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Making a choice and having to go inactive.

Real Estate Agent

Today is my last day of being an "active" realtor here in Sioux City.  I do not want to discourage anyone from this profession.  But I do pledge to inform others of the positive and negatives of choosing this as a profession.  I would not recommend this career path to someone that is a single parent.  Unless you are well prepared to go months of spending money before you make any.  Even though I had 6 months of money saved to give this 110% it still was not enough.  Before the 6 months I did this part time with another job that I did about 30 hours a week.  I will be keeping myself current on my continuing education.  There are great people in this profession.  I am still going to keep up with AR.  Now I just need to find a regular paying job.  :)

 August 3, 2009

Thanks again to everyone.

Here are some more thought on this.

My stats are close.  There is 1 Realtor for every 298 people, (this isn't households) here in the Sioux City.  If you take the surrounding area the stats do change.  I do know, that not everyone with a license is active at this 100% but it is an interesting statistic. 

Another thing for Newbies.  It is tough if you are fairly new to an area because you are competing against those that have lived their whole life in the area.  This was another big obstacle.  If I were to do this over again as a single parent?  I would make sure I had $ to support myself for at least 6 months, a year would be better.  Sioux City (personal feelings) lacks good paying part time jobs.  This could be the way to go if you can work part time with a good hourly wage and tackle RE the rest of the time.  Another thing is I would do it back home were I have loads of contacts.  We all know this makes a good foundation for farming.  I was very aggressive when it came to marketing myself because I greatly lacked personal/business contacts.  I used everything I could think of. 

Good Luck to all and thanks again for the comments.  AR is loaded with great people.

Please stop by an read some of my non-real estate writings.  Click Here


Comments (92)

Craig Chapman

I liked the agent above idea about putting your lic. at a broker who did not charge fees so you could keep it active.  Being able to refer someone to a good agent you know, could earn you a nice little referral fee once in a while.  You might also consider looking around to see if there are any top agents in town who would be interested in hiring an assistant. Sometimes these are hourly pay with the ability to earn a commission on top once in a while.  This might be more like a real job.  Good luck.  

Aug 01, 2009 05:22 AM
Raine Carraway (Michelle Carraway)
EXP Realty - Lenoir, NC

Good luck, Michele. I had to make a similar decision last year, when my brokerage closed and I didn't think it was financially possible to "start over". I am just getting back into the business again, part-time for now, and hopefully full-time in a few months. If you can find a brokerage that doesn't charge a lot of fees, remember you can still keep your license active and make money by doing referrals, or even working part time. I hope whatever you do it turns out well. :)

Aug 01, 2009 05:24 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I understand.  In 2007 I had to work in my old field more than real estate.  Fortunately for me that is also consulting type work and I had a huge job offer come in from out of the blue.  It kept us going for 16 months.

Aug 01, 2009 09:19 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I have noticed a lot of agents here doing the same thing... and some of them were surprising.  Good luck with your next chapter.

Aug 01, 2009 09:49 AM
Ann Cordes
Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco - Waco, TX
Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream

Michele, I have been thinking of going inactive for a long time also. But ,like you, it is hard to give up the dream and I have been fighting it. Luckily I have a very supportive spouse who makes enough to pay the bills. But I am starting classes later this month to become a legal assistant. It will probably take a year and a half to 2 years.

You are not alone. Over 40% of realtors here in Waco Texas didn't close anything in 2008. In January when yearly board dues came up about 100 out of 500 left. Companys are merging office to save money and asking agents who just have a license but don't do anything to find another company.

I think you are wise to keep your license up and continue your education. In a few years when things start improving you can just reactivate your license and "try try again!"

Aug 01, 2009 10:15 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Michelle, this could have been the right thing at the wrong time !

Aug 01, 2009 10:31 AM
Dianne Hicks
Realty ONE Group - Poway, CA

I wish you the very best. It definitely isn't as easy as HGTV makes it(laughing). That is what I thought when I started. WOW... WAS I IN FOR A SURPRISE!!! I really liked Fernando's suggestions execpt being extra pushy is not my thing. There were some good ideas though. Perhaps doing 2 open houses a month to get a few buyers. You know what is best for you and your family and I always am a firm believer in trusting your instincts!!!

Love to Live and Live to Love... I sure good things will come your way!!!

Aug 01, 2009 10:33 AM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I am so sorry you had to make this difficult choice, and hope that it will be the best one for you and your children.  It takes time to build this business.  Perhaps part time will help you add to your income and move back into real estate another time.

Aug 01, 2009 10:59 AM

I would look for a brokerage that doesnt charge fees or have minimum requirements.That way you can keep you license active. Some brokarages dont require you to join the board, so you wouldnt be a Realtor, but at least you can not let your license go inactive.

Also, look for a property management job. Here in CA, you must be re licensed to do property management.Just a thought.

