Making your entry into the real estate industry as an agent often takes months of hard work and a good sum of money. So the last thing you’d want is to quit your current job, give up guaranteed benefits, and sacrifice steady pay, only to find out that real estate isn’t the career for you. Learning a bit more about the real estate industry is a must for anyone considering this path.
The three ways to tell if real estate is a good career for you include having effective communication skills, being self-motivated and craving success, and boasting versatility and flexibility. Confidence, industry knowledge, and creativity are also useful traits as an agent.
A career in real estate can be extremely rewarding. But it’s not the ideal career for everybody, as this path requires specific skills and traits that not everybody possesses. So keep reading to learn about three definitive ways to know if real estate is a good career for you.
1. You Have Effective Communication Skills
In your 30+ hours of real estate pre-licensing courses, you’ll learn about real estate laws and concepts. You’ll be an expert in property ownership, loans and mortgages, and the role of earnest money deposits in home buying.
But no amount of industry knowledge will matter if you can’t get clients or repeatedly fail to broker a deal that all parties are satisfied with. So the first and most important way to know that real estate is a good career for you is talking a good game and excel in communication.
Persistent During Lead Generation
The real estate industry’s whole premise is this reaching out to people you know and some you don’t to generate leads. You nurture these leads to keep your role as an agent front and center, and you hope that you get the call that they’re ready to list with you in due time.
The hard truth is that not everybody is looking to buy or sell, some people already have preferred agents, and the average conversion rate in real estate is around 1%.
So you might have to talk to 100 people to get a single lead, with no guarantee it’ll work out. You’ll also be hung up daily, have people close the shades when they see you door-knocking in their neighborhood, and send mass emails that never get a response.
What you say is essential, but how often you contact a lead is even more important.
You can’t allow yourself to get comfortable and hope that a lead will reach out to you because, as you await their call, other agents are actively reaching out to them. So you need to be confident reaching out to your leads weekly or monthly to keep yourself front and center, even when you feel like you’re being annoying or inconveniencing them.
Negotiate Deals With Confidence and Grit
Whether you’re assuming a buyer’s or seller’s agent’s role, you should never expect a deal to go smoothly every time. Things happen like a contingent offer suddenly is thrown into limbo when the home fails inspection, a buyer is less than impressed by the home they loved when they saw it on Zillow, and your buyer is up against 20 other offers.
As a real estate agent, you have a fiduciary relationship with your clients. In other words, you’re legally compelled to always act in your client’s best interest. That means you need to have above par negotiating skills with all parties to ensure that everyone ends up satisfied at the end.
It shows an immense amount of confidence to put in a non-negotiable offer like $400,000, take it or leave it. But if you somehow left helping your client put in an offer of $425,000 on the house, you didn’t negotiate all that well. So on top of being confident with your words, you also need to stick to what you say.
But in an industry that revolves around the art of making a deal, you also need to talk a good game and back up your words with proof.
For example, having the confidence to pair a lowball offer with comps in the area that show the current listing is way overpriced. You’ll also have to negotiate before you even get the listing when you arrange a commission rate. So you’ll need to be able to convince your client that you’re a marketing fiend, will sell their home quickly, and are worthy of that 5% commission.
Have a Strong Communication in All Methods
We all have a preferred communication method, but your communication methods don’t matter much when you’re in the real estate industry. Some clients will text as if their lives depend on it, while others want to communicate with their agents via email. Because of that, you need to have excellent communication skills in every sense, including:
- Phone calls
- In-person meetings
- Written ads and letters
Regardless of the method, you need to communicate effectively. That means getting to the point and not talking around the issue, using correct grammar and spelling, responding promptly, and practicing active listening to show that you’re paying attention.
Good communication skills take time to develop, and it’s the axis upon which a career in real estate revolves.
If your communication skills are considered average right now, you’ll want to do what you can to smooth them out a little. The video below will walk you through a few simple tips to improve your communication skills.
2. You’re Self-Motivated and You Crave Success
The best and perhaps the worst part of being a real estate agent is that your success depends entirely on you. As an independent contractor, you decide how many hours a week you generate leads, how many clients you follow up with, and your annual income.
The real estate industry comes with no guarantees and little guidance. So the second way to tell if real estate is a promising career for you is if you’re self-motivated, whether it be for the commission checks, to help the public, or always see self-improvement in your career.
Setting Realistic Career Goals to Work Toward
Significantly few new agents go into real estate with a specific sales goal. They just want to sell some houses. While encouraging at first, many new agents also fail to see how much goes into getting leads, turning them into clients, and selling their first listing. It could be months before you make your first sale, and only end up with a few thousand dollars in commission checks.
So real estate is the career for you if you can set sales goals and work to achieve them. Don’t go in saying something vague like, “I want to sell a few houses,” but rather, “I want to sell 14 homes by the end of the year.”
But you also need to know what’s realistic in real estate and what’s not.
For example, you could make a cool $30,000 in commission for selling a $2 million home, so selling two homes at that value can be enough to get you by for the whole year. Yet, can you picture a stranger trusting an agent without a sales history with their $2 million home? So while lofty and confident, this goal isn’t realistic as a first-year agent.
Realistic goals as an agent could be reaching out to ten leads each day, adding ten people to your contact list daily, and visiting five properties each week. This type of goal can be tracked, and you’ll start to see results after a while.
