Are you planning to start your own team or brokerage, or maybe fine-tune your own business as a single agent? There’s a crucial first step that many real estate agents overlook: establishing your mission statement. Why, you ask, is that so important when there are so many other things to do and decisions to make?
Well, a good mission statement is actually made up of three elements that contribute directly to your success as a real estate agent:
- Your mission should direct each and every decision you make about your business.
- Your vision describes the world once your mission is in action.
- Your values separate you from your competition, help you attract the best talent and clients, and set expectations of how you conduct business.
Without a set mission, vision, and values (MVV), you’ll be directionless and your mission statement will sound like flat marketing speak.
Creating a Mission Statement
This is an important, often neglected or rushed part of starting a business. You might believe these thought exercises are a waste of time, or that it’s an old-fashioned business practice, or that they don’t apply to you as a Realtor—but we think we can convince you otherwise. Let’s walk through the why and how of mission statements.
But Really, Why Does a Mission Statement Matter?
I can hear you saying, “OK, I’m setting up my business and I have a million things to do. I need a budget, an office, a lead generation strategy. I need business cards, for goodness sake!”
But slow down and think about it. As you make each of these decisions, whether big or small, you need an overarching purpose to help guide you.
A mission statement outlines the difference you want to make in your community, demographic, or industry. It’s your core identity. It’s the main reason why you wake up every day and hustle your little heart out in real estate.
Once you’ve established your purpose—the reason you’re doing this—everything else falls into place. All of those decisions are suddenly clearer because you know exactly what it is you’re trying to do, the problem you want to fix, the difference you want to make. You and your team or brokerage understand your mission and are united in the effort to achieve it.
How to Write an Inspiring Mission Statement
Let me ask you this. Why do you want to start a team, brokerage, or even be a real estate agent? Give this answer a good think, brew some coffee, sit down in a quiet place, and follow these five simple steps:
- Figure out (or remember) why you’re a real estate agent. Try writing a short autobiography, and I bet that’s where you’ll find your “why.” It’s what sets you apart, because no one else can tell your story.
- Establish what you stand for. What is the solution to a problem that you see?
- Determine exactly who is impacted by that problem (a community, a demographic, or an industry).
- What is the impact your solution will have on your community? What change will you bring?
- Write out your statement by putting all of this together: Our mission is to (solve the problem or change) so that (demographic, community, or industry) can (result).
?Pro tip: Mission drives engagement. Consider your mission statement as a chance to define your purpose, but also a tool for recruitment and employee retention, as well as marketing and sales.
Our Favorite Mission Statement Examples
Don’t be erudite. Keep your language simple and clear. You want this to be a serious, foundational statement, but one that is short and sweet. Here are some of our favorite examples of strong mission statements:
Carnival Real Estate’s mission is simple and to the point:
To have satisfied clients AND to be known in the real estate community because of our excellence and integrity.
Keller Williams has a killer mission statement that hits all the highs without too much flowery language:
To build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, lives worth living, experiences worth giving, and legacies worth leaving.
Compass has a mission statement as slick and cool as their branding:
Our mission is to help everyone find their place in the world.
SERHANT. also has a pretty resounding mission statement:
It is our mission to reimagine real estate today for the neighborhoods of tomorrow.
Woman-forward powerhouse brokerage, Smith Spencer of Charleston, S.C., has this clean, crisp mission statement:
Smith Spencer provides the highest possible level of client service, built on a foundation of transparency, trust, and excellence.
Property management behemoth Douglas Elliman has a lengthy mission statement, but we like how they contextualize their history and legacy in their community:
For over 100 years we have been dedicated to providing the best residential property management to co-ops, condos and rental properties throughout New York City and beyond … our mission is to provide our clients with superior and responsive management and accurate financial reporting that they can count on to improve their quality of life and valuation of their homes. We also support the City’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions through increased energy efficiency in all the properties we manage.
