Working as a licensed real estate salesperson is an ideal job for many, with flexible hours, high earning potential and a relatively quick process to become an agent.
Before jumping into a new career, however, know that your success in real estate may also be tough to achieve. It’s beholden to the ebb and flow of the local economy, your ability to master an understanding of the market and your willingness to put yourself out there to connect with consumers and other professionals.
The National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association for the real estate industry, reports it has more than 1.2 million members, about 65 percent of which are licensed real estate agents. That makes at least 780,000 licensed agents in NAR, which only make up a portion of the total number of real estate agents throughout the country.
Becoming a licensed agent is relatively simple, although the requirements vary from state to state. You’ll want to look up the specific requirements for your state, which are often determined by the state’s real estate commission. But the requirements from state to state largely mirror each other, and the guidelines below represent the overlap that applies to most of the U.S.
Here’s what you need to do to begin a career and succeed as a real estate agent:
- Meet your state’s minimum age and education requirement.
- Take real estate education courses, meeting minimum number of instruction hours.
- Pass the state exam.
- Work under a licensed broker.
- Study your market.
- Have savings on hand in first year on the job.
- Keep learning.
- Adapt to changes in your market.
Have the funds to get started. If you’re working on commission, which most real estate agents are, you likely won’t be bringing home the big bucks right away because you don’t get paid until you close a deal. Steve Williams, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Wilmington, North Carolina, recommends looking at your assets before getting started. Be ready to feel your wallet tighten as you spend the first six months to a year establishing yourself on your own as an agent before you can feel comfortable that you’ll be closing enough deals to cover your cost of living without having to dip into savings.
Starting out viewing your job as just that – a job – is a mistake. Agents should view and handle themselves as business owners. By treating real estate as an enterprise from day one, you set yourself up for future growth and success. This means operating off of a schedule that allows you to take control of your time, investing in a database that provides you and those you’re looking to serve with continuing value, continually educating yourself so that you can educate your customers, and pairing big goals with big actions and big accountability that will guide you to the future you desire.
Remember, you are creating a new business for yourself. There are costs associated with doing so. Steve Williams uses the Keller Williams Budget Model to guide all agents with how to structure their finances in order to better be equipped to build their business without being financially stressed.
Know your market well. Taking a real estate course will help you understand local real estate law, but as a professional you’ll have clients relying on you to help interpret real estate market changes, assess the value of a property and know how to negotiate effectively. But that can’t all be taught in an online course. “You have to become hyper-local with your market,” Williams says. He adds that the biggest success stories come from new agents who aren’t afraid to get out and introduce themselves to people they don’t know.
Keep learning. Real estate agents who get repeat customers, positive reviews and high commission are often those who manage to specialize so they can meet different consumers’ needs. As members of NAR, many Realtors take courses through the association that certify them in specific fields, like military relocation or investor representation.
Attend classes! Never stop learning! Professionals continue to practice until they cannot get it wrong and then continue to practice to stay sharp!
Be ready to adapt. The real estate industry is greatly affected by the local economy, construction, employment rates, local government policy and interest rates. Problems in one area can make the life of a real estate agent tough, and you have to be ready to change the way you do business. “The market is not static. You have to adapt to the market,” Williams says. He continues, “when the market shifts, and it will, the prepared agent is ready for it and will continue to do well. The unprepared, well…they will not survive. You have to adjust your strategy to find the right clients you can work with.”
Are you ready to get started and the #1 reason to join Keller Williams Realty…..
It’s YOUR real estate business! You are in control of your career, not your broker. Traditionally, agents worked for the broker and relied heavily on them to succeed. KW changed that! We wouldn’t be in business without our associates, so the only thing we want to do is help you build your business! We just empower you with the right tools to build the business you want!
Don’t wait any longer. You owe it to yourself to strive for a career worth having, a business worth owning and a life worth living. Simply complete the information below to get started on a higher level of doing business.
(Article excerpts compliments of: Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |Jan. 18, 2019, at 12:42 p.m.)