Rising in the Face of Failure or Disappointment
To be as direct as possible: The real estate industry is one full of disappointments. That helps explain why around 87% of new real estate agents will leave the industry within their first few years. Some common failures in the industry include:
- Submitting an offer just a few minutes too late
- Having a sale fall through when the home fails inspection
- The market suddenly tanking and home values dropping
- Never hearing back from a hot lead
- Buyers who refuse to sign agreements, and then work with another agent
- Realizing the pictures on Zillow were inaccurate
- Having a buyer who won’t get pre-approved for a mortgage
The career’s inconsistency is enough to make most people roll their eyes, sigh deeply, and ask, “Really?” But being a successful real estate agent isn’t about avoiding these all-too-common mishaps, but seeing them as a motivator to succeed.
So the offer fell through, and your buyer lost the home of their dreams. Instead of moping around that you missed out on the sale, swear to yourself and your client that you’ll find an even better home to put an offer, one that’s valued even better and has more to offer.
Real estate is about being able to spin anything terrible that happens into a positive.
Seeking New Strategies to Advance Your Career
The real estate industry is changing every year, so this might be a stable career for you if you value education and learning new things. You’ll have to deal with things like brand new state laws and local ordinances, recent home trends that buyers seem to love, and marketing tactics that can transition an average agent into an exceptional one.
You always have to be willing to learn, even if it means admitting that your current tactics aren’t working as well as they could be. To be a successful agent, you’ll need to be willing to:
- Talk to other agents to get new ideas, constructive criticism, or just shadow them.
- Attend workshops, conferences, and networking events beyond your CE credits.
- Survey your leads and clients to get their feedback on how you practice.
- Visit open houses in your free time to see how other agents carry themselves.
- Try new marketing tactics that get you out of your comfort zone.
Your goal as an agent isn’t always to be the best agent in your office or local community, but rather to continuously seek improvement in your career. As long as you’re happy with being just a little bit better each day, you’ll find real estate to be a fulfilling career path.
Some agents don’t always make the best choice when joining a real estate company and find themselves having to change brokerages. I was faced with this same situation early on in my career – and I share my experience with changing brokerages here.
3. You Consider Yourself to Be Flexible and Versatile
As a real estate agent, your workday doesn’t end when the clock strikes 5 PM, and your work isn’t confined to Monday through Friday. Sometimes a client wants to make an offer at 8 PM on Sunday, and, other times, a serious buyer wants to tour a home on one of your days off.
As inconvenient as this might be for the average person, this just comes with the territory. So the third and final way to know if real estate is a good career for you is thriving in instances of uncertainty, and if you’re flexible and versatile in both your strategies and your schedule.
Willing to Work on Your Client’s Schedule
Real estate is the type of career path that doesn’t work on a schedule, and, as much as you want to tell clients that dreaded two-letter word “No”, time is of the essence in this industry. You might have to pack up dinner or leave a party early when work calls and a deal is in the works.
So this is a great career path if you work well on the fly and have a rather open schedule to work with. You’ll need to be prepared at all times to put in an offer, take a call from the inspector, and field showings from buyer’s agents.
But at the same time, you also need to be able to differentiate between being flexible and being walked over by clients.
For example, putting in an offer for a buyer on a home that you expect to sell quickly might have to be done on your day off to ensure your offer is considered. On the other hand, you wouldn’t drop everything on a busy Saturday to cart a prospective buyer around to several homes, especially if they’re not pre-approved for a mortgage or willing to sign a buyer’s agreement.
While flexibility is essential, you also need to know when to put your foot down and prioritize the importance of your free time.
Being Able to Juggle Several Tasks at Once
Your first few months in real estate will be easy in one sense. You won’t have a million things to juggle right off the bat. But the longer you’re in the industry, especially when you’re working with several clients at once, you’ll need to be a multitasking fiend.
You’ll be dealing with buyers and sellers, calling contractors, knowing all of your listings like the back of your hand, generating new leads, speaking to other agents, touring properties, hosting open houses, and more. And even if you time-block like it’s going out of style, things come up and throw your planned schedule off.
So you’ll be a great real estate agent if multitasking is your forte. You’ll need to seamlessly switch between buyer-mode and seller-mode, go from a property showing to submitting an offer, and do three listing presentations back-to-back.
Seeing the Good in Everything and Working With What You’ve Got
As a real estate agent, you’ll always go into a property or listing presentation with an open mind. But then you get there, and things aren’t exactly as you thought they’d be.
For example, you might get a lead from another agent and be excited to work with a client. But then you show up to the house, see that it’s entirely gutted, has wires sticking out, and is being sold as-is. It’s not an ideal situation, and you know it.
Nothing in real estate is perfect, especially when you’re working with strangers and properties you don’t know much about. So instead of rejecting things that aren’t within your preferences, like a buyer lead instead of a listing lead, you have to see the positive.
For example, instead of thinking, “This isn’t what I wanted,” you could shift your viewpoint toward, “Hey, a lead is a lead, right?” You need to trust that things will smooth out as your career progresses, and be flexible with the imperfections when they do arise. You’ll have the ability to choose.
A great agent is someone who can roll with the punches.
Real estate is one of those industries that you have to try for yourself to see what it’s genuinely like. But there are a few other ways to get a glimpse.
Try talking to current agents or brokers. Find out what they like and dislike about being in real estate and inquire about what their daily schedule consists of.
Or attend open houses. These are the ideal places to see a real estate agent in action and how they’re meant to interact with prospective clients.
Most importantly, understand that there’s a lot more to real estate than slapping your name on a listing and earning a commission.