If you are thinking about becoming a real estate agent in the near or the distant future, you might want to take a step back and consider all the aspects of a career as a real estate agent before taking the plunge. After all, you don’t want to end up doing something for a living that you do not like. Of course, you might already be looking for people to sit you down and explain to you what it’s like to be a real estate agent, but worry no more. We’ve got you covered.
Here in this article, we look at some of the integral factors to a job as a real estate agent and what makes it hard for some people. We believe that this will help you immensely in deciding whether this is the right career choice for you and whether you will be able to deal with some of the demanding aspects of the work involved.
Working in real estate is a dream for many young Americans, both as a full-time career or a side hustle. There are currently about 2 million active real estate licenses in the country, which is expected to grow with time. Being a real estate agent is actually comparatively easy than being something else in the same income bracket. Plus, a lot of people are attracted to some of the other singular aspects of the job, such as not working for someone else and being your own boss, constantly interacting with new people, and being a part of the decision to buy a new home by many people, which is a milestone in anyone’s life.
A career as a real estate agent can be rewarding, both emotionally and financially, but it is not as easy as some would like to think. The first few months, including the licensing process, can be especially harrowing. It requires a lot of self-promotion, doggedly tracking different leads, handling multiple customers simultaneously, and filling out complicated paperwork for others. In addition, real estate agents are typically paid based on commission on sales made, so there is always a possibility of carrying on in a dry spell for a long time without a paycheck. The following are some aspects of being a realtor who does the job as it is. Let us take a look.
Qualifications, Education, and Tests Required to be a Real Estate Agent
This career might seem easy if you look at the results only, but it needs some rigorous building up as well. You need to be at least 18 or 19 years old to become an agent in most states. You will also need a formal education in real estate, which can be conducted online or offline. This consists of a certain number of class hours, which may vary from state to state, and passing quizzes and tests along the way.
After you have finished all your classes and passed your quizzes and tests, you will be formally assessed on your knowledge. Most states have two tests, a state test and a national test. This is not your average licensing test, and it can give you some sleepless nights. The passing rate of this test is quite low indeed, with many who take it not making it the first and even the second time. It consists of tricky application-based questions, and just extensive real estate knowledge will not be enough to pass it. You will need to study hard and practice for it.
You will also need to pass some background checks and be fingerprinted as part of the licensing process. Every state has different regulations for what sort of crimes are considered admissible for a real estate license, so you will need to find that out before applying. A few states have a college degree as a requirement to get a real estate license, so if you live in one of those, you will need to start your training during your college or after you graduate.
Finding a Broker and Getting Started on Selling Property
One of the main reasons why many people want to be a real estate agent or a broker is because of the prospect of being one’s own boss. The idea of not being answering anybody and handling one’s business as one pleases is definitely attractive. However, that is not the next step once you have completed your education and passed your background check and licensing tests. You will need some basic experience to understand the details of the business and to have that. Next, you must find a broker.
You need some further education and be licensed as an agent for at least two years before becoming a broker yourself. You will need to sign up with a broker working in the business for a long time and submit your license to them. The broker will supervise your activities and make sure that you are on the right track professionally. Every broker has its own rules about how they pay and charge the agents working under them, so you need to find one that suits you.
Once you can interact with clients professionally, you finally get to start selling houses. But this is not as easy as it might look because it takes a lot of time to find a client with money and convince them to purchase. The process typically includes many discussions sitting down with the client and visiting the property being considered.
Often, deals do not go through after multiple rounds of discussions, so be prepared to face many disappointments in the initial stages of your career. Even if a deal is finalized, it can take close to 30 days to close, and you will not be getting paid until then.
Time Taken Actually to Become a Real Estate Agent
They say that you do not become a real estate agent until you have closed your first deal, which can take months. However, if you consider your classes and invest in acquiring your license, it is not uncommon for the whole process to take about six months, assuming that you are taking cases in your spare time while attending school during the day.
Besides the time taken to get the license, you will also have to invest considerably in getting successful in the business. How fast you manage to set yourself up depends a lot on your luck. You may hit upon a great client at the very beginning and sell them the house they want, or you may have to wait for weeks before someone actually establishes contact with you.
