What Does it Really Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?

If you’re like me, you might love watching shows on HGTV or Magnolia Network to see people sell real estate or flip homes. It might get you thinking that you have what it takes to become an agent yourself.

Before quitting your job and changing your life, take a look at what it really takes to become a successful real estate agent.

Get Your License

Every successful real estate broker started out as an agent first. In order to do that, you’ll have to get licensed. Thankfully, it’s very affordable to start the process. You can get your real estate license online in New York starting at only $99.

Once you’ve taken the necessary course and passed the final exam, you’ll also need to pass the state exam and complete your real estate application for your state. In total, this could cost you anywhere from $250 to $350 total.

Considering how other areas of work might require you to pay thousands of dollars for a new college degree, it’s well worth the small investment for a lifetime of gain.

Start Saving Your Business Funds

Aside from getting your license and passing the necessary exams, you’ll also need startup expenses. Becoming a real estate agent, whether you’re doing it on your own or working for a firm, comes with a cost.

You’ll need to invest in business cards, direct mail postcards, and other necessary office supplies. And don’t forget to account for any upcoming bills you personally have as well. Don’t forget, you won’t make money immediately since real estate is based on commission.

Things Could Go Wrong

One thing to remember as a real estate agent is that you can’t count your dollars until you have the check in hand. Many things could go wrong throughout the process.

A client might not be approved for a loan or another agent could sweep in at the last minute with a better deal for the buyer. Becoming an agent requires patience because inevitably, things could go wrong before they go right.

Be Realistic With Pay

You might be thinking you’re going to make millions of dollars. This could happen well into the future. However, when you first begin, you may want to lower your expectations.

Commission for a real estate agent is typically around 2.5%. If you sell a $300,000 home, your commission is around $7,500. You’ll then have to split this cost with the brokerage which could be around a 70/30 split, leaving you with around $5,250. 

How much time did it take you from start to finish (again, only counting the money once the check is in hand)? If it took you around a month to sell the house plus another 30 days of being in escrow, that puts you at around $2,625 per month.

This isn’t terrible when you think about it. But to be successful as a real estate agent, you’re going to need to sell on average at least one house a month with a value of at least $300,000.

Consider Starting Part-Time

A great piece of advice from real estate agents and brokers is to start part-time. You may not necessarily have the time or money to go all-in from the very beginning.

Not to mention, it takes time to be able to build your clientele. Starting part-time alleviates the pressure of having it be a full-time commitment. This way, you can still maintain another side job while building your network and reputation in the business.

You Have to Be Assertive

Any type of job in sales requires a personality type that is relatively assertive if you want to close on a deal. There can’t be any second-guessing when it comes to reaching out to clients or setting up showings.

You have to be ready and willing to sell what the home has to offer in a way that personally speaks to your clients.

If you’re considering becoming a real estate agent, the benefits are genuinely tremendous. You just have to be ready to put in the work, be patient, and also be realistic with your expectations.

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