Almost every week, I hear from a friend or friend-of-a-friend who wants to talk about ‘going into real estate'. Is now a good time? Is it hard work? Can I do it part time? How quickly can I make money? Should I work as an assistant first?
Successfully selling real estate IS hard... some estimates quote the first year drop-out rate as high as 80%. But for those who make it through that painful first year (or two), it can be a dream job for the right person. The financial potential is unlimited and eventually you can choose your own hours and take time off whenever you want. Real estate can give you the lifestyle you always dreamed of, as long as you're willing to devote several years of hard work to building your business.
One of the well-known perks to being in the bizness is the opportunity to purchase property under market value, get a paid a commission for doing so AND eliminate the majority of the fees associated with the sale of your investment property. However, (in my humble opinion) it's a waste of time to get your real estate license for the sole purpose of buying investment real estate unless you have an ongoing, reliable source of under-market properties other than the MLS. The best deals are discovered during the course of your regular business day, listing homes, showing buyers, chatting with prospects. Just having a real estate license doesn't automatically deliver Great Deals to your in-box, unfortunately.
If I had to sum up in one word what I think it takes to succeed as a new real estate agent, I'd pick ENTHUSIASM. You must be excited about your new career, constantly looking for opportunities to enlarge your circle of friends, develop your market knowledge and dive into unfamiliar situations. When the phone rings at 7pm on a Sunday evening, you jump up to answer it. If a client wants to look at homes during the Super Bowl, you're there. You might even consider canceling your vacation to accommodate a new client. (No, you don't have to actually cancel it, but the thought crosses your mind.)
In other words, Real Estate is your life. Don't worry, it won't be this way forever, but when you're starting out in a business with an 80% failure rate, you need to be THIS excited and THIS committed. Go Get 'em! Rah Rah Rah!
copyright Jennifer Allan 2007