what's the most difficult part in starting a career in real estate as a sales agent?

Asked by Ioana, New York, NY Tue Jan 29, 2008

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Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Sat Nov 1, 2008
I'm pleasantly surprised to see how many good answers there are here. I'll add my 2 cents in.

First, finding a broker that is successful and growing is a good place to start. I wouldn't start in a tiny office, but if it's a super large office you are less likely to have the time you need with the office manager. Some companies just look at how many agents they can attract and really don't offer much more.

Make sure they have live training either through the company or in a coaching enviroment with the office manager or a top producer. This could also be a mentor. Training should NOT be online training. It's virtually worthless to a new agent and not nearly as valuable to a new or experienced agent as live training.

DON'T sign up with ANY broker that has a desk fee or monthly expenses. Make sure they don't charge you for advertising, copies, faxes, a phone line or anything like that. That would eliminate REMAX and Keller Williams. REMAX can be a great way for an agent to go, but the expenses can eat you alive if you're not producing. I'm not a big fan of Keller Williams business model. It also seems they lost about 4,000 agents so far this year. I wonder why.

Check out a nearby Prudential affiliate or Coldwell Banker office. They are both national brands with good reputations that people recognize. Prudential just won the JD Power & Associates award for customer satisfaction among sellers and got top ratings in overall satisfaction, satisfaction with the agent/salesperson, company marketing and company office. The only catagory they didn't rate at the top was variety of additional services. Keller Williams and C21 ranked at the bottom of the survey.

Make sure you have a comfort level in the office you choose. Some offices are more welcoming of new agents then others. Some offices have agents and a manager that is encouraging and some just can't be bothered with a new agent.

Real estate is a wonderful career and can be both personally and financially rewarding. To be successful does require dedication and determination. Always respond to customer calls and emails immediately. Always follow up on the details. Step out of the box and be different then the rest of the herd. Do a great job and your clients will be your best source of business.

Good luck!

Web Reference:  http://www.nyhomeseller.com
3 votes
That last paragraph is great advice. It's going on my wall!
Flag Tue Jul 2, 2013
Great advice. I am considering getting my real estate license and I have so many concerns about getting started, but your response made a lot of sense. Thank you
Flag Mon Feb 4, 2013
Realtor, ,
Sun Feb 3, 2008
1) Finding the right broker who offers a great training program.
2) Having money to pay for all the memberships, open house signs etc....
3) Learning how to market yourself (more money)
4) Learning how to negotiate
5) Learning how to get your first client
6) Learning that the $15k you earn in one month may have to last you 3-5 months until your next transaction

My word of advice is, don't quit your day job. Learn the business first and then make a gradual transition.
2 votes
Flag Mon Oct 7, 2013
Irina Karan, Agent, Aventura, FL
Sun Mar 25, 2012
Hello Ioana,
To me, it was finding my first clients.
I just moved to a new city, and didn't know anybody.
I went to every seminar, related and unrelated to real estate, and just started speaking to people.
In one setting, I found my first listing - a short sale.
Knowing that I was working on this short sale, another person, that I met at a different seminar, referred me to someone who needed a short sale. He referred his friend...
It took a long time (short sales take long long time), and I had to survive, so did rentals, and any type of transaction that I could get...So, making money the first couple of years could be easier for you, if you had some funds saved up for online advertising. You'll never be bored in this great profession though - the market changes all the time, the inventory size, the pricing, the types of transactions...

