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JonnyCeltics's avatar

Is obtaining a real estate license a nice "fall back," or perhaps more?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2664 points ) June 26th, 2012

Recently graduated from a graduate program. In my search for work I am trying to stay open to lots of ideas…one of them is to obtain a real estate license (in NYC) and see where it might lead.

What are some trajectories – would it be rentals, or selling larger properties? I imagine there is a barrier to entry, or pathways to go down before money comes in, etc…but yeah. Wondering…

What are the days like, hours, etc?

So, in sum, not just whether or not the option to get a license in a decent idea, but also what I could/may expect…

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10 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

It’s a wonderful idea but not in NYC where you will be competing with established large firms that have been around since before the flood.

If you can find a smaller area, you might be better off. Here, in a really rural area that is considered lovely pickings for second homes for the deep-pocket gang from New York City, I have trouble thinking of anyone who does not have a real estate license. It’s cutthroat.

My sister and her husband tried it for three years and found that it was an enormous amount of work with a small income flow that was unpredictable. So they bought an arts and crafts store in town instead.

YARNLADY's avatar

If you love that kind of work, it can be very good. If you don’t, being knowledgeable in the real estate field is very useful. My father-in-law made his fortune selling real estate in New York City in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but my Husband didn’t make one dime, even with his father’s help.

Hubby has made a fortune in the I. T. field starting in the 1970’s

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Remember the Donald ( Donald Trump ) made and lost several fortunes selling real estate in and around NYC. Start in a small pond if you are a new/small fish.

janbb's avatar

I think it can be hard to make much money as a new real estate agent in this market. You might want to look into real estate appraisal; a cousin is doing really well in NYC in that field.

Judi's avatar

One of the best trajectories with a RE license is property management. Your income is not dependant on the economy and you get paid whether you’re having a good day or a bad day. It takes a special breed though. I think there must be a property management gene because you’re either good at it or you’re not. Not a lot of in between.
I don’t know about New York, but in California, with a degree, you can take the Brokers test right away and skip the licensee test. The tests (here) are virtually the same except the Brokers has more questions. I’ve taken both.

gailcalled's avatar

My daughter is renting her small house in Providence while she lives in Squamish, BC. Her realtor manages the renters and the property issues for a monthly fee. Toilet clogged, tree branch down, front steps rotting..the manager steps in and makes arrangements with the plumber, the arborist and the carpenter.

JLeslie's avatar

Real estate is somewhat like wealth in America, the top 20% do 80% of the business. I made up those numbers, but it is something like that. It usually takes a while to really start making a living at real estate. In NY you most likely have to pay your dues as a newbie, doing mostly rentals and giving up half the commission to your broker. But, I am just guessing based on my experience being a realtor in FL and how I perceive NYC real estate. The great thing about NY is a lawyer always does the contracts if I remember correctly, so your job is just the hunting or selling.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: “Guessing” or “made-up” numbers doesn’t help anyone who wants real information. Rather, share your personal experiences with us, and pass along accurate statistics.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled It is a fact the top realtors make the bulk of the income, I am just not sure of the exact percentages. NY, as I think about it more, does have binders before the sales contracts that some brokers use. But, from what I remember there have been legal entaglements with them. Possibly in NY it is legal for a broker to fill in a prefab NY BAR sales contract? Again, I am not sure of the current law, it varies by state. I seem to remember when my girlfriend wanted to purchase in NY the realtor did not do the contracts, so either that is NY law, or brokers opt to pass it to lawyers. My girlfriend and I are realtors (well I was back then) we drew up contracts in FL.

The OP can totally ignore my answer if he wants, or ask me more questions if he feels my answer is incomplete. You come after me when I state something and don’t put a disclaimer, I think that is a legitimate suggestion, but this time I did, and for that matter I have in the past, but I always seem to bother you with how I state things. Everything I wrote above is worth considering, the OP can research it further if he is interested in any of the things I mentioned. This is the internet, I am sure he won’t be fool enough to just take answers as the gospel and would find out from NY realtors, but this gives him some things to think about.

I don’t understand why your brought up established Real Estate firms? He can go to work for one. He would not be starting his own business at first.

@JonnyCeltics This is a good website with statistics. But, talking to NY realtors is your best bet. Each market is different.

Appraisal is a good idea, I agree with those who suggested it, and property management. Most people when they start in real estate in one form or another need to be able to live without income for a while. Many start it as a side businesses, or work it if it is not a primary income for the household.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

A lot of people became real estate brokers during the recent boom. A lot of them are now under- and unemployed. You’ll have a lot of competition for a smaller amount of business, especially with so many banks holding the mortgages these days.

I agree with the others here. Think about property management, appraising, or even doing something else besides real estate.

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