Answer these questions to determine if a career in real estate is for you.
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Real estate is a fun and fast-paced industry that promises both fulfilling experiences and financial rewards. However, as exciting as it is, real estate is not the right fit for everyone. This industry calls for a unique blend of skills, personality traits, and a commitment level that not every career demands.
Before you plunge headfirst into a career in real estate, it's important to understand what lies ahead. It's not just about selling properties. Real estate is also about building relationships, understanding complex market dynamics, negotiating deals, and quite often, being the calm in a property-purchasing storm.
To help you decide if a real estate career is the right path for you, we've compiled a comprehensive list of essential questions that you should ask yourself. Let's go through them together.
Ask these questions before jumping into a real estate career:
Understanding your motivations for entering real estate is crucial. If you love learning about new properties, are motivated by a true desire to help others, or enjoy the art of negotiation, these are all positive signs that you should pursue real estate.
However, if your interest is solely based on the potential to make a ton of money, you may want to reconsider. While real estate can be lucrative, income can be inconsistent. And that’s especially true at the beginning. The challenging early years can make it a tough field for those who are not genuinely interested in real estate or helping others.
Real estate agents often manage their own schedules. They must juggle multiple clients and deals. And they must remind themselves constantly to promote themselves to new clients. All of this requires a high degree of self-discipline and intrinsic motivation. Without a strong internal drive, the human tendency to procrastinate or avoid challenging tasks will take over and derail your success.
As a real estate agent, your income will be largely commission-based. This means it can fluctuate greatly from month to month. Some people thrive under these conditions, as the potential for high earnings during a good month can be exciting. However, it's also important to be financially prepared for slower months.
If financial stability is a top priority for you, real estate may not be the best choice. The uncertainty of where your next paycheck will come from may cause more stress than it's worth. That said, there are other ways that you can ensure a steady paycheck as a real estate agent.
For example, many agents choose to become property managers. Property managers help property owners lease out their properties to tenants. They also manage all aspects of the lease, including helping tenants if they have questions or maintenance issues. You can create a steady income with this type of job. If you’re interested, check out these tips for becoming a property manager.
Rejection and real estate go together like a hand and glove. Failure is an inescapable part of the process. Not every client will choose to work with you, and not every deal will close. Being able to handle rejection, learn from it, and move on is essential. If you take rejection personally or struggle to bounce back from failure, the emotional toll in this industry can be high.
The real estate market is dynamic. Trends, laws, and regulations change all the time. Successful agents are lifelong learners who stay updated on market conditions and continue their education in the field.
If you're someone who loves learning and is willing to invest the time and effort required to stay informed, you'll thrive in real estate. However, if you prefer a job where the required knowledge base stays relatively static, you might find real estate overwhelming.
Networking is a key aspect of a real estate career. You'll need to build relationships with clients, other agents, lenders, and many others. If you enjoy meeting new people and fostering professional relationships, you'll find this aspect of the job rewarding. However, if networking doesn't come naturally to you, you may find this part of the job draining.
As a real estate agent, you're often in the position of negotiating on behalf of your clients. This requires confidence, assertiveness, and strong communication skills. If you're comfortable with negotiation and confident in your ability to advocate for others, you'll excel in this aspect of the job. However, if negotiation makes you uncomfortable or if you struggle to assert yourself, you may not enjoy a career in real estate.
A deep understanding of your local market is crucial for success in real estate. You'll need to understand the nuances of different neighborhoods, the average prices for different types of homes, and the trends that are affecting your market.
If you're interested in this type of research and willing to invest the time to become a local expert, this can be a rewarding part of the job. If you're not interested in this type of detailed research, you may struggle to provide the expert advice that clients are looking for.
Real estate involves a ton of paperwork and record-keeping. Contracts need to be meticulously filled out, records must be kept for each transaction, and client information should be organized and accessible. If you're organized and detail-oriented, these tasks can become a seamless part of your workflow. However, if you struggle with organization or dislike administrative tasks, this could become a real source of stress.
Marketing is a crucial part of real estate. You'll need to market your listings to attract buyers, and you'll also need to market yourself to attract new clients. This often requires both time and financial investment. If you're creative, enjoy marketing, and are willing to invest in it, this can be a fun and rewarding part of the job. But if you dislike marketing or aren't willing to invest in it, you may struggle to attract clients and sell properties.
As mentioned earlier, the first stages of a real estate career can be financially challenging. It may take some time to earn your first commission, and even then, income can be inconsistent. Having a financial cushion can alleviate some of the stress during this period. If you're prepared for this and have a plan in place, you'll be in a much stronger position.
Real estate transactions often involve unexpected issues. Agents need to be adept at problem-solving and capable of thinking on their feet. If you're someone who enjoys a challenge and can stay calm under pressure, you'll thrive in these situations. But if you prefer predictability (and there’s nothing wrong with that), the unpredictable nature of real estate may drive you to your wit’s end.
Feedback and criticism are part of the real estate industry.
Clients may provide feedback about your service, and colleagues may offer constructive criticism. Being able to handle this feedback professionally and use it to improve is important to your success.
As a real estate agent, you’ll work both inside and outside of traditional business hours. Clients may want to view properties on weekends or evenings, and deals may need to be finalized outside of traditional hours. If you're flexible and prepared to work according to your clients' schedules, you'll eventually become a success in real estate. However, if you're not willing or able to work outside of traditional hours, this could limit your earning potential.
Real estate agents often juggle multiple clients and tasks at once. Organization and task management skills are crucial for keeping everything straight and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. If you're organized and good at multitasking, you'll thrive in this environment. However, if you prefer to focus on one task at a time, the fast-paced, multitasking nature of real estate might overwhelm you.
The real estate industry is competitive. To succeed, you'll need to differentiate yourself from other agents. Perhaps you'll offer exceptional customer service, or you'll become an expert in a specific neighborhood. If you have a clear plan to set yourself apart and the drive to follow through, you'll be well-positioned to carve out a niche. Without doing so, you may find it challenging to attract clients.
Real estate is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires a long-term commitment and a plan for building and maintaining your business. This might include a marketing strategy, a plan for professional development, and goals for growth. If you're thinking long-term and have a clear plan, you'll be well-positioned for success. Check out our one-hour guide to creating a business plan here.
In the dynamic and complex world of real estate, finding your footing can be challenging. This blog post serves as a valuable guide for those contemplating a career in the industry. It offers an in-depth exploration of essential introspective questions prospective real estate agents should ask themselves. From assessing interpersonal skills to understanding the financial implications, these reflective inquiries will help you determine if a career in real estate aligns with your skills, interests, and long-term goals. This post aims to shed light on the intricacies of the real estate profession, ensuring you're well-informed before you embark on this potentially rewarding career path.