I’m only coming up on the one year mark of obtaining my Real Estate license, so I am by no means an expert, however, I do believe I can share some of the lessons I’ve learned this past year and give a little insight to anyone who thinks they might want to live the life of a Realtor. I’ve listed what I feel are the five most important things to know before saying yes to this career. Feel free to comment with anything I might have left off or wish you would have known before becoming a Realtor…
- Being a Realtor is HARD WORK. Like, really hard work. So if you believe that this is going to be a walk in the park, think again. Even if you have ten relatives who all want to sell their houses next Summer (I’m a little jealous of you), and they’re going to use you as their Realtor (seems like a no brainer, doesn’t it? ;)), it’s still tough. So be prepared to work. You’re going to have to put in hours on the phone, time writing contracts, staying late at the office putting together files, chasing realtors for information, scheduling inspections and appraisals and so much more.
- Finding new clients can be a challenge. I’m a fairly outgoing person, and I am on social media quite a bit, but it was harder than I thought it would be to find clients. Disclaimer: I work Real Estate part time due to a 9-5 work from home job, so maybe if I was in the office every day making 100 phone calls, I would have had an easier time, but the general consensus is that it can be hard to generate business in the beginning unless you’re hustling all day, every day – refer back to point 1.
- Say goodbye to free time. Okay, this one I know a whole lot about, because I am team #nodaysoff over here. Most Realtors that I know have not taken a real day off in years! Even when on vacation, they’re checking emails and making phone calls. When you run your own business and one missed day could mean one missed listing (which could in theory turn into more business), it’s so difficult to pull yourself away. And remember, most people want to go look at houses after work and on weekends, and almost all Open Houses are on weekends. Thankfully, I really like Real Estate, and my fiancé works weekends, but if the only time you can spend with your significant other or children is on weekends, you might want to really consider what you’re about to embark on.
- There are upfront costs. So this one is a little tricky, because there are definitely upfront costs. I had to pay to go to Real Estate school, my exams, license and MLS fees, lock box fees, marketing, and a lot of other random fees. With that said, it probably cost me around $2,000-$3,000 to start. What other business can you start for so little where the earning potential is so great? Blogging maybe? But any business venture is going to cost money. Just make sure your finances are prepared.
- Be prepared to sell yourself. It took me a while to get used to this one. I am not a fan of bothering people, and I definitely am not a fan of cold-calling – it’s probably my least favorite thing. So I try really hard to bring business to me through my social media sites and word of mouth, but you’re going to have to bug people from time to time. The minute someone leaves an open house, they’ve forgotten about you. You need to follow up and remind them why you’re the best of the best. And if you do not like talking to people or reaching out to strangers, this job is probably not for you.
I find Real Estate so unbelievably rewarding. I love the relationships I’ve made with my clients; I love finding people their dream homes; I love exploring my State and discovering all of the neat neighborhoods and houses that exist. But this is definitely not easy work and not for everyone. Best of luck on your endeavors, and feel free to reach out at any time with questions!