Real estate has provided me a wonderful and very rewarding career (not just financially), but it's not as easy at it looks and it's not just about "i love to see houses". If you are considering your own real estate career, here are 5 things I strongly urge you to consider to prepare yourself to take the leap!
1) Money doesn't roll in the door immediately. Once you actually get your first transaction under contract, it usually takes 30-45 days for it to close and fund (if it doesn't fall through and you actually make it to the closing table). So, best case scenario, you'll get your first paycheck in 1-2 months. Let that sink in. This issue alone is why I see 90% of new agents fail in their first year. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE plan ahead and prepare to have 5-6 months of income set aside to pay your bills and cover your real estate start-up expenses. If you are worrying about paying your bills and seeking part-time employment, you won't be able to focus on starting your new business.
2) Don't be fooled by the idea of "flexible hours". Yes, your hours are flexible, but that's not always a good thing. I always joke that "I get to choose which 80 hours I work this week". Clients need to see homes when they are NOT at work themselves. That means nights and weekends. Be prepared to sacrifice.
3) Do not expect a "full-time" salary if you're on putting in "part-time" hours. Once you are self-employed (which you will be as a REALTOR), you are responsible for your own "make it or break it". Even when you do not have showings or meetings planned with your clients, be prepared to be "in the office" state of mind. There are SO MANY OTHER THINGS TO DO other than show homes that need to be done to launch and continue a successful real estate business- research, networking, marketing, social media, continuing education, and yes... blogging, that all take up hours in your day. Start early and work late-- it'll pay off.
4) This is serious business. Buying a home (or other property) is often the largest financial transaction ANYONE will ever complete. When you clients trust you to guide them through the process, take it seriously. Keep up with your real estate education and legal changes. Often, the failure to keep up with very important industry changes (especially legal updates) is the biggest failure of part-time agents or "old-timers". As a new agent, you may want to consider working under a well-established and reputable agent to gain experience and learn the ropes. Your real estate licensing courses are full of very valuable information, but they actually offer very little help in teaching you how to negotiate or work a transaction. Interview multiple experienced agents and investigate their reputation BEFORE committing to working for one-- your reputation will only be as good as theirs in the eyes of our industry.
5) It's worth it. It's going to be tough when you get going. It's going to typically take 1-2 years for you to build your client base, gain experience, and really start operating with regularity. Prepare yourself, but stick with it. It's a marathon, not a sprint.