You won’t have clients lined up at your doorstep when you start, so you will have to work hard to get those clients to come to you first, and you won’t be getting paid until the sale has been closed, that is, the client has paid for and taken possession of the house.
A common practice for agents starting in the business is to have enough money saved up for at least six months before they begin their practice. It is possible that you may not have any income for six months initially, so you must be prepared for it. Sometimes agents do start well in the job, and they do not need to worry about finances, but it is also possible that you have a dry spell initially.
Some agents take up part-time jobs while working to support themselves financially, which is a tricky situation because clients need to be helped at all times. An agent must be available on the phone round the clock, but being flexible with one’s schedule makes it possible.
It takes a lot of effort, even when you are on a good run.
Once you have managed to set yourself up and earn a decent name for yourself in the business, you will see the money gradually start coming in. this may take a year or two, maybe even three, depending on a lot of factors such as the market conditions, state regulations, your luck, etc. However, this is no reason to take it easy and relax.
Many agents and brokers make the mistake of thinking that they can depend on their business to pick up automatically once they have put in that initial amount of bulk effort. Real estate is a constant hustle, and as the American saying goes — “Business is like a car. It won’t run by itself except downhill.” Therefore, you need to keep doing what you were doing during your initial months and perhaps put more effort into it if you want to see your name grow.
The classes you will take to prepare for your licensing tests will not teach you how to sell houses. Instead, those classes are typically concerned with ensuring that the students do not break the law as real estate agents and brokers later on, and the money they make is 100% legal. To actually learn the trade tricks, you will need to spend time with brokers who have more experience and pick up things that you like about them by asking them for advice and tips whenever you get the chance.
If you’re smart, you will take classes in person as you will learn more start building your network even before you get your license to put it to use the moment you join the business. Find an experienced and well-connected broker who is willing to teach you.
It might be tempting to join up with someone who offers a good commission, but the former will be a better investment for your future. Please do not shy away from training programs as they will teach you a lot about the nitty-gritty of the job, and do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you want. Always remember, work hard today to earn more tomorrow.
Working All the Time with Different Responsibilities
While on the road to success as a real estate agent, you will feel like you are working all the time, even during off-hours and weekends. Being in full control of your career means that you do not have to adhere to any schedule. But you will have to grow your business, and for that, you will be working all the time, as much as possible.
Even if you may not have a fixed schedule, people interested in buying and selling houses do, and they will naturally prefer the weekend as a good time to go about it. You can’t make demands when you are starting, so you will need to adjust to your client’s time, often leading you to work during the weekend when everybody else is relaxing.
Furthermore, it can be quite exhausting to deal with all kinds of people from different backgrounds. You might get stuck with an irrational client, and it can be quite stressful to get rid of someone like that. You will have to ensure that you do not do anything that results in a loss of reputation. You need to attract as many clients as you can.
The initial years as a real estate agent are especially harrowing because you need to manage so many things at once, such as marketing, setting up budgets, taking clients to see properties, etc., while managing your own bills and expenses simultaneously. Plus, you need to learn on the job constantly. All this gets easier when you have established yourself in the business, for you can hire an assistant or two to help you out when you have the money to pay them. But until then, things can feel quite suffocating for a few years.
It is easy to get enticed by the prospect of having a job where you do not need to work hard and make a lot of money, but the struggle in a career as a real estate agent lies in the beginning. It takes a lot of work, dedication, and perseverance to make it in this field, and there are stories aplenty about agents dropping out and looking for other careers within a few years. But, if you can stick to the grind for long enough, you will find that you are making money hand over fist within a few years. Therefore, you need to be persistent, sometimes shamelessly so.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I be a real estate agent after I finish my college degree?
You will need the classes and the license anyway. Sure, you can start anytime, but your college degree won’t be of any use in your career, except in some states where it is mandatory to have a college degree to get a real estate license.
- What are some good part-time jobs I can do during my initial months as an agent?
You should be working a job that lets you have a flexible schedule, such as being an Uber driver so that you can take time out for your clients whenever they need you.