If you’re having trouble with a local lender, for example, paying him or her a personal visit to talk through the situation. Well, that can be the surest way to hold things together. Don’t underestimate face-to-face communication.

Truth number three: Answer your phone, reply to your texts and emails. No one likes to be ignored–especially other agents. I recently asked a question in our Facebook listener community about what you wish other agents did better. The most common reply–communication.

Speaking of which, truth number four is: Call your database. A database filled with people who know, like and trust you offers your best conversion rate. It’s the best source of repeat business and reliable referrals that there is. So check in with them, invite them to coffee, host events for your best clients. That’s all part of working your database.

Here’s another truth: Know your numbers. And this one is actually truths five and six. So truth number five: Real estate is a math equation. To reach your annual GCI goal, you’ll need to close X number of transactions. To close X number of transactions, you’ll need Y number of clients. To get Y number of clients, you’ll need to go on Z number of appointments.

To go on Z number of appointments, you’ll need to make a AA number of calls. You get the idea, right? So on and so forth. Real estate is a math equation. This is, was, and always will be true.

Truth number six (part two of “know your numbers”): Market stats. Now, you might think, “Oh, Matt, that is so boring. No one watches my market update videos.” All right, maybe not. Maybe you need to find a better way to present that info, but let me put it like this. Would you buy a car from a salesman who didn’t know cars? Would you hire a CPA who didn’t know how the IRS operates? Of course not.

You’re in real estate. You need to know what’s happening in your hometown or city, and even in specific neighborhoods. How many homes are available, in what price ranges? How long are homes in different price ranges staying on the market? Also, what’s the current mortgage rate, and what happens to monthly payments as the rate changes? You have to know your numbers.

Here’s truth number seven: Speed to lead matters. The longer you wait to respond to a new lead, the less likely you’ll get their business. Stats say that if you contact a lead within 5 minutes, you have an 80% chance of doing business with them. If you wait 10 minutes or more, you have a 5% chance of getting their business. Earlier I mentioned: answer your phone, reply to your text and emails, right? Well, do it quickly.

Next truth on my list: Take care of your past clients. Countless studies in the business world have shown that it’s easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. Experts say the probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%. So take care of your past clients, or as my wife calls them “forever clients.”

Truth number nine: The best marketing you can do is to answer questions and solve problems. For years, I’ve called this “marketing that doesn’t look like marketing”. Take the most common questions that people ask you and turn it into content. Do videos, write blog posts, share your knowledge on social media. This is how buyers and sellers will come to know, like and trust you.

By the way, I’d especially put effort into video. When people can see your face, they make a much stronger connection, and you move a lot faster toward “know, like, and trust”.

The next truth that hasn’t changed: Be consistent. Whether it’s videos, blogging, social media, direct mail, door-knocking, whatever you’re doing to generate and convert leads, you have to be consistent. You have to show up on a regular basis. You can’t do a neighborhood mailer in February and then the next one in October and expect it to work. Your lack of consistency creates their lack of interest.

Truth number eleven: Nothing drives success like accountability. You can make a living without accountability, but I don’t think you can reach your true potential. Accountability is what separates the agents who do 75 deals a year from the agents who do 20 or 25. Find an accountability partner or a coach, someone who will hold you responsible for doing what it takes to reach your goals.

Next truth: Practice, practice, practice. You’ve gotta work on scripts and role play with other agents. It’s not a sign of weakness. You know what made Michael Jordan the basketball GOAT? He practiced as hard as he played. Maybe even harder. Same for Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods. If they’re not too good to practice, neither are you.

One of my favorite phrases, (this dates back like 100 years), “Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”

Truth number thirteen: If you run a team, give hiring the attention it deserves. You can have the best systems, the nicest office, the best marketing in town, but it’s useless if you hire the wrong people. It’s really hard to spend too much time on hiring. You have to get this right.

One more truth for team leaders: Don’t skimp on new agent training and onboarding. Their success is your success. No matter how much experience they have, a new team member still needs to learn your expectations and how you conduct your business.

