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Ben Smith, Other/Just Looking in Elmhurst, IL

Is now a good time to start a career as a real estate agent? Does having a lot of experience in residential construction provide an advantage?

Asked by Ben Smith, Elmhurst, IL Wed Mar 7, 2012

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A construction background certainly helps but what is most important is your ability to develop leads and close transactions. This is a high risk high reward industry and is not for the faint of heart, only about 15% of all Realtors® earn a living doing real estate the rest are just hobbyist. About 90% of new agents fail in the first 2 years. The odds are not in your favor! But there is HOPE the number 1 “secret” to success is obtaining leads. There are good 2 ways to go about this the first is to have a couple of investors (flippers) in your pocket which will provide you with a base going forward, the second and I think the best way is to find an older very successful Realtor® who is considering a more limited role in real estate and become their apprentice for a couple of years. They will hand feed you like a baby bird until you can fly usually (years). They will hand feed you their business and in return you will have to share your earnings with them, this is one of the best ways to become a successful and skillful Realtor®. Also many Realtors® and brokers will go on and on about training this is NOT the most important issue, the brand is not the most important issue, developing leads is the most important issue the other stuff is just fine tuning your business model and selling skills.
FYI I am a newer Realtor®, home builder and flipper and thanks to my investor friends closed 20 transactions my first year but only made gross revenues of about 26k.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 8, 2012
Hey Ben,

It is a good time if you are willing to put in the work. It is important to find a good brokerage to help you grow.

knowledge of residential construction will definitely give you an advantage especially explaining some information of new construction to buyers and providing sellers with potential problems with their home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
Ben -

Very good question and one I think many of us think of on a daily basis. The great thing about Real Estate is that it is a great way to be your own boss with very little start up costs. Besides the initial costs of membership in the association/mls/sentrilock, education for licensing and any broker fees, with a phone and computer you can be off and running.

This is a tough market, but buyers are buying. The money will probably not flow in right at the beginning and there are no free rides in this business. But if you are willing to work hard, communicate and go after and service your customers and market yourself, you can still earn a living these days. And it will only get better.

As far as education and experience, there are a lot of new things we are all learning as the market is changing, but there are some old hat ways that are still good too. There is a learning curve, but luckily, you can do on the job training. Construction experience I find to be very beneficial to me and my customers and I do promote it as an advantage. I was in the new home construction industry for years and have found that level of skills and expertise unique to try help my clients see the potential in a home and any red flags that could be thrown up.

Construction knowledge is not common among Realtors, although I find some have a varying level of knowledge based on experience.

I would say two things - go in with eyes wide open and realistic expectations and if you are new to the field, I would encourage you to go with a brokerage that offers mentoring or a problem with a lot of up front education to get you started. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
Go for it! There's a lot of agents that have dropped out of the business over the last few years. So, get in while the number of agents is down, and ride the wave up.

There's a lot of so-so agents out there who aren't hard to beat. Work hard, provide great service, and be ethical, and you will have success.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
Why not now? We started back in 2009 when the market was in the tank. Best move we could have made. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012

Now is a great time to get into the real estate business. Home prices are low and interest rates are affordable which is encouraging buyers to become a homeowners. There are wonderful opportunities for those getting into the real estate business.

Your experience in construction gives you knowledge that many real estate agents are lacking. Your construction experience will give you confidence in working with buyers and sellers. All of your knowledge will help you in communicating to clients.

Take the steps necessary to getting your real estate license so you can get into real estate sales . Find an office that will provide you extensive training so you can learn the business. Take advantage of all of the education available to acquire the skills for becoming a successful agent.

Carol Perdew
Prudential California Realty
(209) 239-7979
DRE 985176
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
Hi Ben,

If you are hard working, intelligent, detail oriented and passionate about customer service, then now is a great time to start a career as an agent, I believe that experience in construction would be an asset to you in the role as an agent.

We started our brokerage at the time the market crashed and have done well in what we hear are the worst of times.

Feel free to email directly with any specific questions.

Sari Levy
Managing Broker
Lucid Realty
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 7, 2012
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