While I’ve been in the real estate industry for the past 13 years, I haven’t represented a client or customer in almost eight.
I love the game of real estate — but I also knew myself well enough all those years ago to know that being a real estate agent wasn’t necessarily my calling.
There is nothing inherently right or wrong about that statement. Some people are meant to be teachers; others are meant to be lawyers or entrepreneurs or real estate agents or marketing executives.
Selling real estate was an entry point for me. It fueled my entrepreneurial spirit and gave me a framework for building wealth, which I then translated into a building a business.
For me, being an agent was a means to an end: building leaders, who would in turn help me build businesses.
What about you? Who are you? Where do you find joy?
I imagine for most of you reading this, it has something to do with real estate, but that doesn’t mean being a real estate sales professional is your only option. In fact, as real estate agents become more and more successful at cultivating relationships and closing deals, there comes a point where many get burned out or bored and start looking for that next thing.
That next stage usually starts by getting out of production (working directly with buyers, sellers and investors.)
But is getting out of production right for you? Should you really stop selling real estate?
For the majority of real estate agents, probably not. True sales professionals thrive when they are in the thick of it — negotiating offers, finding the perfect home for their client, hunting for new buyers and sellers, building communities and getting deals done.
The thought of having to take time away from a relationship to recruit and hire staff members, lead weekly company meetings, handle the daily operations of a business, fund payroll, etc., is just not appealing to these individuals. And that’s OK. We need amazing agents to facilitate the biggest purchase of people’s lives.
But if you really still think it’s time for you to stop selling real estate, here are three options to consider before calling it quits:
1. Get help
This is for the individuals who love selling real estate. You can sell water to a drowning man. You’re that good. But you, yourself, are starting to drown! You’ve got too much on your plate, and you’re starting to think about getting out of real estate altogether.
But before you leave what you love, think about adding leverage. You are probably just missing one to three key relationships in your life. You could start by adding an assistant to help with contracts, marketing, client interaction, systems, technology and scheduling showings.
Next, consider a showing assistant to help you get some time back in your day and keep you focused on sellers.
If those are some of the critical pieces of real estate that you don’t want to give up, that’s fine too. Could you hire an assistant to handle your personal affairs to free you up to sell even more? Perhaps a per transaction closing coordinator, a courier or a housekeeper is all you need to get a little sanity back in your day.
Identify your biggest pain point (household issues, errands, buyers, paperwork, etc.), and find the leverage solution that will work best to allow you to focus on your most important work — selling real estate.
2. Build a business
If you, like me, got into real estate sales knowing it was a means to an end, then buckle up. If you have a burning desire to get out of production, it’s going to be five- to seven-year battle.
Personally, I think it is totally worth it. Let me prepare you for what’s ahead. For about five years, you’re going to have two jobs: Realtor and CEO.
What does that mean? It means you’re going to continue selling real estate (ideally with one or two leverage points mentioned above), and you’re also going to be building the vision, organizational structure and business model for your company, along with recruiting and hiring additional individuals.
No one succeeds alone. If you want to step away from your job as a real estate agent and have financial freedom and complete flexibility with your time, then you’re going to need to surround yourself with some major talent who can not only carry your clients and business, but also grow it.
Eventually, you will not only replace the production on your team with amazing real estate agents, but you’ll replace yourself as CEO too. That is what owning a business looks like. Sure, you can insert yourself when you want (like reviewing a new marketing campaign or working with a family member to buy their dream home), but the point is, you don’t have to.
Remember, this doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to have to keep selling real estate (while managing your expenses and lifestyle), so that you can invest the majority of your income back into people and systems. Then it’s all going to break, and you’re going to have to do it again.
You’re going to want to throw in the towel more than once and just go back to selling real estate (it’s familiar and provides fast cash). Staying in sales means that you keep the lion’s share of the profits.
When you first start making the shift to get out of production, you’re probably going to go backward financially for a while. But if you can just hang in there and keep that vision for your life at the front of your mind, you will hit the tipping point that will change the entire trajectory of your life.
3. Get a job
Not interested in building a business? I get that. It’s not for everyone and certainly isn’t as sexy as those Instagram influencers make it out to be! Still not sold on selling real estate for the rest of your career? That’s OK too!
You could train or coach, lead a brokerage or run someone else’s real estate company as CEO or director of sales. The talent war is real, and I know hundreds of companies that could use a skilled real estate industry professional to round out their sales and leadership teams.
Bottom line? There is no industry I would rather be a part of. Real estate is where it’s at. Find what brings you joy, mix that with your strengths, add a dash of long-term vision, and you will know whether you should stop selling real estate.
You’ve got options. Now, go after them!
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Adam Hergenrother is the Founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, which includes KW Vermont, Hergenrother Realty Group, BlackRock Construction, Adam Hergenrother Training, and Adam Hergenrother Foundation. Follow him on Instagram.