For personable, outgoing people, a career in real estate can look pretty desirable. Many also think it’s also an easy job at which to make money. And it can be, but it takes both time and energy to make that happen.
While it’s not specifically a sales job, many people with backgrounds in sales find it to be a natural transition. However, a history in sales isn’t by any means required. The job of a real estate agent is really more of a service position. The better you serve your clients, the more successful you’ll be.
Of course, there are many pros and cons to this career path. Being your own boss means taking on quite a bit of responsibility as well as mental and financial preparation.
Here are some things you should know about this career path.
You won’t need a degree, but you will need a license.
Most states require you to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, becoming a real estate agent does not require a college education.
What you will likely need to complete a pre-licensing course. Typically, this can be done in as little as a month or so. Requirements may vary some from state to state as well though.
Additionally, you’ll have is to pass a licensing exam. This exam is often broken down into two sections – one involving national laws and one specific to your state. The exam can be somewhat challenging, so it’s important to prepare thoroughly.
Don’t expect to make any money right off the bat.
While you’ll have more control over your earnings compared to a conventional job, there are also drawbacks. How much you earn is often directly proportional to the work you put in. Plus, you should be prepared to go as long as six months without a paycheck.
Commission checks aren’t typically cut until a transaction is finalized. That means it could take you a while to start earning.
Additionally, there are several investments you’ll need to make beforehand. First of all, the licensing exam is not free to take, though the cost varies by state. Secondly, you’ll need a marketing budget and business cards. Thirdly, if you don’t already have one, you’ll also need a good, reliable vehicle.
Managing your work/life balance can be a challenge.
While one of the perks is having somewhat flexible hours, they are what you make them. While you aren’t required to work any set hours, you may very well have to work around those of your clients.
This means you may be free to do various personal tasks during normal work hours, which can be liberating. However, you may very well have to work nights, weekends, and possibly even some holidays.
It can be a really fulfilling career.
If you love helping people, being a real estate agent can be quite rewarding. Just think – your clients are making this major life change and you get to help them.
That said, since home buying is such a significant financial decision for many people, there can be ups and downs. You’ll have to be prepared to work with people who may be nervous about buying or selling. Additionally, you may also see a few cases of buyers and/or seller’s remorse.
It’s not a career without risk.
It should be noted that many new agents may get easily overwhelmed, which explains the high failure rate. When representing your clients, you assume certain risks and liabilities.
It’s important to have insurance, considering certain mistakes could even trigger litigation against you. Things like neglecting to rectify various inspection issues or failure to disclose certain things about a property can lead to lawsuits.
Without a guaranteed income, you also assume financial risks that are directly linked to your abilities as an agent. However, if you’re a motivated self-starter, it may very well be your calling.