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mirifique's avatar

Advice on (i) whether to become and (ii) how to become a REAL ESTATE AGENT?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) March 23rd, 2010

For those that know me, I’m a current paralegal looking for other career options besides law school. After much soul-searching I’ve been seriously considering taking a pre-certification real estate course—I’m good at and enjoy sales, negotiating, (money…,) networking, organization, understanding/explaining legal concepts, etc. I also love houses and “spaces” and also genuinely like, and want to help, people. I also work best when I’m “under the gun” and have control over my salary and success. Of course, this is just my theory on the matter. Are any of you flutherites current or former agents, and could you shed some light on this vocation—everything from current and future outlook, what it takes to succeed (and, who ends up failing), how interesting and fun the work is, and what the overall downsides are. For the second part of my question, I’d like to get personal anecdotes for how to get into the “biz.” Or perhaps why to stay far away from this biz. I’d be thankful for ANY advice, as I’m seriously days away from registering for this course. Thank you!

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12 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Now is going to be tough for you because the housing market is down.
If you’re showing property, you’ll probably want to start working out now.
I dont know how one goes about becoming a real estate agent.

mammal's avatar

after much soul searching you decided upon that career. That worries me, did you not find your soul then?

mirifique's avatar

@mammal really not helpful in any way

Cruiser's avatar

Real Estate is a great way to make money and you get to work with people two major fun pluses to the career. Down side is you work weekends and nights and even times that may conflict with your other desired activities. Both my parents were Realtors and I never saw them. I was a part time broker for 11 years and the thrill of the deal is intoxicating but be prepared to sacrifice most if not all your “normal” free time.

mirifique's avatar

@Cruiser That’s fine by me; I thrive on that kind of thing. Perhaps I could PM you to discuss this further?

aimee's avatar

It sounds like this is something you’d be really good at, but you have to realize when you’re first starting out that business will be slow and you’ll have to build contacts. Right now the big thing with Realtors is social media—using websites like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and LinkedIn to market themselves and get referrals or leads from the internet. There have been a lot of seminars on it recently, and I think especially as a new agent it would be important to make sure you’re familiar with how to use those websites to find potential clients. The other thing you should be focused on right now is foreclosures; that’s the biggest market at the moment.

If you do end up getting your license, the biggest piece of advice that I can give you is not to join a franchise like Re/Max. Your money is best spent with an independently owned company, specifically one with a lead generation program. Also, try to make it a point to get to know everyone in the office. Many times when an agent gets too busy they’ll pass on the client to a friend, and of course brokers will always give the people they know special treatment. It’s good to know another language, and it’s good to have a niche. For example, some agents will choose to work primarily with HUD homes, with properties that fall above the $300,000 range, with businesses and lots only etc etc. And this probably goes without saying, but the first time you sell a house make sure to follow up with your client. It’s nice to send them a housewarming gift or a thank you card. Always go beyond what’s required of you, because that’s the best way to make sure you’ll be remembered six months down the line when some guy at a bar asks your former client if they know a good agent.

Then finally, you mentioned taking a course. Make sure that it’s with your state MLS. Many of the independent courses aren’t as comprehensive and tend to be overpriced. Oh, and good luck!

thriftymaid's avatar

The “how to” is different in each state. 5% of agents do 85% of the business in this profession. It’s all but impossible to do it part time. If you choose to do it, you will have to be a self starter. You need to have enough money to live 8 months before you start. Getting started is not easy. Find a broker who will actually help you; not just enjoy his part of your commissions. You will also see some nasty things going on. Be prepared for that.

mirifique's avatar

@thriftymaid Oooh, nasty things. Like what?

thriftymaid's avatar

@mirifique Things that are outside of the code of ethics, as well as outside of the law. RE can pump out huge commissions, especially commercial RE. I’ve had a RE license 30 years. I only worked full time (selling houses) for a couple of years, then did work part time. My situation was different because I was in a RE family—everyone had either a broker or salesman license. When I worked part time it was selling properties owned by the family. You will learn which agents to trust and which not to.

davidbetterman's avatar

Timeshares are still selling well.

JeffVader's avatar

The first thing you need to do is go to the mirror & see if you have a large fin on your back…. if you do, then it’s the perfect career for you.

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