So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent? - call me, we can 'talk'-

Reblogger Cheryl Willis
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI

Lisa has been in the 'business' a few years longer than I have.  I agree that there is no secret formula to guarantee an agent's success.  However, I also know this industry is one that offers a lot of different sandboxes to work and play in.

I have a good friend that is considering getting her license.  I thought this would be a great post to share with her.

FYI- I am not the official 'recurter' for our office, but I am a big fan of how we do things.  If you think now is the time to get a real estate education give us a call to discuss your future in the industry.

SW Missouri is a great place to live and work-  be good  - cheryl

Original content by Lisa Orme REB.755648

$100 bill - So You Want to Be a Real Estate Agent?

You've got to be kidding, right? If I had $100 for every person I've seen get into and out of real estate in three years or less, it's doubtful I'd need to sell another house; and I'd probably own the one I live in debt-free! <SMILE!>

Real estate is an intriguing profession and it attracts a wide variety of people and skill sets. Because of this, there's no secret formula to guarantee an agent's success.

PDA- So You Want To Be A Real Estate Agent?To sell real estate, you need excellent people skills, and a big Rolodex. (Oops! I'm dating myself. Not a Rolodex anymore, but a big memory chip in that Blackberry?) Even more important is that your Rolodex Blackberry is full of personal contacts that TRUST you. If you're not known for honesty, integrity and excellence, it's hard to get people to entrust their most expensive asset or purchase into your hands. And if you lose their trust for any reason, you lose the opportunity for repeat business and referrals, as well as damaging your relationship and your reputation.

Don't worry if you don't have that solid reputation for getting the job done or that big database of names yet. If you focus on excellence and service, you will build them both over time. You'll also need self-discipline, patience, and perseverance.

Before you worry about whether you've got the skills you need to succeed, you'll want to make sure you have sufficient cash flow to get started. "What?" you say? You want to get into real estate to make money? Well yes, but probably not so fast. In real estate, this old adage is particularly true: You've got to spend money to make money.

Start up money - So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent?Did I mention that real estate agents are normally paid on a commission basis? While these commissions may seem like a lot of money, they are still shared with your broker. And if you don't sell something, you don't get paid. In fact, the real estate business is a career opportunity that will cost you at least a couple thousand dollars to get started, and a repeat of that each and every year just to have the opportunity to stay in business, whether you make any money or not!

Even before you can begin selling real estate, you have to take required classes and pass the course exam, and then the licensing exam. These both cost up-front money; and if you're not a good test-taker, more money for re-takes.

Now you need to find a broker and pay your start-up expenses: an application and fee to your local Board of Realtors, Board dues till the end of the year, Multiple Listing Service fees, lockboxes and access fees for electronic key box systems, business cards, sign riders, and hopefully some money set aside for extra advertising and car expenses. (Before the current higher prices on gasoline this was a less critical amount to have set aside, but now it is crucial to be prepared and plan well ahead.)

Waiting! So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent?Beyond all this, it's important to realize there is often a substantial lag time between getting started in real estate, and getting paid. So you'll need to be able to manage your living expenses until the money starts coming in.

Most new agents work with buyers first because it's usually a shorter road to that first commission check. Certainly you must spend several days, or perhaps even weeks, to find your buyer the house they want to buy; if they are actually a buyer, that is. Some are not. They are either professional "lookers", not quite ready, or ready but just not qualified to buy. If they really are a buyer though, and you successfully get through getting your buyer qualified, their contract successfully negotiated, and the inspection results are acceptable; well, it should only be another 30-45 days or so until your first closing.

Even so, working with a seller always takes just as long, if not longer. Depending on your market, it may take a few weeks, or several months to get that interested buyer with an acceptable contract. Then you still have to wait for the buyer to go through their process to be ready to close.

Delays! So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent?Delays are frequently inevitable in real estate. Your personal need for a closing to happen on a certain date can be over-ruled by the buyer, the seller, the lender, the attorney, the moving company, or any number of other circumstances not in your control. But if you like living on the edge, maybe real estate is just the right job for you.

Real estate agents, especially in the first three to five years of their career, and sometimes for a lifetime, often live in a "feast or famine" state. You get a big paycheck (feast) and then you pay everyone you can (famine). Cash flow fluctuations demand you be an excellent money manager. You must be able to "tighten the belt" in a difficult market, and keep a good attitude when everyone else is talking gloom and doom. Judicious use of credit is paramount; many agents have left the business to take a job with a steady paycheck so they could make their credit card payments every month.

