As it was not very long ago that I undertook to make this decision myself, I thought it might be valuable if I shared my thoughts and reasoning to those of you who are still contemplating this career decision. I will also be offering some tips to help your process be as smooth as possible. While there is no best way to become a successful Realtor, there are certainly some better ways and suggestions I can share.
I’m going to be entirely candid, as I know this is not a decision you are taking lightly. Two of the primary reasons I chose to make a career change were the search for a more flexible work schedule and the opportunity to directly influence how much I am able to earn. After over 20 years as a contractor—both residential and commercial—I had worked more long days in tough working conditions than I can list. There was not much time left to do the things that were important to me. Additionally, although I was fortunate to work for an employer that appreciated and valued my contributions to the company, I was not able to directly impact my paycheck by working longer hours or doing superior work.
Don’t misunderstand me—Real Estate is not a career you can instantly begin and experience huge success in on day one. It takes time, dedication, and a defined business strategy. That said, I work with many highly successful agents who have built up impressive businesses in two or three years. In order to be successful as a new Realtor, here are several tips to help make a smoother transition.
Firstly, choose your Real Estate Pre-licensing course carefully. If you are going to spend 75 hours taking a course, you want to be successful and not have to go through another 75 hours because the class did not adequately prepare you to pass the class’s final exam or the State Exam. Also, decide whether you want to quit your current job to take the course or whether you want to attend on the weekends or in the evenings so that you may continue working in your current position until you receive your license. There are benefits and costs to doing it each way. The course is not an easy one, nor is the State Exam. You have to pass the course’s final exam to qualify to sit and take the State Exam. This is not something you can do halfway, or just pay attention in class and think you can pass the exams. Considerable time needs to be spent studying as well, so you will want to make sure you have the necessary time in your schedule to study if you are planning to continue working your current job while taking the course. If you are planning to stop working in order to take the class, you will want to have sufficient money saved up to tide you over for at least six months, if not more, unless you have a partner or spouse that can support your household during the period of transition.
Secondly, begin talking to different brokerage firms to see who you might be interested in working for when you do become a licensed Realtor. Ideally, you will want to be working on a business plan while you are taking your Pre-licensing course so that you may “hit the ground running” when you pass the State Exam. At Carolina School of Real Estate, we allow the opportunity for different firms to come and speak to you about working for them. We are not affiliated with or owned by any Real Estate firm; therefore, we can provide exposure to all of the options available to you.
Thirdly, talk to different Realtors and ask them how they built their businesses. Although every person’s business model will be tailored to his/her personality, it is helpful to learn what others have done. We are proud to offer this opportunity to our students at Carolina School of Real Estate. We bring in practicing Realtors so that they can talk to you about how they built their businesses. In addition, all of our instructors are practicing Realtors, so their experience working in the field will be of immense value to you.
I have been very pleased with my decision to become a Realtor. The flexibility of the career has given me more of an opportunity to spend time with my family, and I value being able to impact my level of success. I hope these suggestions will be of value to you as you consider whether it will also be a smart career change for you.