10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Got My Real Estate License

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty Texas #642819

I have been a real estate agent just over two years now. I completed all my apprenticeship hours and my first renewal is paid. Whew! I am here to stay.

While still taking classes for my license, I found a brokerage that fit like a glove. As soon as I got my license I bought a house to familiarize myself with the process. Then a friend gave me the listing for her home - I got two sales from her neighbors - and another friend referred me to her friends and family. Two of my neighbors had leases that were up and I found them homes. "Gee, this is EASY," I said to myself. 

Not so fast, sister!

In year two, I've been spinning my wheels. A lot. Buyers are in multiple offer situations and not winning. (Despite my advice, they still think they can low-ball offers in this hot, hot, hot Austin, Texas market). Sellers have decided to wait another year to list their homes. I am trying to walk that very fine line between "staying top of mind" and being served a restraining order.

So here are ten things I wish I'd known before I so blindly thought I had arrived on Easy Street with my SOLD! sign in the yard:


1.  YOU GOTTA SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. As agents, one of our jobs is to set expectations for our clients. But what about setting expectations for ourselves? We recently had a motivational speaker at our office and he asked the room "How many of you are on track in meeting your goals this year?" Only a couple of hands went up. The easiest way to sabotage your career is to decide you need to make a gazillion dollars in your first year. Don't set yourself up for failure!


2.  YOUR LICENSE WON'T HELP YOU GET ACTUAL CLIENTS. While learning about Riperian Rights, easements and the numerous ways to get sued is vital, the licensing curriculum fails to address sales and negotiating skills. That's a whole other conversation and if you are not comfortable with that, you will need to take some classes to build your confidence. 


3. WE'RE NOT ON HGTV. When I got my license my mom actually thought I only had to show three houses and then they would have to make a decision - like on House Hunters. If only it were that simple to get a deal done in an hour - including commercials! I didn't realize how many houses it takes sometimes - between low inventory and buyer wants - to find the right fit. And sometimes clients decide to stay put. Which brings me to ...


4.  IT'S NOT CLOSED UNTIL IT'S CLOSED. A friend (not a client) was self-employed and did not have all of her taxes done so her loan did not get final approval and she was denied on the day of closing. It happens! Don't book that Tahitian vacation until the check has cleared.


5.  SOME CLIENTS ARE REALLY NICE. You'll be amazed how quickly great clients can become extended family. They appreciate your hard work and cheerful demeanor. They respect your time and energy. In a word, they are awesome. 


6.  SOME CLIENTS ARE JERKS. They won't respect your other commitments, won't get back to you when you have questions, expect you to find them a "unicorn" in a tough market and resent your commission. Occasionally, agents on the other side of the transaction can be jerks, too. Don't be a jerk.


7.  THE BEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY IN REAL ESTATE IS TO SELL STUFF TO REALTORS. Between MLS dues, start-up costs and car expenses, the first few years require a bigger investment than you may prepared to spend. While there are many tools for agents out there, don't pony up for every lead generator you get a spam e-mail for. In fact, it pays to be frugal. 


8.  YOU GOTTA GET OUT THERE. Online is great, but to gain traction you really need to meet people face to face. Be a people person. Or an animal person. Just don't be a couch potato person.


9.  TAKE IT ALL WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. I am so tough on myself when a client is disappointed - by not getting the house they love, a less than stellar inspection report, buyer's or seller's remorse, a number of things that are not always under my control. Keep the tough stuff in perspective and soldier on.


10. IT'S FUN. That Christmas morning look on a client's face when they fall in love with a house and it really becomes theirs is worth the bumps in getting there. A happy client is a friend for life. And real estate is a great way to enjoy that Christmas feeling all year long!




Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Fred Griffin 08/07/2016 10:16 AM
  2. Bob Crane 08/10/2016 04:33 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Active Rain Newbies

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Barbara Disraeli
Coldwell Banker Residential RE - Ridgefield, CT
Realtor serving Fairfield County CT and nearby NY

HI Carla, and Welcome to Active Rain.  Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.  These are good reminders for those of us who have been in the biz for awhile too.  Sounds like your business is off to a strong start. 