Dreaming Your Vision Statement
A vision statement creates a picture of what the world will look like when you, your team, or your brokerage realizes the goal you’ve established with your mission statement. Don’t worry too much about being realistic. Your vision can—and should—be aspirational and audacious. This is something you will strive for but probably isn’t something you will—or even could achieve.
Wait, I Need a Vision Statement? Can’t I Just Have a Mission Statement?
Nope. You definitely need a vision statement, but they are a whole lot more fun. This is where you get to dream big and then shout those dreams from the rooftops. After all, big goals require a big vision—an audacious vision statement creates excitement, focus, and commitment.
Without vision, your mission statement is stale. A vision statement gives direction for everyone in the company—what you are setting out to achieve. Think of the mission statement as the why and the vision statement as the what.
To really drive it home, read this excellent essay by Anita Stubenrauch, author of Apple’s credo, where she writes, “Here’s what’s at stake: If we mistake mission for vision, we just might accomplish what we set out to do—and then stop there.”
How to Create a Powerful Vision Statement
Your real estate vision statement only needs to be one or two sentences so it’s easy for employees, agents, and customers to remember. Take the time to make sure your vision statement represents what you want for yourself and your employees, but also your customers’ interests. You can (and should!) use it in your marketing and branding, so make it appealing, polished, and professional.
- Think about your real estate brokerage five to 10 years in the future. Far enough out that you have time to achieve something big, but not so far in the future that you lose focus.
- If you and your brokerage work as hard as you possibly can, and assuming the market plays along, what can you accomplish? What is the world you want to see?
- Make sure you’re focused on outcomes, not outputs.
- Write it down.
This is your rallying cry!
?Pro tip: Write your vision statement in the present tense and keep it short and specific to a solution only you can provide. Don’t use words that are open to interpretation. And again, don’t be afraid to dream big!
Our Favorite Vision Statement Examples
I hate to step out of our industry for examples, but there are some really exceptional vision statements from the big dogs. Here are some of our fun-but-meaningful favorites that just might inspire you:
Coca-Cola’s vision of the future isn’t that the whole world is drinking coke all day every day—it’s much more about serving customers and the community at large:
Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.
Nordstrom has one of the most customer-first philosophies in the industry, which is clearly reflected in their brief but meaningful vision statement:
To serve our customers better, to always be relevant in their lives, and to form lifelong relationships.
Amazon has risen to great heights, which is reflected in its vision statement, one that almost makes online shopping seem like a holy mission:
To be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
We like LinkedIn’s simplicity and, much like the other examples, it is outward-looking and a strong rallying cry:
Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
With a phrase as unique as their business model, Southwest delivers another customer-first vision statement that is sure to unite the team.
To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
Crafting Your Core Values
To be clear, this is not a list of impressive words that you write down one time and never reference again. Your core values are self-imposed ideals that govern your behavior and decisions, as well as that of your team. These rules are what you will follow to achieve your mission and vision.
Core values should come from you, the founder. Too many voices and you end up with wishy-washy core values that don’t provide clear direction when you need it most. This isn’t a group exercise, but a direct reflection of the ideals, standards, and rules that you apply to yourself.
? Your core values should create a multi-dimensional portrait of you, and by extension, your business.
How to Conceptualize Strong Core Values
Start by asking yourself the following questions and then create a list of about 10 core values. Listen to your gut—don’t follow the pack or get your values from Google or ChatGPT. But if you want to break out the thesaurus after your brainstorm to come up with more impressive-sounding synonyms, we won’t tell.
Taking the time now to distill your core values into a succinct statement will pay dividends for many years.
?Pro tip: Your list of core values can be as few as five or as many as 10, but more than 10 can be difficult for your team members to remember. Narrow the list to remove redundant values—words like integrity and honesty are essentially the same in practice, since you can’t have integrity if you are not honest.
Examples of Popular (& Important) Core Values in Real Estate
- Honesty: We always tell the truth, no matter how difficult.
- Quality: We put pride in our work and stand by it.
- Knowledge-based: We are always learning and growing.
