Sunday, February 7, 2016

So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent

   If you're looking for a new career, have you looked at becoming a real estate agent?  The only criteria needed to become an agent is if you like looking at houses and enjoy working with people. However, it is not always the dream job some may imagine it to be, You would be working for yourself in a flexible career where you can set your own schedule with annual earning potential of over $100,000 if you're willing to put in the hard work and long hours,. There are so many reasons to choose a real estate career. But there are always two sides to every story, and a real estate career is no different. Selling real estate is more work that you might imagine and, although there are some very successful real estate agents, there are many who struggle just to make ends meet. Before you consider going down the path to becoming a real estate agent consider the following before starting down that golden highway that you imagine it to be.  
   To get started, it should be quick and painless and in most states you can complete the required training to become a licensed real estate agent and start your new career in just a matter of weeks or months depending on your state. You cannot sell a house without having a real estate license. The first  thing you should do is go to your state's Department of Real Estate Website or Bureau of Real Estate.and find a list of approved online or in-person real estate courses required. If you prefer the online courses most states offer classes right there in the comfort of your home. Of course all states have different requirements and some may require that you take some classroom courses away from home. One very important consideration if you decide to go into real estate is that you have to invest your time, money and effort to complete the task. It does not come with any guarantees and you must pass the licensing exam which is difficult and demands an understanding of some complex topics and varied skill set.
   After the licensing process you’ will be an independent contractor and control your own book of business. You make the decisions. Together with a good attitude and solid work ethic, and there are virtually no limits to the growth of your real estate business. However, as an independent contractor, you are on your own to learn the market and the business. You will be in charge of building your lead list, maintaining your client’s needs, networking relationships, marketing the business, and managing the day-to-day office needs. It’s all in your hands. Many new agents fail to recognize how much work it takes to become a successful real estate agent.
  Once you pass the state exam and that real estate license if in your hot little hands you will have to decide where you want to work. For a new real estate agent it is required that you work under the supervision of a broker. Real Estate Brokers are there to offer agents legal protection and marketing and guidance. Make sure that when looking to hang that license interview at least three different brokerages as this interview runs like a two lane street. You have to see how they operate and they have to see what kind of agent you may turn out to be. Agent preferences differ in that some prefer well known large corporations while others prefer the mom and pop places. The smaller brokerages are more flexible with your time and you can work from home and sometimes choose your own vendors.  
   As an independent contractor, you will have start-up costs for your business even though you are working under a broker. You're business cards will have the name of your new brokerage on the front of it  but you need to pay for those cards. Some of the other expected expenses will be sale signs, open house signs, a basic website and miscellaneous expenses. You must budget about $1000 dollars for startup costs and as you grow your business you can budget some more advertising expenses. The other expected expenses are your annual real estate association fees, and some board dues which are sometimes part of your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The majority of new agents usually start out as buyers agents rather than taking listings. This usually incurs many hours miles and many hours of driving and many gas tank full-ups.  
   If you have a job or a family, it will be rough going for a new real estate agent showing houses all over town. Not only that most showings are done in the evening or on weekends so unusual times are usually the rule rather than the exception. You may think that this would be an appealing part-time gig but it is not uncommon for buyers to call up asking to see a property on a few hours notice. You can set your boundaries with the client before you end up getting calls after midnight. As mentioned earlier there is no limit to your earning potential as a real estate agent.
     Because you do work on commission as an agent or later as a broker you do have a limitless income. At the start you must realize that it is a variable income and you may go some moths without income so an important lesson to learn is to budget your income. You will usually get back in income what you put into it in time and effort. Most commissions are paid by the seller and are negotiable by law. The commissions vary according to what's contracted but usually it will range from 2 to 3 percent of the purchase price and that rate would also be allocated to the buyer's agent. Let's take an example. If your contract rate is 6%, 3% ti the listing agent and 3% to the buyer's agent and the house sells for $100,000. The listing agent would receive 3% ($3,000) and the buyer's agent would also receive 3% ($3.000). If you are a new agent you have a brokerage split which can sometimes be in the 70%/30% range whereby the broker gets 30% of your fee. Which would leave you with $2100 and the broker would get $900. The length of time to earn this money will entail some time because the typical escrow is about 30 days.If you are the buyer's agent it may have taken you a few miles, a lot of time on weekends and evenings.  
   It will be hard to start up your business and it may take you a few months before you sell or buy your first house. Real estate really is a great career choice. This article isn’t meant to scare anyone away from real estate, but is offered to be an honest look at the real estate business from both sides of success and failure. It can be a very difficult career if the training and work ethic fails, but it can be a seriously rewarding career if you are self-motivated, hard-working, honest, and enjoy networking and helping people. 

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