When I obtained my real estate salesperson’s license last fall, I was excited about starting a new career and was full of optimism about my future.
Now, after spending six months without closing a single deal, the only things I’m brimming with are self-doubt and fear. I don’t think an hour passes without my asking myself this simple but soul-searching question: What have I gotten myself into?
According to the National Association of Realtors, more than 30,000 people across the United States–most of them brand-new licensees like me–joined the trade association last year. That figure doesn’t even include the thousands more who obtained their first license, but didn’t apply for NAR membership.
I can’t help but wonder how many of those other rookie agents today are feeling the same hopelessness and despair that I feel.
Veteran Realtors tell me the number of new salespeople always swells when the market is hot, and I believe them. When sales are at record levels as they’ve been over the past few years, getting a real estate license seems like a great opportunity to start a (potentially) lucrative new career.
What I’ve learned, however, is that the same strong market dynamics that draw new people like me into the business can also work against us.
In a hot market like this one, buyers outnumber sellers. Agents are competing for listings, and veteran Realtors have an advantage over rookies because they have already established a local name for themselves.
Seasoned agents have another edge because they get lots of repeat business from past clients. As a rookie, I don’t have any previous clients to represent or to give me referrals.
But perhaps the biggest downside of a hot real estate market–at least, from an agent’s point of view–is that sellers believe they can sell their home themselves without paying a commission at all.
I recently spent several hours to prepare a great marketing plan, including a full comparative market analysis, to help a young couple sell their home. They thanked me for my hard work, but then said the free information I had provided was so “in-depth” that they believed they could sell their house on their own.
They did. And they got more than $5,000 over their asking price. It was a win-win situation for them, and a lose-lose proposition for me.
I can’t blame the couple for selling the house without the help of a Realtor. Their property sold in less than two weeks for almost $350,000, and they didn’t have to pay a sales commission of nearly $21,000.
So, what’s a rookie like me to do? Many sellers in my area are having success by going the FSBO route, while all the others are hiring experienced agents who have local name recognition.
To be honest, I just don’t know what to do. I’m knocking on 200 doors a week, I’m passing out flyers, and I’ve given my business card to everyone I know and a lot of people I don’t.
I have spent more than $7,000 on insurance, licensing and franchise-related fees. I feel like I have too much money and time invested in my new real estate career to just walk away from it, but I’m so disheartened now that I just want to quit and get a regular job that comes with a regular paycheck.
Does anyone have any advice? Like Elvis sang, “I’m caught in a trap, and I can’t walk out.”
Got tips, ideas or advice for the Rookie Realtor? Send them to Rookie@inman.com.
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