Is This a Good Time to Become a Realtor?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ADT Real Estate

I was at a Realtor luncheon the other day, talking to another Realtor about how a friend of mine was going to be joining our team at TradeMark Realtors Group and the question came up. Is this a good time to join the ranks of Realtors out here who are scrambling to make ends meet?

Many people's immediate response would be, "are you crazy?!!". The market's in the toilet, Long time agents are running scared now and, honestly, I have no idea how they survive long enough to pay their dues every year. Yet I see them at the Realtor functions, so they must be doing something to earn some money. My friend and I were discussing how so many of the people we saw at the luncheon never show up on the hot sheet and left us wondering how they could afford to hold on to their licenses. It's not cheap to be a Realtor, that's for sure.

We discussed our market and how long we thought it'd be before we saw a bounce back in sales. The Wilkes-Barre real estate market always lags behind the rest of the nation, so it took a while before ours felt any real impact from the foreclosures that have ravaged much of our nation. Last year was the year! We really have very few segments of our market that haven't been affected by an influx of REO listings over the last year. I think it may be a while before our market bounces back fully, especially after the tax rebate ends, but that's a different blog post altogether.

So, is it really a good time to get your Real Estate license and try to make a living out of our market? I imagine many people have asked that question. Based on our attrition rate in our board, I'd say that there are many Realtors who have decided that it wasn't worth the struggle and have moved on. That was the opinion of my friend that day as well. If it's not working for you and you aren't successfully paying the bills, it is probably time to look elsewhere. My thought is that it's a different story for a new Realtor. Let me explain myself and see what you think.

I think back to my first days as a Realtor. I was so excited to have my Realtor's license, but I didn't know what I was doing. Really, believe me when I say that I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I didn't have any systems in place to help generate leads, I had no idea how to speak to clients and I definitely didn't know my market enough to help anyone make an informed decision when buying or selling a home. I was just like every other new Realtor, fresh out of class and no idea what I was doing. You don't learn that kind of information in Fundamentals of Real Estate class. It takes time. It took me a full 6-8 months to become familiar with my market and develop the skills I needed to truly be of benefit to my clients.

That's precisely why I believe it's a good time to become a Realtor, as long as you are realistic that it will take a while before you will be earning a living selling houses. I started as a part time Realtor, which gave me an advantage of less pressure, but I really don't know if the lack of pressure made me take longer to get up to speed. I really don't believe it's possible to establish yourself in less than that amount of time, unless you already have a network in place.

The eternal optimist in me wants to predict that our market will strengthen quite a bit before year's end, so that will give the new Realtor plenty of time to hone those skills necessary to be successful in today's market. I believe that any agent who can make it in today's market will make it in any market. That is, of course my humble opinion, which you can put with a dollar and get a cup of coffee at McDonald's on most mornings.


Until next time...

My name is Andrew Trevino. I am a Realtor, working in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area, and I'm affiliated with TradeMark Realtors Group. Thanks for investing your time in reading my blog. If you're interested in contacting me, please visit my website at

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Comments (83)

John Basila
A Denver Home - Littleton, CO

I chose this as my second career for a number of reasons.  I also figured that if I could survive now, I'd be a Top Producer as the industry and economy turn around.  If you're willing to work hard and be committed to achieving success, then this is a great opportunity!!

Jan 20, 2010 09:03 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Thanks for the comments all.

Charita, I especially liked your comment. You have a blog post right there. Thanks!

Jan 20, 2010 11:03 AM
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I think that anyone with a solid work ethic can make it in real estate.....even today.

Jan 20, 2010 11:49 AM
Ellen Toay

There are a lot of great comments, and I agree with just about all - if not all - of them.

 I think it is a great time to come into the real estate industry because in a market like this, the agents need to know their business or they won't survive.  I came into the business in late 1979 when interest rates were just started to really tick up - before the recession was finished, conventional rates had ticked up to 18% and higher.  FHA and VA loan rates couldn't be locked in until 48 hours prior to closing so there were many phone calls I had to make to tell my "customers" (no Agency back then) that their rate had gone up - sometimes more that 1% from loan application to closing.   It was during those years that a lot of creative financing came into effect.  To hold a "deal" together, we had to know what they were doing.  And you know what?  I believe that the industry was a lot better for it.  In a different way, the same thing is happening now - and actually I wouldn't be surprised if interest rates don't start going up pretty soon - I don't believe our economy can sustain these low interest rates for too much longer.

I am a state certified real estate instructor, and in 2004 -2005, I was teaching pre-licensing.  I had students in some of my classes that I really didn't want to see coming into our business because I knew they were going to hurt the reputation of those of us that work hard to do a good job for our clients - however, if they passed the exam, I had no choice.  I have also served on my local Association of Realtors Grievance and Professional Standards committees and am now on the Board of Directors where I sometimes hear appeals.  Some of the things I have seen and heard would make you cringe, but you would also understand why we are given so little respect by the general public. 




Jan 20, 2010 01:02 PM
Donna Galinsky
Allen Tate Company - Cornelius, NC
Make Lake Norman Your Home!

I decided to start Real Estate just as the market tanked. It has not been easy, but I learned in a lousy market so I did not have any good habit markets to break.

The habits and skills I have developed, as well as my proven track record in a lousy market, will only help me when the market finally turns.

If you don;t need the income to support your famil - I say go for it.

