So... You Wanna Be a Real Estate Agent?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

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!




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copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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LLoyd Nichols
Premier Florida Realty of SWFL - Fort Myers, FL
Southwest Florida Homes By The Sea

Enthousiam is a must in real estate, not to confuse with blind enthousiasm. Many also have asked me about how it is to be a realtor. I'd say you have to be good with people, know your stuff and be able to bounce back like a bunny rabbitt. You are so correct.Its not an easy business.I have seem some realtors doing over 4 millions in  sale in their first year, But they had that type of personaility, that " go getter "quality, and often they were in sales before, ran a business or had to rely on themselves to start with to make the business work. Of course if one had some extra $ and started in this business I would just have 3 great realtors to work with me, one assistant, make a team and have a mentor  and offer them something they couldn't refuse.But money can t buy you knowledge.Interesting blog thanks.

Jan 19, 2007 08:25 AM #18
Dave Sulvetta
Dave Sulvetta, ReMax Connection, Gloucester County Realtor - Sewell, NJ
I am an investor and i thought I was going to get my license to just buy property for investments. I had a second thought and wondered why i would ever limit myself to just using my license to buy property only and not sell to other people. What a waste of money and time that would have been.
Jan 19, 2007 09:08 AM #19
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904

Good Post Jennifer. It IS hard work... on a continous bases and in a soft market it will prove to be too much for many. We have a running gag in Florida that there are almost as many licensed agents as people with drivers licenses. Many I am sure have given up as making money takes time, patience, and tenacity.

This was an enjoyable read!  Thank you.

Jan 19, 2007 09:16 AM #20
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
Shannon - I would have told her it takes 2x the work to make half the money! Great Post Jennifer!
Jan 19, 2007 09:31 AM #21
Damon Willis
DPW Consulting - Pasadena, CA


           Very true statements... I think the real estate business as a whole is a great business for the right type of person. You definitely can't survive in this business without enthusiasm.

Jan 19, 2007 09:46 AM #22
Kaushik Sirkar
Call Realty, Inc. - Chandler, AZ
Can't argue with your points.  I could add - always answer your cell phone!  Or at least return voicemails quickly!
Jan 19, 2007 10:01 AM #23
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Yep - and if you're enthusiastic, you'll do all these things because you're so darn revved up about your new career!

Jan 19, 2007 10:08 AM #24
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
I get to have those first years, every two to three years.....gotta love
Jan 19, 2007 12:19 PM #25
Nilton De Macedo
Equity Real Estate - Davis Co. Office - Clinton, UT
It's incredible how many people I brought to the business and became very successful...  Probably 8 or 9 in my 11 years in business.  I can certainly guarantee that ALL of them were surprised about how hard Realtors work.  They tought it was one of the easiest, well paying jobs.  My oh my, how wrong they were...
Jan 19, 2007 12:35 PM #26
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |
Great post.  I'm new (6 months full time now) and can agree that this work is not easy.  It also requires a stash of money to tide you over.  My HELOC is the only reason I've been able to do it at all.  But I know that the hard work I am putting in now will pay off down the road.  I am laying the foundation for what I hope will be a very successful career.  I'm already starting to see results and it's very rewarding.  With today's market being what it is, some have said to me, "you picked the wrong time to get into real estate."  I feel the exact opposite is true.  Those agents that came into it during the last 4 years of this unbelievable wave were in it to coast along and they did make money, but that's not duplicatable.  It was the market making them money, not their skills.  I'm putting systems in place and using all the resources I can.  I want to be around to see the many cycles of this profession I've chosen.  Bring it on!
Jan 19, 2007 02:57 PM #27
joanne Douglas
Terrie O'Connor Realtors - Ridgewood, NJ
You got it!  Persistence Pays 

Good post, thank you.

Jan 19, 2007 03:11 PM #28
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty
Jennifer, I initially got into the business b/c my husband and I enjoy remodeling homes and selling them but seeing the potential in Real Estate has motivated me to look at it as a career opposed to something I do part-time.  It is scary though, with so many realtors failing in their first year!!  I like how you are telling new agents how it REALLY is but at the same time you are so encouraging!!  Thanks a lot!! 
Jan 19, 2007 03:20 PM #29
Ken Spencer
Buckeye, AZ
for Verrado, Buckeye, Sundance

I really feel if you are enthusiastic about what you do, real estate or not, you'll succeed.  Enthusiasm and excitement is contagious.


Jan 19, 2007 03:39 PM #30
Lisa Kester
Love your post and I completely agree 100%.  I see some agents quit their day job to jump into real estate full time and have no clue how to get started.  They think it comes easy, but its tough not only on yourself as the agent but your whole family.  Lots of late night showings and working weekends can put a big strain on a newbie and their've got to have alot of moral support in order to succeed also.  Its a constant learning process and an unpredictiable job.  But I love what I do and it defines who I am.  I don't think I would be happy doing anything else.
Jan 19, 2007 04:56 PM #31
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
Well put Jennifer!  It's all about soul.  I too see a two year window and if one can make it through those first two years, typically they are in as long as real estate is indeed what they want to do.
Jan 19, 2007 11:30 PM #32
Joe Gomez
Realty Executives of Treasure Valley - Eagle, ID
Jennifer well said , i also think that you have to be in this business for the long haul , it takes time to develop a solid client / referral base , besides learning the business , learning the language , and figuring which area of Real Estate you want to focus on , yeah great job but if you want to excell you must put in the time !
Jan 20, 2007 06:32 AM #33
Mario Levesque
Advantage Avenue Real Estate - Wesley Chapel, FL
Tampa Realtor

Great Post Jennifer,

I do believe that the new comers are warned about the long hours a lot more than some people think.  In fact when I got my license a few years ago, most of the long timers kept repeating to me that this was not going to be easy. 


Jan 20, 2007 01:12 PM #34
Barb & Jennifer White
Re/Max Xecutex - Centreville, VA

This is an excellent post for someone looking to get in real estate.

I think one should be ready to pay the price up front, as you said drop out rate is high, so if one can plan, work hard (showing homes on Super Bowl day etc) there's lot of potential for real nice earning.  



Jan 30, 2007 04:02 AM #35

What do you think of selling real estate on the weekends only?  I cannot quit my day job but would like to sell real estate on weekends.

Sep 01, 2008 07:25 AM #37
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Cathy - I hate to burst your bubble, but there's no flippin way to succeed in this business working only weekends. The vast majority of what you do happens during the week, during the day. It's possible you could help out a very busy agent with open houses, but that's about it. Many new agents think that their job is simply to show buyers around on Saturday and hold open houses on Sunday - but those two activities are a teeny tiny part of the job...

Anyone have a different opinion?

Sep 01, 2008 07:31 AM #40
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