An open letter to anyone wanting to get their real estate license...

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642

Several times a year I am approached by people who want to become a Realtor. Many of them think it's a great way to supplement their income while they keep their day job. A lot of others are interested in a career change. I decided to type this blog to save myself time. Each time I'm asked I'll simply send the inquiring person a link back to this post. So, with that said, grab your favorite beverage and read below, because you're about to get a heavy dosage of what it's like to start a real estate career.


1. PASSING THE EXAM is easy. Creating a business with real income is a different story.

2. Now that you have your license be prepared to lose friends and get your feelings hurt. Most, if not all of your friends and family will avoid using you the first year or two that you're licensed. Simply put, you don't know what the hell you're doing. Earn your battle scares. Even after you've gained experience, you'll have friends and family who will not work with you because you're a friend or because you are family. It happens every day to Realtors across the country.

3. If you don't spend money you won't make money. You needs to spend THOUSANDS of dollars to create a business. Most of what you are thinking is a cute and new idea has already been tried a thousand times. You will do what every new agent does... spend money (A LOT OF IT) on the wrong things. Over and over again. There's a famous saying in this business..."If you want to get rich in real estate, sell stuff to Realtors." 

4. You and your smart phone will become inseparable. You will have to get up from eating, watching a movie and sleeping to take calls, return emails and respond to text messages. Of course you don't have to do this, but you also don't have to make any real money in this business. You'll get out of it what you put into it. Ignoring a call could be a $20,000 mistake. Or more. 

5. Be prepared to be second guessed, doubted, questioned, accused and lied to repeatedly. Buyers and sellers have the propensity to lie just like you and the guy next to you at the grocery store. People have perceptions about lawyers, mechanics and police officers. They have them about us too. Even after years of experience there will be clients who will second guess your every move. This will never go away.

6. You will show thousands of houses. Showing a house isn't just about unlocking a door. Sometimes you get rained on while showing. Sometimes the house says active on the market when it's already under contract with another buyer. Sometimes you are late to the appointment because of traffic. Maybe your buyer will be late. The number of things that can go wrong are practically endless. 

7. Almost nobody will respect your time. Almost everyone thinks you are over paid. 

8. Expect people to ask for kickbacks both legally and illegally. Buyers and sellers will often want to haggle with your commission. 

9. You will pay taxes. A lot of taxes. Expect to pay for the gizmo you use to unlock doors. You will pay for this yearly along with dues to three different associations. You'll pay for signs, lock boxes, tools, equipment, cameras, advertising for both you and your listings, leads, websites and on and on and on. 

10. You will pay for your own health and life insurance. There is no 401k matching in real estate. You are an independent contractor. In fact, YOU will PAY to be at your local real estate office! The broker will take money from you. You will also pay for an office if you want one. Your phone is your costs. Your internet is also your costs. So is your paper, pens and everything else imaginable. You're running a small business. It's ALL your costs. You'll also pay for errors and omissions insurance. The list is really long. Yay!

11. You will get screwed in this business. It's not for the naive, light hearted, ignorant or thin skinned. You will work your rear end off and sometimes not make a dime.

12. You will deal with a certain number of psychopaths each year. 

13. You will meet criminals, convicts and felons, especially if you work in the leasing industry.

14. Strange men and women will ask you to meet them at houses RIGHT NOW. 

15. You might get a gun pointed at you while showing a house or two. Sometimes rabid Pitt bulls will chase you down. 

16. Expect to get towed at least once.

17. Eventually you'll get in a wreck while showing. You better hope your clients aren't with you. Is your auto insurance updated correctly?

18. There is no disability insurance. So, if you break a leg while playing softball you're screwed. It's going to hurt your business.

19. You might get sued even when you aren't at fault. 

20. When you become successful your competitors might file complaints on you because they are jealous. You won't like this. 

21. As you show houses you'll be in questionable neighborhoods from time-to-time. You need to learn self-defense, carry a gun or a can of mace. Everyone should be concerned about their safety.

22. Be prepared to leave a social event early to run and show a house or to get yelled at by one of your clients for something you did not do. It doesn't matter, you are the chew toy sometimes. 

23. It's likely you'll get audited by the IRS. You have too many write offs and once again... you make too much money.

24. Lawyers are annoyed by Realtors. 

25. Expect to list homes and never sell them. No agent sells every home they list. You will waste time, money, energy and resources.