- Professionalism: We work and present ourselves with respect and dignity.
- Efficiency: We don’t waste time or money.
- Win-Win: If it’s not a win for both sides, no deal.
- Be the Best: Through education, service, and effort.
- Communication is the core of our success.
- Teamwork: You are an important member of our team.
- Trust: From our honest communication and follow-through.
- Protectors of the Planet: We strive to be environmentally friendly.
Just be sure you’re being true to yourself. Let these core values tell the world who you are, why you’re different, and what it should expect from you—at all times.
How to Use Your Mission, Vision & Values Every Day
You’ve put in a lot of work into creating your mission, vision, and values. Remember these two things going forward:
- These are living documents that should be updated from time to time. They need to be looked at and reflected on—maybe even every day.
- These are assets. They will help you run a highly successful business. Use your MVV to recruit, inspire, and retain. Use them in your marketing, social media, elevator pitch, and sales presentations. Your MVV is all about your story and what sets you apart and, most importantly, how you’re going to change the world. Make sure everyone knows about it.
Use Your MVV to Attract the Right Customers
In a lot of ways, your MVV is even more important to your brand than your company name and logo. Presenting your MVV to your customers will attract clients who also share your ideals.
Most people believe that customers make purchasing decisions based on price, but the truth is, it usually comes from a deeper place—an emotional connection or a desire to be a part of a movement. When you tap into that meaning for your customers, they will be attracted to you and your brokerage.
Use Your MVV to Make Better Decisions
Your mission, vision, and values are the “guiding star” for all decisions, both big and small. Think about this scenario: You are buying printer paper and trying to decide between the low-cost, 20-lb. copy paper and the most expensive 35-lb. cotton linen paper. If your values include “quality,” you obviously choose the more expensive paper.
However, if your MVV promises “not to create unnecessary waste,” you may decide to skip buying paper altogether and go entirely paperless. Your customers will understand this about your brokerage and also likely share that value. After all, part of their decision process in choosing you was likely based on those shared values.
Use Your MVV in Your Hiring & Recruiting
Your goal is to attract employees and agents who are in alignment with your mission and repel the people who don’t share the same vision and values. Post your MVV directly in your ads for both employees and agents and discuss it in the interview process.
This is the beauty of an inspiring MVV. It will help attract the kind of people who will fuel your long-term success and weed out the ones who won’t. In the long run, this will save you time and money.
Use Your MVV to Overcome Conflict
Your mission, vision, and values can solve or even prevent conflict between agents and customers. This is because you have already made it clear to your employees, agents, and customers what ideals, rules, and values will guide every decision you make as a company.
Consider this story from my own experience:
Not so long ago, as a managing broker for my own brokerage, I received a call from an upset homeowner. She explained that she didn’t appreciate getting a call from an agent in my company after her home had expired from the MLS.
She felt that the agent was aggressive and too pushy. I explained to her that one of our values is to “challenge ourselves to achieve more” and that the agent in question was trying to fulfill one of our company’s values.
I went on to ask her if she believed that her previous agent was “challenging themselves to achieve more” for her. She said that, no, her home should have sold, and the reason it didn’t sell was because the agent didn’t do all she could to sell it. I replied that maybe a more aggressive agent is exactly what she needed, and I set an appointment for the agent to meet with her.
In the future, when conflict arises—and believe me, it’s not a matter of if, but when—you will be able to pull out your list of values and find the appropriate one that addresses the situation. Keep track of how each value is applied and share it in meetings to teach your team members how to respond to conflict using the MVV.
Bringing It All Together
The Close’s Emile L’Eplattenier puts it this way, “As a Realtor, your mission, vision, and values will help you make decisions faster, give you a sense of purpose, and best of all, help you actually feel good about the job you’re doing.” We hope this guide will help you establish your own mission statement, core values, and path to future success.
Have ideas, thoughts, or questions? Leave a comment below and let us know about your own journey to establish your mission, vision, and values!