After one too many frustrating days at your current job, you've made up your mind: "I'm going into real estate!" Great! A career in real estate can be immensely rewarding and lucrative if you're willing to put in the time and effort.
However, not everyone is cut out for the work. If that statement has you scratching your head because you've always heard that real estate agents make tons of money for little work, well, consider unfriending whoever told you that. Physical labor it is not, but a career in real estate can be equally as mentally taxing and requires some personality traits not everyone possesses. So, ready to find out if a career in real estate is right for you? Read on!
First, ask yourself some questions. Why do I want to get into real estate? What do I want out of my new career? Am I willing to commit to doing whatever it takes to be successful? These are the sort of questions you'll face from managing brokers and other successful veterans of the industry, so it's best to have the answers figured out for yourself.
The first step to actually becoming a real estate agent is attaining your license. No biggie, right? Well, the exam can be punishing without proper preparation, so you'll need to study hard.
With the right training and loads of hard work, you can make enough money in real estate to make your head spin. But at the beginning, you'll need to put in an investment fund, so to speak. First, there's the cost of getting licensed, which varies from state to state. Then there are any number of start-up fees, which can include everything from marketing materials to real estate association board fees.
It isn't necessarily impossible to start your career in real estate as a part-time project, but understand that it's very difficult. Real estate affords flexible hours, to be sure, but it also demands your attention at times a typical 9-5 doesn't. House showings, for instance, are often held on evenings and weekends. How willing are you to run to a showing immediately after clocking out from your day job? It's a tricky balance, one which many real estate vets wouldn't even recommend. According to Sandi Wagner, Managing Broker of Watson's Intracoastal Office, "Real estate is not a part-time job. You work to grow your business sometimes six days a week. It requires discipline that goes well beyond part-time work."
Now comes the biggest potential deal-breaker for many: how are you with people? If you've encountered any real estate agents before, you know how effortlessly they can strike up conversation with just about anyone. Introverts they are not. That's because the ability to talk to folks is an indispensable skill for a career in real estate. "People who are naturally outgoing, friendly, personable, likeable, and professional have an easier time getting started," explains Rich Zeisel, Managing Broker of Watson's Fleming Island Office. "More than anything, real estate is a relationship business, so talking to people is a necessity."
In life, knowledge is the ultimate virtuous pursuit. The same goes for real estate, an industry that's eternally transforming. "This is a profession of constant change, and being on top of that change is a must," says Wagner. "Education and ongoing training is essential." You'll need persistent training to stay on top of this ever-evolving industry. Working for a broker who can keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings will do wonders.
Ask just about any real estate professional what it takes to succeed in this field and you'll get variations of the same answer: you have to want it, and you have to be willing to work for it. "I call it the 'Fire in the Belly.' It's a composite of high energy, optimism, persistence, honesty, a willingness to try new things, and the determination to stay with it and win," explains Wagner. Speaking of asking any real estate professional, that's exactly what Rich Zeisel recommends for newcomers looking for direction. "Success leaves clues. Find the top producers in your office and take them to lunch," he encourages. "Ask questions, watch, attend every training you can, and read everything."
Above all else, don't look at a career in real estate as a selling position. Consider yourself a helper. Successful real estate agents don't just sell, they garner trust and dependability from their customers. "To be successful in real estate, you must be able to get the trust and confidence of your customer," says Zeisel. "If a new agent focuses on helping rather than selling, they'll do just fine."