A couple weeks ago, I was in a class when I overheard a fellow student say something along the lines of, “Real estate is easy. All it takes is sixty hours of training to get your license.”
It’s true that becoming an agent takes sixty hours, but the job itself is anything but easy.
Nearly ninety percent of real estate agents fail within the first few years.
That should serve as a warning about how difficult this career really is.
How many of that ninety percent thought, like my fellow student, that it would be easy—only to discover the opposite?
What should you expect? As an agent, you are a business owner.
That means YOU are the sales team, the marketing team, the finance committee, and the customer service department.
Plan on working nights, weekends, and on vacation. Plan on attempting to sync schedules with other agents, buyers, and sellers to show a house—and doing this an average of ten times per sale.
On top of all of that, plan on having few breaks from your chosen field.
Everyone knows a little about real estate, and almost everyone likes to talk about it, so plan on sharing your knowhow at holidays, block parties, and out for drinks. It’s not like being a physicist, hardly ever encountering someone who could talk shop with you (or who’d want to). Being an agent means when everyone else is off, you still have to be on.
That’s a good thing—building relationships is essential—but it definitely takes more work than your typical 9-to-5.
Need an example of what I mean?
Just this past weekend, an agent called me asking my advice. It was Saturday afternoon, and his buyer had just called wanting to put in an offer right away. In this high-pressure, low-inventory market, “right away” meant that night.
It didn’t matter that the agent had dinner plans. He had to cancel them and get to work, because that’s what it takes to succeed in this field.
Another example: Recently, a brand new agent had to show over fifty homes to his very first buyer. If you’re imagining weekend after weekend of work, you’re on the mark.
But I was glad this new agent experienced this, because it encapsulated what it means to be a real estate agent. Right from the start, he could decide if the job was for him—or not.
Bottom line: Know what you’re getting into.
If I said I didn’t love being a real estate agent, I’d be lying. This field is my passion, and for all of the hard work, I love helping people reach their goals.
But you don’t get this far without battle scars, especially if you plan on becoming a top-earning agent. I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you the truth.
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Matt Mittman and Eric Rehling are the owners of RE/MAX Ready in Conshohocken, PA. See articles from them about communication styles, building an audience, learning something new, building relationships, Freakonomics, simple business planning, generating leads, Zillow, the weather, Chip Kelly, RESPA, and more.