Starting a career or side job in real estate can be a really smart employment move. Successful realtors make good income while also controlling their own schedules. It can come with some hefty job satisfaction too. Most realtors say that one of the best parts of the job is helping people find and land the home of their dreams. What could be more rewarding than helping people improve their lives?
It’s not for everyone, though! You need the right personality and skills to get clients and make money. Here are some things to consider before you take the leap into the real estate sales game.
Real Estate Agent Licensing
Because there are many legal aspects to buying and selling real estate, not just anyone can do it professionally. If you want a career in real estate sales, you need to obtain a license first. Every state has different requirements, though they all require some sort of test first.
Typically, states require you to take a class, then pass an exam, and get your license. You may also be required to pass a background check.
DIY Schedule: Real Estate Agents Have Flexible Schedules
As a realtor, you largely set your own calendar of availability. That’s a real perk for people like busy parents who need flexibility. However, having autonomy means you also have to be highly responsible and disciplined. Working too much or too little has risks. Too much can be harmful to your personal life. Too little can be harmful to your bank account!
Successful real estate agents know how to strike a balance. If time management is a challenge for you, think about how you can become more skilled at it before you sink a lot of time and money into this career.
Income Waves: Real Estate Commissions Can Be Unpredictable
Realtors work on commission. That means they get paid a percentage of the selling price of the house when the house sale goes through. House sales spike in the spring and tend to be quietest during the winter months. As such, real estate agents make most of their money in the spring and summer.
Even then, the amount and timing of what you will make is not guaranteed. The average realtor sells about 10 houses per year. If a sale falls through, so does your commission. If you want to make a living out of sales that are heavily influenced by the season, you would be smart to ensure you really know how to manage your household budget with sporadic income.
You will be helping people who are often making the biggest purchases of their lives. They will be stressed, but also really excited. Even as the person who is just helping them through the process, that can be draining and exhilarating.
There is the potential to share in real joy, but also real frustration. Realtors who can be empathetic but also professional are less likely to burn out.
Sales is really about relationships. It’s about making people trust you and feel comfortable taking your advice. Networking is a huge part of being a realtor. That means much more than showing up to social events and handing around your business cards.
The most successful realtors cultivate and take care of relationships with groups of people in their sales demographics. You may have heard the term real estate farming. Real estate farming is not about realtors for farmers, although you could certainly use real estate farming to develop a niche in helping people buy and sell farms! Real estate farming is a technique to grow your sales in a certain area, such as visiting people and businesses in the areas where you want to do more selling and sending out targeted direct mail campaigns to people in those areas.
Most home buyers and sellers are novices to the real estate market. That means a lot of what you will do in your work will be to educate and explain things to your clients throughout the process, which can be complicated and confusing. If explaining, mentoring, and even hand holding isn’t for you, then think hard about whether this field is a good fit. However, if you enjoy talking to all kinds of people and are comfortable finding ways to communicate detailed information, this part of the job might be a pleasure.
Many Teams at Once
It’s not a job for folks who prefer to work alone! As a real estate agent, you will always be working as a team with your clients. Each client is like a separate team you have to coach. Plus, you will likely work for a real estate agency, which is your corporate team. The whole arena of real estate is non-stop collaboration. If you get inspiration and drive from working alongside others, then this part of a real estate career will be a great fit.
The biggest thing you need to consider is whether or not you are comfortable being a salesperson. As a professional real estate agent, you will not only be selling someone else’s property, you will constantly be selling yourself as the knowledgeable, professional, reliable partner the client wants at their side.