The Realities of Being a Real Estate Agent

What’s it like to be a Real Estate Agent?


Are you thinking about being a real estate agent?  You may be thinking it’s easy money and you will be driving around in your sporty convertible closing deals left and right within the first six months.  However, did you know that the rate of failure is roughly 85%?  Let’s touch on the realities of being a real estate agent.

Getting Your Real Estate License

Real estate classes teach you how to pass the state exam.  They don’t really tell you how to be a realtor.  After you get licensed you are on your own.  Most of the things you learned in the classes you will never have to use.  From the very beginning I suggest you pick everyone’s brain that you can to prepare yourself.  When I was in classes I asked where a realtor finds home buyers or sellers and got a lot of blank looks.  That was my worry from the start.  Make sure you have some money saved up to get your through your first six months until you can get some deals going.

Finding a Brokerage to Sign on With

After you are licensed you need to find a brokerage to hang your license with.  You should have been thinking this through from the start.  Do you want a big name brokerage and you will sacrifice a smaller commission split?  Do you want an independent smaller brokerage without name recognition but a higher split?  Some things I would suggest is to make sure the brokerage has someone who can mentor you and answer your questions, try to find a brokerage that will supply at least some company generated leads even if that is floor time or an online system, and training classes will help you get off on the right foot.  It may also be a good idea to join a successful real estate team to work with to learn the ropes.  Just keep in mind that everyone is in it for themselves and no one is going to hand you a million dollar deal if they can keep it for themselves.  Oh, and another thing, I’d try to keep all of your real estate work where if you change brokerages you can still use it.  So I would use your own email address (not the company address) and your own website, etc.  If you ever decide to leave you don’t want to lose all of your contacts and work.

Once You Begin Working

If you are working where you grew up you have an advantage.  All of the people you know from high school friends to your hairdresser will be your SOI (sphere of influence).  You need to make sure they all know you are now working in real estate.  This can be a great source of referral business.  Use that as your foundation.  I was not lucky enough to have that being an Arizona real estate agent because I grew up in New Jersey and didn’t know anyone in Arizona.  Next you need to figure out how you are going to generate business for yourself.  You will soon find out you are all alone in the business swimming in a vast ocean.  Most of your time will need to be spent generating leads.  This is where the real work comes in.  It’s not all about driving around showing people homes.  What is your lead generation plan?  There are many activities you can do to get business.  Here are a few: Door knocking, cold calling, tapping into your SOI, blogging, paying for leads from a successful real estate site like Zillow, farming, networking at events, socializing, distributing flyers, working floor time, holding open houses, email drip campaigns, PPC advertising, ads in papers, etc.  Some of these items cost money.  Are you prepared to spend on advertising?  If you are interested in blogging, keep in mind I’ve written 153 articles on this website so far and it hasn’t generated one lead yet but the hope is that in the long run it will pay off eventually.  The best source of business will eventually be referrals but until that starts kicking in you will need to essentially find people off the street to use you, like you, and trust you with the biggest purchase of their lives.  Generating leads is the most important aspect of your career and you need to do it from the beginning.  This may account for the 85% of real estate agents leaving the business by the two year mark.  These are some of the realities of being a real estate agent.

Another tip is to find a niche.  Keep it small until you are ready to branch out.  Be a big fish in a little pond.  If I tried to take over all of Phoenix, AZ I might be swallowed into the abyss.  But if I focused on one subdivision I should get a few deals from that.

When the Money Comes

When you make your first sale you will be thrilled.  There’s a lot of money to be made but not having a steady paycheck can be extremely stressful and discouraging.  Let’s say it takes you 3 months to get a sale and you make $3000.  Don’t forget you have to pay your own taxes and account for the money you put into your business.  It’s not a whole lot after all is said and done.  Real estate is a numbers game so keep track of your numbers.  How many flyers did it take to generate one phone call?  How many cold calls got you one listing appointment?  You should set goals for yourself and make sure you can achieve them.  It would be good to close on at least a home per month but in this scenario that’s the equivalent of making $36,000/yr.  Is that enough for you?  Or do you need to double the work you put in?  It’s sink or swim.  Make sure you stay positive and work HARD.  No one will just hand you your business.

I hope this article helped you out a bit.  If you are a new real estate agent and have questions, let me know.  I’d be happy to help you any way I can.

Jason Bechtold, Realtor
The Maricopa Real Estate Company

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