If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s, you remember when everyone had that friend, family member, or acquaintance who tried their hand at becoming a real estate agent. Somewhere along the line, real estate became perceived as a glamorous, easy job that anyone could do. But if you’re seriously considering getting into real estate, you should know that it isn’t glamorous or easy. It definitely attracts a certain personality type — strong, independent, and willing to take responsibility for their own success. That’s why not everybody makes their real estate career last! Read on to discover 5 real confessions of successful real estate agents and decide if you have what it takes.
1. You can’t snap your fingers and get your real estate license.
Yes, it’s true that in most states, it only takes a few months to become a licensed agent. That’s why so many people are drawn to the idea of giving it a shot. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to achieve! The state licensing exams are far from simple. Even these days, when it’s easier than ever to get your real estate license online, you have to invest time and money into understanding laws and procedures inside and out. Don’t wait until you’ve finished training to interview brokers, either. It’s not uncommon for a brokerage to ask for additional coursework before letting you jump into the field. This often means even more cash is coming out of your pocket.
2. Don’t expect to work a little and make a lot.
How much do Realtors make? It’s enough to make the cost of getting trained and licensed worth it, right? Well, not for everybody. The idea that Realtors have a ton of free time and make huge paychecks is a myth. In reality, it all depends on the sale. Once you start working for a brokerage, they will take a large portion of your commission. Not to mention what you owe in taxes. You’ll also need to use some of the money you have left for business cards, flyers, and other promotional material. Factor in the many hours you spend driving around, answering emails, and talking to the client, mortgage company, and everyone else involved in a home sale, and it’s daunting math. You might not necessarily be making the big bucks for all your hard work.
3. You have to be the best salesperson around.
A shy person might hesitate to become a Realtor, and with good reason. You’re selling homes (actually, lifestyles) which are enormous and important purchases, and that means you have to be better than the average person in sales. Real estate agents can gain the reputation of being sharks. They’re often aggressive because they have to be. In every major city, there are thousands upon thousands of real estate agents, and each one depends on commission to make a living. That doesn’t mean that you should be pushy. The best real estate agents know how to network within the industry and gain the trust of their clients. It definitely requires talent.
4. Dealing with clients can get wild.
Sure, buyers and sellers might think of real estate agents as unpredictable sharks with questionable negotiation tactics. But what about them? The clients acquired by a real estate agent can vary in crazy ways… and some can actually be crazy. Many real estate agents answer late night phone calls from buyers in tears, cracking under the stress of deciding on their first home. Others are simply impossible to please and looking for a combination of amenities that is either way out of their budget or simply impossible to find. Sometimes, the process of buying or selling a home will reveal cracks in a marriage, and then the real estate agent is right smack in the middle of a couple’s war!
5. Being your own boss is actually cool.
When you begin researching how to become real estate agent, the reality can feel a little daunting. But if you’re the type of go-getter who actually enjoys knowing that nobody but you is in charge of your success, you could end up loving this job. There are plenty of days you’ll end up working from the couch in your pajamas, fielding phone calls and thinking up your next strategy for a sale. You have to be a strong organizer and a jack of all trades, but if you can make the industry work for you, there’s no more powerful feeling.
So there you have it. Becoming a real estate agent is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a great job for the right kind of person. You’re part salesperson, part therapist, and part police officer — at least when the neighborhood kids start terrorizing your next open house.
Oh, one last thing. Don’t even think about jumping into real estate without reading this Open Letter To Anyone Considering Becoming A Real Estate Agent.