Thinking Of Becoming a Real Estate Agent?
Have you ever considered becoming a REALTOR? If so, there are some very important things you need to know before you make that leap.
We Do Not Set Our Own Hours
Many times it is said that people get into Real Estate sales to be able to “set their own work hours”, well that could not be further from the reality of the job. Real Estate Agents who are successful know that their schedule is based on that of their client. Consider the fact that most people are off of work during evenings, weekends and holidays. Evenings, weekends and holidays are all working days for the successful Real Estate Agent.
Working With Buyer’s Is Not Just Looking At Pretty Houses
When representing a Buyer, the times most often that they are available to view multiple properties is when they are off work. If they are not working, they most likely are not in a position to purchase a home. This means you will be working evenings, weekends and holidays with that Buyer if you want to make a sale.
You may show one Buyer five to twenty-five homes. In fact, many Real Estate Agents who have been in the business long enough, have horror stories of that one Buyer that looked every weekend for six months. Some Buyer’s may only look at one home and be ready to make an offer.
The Real Work Begins
After you do find the perfect home for your Buyer, the real work begins. There are many lengthy contracts in the buying & selling of Real Estate. Starting with the purchase agreement. You will learn about these contracts in Real Estate School, but you become most familiar with them as you start working with these actual contracts. The best Real Estate Agents know the Purchase Agreement frontwards and backwards, and can easily explain it to their clients. If you are working with condominiums, they have another set of critical documents — the condo docs – which must be reviewed in detail.
As the Buyer’s Agent, you will need to assist them in securing financing, being present for inspections and setting up the closing. You cannot direct them to specific lenders, inspectors or title companies, but you will need to tell them how to find those services. Providing them with contacts in the local area to choose from is expected.
First Time Home Buyers will need extra attention, as they have never purchased a home before and are not familiar with all of the details. Allowing yourself extra time for the First Time Home Buyer is imperative.
Contract knowledge and due diligence will be required when representing a Buyer or a Seller. Having great negotiating skills are imperative. You must be organized and be willing to work in a career where “time is of the essence”.
Listing Homes Is More Than A Sign In The Yard
If you are working on obtaining what is called “Listings”, homes to market for sale as the Listing Agent, the times are again when the client is available to have you over. Although every new agent believes they simply put a sign in the yard and then deal with a bidding war on their new listing. That simply is not the case. Listing homes also means you need to be firm enough, while still polite and professional, to tell the home owner where the deficits are in their home.
Most home owners will interview several Real Estate Agents before deciding on the one to list their home for sale. You will be competing for business, and need to be aggressive enough to handle the interview and overcome any objections that may come your way. Be prepared with market statistics and a professional listing presentation of your services. You will not win them all, so have thick enough skin to take the rejection, if it happens, and move on to the next potential listing.
Most home owners believe they have “the best house in the neighborhood”. If they do, that means it will be the most expensive home in the neighborhood, and consequently could be difficult to sell. If they really are blinded by the love for their home, and it is not even up to par with the homes in their neighborhood, you need to be the expert on how to price it accordingly. Being confident enough to advise a seller on price and any maintenance, or staging that is needed is very important. This too comes with experience.
To professionally market a listing, you will need to consider the additional expenses you will incur. Professional photographs and video tours are the industry trend now, and they can run from $50.00 up to $250.00. Get to know a good photographer that you can count on in your area. Staging is also used quite often, and there are many professional staging companies to provide this service, for a fee.
You Are An Independent Contractor
Almost all Real Estate Agents operate as Independent Contractors with their license being held by a Real Estate Brokerage. Being an Independent Contractor means you will have most, if not all, of the expenses of doing business depending on how your Brokerage has their services structured. You can likely count on paying your own gas as you drive Buyers around, advertising, marketing, and any expenses that go into listing a property, as well as paying for an assistant if needed. You will have the cost of dues and memberships to your local Real Estate Commission and Board of Realtors.
Being an Independent Contractor also means receiving a 1099 at the end of the year to be filed for taxes. Advisement from a Certified Public Accountant prior to jumping into the business is advised. The service of a good CPA will also cost you, but in the long run worth the cost. Knowing what expense’s you can write off as a business expense is valuable knowledge to the self employed. If you have a home office, most CPA’s can advise you on what portion of your home you can use as a business tax expense.
Real Estate Agent versus REALTOR®
Once you make it through the required education and pass the exams, you can then decide to be a Real Estate Agent or a REALTOR®. Being a REALTOR®, means you become a member of one of the worlds largest and strongest trade organizations, The National Association of Realtors. There is a membership dues, but with that dues becomes many benefits. You should research the National Association of Realtors thoroughly before you decide not to have the added expense of membership dues. The benefits greatly outweigh the expense of membership. The REALTOR® pin is worn proudly by those Realtors who are part of NAR.
Why We Do It
As demanding as it may sound, if you ask a seasoned agent, they will say “they cannot imagine doing anything else”. The reward of assisting people in the American Dream of Home Ownership is very fulfilling. Assisting people in the selling of their home, helping educate First Time Home Buyers, and even working with those that have bought and sold a home before often begins a life-long relationship. You find yourself becoming friends with your clients after you spend so many hours working with them in such an intimate matter, as where they will live or not live. You get to know their families and friends. Hopefully, you do a good enough job for them, that they refer you to represent their friends and family members. There is something very special about putting a family into a home, then years later working with their children when they are ready to buy their first home.
If you are the type of person who loves people, can dedicate time to learn the contract law and market conditions, this is the career for you. Real Estate School can be completed in as little as ninety days in many states. You can choose in class instruction or online classes. There are also many designations you can earn after you obtain your Real Estate License that may set you apart from the other Real Estate Agents in your area.
It is a lucrative and rewarding career. There is no ceiling on your earning potential, and no required amount of time you have to dedicate to a Real Estate Career. It is what you make of it. Ask a seasoned Real Estate Agent if they love their job, and you will almost always hear a “Yes!”. Ask them if they work a lot, and they will probably say “it’s not work when you love what you do”.
For more information on how to obtain your real estate education needed for licensing, look online for schools and colleges that offer in-class and online classes in your area.