This article was originally published in Real Estate Agent Magazine Twin Cities, written by Charity Malmberg, Founder and President of Trademark Title


It’s no secret that New Year’s goals and resolutions are hard to keep. According to, only 8 percent of people actually succeed in achieving their resolution! This could be because goals are too lofty, unmeasurable or there is no action plan.

You probably have a number of goals for your real estate business in 2016, but do you have a plan of action or even a starting point? If you want your business to improve and grow this coming year, you need to start somewhere. You need actionable steps that move you forward.

Implementing these seven best practices into your business this year is an easy way to take action and make progress. Also, this might just be your first step toward achieving your larger 2016 goals.

Seven Best Practices No. 1 – Be Safe
Unfortunately, physical safety is no longer a guarantee in today’s business world. Your safety and the safety of your clients is incredibly important and should always be a consideration when doing showings and meetings with clients. Consider attaining a conceal and carry license, carrying mace or even a defense flashlight.

No. 2 – Data Privacy
With the vast amount of information held on our computers, tablets and even our phones, keeping your data and your client’s data private is paramount. Put locks on client files, secure your email and password protect your smart devices. You may even want to consider banning the use of community fax machines in order to protect client information.

No. 3 – Third Party Vendor Management
If you are referring your client to a lender, appraiser, title company or any other contractor, be sure you’re doing so in good faith. Take the time this year to interview each of your recommended vendors to learn of their data privacy practices, make sure their certifications are up to date and their prices are fair.

No. 4 – Stay Compliant
This probably goes without saying, but compliance is really not an option. To make sure your business and processes are compliant with changing laws and regulations, visit the department of commerce website, review the CFPB website and sign up for RESPA news email publications. The more you immerse yourself in the industry, the more likely you are to stay abreast of changes and keep yourself compliant.

No. 5 – Stay Current on CE & Licenses
This should be a no-brainer, but is always worth mentioning. Your clients should always have a licensed and professional REALTOR they can trust and that is exactly who you want to be. Why not beat the rush and get CE credits or license renewal in long before the due date when everyone else is scrambling to do it? Watch for package deals and online opportunities to make this something you can do on your time with less dime.

No. 6 – Vet Your Brokerage
Another great way to ensure that the people you’re working with are up to par and making you look good to your clients. Check to be sure they have written processes and procedures for handling client information, that they have a secure email server and review their E&O policy with them. Your clients may not know the work you’ve put in behind the scenes, but they will surely appreciate the superb service they receive from you and anyone connected to you.

No. 7 – Manage Your Money
Remember that you’re running a business and your gross commissions are all subject to taxes. In order to ensure you’re ready for year end, consider meeting with a tax preparer quarterly or even paying your taxes quarterly to stay on top of them. Also, make this the year that you commit to thinking long-term. Set up a meeting with a financial adviser to be sure you’ll be in a good spot when it comes time for retirement.

Implementing these best practices into your business will definitely take time and work. In the end, the reward comes in knowing you are creating a solid and professional business, one that clients can depend on and you can be proud of. Not only that, but you are taking action that can lead toward accomplishing your 2016 business goals.

Best of luck in your business year!