Lifestyle

Real estate as a second career: what you need to know about success past 50

According to NAR, 94 percent of agents started with a different career

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Believe it or not, some people can’t handle retirement. After decades of rigorous schedules, indefinite responsibilities and success, it’s often difficult to let go of that lifestyle at 65 years old.

Or maybe you’re just not financially ready to leave work — but you are ready for an independent career that rewards you based on your hard work and not necessarily your experience.

Like any career, there’s more to success in real estate than perseverance, even when your paycheck is commission-based. Before you start, there are a few aspects of the job to consider that might help determine whether being an agent is the right choice.

If you’re used to direction, you won’t get it anymore

You may have never made it to the top of your previous company, but so what? Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of direction and not be held 100 percent accountable for all mishaps.

But, you might feel a bit lost when you’re suddenly in charge of your entire career. No one is going to tell you what to do or keep track of your hours.

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It’s important that you’re individually motivated to succeed before training and getting your license. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.

The most important qualities to have usually revolve around motivation. Are you a self-starter? Are you committed to helping people, no matter the outcome? Nothing is a guarantee in real estate.

While you may have worked under the management chain for most of your life, you’re the boss now. Being in control of your own schedule and success is pretty freeing when you think about it.

Stay organized, even if it wasn’t a part of your previous job

Most advanced careers require some organization, but you usually have tools provided by your company or possibly an assistant to keep track of details.

Unless you hire help, it’s up to you to remember the little things. Use organization apps, take computer classes, and set up a home office where you can neatly and efficiently document your listings and clients.

Take classes – no matter how uncomfortable you feel

Don’t be embarrassed to learn. It’s never too late to expand your knowledge or brush up on old and new technology. Even the most tech-savvy agents work hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in real estate marketing.

To establish a strong professional brand, attend networking events often. You’d be surprised how many retirees turn to real estate brokerages for a follow-up career.

Ask friends for help, especially if they already work in real estate. You can even ask to shadow for a few months while studying for your license exam.

Flexibility isn’t retirement

Posting listings, setting up your personal website and communicating with clients from the comfort of your own home is convenient, but nonetheless distracting.

When you find yourself spending more time watching daytime television than booking new business, you’re probably not as ambitious as you once thought.

Just because you’re on your own terms, it’s not a time to slack off. If you want to retire, retire. Don’t waste clients’ time or your own for that matter.

Life experience counts

You have a leg up because you know how business works. Why not use your prior experience to your advantage? Marketing is marketing, and while the platforms and audience might differ from what you’re accustomed to, the basics are pretty much stagnant.

And you have the unique opportunity to market to like-minded individuals. Chances are you’ve rented an apartment or purchased a home before anyway. You’ve been in your clients’ shoes and can use your own familiarity to create a comfortable, positive experience for them.

Use every contact you have — let them know what you do. Everyone needs housing, and your extensive contact list will come in handy.

People are going to assume you’ve been doing this for a while, especially if you’re successful out of the gate. You should never talk about how you’re new to the game, even when you encounter an unfamiliar obstacle.

Email Jennifer Riner.