Being a Realtor® is one of those occupations that many people are interested in. Friends tell me all the time, “I thought about getting my real estate license at one point” or they’ll tell me they had their license for a while but quit within a few months. When I question them further about this, I seem to get the same answers.
“Well, I thought it would be fun to show homes, but I couldn’t get anyone to let me help them.” This is the most common problem I hear. I find a lot of people get their real estate license because they think it would be fun to show homes, but that’s actually a task you’ll spend the least amount of time doing. Yes, showing homes can be fun, but you’ll likely spend 50% of your time trying to find new clients.
Finding clients is central to your success as a sales agent or broker. After all, without buyers and sellers, there would be no transactions and, therefore, no commissions so you’ll go broke really fast! This is a 100% commission sales-based business. If you don’t sell, you don’t earn anything. One common way to build contacts and generate leads is through a real estate sphere of influence (SOI) strategy, which focuses on generating leads through people you already know, including your:
- Business associates
- Other social contacts
That means your day might regularly include meeting and speaking with many people, handing out business cards, sharing contact details, and filing away contact information to build out your SOI. After you make first contact, you’ll need to follow up with phone calls, emails, snail mail, or text messages so the people you meet remember your name in the future.
Because most people buy, sell, or rent property at some point in their lives, everyone you meet may be a client someday. Are you comfortable selling yourself? Are you willing to drum up business with family, friends, neighbors, and other social contacts?
The second answer I get is, “I wanted to be my own boss and make my own schedule.” Here’s how I typically answer this one. For starters, being a sales agent or broker requires managing a heavy load of administrative tasks. Legal documents must be accurate and events must be coordinated for multiple listings. On any given day, you might have to:
- Complete, submit, and file real estate documents, agreements, and lease records
- Organize appointments, showings, open houses, and meetings, sometimes for multiple clients
- Create and distribute flyers, newsletters, and other promotional materials
- Develop and maintain paper and electronic filing systems for records, correspondence, and other material
- Create monthly, quarterly, and annual budgets including paying your own taxes
- Develop marketing plans for listings
- Create and build on client databases
- Research active, pending and sold listings and draft comparative market analysis (CMA) reports
- Respond to texts, emails, and phone calls 7 days a week
- Update websites and social media profiles
An established sales agent or broker might have the budget to hire an assistant to handle some or all of these administrative tasks. When you’re just getting started in the industry, you’ll probably have to take care of them yourself. These administrative duties will take up another huge part of each day and many times you’ll end up working late into the evening or on the weekend just to get them completed.
So where’s the fun part of showing houses? It’s in there, but as I said earlier, it’s the smallest part of your new career.