Best of luck,

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
1 vote
distractions=lower income
Flag Fri Sep 27, 2013
Judy Markowi…, Agent, Flushing, NY
Sat Feb 2, 2008
Believe it or not, a "down" market is a great time for a new agent to start in this biz. Here's why: alot of so-called experienced agents that were selling in a seller's market, will drop out of the biz as soon as it starts to get tougher. Almost anyone can sell when the market is strong, but right now it takes both creativity and tenacity. Getting a great mentor is wildly the best option, but also key into great systems. Check out GoStarPower.com- a great real estate resource, particularly for residential real estate professionals. There's alot of free information, and to someone really serious about the industry, it provides answers and ideas that most agents won't share! Plus, remember that your energy and enthusiasm, in a market like this can be more inspiring than just "experience", and you will find people who want to work with someone willing to work hard for them. Just make sure that you are working with people who are serious, qualified, and realistic.
1 vote
Lisa Hill, , Port Orange, FL
Wed Jan 30, 2008
For most agents, they don't realize the startup costs and how long it will most likely take before they start really making money. Most experts say to expect a year or two before you're actually making a profit. This is because it's like starting your own business. REALTORS(r) are Independent Contractors and have a lot of expenses. Many expenses are unexpected by new agents.

Especially in a buyers market, new agents can spend years "pounding the pavement". But then some agents are sharp enough to model themselves after a top producer and catch on quickly. In my experience though, most agents lack follow-up skills and they find it difficult to keep a good attitude. If you can keep your attitude right and work smart, you can eventually succeed. If you're considering a career in real estate and think you have what it takes, there are many new business models out there. Investigate and find what you think will work for you.
1 vote
thinz, Agent, Allenhurst, NJ
Sat May 2, 2015
Building confidence and lowering the risk for the client - so they don't feel like you operate like so many agents do...and you will actually over deliver on your performance for them.
Service is key in this industry...and the good news is - it's pretty easy to standout from the crowd...but it does require work! Start helping your prospects and hold their hand giving them good information so they look to you as the only person they want to work with! Tom Hinz http://www.shortsaletosell.com thinz@apexgroupus.com
0 votes
Malgorzata R…, Agent, Rockville Centre, NY
Sat Jan 10, 2015
Finding a good broker with proper training is very important. Beginning is not easy, you determination is one of the most important aspects of you success. Once you get there can be very rewarding in every level. Good Luck!
0 votes
Diane Christ…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Fri Jan 9, 2015
Some excellent responses, to which I would add that as a real estate agent you will most likely be an independent contractor, which means you do not get benefits (including company health insurance) and must pay your own social security/ medicare and income taxes on a quarterly basis. So with each commission check you collect you must set aside sufficient funds to pay your tax obligations.
0 votes
dploves2sell…, Agent, Woodbury, NY
Fri Jan 9, 2015
The most difficult part of starting a career in Real Estate was not having immediate income. If the income is not an issue, then learning how to sell Real Estate and finding customers and clients. Always remember the code of ethics and your fiduciary responsibility to your clients.
0 votes
J, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Wed Jan 18, 2012
The most difficult areas in starting a career in this industry would be the massive start-up cost and getting to a point where you can generate a reasonable income for yourself. With any company you choose to work with, after you go through the basic RE programs you will be on your own unless you decided to work within a team. Working with a team may be costly so check it out thoroughly. After the new wears off...

Working with and through the distressed property market will meet you with relentless and ever-changing challenges that will force you to realize your strengths and weaknesses. You will no doubt come face-to-face with the realty of this side of the business rather quickly. You will need to make choices that will affect families short and long term and you will need to be able to live with the guidance you provide. You will thrive in the business if you do not limit yourself, your abilities, and your time. Remain fair and ethical and put your engergies in to what matters because most would rather see you fail than succeed. Good luck to you!
0 votes
KWCareers, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Sun Jan 15, 2012
I think the hardest thing about starting a real estate career in real estate, is trying to figure things out on your own. It is critical to affiliate with a real estate company that is focused on training, education and support. Often times the cheapest decision will teach you the most expensive lesson.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat Nov 1, 2008
Over the years i have seen that the most difficult part of starting a career in Real Estate to be the start up time, most people do not realize that from the day you start to the day you actually get paid can be alittle while. as well there is an initial start up costs as well. I have seen people say they will start as part time and continue to work another job to keep a paycheck coming in. They then dont give real estate all the time it needs and often fail before they even start. it is important to join an office with a team concept where you will receive traing and be allowed to accompany a seasoned agent throuhg the motions. As well in a team office you will be able to have access to other agents listing sto be able to have something to sell and not have to wait until you build up your own inventory of listings. Good luck in your deciions.
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes
Shawn Steinm…, Agent, Westhampton, NY
Thu Feb 21, 2008

