If you are looking for ways to get into real estate, becoming an agent is a great path. The real estate market is booming, and realtors are in-demand. However, it is essential to know what to expect from the job and how you can prepare for it.
5 Benefits of Switching to a Career in Real Estate
Is becoming a real estate agent the right career choice for you? Check out these major benefits of switching, or starting, a career in real estate.
Unlike other jobs, you don’t need a college degree to get your real estate license. In some states like Texas, you won’t need a high school diploma either. If you are considering a career change or want to start a new career, real estate is a great field to get into because of the undemanding prerequisites. While each state has specific requirements, in general, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a US citizen (or permanent resident) and state resident
- Have completed your state’s pre-license education
- Have passed the State Licensing Examination
Despite meeting the prerequisites, if you are a young professional, you might find it challenging to compete against senior agents who dominate the real estate market with their experience and spheres of influence. However, many sellers and buyers appreciate the enthusiasm and drive that young agents display.
If you are a self-starter and love helping people, then real estate is a great place for you. Moving is a stressful activity for many people, and many realtors love being able to help ease the stress. At their job, agents are required to deal with lenders, title closers, buyers, and sellers, among others. Agents then have to find a way to address each person’s demands. Many people like the challenges of problem-solving and working with different personalities without being deterred. Beyond real estate, agents use skills from finance, marketing, sales, and customer service to help their clients, which is why realtors view their job as a creative outlet.
However, like every business, your job comes with the liabilities, risks of disclosure, and uncertainties of securing a deal. The creative freedom and responsibilities can be overwhelming. It can also be frustrating to find the best way to solve different problems while addressing the original claim. But, like every business, you will get rewarded for what you put in your work.
Flexible hours and days
As a real estate agent, you are not confined to a 9 to 5 job for five days a week. You are free to set your hours to accommodate your needs. This is particularly helpful if you want to work part-time in real estate. Many successful realtors join the market with another job. These agents can set time to do some tasks like online marketing, contacting clients, and making signs at home without compromising on other responsibilities.
Since your job is commission-based, it is crucial to have a growing client base. But, it is difficult to secure even one client as a new agent. Therefore, before diving in full-time with your resources and time, you can experience the flexibility of being a part-time agent.
However, your work hours are not always up to you. Since your sellers will most likely be following a 9-5 schedule, you might be asked to meet clients at night or on weekends.
Low initial investment
As a real estate agent, you are an independent contractor in charge of your business. Although the prerequisites are minimal, you still have to pay for the pre-licensing course, exam fee, and training. After you are certified, you need to pay to market your brand with a functional website, business cards, and signs. You will also need a decent car for your client meetings. Yet, compared to other businesses, your initial investments are low.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for real estate agents was $48,690. This means that it is possible to have a stable income from client referrals and the reputation you build over time.
However, it might take you several months to secure your first customer. Since your earnings are commission-based and you will be paid only when the transaction is complete, you might have to rely on savings and deal with financial stress for some time.
Booming market opportunities
The employment of real estate agents is projected to grow 6% from 2016 to 2026 because more millennials will be entering the housing market. While many millennials delayed homeownership because of financial considerations, many are now looking to buy because of the improving job market. This change, coupled with an increase in customer spending, will drive demand for real estate agents.
Additionally, since 2016, a new migration trend has begun. Residents from expensive and crowded cities are moving to thriving secondary cities and towns. Cities like Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; and Phoenix, AZ will see a greater population growth than New York City or Chicago, expanding opportunities and markets for real estate agents.
However, the real estate market is highly sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, which subsequently affects the job prospects of real estate agents. Even during times of economic growth, government-imposed credit regulations and rising interest rates can cause people to continue renting instead of entering the housing market.
Steps to become a real estate agent
Now that you have a better idea if real estate is the right career for you, there are a few steps you must take to become an agent.
Step 1: Take your state’s Pre-licensing Course
Each state has different licensing requirements, but a pre-licensing course from a reputed school will help you fulfill your requirements and prepare you for the exam.
Step 2: Enroll and pass your state’s licensing exam
Ensure that you register and pay for your state’s licensing exam in time, so you can take it right after completing your pre-licensing course. Passing the exam takes additional preparation with practice exams and sample questions. Make sure you have ample time to study.
Step 3: Find a brokerage to work under
After you pass your state’s licensing exam, you are licensed to work under a real estate broker. It is important to choose a brokerage that fits your needs. Consider if you want to work for a big firm that gives you great exposure or a small firm that gives you more responsibility.
Ready to Get Licensed?
Real estate is a great market to get into if you are looking for a career change. As an agent, your job can be emotionally and financially rewarding in a growing market. Taking the pre-licensing course is the first step in having a successful real estate career.