Many people dream of working for themselves and one potentially attractive opportunity is to be a licensed Real Estate Agent. The possibility of working my own hours and, potentially, making a salary compensatory to the efforts I put in was very appealing to me.
Real estate agents are generally independent contractors and work on a commission basis. When someone lists their residence, land or business for sale by an agency, they agree to pay the listing company a “commission” of 3 percent or more of the sale price. The listing company then shares a portion, usually half, of the overall commission to the selling agency.
The real estate market is depressed in my area just as it is across many parts of the United States. The stagnant market for real estate has caused many areas to lose a sizable percentage of their licensed members. I believed that if I could persevere through this stagnant market, I would have a running start and be experienced enough to take advantage of the rebound when it occurs.
Even in a stagnant market there is money to be made and, no matter how low the prices go, houses will still be bought and sold. On paper I imagined myself selling one or two residences a month and making a decent income. Many agents do just this and this goal is not unrealistic.
Becoming a Real Estate Agent/Broker.
A state issued license is required and this usually encompasses completing a state sanctioned course and then passing an exam issued by the state. I took the course on line and it required 60 hours of study. The course was difficult and I was pleasantly surprised at how in depth the course actually went. I learned much more than I believed I would.
As in any business endeavor, start up costs to become a real estate agent can be substantial so don’t expect this to be an inexpensive adventure.
The course will present a substantial investment but this fee is not unrealistic for what you get. Then there are fees such as the fee to take the state exam and the fee to become licensed by the state. This is just the beginning as you will pay fees to the local Mutiple Listing Service, to your sponsoring firm for use of their office equipment and their advertising.
Then there are the costs for any advertising you do in addition to that offered by your participating firm which most agents do. Other costs such as vehicle and fuel costs add up quickly.
I was lucky enough to land a job with a major real estate company that has an excellent reputation and has some very knowledgeable agents on site.
Here are some words of wisdom I can pass on which I have received on more than one occassion although I didn’t necessarily heed the advice!
Don’t expect to make a ton of money your first year. Everyone told me that my first year would be more of a learning the ropes adventure rather than making a good income.
Make yourself a business plan and stick to it. Most of the classes I have attended concentrated on this point.
Focus your energies and put in your hours. Everyone told me that it is very difficult to work real estate part time even though that was my goal! Everyone was right!
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Many potential clients will dismiss you as new and not savvy enough or will be”referred” to a more seasoned agent.
Be a people person. Be friendly, open and not afraid to discuss your business and if you don’t know the answer tell your client this and then find out the correct answer.
I became a licensed agent almost a year ago. How well did I follow this advice? Well, not very well at all and although I haven’t earned much of a living, I have made some great friends and learned very much!