26. Your signs will be stolen, spray painted and eventually played with by the local kids.

27. Your flyer box will always be empty because kids, passerby's and neighbors will take too many. Sometimes they'll take all of them in one day. Then you'll be chastised for not having flyers in the flyer box.

28. Did I mention you'll deal with at least two crazy people each year? 

29. EACH real estate transaction you work means you are likely dealing with at least 8 different people. You're responsible for 15-20 things. Right now I am trying to close 11 contracts. I am a little stressed. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about my paperwork, my clients and my business.

30. You will become an unlicensed therapist, divorced lawyer and counselor. You aren't allowed to give legal advice, and you shouldn't. You aren't a doctor, but everyone will unload their personal lives with you. You will sometimes live their life. 

31. Your spouse will at times hate what you do for a living. 

32. Your wife/husband will despise the fact that you are always on your phone.

33. When you're sick... you still work. There's no floating holidays. 

34. While on vacation.... you still work. You can get an agent to cover your business, but NOBODY will care for your business the way you do. 

35. Sometimes when you make mistakes it costs people money. You can't just apologize. 

36. You have to have a nice car. You must wear nice clothes.

37. When you first get started everyone will know you don't know what you're talking about. It's a fact. This sucks. But if you stick it out, you'll be okay. 75% of the new agents don't make it.

38. You get to work with agents! Not all of them are put together correctly. A lot of your problems in this business will be because of the other agent. You will get upset, angry, pissed and offended. Ego's are here too.

39. Wait for it..... friends, neighbors and family will ask you for real estate advice while they are involved in a real estate transaction..... YOU aren't.

40. Other Realtors will give your client advice when they aren't supposed to. Every buyer and every seller knows an agent somewhere. 

41. Each market is different. Very different sometimes, but that won't stop friends and family from influencing your client. Your client will become confused at times. 

42. You have a better chance of meeting E.T. than you do working real estate part-time and being successful. It takes time, effort and money to be a part-time Realtor. In fact, being a part-time agent can be even more difficult.


So why do agents do this?

You'll have the amazing opportunity to reap what you sow. You can work when you want. No matter how bad your boss is (client) you are only working for them for a certain period of time. You get new bosses all the time. You can make a real difference in a lot of people's lives. You literally help shape dreams. YOU can be the difference in someones life as they look to sell and buy a home. And not all clients, buyers and sellers are bad. Most of them get it. It's awesome when everything works out.

And sometimes the money is really good. 

Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






Re-Blogged 28 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lynn B. Friedman 04/02/2014 07:37 PM
  2. Karen Hurst 04/02/2014 09:57 PM
  3. Richard Weeks 04/02/2014 10:28 PM
  4. Will Nesbitt 04/02/2014 11:48 PM
  5. Jill Winchel 04/03/2014 12:35 AM
  6. Sandy McAlpine 04/03/2014 05:29 AM
  7. Jill Sackler 04/03/2014 09:42 AM
  8. Bob Southard 04/03/2014 11:17 PM
  9. Phil Parisi 04/03/2014 11:49 PM
  10. Graziella Bruner 04/04/2014 12:36 AM
  11. ReadySetLoan Condo Approval Team 04/04/2014 01:48 AM
  12. Rob Arnold 04/04/2014 02:06 AM
  13. M.C. Dwyer 04/04/2014 03:15 AM
  14. Lynn Ganster 04/04/2014 05:15 AM
  15. Shirley Parks 04/04/2014 12:11 PM
  16. Gary McNinch 04/04/2014 03:23 PM
  17. Sandra Paulow 04/05/2014 01:41 AM
  18. Tammie White 04/05/2014 10:54 AM
  19. Claudia S. Nelson 04/05/2014 08:55 PM
  20. Bill Dean CDPE 314 575 6924 04/07/2014 03:57 PM
  21. Liz Lockhart 08/17/2014 11:52 AM
  22. David & Lisa Webber 08/18/2014 11:40 AM
  23. Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster 08/18/2014 03:07 PM
  24. Barbara S. Duncan 08/19/2014 09:43 PM
  25. Suzanne Strickler 08/20/2014 02:46 AM
  26. Lori Cain 08/20/2014 03:05 AM
  27. Chris Combs 02/17/2015 04:59 AM
  28. Raoul Loustaunau 02/23/2015 02:14 AM
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Harrison K. Long
HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney

I like your "so what" conclusion and focus on "amazing opportunity to reap what you sow" and "You can make a real difference in a lot of people's lives" and "You literally help shape dreams" and "YOU can be the difference in someones life as they look to sell and buy a home".


