Would be happy to talk to you more about this.
In the hotel industry, the clients walk in for service or call , in real estate you should prospect for clients your self. If you can master the art of prospecting and provide good service , You can build a good referral base. Good customer service is very important. It is easy to get a license.
You should work with a company that will offer you good training.
Many of the best agents forget that they are salespeople (in Washington State, our license reads: Real Estate Salesperson), and while they do a great job at "delivering the goods" from a front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house aspect, they often don't do so well at obtaining enough clients to maintain a business.
The other thing about sales professionals is that they know that they need to "deliver the goods," so they don't have to be told twice about the importance of learning about properties, studying the inventory, understanding the paperwork, et cetera.
So, Alison: have at it!
I could continue provide basic data.
National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Texas Mortgage Loan Officer, Credit Repair Lecturer
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Cathy again- I forgot to mention, to get a better idea of what it really is to be a successful agent, you might want to spend some time on ActiveRain (real estate network). You can be learning a lot there about agent's good days and bad, etc...
There will be people all over the place which want to sell you something to "help" you make money. Don't buy leads. Watch your bottom line and focus on your profitability, what you spend should result in a return on investment. Post cards, magazines, etc. tend to be a waste of funds here in CA.
I suggest you start going to open houses and start interviewing various agents on their thoughts about being an agent and other brokerages. Interview several brokerages as they are all different. Support and training is key in the beginning so a company like Keller Williams is excellent. The foundation of building a new career/business is essential to your success. Don't focus on the commission split from the broker, as it doesn't mean a bunch if you don't get the foundation.
You will find there is good and bad in Real Estate, same as with any other business. By doing your research on the different companies you should find one which fits you.
Saying that are considering a career in Real Estae, I am assuming that you want to get in full time. I am seconding Odelia regarding Keller Williams, especially if you want to go full time and you can go through the first few months of training offered by your local KW.
Now, what you have to understand is that it may take you 6 month/1 year to start generating income. What does it mean to you? That you should have 1 year of living expenses in savings.
Also as a real estate agent, you will most likely be an individual contractor and should consider yourself a small business owner. What does it mean? That you should have in addition a set monthly budget allocated to start your "business" (advertizing, marketing, technology, fees, dues, membership...).
Catherine "Cathy" Chaudemanche
Real estate agent & Realtor associate
Agent Leadership Council
Metuchen Keller Williams / Middlesex County NJ market center
Good luck in your new career. I agree with Bill, keep your current job so a steady income stream continues to come in while you work it hard nights, weekends and lunch breaks as a Realtor. It can be done.
Marketing yourself, getting in front of the public and giving the best customer service. Not much different than your current job.
Now is a good time to get your license. The market has shifted, many changes are in the horizon, and if you establish yourself now; you can have a good portion of market share when the market up swings.
In regards to choosing a broker to work with, choose one that has a good training program and pays well. There are offices that charge 50% from your commission, or those that charge monthly desk fees and a small portion taken from your commissions. If you are in the Philadelphia area and would like to discuss your options, I just opened an office and we offer our agents 100% commissions, training, coaching, marketing tools, and referrals.
Peter Lavelle, GRI
Citizens Premier Real Estate
It really does take time to establish yourself as a real estate professional. From our perspective, one of the biggest obsticles is dealing with making a transition that includes an income that covers your expenses both business and personal.
If this is the direction that you choose to go, it may be beneficial to begin by keeping your current job as a means of steady income and filling in with real estate activity.
We feel there are means of employment that do contribute to growing a RE business. Your position in the hotel industry may very well be one of them. Having as much contact with the public as possible will only add to your potential for success.
By working evenings, weekends, lunch time, etc. you might be able to justify considering yourself a full time agent....something most brokers would consider appealing.
To do real estate right and be successful it requires hard work and determination.....if you can manage this level of commitment you may well be on your way.......
The Eckler Team
To prospect: Establish a contact database, and figure out how you are going to market to them - whether they are likely customers, or a likely source of referrals. Or, whether they're not appropriate to contact, for whatever reason.
I would send each of them three mailings within the first month - one announcing your career change "Alison15 is pleased to announce she has joined HousesDon'tSellThemselves Realty as a sales associate and welcomes the opportunity to discuss real estate with you," one to invite them to your first open house - it doesn't have to be your listing - and a follow up thanking them, as a group, for their support.
I would personally invite each of those contacts to meet with you for coffee to explain to them how you can be of service to them or people in their contact sphere, and to offer yourself as a referral source for them or for people they recommend. It's also a great opportunity to learn why they chose the agent they last worked with, and whether you have a chance to supersede them or not!
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To be worthwhile! Tour with fellow agents, hit as many brokers' opens as you can, take a lot of classes. Learn the inventory, and seek to understand why people choose particular houses!
Without clients, you're dead in the water, but you have to be able to provide knowledge and service!