Vice President and partner of Garrett Realty Partners, Collin has conquered real estate in just 13 years as a realtor, trainer, mentor.
Day in and day out, millions of people browse internet real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others and tune into homebuying and renovation shows. Looking at houses and critiquing them virtually could actually be considered a hobby for many, but when you throw in the many real estate-related TV shows that make the work look easy, we end up with a groundswell of people who begin to consider a career change into the real estate industry.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with transitioning into this career field if you fully understand what you are signing yourself up for and come prepared to work hard. With that said, here are some raw truths to consider before starting your career as a real estate agent.
1. First, consider that as a real estate agent, you will no longer be able to approach your job like an employee in almost any other industry. This is a business for the self-starters, for the entrepreneurs, and that brings along a set of responsibilities that will shift from the boss in your previous career to now being all on you.
For example, when you are someone’s employee, you are responsible for completing the tasks that relate to the position you were hired for. In real estate, you are responsible for everything having to do with your business, including making a schedule, marketing, budgeting, showing houses, setting appointments, creating contracts and the list goes on. In essence, you are responsible for it all, and that comes with its freedoms and downfalls. You have to create the security of your career, or you could go back to being employed by someone who creates security for you. Neither choice is right or wrong; it’s just important to be aware of these responsibilities so you can make the best choice for yourself and your career.
This is one of the toughest mindset shifts people don’t realize they must make in order to survive and thrive in this industry. Over numerous years as a trainer, coach and agent leader, I’ve seen this as one of the largest and most difficult hurdles to success, and agents must be ready to tackle it before making the change to this career.
2. Next, if you can get through that and have the determination to tackle that mindset shift, you then need to make sure you are ready financially. Many people decide to attempt a career as a real estate agent in hopes of large commission checks and lack the financial background to realize the reality of consistently inconsistent checks that agents work hard for in the early years of the career as they grow a more stable business.
Being financially prepared will require more than just learning how to save on an inconsistent income, but also coming to understand the cash flow, marketing expenses, taxes, payroll and other operational costs that will be required to keep your business not just solvent, but healthy.
3. Finally, consider that in order to make this career change successful, you will need to constantly adjust and change as markets, technology and society shift on a dime. Change is natural in life and in business, but the downside is we as people tend to naturally fight against change when we lack the comforts of our routines and the control that comes with having those routines. Mental preparation and stamina are necessary before jumping into this career, and it will mean that you understand what control you do have over how you adjust, that the market will control what you adjust to, and that the consumer controls both your time and the changes you will need to make to keep your business in business.
This isn’t to tell you the career is not right for you or to scare the hopeful out of even starting. This is to help future real estate agents think and understand the reality of what media portrayals and some so-called experts don’t want to tell you before sinking your money, time and hopes and dreams into a career that, if approached with the right preparation, can give you so much and has changed many lives (my own included) for the better. The better prepared you are, the better the chances that you will become one of those people who makes that change and turns a goal into a flourishing career.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?