Maybe some of you are going through this now, and maybe some of you have already experienced it. I am making a significant career change: I am becoming a real estate agent. My wife and I have owned restaurants for the past 18 years and been very fortunate. However, the long hours combined with the headaches of young employees have pushed us to a point of a necessary career change.

No one knows I have decided to become a real estate agent except my wife. After owning restaurants for so many years, it feels strange to enter a world we have only been involved in as a customer. I can’t tell if I am nervous or embarrassed to tell people that this is what I want to do.

Why? For so many years, I have heard so many negative remarks made about the real estate profession. The sales agent usually makes most “Top 10” lists of least liked professionals — not far below a used car salesman. One can find countless stories about horrible agents and nightmare sales transactions out there.

As I investigated what it takes to be successful in real estate, I learned the real estate professional has the potential to help many people realize their dreams. From a young couple looking for their first home to an older couple downsizing and heading toward retirement, so much rides on the back of the sales agent.

They do more than just locate houses for sale — they help people find their homes. I’ll stop short of saying the sales person must be celebrated, but I will say a lot of the negative press out there is unfairly hurled at a profession that is built around being literally “caught in the middle.”

I have been trying to educate myself as much as possible. I have signed up for and started attending the state required pre-license course. I have watched hours of videos online about the best coaching and training techniques available. Wow — there is a lot out there.  My homework has been to weed through it and find the most practical advice.

I recently stumbled upon a story about a 20-year-old new agent in New Jersey who listed and sold a 1.5 million dollar home his first month on the job — probably a bit of an anomaly. Next, I read a statistic that indicated 90 percent of all new agents fail in their first year. This profession has some of the biggest extremes I’ve heard of thus far.

As I begin this journey, I have decided three things:

  • This must be a full-time effort.
  • I must find a broker/company to work with that will provide as much training as possible.
  • Once I’m an agent, I have to accept the profession I have chosen as the best fit for me and my family and be proud of it.

In this blog, I will chronicle “The quest of the new agent” including the classroom, broker interviews and my first sales call. I expect there to be surprises and pitfalls. Whether you have been in the business for one year or 20, I welcome your advice along the way.

Please feel free to share your advice in the comments section below.

Justin Gallant is an aspiring real estate agent transitioning from a successful 18-year career owning restaurants. You can follow him on Twitter @jjgallant.

Email J Gallant.

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