Guidance on pursuing a real estate agent career in NJ

Asked by Jds, Millburn, NJ Fri May 1, 2009

Hello All. I need some perspective on becoming a real estate agent in NJ. Based on my initial research on the, one has attend a real estate course, pass the exam, obtain the real estate license and get hired. Real Estate is my passion and I would like to pursue it sooner than later (i've been saving up for this for 5 yrs.) but given the current market conditions, I would greatly appreciate it if the experts here can give me guidance on things to consider before and after becoming a licensed real estate agent.

Thank you very much in advance.

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Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Fri May 1, 2009
Others will comment on whether it's a good time to get in. I can tell you one thing for certain. To be a success in this business, you have to be willing to spend lots of money. Easy $10,000-$15,000 per year between the subscriptions, Internet services, equipment, marketing materials, etc. There is always something new to buy.

You are not getting a job, you are starting a business. And starting a business costs lots of money!

I could write a book on your question, but I don't have time, because I am actually quite busy. But if you want to call and discuss it sometime - give me a buzz!


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
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1 vote
Angel Calvosa, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Sat May 2, 2009

Angel here again, I forgot to mention that if you take the course (from any licensed school) and decide that you do not want to pursue real estate full time, my company has what we call "Referral Agents" who only pay to keep their license current & a small yearly fee.

With this type of license, you can create alignments with other realtors and when you here about someone who is ready to buy or sell, you recommend them to an agent and they PAY YOU for the referral! This is an easy way to make money and keep your toe in the real estate business. I'd be happy to discuss this further with you. Give me a call at 973-570-0388.
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Francesca Pa…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Fri May 1, 2009

While I have not read all of the previous responses, all can say that now is a challenging time entertain real estate career and in many opinions could be a good time. If you have a spouse with alternative income, that would be helpful.

When I decided to enter the business this is the advice that I found sound and lead to great success.

(1) you must have at least 6 months of savings to cover personal expenses

(2) Go with a name brand company (there value in a brand - it's very discouraging to make cold calls and have the recipient say XXXXX who?) that provides personal training. Based on the recommedenations of RE and non RE professionals, I choose Weichert because they are well known for having a decent training program. While I was not happy with the cost of this "training", which included the required mentor program that netted me a mentor who was to be my trainer for life but left the business because he wasn't successful, in hindsight I can say that they it was worth the investment.

Feel free to call me personally to discuss the pros and cons of a RE career.

Love and Peace,
Francesca, Realtor, ePro
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Tracy Freeman, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Fri May 1, 2009
Hi JDS -

All of the responders have provided excellent insight into the life a realtor. If you would like to hear more about the local Keller Williams Office (as Vicky Chrisner mentioned below) please feel free to call or email me. I work in the KW office in Summit. It is a fantastic office for new agents and run by an amazing Team Leader. Oh and I highly recommend the Millburn Professional School of Business. You can take the course there, and then decide which agency you would like to work for.

Best of luck!

0 votes
Angel Calvosa, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Fri May 1, 2009
Congratulations on your decision to become a real estate agent! Yes, the 1st step is going to school. I'm with the Weichert - Short Hills office and my husband just completed the Weichert Real Estate License school to help me out on the weekends because I often find myself needing to be in two places at the same time. It is located in Morris Plains about a 15 or 20 drive from Millburn and they offer day, evening or saturday classes. Once you have completed the course, you interview with several different Weichert offices and choose the one you feel most comfortable with. Liking and appreciating your manager's style is of major significance. You will then be asked to comlete a training class, assigned a mentor and given a desk (you do not pay upfront fees for the desk).

Although Weichert, takes a higher % initially than some other companies, from your commissions, you are given a desk, phone, free copies, free use of computers if you do not have a labtop. Also, we have what we call "opportunity time" where you sit at the front desk & any call -ins or walk-ins are yours. Yes, it works, I closed a million dollar sale last year doing this 2 to 4 hours per week. There are also a lot of agents who have multiple listings and would let you sit at their Open Houses which is a great way to get clients. Your Open Houses are advertised by Weichert & you have many other perks and you are paid based on your performance - i.e. the more you sell, the higher your commission split. Starting your own business is difficult and sometimes a company like this, where you benefit from the more "seasoned agents" listings is a good way to get started.

A few things to consider:

1. Are you a self starter? There is no clock to punch or any one to check up on you to make sure you are working.

2. In general, it takes about 2 years of extremely hard work to earn a decent living. Can you financially do this?

3. You will need start up $ and patience because in our neighborhood, you 1st have to find the clients and then you can plan on spending 6 months to a year with each client before you see a pay check. This is frustrating at times. Occasionly, you will find that buyer who needs to find a home "right away" and buys within 2 weeks, it then takes 45 - 90 to close it. This is a quick transaction. In Short Hills, many people will wait around for years for the "right" house to come on the market, yes, when it happens the commissions are good, but you have to be willing to put in the time.