Work a full time job, and do RE part time. I have been doing that for quite a while. I only close about 2-3 sales a year, but at least, I make money and stay in the game.

But, I know it is easy to say for me, my kids are all grown up.

Good luck in whatever you decide!

Aug 01, 2009 12:08 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Michelle, I applaud you for giving it a try.

Even though I had "bug" years ago when my girls were little, I knew I couldn't handle both as priorities. Over the years they were growing up I started a home-based bookkeeping service, with a number of Realtors as clients; I worked weekends as the receptionist at a real estate firm for several years; I used my education as a landlord and an investor; I started doing real estate assisting. Finally the time was right for me to jump in!

You'll find a way to utilize your knowledge and skills, and you might be back full-time in the future.

Our lives take detours often, but they can be good, too.

Best wishes to you!


Aug 01, 2009 01:05 PM
Gabriel Silverstein
Angelic Real Estate, LLC - New York, NY

I'm curious how many real estate agents are doing this and it sounds like more than a few, not that it's surprising to say the least.  I'm wondering how many of you have found other things to do "on the side" in the lean times?  I found something very interesting recently, even though I would not reduce my real estate business hours, but it's been a great diversification, something "up" while real estate is clearly still down.  I'd gladly share with anyone that emails me.  I assume this trend is not going away quite yet, though I think things are starting to bottom...

Aug 01, 2009 02:00 PM
Al Carter
Windermere West Valley - Thunderbird - Peoria, AZ

I wish you the best of luck. I would just suggest if you feel you are a real estate agent, that's what you are. There are many people in many professions that work side jobs to help ends meet. Redo your business plan to include you new job. Your new job can be a great way to build your sphere. Work on a couple relationships in your office. one referral only and one were you show and list and someone else handles the day to day.

Again best of luck

Aug 01, 2009 02:35 PM
Linda Landry
HomeSmart Realty - Tucson, AZ

Michelle; thank you for sharing.  I am just starting out AGAIN.  I had my license as a single parent and let it go for the same reason.  I am now 61 and alone starting all over in real estate.  I have a full time day job and have not completed a transaction in the nine months I have been active.  I am not giving up and have a little more money saved for dues etc.  However, I certainly have my sights on making real estate a career and SOON!

Aug 01, 2009 03:30 PM
Tatyana Sturm
Exit Realty DTC - Aurora, CO
Denver Realtor, GRI, Denver/ Aurora CO Relocation

best of luck, you never know that the future holds

Aug 02, 2009 05:23 AM
Roshawnda Reed
Design Realty Group - Cypress, TX


I know it is a hard and heart wrenching decision to make: follow your dreams or support  your family. I truly wish you the best of luck. Don't give up/get out completely. The relationships and connections you have made will pay off so you don't want to lose the momentum you are starting. As a new agent and a single parent I understand exactly how you feel. I have decided to take on a part time job once school starts to kind of leverage everything. It is hard to be competitive when you have time constraints and financial constraints against you. I am not sure how old your kids are and what family you have to help but hang in there, try to stay active. I know they have apartment locators that will hold your license, doesn't cost much and you don't have to be part of the board. I wish you the best, don't fully put it to the side. Still work it like a business until you find a full-time alternative.

Aug 02, 2009 06:12 AM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

MIchelle, good luck with whatever you career path you choose to follow next.  I'll just echo some of the other suggestions that you try something real estate related so that you can use your knowedge base and connections and keep current 'cause the market will turn.  I know the decision couldn't have been an easy one and family always does come first.

Aug 02, 2009 07:39 AM
Michele Ott
Reno, NV

Thanks everyone.

I have tried many of the above suggestions.  I have had my license 2 years this coming Oct.  I started off full-time then went part-time while I worked.  Then was able to do it again full-time for the last 5 months and at that time moved to a different brokerage.  Which was the right choice.  I hit it hard and nothing.  It was very frustrating.  There is only on Office here in town that will let you do referral business and I am not very fond of that agency.  This town is loaded with agents, over 325 for a population of about 97000.  I have lived here for 8 years which I found to be an obstacle.  It is hard to compete against people that have lived here their entire life.  But I knew this going in but never backed down.  

I may be down but I am not out. 

Michele Keast Ott

Aug 03, 2009 03:17 AM
Dolores "Dee" Mauriello
Keller Willaims - Wayne, NJ
Realtor, Homes For Sale Wayne NJ

Thanks for being so open about your situation, good luck to you.

Aug 05, 2009 05:11 PM
Catherine Sinocruz
Coldwell Banker Select Real Estate - Reno, NV
Broker-Salesperson, ABR, GRI, CRS

Hi Michele,

Sorry to see you go.  I respect your decision.  Keep in touch in AR!


Aug 09, 2009 05:02 AM
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Michelle:  Good luck in whatever life has in store for you.

Aug 10, 2009 10:14 AM