As a real estate agent, you will perform a number of responsibilities. Some of these include marketing to find properties to list, listing properties on MLS, marketing to sell properties, finding interested and qualified buyers to show properties to, and administration work. While some of these tasks will be performed in an office setting, the majority of an agent’s time is spent out in the field, something that many former outside sales professionals are drawn to. There are a number of reasons to seek a career as an agent in this field, including:
- Unlimited earning potential; the sky is determined by your limits.
- Flexible scheduling capability.
- Ability to own your own business.
Now that you have some things to consider, let’s dive into the business potential afforded by this career path.
What is the Business Potential?
As previously mentioned, one of biggest reasons professionals are drawn to this field is the earnings potential. Before we dive into the earning potential, it is important to note that most opportunities in this field are commission driven. While some agency opportunities may offer a nominal salary or draw against commissions, your earnings will be driven by your results.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the average annual earnings for all real estate brokers in 2009, was reported to be $78,360. The average annual earnings for the agents, was $53,100. However the sky if the limit for top-notch agents with highly placed sources and contacts. Agents who can connect a buyer and seller for posh bungalows, apartments and commercial structures can even get a six figure income.
What are the requirements?
You will need to pass the associated licensing exam for the state in which you plan to practice. Most experts estimate the average study time required to pass this exam to be between 40-70 hours. Once you have properly prepared for the exam, you will schedule to sit for the exam at a local testing center. Most tests are conducted electronically, with the results available for review immediately upon completion. In addition to self study materials, exam takers may choose online exam questions, review courses, as well as live online or classroom training sessions to assist them in their exam preparation.
If you intend to practice across multiple state lines, the process typically involves obtaining a primary license within your state of residence, and non-resident licenses within the additional states. Once you have successfully obtained your real estate license, in most cases you will need to align yourself with a local office to transact business. You can locate opportunities within your local market through job boards, online job postings and career fairs.
Beyond the costs associated with preparation and passing the licensing exam, professionals entering into the career should expect some initial start up costs. These expenses could include any of the following:
- Business cards
- Mandatory agency costs (office space, copies, materials, pro-rata agency marketing costs)
- Cell phone/fax/communication costs (a mobile phone is mandatory these days)
How to Identify a Growing Market?
Many agents don’t choose to focus on a specific market niche. However, top realtors do. To achieve success within your new career, spend time researching up and coming property markets, underserved markets and the path for entering into the luxury market. Up-and-coming areas are often characterized by depressed property pricing, but renewed interest in rehabbing. The best time to get into these markets is when the interest is just beginning to develop. Underserved markets may include the areas in town with the lowest percentage of real estate agents currently marketing and/or available to serve clients.
How to get clients?
One of the biggest concerns facing new realtors is whether they can gain enough clients to become successful. The most logical beginning for building a real estate business is your current network. Be sure to let friends, family, former colleagues and associates know that you have made a career change and how they may be able to help you get started. Beyond your network, consider some of the following client acquisition strategies:
- Conduct a home buying seminar in your target area.
- Establish a Facebook page for your new business and invite your contacts to “Like” your page.
- Experiment with door hangers/fliers as well as local coupon or marketing mailers.
- Build a network of local mortgage professionals, bankers and financial advisors.
- Submit a press release announcing your new affiliation with an agency.
- Get to know builders, other agents and top notch construction companies; contacts and networking are crucial to succeed in this business.
- Alternatively, it is also advisable to get to know bank agents who can help get loans for the buyers. This will help indirectly in getting the transaction executed quickly and the buyer will also be pleased because of the additional help.
- Use Google Earth and other map tools to find which are the developing and upcoming areas; this will help you convince clients more easily.
These marketing ideas will get you started. The key to successful client acquisition is trial and error; be sure to track your results so that you can modify your strategy as needed every few months. When something is working, stick with it!
Real estate is currently one of the most attractive professional selling careers available. With low barriers to entry and unlimited earnings potential, it is no wonder that qualified career changers are considering this path. With focus, hard work and persistence, you can develop your own business that in time will provide you with income, flexibility and creative control.