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Real Estate Career Advice
People decide to become real estate agents for many reasons. They like to work with others. They want to control their own schedule. They are interested in real estate for themselves and think that agents have access to "the best deals."
No matter what your motivations, become familiar with the realities of being a real estate agent before you jump in. Here are a few essential facts to get you started.
Planning to Work Part Time? Consider Something Else
You might be surprised how many people who are enrolled in real estate pre-licensing schools think they can be successful agents by working part time. That can happen--but it is not the norm.
You should probably consider a different career if you plan to work real estate when you're in the mood, for an hour or two a day or week, or only on days you're scheduled to answer phones at the office.
Successful real estate agents are at the office every day, just as they would be for any other full time job.
They might come and go as they work with buyer and seller leads, but their office is their home base, the place where people who want to sell real estate call and walk in.
You'll Spend Money for Awhile, Not Make It
There are quite a few expenses associated with being a real estate agent:
Required business licensing
Fees to join a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
Fees to join a local Board of Realtors (usually in conjunction with the MLS)
Ongoing fees for local real estate boards (quarterly or monthly)
Expenses of doing business, which vary depending on the agency you choose
Gasoline to drive customers and clients around
Errors and omissions insurance coverage
Additional auto insurance to cover increased liability
Optional training to learn effective sales methods or to acquire special certification
Even if you sell a house immediately, you won't be paid until the transaction closes--typically 30 to 60 days. And those first sales are often slow to kick in. New agents in most markets should have enough extra savings to cover at least six months of living expenses--the more the better.
Your Support System
Your family's support is essential. Explain to them that you will probably work evenings and weekends. Yes, you can make your own hours--and you should not allow clients to control your time--it's as valuable as theirs. But there will be many occasions when you can only show a home or take a listing appointment in the evening, or when an evening is the only time you can write up an offer. If you're committed to success, you'll do the work.
If You're Only Interested in Your Own Deals
Do you want to be a real estate agent just to work your own transactions? Go ahead and take the pre-licensing class so that you'll have a good background in your local real estate customs, but don't actually become licensed just yet.
Agents must disclose that they are licensed agents. Telling a for sale by owner seller that you are an agent is sometimes an immediate turnoff.
Agents are governed by a state licensing board and are held to a higher standard than an unlicensed individual.
Agents do have early knowledge and complete details about new listings. And they do gain valuable insights into the local market. Weigh the pros and cons to decide which path is best for you.
It's Not Just Sales
Good real estate agents don't "sell" real estate. They help people find and acquire properties. There's a big difference in those two concepts. Being an agent is more like being a combination detective, counselor, and coordination expert.
Detective because you have to find the perfect property...but,
You won't know what your people are truly looking for unless you're a good counselor.
Once you've made the sale, you'll shift into coordinator mode to get the deal closed.
And back to counselor if problems develop along the way.
Approaching a real estate career as purely sales just won't cut it. Sure, you'll sell some houses, but will your clients tell their family and friends that you did a great job for them--or that you simply wanted to make a sale? It's those referrals from past clients that increase your income year after year.