Jan 20, 2010 01:03 PM
Stacie Wells
Grovetown, GA

I think that this is a great time to break into the business. You learn right off the bat what it takes to truly succeed. I think it's the agents that started when the market was great that are really having a hard time right now. They never learned solid lead generating skills - the leads where basically falling into people's laps. Any market share that you gain now will continue to be yours and grow as the market does.

Jan 20, 2010 02:50 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I think there's potential for people going into real estate, if they go in with their eyes open, are willing to work hard, have a little bit of luck and the ability to support themselves while they learn the vagaries of the current market.

Jan 20, 2010 03:55 PM
Jean-Paul Peron
The Outer Banks Real Estate Copmpany - Corolla, NC
Carova Beach - Living & Working in 4-Wheel Drive

I had been a REALTOR for a few years when I moved to the Outer Banks & everyone thought That I was crazy to relocate to where no one knew me from Adam in an all but dead real estate market and try to build a business from scratch, but I figured that as ling as I could last, once the market turns around I will be ready for it & be in the position that I need to be in to maximize it's potential. let's hope I'm right.  :)

Jan 20, 2010 10:09 PM
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

When I got my license in September of 2009, everyone thought I was nuts. Well I am, but, I knew it was the perfect time to learn and make contacts for the future. I've had listing appointments but each and everyone was a bust because market value was just not there and I don't feel right taking an overpriced listing. I'd rather say no now because I will just let them down 3 months from now. Listing a house would give me more exposure but it not selling would cause more harm than not. I work every day. I cold call every day. I have left over 500 market reports on doors since after Thanksgiving. No calls about them yet. It's hard work and I knew it would be. Either way, I'm planting seeds now to have them grow in the future.

Jan 20, 2010 11:47 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Hey all,

Again, great comments. It looks like most are in agreement that it is a good time to get started in the Real Estate business. I think there are some great lessons to be learned from those who started in the 80's when the market had some similarities to our current market. It was tough then and it can be tough now. It means coming into the market with some awareness of what it's going to take to make it last.


Thanks again for the comments all.

Jan 20, 2010 11:59 PM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

I frequently get asked if someone should become an agent because they are having a hard tiem finding a job and theythink that real estate is going to save them...  My reposnse lately has been- it is a great idea but you need to have certain things in place and some start up money to ge the word out that you ahve changed career pathes...  I also point out that we are a commission only field.  then I suggest that they get some experience by working for an agent that needs an assisstant to get thier feet wet and learn the business...  that way- they can still earn a paycheck while they are getting started.

Jan 21, 2010 12:32 AM
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

If you have the passion, the dedication and the time to build a business then anytime is a good time to become an agent.

Having some financial backing to get started is always a plus too!

If you're missing any component of this combination, then you're in for a long, and quite possibly, unrewarding ride.

Jan 21, 2010 12:47 AM
Todd Kenthack
The Pines Realty - Pinehurst, NC

No matter what the state of the market is, there will always be differing opinions as to the ideal timing to become a broker.  I think the key is having the right attitude and realistic expectations.

Jan 21, 2010 02:03 AM
David Cahill
Century 21 Cahill Associates - Boston, MA

I think that this market will help prepare a new Realtor for any market.  I know many people who got started when it was hot and they are bumming now becuase they actually have to work and they don't know how.

Jan 21, 2010 02:39 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

I always get a kick out it when I hear someone who is searching for a job suggest that they should get their Real Estate license and start selling houses. I think there's a misconception as to what we do that makes people think it's easy. I wouldn't suggest to anyone who is out of, and looking for, a job to go get their license.

I do agree that this market is a great training ground for new Realtors. Thanks for the comments all.

Jan 21, 2010 03:46 AM
Kimberly Clark
ERA Lakeway Real Estate - Morristown, TN

Personally, I think this is the perfect market for new agents to get into real estate.  They will have time to be properly trained and paired with a mentor who can show them the ropes, instead of being thrown to the wolves because everyone is too busy to deal with them at the office.  As long as they have an alternative income to live on until they can fly on their own.  We had it too good there for a while, and now its back to the basics for everyone. 

Jan 21, 2010 04:35 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Well put Kimberly. Thanks for your opinion on the subject.

Jan 21, 2010 04:48 AM
Linda Kemp
Keller Williams Realty Infinity - Naperville, IL
Stager and Relocation Professional

Well one thing is for sure--if you take the time and steps to get your license in this market you must be serious about your business!  I welcome you!

Linda Kemp, Keller Williams Realty Naperville, IL

Jan 21, 2010 07:54 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Unless they were just bored. LOL

Thanks for the comment Linda

Jan 21, 2010 01:17 PM

I appreciate the article! I have been thinking about becoming a realtor for some time now and keep putting it off thinking this isnt the right time. I came from the home building industry here in phoenix and witnessed the masive building efforts during the boom time and then as if someone shut off the faucet everything stopped. I made it thru 8 layoffs with the national home builder I worked with and then  they got me and for the first time in my adult life i was unemployed. My back ground is in drafting autocad and purchasing for home builders. I now work 2 jobs which doesnt add up to half the money I was making in home building, but I learned alot about how much money I was wasting and what realy matters in life.

my current  thought is to quite one of my jobs and give realestate a try, I know it will be tuff and I might not even make as much money as I do now but I want to be able to be in more control of my destiny, I know you always work for someone, owner of the company, clients etc no one is truly there own boss but I think in realestate I will be more in control of my destiny.

I have a friend I met at one of my jobs (waiting tables) who is a realtor and he has offered to mentor me and help me with the ins and outs...I think Im gonna go for it


if anyone has any advice etc...bring it on



Aug 30, 2011 10:08 AM