4. How are your follow up skills? You have to have good follow up skills to succeed in this business.

5. How do you react to rejection? This business if full of constant rejection.

6. The people you are dealing with are in a "highly emotional" state as this is one of the biggest transactions of their life's. At times you need to "hold hands", let the clients "vent" and be able to tell them the truth even though they don't want to hear it.

7. Are you willing to work weekends? Your clients will need you at various times. Some like to call you at 7 am, others at 10:30pm and they expect you to work around their schedule. Weekends & evenings are imperative. However, you also need to able to say "no" at times because people will want you to help them, provide them info, or show them a house, etc. 24/7. Are you up for that?

8. Anyone can be successful in this business, if they work hard & smart. There are always people buying/selling in every market. Yes, in the slower markets you will have to work harder.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you further is you'd like to give me a call my cell phone # is 973-570-0388. I wish you the best of luck!
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Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Fri May 1, 2009
Exit agents attempt to sponsor newbies in order to collect a residual on their commissions. It's a recruiting pyramid. I'd stay away from that sort of thing.

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Leslie Woods…, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Fri May 1, 2009
WOW, this is great news.. I am an exit agent ... We have a vidieo that will tell you all you need to know. on there is the Sponcering vidieo. The company is incrediable. You start by having the best training in the industry, the support you have in outstanding, the formula for success is incredable and you also have the opportunity to have extra income other than the commission. You will have insurances, Heath, Demtal, Life, also 401K, Some people make over 100,000 a year just on the extra income, and then the commission on top of that. Please visit the website

Call me if you have an interest 703-728-7370 Leslie Woods-Hulse and Paul DeMarce
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Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Fri May 1, 2009
First misunderstanding - that you need to get hired. You don't get hired. You interview and hire brokerages who will provide you with services you think you'll need for a price you're willing to pay - oh, you probably didn't know you paid to be able to work somewhere, did you. Hope you saved a lot. Then you pay for your business cards, lockboxes, lockbox keys, MLS subscription, join REALTOR associations and pay those dues. Ugh. A few grand and several months later, here you are - a bonafide real estate agent! Congrats. Now, where are you going to get your business from - they aren't walking in the door or calling you - unless you're doing something to generate them walking in the door or calling you. You see, many people have only had jobs, and they don't understand that working at the 7-11, where the store owner has already provided you with critical and strategical placement, signage, ads and name recognition will get people to walk in the door. How much do you think that store, those signs, ads, and name recognition cost? How long do you think it took to become a household name? LONG TIME - hope you can live on your savings for quite a while, and remember it is not free to work in real estate. Once you are paying for every pen and every copy, you'll start to know what I mean.

I haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet. So I am a grouch. But, the last few weeks have been a bit slow and I am working very hard - door knocking, calling my sphere, posting on this and other sites - answers, blogs, etc. I am getting calls, I am getting expressions of good will, I am getting rental listings, but I am not getting the real business that I need.... oh, sure I have a few things going on - should have a contract my Sunday on a listing; and an REO listing that should be hitting the market soon; a few buyers in the prequal phase and/or selling homes out of state before they can buy. It will pick up again soon. I am doing all the right things and the key is to trust the process. But, it is HARD, and you should know that.

Good training and support should help you - take the Sweathogs course (about $1k) right out of the gate, and then start in Buffini coaching ($400 a month). Sweathogs will teach you how to ask for business and get it quickly from where ever. Buffini will teach you how to lay the ground work and create a sales team from people that already love you.... and how to tend it like a garden and keep it gowing, flourishing - and to keep people calling you. Both skill sets are CRITICAL. Pay for the training, don't wait for the experience to give you the same knowledge, it takes too long and you will be in the poor house by then. As for brokerages, try Keller Williams if there's one in your area. Strong culture, good training, you don't pay much out of your pocket - most comes from a split - but it is a reasonable split and because of the structure, the things you will need 5 or 10 years from now will already be in place. You see, you need to choose a brokerage where you can stay long term - moving is complicated and expensive. True, you hire them, they don't hire you - so one would think it was easy... but you have to buy all new marketing stuff (signs, cards, etc.) and generally you must do it when you have NO pending business or you LOSE your contracts - ask what the separation policy is when interviewing brokerages.

Best of luck!

VIcky Chrisner
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