Just to make it a little bit more exciting, your broker does not withhold taxes and social security from those commission checks for you. It's always a challenge to gather up all the proof of your legitimate business deductions to reduce your taxable income while you are in the middle of a juggling act to come up with enough money to pay Uncle Sam at tax time. Good record keeping is not just a business skill, it's a survival skill!

Wearing Lots of Hats- So You Want to Be a Real Estate Agent?If you are still undaunted, then consider your personal skills set. Do you have those good people skills? Are you detail oriented and a good record keeper? A real estate agent is usually part finance manager, home decor expert, teacher, chauffer, photographer, marriage counselor, construction estimator, regional tour guide, investigator, home stager, negotiator, researcher, blogger, data analyst, computer geek, friend, and trusted source of information about house values, market conditions, interest rates, towns, taxes, schools, restaurants, recreation programs, town services, neighborhoods, and more. Realtors are not builders, tax advisors, accountants, inspectors, surveyors, lawyers, bankers, computer geeks, graphic designers, advertising experts, SEO experts, copywriters, telemarketers, miracle workers, or the decision makers; although their customers and clients will usually expect them to do the jobs of all of them at one time or another.

Still interested? Good. There's nothing more rewarding than helping a buyer get into that first house, or helping that seller get their home sold so they can join their spouse in their new job location. It's more than gratifying when you can help a buyer sell their home and avoid foreclosure, or move into that new larger home they've always wanted, or help them settle into something requiring less time and energy after the kids are done with college. You'll deal with people as they resolve the burdens of handling property concerns that result from changes in jobs, health, death, divorce, marriage, and growing families.

You can really make a positive difference as you do your job with excellence. Most of the time, you won't be appreciated nearly enough, especially on the really tough transactions. So make sure you have a lot of inner motivation if you want to take on this profession.

If you still think you want to be a real estate agent, then you're probably just the kind of person who can take the challenge and succeed. So what are you waiting for? See you in the trenches!


Serving the North Central Connecticut region, Hartford County, and the communities of Windsor, Bloomfield, Hartford, East Hartford, South Windsor, Manchester, Windsor Locks, Suffield, Enfield, East Windsor, Somers and the Granbys...

Opening Doors to Home Ownership . . . The Master's Key . . .

Residential Sales, Short Sales and Foreclosure Prevention, Multi-Family and Investment Properties, Condominium and Property Management

Realtor logo  Equal Housing          LISA ORME      Lisa Orme on LINKED INLisa Orme on TWITTERThe Master's Key Realty fan pageRSS


Licensed in the State of Connecticut, ABR, CRS, GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Public, Lic. #REB.755648

 Broker/Owner of The Master's Key Realty LLC, 340 Broad Street, #320, Windsor, Connecticut 06095

To contact Lisa, call 860-688-1400 or send an e-mail to

Copyright, Lisa Orme, 2010.  All rights reserved.


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Chris Hill
Century 21 New Millennium - California, MD
Your Southern Maryland Real Estate Professional

I agree with all of that, but the most important thing is that you have to work hard, VERY HARD! Nothing comes easily in this business, you have to get out and beat the streets everyday. Thanks for sharing.

Sep 03, 2010 04:33 AM #1
Durrell Thomas
San Marcos Real Estate Company 760-576-4357 - San Marcos, CA
San Marcos Real Estate Company | 760-576-4357

Lisa,  great post, how many hats to you wear in one day? Best business to own.

Sep 03, 2010 12:18 PM #2
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Cheryl, thanks for always being out there recruiting and wearing all those different hats.

Sep 03, 2010 04:24 PM #3
Cheryl Willis
RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI - Mount Vernon, MO
MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law

I have had two clients join me in the industry, a good friend has been considering it.  I thought this post was a good one to share with my readers.  BTW- I know there are several agents in our area that are thinking about changing offices, you can give me a call too.- 

Chris, it is Hard work but what a return on the investment!

Durrell, I agree best business ever!

Kay- I love our office!

be good---cw

Sep 03, 2010 05:19 PM #4
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Cheryl Willis

MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law
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