One of the questions I am often asked is "Do you think I should I become a Realtor? What is it like?" It is easier to answer the second question than the first. Once someone understands what it is like being a Realtor, they can answer the first question themselves. Here is what it is like living the life of a Realtor:
- The first thing to understand is that, like all commissioned sales people, you wake up each morning unemployed. How's that for motivation?
- There are no weekends, only 7 possible workdays each week.
- The desk work far exceeds the time spent on appointments.
- When the market is hot, usually over the summer, it is common to work 15 hour days.
- After you have scheduled homes to be shown, a customer can show up an hour late for an appointment or not at all.
- Your best prospect can tell you on short notice he's coming to town to buy a home, right when you're leaving on vacation.
- It's feast or famine. Your current year income can be as little as half that of last year or as much as triple that of last year. You can sometimes go 4-5 months without any income, then earn half of your annual income in a single month.
- Some customers are not honest about their intentions and are just looking for some free professional service with no intention of allowing you to ever earn anything from it.
- About 1/3 of the customers and clients you work with will change their mind about buying or selling. Or they may decide to purchase in another area altogether. You cancelled your vacation for them and now they're buying a house in Tuscaloosa!
- There are absolutely no employer-paid fringe benefits, i.e., no health insurance, no life insurance, no paid vacation, no retirement plan, no company car, and no expense account.
The above could certainly give someone considering a real estate career quite a few reasons to run the other way, but here are some very strong reasons to consider a real estate career:
- In real estate, every past professional experience you have ever had will be of some use to you as a Realtor.
- You will meet many very nice people along the way. Some of these buyers, sellers, and other agents will become some of your best friends.
- If you don't mind saying "no" once in a while, you determine your own work schedule.
- If you choose, you can work from an office in your home.
- You are your own boss. You are accountable only to yourself for the results you achieve. No one can fire you.
- Your income can be very high.
- You can incorporate and have tax write offs not otherwise available.
- You will derive tremendous joy from your successes in helping clients achieve their dreams, being an instrumental part of their getting from point A to point B in their lives..
I have been a Realtor for 20 years and I can honestly tell you it was a great career choice for me. I can stomach the disappointments because I know overall I'll make a lot of people happy during the course of the year and earn many nice commissions, as well.