From the outside, you would be forgiven for thinking the typical day for a real estate agent consists of little more than driving around in a flashy car, wearing tailored suits and showing property to prospective buyers.
However, what happens behind the scenes is a complete different story.
Here are the top 10 things I wish I knew before getting into real estate:
1. Everyone is a property expert
At least they think they are! From tenants to landlords and vendors to buyers, even your friends, family and neighbours – they all think they’re a property guru. Regardless of the fact that it’s your job to be a property expert, your professional opinion and advice – which is often backed up with factual, up-to-the minute evidence – will be taken with a grain of salt.
2. You will be making a lot of phone calls
Upwards of 100 phone calls per day in fact! Let’s face it, we’re in the people business and people do business with people. The most effective way to connect with your market is to make contact, but be cautious, there is a very fine line between harassment and value-add.
3. You will be told ‘No!’ a lot (it’s a numbers game)
Most will tell you that in real estate you must have thick skin and the ability to handle rejection well, but there is very little that can prepare you for the vast number of times you will be rejected.
No! I don’t want to buy this terrible property…
No! I don’t want to be contacted about similar properties…
No! We didn’t decide to list our property with you…
No!... Just no!
4. You will get plenty of exercise
Especially in the early days of your career. A timeless prospecting activity that most agencies have implemented at some stage is hand-delivering letterbox drops. Have you ever wondered who the person is that continually puts junk mail in your letterbox in spite of the fact it says in big, bold capital letters ‘NO JUNK MAIL’? Well… you have just become that person!
5. You need to work hard – really hard and really often
Real estate, particularly sales, is no nine-to-five gig. You need to be available at all hours of the day and on weekends, because if you’re not your competitors will be, and your consumers expect you to be available when they are – generally outside business hours.
6. You need to invest your personal money
As a real estate salesperson, you are operating a business within a business, even if you are working for the biggest office in town. This is not going to get you listings – those listings will likely go to the directors. However, to give yourself an advantage and to become a successful real estate professional you need to market yourself, and this costs money.
7. You will not be well respected
Well, this is not entirely true. If you position yourself right within your local marketplace you can begin to build a respectful brand. However, many consumers have had a less-than-pleasurable real estate experience in the past and they’re quick to paint you with the same brush. Besides, real estate agents are among the least-trusted professionals on the planet.
8. It’s a high-turnover industry
So you start work for a mid-sized agency as a junior sales associate and currently there are 20 other agents working in the same business. Chances are that by the end of the year at least 10 of those 20 team members will have left to join another agency or given up on real estate completely. In most agencies, it’s cut-throat, and if you don’t meet your KPIs and commission targets you best be considering your options.
9. Ego and arrogance is everywhere
Whether we choose to accept this or not, our industry is submerged with arrogant and egotistic people, lazy property managers, incompetent salespeople and money-driven principals. It’s a fact. Real estate is a ruthless industry.
10. The average salary is $48,159
According to a quick Google search for ‘Average salary of a real estate agent in Australia’, you may be surprised to find that the average salary of a real estate agent is a little over $48,000. Although, rest assured, if you come into the industry with a plan, find a mentor and have laser focus on your goals you will no doubt achieve above-average results.
Despite the fact real estate can be challenging, if you work hard, stay focused and persevere, real estate can be a very lucrative and rewarding career path. Although not for the faint-hearted, it’s not uncommon for some real estate agents to earn high six-figure salaries and have a great work-life balance at the same time.