Get the Facts! What Is It Like to Be a Real Estate Agent?


The real estate agents on television always seem to be incredibly busy and prosperous as they whisk people through luxury homes for sale. While this scenario is possible, it is not the typical day of an average agent. If you dream of showing houses and making big money, it’s time to get the facts. What is it like to be a real estate agent today? Find out now!

Investment Required

Investments of time, money, and effort are required to become a real estate agent. Someone who wants to be an agent must pay for the pre-licensing course and complete the required number of hours of coursework. There are also state fees for taking the licensing exam and getting the license. Agents typically must work under a real estate broker as independent contractors who are responsible for paying their own taxes. Plus, agents also need to cover marketing costs such as business cards, open houses, and promotional brochures for new listings. The old saying about spending money to make money is true when it comes to becoming a successful real estate agent. Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate affiliated agents have access to a wide range of marketing tools to help boost sales.

Flexibility and Balance As an Agent

The appeal of working for yourself is a driving force for many people who want to be agents. A flexible schedule makes it possible to fit other responsibilities into the day without the pre-approval of a boss. It also means making difficult choices. For example, an agent may be faced with attending a closing for a high-profile client to going to a child’s band concert. Agents are continually striving to achieve a work-life balance that allows them to be profitable and still enjoy the freedom of working for themselves. Another benefit is agents write their own paychecks. An agent who is willing to put in time and effort can earn a good income. With clients’ schedules in mind, this often means working evenings and weekends – the time many people want to be unwinding at home.

Working on Commission

Agents must adjust to receiving commission checks rather than a weekly paycheck. The commission is paid when an agent closes a deal, which can take months. Realistically, an agent can work for a few weeks or months without receiving a paycheck. If the deal falls through, the agent does not get paid. On the other hand, agents who sell luxury homes can earn a large commission for an equivalent amount of work. The nature of earning commission can be unpredictable, and agents must plan for their expenses accordingly. Some agents work part-time jobs while others learn to save money until the next commission check is drawn.

Being an Agent Isn’t Easy

Real estate agents have the benefits of being professionals who can have a rewarding career for years to come – but it’s not easy. It takes ongoing work to stay connected with past clients and attract new ones. Agents need to drum up business to remain profitable by:

  • marketing homes for sale
  • promoting themselves
  • making phone calls
  • replying to texts and emails
  • tracking listings and writing listings
  • scheduling appointments
  • updating social media, blogs, and website
  • preparing comparative market analysis (CMA) reports and budget reports
  • attending open houses
  • networking with other professionals at seminars and locally
  • providing customer service to clients
  • following up on leads
  • completing and submitting real estate documents

An agent might be in the middle of writing a blog or marketing a home when a key client calls to see a house. Top agents effectively shift priorities to maximize every opportunity as it arises. Many complete additional courses to become a real estate broker or appraiser to diversify their income.

People Who Need People

Agents spend much of their time working with clients and other people involved in the process. Working directly with people requires patience and the ability to compromise. Agents must be calm when clients are indecisive. And clients expect expert answers when they ask an agent questions about the process. Agents may show dozens of homes to a client who decides not to move, which means earning nothing for the time they spent. Sometimes an agent must share the commission with others, such as a listing broker or buyer’s agent or broker. Profitable agents are always gracious and understanding, realizing they might work with these people again.

Master Many Skills

A real estate agent does more than list, show, and rent properties. Modern agents must be well-versed in market trends, promotions, SEO, writing, communications, lead generation, and branding to get noticed in a competitive marketplace. Agents must also know how to run a business, maintain databases, and establish an organizational system to ensure no leads fall through the cracks. It can take months or years for agents to hone these essential business skills, and practice is the key to success. What is it like to be a real estate agent working for a leading real estate broker? For those who don’t give up after the first year, it becomes a rewarding and enjoyable career. Agents are often integrated into their neighborhoods and known as local authorities. An agent who can connect with people, stay on top of real estate news, and help others has a greater earning potential.

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