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 Julie, Real Estate Pro in Austin, TX

Thinking about to become a new agent. in Texas.What's the cost?

Asked by Julie, Austin, TX Wed Apr 8, 2009

I have heard that for a new real estate agent to sign up to use MLS.The activation fee is $1200 and annual fee is $1200. Does the initial $1200 fee cover one year or the cost is $2400 for the first year?

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Your classes and initial TREC license will run about a $1000 to $1100. Then to join ABOR along with your first quarter of ABOR dues and fees will be about $1200 to $1400 depending on what you get. Then you will pay about $400 a quarter to ABOR from that point forward (for the remaining 3 quarters). So your total cost of the 1st year would be about $3400 to $3700 is what I guessing (includes classes, licensing, joining ABOR, and 1st year dues and fees to ABOR). My numbers could be off a little. Above does not include any fees to your broker or any start-up business expenses. I would probably budget another $4000 in addition to above for your the first year for all your basic things you will need like continuing education, lockboxes, signs, marketing, website, cell phone plan, broker fees, E&O insurance, etc. So about $8000 total for the 1st year should get you in the game if this is what you want to do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
Dear Julie,
That is the tip of the iceberg. You will spend about $1500 or more on education, then there is a fee to take the test, there are fees to join the Nationa Association of Realtors and the Texas Association of Realtors then there are fees to have a Supra key (what gets you into the listings), and seperate fees for the MLS for listings and for leases, then you spend money on business cards, letterhead, signs, and promotional items, the Broker that holds your license will take a percentage of everything you sell and may or may not charge transaction fees and desk or phone fees. Then you need to spend a couple thousand on a website so that clients can find you. I spent about $20,000 last year on my business.

Then as a new agent you may or may not sell anything for the first 3-12 months. I would say you need to have saved a minimum of 6-12 months of income before you think about this business. I have seen many agents try real estate thinking it is quick and easy money, but it is not. Right now there are many Realtors leaving the business as the number of transactions has gone down from last year. I suggest you proceed with caution. If your serious about becoming a Realtor call me and I will get you a meeting with my Broker. I wish you the best of luck!
Betina Foreman
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
Let's see-giving up any security to a steady income, becoming part of the most significant contributor to the economy with no control over the economy, paying excessive income tax as a self employed, independant contractor, meeting the expectations of buyers and sellers who are not bound by a code of ethis even though you are, paying in a significant portion of your hard earned income to a sponsoring broker while still having to bear the expense of marketing yourself, paying all of your real estate fees and income taxes, always be on call, 24/7 or lose business to someone else, and probably the most significant of all, finally understand fully what the word "loyalty" really means!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
Dear Julie,
You have gotten some good answers. Have they helped you to decide to move forward with your dream of becoming a realtor? If you need more information or want to discuss it in more detail give me a call. I am happy to help.

(Dear Jackie, Thanks for the nod of approval. My MO is to be straight forward and honest, as the truth always comes out. Thihs business can be challenging, but it is its own reward. I could not imagine doing anything else.)


Betina Foreman - Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 17, 2010
I figure your biggest cost is not picking a good mentor to begin your business with. I recommend Rick Ellis at Prudential Texas Realty. His email is
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 11, 2009
Tsk Tsk Tsk...the bitterness. lol... I think what everyone is trying to tell you is to thoroughly and realistically "count the cost". There are many expenses, as with any business. But I have to say that there are very few businesses with such low start up that can become profitable in twice the time of the "average business". Most businesses don't even look to turn a profit until 3-5 years. If you are wise in your selection of brokers, wise with your marketing and have a strong work ethic, you can be very successful. Your initial question, as you can see by the candid answers here, just hit the tip of the iceberg. But with the Austin Board, your first year is the most expensive due to "one time set up fees". If you want to talk further, I'd be glad to help. All the best to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
Hi Julie,

Even though I actually laughed in agreement with most of the comments given (especially Doug Stewarts') because they really are true and man it can be VERY intimidating with everything that is required of you and the thousands of areas that you need to be on top of to make this work... BUT it can be done and it is still done ALL the time! I am only in my 3rd year as a Realtor and I have been very blessed by God to be producing in the top 20% of my large and competitive San Antonio market. My point is.. it can be done, but I will also point out that my operating profit last year was very nill and still hold some capital expenses that I don't see going away in the very near future.

I absolutely love my broker, my office, my team leader and our culture! I know that it can be different for where you are, but I'd love to talk to you further if you are more serious about becoming a powerless contributor to this economy! - took that from Doug.. it was a good one!
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
I have to agree with Betina. The activation fees are just a minimal amount to get started, but they will not help you survive. I also invested $20,000-$25,000 in my business last year to make a minimal return. If you are interested in a long term success story, this is necessary. Steve's comment "The old saying that 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the work and sales is true," hits the nail on the head. This is a tough, tough business. Most people do not survive if this is their only income. It takes several years to build up any type of referral program with relatively no income coming in. The other choice you have is to pay for your leads, which are expensive (and the majority aren't good leads), or sign on with a company that provides you with leads and also takes a big chunk of your commission. I spend a minimum of 60 hours a week at my profession, and that's a good week. I'm not complaining, because I love my clients and my job, but if you want any type of family or personal life, this is not a good job for either one of those things (in my opinion.) These things are not meant to discourage you, but to paint a realistic picture. If you decide to go ahead, I wish you much success. We can always use good Realtors!!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
WELCOME to wonderful world of real estate !

I love it

Ask the broker you intend work:
Budget for following:

Broker office fees
Pass key aka supra
Centralized Showing System if you obtain a listing
Yearly Education
State annual license fees
Realtor name tag If you opt purchase this
Yard Signs
Lock Boxes
Business Cards
Office supplies
Car expenses
Car insurance

Name a few expenses

~ National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Lecturer regarding Credit Repair, Mortgage Loan Officer
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
Probably not that high.


Also your broker may have office fees/charges as well.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
ALthough I am not selling or representing buyers in your area. On top of the initial fees for MLS there are quarterly fees you will be accountable for as well. You will also most likly incure desk fees or printing and marketing fees. I would not expect to be out of the red until at least your second year. The old saying that 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the work and sales is true. I dont mean to discourage you, I just want you to know it is a LOT of work. I am a top producer for my office and devote 60 plus hours a week. The market is starting to recover, however it will be tough. If you have savings or another job you should be ok. If you have another job, you wont be able to devote the time required to do well. I would recomend speaking with an agent who is doing well in your area and pick his or hers brain. Once my previous client found out what was going to be involved financially and physically she decided that the timing was not right. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 8, 2009
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