Owning property – it’s one of the cornerstones of the global economy. And with real estate accounting for roughly $3.7 trillion worldwide, it’s no wonder so many people get into the real estate business.
But the real estate industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and market trends shaping the way people buy, sell and manage properties. Whether you’re looking to start a home buying and selling business, a commercial real estate investment firm, a property management company or real estate investment trust, you need a well-thought-out business plan that not only outlines the steps to create a comprehensive and effective business structure, but also accounts for real estate’s unique challenges and opportunities.
A real estate business plan shares many similarities with a standard business plan. Here on Bplans, we’ve got a great guide already on how to write a traditional business plan. In this article, we’ll outline the key points to consider when creating a comprehensive and effective business plan for your real estate business as well as provide a free downloadable real estate business plan template.
Understand licensing requirements
Your business plan will certainly include a company description – this is where you’ll outline your business, including its legal structure, management team and more.
What’s your area of expertise?
Go into detail describing the area or areas of the real estate market you plan to operate in: residential sales, commercial leasing, property management, or more niche markets like luxury real estate or vacation rentals. Your business may want to mix two or more of these segments.
Once you’ve identified your niche, you’ll need to obtain any necessary licenses and permits. This process can be time-consuming and complex, so it’s best to research the requirements ahead of time and create a plan to ensure you’re compliant with all regulations. License and permit requirements vary by state and locality, so be sure to check with your local government to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork filed.
Get a good team
Depending on the market segment or segments you’re targeting for your real estate business, you’ll need to identify the team members that will help you get your business off the ground.
Brokers, contractors, legal and financial advice
If your plan calls for purchasing properties, you’ll need a team of real estate agents or brokers. Document how they will help you find and acquire real estate, as well as how they can assist with marketing and selling properties once they’re in your portfolio.
You will also want to document how contractors and inspectors will help you assess the condition of properties you are considering purchasing, and provide estimates for repairs or renovations.
Real estate markets are rife with legal hurdles, so you will want an experienced real estate attorney to help you navigate these issues. Document how you will be able to draft contracts and review lease agreements, and the guidance you will receive on zoning laws and regulations
Finally, an accountant can help you manage your finances, including bookkeeping, taxes, and financial planning. They can also advise you on the best business structure for your company.
Plan for visibility in a crowded space
With so much competition, it’s essential to develop and document a strategic marketing plan for promoting your real estate services.
Your marketing plan should detail the channels and tactics you’ll deploy to reach your target audience and convert them into clients. Identify the most effective marketing channels to reach your target audience, such as social media, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing.
Embrace online lead generation
These days, a vast majority of prospective buyers start their search online when looking for properties. So you’ll want to detail how you will optimize your web presence. You can also outline a content marketing plan that will position your company as an expert in the areas your target markets are interested in. These could include topical blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos and other content types to engage potential clients and showcase your expertise. All of these will make it easier for clients to find you.
Document your entire sales process
Of course, there will be plenty of in-person work to do, too.
With long sales lead times, you will also want to describe your sales process and how you will meet sales targets. This should include prospecting methods, lead generation techniques, and follow-up strategies. Establish a client relationship management (CRM) system to manage leads, schedule client consultations, property showings, offer negotiations and contract signings so you can demonstrate that you will be able to manage and transactions effectively.
Show how you will stay ahead of the market
Demonstrating in your business plan that you have conducted a thorough market analysis is crucial. To conduct an effective market analysis for your business plan, you should investigate the current state of the real estate market in your target area, including property prices, sales volumes and inventory levels. You will also want to examine the competitive landscape in your target area by analyzing other real estate businesses offering similar services.
Understand your customers’ needs
Next, determine the economic conditions and needs of the specific customer segments you want to serve, whether they’re first-time homebuyers, luxury property investors or commercial property renters. The more you understand how your target audience feels about the real estate market in your area, the better you will be able to tailor your services.
You will also need to show your knowledge of external factors like mortgage rates, and local, state and federal government regulations that may impact the real estate market. These factors all contribute to market volatility, so showing how you will manage market shifts and adjust your strategies will better position you to mitigate potential risks by identifying them in your business plan and documenting contingency plans.
Create a financial plan to secure funds
It’s hard to operate a successful real estate business without access to capital. And you can’t expect to receive any – whether through a bank loan or investment – without a detailed analysis of your financial projections and funding requirements.
A 3-5 year financial forecast will demonstrate that you have a long-term vision for your business. Be sure to base your financials on market research and up-to-date industry data. You may also want to consider different scenarios, like best-case, worst-case and most likely outcomes to account for potential fluctuations in the market.
The forecasts should include: profit and loss statements, which illustrate your business’s revenue, expenses, and net profit or loss over a specific period; cash flow projections, which help you determine your business’s ability to generate positive cash flow; and balance sheets, which provide a snapshot of your business’s financial health, including its assets and liabilities.
Speak the language of investors
If you are writing your business requires specifically to secure outside funding, you should clearly specify the purpose and amount needed in this section. Describe how the funds will be used, whether for purchasing property, hiring staff or launching a marketing campaign. And detail the type of funding you are seeking, whether it’s a loan, equity investment or a combination. Include information on your desired terms, repayment schedule and any collateral you can provide.
Above all, be transparent about your funding needs and show potential investors or lenders how their investment will contribute to your business’s success and generate a return on investment.
Real estate business plan templates and examples
Because of the intense competition, changing market conditions and startup funding needed, it’s important to write a comprehensive business plan if you’re considering starting a business in the real estate industry. Taking the time to plan out your business before getting started will minimize your risk and maximize your potential for financial success. To help get you started, check out our free home real estate business plan template. You can download this document in Word form and use it as a foundation for your own business plan.
In addition to these resources, you may want to brush up on how to write specific sections of a traditional business plan. If so, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to write a business plan.