To Be Or Not To Be…A Real Estate Professional?
I’m often asked what I love about being a Realtor. I usually reply excitedly with several reasons I chose to pursue this career and share what I love about it! Maybe you or someone you know is considering a career move. I encourage anyone interested in the profession to weigh the benefits before entering into what I believe is a very rewarding career. Making the decision to give up a steady wage can be daunting, but owning your own business can lead to a lifetime of benefits. The downside is the expense that usually accompanies a start up venture. The upside is that becoming a real estate professional can get you started on the path to your own business at a very low relative cost. The cost of a license exam course and the test, along with associated professional dues and fees, are all that you initially need. From there, you are on your way to being your own boss and to growing a lifelong business.
Most real estate agents are independent contractors. This means they can set their own work schedules, develop their own client base, decide on their marketing strategy and methods, and grow their business as their own. There are really no limits to the growth of your real estate business, and you can reap amazing rewards if you combine a positive attitude with a superior work ethic. Clearly, sound business skills and an effective marketing strategy matter, but success is very much dependent on YOU!
It’s often overlooked or misunderstood that one’s status as an independent contractor means you’re in business for yourself. The broker with whom you choose to work will often supply you with office space, support, training, and sometimes prospects, but you should always think of your work as your own business to grow and guide at your pace and style.
Studies have shown that the majority of homebuyers say they would use their real estate agent again or recommend the agent to others. A significant benefit of the business is the amount of growth that takes place thanks to the goodwill of past clients. That said, top performing real estate professionals pay attention to important details and to customer service — as much as they do to marketing.
You’re in charge of your business and your time off, so take that vacation! I’ve found that developing relationships with other agents in the office has helped me to find other professionals with a similar style and work ethic. In doing this, you can work with others to coordinate your time off and coverage while each of you are away, knowing that your clients will be well taken care of.
The real estate business offers huge potential for expansion from one-person-show beginnings. Essentially, your business can grow to be as large as you want it to be. As an agent, your income is controlled primarily by the time you invest in it. Many agents enjoy the autonomy of working for and by themselves, while others will grow their business by adding one (or several) additional agents or assistants. Still others choose to get a broker’s license and build a brokerage, sponsoring other agents and growing an entire firm.
Whichever path you choose to take, it’s important to develop a sound business plan that provides you with “the good life,” both now and in the future. For instance, if you decide to develop a brokerage business, it’s possible to structure it for sale at some point in the future. If you have a long term plan that includes good business practices designed to grow the value of your brokerage business, you will increase the likelihood of a marketable retirement asset.
Perhaps most important to understand is the day-to-day job of a Realtor. While each day is unique and varies between client meetings, property showings and other responsibilities, there are still a number of tasks most agents perform on a regular basis. These include administrative duties that contribute to driving revenue and maintaining the business (i.e. drafting contracts and other documents, creating and updating listings on the MLS, managing the transaction from start to finish, business mailings, responding to emails and phone calls), marketing and lead generation (i.e. posting to social media, blogging, networking, producing marketing materials), research (i.e. reviewing inventory changes, MLS and other databases, reviewing legal and regulatory changes, monitoring general economic signs), client appointments (ie. showings, Open Houses, listing preparation, follow up, staging and photos, tours, attending final walk-throughs and closings), and career development/education (i.e. continuing education credit, certification work, Broker’s license, specialty courses and training).
WARNING: It’s Not Easy Money!
Many are drawn to the industry because it’s inexpensive to begin a career as a real estate agent and an advanced degree or training isn’t required. However, many are not successful. In fact, the turnover rate in the first year or two for new agents is quite hefty; usually the result of a common and faulty prevailing attitude that real estate is fast, easy, big money…and that’s not accurate. For some, starting out part-time is a better option. Because, while financial success may take longer to achieve, it helps agents stay in the business until commissions start flowing. Growing a real estate business is definitely hard work, especially when you’re not bringing in the bucks. But with persistence you can develop an extremely rewarding career!
If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing a career as a real estate agent, reach out to me! I’m happy to help in any way I can.