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"You are not entitled to easy."

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I attended a cancer research fundraiser recently. The featured speaker was exceptional. Her name is Courtney Clark, and if you have a chance to hear her, it will be well worth your time. She shared a series of personal stories about the detours life throws at us, but there was one line she shared that stood out. When she was checking on one of her colleagues with an exceedingly difficult cancer, he said, “I’m not entitled to easy.” What an insight for someone on a shortened life schedule.

If you’ve been in the real estate business any length of time, you know it’s not always sunshine and roses. It can be downright difficult and challenging at times. There are good reasons why so many new agents don’t make it through the first year. I’ve seen a growing number drop out is less than six months. The disappointments of dealing with people, other agents, lenders, closers and inspectors can be overwhelming. But this is where quote comes in, “You’re not entitled to easy.” I’m disappointed to see so many brand-new agents drop out so quickly. That tells me they had unrealistic expectations. Those of us who have done this forever can make it look easy, and some days, it is, but those agents also need to understand it can be frustrating too.

If you have oversight over other agents, be honest with them. Be encouraging and supportive but be honest. I had to deal with a situation over the past 24 hours that was irritating. Don’t be afraid to tell your new agents that some people can be difficult to work with. But remind them, this is one business where the down days can end at closing. My situation is dealing with a vendor we didn’t use and a buyer who feels entitled to something that was not in the contract or listing. It will pass. I know I’m not entitled to easy. I’m not going to die when this is over. I may feel like committing murder, but I’ll restrain myself.

My office assistant repeatedly says, “You make this look and sound so easy.” She makes phone calls, sets up inspections, orders documents, coordinates deadlines with other agents and sets up appointments. She knows what’s involved and she sees the flow. She will be the first to confirm why green agents give up early. After eight years with me, she also knows that nothing is forever in this business. Deals start, move through phases and end at closing. You take a breath and start down the same path again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Some deals are amazing, and some just plan suck. Thankfully, that last group is the smaller group. If you are a source of education and encouragement to new agents, be honest, hold their hand and help them get across the finish line. You may need to do it a dozen times before they set out without false notions of how easy this business is. Remind yourself and the new agents, they are not entitled to easy.


Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

What a great post.   Nothing comes before our health, that is for sure.

May 04, 2024 10:19 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV  I never tell agents it is easy takes time- lots of time and hard work. Let us not forget patience. 

May 04, 2024 10:42 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

This is an excellent post, Mike.  You make important points about what we think we are entitled to.  Your thoughts on real estate transactions are also very true!  I use to tell new agents the difference between being a Realtor, and having a "regular" job, was a real estate transaction, with a difficult client, only lasted for a few weeks, or until the transaction closed.  But, with a "real" job where you had a difficult boss, the distress lasts until you, or they quit.

May 04, 2024 02:02 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Clubgroup!  

May 04, 2024 02:02 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

You re so right. I think far too many people get into real estate thinking that it will be easy. They have no idea what the job really entails, and sadly, I don't think real estate schools prepare them for it. 

I don't know why, unless it is because they think the students won't sign up for "part 2" or pay to take the exam. 

I'd say it was a sign of the times - people thinking they should have money without working. However, I saw the same thing back in the 80's and 90's. 

May 04, 2024 03:22 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mike,

If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Our job seems to look like any dummy or AI algorithm could do it, but then it turns out not to be that simple. We earn our keep during the difficult transactions and always wait for the other shoe to drop during the easy ones. Every few years, I get one of those and am totally surprised.

May 04, 2024 05:04 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV anyone who gets into this business thinking it is a way of making some quick easy money soon finds out it is anything but quick and easy.

May 04, 2024 05:05 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

That is for sure, George.

May 04, 2024 05:16 PM
Leanne Smith

The only folks who make money quickly are the ones getting paid to tell everyone else how easy it is to make money as real estate agents.