Aug 20, 2014 02:49 AM #340
Lori Cain
eXp Realty - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Really going to have to re-blog this one. You hit it out of the ball park.

Aug 20, 2014 03:02 AM #341
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A.

Saw this on  Lori's re-blog and it's true down to the last word.  It's print worthy and should be shared with all those casual remarks from friends and relatives of, "I think I'll get my real estate license" without having a clue as to what they must do with it to be successful.

You captured the pros along with the cons of a real estate agent's life.

Aug 20, 2014 03:16 AM #342
Gordon Wood
Canyon Ridge Realty LLC - Scottsdale, AZ

This was a great read for all those currently in the busiess as well. Thanks for the  read.

Aug 20, 2014 03:59 AM #343
Allen Bush
Intero Real Estate Services - Brentwood, CA
Home Sales, Real Estate, REALTOR®, GRI, CHS, ePro

Very well put Greg!! However, I did not see the all mighty Crystal Ball seller and buyers think we have to predict the future of the real estate market;-) Just saying.

Allen Bush

Aug 20, 2014 08:58 AM #344
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Greg, I think you covered pretty much everything and it's ALL very true. Not surprised this post got so many views. Still, I'm sure the aspiring realtors out there probably don't appreciate all the points the way we do and many think "it' will be different for me". Ha!

Aug 20, 2014 09:31 AM #345
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Greg....yes, pretty good list. Those of us who are agents realize this isn't fiction, you are correct here, as a result of experience, surely.

But we're always looking for the next young agent to get in and play with us.

Aug 20, 2014 01:46 PM #346
linda subach
Great breakdown. I sent it to some people that think I owe them my business since they are newer in the business.
Aug 23, 2014 11:54 AM #348
Jenny Robinson
Avalar Real Estate - Clarksville, TN

Fantastic letter!  So many people think its a fun and easy career to get into but don't think about all the expenses and issues real estate agents put up with.  I'm sure this is a real eye opener for some thinking about real estate.

Aug 25, 2014 03:05 AM #349
Ann Mullikin
Exit First Realty - Richmond, VA
Realtor® at Exit First Realty

It is a great post!

Aug 26, 2014 04:35 AM #350
Carrie Hush
Century 21 Redwood - Spotsylvania, VA

Fantastic read. Really describes the mess (and joy) that we go through!!

Sep 08, 2014 06:46 AM #351
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Greg Nino, this blog has a lot of comments. I saw this reblogged too.

Sep 12, 2014 01:27 AM #352
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

26 reblogs! Wow;) I found your blog through Liz re-blog. That gold star is really well deserved.

I like #30:) If to think how many hats me might wear during transaction, we must charge more.

Nov 25, 2014 04:26 PM #353
Michael Anderson
Anderson Real Estate Investments, LLC - Nashville, TN
Real Estate

What a great read very honest and taken the lime light off the beauty of reality.

Feb 13, 2015 08:24 AM #354
Kate Fomina
Princeton Real Estate - Alameda, CA
Your most creative Realtor in Alameda and SF

Loved to read it. I should show it to all my people who ask me the same question :)

Feb 23, 2015 08:43 AM #355
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Thanks, Kate!

Feb 23, 2015 12:33 PM #356
Michael Anderson
Anderson Real Estate Investments, LLC - Nashville, TN
Real Estate

Number 2 is so true, sad yes, but true. I thought this article was an eye opener for a friend so I forwarded it to him and he laughed, good read..thanks!


Mar 03, 2015 05:06 AM #357
Ashley Alred
Pullman, WA

What a hot topic...touches on so many great points! Pros & Cons! 

Mar 16, 2015 07:45 AM #358
Ian Bush
Ashburn, VA
Bush Realty Group, Keller Williams, Loudoun County

I like the bit about "part time" because that is very true. It is hard to do a regular job and real estate part time.

Apr 03, 2015 04:51 AM #359
David Wells Jr.
Source 1 Properties, LLC - Nashville, TN

Very nice article, people don't usually tell you the real aspects to the business. Those lockboxes do add up when they go missing, Lol. They also should expect to show buyers 20 or more houses before they buy one. That is always fun. I also invest in real estate and I learned no matter what you do, there is no such thing as a free lunch.    

Nov 04, 2015 11:56 PM #360
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
Providing Real Estate Advice 7 days a week!
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