I get asked about real estate all the time. People wonder how I got my license, what it’s like, and if I make good money. I will tell you this, it’s not always glamorous, sometimes you’re lost in the backwoods of Eastern Kentucky for hours, and sometimes, you get a deal so good, you just want to scream and shout it to the world!
I decided to let you all in on the reality of it all. Here are 10 things I think you should know before getting your real estate license.
- Real Estate is NOT for the faint of heart. It is hard work and requires long hours. You will work nights, weekends, and holidays. It takes a lot of money to get started, and there will always be plenty of let downs. The real estate business can be pretty cut-throat as well. Every agent is looking for clients just as you are, and things can get heated. Take it with a grain of salt, and focus on building your own empire.
- You have to chase after your business. Sure, you’ll get a couple walkins at your office, but potential clients will not be busting down your door. You will have to market the heck out of yourself. Morning, noon, and night. You will have to eat, breathe, and sleep real estate.
- Always join an MLS. Many small towns don’t have their own MLS, which is cool if you’re the only office there and own the market. But, if you’re in a larger city, always join your local MLS. This will be your best friend and an expense you’ll never regret. Some offer free educational courses and networking events! Choose wisely.
- Be prepared for startup costs. It took me nearly $4,000 to get started in real estate. That included my MLS fees, National Association of Realtors fees, Errors and Omissions insurance, signs, and business cards. You’ll also be expected to have professional photographs taken to help market yourself.
- Have a savings with enough money to last you six months. FYI: Realtors don’t make an hourly wage. In most cases you will ONLY be compensated commission once you close a deal. You’ll hear different numbers on this one, but for me personally, it was approximately 7 months before I ever closed on my first property and received a commission check. Of course if you’re in a bigger market, it may take you less time, but BE PREPARED! This business isn’t steady, and no one is ever guaranteed a paycheck.
- Don’t waste all your marketing budget in one place. Sure, Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are sending thousands of leads every second, but they are EXPENSIVE. I have saw very few successful sales come from sights like these, and as a beginner agent, do not waste your money on them. Focus your time, energy, and money on in-person marketing. Print fliers, hand out business cards, and door knock.
- Join your local chamber of commerce or other community organization. It is wonderful exposure, you will get to know the “big-wigs” of your community, and it’s an amazing networking opportunity! Attend all of their events and sponsor some if you have the budget for it!
- ALWAYS wear your name tag! It’s the perfect bang for your buck. I got mine from HouseofMagnets.com, for 2 for $10. I wear it everywhere I go, and have been approached numerous times just because someone saw it.
- Find a company or office that you truly fit in. I personally chose Century 21, Advantage Realty because of the atmosphere. Everyone here is so kind, helpful, and passionate about real estate. When I come into the office, it doesn’t feel like work. Go where you will be helped if needed, valued, and treated respectfully.
- Know the business structure and commission plan before deciding on a company. I chose NOT to join a pyramid company that works in teams, because I wanted to be responsible for my own money. I didn’t want to play buyers-agent for someone who was making six-figures, while I was still ordering off the kids meal and checking the couch for change. Know what you’ll be expected to pay for: office time, phone time, signs, business cards, training, leads, ect. Find out how quickly you’ll move up in the compensation plan.
If you can handle all of the above, then I encourage you to reach for that certification. Take your required courses, ace the exam, and rock the real estate market.