Back in February, my brother Dan and I went to real estate class and both acquired our real estate licenses. Being entrepreneurs with a never-ended desire to build systems that run themselves, we never really had any intention of becoming traditional, full-time agents. We had no desire to run buyer appointments and scour the earth for new listings every day, but we knew that having our license would get us access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service, which has an updated list of ALL available properties, since Redfin/Zillow/Trulia are never accurate), which would be a very nice supplement to our goal of being real estate investors who desired to “flip” houses. Also, with our marketing skills, we could create an online lead generation machine and sell the leads to other agents who do enjoy running clients around (passive income!).
As we jumped into the process of getting licensed, as well as on-boarding with our sponsoring brokerage, Keller Williams (why did we chose them? find out!), we realized that we were a lot more excited about becoming agents than we had first anticipated! As we’ve moved along in our journey, we’ve identified 9 solid reasons you should consider becoming a real estate agent yourself!
- MONEY! Obviously, making extra money is something that a lot of people think about and try to fit into their lives. While brokering real estate transactions is typically more involved than most people think when considering being a real estate agent, it is something that becomes a lot easier (and more predictable) with experience and is a great way to create extra income, on the side or in a full-time capacity. If you were to chart the number of hours you put into any deal, you’d find that it provides a decent return-on-investment for your time.
- Getting your license is (relatively) simple. Licensing varies by state, but there are typically two options available; online or in-class. As for Illinois, the requirement is 75-hours of class (can be online or in-person) and 15-hours of in-class application. As for us, we personally thought we would want to do the class online, but decided to do a crash-course in-person, and realized that we’d HIGHLY advise people do it in class if possible (obviously, a lot of people have jobs and families which don’t allow them to do this). Having someone in person with real life experience to give context to all the concepts, and someone you can ask questions of, made all the difference.
- Flexible schedule. The majority of new real estate agents do so in a part-time capacity. Most brokerages, while encouraging you to produce as much as possible, don’t have a production requirement, so you can do as much or as little as you want (as long as you pay the fees!). The schedule of a real estate agent is also, theoretically, up to your discretion. Now, the reality is that it usually involves nights and weekends (because of working around most people’s day-time work schedule), but you ultimately have flexibility to choose when you want to work. For the truly entrepreneurial-minded types, we HIGHLY consider reading Gary Keller’s best-selling book, “Millionaire Real Estate Agent” and think about building a self-sustaining “7th-level Real Estate Business”.
- It’s fun! Have you ever watched any real estate shows on HGTV? They make it look like it’s really fun to look through houses with excited clients, and the parts that they actually show on TV DO actually happen in real-life, and are a ton of fun! Unfortunately, there is a lot that they DON’T show about the negotiation and paperwork side of things that isn’t quite as fun, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Back to the fun…when your job is to walk your friends or new clients around a bunch of houses that they think are beautiful, seeing their reaction, and having discussions about their home-buying dreams, it’s very enjoyable!
- You get to help your friends. As previously mentioned, it’s a lot of fun working with your friends! Being part of a major life decision with your friends does a lot for strengthening the friendship. As an agent, you get to understand their dreams and desires, and see them at their highs and lows. It’s actually a very intimate (not sexually!) experience, and really leads to forming a bond between agent and client. The downside? If you work with your friends and provide a sub-par service, it may actually negatively affect your relationship! Just make sure you’re not a bad agent, and you have nothing to worry about. 🙂
- You don’t necessarily have to try get business. It has been amazing for Dan and I to discover how many people in our lives do NOT have an agent in their lives that they like and trust. The majority of the time, people kind of/sort of know an agent that their family have used, but once you acquire your real estate license, word travels fast. You don’t even have to be accomplished or even really know what you’re doing…if a friend or family member simply like and trust you, they’ll ask you to help once they find out you’re licensed to do so. Further, those same people apparently love talking to other people, and you’ll get referrals from your friends and family (that you didn’t actually do any marketing to find) without even doing anything. If you’re a GOOD real estate agent who goes above and beyond in some capacity (or even just make the experience FUN), you’ll get even more word-of-mouth referrals. Depending on how fast you need to progress your real estate career, you might not ever need to market yourself as an agent (although we have many recommendations for how to do so if you want/need!).
- Be your own boss. A lot of people dream of being their own boss so they can “call all the shots”. As a real estate agent, you don’t have a boss! The previously mentioned “flexible schedule” is part of this, but it’s an entirely separate benefit. No clocking in, no asking for a day off, no “designated hungry time” (lunch)…you get the picture. Furthermore, being a part-time real estate agent can also turn into a full-time career! If you take very very very rough averages, you’d only have to represent 15 “sides” (a side is either a buyer or a seller in a transaction) per year to gross around $60,000. If you’ve got some ambition, this isn’t a difficult level of production…you can click here to find out how I came to this number.
- Get ideas for your own home. In the course of walking your clients through so many different homes looking for one they like, you’ll naturally gain some insight to cool ideas of updates you can make on your own home! This is part of the fun of being a buyer’s agent, despite having to lug people all around town all day. 🙂
- Find a new home. You may not even be looking for a new home, but with access to MLS and seeing all the best deals right as they come on the market, as well as networking with hundreds of other agents and people in the industry, you may just find yourself looking at a new home for yourself! Also, if you’ve ever considered investing in real estate, being an agent will give you first glance at any potential rental properties for fixer-uppers that you can flip. It’s an emerging trend, and you may just find yourself with a new, profitable hobby!
There are obviously more than 9 reasons to be a real estate agent, but these just came top of mind as I thought about why someone would consider doing such a thing.
If you’ve read through this whole thing, it’s probably because you’re excited about the idea, and may have actually considered it in the past, and just not known how to do so. Since I already know that about you, I went ahead and wrote another article that explains, to the best of my ability, how to go about doing so (costs involved, time needed, where to go, etc). Click here if you’re interested in a step-by-step breakdown of how to become an agent yourself.
Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into the world of a real estate agent…if you have any questions or comments, hit me up in the comments below!