May 05, 2024 05:24 AM

I agree- we are not entitled to easy...though sometimes we are entitled to a bit more reasonable on the extremes. I have a client right now who submitted an offer in mid December on a co-op with a very strict board. In order to get a signed contract by the seller, my buyer were going to have to get married at city hall first to ensure the board wouldn't have a problem.  The buyers figured it was a great deal- and they were already getting married twice (once for the grandparents in Paris, once for the rest of the friends and family) - so what's a third wedding?  Then we were surprised by a $26,000 special assessment by the co-op payable at closing. We got the seller to agree to pay for half- and to self finance the other half for my buyers. Then 2 weeks ago we were told that the co-op board felt like the price was too low- and would reject my buyers if we didn't increase the price. So we ultimately agreed to a $50k increase to the price so that the price would publish at the higher number, with a $50k renovation credit- so my clients are still paying the same amount. Then the seller's attorney wakes up and proposes that we split the increase in closing costs due to the $50k price increase. It's only another $1,700 to my buyer- but understandably - they are angry on yet another concession being requested. Ultimately, they would be rejected by the co-op board if the seller didn't agree to solely pay the additional closing costs- so my clients made the concession today. This deal  has been going on nearly 5 months- and even if everything goes smoothly we are still looking at least another 5-6 weeks for my clients to interview with the board (they should pass no problem with some preparation from me)- so at least 6 months. This is not my toughest deal - but it's definitely in the top 25%.

Easy deals are rare- but man, some of these should be just a bit less insane. 

Comments (5)
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Somebody once said the only thing they weren’t entitled to is breathing most of  the time

May 04, 2024 11:14 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

We aren't entitled to fair or easy. And real estate can definitely be difficult. I remember a few deals where I said, after it was over, WOW, that was so easy! Most deals have some sort of wrinkles that need to be resolved.

May 05, 2024 04:36 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - so true.  Some, maybe many, think real estate is simple. 

I have heard (and overheard) that same sentiment expressed over the skills of a restaurant server who has made a mistake.  Understanding the bigger picture goes beyond glancing at a glimpse of what is or gazing at a bit of glitter. 

May 05, 2024 04:39 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
May 05, 2024 04:42 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Your title caught my eye and so glad it has been featured.  Life is not easy and to expect sales to be easy usually means that person was sold a false bill of goods. Great post and thank you.

May 05, 2024 05:22 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Mike... I've often said "ain't nothing in life that's easy." And when our grands were children and would complain, I'd just tell them that "life is hard, then you die." One thing I've learned after 50+ years in the business world is that if we continue to grow and learn and make use of our experience, things can be easier.

May 05, 2024 06:21 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Mike, great post!  I once had a wise broker, and as a new agents I was lucky enough to have four settlements scheduled on a single day (Rookie Mistake Number 1). I was in her office freaking out because all of them had transaction threatening complications. She picked up her calculator, started to punch in numbers, and then held it up to my face, saying, "If this was easy, they wouldn't pay you so much money for doing it!" 

May 05, 2024 09:23 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Mike,

So glad to see your post featured!  Awesome title and you tell it like it is! Too many people get into real estate thinking that it will be easy.  The reality is we work hard for our money and earn every dime we make..we are problem solvers, wear many hats to make a transaction work and work long and odd hours.

May 05, 2024 01:57 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
Transaction Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Mike, if it was easy, our new house would already be built and I'd be watching the lights over the valley right now :)
The good thing about real estate is as you point out, not every relationship has to continue after the closing table.  While the vast majority of my clients I'd happily work with again and again, there's a small handful that once we crossed the finish line, there's no looking back.  No additions to the Christmas card list for them :)

May 05, 2024 07:31 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

That's a great view, Bill. You'll love it.

May 06, 2024 05:22 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Great post and I love that quote and will have to remember it. In fact I am going to jot it down and post it on my wall.

May 06, 2024 12:56 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Disappointments from dealing with people

Your expectations, grit, creative spirit, empathy, talent with time management. If you lack those high marks in those traits or outlook on everything in life your attitude goes south. It's end of the line in the commission based real estate list and sell Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV. Great post!

May 07, 2024 04:16 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Definitely a message to remember. It is a tough industry to work in

May 07, 2024 04:44 AM