Want to Be a Real Estate Agent? Here’s Why You Should Think Again

There are a few important things you should know before you make the jump, and I don’t mean the education required, the pay, or even the current property market.

What you should first think about are the non-procedural matters to becoming an agent. Being a real estate agent is one of those professions where you really must enjoy a challenge and hard work, because if it is for the love of  property and dealing with people then you will find that wears off pretty quickly.

  • The hours involved are long –  many commitments out of the normal 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday work week; just think when people are available to view properties and interview agents… it is effectively a full six day a week job. Now imagine the toll that will have on your personal life.
  • The people aspects are tough –  you like dealing with people, great, now imagine  dealing with the full spectrum of society, during their periods of high stress, as they go through the emotional roller coaster ride of selling what is often their largest asset. Then on top of that add the general reputation of real estate agents and how you will be perceived. Your love of people wears off pretty quickly…
  • It takes time – establishing yourself within a particular area takes a long time. The keys elements of success – experience, local market knowledge and an extensive customer database from which referrals and repeat business arises – all take a long time to accumulate. Remember, people move houses on average every 7 years, so that valuable repeat business takes a lot of “remember me” follow-ups in between.
  • The money doesn’t grow on trees – most real estate agents’ cars are funded by large loans and for the first 3-5 years you can look forward to minimum wage, performing primarily clerical duties, and with little job security. Most of the established real estate agents (5+ years) take home a good but not great salary. Don’t forget that most must give half their commission to the agency, then pay their support staff and general expenses (car etc), and keep whatever is left.
  • Honesty is hard – the hardest thing real estate agents will tell you about their job, often more than the above factors, is that it is actually hard telling the truth: no one likes hearing their place needs a lot of work, or it is worth $100k less than they thought (or needed), or that the place they have fallen in love with is way out of their budget. This made even harder as there are some (no not all) real estate agents who operate dishonestly, and false expectations are set.

Now if after all that you still wish to become a real estate agent, you will be pleased to know the actual process of becoming a real estate agent is relatively straight forward. Qualifications can be obtained in one month or less by the committed student and there are education institutions (e.g. TAFE) that offer qualification courses for under $1,000, which can all be done online. I have seen one week crash courses.  In my view the ongoing education requirements are also very light on, where the full year CPD requirement can be achieved over a 3 hour breakfast seminar or a couple online assessments.

So, do you still want to become a real estate agent?