Going into Real Estate - Is it for you?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Signature Properties

I had my son's basketball team over for lunch yesterday.  We grilled out in the backyard and it was wonderful.  The boys were outside playing basketball and football around the yard.  We adults were on the deck in the backyard or inside watching whatever March Madness was on at the time.  Lord love Carolina!!  We better step up our game in the next few rounds!!

I  had promised my children, NO real estate on Saturday.  No voice mail, no email, nothing.  They were thrilled!  Then the coach's wife mentions that she is finishing up her real estate class.  She looked at me with wide eyes and said, "How do you choose an office?  What is important to find out?"  WOW!!!  Daunting questions for me.  I knew which office I was going to before I started.  I had my mentor, Leigh Brown, showing me the ropes and what not before class even started.  So, here is what I said...

  • Find an office with a team that supports you. Not just a two week training boot camp, but an honest to goodness, there-for-you-when-you-need-them, support team. 
  • Find a mentor!!!  Without one, this business is a beast!  And make sure your mentor is a FULL-TIME business person. Not someone trying real estate.
  • Set your goals!  Write them down and then say them out loud.  If someone had told me two years ago that  I could do as well as I have done I would have trold them they were smoking crack.  BUT my office and my mentor believe in me and they also realize that if you work hard and stay educated in your market that the sky is, literally, the limit.
  • Pray.  I mean it.  This business can be stressful and you have to be able to turn things over to your God, whoever that is.  You will be amazed at the power of letting it go to someone who has more power than you.
  • Incorporate your business!!!  If you wait three years you will cry at the money you left behind.
  • Jump start your career with a training class like Brian Buffini's "100 Days to Greatness."  It works!
  • Build that database and contact them all. 
  • Ask for the referral.

Then she asked the hard question, "How much money did it take to get started?"  Well, since I didn't want to say that the money is still going out all the time, I told her to get a business credit card.  Remember, you are starting a business.  Most people spend upwards of $100,000 starting a new business.  I didn't spend that much but you are starting your own business, even when you work for RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, or whomever.

Now this woman who asked me these things is going to be a great Realtor.  I have no doubt in my mind.  She has a solid family foundation for personal support.  She is very bright and articulate.  She has a good mind.  She can  talk to anyone about anything.  All fine traits of a Realtor.  Maybe I can get her to interview with us... 


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Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV
Virginia, this is a great post.  You gave solid advice that anyone considering a career in real estate needs to hear.  That "how much did you spend" question is a doozy, isn't it?!  Eeek!  I think most people don't think of this as starting up a business, they think of it as "going to work for" someone else.  I'm sure you were a big help to her -- and to anyone else thinking about a real estate career who just read this. 
Mar 18, 2007 03:59 AM #1
Kristal Kraft
The Berkshire Group Realtors - Denver, CO
Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022

Virginia ~ you offered great solid advice to your friend.  Starting in this business takes guts and more than that a good team of support, whether that be a broker, mentor or boss.  I feel sorry for the people that never ask the question your friend asked, they end up learning the hard way or maybe never learning at all.


Mar 18, 2007 04:20 AM #2
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC

Sarah - Thank you for the kind words.  That is a mis perception of the general public as well.  People think we have expense accounts. "Oh, you work for RE/MAX?  They must foot the bill for the advertising, and for your car, and your gas money."  I want to yell, "Nuh 'uh!!!"  :- )


KK - I have no idea how people do this without a "guide."  I am sure I overwhelmed my friend with things she never considered before.  Better now than "then!!"


Mar 18, 2007 05:52 AM #3
keling dun
century 21 - San Jose, CA

So true.  Most people looking at Real Estate Agents as making easy money, but they really don't know...

One question, you said "Incorporate your business!!!"  What do you mean?  I thought only broker need to do that.

Mar 18, 2007 06:53 AM #4
Virginia Halter
RE/MAX Signature Properties - Harrisburg, NC
Keling - Talk to your accountant.  In NC you can go to the Secretary of State website and incorporate for $125,00.  This differentiates your personal assets from your business assets.  It also reduces the taxes paid on your "salary."  Boy, that didn't help you at all, did it!!  Your accountant can explain it better.  I know it saves you money in the long run.  Good luck!!
Mar 18, 2007 09:09 AM #5
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC

Great post! I hope a lot of folks, new and old, read it and think about where they currently hang their license and how they approach their businesses. 

And I'm proud that you and I both mention crack in our blogs inside of the same month...=)

Mar 28, 2007 01:43 PM #6
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville
So did you take her under your wing and offer to be her mentor?
Apr 04, 2007 01:20 PM #7
Bob Sloop, Consultant, Indianapolis, IN
RS Mortgage Consulting - Indianapolis, IN
Virginia, don't know how I missed this post, but I did.  I and my wife (the realtor in the family) was just discussing this situation yesterday.  She is not getting the support she needs by her company she works for.  She has done everything to get business off and running.  I took a job at the FHA call center for one year hoping a stable income would help us get her off and running, as I have been a Loan Officer for twenty nine years.  I am since back in lending, which also is a mess now.  I also jumped back into this just when the Sub Prime lending situation hit the fan.  We are both struggling, but are determined to make our "professions" work.  I appreciate your blog you posted here, we needed this, even if I did read his late.  Thanks.  Bob and Cyndi.
Apr 16, 2007 11:48 PM #8
Misty Thomas
Houston Realty - Crosby, TX
Realtor Crosby, TX
Great advice you gave her. I think the reason so many fall out their first year is they did not ask the right questions prior or they did not receive solid answers. Going into this business blind will never work!
Apr 17, 2008 02:44 AM #9
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