Investing in Your Career
Investing in Your Real Estate Career
If you’re considering a real estate career or are new to the industry, please remember that, in this business, your success is in large part determined by how much “investment” you’re willing to make. The investment is primarily in time and effort, but you may need to invest some money in your career as well. Successful Real Estate Agents have all been in your shoes at one time. Knowing the questions and concerns you may have, they’ve put together the following things for you to consider as you move forward in your real estate career.
At The Local Realty™, we strongly believe that almost anyone can succeed in real estate. However, that doesn’t mean success comes automatically. You do have to put effort into your work, just like in any career, to become truly successful. And in real estate, a genuine desire to help and work with people is a necessity. The following advice will help you to think about what you need to do to better serve your customers, and to enhance your real estate career.
You will probably work evenings and weekends. You can make your own hours to some extent, and it’s important that you manage your customers’ expectations concerning your time and availability. There will be many occasions when you can only show a home or take a listing appointment in the evening, or when a weekend is the only time you can write up an offer.
Real Estate Agents will tell you that, when all is said and done, many full-time agents often put in more than 40 hours a week, due to the time spent working on weekends and evenings. Even so, their schedules are more flexible than salaried workers. Part-time agents often spend the bulk of their time devoted to weekend and evening work, but serve a tighter circle of customers.
Regardless of whether you plan to be a full-time or part-time agent, it’s important to understand that, to be successful, you need to be available when potential customers can make time. If you are committed to your success, you’ll need to occasionally compromise your time in the interest of serving your customers.
Success in any field comes to those who make a focused, determined effort to succeed, and real estate is no exception. You need to make the most of the time you invest, by working to understand and assist buyers and sellers, staying on top of industry news and market conditions, thinking about new ways to reach potential customers, staying sharp through ongoing training and more. Your real estate broker will assist you in many ways, complementing your efforts, supporting your work and providing direction. But you’ll need to be proactive in your work, particularly if you wish to provide Local Expert Service™.
As an independent contractor, you will need to invest a certain amount of money in yourself to get started, and then to maintain your business. Typical real estate agent expenses include:
Real Estate Education and Licensing
- Real estate license education tuition and fees
- Licensing exam fees
- Optional training to increase your skill set or gain special certifications
Real Estate Professional Fees
- Any local fees for business licensing
- Local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) fees
- Fees to join and maintain your status with a local board of real estate agents
Real Estate Agency Fees
- Depending upon the local broker, agents may be charged monthly or “pay as you go” fees to defray the costs of technology, office services, postage, phone calls and more
Personal Business Expenses
- Expenses to own, maintain and fuel a vehicle suitable for carrying potential buyers and sellers
- Additional auto insurance to cover increased liability for business passengers
- Depreciation on your vehicle through increased mileage
- Errors and omissions insurance coverage, to help protect you from claims if your client holds you responsible for errors, or accuses you of failing to perform as specified in a contract
- Cell phone, computer, software and other “home office” expenses
Plus, don’t forget that you’ll need to invest in maintaining a professional appearance. While “business casual” or even shorts and sandals are accepted real estate attire in some markets, you can’t go wrong by having a well-maintained professional wardrobe, and the accessories (portfolio, planner, writing materials) to go with it.