For most agents I find that getting over the FEAR FACTOR is often the most difficult part. Their own fear of rejection or not know what you do and say with a customer or client, such a buyer or a seller.
Keep in mind that most agents are more real estate savvy and trained then the average customer and clients. Now there are the exception that you will come across, If you are fear full to let people know what you do and where you work and how you can help them, then you will be wondering why people don’t look to you as there real estate expert. Now you can read all the books and visit a hundreds website but I would ask you, are ready for real estate career or just looking to dabble? Are you looking to make this you r own business and invest time, money and effort or are you looking to have the business handed to you?
You will do well if you committed to make a go of it and get the help and support of a good broker but at the end of the day it is your business and if you don’t treat it like one it will most likely fail. You need to be out there making things happen not sitting and hope the phone will ring and ops a million dollar buyer just popped up! So do your research, find a good broker and company you feel best suite your needs and save those pennies. Good luck!
0 votes
Phil Fowler, Agent, Brandon, FL
Sun Feb 3, 2008
Hello Ioana,

Money and generating leads. I hope you enjoy serving people, because that's what this business is all about. Interview a couple of major brokerages in your area and see what they are wiling to do to help you establish your business. After all, it will be your business. Get a good mentor, (an experienced agent), who will be available to hold your hand and teach you listing presentations and how to work with buyers.

This is a very rewarding profession and your clients can become friends for life. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Who knows, may be one day we will be doing business together!
Web Reference:  http://www.PhilFowler.com
0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sun Feb 3, 2008
The most difficult part is to make sure that you establish a sound business plan, plenty of reserve for start up cost (set up expense, license fees, mils fees, etc) and enough money to live until your first and subsequent sales.

Also need to remember that you are in this for the long haul. It is very difficult to get started, so plan for it and not panic. Do your best according to plan. As a self employed individual, discipline is extremely important. Stay on course, work hard, and the rewards can be great.

0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sat Feb 2, 2008
I recommend "the Millionaire Real Estate Agent" as a great resource, in paperback about $20. Interviews with over 100 of the top real estate agents in the US, their best practices for success. There is a companion website. http://www.millionairesystems.com, that you should visit.

Also, I suggest interviewing with a couple of brokers and find out what training is offered new agents. I work with Keller Willians and believe it is the finest real estate training company in the nation, period. I am biased and proud to be a KW associate. Truthfully there are may find companies, you need to pick one that has a proven track record of excellence both in training and culture. I would be happy to chat with you further if you wish.

I also suggest 21 Things I Wish My Broker Had Told Me: Practical Advice for New Real Estate Professionals. (Paperback)
by Frank Cook

Good luck!
0 votes
Joseph Ferra…, , New York County, NY
Wed Jan 30, 2008
IMO,it's getting the right mentor, someone who knows the ropes, has contacts and can teach you from his or her experience. In addition, it is being able to network on your own. There are ways to do it. Call me at 215-990-1016 if I can be of further help to you.
0 votes
Gail Gladsto…, Agent, 11743, NY
Wed Jan 30, 2008
In my opinion, it is aligning yourself with a company that will take the time to not only train you in the tools of the trade, but give you the proper direction in terms of the Code of Ethics, and conducting your business in a moral, legal and ethical manner.
Web Reference:  http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes
Long Island…, , New York
Wed Jan 30, 2008
Providing an individual has the personality for sales, the most difficult factor to a successful career entering the real estate industry is associating with an effective office. That’s an office that provides extensive in house training, has the real estate infrastructure in place to sell real estate, and offers (OJT) on the job training with a seasoned professional, where a new or inexperienced agent can learn and earn from the start and practice real estate by putting their clients and customers interests first to the real estate endeavor.
0 votes
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