The idea of starting a real estate career can be tempting, however, the idea of not getting a paycheck every Friday can be intimidating. This is why so many people choose to begin their real estate career part time.
Before jumping in, there are a few things to think about. Consider this: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The median annual wage for real estate sales agents was $45,990 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $109,490.”
That’s a big wage gap from the upper echelon to the lower 10 percent.
The biggest mistake that I see new part-timers make is they think that a steady customer base of friends and relatives will support them. The fact is that even these people are unlikely to entrust the biggest investment of their lives with someone who has no experience and limited knowledge. Not to mention that most people know several other real estate agents.
Yet, there are success stories. In the past 23 years, I have watched single moms, who needed to keep their steady income jobs, enter real estate on part-time basis and quickly become full-time leading agents. I have also seen a number of people who simply wanted to supplement their existing income do quite well.
Although there are many formulas for success, some seem to be more prevalent than others. Finding what will work for you is the most important. Here are four things to consider before jumping into real estate part time.
Choose the right brokerage firm to work for
As a newbie, there are two things that you are likely lacking: knowledge and experience.
It’s important that you find a brokerage firm that can help you. Many firms offer training. Larger firms may have a formal training program, but many “mom-and-pop” firms will also offer personal training and coaching.
Your local Realtor association will also often offer training. Some will have marketing tours of homes, where you can see homes for sale. Take advantage of these.
Team up with a successful agent or team
Real estate is not something that you can just do after 5 p.m. and on weekends. You will need to accommodate the schedules of buyers and sellers. Being part of a real estate team might be your best solution, as other team members can work with you.
Another idea is to partner up with a successful agent. A lot of top-producing agents started out working with a mentor or accountability partner. These are normally busy people, and they may welcome a little help. Offer to sit open houses or help them out when they want some time off or are too busy. It’s a win-win because you’ll learn a lot and get good practice working with clients, and your mentor will have the gift of time.
Being part of a team or partnering up with a successful agent will also increase your chances of getting business from your friends and relatives. They will realize that, even though your experience might be limited, you have the additional resources to overcome that.
Invest in your career
As I mentioned before, your friends and relatives are unlikely to make your part-time venture in real estate a success. You will need find your own buyers and sellers. That won’t happen by simply sending out an email blast that says, “I got a real estate license!”
The broker you choose to join may have a lead generation program that you can take advantage of, as will the team or agent you choose to partner up with. There are also sites like Zillow and Trulia that offer ways of paying for leads.
Work to overcome difficulties
The one common denominator among agents who fail in this industry is that they gave up.
Working in real estate and dealing with all types of people will likely result in disappointments and failures. The difference between the failures and the successful agents is that the successful agents didn’t give up. They overcame obstacles and didn’t let challenges overcome them.
Learn all you can about the industry, and do what you can to make it work. Above all else, don’t quit.
Jim Weix is a Broker Associate with The Keyes Company, Florida. He is best known as being the catalyst that brought about “MLS of Choice” nationally.