Considering becoming a licensed real estate agent? If so, you’ll be joining the over 3 million people in the US with an active real estate license, according to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO). Real estate is an alluring profession for many thanks to the flexible schedule and unlimited earning potential, but it’s also a challenging field to get started in.
If you think real estate could be your career or an avenue for secondary employment, here are six questions to help you decide.
Are you prepared to spend the time and money to obtain your real estate license?
Depending on your state, receiving your real estate license could take 40-150 hours of formal education. The training typically lasts about 3-6 months, plus 1-2 months to process your license application. It can cost anywhere between $500-$1,200 for the license fees, exams, study materials, applications, background checks, etc.
That’s around 4-8 months in which you won’t yet receive any income as an agent, but you will be working hard and putting in the hours. With motivation and hard work, those hours can certainly pay off once you’re a licensed real estate agent and ready to take on your first clients.
Some agents decide to join a reputable brokerage firm. While this may be associated with some costs and commission splits, there are usually a few helpful perks to joining a brokerage, especially for new real estate agents. Benefits like networking, support finding clients, marketing tools, or training opportunities are often available to agents at the firm.
Are you comfortable with a commission-based pay structure?
Especially when you’re first starting in the field, you won’t always have a deal in the works. You may have periods of days, weeks, or even months in which you’re searching for potential clients and not actively making income from real estate transactions. Since there’s no guarantee of a steady paycheck in real estate, being diligent about managing your money is a must. But, if you’re determined and driven, the sky is the limit for earning within the real estate profession. One possible income sourceto tap into as you begin your journey in real estate could be from joining a brokerage firm as a junior agent. Junior agents are part of a team at a brokerage usually working to establish clientele. A broker may be willing to send clients your way in exchange for a commission split.
Are you tech-savvy?
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a smartphone within arm’s reach at all hours of the day (and night!) But, if you’re not versed in social media, email, messaging apps, and electronic document signing, you might want to consider taking a Tech Education course. Much of an agent’s day is immersed in technology to stay up to date with current listings and be in close communication with clients. Tech skills will go a long way in the real estate industry.
Could you benefit from more freedom in your schedule?
Flexibility and independence are two big draws of the real estate profession, as you can control your schedule. Yet while you may have more freedom during the typical 9-5 business hours, you might be working weekends, evenings, and sometimes early mornings or late nights. Since many clients work during regular business hours, most showings and meetings must occur outside the 9-5 timeframe.
You could be well-suited for a career in real estate if you’re willing to work non-traditional hours. Since you define your working hours, you can potentially plan around things like appointments, school field trips, and family commitments, making the flexibility and control of your schedule a great benefit.
Are you a people person?
Forming relationships with your clients is essential as a real estate agent. Earning their trust is crucial so they feel confident you can help them buy or sell their home. Knowing and anticipating your client’s wants and needs is a must, meaning strong interpersonal skills and social intelligence are integral to a successful career in real estate.
How do you deal with high-stress situations?
As a real estate agent, you’ll be walking alongside clients during high-stress moments – waiting to hear if an offer has been accepted, being outbid on their dream home, a listing not getting appraised for the selling price, or finding an unexpected issue during a home inspection. It will be essential to stay calm and composed for your clients and remain unruffled no matter what.
So, are you ready to dive into a new career as a licensed real estate agent? With the right tools, training, and motivation for success in the world of real estate, the opportunity for earning and growth can be limitless