Speaking of expectations, here is truth number fifteen: You have to set expectations with your clients. You don’t have to work 24/7 to succeed in real estate. Set boundaries. You’ll be happier. You’ll have more energy, and don’t be surprised if your business grows.

Truth number sixteen: You are the most valuable asset you have. Hey, take care of yourself. You can’t help others if you have something wrong inside. You gotta learn to say no more. Whether it’s your mental health, physical health, spiritual, or emotional well-being– make those priority number one.

Next truth: The second most valuable asset you have is time. You can always get more leads. You can always expand your sphere. You can always hire more staff or add more agents to your team. But the one thing you’ll never get more of is time. Manage it well. Focus on things that are the best and highest use of your time. Delegate everything else.

Another truth: The third most valuable asset you have is your relationship with other agents. So much of what I’ve said today and so much of your business is focused on buyers and sellers. I get it. They’re the ones who pay your commission. But if you don’t have a great reputation with other agents, you’re gonna find yourself with fewer commission checks to cash.

So be the type of agent that other agents want to work with. Be the agent that other agents trust. That’s one of the unspoken secrets to getting more offers accepted, winning more bidding wars and even getting more offers on your listings. Do unto other agents what you would have done unto you. It’s the golden rule of real estate.

Okay. Two more truths, and these should be familiar by now. Truth number nineteen: Be different. Stand out from the crowd. There is so much sameness in real estate, and this is a longstanding truth. My dad was a real estate agent, my sister too, and then my wife got her license 18 years ago. And there have always been very few memorable real estate agents.

Fast forward to today. We are more than a year into this thing where there are more real estate agents than homes for sale, and I don’t think that’s gonna change anytime soon. Do you? So, it’s never been more important to know what makes you different, and be able to explain it clearly to buyers and sellers.

And our final truth, number twenty. I bet you can probably guess this one: Become irreplaceable. I say this in every episode because there are big companies trying to replace you, trying to remove you from the real estate transaction saying, “Agents are going extinct.” Then at the local level, you’ve got today’s homeowners thinking they don’t need you to sell their home.

They’re calling agents and asking for huge commission discounts because they don’t think you add any value in a market like this. You have to change both of those narratives. How? Well, you have to become so valuable to your sphere and your community that you can’t be replaced. My goal is that this podcast helps with that.

If you missed it, go back to episode 69 from last August. I shared three questions to make yourself an irreplaceable real estate agent. It’s a blueprint to help you change the narrative that you aren’t needed.


So there you go, twenty truths that have stood the test of time. I hope this serves as a welcome reminder that in a time of great change in real estate, there is still a lot of certainty all around you. No Takeaway segment today since it was just me chatting. Takeaways will be back next week.

And, in fact, let me tell you about an experiment that starts next week. We are going to spin out the Takeaway segment as a separate download for you every week. Here’s what I mean: The Walkthrough™, (the main episode), will continue to be published every Monday. And at the end of each conversation, I will share my takeaways– what I think were the most important things that my guests said. That’s still going to be part of the main Walkthrough™.

But then we’re gonna take that, you know, two to three-minute Takeaway segment and offer it as a stand-alone download later in the week by itself, probably on Thursdays. So, if you heard the full show on Monday, there’s no need to listen to takeaways on Thursday, unless, of course, you want a reminder. But, if you missed the full show on Monday, you could catch just the takeaways on Thursday, and, hopefully, that will encourage you to go back and catch up on the full episode. All right?

So, that experiment starts next week, and I would love your feedback on it. If you have anything you’re listening to it and you’re thinking, “Yeah, this is great. No, it’s not great.” Let me know. Here’s the contact information. Again, anytime you can get in touch, leave a voicemail, send a text. The number is 415-322-3328. You can send an email to walkthrough[at] That comes right into my inbox. Or, find me in our Facebook Mastermind Group. Go to Facebook, do a search for HomeLight Walkthrough™, and the group should come right up.

All right. That’s all for this week. My name’s Matt McGee, and you’ve been listening to The Walkthrough™. At HomeLight, we believe in real estate agents. We’re here to explore how great agents grow their business, stand out from the crowd and become irreplaceable. Go out and sell some homes. I’ll talk to you again next week. Bye-bye.

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