Friday, June 18, 2010

Real Estate Agents - A Lesson In Reality

In a bustling economy, it seemed everyone wanted to become real estate agents. Some individuals even quit their regular jobs to get into a marketplace they had an opportunity to take full advantage of.

Of course, before being able to work the business, you need to go to real estate school. Different states have different requirements but in general all you need is a high school diploma. Schools average about 40 hours of coursework and this can be broken down into perhaps a few weekends, or other schools advocated one night a week for a few months, giving students a better opportunity to understand and remember the coursework.

After school is over you are then required to take your state's licensing exam. Once you pass you are typically recruited by every real estate agency in your town because they have access to all the new licensee names.

As you go to interview with these agencies, you are rarely told how much money it's going to cost you to get into the business. These agencies will do and say anything to get you to work for them because of course the more people they have, the better chance they have to increase sales.

As you see dollar signs in front of your eyes, you don't realize that you are truly working for yourself. Period. And as any independent contractor, because that's what you are, it costs money to be in business. Typically you will need to come up with over $1,000 just to start working at most agencies. You will be charged for MLS fees, office administrative fees which include use of phone, space, etc., along with business cards, general advertising expenses, liability insurance, and a host of other possibilities.

Once you are shown to your new desk, you're pretty much on your own. This is where you realize that what you learned in real estate school isn't helping you much at all. Real estate school teaches you about tax stamps and deed rights, but it doesn't teach you a thing about how to sell property. Most agencies don't provide much on the job training and you'd better find a mentor quick before you quit.

To help you get some customers you will probably be given the opportunity to answer phones for specific periods of time. You're probably saying you didn't sign up for this, but in reality this is how you will get your first customers. People see for sale signs with your company name, and they call in for information. This is your chance to try to schedule an appointment with them and sell them the home.

With a little experience you might be lucky to get your own listings, meaning you are being hired by sellers to put their home on the market. Of course, you are also responsible for spending your own money to advertise the house, and you need to spend money on gas driving customers around to see all your houses for sale.

For anyone thinking about getting into real estate, be aware that there are heavy expenses associated with the business where some commission splits are very low.

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