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The Sweet and Sour of Entering the Real Estate Industry

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By : Kevin Koitz    99 or more times read
It may seem odd to consider starting a real estate career when the national housing market is facing tough times, but it is during these times that agents who aren't cut out for the industry have left, thus paving the way for new agents to try their hand at the business. If you think that real estate may be calling your name, then it's important to think about the pros and cons of entering this industry.

One of the most appealing aspects of being a real estate agent is the fact that you're really an independent contractor that works under the umbrella of a brokerage. This means that you have the autonomy to choose your own schedule and build yourself as a brand.

Work ethic also plays a critical role in the success of an agent. Without a willingness to work long hours and be attentive to your clients' needs, you won't develop a very strong client base. This is great for hard workers, but not so good for those who think that being a realtor only requires you to put up a For Sale sign, host an open house, and uncork the champagne bottle at the end of a successful transaction. If you don't have the commitment, perseverance, and organizational skills it would take to run a small business, then don't become a real estate agent.

Because clients come first, you may find that your personal life suffers once you don a realtor's hat. You will receive phone calls at random hours—any day of the week. Usually it's something really pressing that the client needs to see you about. You may have to miss the PTA meeting or cancel dinner plans to attend to your work, which is understandably not something that everyone wants to do.

In exchange for your time and dedication, you may get rewarded handsomely. I say "may" because there are no guarantees in real estate. You could spend months working for a client, only to have them switch to another agent or change their plans entirely. Agents only get paid after a successful closing, so there will be times that you feel like your time was totally wasted. On the positive side, every experience gives you new tools to work with, so even bad clients teach you ways to improve your business.

A successful sale will net you a decent commission, which is of course why many enter the industry. If you provide good customer service, are good at sales, and willing to work for your money, you can make a very comfortable living as a real estate agent. In fact, many of the most successful agents believe that an agent's success is relative to their efforts more so than their abilities and skill sets. This is very good news for new agents are insecure about their inherent selling abilities.

One thing you need to be prepared for—both emotionally and financial—is the fact that agents typically go for several months without a paycheck. When you close a sale, you need to keep a portion as an emergency reserve in case your local market comes to a standstill, and you can't find any clients.

Another drawback to real estate is the amount of money it takes to be in the business. Hosting open houses, printing up brochures and business cards, setting up your web site, and taking clients to properties can all add up to a lot of money. This is on top of the fees you'll be required to pay to belong to national and regional associations. If you're going to go into this business, you definitely need to have substantial start-up funds, or you'll find the months long and very lean.

The pressure on an inexperienced agent can be great, but if you have experience working in sales or customer service, your road will be much easier. The more people skills and experience working with clients of all ages and backgrounds you have, the better. You will need to love being around people, as you'll be working with them all the time. If you're shy or have trouble dealing with difficult people, you may find real estate a challenging career choice. You're going to be working with people from all walks of life during a very exciting and stressful time of their lives. They're putting their dreams (and money) in your hands, so there will be heightened emotions among everyone involved. When you find them the right house though, they will be thrilled, and you'll have played a huge part in helping them achieve their goals. That feeling alone is a great motivator for many agents to stay in this business.
The Koitz Group offers elite real estate services in the greater Bethesda/Chevy Chase and Washington DC area (and they have a website that covers it all!). Visit the Koitz Group's Chevy Chase real estate guide or Georgetown DC real estate guide, packed full of information, search tools, and links to other fine neighborhoods in the DC Metro area.

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