Aug 08, 2016 01:53 AM #63
Kelly Turbeville
Keller Williams - Lake Forest, CA
Turning Real Estate Dreams into Reality

Nice post.. welcome aboard!

Aug 08, 2016 02:20 AM #64
Realty One Group Alliance - San Mateo, CA
Broker Associate & Licensed Architect

Great post! Welcome to Activerain :)

Aug 08, 2016 04:32 AM #65
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The chemistry of agent-client is crucial to generate a complete transaction.

Experienced agents know and can sniff out cooperative people and left the nasty clients in the hands of  new or newer agents.  Documentation of funds, mortgage is the prerequisite for me to show homes.  Sorry no doc no showing... I am kind of busy right now.

Aug 08, 2016 05:18 AM #66
Mery Fernandez Empire Network Realty Luxury Brokerage
Empire Network Realty INC. - Orlando, FL
The Rise of An Empire, Let's Build Yours!

Hi Carla! Welcome to the world of Activerain, may your blogging  create a whole new chapter in your Real Estate Career.

Aug 08, 2016 06:35 AM #67
Cody Carmen
Adhi Schools, LLC - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Market Analysis--Educational Content, Adhi Schools

Congrats on the feature and great content! The more people that read this and have realistic expectations, the better! The path to success is paved with hard work, not fantasies. 

Aug 08, 2016 07:32 AM #68
Shanna Day Team Leader AZ & UT - Call 480-415-7616
Keller Williams Realty EV (AZ) & Keller Williams SLC (UT) - Mesa, AZ
Top 1% Of 155,000+ KW Agents Worldwide!

You fooled me!  I didn't know this was your first post.   I read it like you were seasoned.   Thanks for all the great reminders and I agree with everyone of them!

Aug 08, 2016 11:23 AM #69
Andreia Miguel
La Rosa Realty - Orlando, FL

Great post Carla. Thanks for sharing.

Aug 09, 2016 12:09 PM #70
Carla Black
eXp Realty - Dripping Springs, TX

Thank YOU, Andrea! Nice to meet you!!

Aug 09, 2016 11:00 PM #71
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Having said that I lost a big transaction. The buyer did not want to move on putting their deposit. Very hard to get hold of them as they were tranvelling. Got hold of his brother and he stated he did not have a EMD for me. After 72 hours I got a text we are still thinking about it. I called and cancelled.  The agent was kind enough not to give me a bad time.  

Aug 10, 2016 01:20 AM #72
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

The agents who make it look easy, are the agents who work really hard at it. The best kind of clients are those who refer others to you. I'm getting more and more of those and that tells me I'm doing a good job. Great post!

Aug 10, 2016 06:57 PM #73
Kathryn J.
Rentec Direct - Grants Pass, OR
Rentec Direct

Great post!  Welcome to AR!

Aug 10, 2016 11:49 PM #74
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I think you prepared a great list that all new licensees and applicants should read.  The only thing I could possibly add is to go to work for a broker who is available to guide and assist you in the begining or a firm that offers mentoring if it's larger. Having experience on your side while you learn your way is important. 

Aug 11, 2016 02:29 AM #75
Carla Black
eXp Realty - Dripping Springs, TX

Great advice, Tammy! Thank you!

Aug 11, 2016 03:18 AM #76
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Carla.  Congrats on your first blog and it being a feature...  Good job BTW welcome to the Rain.  Solid advice it appears to me you have learned something some agents never find out.

Aug 11, 2016 08:44 PM #77
Sharon Kowitz
Fonville Morisey-CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Cary, NC - Cary, NC
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

Welcome to Active Rain and congratulations on your first post, this is great information!

Aug 15, 2016 01:35 PM #78
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

Excellent post! It's great to educate those of the realities of the business and how rewarding it truly can be!

Aug 19, 2016 04:32 AM #79
Adam Feinberg
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse specialist

Great post- it's clear you spent some time thinking about this.

Aug 24, 2016 01:31 PM #80
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

this is great; I think you've written the Realtor version (albeit condensed) of All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

Aug 27, 2016 05:06 PM #81
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Carla, this post really was superb, and shows the market shifts and every year is different!  

Sep 06, 2016 12:30 AM #82
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