Four Myths About Real Estate Careers
A career in real estate can be hugely satisfying. You get to help people find the home of their dreams and guide them through the biggest transaction of their lives. But there are a lot of misconceptions about being a real estate agent, some of which are bolstered by reality TV shows featuring agents with seven-figure incomes, Bentleys and multimillion-dollar digs of their own.
In actuality, the typical full-time agent sold about $1.7 million in volume and made about $45,800 in 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors. That’s still a solid income; it’s just not one that makes for interesting TV.
If you think a career in real estate may be right for you, it’s important to know the truth.
Myth #1: Real estate sales is a great part-time job.
Becoming a successful real estate agent requires a lot of learning, marketing and networking. And while the career offers a lot of flexibility, it also requires a lot of flexibility. Don’t minimize the amount of time, attention and discipline you’ll need to be truly successful.
Myth #2: Selling houses is easy.
As referenced above, there’s more to selling homes than showing people great houses. Frankly, some clients can’t afford great houses and some need to sell not-so-marketable properties. But before you even get to that stage, you need to train, market and prospect—all while developing a strong network of supporting players, such as home inspectors, title companies and appraisers. A lot of people are surprised at all the details involved in a transaction, and it’s an agent’s job to understand not just the process but also all the steps to ensure client satisfaction in the end.
Myth #3: It doesn’t matter which broker and firm you choose.
When you become a real estate agent, you’ll need a good broker—one that can and will provide you with everything from work space, forms and contracts to marketing, training and technology support. Be sure to look at how they’ll invest in you and the value you get for the split.
Myth #4: You’ll make big money right away.
The average area agent with average skills and intelligence, working at least 40 hours a week and backed by a good broker, should be able to make close to $40,000 in their first year. It’s really about the individual agent and their commitment. Top rookies with proper coaching can make more than $60,000 in their first year and hit six figures in their third.